Friday, March 14, 2008

Weekend Picks and Analysis

Cicada Stakes
A short field is not usually the best place to go to find good value but I'm hoping that the parity among this group will at least make a decent return possible. There are 6 entrants and all 6 could win. I think two of them (Psycho DJ, True Intentions) are unlikely to win on account of being too slow but True Intentions is coupled in the betting with my choice. As in many sprint races this one is loaded with speed. Dill Or No Dill and Carolyn's Cat have traded punches on the front end and each one is vowing to be in front again. I suspect that Throbbin Heart may actually be faster than both of them but the pace should be lively. Especially considering that Contessa trains Dill or No Dill and has the best stalker in the field. Throbbin Heart is the main danger in my mind but I really like Ready For Fortune to sweep past them all in the final furlong. She has already shown marked improvement since coming to Contessa's barn but I suspect a big factor has also been switching to dirt. The entry mate will shorten her price ever so slightly but I'm hoping for something around 5/2. The three speed horses should all be around that price as well, bettors will be wary that although an abundance of speed sometimes creates a pace meltdown quite often in sprints the speed of the speed simply takes the race by the throat and never looks back.

Ready For Fortune

Rebel Stakes
Of all the Derby preps this weekend I think the Rebel is the deepest and has the possibility of producing the most Derby horses. Sierra Sunset, Sacred Journey, Golden Yank, King Silver's Son, Anak Nakal and Z Fortune could all have a Derby future if they run well. However the road will end here for most of them. I have never been a fan of Anak Nakal and I think he'll flop yet again in this sport he simply is not very good in my opinion. Golden Yank is a horse I'd cheer for but not bet. It's hard to argue with his results but he's just had 6 works this year and he does not appear to be sharpened. I think he'd be doing fabulous if he even hits the frame. The talent might be there but I don't think he's ready. That leaves me with 4 real candidates for the win spot. Z Fortune is the clear and obvious horse to beat. I personally rank him as the #3 Derby contender in the nation. He's got good tactical speed and a decent turn of foot. He is on the cusp of either becoming a real viable Derby horse or just an average pretender. His works since the Risen Star have actually been better than Pyro's. I'd love to see a powerful performance in this race that would indicate he's up possibly challenging War Pass and Pyro but with an outside post and just mediocre speed figures he is not unbeatable if he fails to improve. Sacred Journey is an interesting horse not only for this race but for the Triple Crown Trail overall. There is no one out there as fast as War Pass right now, in fact most of the other contenders don't have any speed at all. This horse does, in fact he has some pretty crazy speed but what I love about him is the fact that he did not completely capitulate in the Southwest. The chart called him unrateable as he blazed through the early part of the Southwest. the fact that he was beaten is not a surprise but he did very well in my opinion to hang on for third. Since that race he's just had one slow work and I can imagine that Stewart has been galloping him slowly in an effort to tone him down a bit. If it works this horse is live to wire the field. there are a few others who might challenge him early but at the same time not many will want to hook him if he's going to run off. The fear of getting burned by him might actually help him to control a moderate pace. Seirra Sunset is a contender but the more I look at him the more I see a poor man's version of Z Fortune. Anything he can do the Asmussen grey can do better. Asmussen has another grey in this race though that might turn into the wiseguy selection. King Silver's Son has been a workmate for Z Fortune and he did very well against him. He always had talent but struggled with the mental side of winning. With horses who cannot seem to win but run well consistently I usually like to see two things to break up the trend. #1: A bad race (which he had at Churchill) #2: A layoff (which he got after his bad race). He came back and put all those memories behind him with a strong rally at the Fair Grounds. Now is the time to get on board. He's a one run closer which is a bit of a concern but I'm actually expecting an all Asmussen exacta with the two grey's deciding the spoils between them.

Z Fortune
King Silver's Son

San Felipe Stakes
This race has a ton of variables in it just two horses, both longshots, have ever won a main track race around two turns. All 4 of the favorites have never even tried two turns. This emboldens me a bit to take a shot with a new shooter. Shediak was a very nice juvenile in Europe last term. He won at first asking and then went straight into stakes company. Although he didn't manage to win he did acquit himself very well, especially in the G-1 Jean-Luc Lagardere. He was extremely rank that day and fought his rider for the first half mile. It looked as though he'd fade into the pack but he actually produced a nice turn of foot and stayed on stubbornly. He is bred to run all day long and although Selkirk does not produce dirt horses this isn't dirt. He has worked extremely well on the surface since coming here and O'Neill is as good as any with a 3yo. I think that unlike Georgie Boy, Gayego and Bob Black Jack he is sure to stay the distance. He has already shown the ability to be close to the pace and he has a nice turn of foot. The one question mark with him is why the Aga Khan was willing to sell him. He looked like he had a nice future but perhaps bleeding was an issue. I'm opposing Bob Black Jack for sure, I don't think he stays at all. Gayego will likely run well but I think he's a cut below Georgie Boy. Georgie Boy strikes me as a horse with a ceiling, stamina wise. But he reminds me very much of Came Home in the respect that despite a suspected lack of stamina he's got enough class to win races like this. If Shediak does not produce something special this race will be won by the solid Georgie Boy.


1 comment:

peeptoad said...

We are in complete agreement about this weekend's races, although I have not yet looked at the Cicada pps. King's Silver Son is my price horse in the Rebel. I think Z Fortune has the class & ability to beat him, but he's a horse I love to use underneath. Just hope he goes off at a square price. The San Felipe is basically going to boil down to whether Georgie Boy will stay 2 turns. If he does, then he wins easily. Fortunately for him, most of his competitors in here are either a cut (or several) below him in class or they have the same question marks he does. Bob Black Jack is a toss for me. He benefited from a speed favoring track with no real pressure in his last, and he's not going to get that set up tomorrow. He's faltered when thrown into graded company before and I can see no reason why he'll manage to hang on here. I do like Shediak, if for no other reason than he is a French-bred. :) He does have the breeding to go farther and turf horses generally perform well on this synth surface. He's definitely a play in a field with a number of question marks.