Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Back -2011

I’m taking a look back with appreciation to some of the bloggers that I have enjoyed this past year. I really value those who make the effort to keep up their posts, because it’s not always easy to do. I know very well, no matter how passionate you are about it, keeping a blog current, takes time and commitment.

So I am giving a “shout out” to:

The Knight Sky- Thanks Norm for turning me on to Rapid Redux. I had never heard of him till I read your post, many months ago. He’s in a zip code of his own. And your weekly contests are the Best!

Equispace – Geno, your top ten lists are beyond compare. And I can’t tell you how many times your posts have reminded me of a contest I shouldn’t miss. Thanks for continuing to include me in the Handicapper s Corner at Thoro Fan.

Twin Spires - Ed De Rosa Thank you for the Huddie connection. I had so much fun this summer with Toga Picks. But more than that, you are a wealth of information, in all things, all the time, and you have allowed your readers to get to know a different side of you lately. I hope you know how many followers are pulling for the” the little guy. ”

Turk and Little Turk – always enjoy not only your insight into your handicapping strategies, but your subtle insights on life in general.

The Track Philosopher - Maybe the Best- Best of the Year list for 2011. Thanks for your continued support.

Giving My Ten Cents – Chris Hernandez (hey where’s my Zenyatta mug??!!) I’m always amazed at what a good grasp of the racing game certain 20 something‘s have. For a young guy, Chris is very astute in his handicapping and a great source for all things west coast. .

Wire Players – Good handicappers here, I always check these guys out, looking for bits and pieces I may have missed in my handicapping analysis. Their current post is a departure, though, and spot on, I may add.

Brooklyn Backstretch – Teresa‘s writings are informative and creative.Her historical pieces always bring back memories and her current opinions are well thought out. She never seems to runs out of stories to tell. I don’t even know her, but I do know that when a “cat” horse wins, she’s smiling.

Hangin’ with Haskin- I never miss anything this man writes. He writes with soul, and has a great appreciation for the racing game.

Blogs are as unique as the person that writes them. Their words can inform you, make you think, or just make you chuckle.
Thanks, all, for the inspiration and all the good writing. I look ahead for more of the same in 2012.

I had intended to give you links to each of these blogs, but Blogger is being a little cranky at the moment. Just look to the right hand column and you will see their latest posts.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish all my Twitter friends and Blog readers a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy the magic of the season!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Horse's Christmas Fable -1967

From the vault of the Thoroughbred Record, this lovely story was written by the late David Alexander, 44 years ago. It was awarded the TRA's award for the best thoroughbred racing article of that year. 

The old gray horse sidled up to the pasture fence with little dancing steps. The place seemed familiar, yet somehow strange.
The grass was greener than any grass he'd ever seen, and when he looked closely at the white paddock gate it had a kind of pearly sheen. and there was another funny thing. A big, black cloud hovered just inside the gate. The cloud wasn't up in the sky where it properly belonged. It was like a great puff of black smoke rising from the grass.

Suddenly the cloud dissolved and revealed a horse. He was a small chestnut with a blunt head and one white stocking and brownish hairs in his tail and mane. The gray horse thought he had a kind of old timely look to him.

"Hello, old gray horse," the chestnut from the black cloud said. "Hey, that's a real good trick!" the gray horse exclaimed. "Where'd you learn it?"

The chestnut disappeared into the cloud again, but emerged immediately. "Learned it the day I was born," he replied, with a whinny that sounded like a chuckle. "You see, I was born on April Fool's Day and there was a total eclipse of the sun. So they named me Eclipse. I was always playing tricks on people too. Used to kick my grooms and try to throw my riders and I bit the auctioneer that sold me."

"My name is..." the old gray horse started to say politely, but the tricky chestnut ducked in and out of his cloud and
interrupted rudely. "Native Dancer," he said. "I ought to know you. I'm your great-great-great-great-great - I always lose count of the 'greats' 'a?" but anyway, you're a descendant of mine… almost everybody is, in fact. The Thoroughbreds, that is."

"Are you the gatekeeper?" Native Dancer asked.
"Mostly," Eclipse replied. "I'm on duty whenever one of my descendants is coming up. That's mostly so far as the Thoroughbreds go. Old Matchem has a few left and he takes over when one's due. And poor old Herod, he's posted here occasionally, but there's not many of his male line that aren't here already."

"What is this place" Native Dancer asked. "I guess I'm kind of lost." "the Green Place," Eclipse replied. "That's what
it's called. The Green Place. Most of the horses that get lost, come here.
We have to send some back of course."

"Why?" the Dancer asked.

"Because they don't belong here, that's why. Long before I came up there was this fellow Bayard, for instance. He was a devil-horse. Belonged to an old necromancer named Malagigi and he did the devil's work. Helped that villain Aymon of Dordogne to triumph over Charlemagne, they say. and a wizard named Michael Scott had a big black beast who used to stomp his feet and set al the bells of Paris ringing. He even caused the towers of the palace to fall down one day.

The Big Guy doesn't want that kind here. But we have Jesse James' horse, and Dick Turpin's too. The Big Guy says they did nothing wrong themselves. They were just faithful to their masters, and The Big Guy thinks that's a virtue."

"Who's the Big Guy?" Native Dancer asked.

"You'll find out!" Eclipse answered airily. He lowered his muzzle and pushed the gate open. "You might as well come in. You understand you're on probation though. The Big Guy makes his decisions about new arrivals every Christmas. Let's see, it's November 16, the way you figure things down there. So you won't have long to wait anyway."

"I'll bet The Big Guy is Man O' War" Native Dancer said as he moved inside and gazed over the emerald green expanses that seemed to stretch into infinity.

Eclipse snorted. "Don't get smart, boy" he said. Then he added maliciously, "You'd lose your bet too. the way a lot of people lost their bets on you at Churchill Downs one day."

Native Dancer felt hurt, for his ancestor had touched a raw nerve. His lip tremble a bit as he replied defensively, "That Derby was the only race I ever lost."

"I never lost even one race," Eclipse said unsympathetically. "So don't get smart up here. The Big Guy doesn't want
any smart-alecks in the Green Place. Remember that."
Native Dancer was a sensitive sort. He felt as if his eyes were teary and he hoped Eclipse didn't notice. "I won 21 out of 22, and Man O'War only won 20 out of 21" he declared. "And my son Kauai King won the Kentucky Derby."

