Weekend Overview: Take D'Tour repeats as champ in the Odgen Phipps barely holding off Ginger Punch. Summer Doldrums turns the tables on Strike A Deal in the Colonial Turf Cup. Flashy Bull is nearly run down in the Stephen Foster after making a huge move on the far turn and Good Mood made up 4 1/2 lengths in the final 1/8th to win the Regret. These were just some of the fantastic finishes we were treated to this week. It seemed like every race was being decided by a narrow margin. It also seemed as if this weekend failed to produce any real stars, in nearly every division there was a horse who had the chance to really move above their peers and in almost every case they failed and the division just became more open.
Performance of the Week: The Northern Dancer BC may have just been a G-3 race but it was a coming of age for Chelokee. I think this was finally the day he unlocked the talent he has been hinting at all his career. He has been plagued by inconsistency and the inconsistency was almost completely due to mental issues. He wasn't winning when he should have been. For a moment in mid-stretch it looked like another race in the cycle. Zanjero came with a strong challenge and looked to have collared Chelokee but the Matz trainee found an extra gear and for the first time he won a race where it looked as though he could have lost. Good horses will do that and Chelokee may go on to become a horse that could challenge in the Travers.
Race of the Week: We were treated to a ton of good finishes this week but I've chosen to highlight Indian Flare's victory in the Vagrancy. She showed tremendous amounts of courage in this race. She was pinched back in the opening quarter then settled in on the rail. Coming for home she squeezed through a very tight opening between Any Limit and the fence and set sail for home. Oprah Winney looked like she had her in the bag 100 yards out but Indian Flare re-broke and actually appeared as if she could have gone around again. Top notch performance from the Juddmonte filly.
Flop of the Weekend: I was looking for someone other than the obviously poor Master Command but I really could not find a horse who underachieved more than he did. He was highly touted to win his first G-1. He was the second ranked older horse in the TCR and was even voted the second best horse in the nation on some online polls. He certainly did not run anything like a tier one star. He was done very early in this race and he couldn't even beat Wanderin Boy. Perhaps the track will be used as an excuse but clearly he is not quite the horse many hoped he would be.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: It's no surprise that Flashy Bull is the biggest winner of the weekend. He jumped up quite a bit thanks to his win in the Stephen Foster and is now the #8 ranked horse in the nation. He climbed to 3rd in his division just behind Corinthian. The Older Mares continued the recent trend, no one has stepped up and taken control of this division and this week it was Ermine's turn to shun a chance at the top spot. Take D'Tour moved up into 4th and Indian Vale to 7th. Oprah Winney, Any Limit and Mary Delaney all lost in the Vagrancy and missed out on chances to move up significantly in the Filly and Mare Sprint division. We have an interesting battle shaping up with the 3yo Turf horses. They don't have their own award but it's still nice to have the distinction of being the best of your generation. Inca King (59.26) Duveen (59.04) and Summer Doldrums (57.50) are nearly deadlocked. Hopefully we will see them all in the Virginia Derby.
Tip O’the Cap: Flashy Bull is looking like one of the best turn around stories of the year. When he went to shelf last term he was 1 for 13 lifetime and just finished getting beaten by 27 lengths in the Haskell. Since coming back he is 4 for 5 and has now captured a G-1 stakes race. He might be one of the hottest older horses in the nation right now and its great to see. You have to love 3yo's coming back at 4. Many of them are totally different animals.
KC Handicapping: Not a great week of handicapping. We only had 3 winners from 8 races and we lost nearly $4 on a straight bet basis. Things would have looked a lot more rosy though had Strike A Deal managed to nose out Summer Doldrums. That would have solved all of our problems but in a way it just would have masked the problems. I think I got a little overextended this week trying to pick more stakes than I should have. For these kind of plays it's better to keep it tight and select fewer races. For those wondering about Good Mood's closing time, it was not all that impressive. The horses in front were quitting, but it was great to watch. Nice call by voucher to identify the leparoux move to Colonial. It didn't end up working out but those are exactly the kind of plays that yield great results. Both Biancone's runners were very hot on the board but unfortunately neither of them turned out.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 16(8)-3-4-3 (-$3.90 -12.19% ROI)
Overall record: 270(108)-52-43-42 (-$4.20 -0.00% ROI)