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Weekend Stake Tip: All About Vyjack

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I didn’t bet yet again this weekend (I seem to like doing other things/homework on Saturdays and by Sunday I’m like “eh”), which I suppose was a good thing. The Gotham (III) yet again didn’t go my way as Escapefromreality got booted around, although I do not think anyone could have beaten Vyjack that day. What is with these weird Derby preps? I realize that these are the cake preps being only 1 1/16 miles but why are the super longshots getting away with making the top 3, and even winning? Now that it’s March, we’re running out time before we see any new faces that might break this cycle of speedy horses winning the point races…

Something I’ve noticed… a lot of our “class” Derby contenders have been getting really crappy races due really cruddy post positions and trips. Are the two related? Are our favorites too weak to recover from their handicaps, or perhaps do they need more running room? More time? Are we looking at the right horses?

Aside from that losery attempt at handicapping, I was bursting with pride at Game On Dude's emphatic win at 10 furlongs and Rydillic who won the Palm Beach Stakes looking like a champion. I didn’t handicap either race; I liked Rydillic best of the bunch because of his European lineage and Gary Contessa just has it goin’ on. Not really the type of analysis that would eke dollars out from me, but it’s fun knowing I was right on about SOMETHING this weekend. My virtual stable took a beating as So Many Ways had a bad first start, Went the Day Well made a shoddy return (he may have flipped his palate), Lucky Chappy [IRE] dragged despite a class drop, etc. etc. too many to list.

With Vyjack establishing a 3-for-3 4-for-4 record, Violence off the trail, and an increasingly “wide open” feeling for the Kentucky Derby, I would like to touch upon the early wager pools you can take advantage of if you’d like. I might be revealing my March Derby Top 10 soon, and you might be able to figure out some of my top choices by the odds I think are downright ridic:

  • Verrazano (9-1) is at much lower odds than Super Ninety Nine (closed at 17-1). Really? REALLY?
  • Code West was a steal at 28-1. He’s an improving Baffert trainee who almost won the Risen Star (II) with the potential to keep on going.
  • If Reinier is right about Titletown Five, he’s another one at a shocking 61-1
  • Treasury Bill, a closer with some impressive classic pedigree and a nice late kick, closed at 28-1
  • Stakes winner who will be forwardly placed should all go well, Lion Heart colt Falling Sky is at 79-1

Early spoiler alert: Vyjack probably still won’t make the Top 10 list and probably won’t be at acceptable odds should he go to the Derby gate.

Racing Beat: December 2

The worst part about not having a laptop for the whole week? Not being able to update the weekend’s Racing Beat as thoughts come to me. Or, well, at least it’s one of the many worst parts about not having a laptop/accessible Internet. /dies

Smart Bid's to be a New York stallion. Yay and nay at the same time… he IS a 6-year-old this year and has some nice wins to his credit.

I’m not totally sure why some people are appalled that horses get electroshock therapy. I’m sure these offended persons are the same folks who think it’s abusive when we vacuum one of our horses. (She really likes it)

I should have guessed that Toby’s Corner was done after an unremarkable comeback from his poorly-timed injury last year. Not the prettiest horse, but I had him in my WinStar fantasy Derby stable and oh man, was I rollin’ in it when he beat Uncle Mo in the $1 million Wood Memorial. Mwahahaha. We’ll miss ya, Tobes, have fun in Japan.

YAY GULFSTREAM MEET’S ON! It’s like a fast, New York god-tier track set up in Florida.

He’s still got it: Game On Dude comes on again to flick away Nonios twice in the same race!

Overdriven goes the way of Bodemeister and retires with a shoulder injury. Seriously I’m beginning to wonder if it’s really that bad or if they really think they can turn a profit on a horse that has only won as a juvenile. I dislike most of Repole’s horses by natural instinct, but even I would have given him a chance. He works super nice and has some nice distance pedigree.

Confession: I didn’t care for Dance Card over Questing [GB] until I found out she was gray. OHMAIGURSH!

Mark Valeski needs to return already. Teeth of the Dog, too. Don’t get me started on Graham Motion teasing me with photos of Went the Day Well on the training track. #sigh #4yearolds2013

Well that had to be the shortest reign ever, Solemia.

Hope Damon Thayer lives up to expectations in the Kentucky Senate /boringpoliticalmentions

So much for the Clark Handicap! I saw you racing in the grass-bound Hollywood Derby (I), Golden Ticket! What gives! What you doing there? You know you can’t catch Unbridled Command! (Whom I’m shocked got away with 7-1 odds! And my own favorite Lucky Chappy [IRE] at a whopping 15-1! Missed huge betting opportunity for sure…)

For once, I actually agree with someone on DRF. Of course it’s Mike Watchmaker.

