Weekend Overview: A good mixture of upsets, brilliant performances and tough finishes characterized the last week of meaningful Breeders Cup prep races. Belmont saw the rise of three stars War Pass, Indian Blessing and Nobiz Like Showbiz. Nobiz was already a big name but his performance in the Jamaica showed a new dimension and I think it signals a readiness to try the upper echelon of Turf stars. Sadly Lava Man and The Tin Man were both beaten on the Santa Anita sod but for anyone who loves sophomores it was another excellent weekend as 3yo's took the Ancient Title, Spinster and Lady's Secret over older rivals.
Performance of the Week: Two horses that really caught the eye this week. Wicked Style was fantastic in the Breeders Futurity. This unbeaten colt showed guts in his last race to deny Riley Tucker then comes back and wires a two turn race on Keeneland's Polytrack from the 12 post. Not only did he beat this field, he crushed them easily powering through the final furlong. Daaher has turned into a monster, he has a become a bit of a blog favorite but it's easy to see why as he annexed the Jerome field earning a 110 Beyer. Blinkers made all the difference with him and I'm already looking forward to seeing him run as a 4yo. He should be a powerhouse next year.
Race of the Week: I liked the Alcibiades, Country Star came with an electrifying run to deny the smooth Grace Anatomy and the hard running A To The Croft. It wasn't the fastest race in the world but it was a superb race to watch visually. I could not help but feel a sense of deja vu. It reminded me very much of last years Breeders Futurity and for those who recall the 3 top finishers from that race came back to run 1-2-3 in reverse order in the BC Juvenile. Should we buy the Grace Anatomy/A To The Croft/Country Star trifecta ticket right now?
Flop of the Weekend: The form of the Hopeful was the week's major disappointment. After that race most people though that Majestic Warrior and Ready's Image would prove to be the divisions best. The Champagne brought those expectations to a screeching halt. Both horses showed less than nothing, they were just brutal and I think the bandwagons (at least for this year) have stopped completely.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: No horses in the top 10 were in action and no one managed to break into the top 10. Nobiz Like Showbiz was the highest ranked horse in action and he improved to be the 14th ranked horse overall. Greg's Gold took over top spot in the Sprinter division despite losing the Ancient Title. That division has been very weak this year and more than half the field in the BC Sprint would go straight to the #1 spot with a win. Wicked Style becomes the top 2yo Colt with his win in the Breeders Futurity, War Pass also made waves with his Champagne score. Precious Kitten solidified her second place in the Female Turf division and Panty Raid checks in as the #3 3yo Filly giving Todd Pletcher a sweep of the top 3 placings in that division.
Tip O’the Cap: The tip of the cap this week goes to Dylan Thomas for his excellent season to date. With his Arc win over the weekend he has now won the championship older horse events in England, Ireland and France. He'll be looking to add America to that list in 3 weeks time when he tries the BC Turf. He has not been unbeatable this year but he has been up to the task when it's really mattered.
KC Handicapping: It was a great weekend in terms of profitability. It's the first nice week we've had like that for a while. Transduction Gold took the Sycamore at 15/1 and Purim took the Shadwell at 20/1. Unfortunately it was not such a great week in terms of winning percentage. I analysed 7 races and only came out with 2 winners from 12 win selections. The longshots covered the cracks for me. Transduction Gold did not run the race I expected out of him in terms of setting the pace but luckily his connections knew better and he was able to rally for the win. We're now down just -3% after a year of handicapping. Not great but not terrible either considering that we're picking horses one or two days in advance.
For those following the Keeneland picks on the sidebar I'll say it right now. Yes this is as good as it gets. I've had 10 winners (33%) and am up $40.80 (68%) on straight win bets. There is no way I can sustain that pace for another two weeks.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 12(7)-2-3-1 (+$53.60 +223.33% ROI)
Overall record: 377(168)-68-65-58 (-$27.80 -3.69% ROI)