"My sons won three Derbys at Epsom" Eclipse said.
"Young Eclipse took the second running and Saltram won the fourth and Sergeant won the fifth, and I'd have won the bloomin' race myself, only they didn't run it in my time. So quit bragging. Somebody's coming and they might
overhear you and tell The Big Guy, and that would be a mark against you."

A bay horse who seemed even more old-timey than Eclipse ambled up. "Is it my time now?" he asked eagerly.

"Not yet, Herod," Eclipse answered in a kindly fashion. "Old Fig's on duty now. One of his is on the way."

"Who's Old Fig?" Native Dancer asked. "I never heard of that one."

"There's a lot of things you never heard of, boy," Eclipse replied. "His real name is Figure, but down there they called him Justin Morgan, after his owner. Here he is now."

A very small, dark bay horse with a round barrel, tiny feet, and furry fetlocks came bustling up to the gate. "OK, OK, I'll take over," he said busily. "Where is that boy? Can't stand tardiness.
I've got things to do. A load to pull, a field to plough, a race to run, a trot to trot. No time to waste. Where is that boy?"

In the weeks that followed, The Dancer met hundreds, maybe thousands, of horses. Some of them were famous, and some of them were his ancestors and a few of them were his own sons and daughters.

He met a snorting white stallion named Bucephalus who had been approved for the Green Place by The Big Guy even though he was rumored by some that he was cursed by the deadly sin of pride because he had carried a conqueror named Alexander.

He met another gray horse who limped because he had stepped on a rusty nail back home just before he became lost forever. His name was Traveller, and he was a war-horse too, in the days when a man named General Lee had owned him.

There were other soldier steeds, two of them descendants of the bustling little stallion they called Old Fig up here. One was Phil Sheridan's black Rienzi and the other horse called both Fancy and Little Sorrel who had been the mount of Stonewall Jackson.

Native Dancer found Man O' War an amiable sort despite his proud aristocratic bearing, and he grew especially fond of a bony old fellow named Exterminator, who patiently answered all but one of his questions.
He asked the question of everyone: "Who is The Big Guy?" And the answer was always the same: "Wait 'til Christmas."

He met Messenger and Hambletonian and Hindoo. He met horses that had dared the dreadful fences of the Grand National. He met a horse who stared blindly into the emerald darkness. His name was Lexington.
He met horses who had pulled circus wagons and horses who had pulled brewers' trucks and horses who had drawn man's plows over the fields of earth, and he met others who had been the mounts of kings and captains.

Always the answer to his question was the same:
"Wait 'til Christmas."

Eclipse fussed over him and kept a watchful eye on his behavior and said he neighed too much and asked too many questions.
Eclipse could not stand the thought of The Big Guy banishing one of his descendants from the Green Place. And Native Dancer did not wish to leave. He doubted he could ever find his way to Maryland again if The Big Guy disapproved of him. And the Green Place was very pleasant in all respects. The grass was lush and he met so many interesting horses.

Back home he had sometimes been troubled by nightmares, for a Dark Star haunted his dreams, but now he slept
peacefully and rarely remembered the Derby he had lost. He became nervous though, as the weeks went by and the stars grew brighter.

And finally it was time.

On a night when the skies burned with starlight all the horses gathered as near as possible to a little hillock of the vast paddock. There were hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of them, a murmuring and expectant throng that seemed to stretch over the emerald grass beneath the diamonds in the heavens.

Eclipse was very tense. He hovered over Native Dancer, whispering, "Look your best now. Be quiet and humble. The Big Guy will be here any minute."

Suddenly the vast throng was silent as the stars themselves. The Big Guy stood on the hillock in a blinding blaze of
starlight, and Native Dancer could barely contain himself. He choked back a whinny of derision and whispered to Eclipse, "Is he The Big Guy? He's so little! And he's not even a horse! What did he ever do?"

Eclipse whispered, "He's a donkey. He carried a woman heavy with child to a small town on another night when the stars were bright. It was a long, long time ago."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's a Wewoka Switch?

Well for one, it’s the name of a 2 year old maiden running Saturday in the 8th race at Gulfstream. Trained by Nick Zito, he is owned by Dream Walkin’ Farm (Toby Keith). He is by Harlan‘s Holiday, out of the stakes placed mare, Lady Dynasty, and has had one start on a sloppy, sealed track at Churchill.  

I would love TK to come up with another good horse. And I try to follow the Harlan’s Holidays.  So I am curious about this colt, and even more curious about his name.

Here’s what I found, according to the website, Historically Speaking and Elyse Bruce.

 Wewoka is a small town in Oklahoma and situated at the junction of State Highway 56 and U.S. Highway 270. The town was originally located in 1849 in what was considered to be the Seminole Nation, Indian Territory (I.T.).

Not too much later, in 1895, the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad (the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway after 1902) ran its line from McAlester to Oklahoma City, passing through Wewoka. They also installed side tracks.

In the early 1900s, freight would oftentimes go missing once a train had been redirected to the side tracks, and items that went missing were said to be ”lost in the Wewoka Switch.”

In the 1920s, when thousands of freight shipments destined elsewhere went missing, they were soon found hidden at the Wewoka Switch. Soon, the railroad company made it a policy to check Wewoka first whenever they were advised of a lost shipment. It got to be such a habit that soon a rubber stamp was created that read: “Search Wewoka Switch.”

It didn’t take too long before the saying became: “It’s in a Wewoka Switch” meaning that whatever or whoever was involved in questionable — possibly illegal — activities was quite obviously tangled up in a tight spot.”

A cool name for a horse and I'm going to be rooting for Wewoka Switch to run a better race. Though Zito has started the meet kind of cold, his horses usually run better after a start, Let’s hope the colt doesn’t get in a “tight spot”, or gets “ lost”  in his second start. He did show some speed in his first race, but faded and was beaten 12 lengths. I’m willing to toss that effort because of the track.  Zito is making a rider change to rider Joe Bravo.

About an hour later, the featured 10th race on Saturday at Gulfstream is named the Harlan’s Holiday. Could his son, Wewoka Switch, break his maiden in the 8th on the same day? Just for fun, I may take a shot at 15-1.

Friday, December 9, 2011

PEB is Back!

