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Mott Sends Three After ‘Maria in Alabama Stakes

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Facing some heat in the form of familiar faces and new foes, Coaching Club American Oaks (I) winner Stopchargingmaria hopes to join some of the few who have won back-to-back Saratoga wins at the same meet— Spring to the Sky being the first and currently only horse to win two stakes this year. But Maria ain’t alone: Bill Mott sends three of his fillies after the romping winner of the Oaks with many other hot trainers in pursuit of Todd’s top filly as she stretches out to 10 furlongs.

This race has been handicapped for a fast track, with some rainfall in the forecast for Saturday.

$600,000 Alabama Stakes (I) - 3-Year-Old Fillies. 1 1/4 miles on dirt at Saratoga Race Course. Post Time: Saturday, August 16 at 5:20pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Unbridled Forever - Rosie Napravnik, Dallas Stewart - The well-bred filly struck with seconditis, Unbridled Forever gets the rail spot and a jock switch from Albarado to Napravnik. She made up ground last out to Stopchargingmaria in the CCA Oaks, but was still a distant 2nd. She worked well and may benefit from more ground and almost certainly with the jockey switch. Fill your exotics.

2) Miss Besilu - Jose Lezcano, Bill Mott - The Medaglia d’Oro filly returns from an even third-place finish in the CCA Oaks, running 9 lengths behind the winner. She has done marginally worse since being switched off the Gulfstream Park main. While bred for the distance, her finishes have been less than inspired. Her best bet is to ride a hopefully speed-favoring rail if it plays out that way all day— she’s a longshot pick to win if it does.

3) America - Irad Ortiz Jr, Bill Mott - The A.P. Indy filly hasn’t seen much of the front in recent races, with just 2 shows in 5 starts this year and was 4th by 12 lengths last out in the CCA Oaks. Johnny V drops her to ride Stopchargingmaria for absentee Castellano, but she does pick up red-hot jock Irad Ortiz and gets blinkers. Mott hopes the blinkers will help her refocus, and the distance added on ought to appeal to her. A.P. Indy-line horses seem to do well at Saratoga. She got a little hot at the Oaks last out, so look again here to pick up the pieces if the track does not favor speed too much.

4) Joint Return - Kendrick Caramouche, John Servis - The Include filly sports 4 wins in 7 starts this year including 2 stakes wins and was 2nd last out in the Del Mar Oaks (II) to Fortune Pearl. Her “bad” starts are largely excusable and don’t suggest a problem horse. She can make a winning move off tiring leaders to win. Servis adds blinkers and has a positive ROI for first-time blinks. Upset potential.

5) Got Lucky - Jose Ortiz, Todd Pletcher - A.P. Indy/Deputy Minister pairs well to win routes, and Got Lucky has already won an allowance here at ‘Toga this meet with 2 wins and 2 places in 5 starts this year. With the added distance, she can likely move up some more. Toddster adds blinkers. A bargain bin Pletcher bet, Got Lucky is apt to improve 2nd-off-the-layoff with the Toddster sporting great returns for horses in this stage. I like her better than Maria.

6) Fortune Pearl - Trevor McCarthy, Graham Motion - A quietly good filly, the daughter of Mineshaft has been off the board just once in her lifetime 7 starts with a best performance yet last out in the Del Mar Oaks (II), which she won by 2 lengths over Joint Return. Trainer Motion is very good at this meet thus far with a positive return in graded stakes. I anticipate she will only get better with another furlong.

7) Catch My Drift - Joe Bravo, Chad Brown - The Pioneerof the Nile filly is lightly raced with 2 back-to-back wins summing up her career, with the last one coming at Monmouth by daylight and both from off-the-pace. A promising lass, she will have a lot to contend with stepping up in class. Keep her in your thoughts for another day.

8) Stopchargingmaria - John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher - The Tale of the Cat filly seeks her third straight graded stakes win hot off the CCA Oaks (I) and Black-Eyed Susan (II) feats. She is likely to be the favorite, with Johnny V taking over while showing 2 wins in 3 starts at Saratoga. She will break from an outer post while stretching out a sprinter pedigree. I don’t like her here.

9) Size - Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott - Mott ships in Claiborne’s talented First Samurai filly who just finished holding off Ria Antonia in the Iowa Oaks (III). Before winning that, she won 3 6-furlong races, and will stretch her speed out again here. Stepping up in class from the outermost post, Size is the lone speed of the race but is not suited for an easy race in this spot. Kind of tough to back her talented self in this race and at low odds.

Top 3 Picks in Order (with acceptable odds)

1) Fortune Pearl (6-1)

2) Joint Return (10-1)

3) Got Lucky (6-1)

I like all three fillies way more than anyone else in the field. Fortune Pearl will probably like more ground and is at top form right now and will likely fetch great odds in this race despite those credentials. Joint Return is another excellent filly who just needs a little more luck to catch a break and could pop the cork here… the talent is there, she did beat Vero Amore as a juvenile and she gets an inner post for once. I like Got Lucky still! She’s getting back to her old self and should like the distance plenty. I’ll give America another shot if I had to mention a 4th horse here.

Value Pick: Fortune Pearl (6-1 or better) is a steal. Take her while you can! 

Whitney Handicap Late Pick 4

Two years ago, I had two legs.

One year ago, I missed just one (damn you, Cross Traffic!)

THIS IS THE YEAR!… Or so I would hope…

Two G1 sprints, a G1 dirt route, and an ungraded turf stake make this year’s late pick 4 on Whitney Day a little on the tough side with plenty of horses stepping up, stepping down, cutting back, you name it. With ample variation in speed, stamina, and different strengths, it’s one big puzzle and I anticipate at least one bomb going off in the final four races. Thanks to my Internet going out, as of 8:48pm EST I am still mulling over my spread plans, but here’s what I have down so far, and overall I feel pretty good about it (special thanks to the DRF Ticketmaker!):

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LEG #1: Vanderbilt Handicap at 6 furlongs for older sprinters - Possible bomb scenario with one very solid favorite and the rest of the field fairly even as muddled mysteries… This may be one of those races to hit the “ALL” button on!#1 Palace is a must-include, sitting on a big win after doing little wrong all year with the trainer and jockey stats to back up his good record and good recent works. He ran 2nd last out to Clearly Now, who broke the track record at Belmont. Also in the “A” category is #5 Happy My Way, who backs a tough dirt speed figure and has a way of disappearing with an uncontested lead should he get one. He is 4-for-6 at the distance and has won off similar layoffs. Only loss this year came to Ribo Bobo. Also in the A column is #8 Bakken, who ought to improve further and he can sit behind the pace with speed to burn. Chad Brown has a tight turn-around record for similar layoffs, and he has Javier. B column highlights #2 Falling Sky and #3 Lemon Drop Dream, but I might as well put the rest of the field in there.

