Monday, May 28, 2007

Mile Musings

Metropolitan Handicap
The Met Mile has drawn an unbelievably tough field. I simply could not disregard any horse in the race out of hand aside from the pace maker Mr. Umphrey who is coupled anyway. I think several horses will run better than expected and many will run much worse. They'd have to because there isn't room for 10 horses to run their best. I think the pace is a key factor it looks as though it's going to be blinding. Silent Name, Latent Heat, Accountforthegold, Half Ours and Mr Umphrey all have enough speed to lead this race early on. Although I think that everyone aside from Mr Umphrey will be cautious early. Silver Wagon is the horse to beat and I don't think you just want to hand the race to him. I think Half Ours and Silent Name will be the closest to the pace set by Dutrow's rabbit. I am hoping that Silent Name is over his headstrong tendencies because he is a bit of a wildcard in that regard. He is a tough horse to judge. On the one hand he is one of the most talented horses in the race, but he is headstrong and could get burned up early. He has also never been on dirt, however you could also point out that he has never lost while off the turf. His one and only race on polytrack was a smashing success. He is bred to handle dirt and his connections may find that he prefers it. I fear a huge freak out performance from him more than any other horse in the race so I have to include him. Corinthian strikes me as a router, not a one turn miler. I think he'll find this race too hot for him. Political Force is the most dangerous longshot. Jerkens took the Jaipur yesterday with a bomb and this horse is good enough on the right day. I can't really make him one of my primary selections but he may be worth using as a saver in an exacta. I have never really liked Latent Heat and I'll oppose him here as well. To me he seems like a horse who will under perform on big days. I think he will prefer the pace setup but I do believe that others are simply better than he is. I am also going to oppose Lawyer Ron. I think he is far better around two turns sure he is 3 for 3 at 8f but two of those races were around two turns. He's dangerous to be sure but not a horse I'd use at 5/2. Sun King is an enigma he doesn't win races but he is usually close. The frustrating thing about him is that he is definitely good enough to win this race. The question is never "is he good enough?" the question is "is he mentally ready?" and that is a tough thing to gauge. I think he is very effective around one turn, and second off the layoff looks ideal for him. He missed in this very race last year by a mere head and I truly think he is as effective a closer as Silver Wagon. Silver Wagon is the solid horse in the race. Yes, he is 0 for 3 at the distance and 0 for 3 at Belmont but he is clearly in career form right now. Dutrow certainly revived him and I would not bet against him doing anything. In a race where I'm drawn to Silent Name and Sun King, two inconsistent horses with mental frailties he is a real steady choice. I think he can be beaten but I think he is sure fire to hit the frame. In the end I just feel like Silent Name has the greatest upside potential.

1)Silent Name
2)Sun King
3)Silver Wagon

Shoemaker BC Mile
Was this spot tailor made for Kip Deville? He has been unbeatable at a mile as of late and one could have made a pretty penny by backing him each time. This is where the value erodes a bit although I was shocked to see him at 5/2 on the morning line. I think he will be more like 6/5 at the off. He seems rather flawless really. He's got good tactical speed a nice quick move and is very tenacious in the stretch. If not for his price I would not even be looking for ways to beat him. He is surely the favorite for the BC Mile even at this early stage but he doesn't put a lot of ground between himself and the rest and it is possible that someone could nip him late. Because of his good tactical speed I don't see a horse like The Tin Man being capable of stealing the race in from of him. I think he will pass every horse who is in front of him at the head of the stretch. The question will merely be whether or not he has enough to hold off the late runners. The top late runners in this field are Chinese Dragon and Right Special. Chinese Dragon is the only horse who looks purely talented enough to go with Kip Deville. I don't like taking horses who are second back off a really long layoff, especially when the second race is within 30 days. Chinese Dragon really has an explosive kick and he barely missed taking a G-1 in 06' against a much tougher group. But I think the horse I will use against Kip Deville is a real longshot. I have a very good feeling about Right Special. He was not all that accomplished in his native Brazil but I loved his allowance win. It was a stakes quality field without a doubt and he dusted them with ridiculous ease. Blanc never even put him into a real drive and he simply breezed past the field from last. It was a huge performance and if that was any indication of his true talent he might just be good enough to take this race. So Kip Deville is the logical choice but I'll give some play to the only two horses that I can envision besting him.

1)Right Special
2)Kip Deville
3)Chinese Dragon

Gamely BC Stakes
This is a huge race for the Filly and Mare Turf Division. Cittronade is the current division leader and she has been pointing to this race for quite some time. She is definitely the one to beat as her Santa Ana performance was jaw dropping but she has some tougher competition here. Vacare has never lost and she has enough tactical speed to keep in tough with Cittronade. What I love about her is that she always seems to be finishing the best in every race she's run. However I am cautious about her here. I do not typically like to use eastern turf horses when they go west. Even an undefeated horse like her. Hollywood at the end of May is nothing like Belmont. I am also considering going against her because I think she may end up chasing Cittronade instead of stalking her. I think Cittronade is going to be tough to catch even with some pace pressure but I'm hoping maybe that Price Tag can get it done. She does not appear sure to stay the distance but she has the best turn of foot in the field. If Solis uses her right she could cut down the other two late on. I like that Frankel has decided to have both his fillies in here. Price Tag is coming off a quick tune up and could vault herself right into the mix for division leader. Because the field is so short I would only use the Frankel fillies and my preference is definitely for Price Tag.

1)Price Tag

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