Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Derby Top 20 2/29/12

1. Union Rags- Fountain of Youth could not have been better, clearly number 1
2. Creative Cause- Should Improve with distance
3. Fed Biz- Will get major class test
4. Out Of Bounds- Will only get better
5. Alpha- Florida Derby or Wodd Memorial next?
6. Battle Hardened- Will only improve, and is not getting a lot of respect
7. I'll Have Another- Runs well fresh, waiting for Santa Anita Derby
8. El Padrino- Risen Star was good, but not great
9. Hansen- Gotham will be a big test
10. Gemologist- Major drop, needs a start soon
11. Secret Circle- Rebel was good, very good
12. Mark Valeski- Improved in Risen Star, clearly wants two turns
13. Howe Great- still under the radar, very versatile
14. Empire Way- Time for him to run a big race
15.  Take Charge Indy- Still a factor
16. Sabercat- He has gotten to work, first race back will be important
17. Castaway- Won slower rebel
18. Dullahan- Palm Beach will be his return
19. Liason- Needs to show more next time
20. Scatman- Ran really well in Rebel

On the bubble- Bodemeister, Rousing Sermon, Ever So Lucky
The Gotham will provide a lot of information especially regarding Hansen as well as some new comers.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Major Weekend Races and Selections 2/25/12

Major Weekend Races

This weekend is headlined by the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, featuring the matchup between Union Rags, Algorithms, and Discreet Dancer. Gulfstream hosts a big weekend including the Sabin in which Royal Delta makes her anticipated return. Fair Grounds plays host to a huge weekend including the Risen Star featuring El Padrino and the Rachel Alexandra featuring Believe You Can. Santa Anita hosts the San Carlos a phenomenal sprint race featuring The Factor and Amazombie.

The weekend starts with the Fountain of Youth a major Florida and Kentucky Derby prep. The race starts with Union Rags. Union Rags is making his first start of the year, since his runner up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Union Rags is my early selection for the Kentucky Derby, and for him to stay atop that list I do not think he needs to win, in fact I do not think he will win, but I think he will get a lot out of this race. I want to see a good effort from Union Rags but the imposing young colt may need a race and if he does it is ok. The race also features the Todd Pletcher duo of Algorithms and Discreet Dancer. Algorithms was victorious in the Holy Bull last time out defeating Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Hansen. Algorithms will be near the lead, or right off it, but he is on a faster track today and I think he may have trouble duplicating that effort. Discreet Dancer is two for two and I loved his last race, it was extremely impressive and I think he will win the Fountain of Youth. He has done nothing wrong so far and looked like he will have no problem stretching out on Sunday. Casual Trick is getting attention because he has a chance to get back on a fast track, but I think he is a cut below these horses. Selections

1. Discreet Dancer

2. Union Rags

3. Neck N’ Neck

The Sabin is a short field but it features Royal Delta the impressive winner of the Breeders Cup Ladies Classic last time out, and Awesome Maria who is making her first start since May. I do not like either horse, Royal Delta never runs fresh, and Awesome Maria can take more than one start to get going. I love Groupie Doll in this spot, her last race was phenomenal. Boys at Tusconova is a serious racehorse, and she ran really well. The other two horses in the race are likely non-factors.

1. Groupie Doll

2. Royal Delta

3. Awesome Maria

With the weekend full of other stakes races here are my selections

The San Carlos

1. The Factor

2. Amazombie

3. Sway Away

Risen Star

1. Shared Property

2. Z Dager

3. Optimizer

The Mineshaft

1. Thiskyhasnolimit

2. Tres Borrachos

3. Mister Marti Gras

The Rachel Alexandra

1. Table Three Ten

2. Summer Applause

3. Believe You Can

Fair Grounds Handicap

1. Smart Bid

2. Ioya Bigtime

3. Mr. Vegas

Tampa Bay Stakes

1. Hoofit

2. Moryba

3. Guys Reward

The Very One

1. Keertana

2. Casablana Smile

3. Hasay

Davona Dale

1. Grace Hall

2. Nuffsaid Nuffsaid

3. Disposablepleasure

Those are my weekend selections!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Derby Top 20

