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.