Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quickie Fair Grounds Pick Four

Not much time to write so let me make it quick:

Race 7 Crescent City for Louisiana Breds
  • With the scratch of Tensas Cat, Redsugar looks like an on-the-loose single.
Race 8 New Orleans
  • With Stonehouse, Battle Plan and General Quarters all on or near the pace from the far outside, there is a potential for a traffic jam from the start and the possibility of a closer to come late. Let's take two out of the three from the outside: Battle Plan and General Quarters and throw in horse-for-the-course Star Guitar.
Race 9 Mervyn Muniz Jr.
  • A turf event, so I might as well spread with Jet Propulsion - possible coast-to-coast candidate, El Caballo to rate just off his flank, Pick Six to pick up the pieces if the pace collapses, Blues Street for getting so good at six.
Race 10 Louisiana Derby
  • There's plenty of pace in here, so we'll find out who can take the pressure and who will fold. Let's take take one up front and one from way back - Discreetly Mine to repeat his Risen Star feat and Stay Put to out kick Ron the Greek to the front, if too many want the lead.
The play for 50-cent: 3/7-9-10/2-4-5-8/7-9 for $12. Good luck with your plays...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Online Fantasy Dreaming

Thought I might get some cheap, cheesy inadvertent hits with headline.

Anyway, while we wind up for the Derby, there are lots of contests in play - Derby Dreamer, Road to the Roses, TVG Fantasy Stable and WinStar Fantasy Derby among the many that I play. My success is decent to mixed.

At Derby Dreamer I thought I might get into the top 25 with Friesan Fire pointing toward the New Orleans this week. But it's a no-go for Friesan Fire with a foot injury, so I wallow below top 100, probably. No Derby tickets - the top prize along with $10,000. There are monthly winners, so it's a site worth checking out.

Road to the Roses is looking pretty good as my Bada Bing stable stands in 506th place out of more than 20,000 entries. I have five horses going this weekend in the three Derby preps - Sunland, Louisiana and Lane's End with a potential to break 100 points for the weekend and get into the top 200. With a few weeks left, you can still sign up and try to win a weekly prize of a $300 Visa Card, but won't have a chance for the top prize - a trip to Derby 2011.

Far too many misses at TVG Fantasy stable for me to hit the top spot and earn $2,500, but there may be a chance for a monthly prize if I choose wisely.

WinStar Fantasy Derby is the most intriguing, as I have a few horses that could emerge over the next few weeks - Make Music For Me, Stay Put (LA Derby) and Backtalk. A couple of wins from these three would put me closer to top 200 and then who knows from there???? Top prize - trip to this year's Derby.

There's time to go on line and check some of these contests out. So go out and play!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rule Will Rule On Saturday

Sure Rule is facing a bunch of newcomers in Saturday's Grade I Florida Derby, but really at 5-2 he's an underlay.

Can one of the several freshly minted maiden breakers or N1X Allowance types rise up and defeat Rule? Sure, as we all learned or were reminded with Mine That Bird last year, three-year-olds can certainly improve by leaps and bounds between starts. Rule is also vulnerable, if his connections decide to change his running tactics and have him rate off the pace - as I suspect will happen. Many horses simple resist or burn so much energy fighting a jock trying to restrain their front-running nature that they crash and burn. If Rule does toss his head about and cave anyone of number of double-digit types can win. I'm betting against such a scenario. Here's why...

Rule's got the breeding, the connections (yes, Pletcher will win a Derby someday), the talent and a winning streak that tells me Rule is a great win bet at odds of 8-5 or greater.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Derby Baker's Dozen for March

Lookin At Lucky – Take a look at the 1989 Preakness, in which Pat Day aboard Easy Goer forces Pat Valenzuela and Sunday Silence into a most uncomfortable and almost catastrophic racing spot. It’s almost the same exact move Dublin’s rider, Corey Nakatani, made on Garret Gomez aboard Lookin At Lucky in the Rebel. Both Sunday Silence and Lookin At Lucky averted disaster and won with class in the tightest of photo finishes. Spectacular!

