Weekend Overview: Is it a coincidence that on a weekend that featured a race called the Rare Treat handicap we saw two rather rare happenings? Cosmonaut won a race and the BC Juvenile winner won his first start back. BC Juvenile winners have a shockingly poor 3 for 12 record in their first races back and Cosmonaut is generally a money pit. Although almost always well backed he rarely gets in the winners circle. It is interesting also that so many of our Turf horses seem to be aimed at Dubai this year. San Luis Obispo winner Spring House looks set to join Better Talk Now and possibly Daytona at Nad al Sheba at the end of March. No American Turf horse has managed a victory in Dubai as yet.
Performance of the Week: War Pass looked phenomenal in his allowance comeback victory but I'm actually going to highlight a stakes winner from last week. I did not do a weekend review last week so I missed the chance to give credit where it was due. Ruff And Ready is the newest Turf sensation in the East and he remained undefeated on the sod with an electrifying victory in the Shotintheheart stakes at Gulfstream on Valentine's Day. It was easily the best Turf performance by any horse year to date. Although it was just a listed stakes race it did include mostly graded stakes quality horses including Silver Tree. Ruff And Ready stalked the pace closely then blew the race wide open on the turn with a quick move. In the end he had 5 3/4 lengths to spare on Silver Tree in second and he earned a solid 104 BSF. Ruff And Ready could easily become one of the best milers in the nation.
Race of the Week: Despite the underperformance of most of the well-known horses in the Fountain of Youth I thought it was a superb race to watch. The duel between Cool Coal Man and Elysium Fields was quite intriguing. Cool Coal Man tracked in behind Elysium Fields until the far turn where he swung outside and seemed to put him away with a very flashy turn of foot. But Elysium Fields kept plugging along and was nearly rewarded when Cool Coal Man seemed to pull himself up. The finish was perhaps tighter than it had to be but it sure brought me out of my seat.
Flop of the Weekend: Monba and Shamdinan but ran horrible races as well backed choices in big stakes events. Monba will escape my ire this week because it seems as though he emerged from the Fountain of Youth a little beat up. Shamdinan on the other hand has no place to hide. He is simply an overrated horse who needs soft-ish ground to succeed. He is not nearly as good as his second place BC Turf finish suggests.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: We have a new overall leader. Spring At Last enjoyed 3 weeks atop the standings but Einstein has deposed him thanks to his victory in the G-1 GP Turf as well as his allowance victory earlier this year. That lead could be short lived though as we have the Big Cap coming up this weekend. the winner of that race will almost assuredly take the top spot. Einstein has also obviously moved to the head of the Turf Male division. Cool Coal Man is the new top Three Year Old Male. He's 2 for 2 this year and if he manages to take the Florida Derby next time out he may stay atop the list until the Kentucky Derby.
Tip O’the Cap: Who is the first stakes winner to accumulate three wins in 2008? That honor goes to Runway Rosie who took the Rare Treat Handicap at Aqueduct with a gutsy stretch drive to deny Wild Hoots at the line. Runway Rosie's star has fallen a bit since her 3rd place finish to Rags to Riches in the 2007 Las Virgenes but she's found new life since switching to Gary Contessa's barn and she's taken 3 straight. This is not a Grade 1 mare by any means but she's been a solid campaigner and for this week we tip our cap to her.
KC Handicapping: The results posted below include last weeks selections as well. I didn't have a weekend roundup last week because of my vacation. A slight profit was gleaned in both the last two weekends thanks to Einstein and Dreaming of Anna. My wagers in the Triple Crown prep races did not work out as planned but I'm simply pleased to be making a little while not firing on all cylinders. Dreaming Of Anna continues to be a very tough horse to pass but I think her distance limit will be 9f or even less against top class horses. Einstein could be the best grass horse in the East but he has much to prove as he's never contested any of the big summer and fall events.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 5(4)-2-0-0 (+$3.60 +36.00% ROI)
Overall record: 474(227)-89-79-67 (-$39.00 -4.11% ROI)