1. Union Rags (Will learn a lot this weekend, he does not need to win but he needs to run really well)
2. Algorithms (Moves up with Creative Cause loss and strong work)
3. Fed Biz (Great allowance win)
4. Creative Cause (Was slightly discouraged by third place finish)
5. Battle Hardened (Sam Davis was weak but he will improve)
6. Gemologist (Loves Churchill needs to run soon though)
7. Out of Bounds (Will be part of loaded San Felipe)
8. Discreet Dancer (Work was good might be over his head this weekend)
9. Alpha (Waiting for Wood is a good move, he is on a roll)
10. I'll Have Another (Good Lewis win waiting till Santa Anita Derby, runs well fresh)
11. El Padrino (Heads Risen Star we will see how good he is)
12. Hansen (Gotham is a very important race for 2yo champion)
13. Howe Great (Under the Radar)
14.  Take Charge Indy (Will be factor in Fountain of Youth)
15. Empire Way (Improving  in every start)
16. Secret Circle (Southwest was very good, showed grit)
17. Ever So Lucky (I need to see something big from him next time out)
18. Castaway (Won slower version of Southwest but blew field away)
19. Dullahan (Will return soon, I have questions)
20. Shared Property (Ran the best race in Lecomte)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stakes Races 2/17/12

Blog 2/16/12

This weekend is headlined by the return of Animal Kingdom, the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, and the General George at Laurel Park.

Saturday at Gulfstream Park Animal Kingdom makes his return off an extended break since last June. He is head and shoulders better than the rest in the race, but the question is how he will run first time off the layoff. In Animal Kingdom’s previous turf start he was much closer to the pace, it will be interesting to see if he is closer than normal on Saturday. I think he will run well, and although he may be a little rusty he should get the job done. I am looking forward to Animal Kingdom being a major player this year.

The EL Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields could be a key race for many reasons. The race features Daddy Nose Best, Russian Greek, Lucky Chappy and Lady of Fifty. The race starts with Russian Greek, he has won two stakes in a row for Hollendorfer and will be in the mix. Russian Greek comes from far out. Lucky Chappy will be right there with him early, and whoever closes faster has a real shot to win. This race is a big one for Lucky Chappy, because it will determine his future path. Daddy Nose Best disappointed last time at Santa Anita, and I think will disappoint again. Handsome Mike is intriguing, I think he will run very well on the Tapeta. Lady of Fifty will face the toughest field she has ever seen and would surprise me if she gets there. Selections-

1. Lucky Chappy

2. Handsome Mike

3. Russian Greek

Laurel Park has a big weekend, featuring the General George stakes on Monday. The race features the return of Wood Memorial winner Toby’s Corner. Toby’s Corner is two for two at laurel, but in his first start of his career he ran third. I think he is the best horse in the race and because of that I think he will get it done. Eighttofasttocatch is always tough but will face a tougher field today. Caixa Electronica is always solid but he is coming back in two weeks, but he is very tough at the seven furlong distance. Yawanna Twist ran well last time out, and we will see if he can put two in a row together. Selections-

1. Toby’s Corner

2. Yawanna Twist

3. Eighttofasttocatch

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Derby top 15 2/14/12

This is the new Derby Top 15 Fed Biz enters the top 15 and goes all the way to three, his allowance win was very good, watch out for Fed Biz. Ever So Lucky drops out of the top 15 after not running in the Hutchenson, I am not sure he wants two turns.
1. Union Rags (Castellano opted for Algorithms still not worried)
2. Creative Cause (Nearing return )
3. Fed Biz (Allowance Win was impressive) *New*
4. Algorithms (The more iI think about him the more I like him, and Castellano chose to ride him in the Foutain of Youth over Union Rags)
5. Battle Hardened (Loved his win at Tampa, should improve)
6. Gemologist (Loves Churchill)
7. Discreet Dancer (Talent loaded two turns is the next question)
8. Out of Bounds  (I initially loved his last race but now I want to see one more)
9. Alpha (has not run against anything but has been impressive)
10. I'll have Another (Robert Lewis was very impressive)
11. El Padrino (Good allowancewin could act as springboard for bigger and better things)
12. Hansen (Gotham next, a crucial race)
13. Howe Great (Very versatile, know one is taking about him, watch out)
14. Take Charge Indy (bred to be a star likely to improve)
15. Empire Way (also bred to be a strar seems to be improving with every start)