Eskendereya – the lion-in-waiting will do his thing a few weeks from now at the Big A

Sidney’s Candy – fake stuff form and speed impressive – distance and dirt questions remain

Interactif – does nothing but try hard each time out and grinders like him usually hit the Kentucky Derby board

Rule – my main Derby colt currently in a holding pattern over where to go: Florida, Sunland or Wood

Dublin – two bad trips in a row in small fields does not boost Derby confidence

Caracortado – exposed or just bounced in San Felipe loss; Santa Anita Derby and answers await

Discreetly Mine – either speed ball with enough endurance to last or merry-go-round winner that won’t take the pace pressure

Conveyance – Sunland is the right spot for this sprinter trying to outrace his breeding

D'Funnybone – with Eskendereya going to Wood this guy probably gets big shot in Florida Derby

Jackson Bend – simply getting off Gulfstream’s landing strip-like, front-runner favoring surface (how many horses get passed in the stretch in Hallandale???) may improve his performance

Super Saver – did enough to move forward off long layoff and has enough graded purse money to get into Derby starting gate; Dominguez ride didn’t help

Sunday, March 14, 2010

When will horse racing get it right?

Yesterday was a special and unique day in Thoroughbred horse racing. And the only people who knew it were hard core fans trackside across the country, online handicappers (bloggers included) or someone who just happened to see Zenyatta win while looking for the latest college hoop score on Sports Center on Saturday.

Why so special?
  1. Reigning and historic Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra made her much anticipated return
  2. Zenyatta in her first race back, since a short-lived retirement following her historic Breeders' Cup Classic win last November, going for 15 straight wins
  3. If you missed the debate on last year's Horse of the Year and don't know about the possible Apple Blossom Stakes pitting the two famous and fabulous mares against each other, well you're just not a fan...yet.
  4. Last year's two-year-old champion colt and early Derby favorite, Lookin At Lucky made his return to the races
  5. For added measure, another Derby prep (for both Kentucky and Santa Anita), the San Felipe was on tap
Has there been a day like this in Thoroughbred history? Maybe, maybe not. But the point is this day went unnoticed by most sports fans. I have already given yesterday's races/stories more space than Sunday's Boston Globe.

What could have happened, if there were some centralized brains and creativity in the horse racing world - "Hello, NTRA, anyone home?" - the four races listed above could have been stacked within 10-15 minutes of each other and shown within a one hour or 90-minute long telecast. The stories abounded and the races thrilling and a champion fell. Instead of the sappy, human interest stories millions of sports and horse racing fans get each Kentucky Derby day, we could have seen a showcase of today's finest equine athletes - one right after another.

Instead, all the action was limited to fans and bettors of HRTV, TVG or Bet America or those visiting their local track or off-track-betting facility. Sadly, the only nationally organized body behind Thoroughbred horse racing (NTRA) doesn't have a clue or a thought to put such a telecast together. Heck, the NTRA couldn't even get their own act together to show the races on their website.

Finally, how about this: why doesn't a national network (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX or ESPN) get together with an Internet Account Wagering company and put together a telecast concentrating on horse racing wagering. You know, how to bet, types of bets, betting angles, etc. A racing publication like Daily Racing Form or Brisnet could get involved. Advertisers for such a broadcast could try shilling their product at a cut rate. C'mon wouldn't this net local and national broadcast television stations more than a half and hour infomerical on an absorbent towel or blanket-jacket?????

Someone, anyone with the know-how...please....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Derby Future Pool 2 Thoughts

Here are some closing thoughts on Future Pool Number 2:

Best Bets based upon odds + likelihood of winning + greater value now vs. Derby Day

American Lion - a good finish in next start gets you a for real contender

Dublin - a win in either Rebel and/or Arkansas Derby and you'll get 5-1 less on May 1

Jackson Bend - a New York state of mind may be just what this grinder needs

Rule - best bet, period

Sidney's Candy - best prospect coming from the fake stuff

Not worth it

Conveyance - 10 furlongs just too long

Dave in Dixie - too much to prove in too short a time

Odysseus - a true hedge fund, did nothing and absolutely plummeted from morning line

Vale of York - could easily have been 140-1 off his debut

Wait until Derby Day

Buddy's Saint - may bounce back, although I doubt it

Eskendereya - could be 5-1 in the Churchill gate, so why bother

Lookin at Lucky - with a misstep here or there he'll be around 10-1 anyway

Noble's Promise - c'mon 25-1 off a good showing on BC day four months ago

For the record - small win bets on Rule and Sidney's Candy

Friday, March 5, 2010

All Turf Pick 4

Now here's a play worth making - the all turf Pick 4 at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Let's simply get to it:

Race 7, Herecomesthebride, Grade III at 1 1/8 miles

I'm steering clear of favorites right off the bat. Neither the first, second or fourth place finishers from the Coconut Grove make my ticket. Instead I am making the fifth place finisher my top choice here. Upperline finished less than two lengths from long shot 'Grove winner In the Rough while making up the most ground in the stretch. Here Upperline gets another 1/16 of a mile to work with as well as getting a positive jock switch to Castellano. Well-bred and inexperienced fillies Apple Charlotte and Dynazaper also go on the ticket just in case they run up to their breeding today.