The one and only PEB - Pierre Bellocq - is back.

Horseracing's #1 cartoon genius, is  back at TDN, Thoroughbred Daily News. His artistic interpretations of horses, horsepeople and racing events are always timely, sometimes emotional, many times- funny- and always witty.

I have missed PEB since his departure from the Racing Form. It was always a treat to see how he portrayed special events in his own unique way. I also miss race charts, mud marks and a realistic price, but that's a story for another day.

Take a look at some of PEB's work at his website.

And Keeneland is now selling some of his prints. You can find them, here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2012 Derby - Who Do You Like?

While it’s much too early for me to be predicting the finish of the ’12 Derby, I’ll say it right now. Union Rags looks very much the part of a Classic winner.

He has the scope, he has the stride, he has the mind, he has the willingness, he has the style, he has the talent and he's got the game.

And by the deceased sire Dixie Union, out of a Gone West mare, he has ample ancestry to get the classic distance.

Yes he lost the big one on Breeder’s Cup Saturday. And Hanson was game to hold on to win. But Union Rags was wide all the way, ( perhaps to stay out of trouble? ) And when he drifted in the stretch he still managed to come on again to just miss.

This colt has had more lessons in his brief racing career, than most. He has been down inside, stopped behind horses, asked to wait, run in the mud, ducked from the whip, drifted when wide and run on 4 different tracks with 3 different riders. He has shown he has several gears, and always finishes willingly.

Will he get the Eclipse award for best 2 year colt? Maybe not. But is that such a bad thing? His connections won’t have to worry about the dreaded “Jinx.”

Hope he stays healthy and sound and takes the next steps forward into his three year old year. For me, right now, he’s the one I’m most excited about for next year’s Triple Crown action.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Quick Picks for the Big A

Certainly not leftovers, today’s racing coast to coast is top notch. I don’t know what has me more excited. The 4 stakes at Aqueduct or the full card of youngsters at Churchill?

Since most of my handicapping at Churchill will most certainly have to include paddock and post parade visual analysis, I will be making my choices  on a strictly race-to-race basis, there. 

But I have taken a look at Aqueduct and this is the direction I am heading in at the Big A.

Demoiselle, Grade 2, 2 year old fillies, 1&1/8

I like both of the A.P.Indy’s in here. The Darley filly, Captivating Lass has come out of her maiden win at Parx with 5 solid works, and needs to take a step forward. The other AP Indy, Indeniable, will be making her first start on dirt. She was asked to rate a little last time and I think the further she goes the better she will be.

 Remson, Grade 2, 2 year old colts, 1 & 1/8

Souper Speedy is a half to Brilliant Speed . He broke his maiden coming out of the one hole, and won convincingly. He is a big colt with a lot of upside and should love the added distance. Stephanoatsee, another AP Indy, is a half to Shackleford, and he is stepping up to the Big Stage. Still won impressively after a bad start in his last race.

Cigar Mile, Grade 1, 3& up

Just why is Hymn Book in here? He has had some very fine races on the turf, but Shug elects to switch surfaces. Look closely and you will see some sneaky good numbers on the main track. And I don’t generally like to bet horses back that have run in the Breeder’s Cup but To Honor and Serve( the lone 3 year old) had a very nice work on the training track 6 days ago, so maybe, just maybe, he is not over the top.

Gazelle, Grade 1, 3 year old Fillies, 1 & 1/8

 Champion Awesome Feather is undefeated at 7 for 7, and if all is right with her she will be very tough to run down. I do like the Tapit filly, Draw it, in here. Lots of seconds, I know, but I think she is figuring it out. The blinkers looked like they have helped, her numbers are improving and the extra distance will be the key. But again, a tough task.
Good Luck if you are wagering today!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank Lutie for the Clark

Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. or “Lutie,” was the primary person responsible for building America’s most famous racetrack, Churchill Downs. He was the grandson of the famous adventurer General William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. His mother was a Churchill , whose family  moved to Louisville in the 1700’s and owned 300 acres of land south of the city. The land was inherited through the family and donated for use to the Louisville Jockey Club.

Lutie had a vision of building a race track after returning from several trips to Europe where he was inspired by the 3 premier races in England; the Epsom Derby, the Epsom Oaks and the St. Leger. In the summer of 1874, Lutie and his cousins and other prominent Louisville sportsmen met at the Galt House and prepared papers of incorporation for plans to build the home of the Twin Spires.

Lutie became acting president and manager of the track and his cousins became the financial backers. The following May 17, 1875 was opening day, and Aristides became the first winner of the Kentucky Derby. 

Charismatic, yet controversial (Lutie didn’t seem to think twice about shooting people he disagreed with) ) he was instrumental in originating not only the Kentucky Derby, but he was responsible for implementing the original Stakes System.  He wrote many rules of racing which are still in effect today.

Sadly, he lost a fortune in the stock Market crash of 1893, and committed suicide, fearing a life of poverty. But his name lives on at Churchill through the Clark Handicap that has been running since the track began. It is one of the oldest stakes in North American racing. It is prominent because it was one of three races that Lutie envisioned, along with the Derby and the Oaks from the very beginning of his dream. It has been run a various distances, but since 1955 it has been at a 1&1/8 and since 1901 it has been for 3 year olds and up.

It’s being said that this year’s Clark could have Eclipse Award implications. You have two horses in here ( Flat Out -5th in the Classic, and Ruler On Ice – 3rd in the Classic) that  if they could jump up and win, would then be taken more seriously for their divisional honors. Not sure I agree with that, but that’s a conversation for another time.

I look for Wise Dan to run a big one. He likes the strip and his connections are saying he is better than ever. While the distance is a question mark, I think he will give a good account of himself.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks + Giving

Opps... Here it is ...  A favorite Thanksgiving Day horse racing memory...

Thanks + Giving

To appreciate and be thankful for our blessings should be a daily occurance. But sometimes it's easy to forget the "giving back" part. As horsepeople and racing fans,it's important to remember horse racing charities.
There are any number of horse rescues and retirement farms. There are several charities that help disabled riders and their families. Contributions for further research in equine health is another way to participate.Other smaller organizations, be it backstretch childcare, or backstretch employee aid, tend to those in need.

Thanksgiving is a good time to remember those who need our help.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving with continued blessings for you and your families.

