Thursday, October 8, 2015

Saturday's QE 2 Invitational at Keeneland

The 31st running of the Grade 1 QE 2 Invitational at Keeneland is run this Saturday for 3 year old fillies and is contested at  a mile and 1/8  on the turf. It carries a purse of $500,000, and it is an important prep for the Filly & Mare Breeders Cup Turf.

The weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain on Friday and clearing skies on Saturday. A firm course is expected.

Here is the field of nine fillies, from the rail out.

  1. Mizz Money – A 30-1 longshot Grade 3 winner has been a very useful filly with 4 wins and 2 seconds out of 8 tries on turf. But she is in tough here.
  2. Prize Exhibit – Multiple Stakes winner on the west coast, she finished 4th to Lady Eli in last year’s Juvenile Fillies Turf. She has improved this season with the addition of blinkers. She has been working well at Santa Anita.
  3. Miss Temple City – A very consistent filly, with the right connections, she is 7 of 8 starts ITM on turf. A second place finish to the highly regarded Lady Eli last year on this course, she will run with Lasix for the first time. Could make the difference…
  4. Her Emmynency – Very game second in the Del Mar Oaks 56 days ago. The freshening may eliminate any “bounce”
  5. Return To Grace –Well bred miss out of filly Champion, Golden Attraction she is 15-1on the morning line, but the Casse barn has been very live at this meet. Not out of it.
  6. Olorda –Connections do exceptionally well with these Euros, but this one needs a forward step. Blinkers OFF, Lasix ON, a work over the track and first time for Chad. Can’t ignore.
  7. Blond Me – Another Euro who ran well in her initial US start in the Sands Point. Hard to gauge what type of fillies she beat in Europe, however.
  8. Feathered - Out of the Phipps mare Receipt and the family of millionaire Dancing Spree, this speedy filly changed her running style last out with a very nice effort after being covered. Yes, it was just an allowance race, but it is Pletcher/Castellano….
  9. Sentiero Italia – “Path Italy” is the 6/5 favorite and deservingly so as she is coming off bake-to-back Graded Stakes wins. Another barn that is on a hot streak.

Of course you always need to consider if the Euros will like the Keeneland course. It’s anybody’s guess.
Here’s my dime super box ~
Sentiero Italia is in a groove and another effort like her last two will make her tough to beat.
That they took Miss Temple City to Ascot this summer shows what kind of talent her connections thinks she has.  Maybe Lasix is just what she needs to bring her game to another level.
Return To Grace has really done nothing wrong, and she has a right to be given a chance in this Grade 1.
And I like Feathered‘s last race, maybe she is finally putting it all together.

As always, #FastAndSafe to all our equine friends!

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Look at The Joe Hirsch Turf Classic

It’s Turf Classic Day at Belmont Park this Saturday with the highlight being the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. It is a mile and a half on turf and a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Named after the legendary Joe Hirsch, a racing columnist and the founding President of the National Turf Writer’s Association - read more about Joe here.

Let’s take a look at the compact field of 7, from the rail out.

  1. Red Rifle- Is it curious that Javier Castellano jumps back aboard this horse after being the regular rider for Twilight Eclipse? No matter, Red Rifle is a very handy horse who has enjoyed the right kind of trips in his last several starts He switches off nicely, can be in between horses and has a nice turn of foot. Second behind the highly regarded Euro, Flintshire in the Sword Dancer. Two nice maintenance works since his last start, I think Red Rifle is ready for his first Grade One win.

  1. Perfect Title – A “Huddie” contest pick for me this year, who helped with my 10th place finish overall…yes. It’s a very ambitious spot for him. Cut out to be a nice horse early on, he may have found a new life on the turf. If he’s good enough, the added ground won’t hurt him.

  1. Big Blue Kitten – The best of the 3 Chad Brown trainees, where have we seen a Ramsey-Kitten favorite before? This millionaire, Grade One winner is the class of the field and always shows up. He is ITM in 25 of 28 starts, and the deserving favorite.

  1. Twilight Eclipse – Another Grade One winning millionaire and several times the bridesmaid to last year’s Turf Champ, Main Sequence, he picks up Rosario. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t get a piece.

  1. Slumber – Second of the Chad Brown charges, and another millionaire. He’s tried the distance 5 times with no success, but excuses in last two with very troubled trips.  But –Beware- it looks like blinkers have helped this colt.

  1. Quiet Force- Former claimer on the west coast last year, looks to have improved under Maker’s care. Throw out his last on yielding turf which he may have disliked. He is a son of Dynaformer and out of a Royal Academy mare, which indicates he should relish the added ground. Looks like a lot to ask of him however.

  1. Shining Copper- WILL BE SENT. Chad Browns 3rd entry and look for him on the front end. However he needs to carry his speed another quarter of a mile and must hold off the closing kicks of a few very talented campaigners. Hung tough to the fast closing The Pizza Man at Arlington. Strange things happen in turf marathons when a speed horse is left alone on the lead. He’s your horse if you like that dynamic.