Race 8, OC 62k/N2X at 1 1/16 miles

OK so you need a single in a turf race - good luck! And really most of my published singles have been stinkers of late...but I carry on nonetheless. While it took Uncle Indy ten tries to break his maiden, it appears the six-year-old finally got the hang of things last year and simply ran into trouble in his last race and 2010 debut at Gulfstream. Breeding, pace, trip and trainer/jock numbers are too overwhelming to ignore. He'll even get a pace to run at from his good inside post, which makes it easier to swallow a chalky single in a turf route. C'mon Uncle Indy!

Race 9, Palm Beach, Grade III at 1 1/8 miles

Man, if you watched the Hallandale Beach a few weeks back and are not a fan of Bim Bam, I'm surprised. While headed in the lane by well-regarded and possible Derby contender Interactif, Bim Bam stuck his head right back in and out fought Interactif to the wire in dramatic fashion. I had the exacta box and cheered mightily as Bim Bam gave me 2x what I would have won had the finish been reversed! Much traveled Dean's Kitten and inexperienced Center Drive back up Bim Bam in case he bounces off such a hard race.

Race 10, Maiden Sp Wt 45k at 1 1/16 miles

Let's close out with four choices in a wide open race. Seriously folks in this kind of race I look to positive trainer results and they are not hard to find here. Pletcher wins at 14% clip for horses debuting over a mile - really that's unheard of so Paseo Alegro gets in. Once Hurricane Day figured things out heading towards home in his debut five weeks ago, he really ran on late. A small step forward and he's a winner. Mystic figures to be double-digit odds for Mott/Desormeaux, which is something you just don't see. Truly capable of waking up in turf debut despite lousy dirt form. Finally Beau Choix seems to be the class of this field, so I'll put him on as insurance.

There's quite a bit of chalk on the ticket, but if my handicapping is right in the first leg and I get just one more upset in legs three or four, I could finally have a decent Pick 4 payout.

The play for 50 cents: 6-7-9/3/2-6-7/3-4-8-10 for $18. Good luck with your plays!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Derby Future Pool Number 2

Here's a brief primer of the Derby Future Pool #2

Aikenite (50-1) belongs on fake stuff or grass

American Lion (30-1) may have potential to bounce back or not at all

Buddy's Saint (12-1) two race preps have to be perfect; his first was less than

Caracortado (12-1) undefeated against who???

Connemara (20-1) taking overland route with a long way to go

Conveyance (12-1) would be better off running in the desert of New Mexico vs. the Middle Eastern desert

D'Funnybone (30-1) "experts" don't give him a chance, but Dutrow sees fit for FL Derby entry

Dave in Dixie (30-1) I plead ignorance - which at this point is quite blissful

Discreetly Mine (30-1) uncontested merry-go-round Risen Star win - subtract 10 Beyer points

Dublin (15-1) my love and admiration only grew stronger after Southwest runner-up finish

Eskendereya (6-1) obvious, which isn't always a good recipe for finding a Derby winner this far out

Jackson Bend (20-1) the little horse that just can't beat the big boys

Lookin at Lucky (6-1) lots of talent, see Buddy's Saint

Nextdoorneighbor (30-1) Sham tells us something or nothing; I choose the latter

Noble's Promise (30-1) who?

Odysseus (50-1) those purporting to be in the know like him; reason enough to dismiss

Radiohead (20-1) lots of upside and chatter for an allowance winner

Rule (20-1) this year's Rodney Dangerfield - "He get's no respect!"

Setusko (50-1) sounds like an offering at a sushi bar; I'll pass

Sidney's Candy (20-1) as tempting as a bowl full of M&Ms with none of the calories

Super Saver (20-1) saving his best for when???

Tempted to Tapit (50-1) rightly so...

Vale of York (30-1) less than expected in desert

Field (7-2) far more appealing than 3-2

From the mouth and backer of Maximus Ruler in Pool 1 comes these choices for Pool 2:

Rule at 15-1 or greater
Dublin at 20-1 or greater
Sidney's Candy at 25-1 or greater
D'Funnybone at 50-1 or greater