One of my most favorite Thanksgiving Day horseracing memories was 2007.
Take a look...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back from the Breeder's Cup

I’m just back from 5 days in God’s Country. Another Breeder’s Cup is in the books. And here are some of my thoughts.

Friday’s Zenyatta Party was a blast. I was able to chat with the Mosses and the Shirreffs and also had a quick word with Mike Smith. The unveiling of the life-size Zenyatta painting by Jaime Corum was very exciting and it is a superb work that really captures Zenyatta’s energy.

On a personal note, I got to meet Steve Haskin. I guess you could say for a few minutes I was “Hangin with Haskin”!! He is so very genuine and down to earth, just as you would expect if you follow his writings.

Though the racing was exciting, it wasn’t profitable for me. If it wasn’t for some old friends in the Red Smith back at Aqueduct (Boisterous, Bold Hawk, Harrods Creek and Grassy) it would have been a sad wagering weekend for me. Some seconds and thirds in the big races, and though some of my longshots ran well, I didn’t connect like I had hoped I would.

Speaking of Old Friends, I visited the Georgetown facility for their annual BBQ and silent & live auction. They had a perfect day, with great items for winning bidders to take home and enjoy.

More and more of the breeding farms are holding Open Houses at this time of the year. At Lane’s End, I was happy to see Quality Rd. He looks well and happy. And Rock Hard Ten is as handsome as ever.

I saw Paddy O’Prado at Spendthrift, and he looked great. I hadn’t been there for many, many years, when I worked there part-time in the broodmare barn, so it was a treat to go back. I was mesmerized by their cemetery. I think we tend to forget how many important horses came from Spendthrift when they were in their heyday.

Probably the biggest surprise for me was catching Gio Ponti at Castleton Lyons. This was my first visit to CL and it is absolutely gorgeous!  Gio Ponti had just arrived, and everyone was very happy to show him off. What a great horse! Not a big horse but extremely well balanced, and looks as sound as a bell of brass .He is certainly a future Hall of Famer.

The WinStar brunch was classy. Tiznow looks great and his light, weedy son Colonel John is almost as big as his daddy, now. Quite the transformation.

 Coolmore was our last stop. I always like seeing Fu Peg. For a Derby winner, I don’t think he ever got much respect. Uncle Mo was “on the grounds” but not showing yet.

 Speaking of Uncle Mo, I was not at all surprised at his gallant effort, yet dismal showing in the Classic. Almost dead in May, diagnosed in June and then brought back and asked to run the race of his life in November?  Come on, wasn’t that asking a lot?

I wished that Shackleford saw Caleb’s Posse coming. I hoped that Goldi would make it a fourth time. I rooted for Union Rags to get up. But that white blur that is Hanson held on gamely. Havre de Grace ran a good one. But Drosselmeyer ran them all down. Even the WinStar people were a bit surprised.

Got a pic of Royal Delta, right after her Ladies win. She had touted herself all week. She sold this afternoon at Fasig Tipton - This is what 8 & 1/2 million bucks looks like.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Breeder's Cup Bound

Once again, I’m excited to say, I am heading out to the Breeder’s Cup. I’ve missed a few here and there, but it’s always a fun time and sometimes even profitable!  It’s our country’s biggest stage for racing. This year we could see a filly win her 4th BC race in a row and we could see another filly win the Classic! Superstars are made and future superstars can be unveiled.

I will be attending Zenyatta’s Party on Breeder’s Cup Friday. It will be a change of pace for me, and a good one. I’m not a big fan of the 2- day venue, so this breaks it up a little. I am looking forward to the festivities, while I watch and wager on Friday’s races

Still have a lot of studying to do. Going in, I am looking for good efforts from Union Rags in the Juvi, (he has impressed me) Shackleford in the Mile (a good spot for him), Goldikova in the turf mile, (already an amazing filly) and Havre de Grace in the Classic. There are unlimited opportunities to make lots of money, especially on big race days. And the dime supers are a favorite of mine; it’s a small investment and can pay big.

I wrote a short analysis of the BC Turf for ThoroFan. Don’t forget take a look at their Handicapper’s Corner to read commentary and opinions on every race by some of the regular contributors to that sight.

This year I will be tweeting here and there and will try to add some pictures too. Just click on "follow @ a saturday horse" at the top right corner of the blog. If you are not on Twitter, you should be. You can participate, or not, but just “following” is interesting and fun. There is no better place to get up-to-the minute news and insights from the world of horseracing.

 Hope you have some success if you wager. Enjoy the Breeder’s Cup any way you can, and above all, as always, we wish all our equine friends a safe trip.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The 3 Million Dollar BC Turf

The second biggest prize on Breeder’s Cup weekend is the Grade 1 Emirates Turf. It is for 3 and up, at a mile and a half, and in the 28 renewals of this prestigious race, American based horses have won 10 times. It is no secret that the European based horses excel in this event.

I am delighted to analyze this Breeder’s Cup event for ThoroFan’s Handicapper’s Corner. I will be heading out to Churchill to attend my 21st BC. As a result, I will be writing this piece early so I will remind readers to pay attention to the condition of the course on race day, as weather and Mother Nature can change things up at the last minute. Also be aware of  any other changes or bits of information that will be revealed in the days that lead up to Saturday, for example, how the Euros shipped and what they looked like out on the track.

When handicapping a race like this the first thing I look at is “Who has won going the tough mile and a half distance?” Your majority of horses want no part of 12 furlongs. So pay attention to those that have already had success doing it.

Course condition is all important. Trainers have been talking a lot about the turf course this year, that it is hard, yet throws up a lot of clods. If there is any rain then you want to consider the amount of “cut” in the ground. The more water/ rain/ moisture in the track, the more “cut”, or the softer, the course is. Some horses love this, some do not.  A horse will usually not perform at their best if they are uncomfortable with the footing.

While most of the entrants in a race like this run at the highest level, sometimes you can separate them a bit, by comparing “who ran against who” and how they fared. This is a way to estimate their “class”.

St. Nicholas Abbey – Very talented colt, but is he going in the wrong direction?

Sarafina – Lots to like here, multiple Group 1winner has beaten colts before.  Seventh place finish in the Arc was not as bad as it looks, horses that run well in the Arc have done well here

Dean’s Kitten – Always tries, distance won’t be a  problem, but class hike could be

Stately Victor – One turf win on resume, big reach here.