LEG #2: Test Stakes at 7 furlongs for 3-year-old fillies - Another toughie, but one with some solid favorites who will get a good setup. #7 Sweet Reason will get plenty of pace to close into, and is a worthwhile favorite to include on all tickets. I also like #6 Street Story a lot, who is 2-for-2 at Saratoga and won a G3 last out. Also an “A,” #3 Sweet Whiskey backs a strong Pletcher stable, missing by 1/2 length last out to Sweet Reason in the Acorn (I) and could get the jump on her in this spot breaking closer to the inside. I’m also including #9 Tea Time, who has been improving under Michael Matz and blew the doors off in her last breeze. “B” column includes #4 Thank You Marylou returning to 7 furlongs, the promising speed ball #10 Red Velvet, and #12 Miss Behavior, a beaten stakes winner with plenty to like.

LEG #3: Whitney Stakes at 9 furlongs for 3-year-olds & up - See analysis post

LEG #4: Lure Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-olds & up - #4 Big Blue Kitten is a “duh” choice and possible single with top stats all-around and at this distance mark. Ramseys are probably looking for a soft spot for their returning G1 winner as well as another easy tick towards the owner title. I’m also interested by #3 Edge of Reality, who is trying turf for the first time for Graham Motion, who has a knack for getting top turfers a humongous shot and has been doing awesome this meet. B horses include #6 Plainview, who is 3-for-3 at ‘Toga and rides with Jose Lezcano; #11 Rogue Romance, whom I include purely because I was thinking of him randomly the other day and suddenly he appears! (gut pick, ignore if you wish); and #12 Kharafa, who has finished off the board at this distance mark just once and gets Javier Castellano for his return to the grass, which is hopefully firm for his liking.

Palace Malice Tops Loaded Whitney Handicap

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A legendary championship-factoring handicap race. A DOUBLED purse. Six millionaires. This year’s Whitney Handicap (I) promised a long time ago to be a great race with emphasized effort in making it the summer target for east coast older horses, and it seems to have worked. Currently the best horse on U.S. dirt, Palace Malice aims to continue his impressive year with a win in the race, hoping to knock off Will Take Charge, who bested him in last year’s Travers. Those two certainly won’t be alone, and this wasn’t an easy race to sift through! And look out for pick 4 opinions from me on Friday, including my own live tickets!

$1.5 million Whitney Handicap (I) - 3-Year-Olds & Up. 1 1/8 miles on dirt at Saratoga Race Course. Post Time: Saturday, August 2 at 5:45pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Impost, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Will Take Charge - Luis Saez, 124 lbs, D. Wayne Lukas - Arguably the best dirt horse last year (and I will forever argue that point home), the 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song showed affection for the Saratoga main last year, placing in the Jim Dandy (II) before roaring to life to win the Travers (I) followed by top finishes in the Clark, the Classic, and the Pennsylvania Derby. Making his sixth start this year, WTC has won once and placed 3 times, showing he is still consistent. A return to Saratoga may benefit WTC, and the colt looked remarkably well in coming late in the Stephen Foster (I) last out to finish 2nd. I’m glad to see the switch back to Saez and in a fairly successful inner position. The champ deserves respect with 3 wins and 3 places in 6 starts at 9 furlongs.

2) Prayer for Relief - Joel Rosario, 117 lbs, Dale Romans - The son of Jump Start has 31 races under his belt and has improved to be a better horse than I thought this year since switching to Romans’ care. He put up huge numbers earlier in the spring, declined, then appeared to have resurged last out, placing 3rd in the Suburban Handicap (II). He is winless this year, but picks up top jock Rosario who knows his way around a route race. On that note, he will have to improve a good deal if he wants to beat these horses.

3) Moreno - Junior Alvarado, 117 lbs, Eric Guillot - Second in last year’s Travers (I), the Ghostzapper gelding fell short when caught in the final moments of the Suburban Handicap (II) by Zivo last out— a familiar story for this gutsy guy. Also winless for the year, he has hit the board in both of his Saratoga starts. Big sign for me that Moreno is ready to go is how he’s doing in his workouts, and a big bullet breeze in :58 and change shows he’s rarin’. A cutback in distance from last out could do the trick.

4) Itsmyluckyday - Paco Lopez, 119 lbs, Eddie Plesa Jr - Fresh off an extended layoff after injury, the Lawyer Ron colt is still a mystery in older horse class. In 4 starts this year, he has won 3, faltering only in his first start back after several months in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (II) won by Palace Malice. Lucky has only raced once at this distance (2nd) and will likely go straight to the front. A dark horse type, Lucky has managed to throttle somewhat easy fields and control the pace how he wants it, which presents its own possible problems figuring out the race. However, a horse he beat last out in the Salvatore Mile, Valid, just won a stakes.

5) Palace Malice - John Velazquez, 124 lbs, Todd Pletcher - Winner of the Belmont (I) last year and the Met Mile (I) this year, the Curlin colt has ruled the roost in an impressive, undefeated season thus far and arguably could have won the Travers (I) last year if only he broke better. All class this year against many of the best, the Met Mile (I) was arguably a tougher race concerning post position and a distance that may not have been his ideal. He is in an ideal situation here at 9 furlongs at a track he likes and appears to be very fit.. Strong win candidate.

6) Departing - Robby Albarado, 121 lbs, Al Stall - The War Front gelding had his own way for a while racing against softer groups at a medley of tracks, daring to step it up most recently in the Stephen Foster (I), where he ran 3rd beaten only 2 lengths by Moonshine Mullin. His record at 9 furlongs is sold: 3 wins and 2 shows in 6 tries. Departing likes to be on or near the pace early, and I sense Albarado may want to break him ahead of Palace Malice and like others, try to slow things down. His class makes this tactic questionable, especially since there are already a few front-runners in here. Exotics horse.

