Weekend Overview: This weekend was a real treat for race fans. No major injuries, some great finishes and a lot of classy horses doing what they were supposed to do. We even got a few nice upsets. Lahudood was the biggest upset of the weekend for sure, I was personally more impressed with Rosinka though. Hard Spun claimed Street Sense's scalp but again I think the loser has better prospects going forward. It was great to see Nashoba's Key remain undefeated. I sure hope we get to see her beyond this season. I was also pleased that The Leopard came back into form with a win in the Pilgrim. I'm developing a bit of a soft spot for this guy.
Performance of the Week: Fabulous Strike without a doubt. He is now undefeated in races under 7f on a fast track and he's been getting huge numbers to boot. He dueled with Talent Search through fast fractions and simply drew off as if he'd joined at the quarter pole. Talent Search if you recall also had a real duel with Diabolical earlier in the year but he ran him all the way to the line. Fabulous Strike just laughed him off and won for fun. There might not be a horse good enough to beat him in the BC Sprint.
Race of the Week: Take your pick, the Turf Classic, Beldame, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Goodwood, Oak Leaf and Kelso all had tight finishes. Given the quality of those races as well it wouldn't be unfair to suggest that this was the finest weekend of racing year to date. I think the Jockey Club Gold Cup has to stand out as the best race though. It was the match up we were all excited about. Curlin got off to a sluggish start but I think that was preferable to Lawyer Ron's rank start. Like English Channel, Lawyer Ron seems to be a very tough horse to settle. The energy he expended may have cost him the race. Curlin put in a superb effort, reminiscent of his Preakness win. Although in this race he seemed to have grown up quite a bit. Aside from the tardy break he was professional and to my eye is one of the most physically solid routers since Skip Away. He looked like a bull and he exuded raw power. He might be a monster as a 4yo. I think his win here was more dominant over Lawyer Ron than the winning margin suggests. He always seemed likely to catch him in the lane.
Flop of the Weekend: Royal Highness never picked up her feet in the Flower Bowl. It might have been the very hard turf because I think she's better than this but still no matter what excuse you come up with she should have done better than she did.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: Tons of action atop the leader board. The overall leader, Street Sense, held onto his spot by less than a point over Curlin. What it means is that the top 4 horses who are still active would all be the #1 ranked horse with a win in the Classic. For Any Given Saturday or Tiago to take top spot they need to win the Classic and hope the others bomb. After Market is still the top ranked turf horse but he now seems to be without a championship race. Nashoba's Key continued her remarkable run and is the top Older Female and also looks set to be the top Turf Female. Fabulous Strike stormed into the top 3 in the Sprint division and he and Smokey Stover look set to have a showdown in the BC. Smarty Deb moved to the top of the 2yo filly ranks thanks to a 4 for 4 record. Though the whole division has not really taken shape yet.
Tip O’the Cap: Todd Pletcher has been getting some bad press lately and I've even taken a few shots at him in this space but his stable came back into form in a big way this weekend. I'm a big believer that if you're willing to criticize someone for the bad you should also be willing to praise them for the good. He went 19-4-6-4 for the weekend with 2 G-1 wins. His charges looked very good and unlike in recent weeks when they've been backing up in the stretch the majority of his horses put up a good fight in the lane even if they lost in the end. The Todd Squad is back in business.
KC Handicapping: I did pretty well with the head to head picks. I was right in 4 of the 6 instances. Lewis Micheal really disappointed me. He got the kind of trip I was hoping for he just didn't have the punch in the lane. Oddly enough the only other 3 horses I mentioned ran 1-2-3. The Beldame was a tough beat, I did not really like the way Johnny V spent so much time looking for Ginger Punch but Indian Vale was clearly up to the task. I really thought she would hold off Unbridled Belle I nearly started counting the money at the head of the stretch when she jumped away from Frankel's horse. Her 7/1 price was simply what dreams are made of. Too bad it turned out to be a bad dream. Dixie Chatter on the other hand nearly spared my blushes for the weekend. This horse looks like a solid two turn horse. He is powerful in the front and back and if he stays healthy and proves good enough he might be a classic type. He is certainly built for it.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 4(3)-1-1-0 (-$0.20 -2.50% ROI)
Overall record: 365(161)-66-62-57 (-$81.40 -11.15% ROI)