Weekend Overview: Race fans live for weekend's like this. Bustin Stones and Zenyatta remained undefeated with excellent G-1 victories. War Pass and Tiago got their stuttering campaigns back on track with good performances in the Wood and Oaklawn Handicap. Recapturetheglory and Precious Passion both stole a G-2 in front running style and Colonel John stamped himself as a Derby contender of the highest order. For those worried about how Californian synthetic form translates to dirt. Tiago, Zenyatta and Heatseeker all gave that form a big boost. The talented J Be K also stamped himself as a horse to watch with a great performance in the Bay Shore.
Performance of the Week: I thought the best individual performance of the weekend was easily Zenyatta's powerful race in the Apple Blossom. Facing champion Ginger Punch for the first time there was some doubt as to whether or not this lightly race filly would be able to maintain her unbeaten record. She was far back in the early stages and even around the far turn still had plenty to do but once this big horse gets down to business it seems inevitable that she'll simply make up as much ground as she needs to. In a flash she was well in front under a hand ride. She destroyed the field by 4 1/2 lengths and looked as though she never really got warmed up. She displays an incredible amount of talent and professionalism for a horse with just 4 starts. She's built like a tank and physically looks like more than a match for most of the older males. She is far and away the best filly in training and conceivably she has much more improving to do. If you're looking for a reason to become excited about this game look no further.
Race of the Week: Oaklawn was the place to be this weekend. You may not have seen any Derby prep races but you did see the best performance of the week by Zenyatta, Eight Belles continued her fine streak and you also would have seen the most exciting race of the year in the Oaklawn Handicap. Heatseeker came into Oaklawn as the favorite off of his win in the Santa Anita Handicap but he'd never been on dirt. Tiago was 4th in the Big Cap and was looking to get his season back on track. These two blew past the pace setter at the head of the lane and there was nothing between them for the whole stretch. Tiago wound up just nipping Heatseeker on the wire but it was almost too close to call. This is a legitimate candidate for race of the year.
Flop of the Weekend: Definitely has to be Denis Of Cork or his connections. He has been babied along the trail and they were scared that he might bounce if they ran him back too soon after the Risen Star. They chose the Illinois Derby as his last stop and he did not perform well at all. perhaps the track was speed favoring or perhaps he bounced anyway. Regardless he performed well below expectations and now his connections have to take a long look at whether the Derby is even an option.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: This was the first big weekend of the year with more than just a G-1 or two. There were 5 G-1's and not surprisingly 4 of those 5 horse made it into the top 10. Curlin still has more points than any other horse but since he has not run at least once in North America he is not eligible to be included in the TCR standings. Heatseeker's narrow loss at Oaklawn saw him relinquish the overall top spot that he's held for 5 weeks. The new #1 horse in America is Bustin Stones who edged past Heatseeker by 0.98pts. Bustin Stones is undefeated and turned in another good performance in the Carter. He went to the front and never looked back which is tough to do at 7f. Zenyatta is the new top Main Track Older Female, Bsharpsonata took back the Three Year Old Female division and Colonel John is the temporary top Three Year Old Male. The divisions and overall standings are beginning to sort themselves out and over the next few months you should see more consistency among the top five in each division.
Tip O’the Cap: I think Bsharpsonata may just be my favorite filly and I have to give her another salute for her gutsy race in the Ashland. She'll now go to the Kentucky Oaks with a stellar record but won't be anywhere near one of the betting favorites. This horse does not get the respect she deserves but Salzman knows what he's got and congratulations to him for getting the best out of her. Maybe the gamest and most versatile filly in the nation.
KC Handicapping: I felt rather good about my selections for this week and all of them race decent. It's a shame I still lost money because Hyperbaric nearly got it done against Daytona and for a moment at the head of the stretch it looked as though Executive Fleet would be a winner as well. There was good value in exacta's and trifecta's if you used Coast Guard and Executive Fleet.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 5(4)-1-2-2 (-$2.80 -28.00% ROI)
Overall record: 493(242)-90-87-71 (-$69.80 -7.08% ROI)