Teaks North – great over-achieving gelding, Monmouth specialist, not sure he wants to go this far

Await The Dawn – A 4-yr old with just 7 lifetime starts. Weakened first time in Group 1, in short field, but had an excuse as he was found to not be 100%. Should like any type course, Good connections.

Sea Moon – Lightly raced, troubled trip in last, but an up- and- comer, how good is he?

Brilliant Speed – always liked this 3 year old. Turf is best surface, never off the board on the lawn, could improve with added distance. Some upside still, maybe the best US horse of this group

Midday - +3million dollar earner, got beat a neck in last year’s f &m turf. A top class mare, would be no surprise. She is the only entrant that has a run over the Churchill Turf Course.

If the Europeans ship well, then ignore the rest. I look for Sarafina, Midday and Sea Moon as the three top choices in the Emirates Turf. The fact that the fillies have other options, yet preferred to run against colts at the added distance speaks to the confidence in their connections. And Sea Moon looks to have a lot of talent. If you want a price horse, maybe it’s Brilliant Speed. The Dynaformers get better as they mature and though this colt would need to run the race of his life, maybe he can.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Sunday at J.D. Cooper's

In a quiet corner of Northeast Connecticut is JD Cooper’s of Putnam. It is a pub/restaurant/sports bar where you can bet the ponies.

You will find an interesting menu with surprisingly good food, a nice bar, a number of booths but more importantly, plenty of TV’s to watch simulcasting from any number of tracks across the country.

 And while it’s always nice to be on track, it’s not so convenient if there’s not a track close by. The Winner’s Arena at Cooper’s is a great way to enjoy the races with fellow fans.

OK, besides the waitresses and the tellers, I was the only female there on Sunday. And apparently the only one rooting for Sarah Lynx in the Canadian International. You know how that is when you are the only one in the joint rooting for a longshot and you suddenly become the center of attention?

Well I don’t ever mind being in that position. We’ve all been there.

Truth be told, she wasn’t in my top four until I saw her in the post parade. I had noticed that she finished up well against Goldikova’s little sister. And I knew the distance suited her. But she was a three year old AND a filly and at first, thought it would be a tough task. Then I saw her in the post parade. She did a little prop and wheel when distracted by something.  Soumillon seemed amused by her antics and when he dropped his irons for the rest of the warmup, she relaxed nicely. She looked like a horse on a mission.

As I watched the race unfold, I said to myself, ”sure hope she likes being covered up”  and when the rail opened up at the top of the stretch she made her move and proved much the best.

Figs and stats and numbers and sheets are all useful tools in the handicapping process. But paying close attention to the horse’s energy level, mental sharpness and way of going can only be analyzed in the paddock and the post parade. Learn to read the body language of a racehorse. Don’t ever ignore the signals that a horse gives when she’s ready to run a big one. Time and again, you will be rewarded.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Sparkling Performance from the Champagne Winner

Union Rags was about impressive as a horse could be yesterday in winning the Champagne Stakes at Belmont. Even a troubled trip couldn’t stop the son of Dixie Union from remaining undefeated in his brief campaign. Big, handsome, mature, full of power and now a multiple graded stakes winner, we could be looking at something very special here.

Owned and bred by the Wyeth family and trained by Michael Matz, the colt was coming off a maiden win at Delaware and a win in the Saratoga Special in the slop. Stretching out to a one turn mile in the Champagne, he beat a nice field by daylight and did it very professionally, despite numerous traffic problems. This should set him up perfectly for the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile next month.

But talk about a learning experience

Chart notes: ( courtesy of BRISNET)

 UNION RAGS appeared to shy away from an errant RIGHT TO VOTE at the break, moving inward slightly, went on to settle into midpack, was taken in hand when brushed twice by TAKES THE GOLD midway down the backstretch, was put to some encouragement to improve position on the turn, achieved a good striking position before placed back in hand stuck behind rivals coming to the five-sixteenths pole, was forced to bide time when lacking suitable options for an additional furlong, had thoughts of splitting rivals foes just past the three-sixteenths pole, but after spotting a better opportunity to the outside instead, altered course sharply towards there for full clearance, took off with sudden speed once the maneuver was completed, shot past by the leader a short distance from the eighth pole and kicked well clear of the competition, finishing the race being hand urged.

Just one of these situations could discourage a young horse, but Union Rags took it all in stride.

This was THE performance of the day for me. Take a look.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Sneak Peek at Keeneland

It’s Opening Day at Keeneland! If you are like me and not on track, and worse, AT WORK, then hopefully you know you can sneak a peek at live coverage by going to their website to watch each and every race.

 Also don’t miss Barn Notes

And Workouts and Clocker’s Comments

The Grade I Darley Alcibiades is the Stakes feature for opening day and it is a test for 2 year old fillies going 1 & 1/16 on the polytrack. Many of these fillies will be stretching out for the first time. The morning line 5 to 1 choice is And Why Not, (a Saturday Afternoon horse) by Street Cry, out of Alchemist, by A.P Indy, who broke her maiden very stylishly at Saratoga in August. She was then thrown into the Grade 1 Spinaway, broke slowly and finished a well beaten third. This looks to be a talented filly who will love the added distance and may relish the polytrack.

Tu Endie Wei is undefeated on the Woodbine surface. She is another that should enjoy the streachout.

 I would also take a little look at New Wave. She has won on the Arlington Park surface, and had a respectable race on turf in the PG Johnson to a nice filly.

This is a very nice group of fillies and the outcome will impact the Breeder’s Cup in four weeks.

The co feature is the Grade 3 Phoenix going 6 furlongs. Aikenite is a major player and is a “horse for the course” at Keeneland.

There is a Pick 4 starting (.50 minimum) in races 7-10. Pick 3’s also have a .50 minimum. And don’t forget the dime supers.

There is perhaps no finer racing on the planet. Enjoy it any way you can!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Super Saturday Afternoon Horses

Don’t really know how I am wagering today, but I can tell you who I will be rooting for. Some blog favorites will be looking for big efforts on their way to the Breeder’s Cup races. To get there, they all need to at least maintain their current form or take another step forward. The big race, on the big day, is still a month away.

