Friday, February 29, 2008

Weekend Picks and Analysis

Santa Anita Handicap
What a race, the Big Cap is still a big draw and while we haven't got any superstars we do have a superb lineup that is both accomplished and evenly matched. My first time looking over the PP's I had no idea what to do with this race. My second time over the PP's I decided that it was impossible. They say the third time is the charm so on my third try I attempted to look at the race from a bit of a historical profile standpoint. I've seen a fair amount of Big Cap's and I've got the data for some even that I haven't seen. Since this race seems so wide open it's hard to find an edge. A few statistics might give us that edge. The first thing I like to see is who is actually fast enough on their best day to beat this group. By my measurement Medici Code, Air Commander, Seminole Native and Student Council are all too slow. Most Big Cap winners (aside from Milwaukee Brew) also had a recent win. At least one in their last 3 starts and a good many of them were coming off a sharp win. That is a bad sign for Tiago and Awesome Gem, although both of them more than fit the Milwaukee Brew type profile. Given the prices on those two it's likely better to stay away from them. Great Hunter, Celtic Dreamin and Big Booster have also all failed to win a race recently. Another thing I noticed was that horses who are newly into a form cycle have dominated. That means if a horses has had more than 3 races since their last layoff they have typically not done as well. Zappa and Heatseeker have been going nonstop since last May. This might not be the best time for them to have the toughest tests of their life, both in terms of the quality of opposition and the distance. That leaves me with Champs Elysees, Monterey Jazz and Go Between as the most likely winners. Monterey Jazz is the hot horse and I'm deathly afraid of him because of the pace setup. He'll likely get things all his own way but at the same time I really think his last race was one of those scenario's where everything lines up perfectly and you get a freak out performance as a result. 10f will be a tough task for this son of Thunderello and despite his razor sharp form I'll go against him. That leaves us with Champs Elysees and Go Between by process of elimination. Champs Elysees is a total wildcard, he has always struggled to perform up to expectations on the grass. Despite running well in both races in America I must confess that he nearly put me to sleep both times. He doesn't really have the flash on turf like his relatives did perhaps a move to an All Weather surface will finally bring the best out of him. Go Between would seem like a much safer bet. All Weather surfaces have definitely made a new horse out of him and I do not expect him to be as far back as he was last time out. The 12 post is a worry but with so little speed in here and the long run up Gomez should have no trouble tucking in before they get to the first turn. I'll be using Go Between and Champs Elysees on top with Tiago, Awesome Gem and Monterey Jazz underneath.

Go Between
Champs Elysees

Davona Dale Stakes
Although there is a short field for this race I do think that it's a chance to make some money. Perhaps not a lot of money, the top two choices really standout but money is money. Essentially I think Game Face and Bsharpsonata lay over this field and Game Face may even be streets ahead of Bsharpsonata. Pletcher's top filly may actually be his top 3yo since the males have not panned out well so far. Game Face looks like the real deal and Pletcher is very good at getting them to perform first time they stretch out. American County should dictate the pace but she seems to be quite limited stamina wise. I know she has not yet tried longer distances but she looks like an out and out sprinter. 8f around one turn is a very tough race for early speed because you essentially have to sprint the entire way. Game Face settles beautifully and seems to be able to move whenever asked. The plucky Bsharpsonata is a dangerous horse to underestimate but I think there are limits to her talent. No one can question her heart or versatility and I hope she runs very well but I think Game Face will be too much for her. A straight exacta on those two could end up being good value. The payout won't be big but the probability is very good.

Game Face


peeptoad said...

The Big Cap sure is tough. There are at least five or six in here who could take the thing, so my main wager will be a box exacta, but I'm going to be watching the tote until the last minute on this one. I actually really like Medici Code in here. He may look a bit slow on paper vs. Big Cap winners of the past, but this is an entirely different surface. MC has been running admirably (and consistently ) against his opposition on the turf, and he won 3 of 4 on the synth overseas before coming here. So, he'll be turning back to a surface he's had success on before, plus he's been training lights out over the SA track recently. He's also coming back off a short break and the last time he did that he ran close to his top BSF (on turf). Going to take a stab with him in this wide open race...

Kennedy said...

Just to clarify my "not fast enough" comment was in comparison to today's field not from past runnings. I took all the BSF's achieved on AW surfaces in route races over the last year and concluded that a horse needs to run at least a 101 to get it done here.

Medici Code might step up but I prefer to stay on the side of the numbers. Best of luck with him though, the race is really wide open and hardly anyone would be a shock. To be honest Medci Code did catch my eye prior to looking at his speed figures.