7) Romansh - Jose Ortiz, 119 lbs, Tom Albertrani - Bernardini progeny historically do very well at Saratoga and other NYRA tracks, and this one has been having a pretty decent year, being beaten in the Met Mile (I) by less than 2 lengths. A prior winner at ‘Toga and 3-for-5 at the 9-furlong mark, Albertrani has a very positive ROI in 3rd start off the layoff. I worry about overall class yet again, but he’s a value horse that cannot be ignored.

8) Golden Ticket - Julien Leparoux, 117 lbs, Ken McPeek - A Travers (I)-winning son of Speightstown, Golden Ticket won his only start at Saratoga as a longshot and enters this race as a likely longer-odds entry, winning none of his 5 starts this year and coming up dry in his last start (4th in the Cornhusker Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths). It’s kind of hard to make a logical case for Golden Ticket stepping up after so many goofs this year while breaking from an outer position. McPeek has had some good longshots in the past, but Leparoux is not a good dirt rider.

9) Last Gunfighter - Javier Castellano, 121 lbs, Chad Brown - The 5-year-old First Samurai son makes his Saratoga debut after coming up empty last out in the Suburban (II), beaten nearly 10 lengths despite being bet down. He is very good at this distance though with 3 wins and 1 place in 4 tries. While I preached tossing this horse in the Suburban at short odds, Gunfighter gets my attention back here attracting Castellano to ride and Chad Brown has been successful with his 3rd-start-off-the-layoff horses with a positive ROI. Use him at least in exotics!

Top 3 Picks in Order:

1) Will Take Charge

2) Palace Malice

3) Itsmyluckyday

Breaking from the fence and ready to stalk those pacesetters once again before springing, I’ll take Will Take Charge over Palace Malice, although both are worth respecting about equally in this spot, purely because I love WTC’s big turn-of-foot in the stretch. Pletcher is hot as always at Toga, and Palace Malice is his big horse that everyone has to get by and seems to have everything going for him— good yet bad news for those favorites at Saratoga! I like the way Itsmyluckyday is shaping up for this race, and the recent stake win by Valid moves him up a lot to potential upsetter. Honorable mention definitely goes to Moreno, who cuts back and has been breezing beautifully. Junior Alvarado, a talented dirt route rider, rode him perfectly in the Suburban last out.

Value Pick: Itsmyluckyday (10-1 or better) is also very worth using considering his sit-and-strike running style. Could run big.

Pick 4 choices: Will Take Charge and Palace Malice are both worthwhile favorites to include. For added value, throw in Itsmyluckyday, Moreno, and or Romansh (I like them in that order).

Tonalist Back in Action in Jim Dandy

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Image credit: ESPN.com

With the Triple Crown season over, the summer three-year-old preps are underway this weekend to cast light on the late improvers as well as the classic victors from the springtime. Wood Memorial (I) winner Wicked Strong and Belmont Stakes (I) winner Tonalist headline the Jim Dandy Stakes (II) at Saratoga as the two G1 winners with the rapidly improving Kid Cruz leading the improving colts en route to the Travers Stakes next month.

$600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (II) - 3-Year-Olds. 1 1/8 miles on dirt at Saratoga Race Course. Post Time: Saturday, July 26 at 5:45pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Impost, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Cousin Stephen - John Velazquez, 117 lbs, Chad Brown - G3-placed and lightly-raced, the Proud Citizen colt improved recently to capture his first win as a three-year-old last month at Parx, wiring an allowance field to win the hard-fought contest by a nose. He stretches from that mile race back out to 9 furlongs here, a distance he dominated once before as a two-year-old. Trainer Chad Brown has gotten off to a slow start at the Spa, but Johnny V is as hot as ever and Brown sports some good stats turning in great performers 2nd off the layoff. Look for him to jet right off that rail and try to set a comfortable pace.

2) Legend - Luis Saez, 117 lbs, H. James Bond - The Tiznow-Storm Cat cross has worked well in the past, and Legend has proven to be a pretty fair sort of horse thus far with just one race finished out of the top 3. He made his stakes bow in the Easy Goer on Belmont Day last out, unable to catch the late-flying Kid Cruz, beaten 3 1/4 lengths. Ideal exotics horse with 3 places in 5 starts. Overall class is questionable.

3) Ulanbator - Julien Leparoux, 117 lbs, Ian Wilkes - The Offlee Wild colt has had the misfortune of running into many a star in his past races from Tapiture to Ring Weekend to Constitution. He broke poorly and went wide last out in the Dwyer (III), finishing 3rd beaten some 5 lengths. A fairly reliable exotics horse. Bettor beware of his current form.

4) Tonalist - Joel Rosario, 123 lbs, Christophe Clement - It’s tough to find a horse in better shape and in finer racing fettle than this Tapit colt, who is fresh off his career-defining win in the Belmont (I). He’s had some time off since that win and the Peter Pan (II) win, but has shown he’s still quite responsive off the layoff. Rosario has a positive ROI with dirt routers and his running style could be favorable.

5) Kid Cruz - Irad Ortiz Jr, 119 lbs, Linda Rice - A growing force since his Preakness (I) horror show, the Lemon Drop Kid colt has won the Easy Goer and the Dwyer (III) since shipping back to New York, both captured in determined closing style. Linda Rice is hot on returning winners in graded events and has kept this colt pretty sharp with 4 wins in 6 starts this year. Irad Ortiz Jr has been red hot at ‘Toga.

6) Commanding Curve - Shaun Bridgmohan, 117 lbs, Dallas Stewart - Winless this year but G1-placed in the Kentucky Derby, the Master Command colt has not started since bombing in the Belmont, keeping fit at Churchill Downs before shipping up to Saratoga. A deep to mid-pack closer with a soft success rate, Curve’s class became questionable with that 9th place finish in the Belmont, and will need some type of pace and strategy if he hopes to do remotely well. Not a 5-1 horse.

