Weekend Overview: Californian three year-olds strike yet again at Behindatthebar gets up late to deny Samba Rooster a mimic encore performance of Sinister Minister. Rite Moment stayed hot with her 5th win of the year and Panty Raid was just about the only Pletcher horse to lose over the weekend as the favorites all fell once again in the Polytrack stakes races.
Performance of the Week: It's not often I give the performance of the week to a horse that didn't win but that's exactly what I'm doing this week. Samba Rooster put in a phenomenal effort in the Lexington. Polytrack never favors run off speed and although a horse can win wire to wire at Keeneland they do so by setting moderate to slow fractions. Samba Rooster clicked off fractions of :22.78 :45.21 and 1:09.48 and yet no one got to him until the last 5o yards. He held off everyone but the winner. It was his first race for Bob Baffert and look for this one to develop quickly over his next few starts. I'd be buying Haskell future bets on him right now. He obviously handles the All Weather tracks but speed is so much more dangerous on dirt.
Race of the Week: The Federico Tesio stakes is no longer a credible Derby trial race but it did produce both a sparkling performance by the winner and a heart stopping stretch duel. Icabad Crane may just be a 3yo of note as he bounced back from his first career defeat to out duel Mint Lane for the win. Icabad Crane got pinched back at the start and settled near the back but showed a very handy turn of foot to make a few different moves and pick his way through traffic. Mint Lane was not an easy horse to get past after going a half in :48.49 but the Motion trainee Icabad Crane fought him off and seemed to be holding him safely at the line despite the tight margin. Icabad Crane is now undefeated in 3 starts on the dirt, his only career loss was a 3rd place finish in the Rushaway.
Flop of the Weekend: All the horses with Derby aspirations that wound up in the Lexington. That means Atoned, Tomcito and Salute the Sarge. All of them lost their chance at the Derby. Salute The Sarge could still enter if his connections are deluded but he clearly showed that he doesn't belong. Atoned and Tomcito had no excuses as the pace seemed to set up well for them. They simply didn't run a step.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: Female Sprinters made the biggest splash this week as Rite Moment took her record to 6-5-1-0 on the year with a win in the Bed O'Roses. All her races have come at Aqueduct and she has not faced Sugar Swirl yet but she has accomplished enough to be the top ranked Female Sprinter and the 5th best horse in the nation. Another top sprinting filly is Danceroftherealm. She has not won a graded stakes this year but that is because there are almost none for Turf sprinting females. She is undefeated in 3 starts this year and is now the 3rd ranked Female Turf horse and the 4th ranked Female Sprinter.
Tip O’the Cap: It's hard to see Todd Pletcher as underrated but when it comes to the Triple Crown trail many regard him in a somewhat derisive manner. Up until two weeks ago he had no one for the Derby. Now he's got 3 horses coming in off of hot performances. I don't know if any of his charges are actually up to winning a Triple Crown race but keep a close eye on the entrant of his that the public dismisses.
KC Handicapping: Another poor week of handicapping although I managed to keep my losses down by only selecting one horse. Got beaten again by the "other Pletcher". It's a pretty potent angle. As far as Keeneland went it was my best week of the meet in that I only lost -7%. You know you're in a slump when you celebrate small losses.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 1(1)-0-0-0 (-$2.00 -100.00% ROI)
Overall record: 502(249)-91-87-71 (-$80.40 -8.01% ROI)