***I am not a Dullahan fan, I think he passed tired horses in the Juvenile, he is good on synthetic but not nearly good enough on dirt.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gulfstream Stakes races 2/11/12

GulfStream Park 2012

Gulfstream Park is host to a phenomenal day of racing on Saturday. Headlined by the return of Shackelford, Ruler On Ice, the emergence of Trickmeister, and the dangerous Flat Out, making the Donn the race of the year so far. The Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap follows the Donn, another field that is loaded with talent, the race features Silver Medallion winner of two in a row, Boisterous, who is always dangerous especially on the cut back, and the always consistent Smart Bid. The Hutchenson features the talented Ever So Lucky who towers over the field talent wise but there are questions on whether or not he will run.

The Hutcheson, a 7 furlong race on the main track is all about Ever So Lucky, if he runs the race he is supposed to he is head and shoulders better than the rest. His only one turn race was phenomenal, and the cut back in distance first, off the layoff should benefit him. This field does not provide a standout past Ever So Lucky. ll Villano may be the next best shot. He ran a respectable race to Alpha who returned to the win the Withers Stakes last weekend. The cut back in distance may benefit him as well. ll Villano is quick; he will be pressing the pace if not on it. The rest of the field is taking a major step up in class. Thunder Moccasin will be the other major threat to Ever So Lucky. In his first and only start he beat a good group of maidens, this is a step up in class, that on Saturday he may find difficult. Dale Romans trains two entered in the race and I favor Tarpy’s Goal over Quick Wit. Tarpy’s Goal ran very well last time out and I expect him to be a factor. Selections

1. Ever So Lucky

2. ll Villano

3. Tarpy’s Goal

The Donn Handicap has the potential to be a key race for the rest of the year in the older division. The race starts with Preakness Winner Shackelford, who returns for the first time since his tenacious effort in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. Shackelford, aside from the Travers flop, shows up every time. His last try at 1 mile and 1/8 on the Gulfstream surface he got nailed at the wire in the Florida Derby. Shackelford will be on the pace, he will be fresh and I think he will run a big race first off the bench. I do not think he will win, but he is as gritty as they come and he will be in with a big shot at the eighth pole. Ruler on Ice also makes his first start since the Breeders Cup. Ruler on Ice ran a very credible race in the Classic picking up the pieces late to finish third. My problem with Ruler on Ice is that he always seems to pass tired horses to end up finishing in the money. I think against a field as talented as this Ruler On Ice may be up against it. The distance may actually be a little too short for the gelding whose biggest win came In the Belmont Stakes. Rosie Napravnik picks up the mount, and no one has been riding better than her, but even Rosie will not get Ruler on Ice to the winner’s circle Saturday. Next comes Flat Out. His turf experiment last time was an absolute disaster. The big question with Flat Out is can he duplicate his performances in New York to other tracks. I think Flat Out may even be better at one turn, something that has only been explored at Belmont. Hopefully he will be considered for races such as the Metropolitan Mile down the road. Until I see him run a credible race outside of New York, I cannot see Flat Out being a real factor in this race. The race turns to the Richard Dutrow Jr. pair Trickmeister and Redeemed, Trickmeister being the more highly touted of the two. Trickmeister has done nothing wrong in his short career, as he is easily undefeated, but soundness problems have caused him to run sparingly. He will see a tougher field Saturday than he has ever seen before, and we will learn a lot about Trickmeister very shortly. Redeemed is a solid racehorse but I am not sure if he is up to the task. He is consistent so he may be there. My selection in the Donn is Sangaree, which is a little bit of a reach. Sangaree has yet to break through at the highest level but I think Saturday is his day. His last race was very good, and his two turn race against Rule at Saratoga was really strong. I think with the perfect trip he could inherit the lead late. Mission Impazible is always a threat but he never seems to get there, the pace should be hot and he will be a part of that, and I expect him to fade late. The rest of the field includes Soaring Empire, who does not want two turns, Hymn Book who is a cut below this field, and Where’s Sterling who like Hymn Book, is up against it class wise.