7) Wicked Strong - Rajiv Maragh, 123 lbs, James Jerkens - The Hard Spun colt draws outside in this race following a decent run in the Belmont, dead-heating for 4th with California Chrome. Plagued by a lot of hard luck, he has won and been up for the show in his 2 starts at 9 furlongs. Jerkens adds blinkers after not seeing the colt fire like he should have in the Belmont, a move that has seen mixed results in the trainer’s past attempts. With most horses gunning to the front here, Wicked Strong’s mid-race rallying cry ought to move him up into at least the top three. Layoff should not be an issue whatsoever with him, however I question his sharpness right now.

Top 3 Picks in Order (with preferred win odds)

1) Tonalist (4-5)

2) Kid Cruz (5-1)

3) Cousin Stephen (10-1)

Tonalist looks very tough to be all-around in this race and is arguably the best three-year-old colt in the country right now. Especially if the slight speed bias holds, Tonalist ought to jet off right off whatever pacesetter sits in front of him, and may even go right to the front. I have a newfound love for Kid Cruz, who has been looking great lately with Irad Ortiz, and the pair look to make yet another gutsy late run. I’ll close out this “trifecta” with Cousin Stephen, who probably can’t win but could hold on for some money. Wicked Strong probably needs a race, probably.

Value Pick: Statistics point out that Kid Cruz (5-1 or better) could be a big threat. He’ll need every ounce of him to improve to beat Tonalist, but he’s a real good colt. Favorites love to die at the Spa.

Horizontals: Tonalist may be singled here. Add in Kid Cruz and possibly Wicked Strong to spread.

The Pizza Man Set to Deliver in the Stars and Stripes Handicap

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Yes, you all knew that kind of headline just had to happen. We on Tumblr love pizza.

In a series of prep races for the big Arlington Million (I) a month away, Arlington Park has enticed a variety of up-and-comers, improvers, and current turf heavyweights to ship on over and get some batting practice in. For the potential improvers, the 1 1/2-mile Stars and Stripes Handicap (III) is a pretty level affair, with just one horse actually making this race a handicap— last year’s Illinois-bred three-year-old of the year, The Pizza Man.

Weather looks dicey on both Friday and Saturday, so I will handicap this race anticipating a “good” turf course.

$150,000 Stars and Stripes Handicap (III) - 3-Year-Olds & Up. 1 1/2 miles on turf at Arlington Park. Post Time: Saturday, July 12 at 4:25pm CST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Impost, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Moro Tap - Victor Espinoza, 117 lbs, Mike Maker - Big love for any Tapit colt! Skychai’s 4-year-old has been racing on the turf for quite a while with very mild results, being unable to beat some very nice horses (namely War Dancer and Infinite Magic) but able to nab others in select situations. Namely a closing type, Moro Tap’s past performances show he’s a terrible horse at the break. Coming off the rail, that could be doubly problematic, and he doesn’t have Napravnik in this race like he’s been getting lately. However, he does have two good back-to-back workouts, although nothing to suggest he’s seriously worthy at 5-1 odds. 15-1 maybe.

2) Mister Marti Gras - Eduardo Perez, 117 lbs, Chris Block - Ah, an old iron horse! The Belong To Me gelding has been pretty successful at Arlington Park between their all-weather surface and the turf course, and he comes into this race humming off a 1 1/16 mile allowance here over “good” turf. Everything looks pretty good as Mister rounds into top form. Distance should not be an issue, but he has knocked heads with The Pizza Man before and lost out.

3) Suntracer - Julien Leparoux, 117 lbs, Chris Block - In a move that might create a conflict of interest, Chris Block enters one of his own along with Mister Marti Gras in the form of this Kitten’s Joy, who most recently fell short by a head to War Dancer in the Louisville Handicap (III). With many of his starts coming on the turf at elongated distances and getting turf jockey Leparoux, Suntracer is not a bad bet and nearly had War Dancer’s measure last out. Block has a great record bringing in horses back from a bit of a layoff, so definitely use Suntracer in those exotics.

4) Bubba’s Big Show - Stephanie Slinger, 117 lbs, Rhonda Thurman - Another horse with some great turf pedigree, the Mizzen Mast gelding won twice this year for the first time in his life, the first in a Hawthorne $25k maiden claimer and the second in a $50k claimer non-winner of 2 at Arlington. Distance and class stretch-out here, Bubba’s connections are small and humble but both jockey and trainer spit out some good statistics for their risk-taking move in enter the gelding here. Still, a deserving longshot stepping up.

5) Dreams Cut Short - Joe Bravo, 117 lbs, Mike Maker - It’s not exactly rocket science that Mike Maker is good with fresh claimers, as he turned this Belong To Me gelding right around and won with him immediately at Churchill Downs last month, stepping up from $25k to $40k claiming races. Greatly improved since switching barns, the bulk of this horse’s success came on polytrack. He will have to improve even more to rob this field.

6) Seton Hall - Brian Hernandez Jr, 117 lbs, Ian Wilkes - The only horse in this field who has gone 10 furlongs AND won at it, the Lion Heart gelding is 2nd off the layoff here after finishing 2nd in his first start back at Churchill, moving past horses but not gaining ground on the eventual winner in a 9-furlong race. Wilkes does a very good job of turning his horses around off the layoff and Seton Hall is an old pro at this game. Look for him to hit the board.

7) The Pizza Man - Florent Geroux, 121 lbs, Roger Brueggemann - The English Channel gelding comes into this field 2nd off the layoff, finishing 1st in his first start back since the fall in a 1 1/16 mile stake here at Arlington, and he’s been 2-for-2 with Brueggemann thus far. Classy and set to be near the pace, The Pizza Man could very well prevail as the likely favorite and a 6-time winner of 9 races at Arlington.

8) Olympic Thunder - Alan Garcia, 117 lbs, Ken McPeek - Brazilian-bred and winless since shipping to the United States for the past two or so years, the Durban Thunder [BRZ] son hasn’t been further than 2 1/2 lengths from the win in each of his races this year. Not overly bad a horse, but he’s been lacking that something that keeps him from hitting the board, never mind winning. More ground may help, but I’m not counting on him to win.

9) O’Prado Ole - Channing Hill, 117 lbs, Dale Romans - The youngest horse in the field owned by Donegal Racing of Dullahan fame, the English Channel colt could do no better than 5th this year in 3 starts although he won both of his two wins on the grass as a juvenile. What really sells O’Prado Ole are his connections, as Dale Romans has a good 3rd-off-the-layoff return as does Channing Hill with grass types. Exotics must.

