Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holiday Weekend Picks and Analysis - Part 3

I love the annual 2yo Festival at Churchill Downs. They run 12 races all for 2yo's including 4 stakes races. The fields are usually excellent and it's one of those days that I always feel compelled to handicap the whole card. Here are my single selections for each Churchill Downs race on Saturday. As usual you can get the PP's of every race I give selections for at Kennedy's Corridor by clicking on the race numbers below.

Churchill Downs

Race #1 - Temper Temper
Race #2 - EZ Phone Home
Race #3 - Anachini
Race #4 - Slow Sand
Race #5 - Thirteen Moons
Race #6 - Major General
Race #7 - High Surf
Race #8 - Old Man Buck
Race #9 - CJ's Leelee
Race #10 - Macho Again
Race #11 - Halo Najib
Race #12 - Tizzy

Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes
Amongst the tasty menu of 2yo races I find this the most savory. The bettors will be somewhat indecisive over who the standouts are in this race but I have my mind firmly made up. I think Halo Najib is a very very good 2yo with a bright future. I think he is every bit as talented as Cool Coal Man and Wicked Style and I prefer his running style. His maiden victory was colossal, he looked like he could be a legitimate stakes horse off that performance and he confirmed the form next out when he made a wide move for the lead on the far turn and put away his rivals before being caught late on the outside by a late runner. Patience is a virtue and I'm not sure why so many jocks make early runs with stalkers waiting an extra hundred yards would still see them get first run on the late runners but it wouldn't leave them exposed. Halo Najib looked as if he thought the job was done once he put away St. Joe. He didn't get much of a look at Court Vision on his outside, and Court Vision by the way is a very useful 2yo himself. Zayat Stables was done very well in buying 2yo's for racing in this crop. They dominated the maidens at Saratoga and Keeneland, now I think we'll start to see the fruit of that in stakes races. Halo Najib is the pick of the lot in my opinion. A very handsome chestnut with good action and the natural ability to stalk the pace and quicken when asked. I think he'll go right by Wicked Style and Cool Coal Man who will be duking it out on the front end.

Halo Najib

Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash
I've had some very nice scores in this race in the past and once again I feel pretty confident about this renewal. It is often a race where emerging sprint talents confirm their status in the top tier. In this year's running it's the coming of age for Talent Search and Benny The Bull. They're the only ones good enough to win this race aside from perhaps High Finance on his best day. But High Finance is so inconsistent and is mostly unproven at the distance. I think the presence of legitimate speed like Talent Search and the rabbit Holly Time will see him fold tamely. Talent Search is the speed of the speed. I identified him as such in the BC Sprint and if you can lead that race early on you can definitely lead this one. Once the rest of the speed wilts he will be the horse still standing. But in this scenario I think the early pace will take it's toll and Benny The Bull will roll on past him. Laurel is fairly kind to closing sprinters and I think Benny is sitting on a breakout race. He does not have any recorded workouts since the Breeders Cup but don't let that dissuade you. Dutrow has his horses fit when he sends them to G-1's.

Benny The Bull

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