In the Vosburgh, I will be hoping that Trappe Shot can get his first Grade I win. He loves Belmont, loves the distance, and shows he loves an off track if NY gets more rain. Anything out of a Private Account mare usually does .His only two OTB finishes in his life were “stumbled at the start” and “bumped soundly” and I don’t really think either of those comments indicate anything other than bad luck.

In the Beldame, it’s Havre de Grace for me. If she is as good as Larry has always said, then ’nuff said. Though she has never run at Belmont, I think she will love the layout. And an off track will not hurt her chances.

Glad to see that Stay Thirsty has come out from Uncle Mo’s shadow. As his workmate all last winter and spring, I always respected this horse. He has rounded to form very nicely and we know he likes it wet too.

I’m hoping Shackleford enjoyed his brief freshening and will come back strong in the Indiana Derby. I want a “Derby” win for this boy. I would like to see him back on track for a shot at either the mile or the Classic next month.

Not only is there great racing coast to coast this weekend, but the Arc is tomorrow as well. What we see worldwide over the next two days will make some impact for sure on November’s Championship days.   

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Million Dollar Derby Value Play

This year’s Grade 11 Pennsylvania Derby, with a purse of a million dollars, will be run at a mile and 1/8, and features a pretty decent group of three year olds.
 The morning line favorite is Ruler On Ice (5-2), this year’s Belmont victor. Though he may get his preferred wet track, a mile and 1/8 is not his distance. And he is giving a lot weight to the entire field  in here. I am looking elsewhere for some value.

To Honor and Serve (Bernadini) (3-1) is coming off a decent win after being taken off the Derby Trail with a suspensory injury. His comeback race was going short, and set him up for a romp against older allowance horses. He is in light with 114. But will he return to his earlier 3 year old form?

Rattlesnake Bridge, a Tapit colt (4-1), never fails to run a good one and appears to be figuring it out. Not excited about his drifting in the late stages of theTravers, although it was a very good effort. He has had two nice works since then and should have recovered from that game second.

The horse I like in here is Arthur’s Tale. He is coming off a 6 month layoff, so he is being discounted at 12 to 1. By Bernadini, out of the multiple graded stakes winner Owsley, he was originally on the Triple Crown trail till he developed a stress fracture, though another report read that he originally popped a splint. Either way, both are relatively minor injuries which horses can come back from, many times, with no ill effects.

Arthur’s Tale was originally pointed to the Travers, so he was clearly “almost” ready to run. He has been given another month and three more works. This should have him dead fit. Giving time to a talented three year old never hurts. He showed improvement in his last two races in the spring, one- a win on an off track, and another game second, by a neck, to Toby’s Corner in the Wood Memorial, while still beating the bigger than life, Uncle Mo.

I don’t think we have seen the best of Arthur’s Tale yet, I think there’s still upside potential there.  And he is getting in light with 114. That’s TEN POUNDS less than the favorite. Arthur’s Tale at 12-1 is clearly, to me, the value play.

I look to see a big effort from this colt on his return to the races. And an off track should not hurt his chances. Will he “need” the race? At double digit odds, I’m taking a chance that he will be ready to roll.

Lots of good racing luck to all who are wagering today and a safe trip for all our equine friends.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


How GOOD is this filly?

Watch the replay. Winter Memories TOYED with this field. I don’t think she had to take a deep breath to win the Grade 1 Garden City yesterday. And it was a very patient and heady ride from 4-wins-on -the -day-Castellano.

My initial reaction as the race unfolded was… up close…dropped back…. no… not again… behind a wall of horses… nowhere to go… uh-oh… she’s last….but in the blink  of an eye, with what is becoming her patented move,  the big grey filly  wheels out  and kicks it into overdrive, and wins WITH SOMETHING LEFT.

Winter Memories is always a bit keen in her races, though she seems tractable too. A filly like this does need some cover to help her relax. But if you watch the race, you will see that JC stood up on her the whole way, while others were getting position, trying to keep up, Winter Memories just galloped along just waiting to be asked. Not an easy task for the jock when riding a horse that runs with such enthusiasm. But he was just sittin’ chilly. (Maybe in this case, you could call it standin’ chilly… he had SOOOO much horse)

Having to come around the whole field is not always ideal, but it does seem to be her most successful running style.

A blog favorite, she is a joy to watch. Her explosive late kick is so fast you have almost no time to cheer her on. She jumps into the bridle and she’s gone. She is on top of her game right now and it’s on to the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on October 15.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sunday's Northern Dancer at Woodbine

The 2011 Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes goes as the 8th race on the Sunday card at Woodbine. It is part of Woodbine Mile Day, and the second day of a turf-rich weekend in every division with Breeder’s Cup implications.

The Northern Dancer is at a mile and a half on turf and the traditional prep for the $1.5 million dollar Canadian International.

Not a stellar field in here, but some nice horses none the less.

There will be a lot of focus on the Euro, Wigmore Hall, because even the second or third string Euro is very often better than most North American turf runners. However, he will be a short price and, though he has run against better, keep in mind, he has never run at the distance and has never run over the Woodbine turf. And I am not convinced that he will like a firm turf course, either.

Second choice on the morning line is Bourbon Bay. He is a consistent sort having won on three different surfaces. And he is trained by a Hall of Famer. He has 3 wins and a second out of 5 tries at this distance, though never at Woodbine. He seems to get along very well with his new jock Joe Talamo, and Smokin’ Joe ships in for the ride. The thing I find the most interesting is his workout pattern. In the last 15 weeks he has run 4 times, but in between, every third work is 7/8ths of a mile. There will be no doubt about his fitness and soundness with this amount of work and I think he will once again give a very good account of himself.

Trainer Mark Casse has two in here. And while I prefer Seaside Retreat, his other horse Hailstone IS a half brother to Court Vision who will be trying to win his second Woodbine Mile on the same day. But I don’t see this son of City Zip getting a mile and a half.

Seaside Retreat is interesting though. The 8 year old gelding is getting his third start off a 3 YEAR layoff. That’s a LONG layoff. But he is rounding to form. Ignore this horse at your own peril. If he returns to his back form, at Woodbine, he could be very tough. Two triple digit numbers in 2008, in this very same race AND the Canadian International, shows he has what it takes. Will his back class resurface?

 Simmard deserves a look. Attfield always spots his horses well and he has more wins than any of them over the Woodbine turf.