I’m glad I got to see Rule before he retired to stud, also in New York at Vinery. Not the most amazing runner, but he was so darn cute.

Gulfstream’s giving away 50 opportunities to “Meet Little Mike" for donating a dollar to charity. Gosh you Californian peeps got him for free before his Breeders’ Cup win, now it’s gonna cost you…

Tweet o’ the Week: A worthy wager

Probably the weekend’s most interesting race is the Virginia Derby (II), which pits the hot winning streak of Silver Max against some seriously good challengers including Summer Front, fellow Clement trainee and likely underrated Easy Crossing, Optimizer (who is a grass horse at heart!), and the wonderful Lucky Chappy [IRE] is back after his Dubai trip.

Probably the weekend’s most interesting race is the Virginia Derby (II), which pits the hot winning streak of Silver Max against some seriously good challengers including Summer Front, fellow Clement trainee and likely underrated Easy Crossing, Optimizer (who is a grass horse at heart!), and the wonderful Lucky Chappy [IRE] is back after his Dubai trip.

I loved reading about this: Dubai contenders Royal Delta from Bill Mott’s barn and Lucky Chappy [IRE] from Graham Motion’s worked together around Meydan Racecourse, with the 16.2 hand Eclipse-winning mare followed closely by the pint-sized three-year-old colt. I wonder if Lucky’s going to prove himself worthy to her this weekend!

I loved reading about this: Dubai contenders Royal Delta from Bill Mott’s barn and Lucky Chappy [IRE] from Graham Motion’s worked together around Meydan Racecourse, with the 16.2 hand Eclipse-winning mare followed closely by the pint-sized three-year-old colt. I wonder if Lucky’s going to prove himself worthy to her this weekend!

Lucky Chappy [IRE], a three-year-old colt trained by Graham Motion for Team Valor, is the latest recipient of the Galloping Hat Rack’s “Prettiest Pony” Award. He’s registered as a dark bay, but he is clearly turning roan and has a “skunk tail” marking. Ironically, he’s by the same sire as one of my other “recipients,” So You Think [NZ]!

Lucky Chappy [IRE], a three-year-old colt trained by Graham Motion for Team Valor, is the latest recipient of the Galloping Hat Rack’s “Prettiest Pony” Award. He’s registered as a dark bay, but he is clearly turning roan and has a “skunk tail” marking. Ironically, he’s by the same sire as one of my other “recipients,” So You Think [NZ]!

Derby Watch: Good Gracious Grass Horses

Normally— and with good reason— I don’t look too hard at horses with a grass preference typed into their hard-wiring. Grass and dirt are just two completely different beats, but ever since Barbaro and again with Animal Kingdom's win last year, the issue begs to be reconsidered. Can a good grass horse also be good on synthetic (sometimes!), and even the almighty dirt?

Looking at some horses with a natural-born affinity for grass or those who have been training over it, a few of them are tugging at me to include in the Kentucky Derby picture.

  • Margano - On and off as an improving grass horse, he’s Barbaro’s latest full brother trained by Barclay Tagg. Featuring a (sometimes) emphatic late kick, he’s looking like a pretty nice horse, but again, is not too consistent. He recently finished seventh in a Gulfstream allowance/op claimer after breaking his maiden, but shows he can more than likely nail that Derby distance.
  • Lucky Chappy [pictured] - Something just makes this horse pop out to me. He was a good fourth in the BC Juvenile Turf (I) despite not being terribly experienced, and is part of Team Valor’s Graham Motion contingent. Could he improve on the dirt? (As an aside, his coloring/tail is so beautiful!)
  • Our Entourage - Knowing his connections, Mike Repole’s three-year-old colt is destined to try dirt again after coming in fifth in the Remsen Stakes (II). He has a fantastic grass pedigree (by Street Cry [IRE] and out of a Dynaformer mare). He’s a nice horse with the potential to blossom, which I think he will do down the road, but in time for the Derby… that’s a real interesting question.
  • Animal Spirits - Another horse I liked straight out of the walking ring. He showed a lot of potential winning the Bourbon (III) and then came in fifth in the BC Juvenile Turf (I). A son of Arch and trained by Al Stall, who knows, he could be tested on dirt.
  • Summer Front - 3-for-3 on the grass, Summer Front made up for a bad start in the Dania Beach Stakes to win easily on turf, and according to his connections, deserves a shot at the Derby. Pending a test on the dirt at some point, War Front progeny are becoming infamously good on grass but shouldn’t be discounted elsewhere. This one is special already.
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