My picks:

I like Red Rifle in here and I think it’s his time to shine. He looks to still have some upside. It will take a good trip, as always, in these events.

Very curious about just how much talent Perfect Title has and would not be shocked for him to run very well in here, at a price.

Big Blue Kitten is just so consistent, and he has his partner Jersey Joe in the tack. If there’s a sure thing, you can bet that he will be “right there”

The same can be said for Twilight Eclipse, rarely runs a bad one.

Enjoy Turf Classic Day at Belmont! And, as always, #fastandsafe to all our equine friends.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The $1,000,000 Knob Creek Manhattan

The Grade 1 Knob Creek Manhattan goes as the 10th race on Saturday. It is the race before the Belmont Stakes, on a day that might well be an historic day in racing history.


The Manhattan has a purse of one million dollars and is contested at a mile and a quarter over Belmont’s inner turf course. It drew a field of 11 colts and geldings.

From the rail out -


  1. Hyper – Second race back after a 17 month layoff was an even effort in the Grade 1 six horse field, over this course. May need another to be back at his best.
  2. Twilight Eclipse – Highweight and deserving ML favorite, winner of the Man’o War, a high class horse that always makes his run, but has never run at this distance.
  3. Finnegans Wake – West coast turf star, dead closer, needs to work out a trip.
  4. War Dancer – Has shown more speed since the trainer change to Mott. Third race back off a layoff, in light, could have some upside.
  5. Big Blue Kitten – Twelve time winner, another that has never won at the distance and must work out a trip.
  6. Legendary – Very nice horse but appears a cut below.
  7. Slumber – Hasn’t won in more than 2 years. Not a fan of first time “blinkers on”  for a 7 year old.
  8. Biz The Nurse – One of 2 Euro horses, classy, yes, not sure if he measures up
  9. Magic Artist – Would be shocked.
  10. General A Rod – First time turf, out of a Dynaformer mare, breeding says “should turf” good works, Johnny V aboard, when perhaps he could have ridden Jack Milton? Have to consider.
  11. Jack Milton – Classy horse, but the big question is…does he want to go this far?


Twilight Eclipse is the deserving favorite here. Regular rider Castellano stays aboard, giving up the mount on multiple stakes winner Jack Milton. Will he be as effective at this distance? And do you want to play the fave?

General A Rod is going to the grass for the first time. TAP was pleased with the way he moved over the lawn when he worked with stablemate Jack Milton on 5/30. Interesting to me that JV is aboard. Has a longshot look.

But my pick for the win is War Dancer. He has shown a recent a change in his running style. It could a maturity play or the effects of a trainer change - or a little of both. But I like it. He is also getting 6 pounds from the top two choices. His last race was a winning effort. With 2 nice works since then, he is worth a long look, and is my top choice.


 Many thanks to  ThoroFan's Handicapping Corner!

It’s a great card on a great day of racing,
and as always,
Fast & Safe to all our equine friends!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Woodford Reserve Turf Classic


The Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic is run at a mile and 1/8 over the Matt Winn Turf course every year on “Derby Day.”

And while no match for America’s premier race and the “greatest two minutes in sports”, race fans and handicappers will still be looking for a winner and to a great extent, a horse to use in their horizontal wagers.


This year that horse could be the mare, Stephanie’s Kitten.


Runner up in her Breeders Cup Division last year, after winning the juvenile fillies Breeders Cup the year before, Stephanie’s Kitten is coming into this race with a win in her seasonal debut in the Hillsborough at Tampa. She has the services of John Velazquez; she is 3 for 3 on the Churchill turf and getting weight from every other horse in the field. She gets the weight allowance is because she is running against colts. Not sure if JV tacks 115, but even a few pounds over will be an advantage.

Six works since the Hillsborough, this multiple Grade 1 winner says she is ready to face the boys.


Highweight Jack Milton is coming off a very nice win in the “other” Grade 1 bourbon race at Keeneland.  He is picking up six pounds off that win, has the services of Javier Castellano. He was an allowance winner over the course last year.


Seek Again is an intriguing horse. Can he break clean? Can he stay out of trouble? His one start at Churchill was a second in this race last year after bobbling at the start. He was “out-nodded” by the great Wise Dan. Not many are better at giving horses time to figure things out than Bill Mott. This horse has been freshened and could be dangerous.


And to spice it up a little bit, a horse you have to consider in your exotics is Scrumpdilicious. Sharp young trainer, Joe Sharp, seems to have the right feel for knowing where to place his horses. This former claimer is always “right there”. Of course it’s a huge jump into Grade 1 company and that’s why he is 50-1 on the morning line.


Thank you ThoroFan, it’s good to be back to the Handicapping Corner especially for the first weekend in May.


 Enjoy all the great racing this Derby weekend.


And, as always, FAST & SAFE to all our equine friends.