Weekend Overview: Frank Stronach may have attracted the ire of faithful racing fans for his renovation of Gulfstream Park's grandstand but I think few would complain with the quality of racing seen at his track. Especially over this weekend. We were treated to 5 quality stakes races and although it was the only action of note this weekend it was certainly worth tuning in for.
Performance of the Week: It really is a shame that Chatain was not around for the BC Dirt Mile because this horse excels at the distance. He won the Hal's Hope again in fine style. He settled nicely in the early going and made a move on the turn. After seeing him move up to the leaders I wondered how much he'd have left for the stretch drive but he moved by them so easily I barely had time to process the thought. Chatain is probably as good as anyone in a one turn mile. I would love to see him take on the Met Mile this year.
Race of the Week: Lady Marlboro's duel with Golden Velvet almost earned her Performance of the Week as well as a highlight in this space. The Sabin Handicap was a thrilling contest to say the least. Lady Marlboro and Mini Sermon contested the pace from the outset and Golden Velvet sat very nicely in behind much like Noonmark did in the Mr Prospector. Around the far turn Mini Sermon seemed to put Lady Marlboro away and Golden Velvet swung out and began to menace. As Golden Velvet was grinding down the favorite on the outside Lady Marlboro got her second wind and came through a very tight gap on the rail. The tightness of the gap seemed to slow her run a bit and she just got even Golden Velvet in the last jump. A dead heat was the official result but it seemed a little cruel to Lady Marlboro who overcame quite a bit.
Flop of the Weekend: No question that the biggest disappointment of the weekend was Santa Anita's inability to card a single race. I am not intimately involved in the process so I will not cast blame on a certain person or group but collectively all parties involved in this debacle get a big thumbs down.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: The 2008 standings are still in their infancy since so few Graded races have been run. The 2008 standings will not be posted on the main page of this blog until after the Sunshine Millions. For the month of January we will continue to focus on the TCR Awards. We still need your votes so follow the link and cast your ballot!
Tip O’the Cap: I think Tom Albertrani deserves a special mention for his work with Host. The 8 year old is far from a frequent winner and he seemed to go stale under the care of Pletcher. But Albertrani has him back to his best and quietly has one of the best winning percentages in Graded Stakes of any trainer over the last few years. He's won a cool 27% which approaches super trainer status but obviously aside from Bernardini he's had a lot fewer stars than guys like Pletcher, Asmussen and Baffert.
KC Handicapping: Santa Anita obviously did not run any races so the wager on Molengao is refunded. We'll keep an eye out for when that field is reassembled. Thorn Song looked pretty bad in the Canadian Turf. We will take a hands off approach until an excuse is found or until he shows some life. He sat well off a fast pace but had no kick when the running began. The Mr Prospector ended up finishing exactly as I predicted in option 2. Keyed Entry is not back for real and he faded badly. Noonmark was perfectly placed and won with a touch of ease I'd say. That was more due to the tactics than actual dominance but his result turns us a nice profit for the week.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 3(2)-1-0-0 (+$6.60 +110.00% ROI)
Overall record: 445(206)-81-74-66 (-$50.00 -5.62% ROI)