10) Dad Are We Here - James Graham, 119 lbs, Doug Matthews - A winner twice this year, the 7-year-old son of Pure Prize was 6th last out to The Pizza Man, but won back-to-back allowances at Fair Grounds earlier this year. Stretching out to 10 furlongs for the first time, Dad won’t get a rapid enough pace to close into. Not a lot to see here.

Top 3 Picks in Order:

1) The Pizza Man (5-2)

2) Suntracer (4-1)

3) Mister Marti Gras (4-1)

Whether the grass is firm or good, the picks here don’t change a whole lot. The Pizza Man looks to be in good form and has the class to snuff out most of the field with very little effort. There won’t be a whole lot of pace to contend with either, and he could very well skirt off to an uncontested lead and win that way. Suntracer isn’t new to the distance game and fell just a bit short of War Dancer last out. Chris Block has him ready to go. It would be goofy to leave out Mister Marti Gras, who has won or placed in 2/3 of his lifetime starts and is rounding into good form right now. I think he’s better on poly and dirt, but he’s very good right now nonetheless.

Value Pick: O’Prado Ole (10-1) is interesting despite not winning much this year. If he doesn’t get any better from this angle, I don’t know if he ever will.

Belmont Derby Beckons Invaders

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Rooting interest: gosh dang, you’re beautiful, Dance With Fate!

A G1 polytrack winner and a handful of successful turf graded stakes winners answer the call for the inaugural Belmont Derby Invitational (I) (formerly the G1 Jamaica Handicap), which has succeeded in becoming deeper and more contentious than ever by attracting some interesting company from overseas. Can America defend its home turf on Independence Day weekend, or will a favored invader knock them all flat? Regardless, it should be a great race and a tough one to handicap, especially considering the likelihood of a good or soft turf surface with downpours in the July 4th forecast.

I’ve handicapped this race anticipating a “good” footing. Saturday will be bright, sunny, and summery all day leading up to the 4:30 post time which ought to help soak up any rainfall.

$1,250,000 Belmont Derby Invitational (I) - 3-Year-Olds. 1 1/4 miles on turf at Belmont Park. Post Time: Saturday, July 5 at 4:34pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Toast of New York - Jamie Spencer, Jamie Osbourne - Unraced since his win in the Tapeta-bound UAE Derby (III) in Dubai, the son of Thewayyouare was hardly a factor in his lone turf start, which was a messy beginning as his maiden race. However since that bad first time out, Toast has been a relentless performer in his next 4 starts, winning three of them by daylight. All signs suggest Toast will do well on turf, and he gets a good spot on that sweet rail to position himself well early.

2) Sheldon - Junior Alvarado, James Toner - Listed as a longshot due to just having broken his maiden, the Purim colt has the advantage of having won at this distance on this same course and on “good” turf. I’m a big fan of his trainer, who totes a nice win percentage and is not known to throw his horses to the wolves. Consider for the exotics.

3) Bobby’s Kitten - Javier Castellano, Chad Brown - Bobby’s Kitten was one of the few juveniles last year to really grab my attention early, and he’s shown he’s still a very quality horse at three. A runaway winner in his only try at Belmont, the Kitten’s Joy colt owns some good early speed and has won over good turf. From a near-rail post, Bobby will likely shoot for the lead successfully, but can he hold it? Keep him in mind when making exotics plays.

4) Adelaide [IRE] - Colm O’Donoghue, Aidan O’Brien - There’s few better trainers in the world than Aidan O’Brien, who ships in this Group 2 winning son of top turf sire Galileo [IRE] in for a usurp. Lightly raced with just 4 total career starts, Adelaide has won 2 and placed twice and has shown strength over a soft or good going. Very strong win candidate considering his overall quality and ability.

5) Flamboyant [FR] - Joel Rosario, Patrick Gallagher - Never off the board with 3 wins in 8 starts, the Peer Gynt [JPN] colt makes his third U.S. start and was last seen running second by a head to Gala Award in the 9-furlong Pennine Ridge here at Belmont. Will extra ground make the difference? Flamboyant is not particularly appealing when compared side-by-side with talented invaders and U.S. horses who have already bested him. He is paired with top turf jockey Rosario and has been breezing pretty strongly.

6) Dance With Fate - Corey Nakatani, Peter Eurton - Big fan of this colt since I saw him on TV at the Breeders’ Cup. The Two Step Salsa colt won his lone turf start and is a G1 winner on the polytrack, suggesting grass may be his strongest surface. He has yet to start on a softened turf surface and is coming off a layoff since racing 6th in the Kentucky Derby. Definitely a very nice horse who sings on the grass, Dance is one of the most impressive American runners I’ve seen this year but will be combating some new obstacles. He looks good and could hit a good payday.

7) Gailo Chop - Julien Auge, Antoine De Watrigant - The gelded Deportivo [GB] has racked up quiet the reputation in France, rattling off 5 straight wins with no off-the-board finishes. However, he has yet to race above Group 3. 2-for-2 at the distance, in a “blind” picture slideshow of the Euro invaders I submitted myself to, Gailo Chop impressed me the most and has shown fleetness over good/soft turf and going the distance. He comes off a layoff since late April

8) Pornichet [FR] - Jose Ortiz, Gai Waterhouse - Owned and trained by Waterhouse, the Vespone [IRE] colt missed by less than 2 lengths last out in a Group 1 at Longchamp last out. Coming in off a layoff since mid-May, Waterhouse tacks on blinkers and has put a 6-furlong breeze into him earlier in the week at Belmont.  A horse who has mostly sprinted or miled at this stage, nothing about him really jumps out at me.

9) Mr Speaker - Jose Lezcano, Shug McGaughey - The Pulpit colt looked like the real deal earlier in the year when winning a loaded Dania Beach (III), whose runner-up Cabo Cat just snatched a very nice win last weekend in the Manila Stakes here at Belmont. Lezcano is one of the best turf jockeys, Shug wins at nearly 25% in graded stakes, and Mr Speaker was caught in tight last race. Excellent horse to use for value.