1. Sangaree

2. Shackelford

3. Trickmeister

The Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap is an evenly matched race, and it starts with Silver Medallion. Silver Medallion’s last two races were very impressive. He will be flying late, and should get pace to run at. The question regarding Silver Medallion is whether or not he is good enough to win this race, although he has been beating a few of these. One of the horses Silver Medallion has beaten twice in a row is Hollinger, Hollinger is consistent but does not find the winner circle often. He will need a very large effort to turn the tables on Silver Medallion. I do not see it happening. I believe Big Blue Kitten is a major player in this race. Big Blue Kitten’s only two losses were his debut, and his last start which was his first start off a layoff. In between those two races Big Blue Kitten was five for five including a grade 2 victory at Saratoga. His return to the races was encouraging, and I am looking for him to run a huge race Saturday. Yummy With Butter is a very solid grass horse, he will be on or near the lead, but I do not think he is good enough to win this race. Boisterous will receive a lot of play Saturday, and for good reason. Boisterous has won two graded races in a row, and could improve with the cut back in distance. He has tried grade 1 company before, and has been unsuccessful, but Saturday may be his day. Yankee Fortune is intriguing because this will be his third start off the layoff. His last race was good, Little Mike who defeated him came back to win. Yankee Fortune could be a serious player to finish in the money. Get Stormy is always good, aside from his Breeders Cup performances Get Stormy is always a contender. He almost won this race last year, and is proven at the distance. He should get a great trip either on the lead or sitting right off Yummy With Butter. I think he may need this race though but look to him to run very well for trainer Thomas Bush. Kindergarden Kid is a good horse but simply not good enough to win the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Smart Bid is dangerous. Smart Bid will get a picture perfect trip. He will sit right off Get Stormy and Yummy With Butter and could inherit the lead late. Smart Bid was a nose away from winning this race last year and a fresh Smart Bid could produce big things Saturday. The last horse in the race is Al Khali who is a solid horse but I think he wants more distance. Making selections in this race was very difficult because all the horses are so even but here they are.

1. Big Blue Kitten

2. Smart Bid

3. Yankee Fortune

4. Get Stormy

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Weekend Performaces

The weekend was headlined by some blowout performances. Ultimate Eagle, I'll Have Another and Game On Dude all freaked over the Santa Anita Dirt.  I really liked all of their performaces, especially Ultimate Eagle who showed alot of upside after winning the Strub.  I want to see another strong performace from I'll Have Another; he might be that good, but I am not sold yet. Game On Dude was very good. I hope Baffert runs him in the Santa Anita Handicap, he obviously likes dirt and is much better at Santa Anita. His synthetic form is good but not good enough to win the Dubai World Cup.

I am not an Alpha believer. I think Alpha is good but when he meets real Derby quality horses I think Alpha will prove to be second tier.

I was very impressed by Battle Hardened. I think he will just improve on his Sam F. Davis victory.   He is lightly raced and obviously very talented. I am looking for him to be a major player in the future.

I believe Mr. Commons is the best turf horse in the country.  He has matured incredibly and I think he is going to make a lot of noise.

The next blog will be on the Gulfstream Stakes Races on Saturday, the Donn, Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, Hutchenson, and Suwanee River.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Derby Top 15

1. Union Rags (Star)
2. Creatvie Cause  (Threatens for top spot)
3. Out Of Bounds (Sham was good)
4. Battle Hardened *New* (Loved his Davis will only get better)
5.Gemologist (Loves Churchill might need one when he gets back)
6. Algorithms (Very talented)
7. Alpha (Dominating weaker opponents)
8. Discreet Dancer (Another Talented Pletcher runner)
9. I'll Have Another *New* (Lewis was impressive got perfect trip)
10. Ever So Lucky (Talented can he go the distance?)
11. El Padrino  (Allowance win was good)
12. Hansen (Biggest Drop the more I think about Hansen the more I find him to be a non-factor)
13. Howe Great *New* (Kitten's Joy was really good proven he can run on dirt obviously talented)
14. Take Charge Indy *New* (Very well bred looked like the winner last time out and stopped might have needed that one)
15. Empire Way *New* (Ran sort of an average race in the Lewis, should get better)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Stakes Races this Weekend 2/3/12

The races I will cover this weekend are the two stakes races at Tampa Bay Downs, the races in California, and the Aqueduct.

