Weekend Overview: Many favorites bit the dust in key races. Lava Man, Octave, Surf Cat, Bordonaro, J'Ray, Pussycat Doll and Out Of Control all lost at short prices and in fact only two of them even hit the frame. It was a week where many things got turned around. Though Kodiak Kowboy did confirm his class when winning the Saratoga Special with ease. He's a very solid 2yo but I'm not sure if he's the type to win the Juvenile. Crossing the Line stamped himself as a real BC Mile contender with his explosive late kick in the Del Mar Mile.
Performance of the Week: Rutherienne was fantastic in the Del Mar Oaks. Both she an Valbenny got clean trips and had every chance but the Clement filly simply put her away with ease. Her acceleration is breathtaking and she is now 7 for 8 lifetime. I'm not sure how far she really wants to go, her connections may choose to drop back to a flat mile for the Breeders Cup but if talent counts for anything she'll be a tough horse to beat all year long.
Race of the Week: The Alabama was an excellent contest to watch but since there was a bit of controversy I don't think it was the race of the week. I think in fact this week was more noted for excellent individual performances rather than tight finishes. I'd make this a tie between the Del Mar Oaks where Rutherienne was sublime, The Del Mar Mile which saw Crossing the Line emerge as a real contender and the Saratoga Special where Kodiak Kowboy put in yet another professional display.
Flop of the Weekend: I'd give this to the Pacific Classic or simply just Del Mar on the whole. The new surface is getting lambasted far and wide from outraged horsemen who contend that it isn't the same surface in the afternoons as it is in the mornings. Horses are pulling out and already they lost Maimonades and More Happy, two very impressive juveniles, who in other years would have spent the whole summer there. Now for the Pacific Classic, the showpiece race, it's the one that draws the crowd and I'm sure after top 3yo Tiago pulled out Del Mar officials were praying that Lava Man would run well and shift the focus off the surface. Instead Lava Man doesn't handle it at all and runs a dull 6th, worse still the race is won by a horse who had never tried G-1 company in a time of 2:07. The focus (bordering on blame) is once again squarely on the controversial surface.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: Not much movement aside from River's Prayer re-taking first overall in the Female Sprinters division. She and Dream Rush look to be headed towards a year end showdown to decide this group. Greg's Gold just got into third place in the Male Sprinter division, it's a very weak group and only 9 points separate the first 4. The pocket rocket Rutherienne has moved into 5th in the Female Turf division. That is quite an accomplishment considering the fact that it is an open division. Lady Joanne continued her rise through the 3yo filly ranks. She has a lot of potential and could even overtake Octave in second by years end. No one is likely to catch Rags To Riches though.
Tip O’the Cap: River's Prayer is having one of the best unnoticed seasons a horse could have. She is 5 for 5 and has won on Dirt, Turf and Polytrack. She defeated Pussycat Doll et all in the Rancho Bernardo Handicap this week and she never looked like getting beat despite the narrow margin. She has certainly come into her own as a 4yo.
KC Handicapping: A rather successful weekend of handicapping. I did only have 1 winner and my other two selections ran out of the frame but you will always give yourself a chance for success if you can identify races with vulnerable favorites. Octave ran a good race but I think Lady Joanne was just better on the day and even with a clear trip Octave was a loser. Tiago unfortunately scratched as Del Mar's Polytrack woes continue. Just as I suspected Big Booster ran down Lava Man in the final furlong and beat him by a head. It's just a shame that battle was for 5th place not first. Saratoga has been a nightmare recently, hopefully we can find a way to get back on track.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 3(2)-1-0-0 (+$5.00 +83.33% ROI)
Overall record: 335(142)-63-53-52 (-$41.40 -6.18% ROI)