10) Global View - Gary Stevens, Tom Proctor - The Galileo [IRE] colt caught my attention upon besting the impressive Storming Inti a few starts back in the American Turf Stakes (II). Usually favored, he is considered a longer shot here after bouncing a bit in the Penn Mile, losing by nearly 3 lengths to Bobby’s Kitten. Global View should do better upon stretching out, and his connections have good turf stats across the board.

11) Gala Award - John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher - A Bernardini that can do turf, Gala Award is a Coolmore-owned colt who has shown preference for stalking the pace and proved that style successful last out, winning the 9-furlong Pennine Ridge over Flamboyant [FR]. A G3 winner on the turf, Gala Award gets a class test and will have to break well to secure his preferred spot behind the pace. Johnny V does however have a very high success rate landing in the top 2 in turf races.

Top 3 Picks in Order:

1) Gailo Chop

2) Adelaide [FR]

3) Dance With Fate

A lot of nice horses, a lot of layoffs, and there’s some built-in pace that ought to assure some of good finishes. Toast of New York is the morning line favorite and has tons of class, but I feel unsure about backing him given the pace, the distance, and the fact he hasn’t raced since March and ships over. Gailo Chop impressed me the most visually and can come off the pace, and class-wise, could have arguably raced well in his native land races had he not been a gelding and thus, ineligible. Dance With Fate is one of the best three-year-olds in the country; he’s risky coming onto good turf, but the race sets up for him and he’s blossomed off of similar layoffs.

Value Picks: Mr Speaker (12-1 or better) comes from a trainer who knows how to win big turf races. Dance With Fate (8-1 or better) may get ignored in the company of European horses. Sheldon (20-1 or better) is practically begging to be used in exotics.

With Wise Dan Away, Eight Will Play for Firecracker

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With Horse of the Year and accomplished turf miler Wise Dan on the sidelines following colic surgery, the Firecracker (II) at Churchill Downs has become a heated free-for-all with 3 Grade 1 winners and plenty of improving shooters jumping onto the grass. It looks to be an excellent betting race with a vulnerable likely favorite returning from off a layoff and several horses rounding into peak form.

$200,000 Firecracker Stakes (II) - 3-Year-Olds & Up. 1 mile on turf at Churchill Downs. Post Time: Saturday, June 28 at 4:18pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Guys Reward - Jesus Castanon, 121 lbs, Dale Romans - The 7-year-old iron horse backs the successful rail post with a G3 win in the Tampa Bay Stakes followed by 3 puttering starts. He showed improvement in his last start where he ran 4th and Dale Romans has shown he is very good with getting 3rd-off-the-layoff entries in 1st or 2nd place. Exotics horse.

2) Free World - Corey Lanerie, 121 lbs, Tom Amoss - The Stormy Atlantic colt has been on my “must watch” list since last year, and he returned to win his only start this year after a long layoff, winning by more than 5. Likely to be the speed horse of the field, Free World will likely be joined by one or more horses unless he can get away quickly from the #2 spot. He is 2-for-2 at this distance mark and has some hidden back-class. Upset potential.

3) Valentino Beauty - Brian Hernandez Jr, 121 lbs, Thomas Drury - The Vindication gelding has a 50% win percentage on the turf, with much of his career made at Woodbine. However, he is still searching for that breakthrough stakes win in his 3rd start with Drury, who had him win his first time out and lost his 2nd start in the stretch— on all-weather. Not a particularly strong entry, but there’s room for progress as Valentino Beauty has kept things consistent lately. 

4) Nikki’s Sandcastle - Leandro Goncalves, 121 lbs, David Kassen - Another tough iron horse type, the 7-year-old gelding has accomplished 10 wins in 40 starts with 16 places and shows to command some attention. A G2 winner already, he is 2-for-4 at the mile mark and appears to have reached top form with a win in the Hashin (III) last out at Arlington over polytrack despite going wide. A serious threat for the win, the pace may set up for Nikki, who is on the muscle for this race.

5) Silver Max - Robby Albarado, 121 lbs, Dale Romans - The only horse who managed to conquer Wise Dan last year in a rained-off edition of the Shadwell, the turf is Silver Max’s playground as long as he is able to snatch that lead, leading him to 4 wins in 8 starts last year. He comes off an extended freshening with no starts since running 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (I) in November. He looks to need some air in his lungs and he likely won’t get that uncontested lead— two big reasons to leave this otherwise classy horse off the table.

6) Villandry - Julien Leparoux, 121 lbs, Charles LoPresti - With no Dan, Charles LoPresti sends out this Gainesway-owned son of Mr. Greeley, looking for his first stakes win after coming up 3/4 of a length short to Regally Ready in the Opening Verse. I actually kind of like this horse; his last race had him way back for most of the race and he closed nicely. Leparoux is trustworthy on the grass and Villandry ought to be hitting his best stride in the stretch.

7) Joha - Joe Rocco Jr, 121 lbs, Joshua Flores - Winless since his nose victory at Belmont in October, the Johar colt tries the grass at Churchill with no wins at this distance in 4 tries and just 2 wins in 12 tries on the turf. He missed by 1 1/2 lengths last out in the all-weather Hashin (III). At his best, Joha could win this, but I doubt he’s at his best right now or lately.

8) Regally Ready - Shaun Bridgmohan, 121 lbs, Steve Asmussen - The 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner hopes to make it 3 in a row this year and has a great Churchill record with 5 wins in 7 starts. However, he loses Rosie Napravnik due to her injury and will not be alone on that lead he typically likes. Losing a top rider who rode him to his recent 2 wins, which represents a resurgence after a trip gone awry to Dubai, is risky as is the outer post and a race that does not appeal to his running style. I’m not overly optimistic.

Top 3 Picks in Order:

1) Free World 

2) Nikki’s Sandcastle

3) Villandry

Of these three, Nikki’s Sandcastle gets a great setup as a very strong turfer but Villandry could easily get it as well. However, I placed Free World on top as a serious diamond in the rough; he reminds me a lot of Rydilluc, who I admit became vulnerable once challenged for that lead, but I’m taking a gamble that Free World is all class. 

Value Pick: Villandry (6-1 or better) gets a great setup and will be at better odds than say, Nikki’s Sandcastle. Charles LoPresti is in the hunt for his 3rd Firecracker win and is a class horseman.

Pick 4 options: Free World, Nikki’s Sandcastle, Villandry. Also consider Regally Ready, who is riding in with 2 straight wins as a reformed sprinter and is 5-for-7 at Churchill.

