Weekend Overview: Lava Man is the story of the weekend, the story of the month and could be the story of the year. Barbaro, Bernardini and Bluegrass Cat are all retired from last year. Hard Spun, Curlin and Street Sense will all likely be retired from this year. Lava Man however will continue to race as long as his legs hold up. He is not the fastest horse in America, he probably never has been but is there an easier horse to cheer for? 3 consecutive Hollywood Gold Cups is a fantastic achievement. Not only that he is on target to sweep the big Californian triple for the second year in a row. He's won G-1's on Dirt, Turf and now All-Weather, we're watching a living legend folks. Lets not forget we saw some decent other racing as well. Remarkable News tore up the track at Churchill. Octave finally shed her seconditis, Out of Control may have marked himself as a top class turf horse of the future and Citronnade remained unbeaten this year.
Performance of the Week: Who is the best sprinter you've never heard of? Well it just may be Benny The Bull. He won his first career stakes race this weekend in the Iowa Sprint Handicap. Benny The Bull is modestly bred (Lucky Lionel - (Birdonthewire)) and trained by Jeff Talley but if his Iowa Sprint is any indication he is a very fine horse in the making. He was well off the pace but rallied strongly to beat a very decent horse in Cougar Cat. Cougar Cat of course was second to Fabulous Strike last time out so it's a very good form referral. Benny The Bull has now record Beyer Speed Figures of 111 and 108 in his last two starts and is 9-4-0-2 overall but 4-3-0-1 at 6f. Look for him at a Midwest track near you.
Race of the Week: Races like the Hollywood Gold Cup are far too rare. I dare not cheapen it with my own descriptive simply watch and enjoy one of the best spectacle's of our time: Hollywood Gold Cup
Flop of the Weekend: Is it Corinthian or Molengao? Both ran significantly beneath expectations. Corinthian just showed nothing at all. It was much like his Excelsior loss, he simply did not show up and was without a significant excuse. Molengao, although he finished 4th, was just as bad. He had no finishing punch at all. He sat closer to the pace than usual but the pace was slower than usual. He was done at the top of the lane. Huge disappointments, both of them, it points to a real lack of class in this division.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: Lava Man moves to 4th overall and is within striking distance of the overall lead, a position he held for almost all of 2006. Some thought he would be a spent force coming back from Dubai but he looks pretty good to me and it's not hard to see him winning another few stakes races before the year is out. Citronnade is having a fabulous year as well. I think it's time for her to start travelling a bit but what she has accomplished in California has put her right up with the best horses in the nation. Political Force makes a big jump into 7th spot overall which maybe seems a little high, but numbers don't lie. He's had a very good first half of the season.
Tip O’the Cap: H. Allen Jerkens is a master trainer. I've never been able to really get a line on when his horses will run well but I think much of the nation struggles with the same thing. He only seems to win with horses that are longer shots. Political Force really had no business winning the Suburban. I thought before the race that he wouldn't last the distance and after the race it seemed as though I was right. He didn't stay the distance he was tired and drifting but Jerkens had him so spot on that he was able to marvellously overachieve on that day and actually got 10f in 2:00 flat. For a miler that is something else, for the Giant Killer it's just another day at the office. After all he's been doing this since the era of Kelso.
KC Handicapping: Unlike most other sports horse racing continually offers one the opportunity to develop the virtue of humility. This weekend seemed like it was predestined to be just that. Just as a I finish a lengthy paragraph explaining why Remarkable News is less effective at a mile he wins in a walk and records the highest Turf Beyer Speed Figure of the year. My picks ran second and third. There were two lovable old geldings in action at Hollywood. The one I presented as a lock lost his photo finish, the one I decided to oppose won his photo finish. Such is the life of a horse player, especially one that loses money.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 7(4)-1-3-1 (-$6.80 -48.57% ROI)
Overall record: 284(115)-53-47-45 (-$25.00 -4.40% ROI)