Al Khali is a horse that I always thought could be a good one. But he always seems to find trouble.  Alan Garcia does get along well with him and if you are playing exotics, he could jump into the triple with a good trip. But will it ever happen?

Hotep and Laureate Conductor appear outclassed.

I like the looks of Seaside Retreat in here especially at his morning line of 10 -1. I might be willing to take a chance and hope that he returns to his glory days. I will use Bourbon Bay (5-2) and Simmard (8-1) if I dive into any exotic plays.

As one of the guest handicappers this weekend at the Handicapper's Corner at ThoroFan I urge you to visit their informative website. It's the site that gives a voice to the racing fan.
Good Luck and enjoy all the good turf racing at Woodbine this weekend. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Special K ?

Always exciting to see a nice two year break their maiden first time out. Yesterday at Belmont was the coming out party for Aubby K, a big good looking bay filly by Street Sense out of graded stakes winner, Lily Capote. Owned by her breeder James Spence, she was sent off at even money, as her performance was no secret to many.  

Off a beat slow, she went to the front, attended the pace and drew off with the upmost ease to win by fifteen. Cory Nakatani sat chilly the whole way, threw a couple of crosses at her at the eighth pole and this filly never really got out of a gallop. Now, not sure what she beat, but this miss trained by Ralph Nicks could, indeed be something special.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Game Faces

 In my lone visit to Saratoga this year, I sure picked a good day to go. I was able to witness a top flight filly, did down deep and make some racing history.

Havre de Grace , by 2005 Horse of the Year, St. Liam ( also the 2005 Woodward victor) out of the Carson City mare, Easter Bunette has put herself at the top of  the  division with the very gutsy win in the Grade 1 Woodward, and is only the second filly to have ever won this race. It was her first test against older males.

Sportsman/owner Rick Porter said “We gave her a chance to show how good she was”

Rider Ramon Dominguez “She called on herself beautifully, she has a very relaxed stride”

Masterful trainer Larry Jones said “We are 75% leaning towards the Beldame” for her next start.

Alex Solis, on runner up Flat Out, “she proved today that she is a great horse”

One more start in either the Beldame or the Spinster should set her up nicely for the first weekend in November.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Get Tied On

If not for Hurricane Irene, I would be spending Travers weekend at Saratoga. But plans need to be flexible when Mother Nature is as serious as she is this weekend, and I pray everyone stays safe.

Now the question is, will those of us in front of our TVs and computers have power all the way through to the Pacific Classic tomorrow night?

I’ll pray for that too.

I am still in front in the "Huddie" handicapper’s contest. But the pressure is mounting. Had nothing yesterday (a first!) and my 25 to 1 Shug firster in the 3rd, just ran fourth. I wasn’t sure what to expect of him, but his dam Salute was a favorite of mine so I gave it a shot. I will add him to my watch list, as he ran very professionally and should improve next out.

Some thoughts for the Stakes Action at Saratoga.

I will probably back Romacaca in the Balston Spa .The turf has just been upgraded to firm at the Spa which I think she prefers. A winner of 12 races, she can be on the lead or close to it and she is as honest as they come. Maybe Tapitsfly deserves a look too.

The 9th through the 11th comprises the late all stakes Pick 4. In the Victory Ride I think that Valiant Passion is the horse to beat.  The Steve Margolis trained Moon Buzz though totally untested is a bit interesting. Though 2 for 2, this is a huge step up but she could be a live longshot.

 Looking at both Tar Heel Mom and Sassy Image in the Ballerina.   One will be on the front end, and the other will be flying at the end. Both are coming off wins and sharp works since. Sassy Image has had a freshening, which always works with her.  I will use both in my Pick 4.

In the King’s Bishop I will single Cool Blue Red Hot. If Uncle Mo is “back” I’m fine with that. But I think this is asking a lot, after what he has been through, so maybe this is a good time to take a stand against him. I think the 7/8ths will suit the Penna- trained Harlan’s Holiday colt to “t” and I have to root for my “huddie” choice. He should be closing late.

Going with Shackleford in the big one. I have been a big fan since the winter, and there is not a more honest three year old than this big red colt. May not be the perfect distance but he’s coming to this race healthy and happy and I would love to see him win this.

Enjoy Travers Day wherever you are. Get tied on for some great racing and some nasty weather.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Alabama could have been "The Cottrell"

The Alabama Stakes for three year old fillies, is a true Grade 1 going the classic distance of a mile and a quarter on Saratoga's main track. The feature on Saturday in the 131st renewal. If you want to remember some of the best fillies on the east coast for the last 100+ years, just read the list of winners of the Alabama.

Prior to the late sixties,  some of the top class fillies that have won this race include Beldame, Miss Woodford, Maskette,Top Flight, Vagrancy, Busanda, Primonetta, Tempted, What A Treat, Miss Cavendish and Gamely. Many of these became blue hens, or dams of multiple graded stakes winners.

And the list goes on. Other, more recent winners are Shuvee, Fanfreluche, Optimistic Gal, Our Mims, Life's Magic, Mom's Command, Maplejinsky, Open Mind, Go For Wand, Versailles Treaty, Sky Beauty, Heavenly Prize, Banshee Breeze, Silverbulletday, Jostle, Flute, Pine Island, Proud Spell and Blind Luck.

Just a partial list, but impressive just the same.

I am always curious on how certain Stakes races are named. Most often they are named after famous horses, owners, jockeys, or trainers that have had success at a certain track.  According to the very limited information I could find on the naming of the Alabama, it seems it was named in honor of William Cottrell, who was from Mobile, Alabama. Because he was "too modest to have a race named after him personally, it was named after the state he lived in."

Who was this man? Hard to say, but maybe he had the right idea We could have been calling this race "the Cottrell". The Alabama is as prestigious a race as you can get in this country, and just the name is synonymous with class.  Whoever joins the list this year will be in the company of some of the greatest fillies American Racing has ever seen.