Stephen Foster All-Stakes Pick 4 Live Ticket

  • Race 7: Matt Winn - Tapiture, Almost Famous, Conquest Titan
  • Race 8: Fleur de Lis - On Fire Baby
  • Race 9: Stephen Foster - Revolutionary, Will Take Charge, Departing, Long River.
  • Race 10: Regret - V V Goodnight, A Little Bit Sassy, Aurelia’s Belle, Istanford, Share the Sugar

Total cost: $30

I have more pony photos coming! I’ve been working on my documentary Roughshod all day at the library since I woke up from my post-work nap at 11. I handicapped the other races during my breaks!

Revolutionary Gets the Rail, Favoritism in Stephen Foster

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With a short loss in last weekend’s Belmont, the Todd Pletcher-WinStar team amps up once again with Revolutionary, who put in a star-studded performance last out winning the Pimlico Special (II). However, with a Win And You’re In opportunity going to the winner of this race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (I), “Rev” will not have it easy and the Stephen Foster (I) becomes a great betting opportunity with several improvers, current hot streaks, and a possibly “off” G1 winner in the field.

$500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (I) - 3-Year-Olds & Up. 1 1/8 miles on dirt at Churchill Downs. Post Time: Saturday, June 14 at 9:39pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Impost, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Revolutionary - Mike Smith, 118 lbs, Todd Pletcher - A winner twice this year in 4 starts including a profound win in the Pimlico Special (II) last out, the War Pass 4-year-old has returned to peak form after a lengthy freshening following his 3rd in the Kentucky Derby last year. His form is very strong, and he has some speed to kick on when he needs it. However, because he is a late runner breaking from the rail, he will have a lot to do in the stretch.

2) Jaguar Paw - Shaun Bridgmohan, 114 lbs, Stephen Lyster - A stakes winner one year ago on this day at Belmont Park, the Giant’s Causeway 7-year-old has been off since racing a well-beaten 6th in a February stake at Oaklawn. His best past race in graded company was a 3rd in the Philip H. Iselin Stakes (III) at Monmouth, beaten 9 lengths by Last Gunfighter. Not a big layoff horse or a very competitive horse in this field.

3) Moonshine Mullin - Calvin Borel, 118 lbs, Randy Morse - Hitting his best stride this year as a 6-year-old, the Albert the Great son outgamed Golden Ticket last out in the Alysheba (II) here at Churchill, topping a 3-race win streak with Calvin Borel with 4 wins in 5 races this year. Likely to provide the race with some pace as an early pace horse, the hot Mullin could grab the rail early and gallop off with the race.

4) Will Take Charge - Gary Stevens, 123 lbs, D. Wayne Lukas - The sparkling son of Unbridled’s Song was lethal on this course last year, besting Game On Dude in the Clark Handicap (I) after a sensational 3-year-old season. He threw in a major clunker last out in the Alysheba (II) trailing after being stuck inside with new and current jockey Gary Stevens taking over for Luis Saez. Getting the high weight, WTC is vulnerable as a favorite who is fresh off a bad race. However, the race may set up for him well and he should be included as a horse who is 4-for-5 at the distance.

5) Mylute - James Graham, 115 lbs, Tom Amoss - The Midnight Lute colt arrives 3rd off the layoff after an allowance win and a 4th in the Alysheba (II), with no wins thus far at Churchill or at the 9-furlong mark. He gets new rider James Graham and will benefit from a light impost, but will have to step it up if he wants to be taken seriously.

6) Departing - Robby Albarado, 118 lbs, Al Stall - I was an early avid fan of this War Front gelding, and while his trainer has admitted sending him to beat up lower class horses, he finally gets his chance to shine in a G1 for the first time since running 6th in the Preakness. Racing 2nd off the layoff, Departing looked good winning a 1-mile allowance at Churchill. Armed with a hot :58 3/5 breeze over the Churchill ground, Departing is red-hot right now. Likely to be aimed for a spot just behind the pace, Departing will have to show his best to win.

7) Golden Ticket - Julien Leparoux, 117 lbs, Ken McPeek - Never dismiss a Speightstown! 4-year-old Golden Ticket is a G1 winner hopping from doing a mile to 9 furlongs, and was 2nd last year behind Fort Larned and was a half-length second-best in the Alysheba (II) to Moonshine Mullin. Golden Ticket has managed to place twice this year in 3 starts, but by the numbers, is at his best going longer distances. He’s a good exotics horse here with Leparoux.

8) Long River - Irad Ortiz Jr, 115 lbs, Kieran McLaughlin - The A.P. Indy colt has bounced back into a good 4-year-old and is possibly the best-bred horse in this field with Round Pond (Awesome Again) as his dam. Given rival stablemate Romansh’s good last race and Long River’s recent form and workouts, he should be regarded as a live longshot with that last race around the Charles Town bullring getting thrown out. The layoff doesn’t bother me too much as he’s given good winning efforts off of them.

9) Prayer for Relief - John Velazquez, 117 lbs, Dale Romans - The son of Jump Start was scarcely beaten last out by Revolutionary in the Pimlico Special (II), and is well-versed at 9 furlongs with 9 on-the-board finishes in 13 starts. I never really liked Prayer for Relief, but he certainly impressed me in his last race enough to pay him a little attention. However, he’s been battered around Churchill Downs and cut up at this level that it becomes a tall order to expect of him. Exotics type.

Top 3 Picks in Order:

1) Revolutionary

2) Departing

3) Moonshine Mullin

Revolutionary gets the ideal setup and is in fantastic form right now. The tasks ahead of him: class step-up and getting it all done in the stretch. He may have too much to do, even at his best. I like Departing a lot as well; he’s at very good form and has some great tactical speed he could exact on the pacesetters late in the game. Moonshine Mullin ran great as the underdog in the Alysheba (II), and could keep that record rolling, especially if he manages to skirt off with the lead.

Value Pick: Departing (9-2) is in form and could roll right off that pace to a score.

Pick 3/4: Revolutionary, Departing. Spread option horses: Will Take Charge, Long River, Moonshine Mullin.