The Endeavor and The Sam F. Davis

The Endeavor Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs is a very intriguing race. The obvious horse to beat is Zagora.   Zagora took to the track last year, and is the class of the field; but the only question mark is that her last race was not great, and it is her first start of a lengthy layoff. Keertana is also coming into the race off a long layoff, but is probably the second classiest filly in the field.  She may be at her best at a longer distance. My selection is Exclusive Love.  She was beaten only two lengths in the Marshua's River last time out, and she is very consistent and will be right there at the wire. Master Shade is the darkhorse in the race.  She has been tough in her last two and is an improving filly. Picks:

1. Exclusive Love
2. Zagora
3. Master Shade

The Sam F. Davis the co-feature at Tampa and is a deep race full of Tampa Bay and Kentucky Derby prospects. Two Horses that will take most of the respect are Reveron and Prospective; the two outside horses. I believe both of these are throw outs. Reveron won the Gulfstream Park Derby a race that produced Casual Trick, who did nothing last time out.  I believe there is a still a major question mark with Prospective, as his only two turn start on dirt was a dud in the Juvenile. He does have a win on the Tampa Bay surface which is key, but I am still throwing him out. State of Play is extremely talented and his work has been good, but the dirt is a question.  He is a graded stakes winner, but bumps in the road prior to the Breeders Cup may have contributed to poor effort. I still have questions whether or not he truly wants two turns, he had it all his own way in the With Anticipation but he is still my selection  here. Ecabroni is obviously talented but needs to prove himself.  Here are my selections:

1. State Of Play
2. Burning Time
3. Ecabroni

Santa Anita has a wonderful card on Saturday filled with three great Grade Twos.

The Arcadia, the third race on the card, is a two horse race on paper between Mr. Commons and Pathfork.  Both are extremely talented but I believe Pathfork will need one American race under his belt  before he wins, but watch out next time.  M One Rifle should provide enough pace for Mr. Commons to win this one impressively.  He is the best turf male in the country in my opinion hands down. Selections:

1. Mr. Commons
2. Massone
3. Pathfork

The Robert Lewis the sixth race on the card and is a Santa Anita Derby prep which features two very talented Baffert Runners, Liason and Sky Kingdom.  Liason will be the favorite based on his solid victory in the Cashcall Futurity.  I like Liason, but I will look elsewhere here. To me the most intriguing runner is Empire Way.  His race schedule at Hollywood Park was puzzling to me, and I think two turns on the dirt will benefit him. I think Sky Kingdom is the horse to beat.  His last win was good, although he was not challenged he relished the dirt, and will show how much talent he has in this race. Selections:

1. Sky Kingdom
2. Empire Way
3. Liason

The Strub Stakes is the Eighth race on the card and has the potential to be a one sided Tapizar affair, but I will pick against him. I do think it is very hard to pick against Tapizar because his San Fernando was very impressive and he prove to better than this field. I think he will see a lot of pace pressure from Ultimate Eagle, who will not be a factor because he will not like the dirt. I think Balladry has the best chance to beat him.  He has gotten better and may be the only horse that can run Tapizar down.  Prayer for Relief is overrated.  He beat average horses in his different derby wins and when he has stepped up in class there has been little response.  Selections:

1. Balladry
2. Tapizar
3. Jaycito

The Withers at Aqueduct features Alpha, an impressive winner of the Count Fleet stakes.  I think he is head and shoulders better than this field. He should be able to sit right off the pace and take control at the head of the stretch and get a pretty easy win.  Selections:

1. Alpha
2. Swag Daddy
3. How Do I Win

That is my analysis for this weekend. I hope you enjoyed it, I will update my results after the races.