Friday, June 20, 2014

The Bed O' Roses ~ A SaluteTo A Hall of Fame Filly

The Grade 3 Bed O' Roses Handicap on Saturday at Belmont is a race for fillies and mares, four year olds and up. Inaugurated in 1957, it  is contested on the dirt at seven furlongs.

It is named for the great Sagamore Farm homebred filly by Rosemont o/o Good Thing, by Discovery. Bed O' Roses was Champion Two Year Old Filly of 1949, and then the Older Mare Champ 0f 1951. She was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 1976.


For the Handicapper’s Corner at ThoroFan I will take a look at some of the contenders.


Seven furlongs is a tough distance for many horses. It’s technically a sprint, but many sprinters have a hard time with this distance. You need some class and stamina to win at seven panels. And to me, the biggest edge in a race like this is a horse that has already shown an affinity for the distance.


The class of the field is Merry Meadow. She loves Belmont and has hit the board every time she has run there. She can handle the distance, and is coming off a win in the Grade 3 Vagrancy, although it was a short field. Two maintenance works since her last, she looks ready for another winning effort.


Classic Point for The Chief looks to have a shot. She is another that loves Belmont, has won at the distance. You can throw out the Grade 1 Phipps where she was sent to the lead and then faltered, and the turn back to 7/8’s will be more to her liking. She looks to get a piece.


Trainer Eddie Kenneally has two in here, Street Girl-who is dropping in class and the longer priced Ultimate Shopper is moving into stakes company for the first time. Both have worked very well for this. And the longer priced horse Ultimate Shopper has shown she is quite capable at the distance as she is two-for-two.


Maybe we need to take a long look at Calistoga. Mott usually spots his horses well. She is moving up in class but there really are no world beaters in here. And I think the distance will suit her. What jumps off the page to me is that this filly has tactical speed, but can also can close – as was evident in the Eight Belles at Churchill -though perhaps those tactics may not have been by design. 


And then there is an out of towner that deserves respect. Flattering Bea is as consistent as they come and relishes the distance. She has never run with this kind however.


Good luck to the fillies and mares in the Bed ‘O Roses. I must say it’s nice that NYRA still remembers this mare after 60 some odd years. It’s a fitting tribute to a Hall of Fame filly and the glory days of racing!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Looking For a Longshot in the Grade 1 Manhattan

The Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap is the 10th race on Saturday and part of the stellar undercard on what might be an historic day of racing.  The race is sponsored this year by Knob Creek and according to the DRF this is the 113th running.

It is a mile and a quarter on the inner turf course and the purse is 1 million dollars. Looking ahead at the weekend weather, the course should be firm and dry.


Here’s a look at the field for ThoroFan’s HandicappingCorner from the rail out –


IMAGINING – A grade 1 winner at Belmont in his last, the Man O War,
he gets a rider switch back to JV who has won on him before. Breaking from the 1 hole he will come out of there running. He likes this distance and likes this track.


HEY LEROY – Has never been the distance, is a cut below but if you throw out the “off the turf”, this horse is 1-2 every time.


ROOKIE SENSATION – Lightly raced, talented colt for good connections. This horse does have a huge turn of foot however, but not sure it will be as effective on the Belmont turf as it has been on the West Coast. 


GRANDEUR  (IRE*) – Very nice race in the Man’O War, and now adds Lasix. Has been very competitive at the distance.


BOISTEROUS – Winner of this race last year when there was a little give in the ground. Only millionaire in the field, he always tries and is coming in with a bullet.


SEEK AGAIN – Hmmmm… Mott trainee who was a head back of champion Wise Dan in a Grade 1 in his last. Juddmonte homebred won the Hollywood Derby in December. Gets Rosario back. Dropping weight from last effort and getting weight from top three. Has a big look.


FIVE IRON - Likes to go to the front and will have company there. May be the speed of the speed, but where will he be in the final furlong?


REAL SOLUTION – A Ramsey’s Kitten’s Joy and a very useful sort. Likes the distance but in 4 starts has never won at Belmont. Will leading rider Castellano make the difference?


KAIGUN – Another who has finished second to the Champ going shorter. Would have to step it up in here


CHAMOIS – Improving colt has moved up with blinkers. Getting major weight from top three. Can comfortably sit behind the speed and sharp connections must think he wants more ground. Very live LONGSHOT.


At first glance it would be easy to say the results of this race could look a lot like the results of the Man’O War. But Mott’s horse Seek Again looks very solid in here. However the more I look at Chamois the more I like him. His very good run in the Dixie, his first start in 6 months should set him up nicely for this. He still has upside potential; he has tactical speed and will need to secure a good early position from his outside post. Rider Joe Bravo will do that. The 8 pound weight advantage might be the key to a win for him here.   He’s a longshot for sure, but he looks very live and at his morning line odds of 15-1, I will be using him in my exotic wagers. Not sure if he's good enough but I'm willing to take a chance on him. 


Belmont Day 2014 could go down in the history books.  Enjoy the day and fast and safe to all our equine friends!