California Chrome vs. History in the Belmont Stakes

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To be or not to be: will California Chrome make history in the Belmont Stakes? Can he continue his dizzying winning streak and prove all the doubters wrong yet again? He handled the chore of the Kentucky Derby like a pro and dismissed the field in the Preakness, but therein lies his greatest challenge: the test of the champion.

$1.5 million Belmont Stakes (I) - 3-Year-Olds. 1 1/2 miles on dirt at Belmont Park. Post Time: Saturday, June 7 at 6:52pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Medal Count - Robby Albarado, Dale Romans - Argued by many to be or not to be a poly or a turf horse, the Dynaformer colt emerges from his 8th place Derby finish intact and ready for a better trip in the Belmont, whose distance should appeal to his pedigree. He is currently 1-for-4 on fast dirt and has logged two promising workouts at Churchill Downs. No Belmont prep? Best races came on poly or turf? Romans’ last Belmont hope was Dullahan, who bombed the race. I’m on the side that says “Medal Count is a turf horse. A good one that should stay there.”

2) California Chrome - Victor Espinoza, Art Sherman - No introduction needed! The champ has been on a roll since turning 3, racking up 6 straight wins on his way to immortality. His two prior races have both been very good with strong early action followed by solid stretch runs. His physical condition is bar none the best and he is definitely the one to beat strategically. As long as he nails the break, he has few legitimate excuses.

3) Matterhorn - Joe Bravo, Todd Pletcher - The Tapit colt is lightly raced, with just 4 starts with 1 win before being purchased by the owners of Danza for this race. He was 4th last out in the Peter Pan (II) but that could be tossed due to the long layoff and sloppy conditions, and he is game to improve on his second start back. Joe Bravo also has a positive ROI in routes.

4) Commanding Curve - Shaun Bridgmohan, Dallas Stewart - Really liked this Master Command colt back when he was preparing for the Risen Star (II), so it was a pleasant surprise to see him rallying on late in the Derby. Properly rested and ready for a race he could do well in, Curve hasn’t won since his maiden, but has been on the improving path as the distances have grown. Curve could upset, but I am interested to see if he’s a Churchill only horse as his top 2 performances both came at the Twin Spires. Everything else has just been “ok.”

5) Ride On Curlin John Velazquez, Billy Gowan - Curlin sired the surprise winner of last year’s Belmont Stakes, and there’s reason to believe RoC could get better with more ground as he made up some daylight separating him and California Chrome in the Preakness once he got some running room. Improving steadily and put in a position of reaching power, RoC could upset and he might not. While I would readily agree that he had the momentum going to beat Chrome, he seemed to stop gaining. I could be very wrong, but I get the sense he might be a “permanently second place” horse. 

6) Matsuzak - Mike Smith, Bill Mott - Bernardini almost had a winner a few years ago with Stay Thirsty, further proving Bernies are a force on New York soil. Matsuzak hasn’t won since his maiden last year, but did improve to nearly win the Federico Tesio at Pimlico last month. With that said, he owns some really good late pace figures, but has some major class hurdles to clear. Exotics horse.

7) Samraat - Jose Ortiz, Richard Violette - The mighty New York-bred faces down the rest! The Noble Causeway colt owns a win at Belmont Park already and has the advantage of a good rest and a quiet place to train at Aqueduct, where he has logged several leisurely mile breezes as preps. I love Sammy, but he has yet to make some cracking figures going further than 9 furlongs and he is probably best going 7-9 furlongs. No further.

8) Commissioner - Javier Castellano, Todd Pletcher - The victim of not being raced at his most advantageous conditions, the A.P. Indy colt last won a Gulfstream Park allowance in January going 9 furlongs before repeatedly finishing up the track in prep races. He made some headway missing by 4 to Tonalist in the Peter Pan (II). I have every reason to love Commissioner in this spot as an A.P. Indy son with Javier and Toddster on board, but c’mon, if you can’t win in the slop or at least get closer to the winner… I just…

9) Wicked Strong - Rajiv Maragh, Allen Jerkens - By Hard Spun and out of a Charismatic mare, it came as little surprise that Wicked Strong improved as the distances grew, and trainer Jerkens has been instilling long breezes of 7 to 8 furlongs in the colt since he was a 2-year-old. Thus, after sweeping wide to be 4th in the Derby, the colt is being taken seriously after a rest at his home base for the Belmont. Biggest concern for me is actually Rajiv Maragh, who seems too willing to give the colt the most wide trip possible and giving him too much work to do. Other than that, he looks very sharp and has every reason to do very well.

10) General a Rod - Rosie Napravnik, Mike Maker - By my own omission, I disregarded this Roman Ruler colt almost immediately, and he has come to buck my own opinions throughout the Derby trail by placing and or winning the Florida preps. He was 11th in the Derby, beaten some 8 lengths by Chrome, and was beaten around the same amount next out in the Preakness. He switches back to Rosie in his second start under Skychai’s colors, but honestly after all those races I’m not optimistic about his chances, even if he does place himself further up this time.

11) Tonalist - Joel Rosario, Christophe Clement - This Tapit colt was among my top choices early on in the Derby trail, and I still think pretty highly of him. Lightly raced with just 4 starts, he won the 9-furlong Peter Pan (II) last out easily enough, kicking clear of Commissioner and the rest of the field on the turn to win easily by 4 lengths on a sloppy-sealed going. Clement would be breaking the mold if Tonalist can buck the Tapit trend of doing more than 9 furlongs and racking up dirt wins instead of grass wins. Tonalist has some coasting early speed, but will have to break well and quickly from the outer post and be able to hold off the rest when things get tough.

Top 3 Picks in Order:

1) California Chrome

2) Wicked Strong

3) Ride On Curlin

Pick 4: California Chrome, Wicked Strong, Ride On Curlin. If you’re feeling smarmy, shoot for Commanding Curve or Tonalist to spread.

Chrome can win, Chrome can lose. Like in the Preakness, he will have to be better than everyone else despite being in the vulnerable position of favorite with early pressure as well as horses who will be hunting him late. Should he blow the break, it may very well be over. If there’s pace much faster than :24 1/2 and :49, watch out for Wicked Strong, RoC, and Curve. Tonalist could arguably slow things down as an improving colt to win, but I think Chrome can outfoot him and outdistance him.

Going to the Thoroughbred races, keeping "track" of the memories. Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


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