The field for the Grade 1 Alabama:

1) Royal Delta / J.Lezcano
2) Pinch Pie / J. Velazquez
3) Plum Pudding / M. Garcia
4) It's Tricky / E. Castro
5) St.John's River / R. Alberado
6) Inglorious / L. Contreras

Who will win the Alabama this year?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Laughter Could Be A Key

A Look at the Sword Dancer Invitational

The Gr. 1 Sword Dancer Invitational is the feature race at Saratoga on Saturday. It is a mile and a half on the inner turf course for three year olds and up with a purse of $500,000 and is a prep for the Breeder’s Cup Turf. Named for the Horse of the Year in 1959, Sword Dancer was owned by the Brookmeade Stable and trained by Elliot Burch. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.

A very good field of 8 are entered, with trainers Bill Mott and Christopher Clement both entering 2.  Clement has said that Grassy will scratch if the turf is too firm. His other charge is the Firestone’s homebred Winchester, who might be conceived as the class of the field. This will be his second race off a layoff, and though he is working well, his trainer has said that coming back in three weeks might not be ideal.

The highweight (123) in the field is Teak’s North who is looking for his 3rd Grade 1 win of the year. However he has never been the distance of a mile and a half.

Drosselmeyer, last year’s Belmont winner, HAS won at the distance, but that was on dirt. He tried the turf twice as a two year old, but did not win. However, a sharp work on Monday on the grass, indicates the surface switch should not be a problem. Mott’s other horse Al Khali seems to be going in the wrong direction.

Rahy’s Attorney is a 14 race winner of over 2 million dollars and though perhaps a cut below these, always tries.

Though Bim Bam did beat Champion Gio Ponti in the Manhattan, I think he does his best running when there is some cut in the ground. He has not won this year, and I can’t recommend.

The horse I like in here is Boisterous (a very good name for a son of Distorted Humor!). He is a Phipps homebred out of Emanating, who is by Cox’s Ridge. They are becoming scarce, but when I see anything out of a Cox’s Ridge mare I know they can run all day.

He is trained by the very patient Hall of Fame trainer, Shug McCaughey, who is having a very good Saratoga meet winning at 31%. And leading jockey John Velazquez has won on him 4 times.

His numbers are improving with every start and he can run on any type of turf. Yes, he is stepping up, but his effort in the Gr. 1 Man O War proves that he deserves another chance. And I think the added distance will suit him. He is 4 to 1 on the morning line, and he could stay around the third choice.

Boisterous is my top choice in the Sword Dancer. I think this could be his day to run a big one and win a Grade 1. I may make a “Distorted Humor exacta “with Drosselmeyer as my second choice.

A big Thank You to ThoroFan and the Handicapper’s Corner for giving me the opportunity to express my opinion, and don’t forget to check out fellow-blogger, “the Turk’s” review of the Arlington Million.

Good Luck if you are wagering this weekend!

Monday, August 8, 2011

And Why Not

By Street Cry out of the AP Indy mare, Alchemist, And Why Not broke her maiden at first asking yesterday at Saratoga. Ridden by Julien Leperoux, the bay filly lagged behind early, saved ground and drew off smartly in the stretch. The slowish time, more than likely, was a result of a drying out racetrack.

This is a good looking filly with a lot of substance. And while Trainer Michael Matz is not known for sending out debut winners, this filly was ready enough.

Bred in partnership by Matz’s wife, DD and sisters, this filly was bought at auction just a year ago at Fasig Tipton Saratoga for $775,000 and is owned by DD’s mother Helen Groves.The dam, Alchemist, is a black-type winner and 100% producer, now having 4 starters and 4 winners. She herself is out of the Grade 1 winning Storm Cat mare Aldiza, and a half sister to the graded stakes winner, Altesse. This is a very strong female family going back to the good foundation mare Courtly Dee.

You know how those big Street Cry fillies can be especially as they mature. There could be some talent here. She has all the right credentials. And Why Not is a filly to watch.

Tar Heel Mom is back to her winning ways with an easy win in the Gr 2 Honorable Miss. The 6 year old mare by Flatter is now 11 for 28, with 7 seconds and 5 thirds.

And while kudos to the game Sean Avery, the winner of the Vanderbilt, Trappe Shot ran too good to lose.

 Nothing clever about my choices on Sunday at Huddie, but still loose on the lead with 13 more contest days to go. Lots of good handicappers breathing down my neck, but I intend to hold on to the wire.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner ?

I’m hoping at least the 8th and 9th will stay on the turf at Saratoga tomorrow. Lots of rain today, so there could very well be a little give to the ground.

The Hattie Moseley goes as the 8th and it is named in honor of the woman who started Hattie’s Chicken Shack in Saratoga Springs. Years ago, I remember dreaming about the fried chicken lunch I would be having at the track, as my dad took the exit off the thruway every August and headed towards the Spa.

Now I just dream about winning tickets.

This race is a mile on the inner, for 3 year old fillies, with a purse of $75,000.

I like the new face in here, Starformer. She is getting first time lasix, is a Juddmonte homebred by Dynaformer out of a stakes winning mare, and is Group 3 placed in France. She has a win going the distance and a sharp work over the Saratoga turf six days ago. Lots to like with this filly, and though there are some nice fillies in here, she looks like the one to beat. If there is a little cut in the ground, she won’t mind it.

Parting Words could be used in the exotics, as she is very consistent sort and I may take a look at Japanese Garden who has never turfed, but could like it. Trained by Rusty Arnold, who also trained her SW mom, Fircroft, she has some talent and will be a price.

The Grade 1 Diana is a more difficult race to analyze, simply because almost any one of the 10 fillies in here could win it. Romacaca is crossed entered in the Matchmaker on Sunday at Monmouth, but that too, is not an easy spot. Though it’s only a Grade 3, the top 3 finishers get a stallion season from Taylor Made.

I think the winner in here will be the one that works out the best trip.

If Romacaca stays in the race, she is the speed.  An 11 race winner, she is as game as they come, but she has never won at the distance. The undefeated Unbridled Humor is stepping up, and may inherit the lead. Is she good enough to win a Grade 1 after just going through her conditions?

 I’m a little interested in Bay to Bay. She seems to be rounding to form and her numbers are getting better and better. With trouble in her last, this will be her 3rd start off a slight freshening. She is a Grade 2 winner and has won on any type of ground. Garcia has been cold, so far this meet, but I don’t think he has forgotten how to ride.

Will it be winner, winner, chicken dinner, at Saratoga tomorrow???

Hoping to stay in front and improve my position in the MyTogaPicks Handicapping Contest…but I have a longggggg way to go!