Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend Review

Weekend Overview: Racing in the spring tends to be odd in that the weekends are often feast or famine. The week between the Derby and the Preakness is hardly the quietest of the year but neither is there much action generally. Most of the focus is on the Derby aftermath and the Preakness buildup. This weekend I was thankful for a good reason not to think about the Derby aftermath.

Performance of the Week: This is far from an original selection but I think Casino Drive put in the performance of the week for many different reasons. First of all it was simply a very good race by an inexperienced horse who was facing a lot of obstacles. It's not easy for a three year old maiden winner to step into G-2 company and walk away with the race. Add to that the challenges of shipping to a new continent and all the variables that brings. It's a lot for a young horse to handle but it seemed to make no difference to him. He was simply much better than the rest. It was also a great performance because of the story of his dam. He will now try to become Better Than Honour's third foal in succession to win the Belmont Stakes. The fact that he is an undefeated runner from Japan only adds to the intrigue. You can bet that if Big Brown wins the Preakness there will definitely be a division among fans. Some will cheer for a Triple Crown while others will root for one of the most amazing triples ever.

Race of the Week: If you love racing then you found plenty to keep you interested this week but no single race stood out as particularly noteworthy in this respect.

Flop of the Weekend: They say you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear. When he was first sent over Champs Elysees simply looked like a silk purse that hadn't been matched up with the appropriate gown and shoes. Most people thought Frankel would have him dolled up and ready for the red carpet in no time. But after the Jim Murray he's looking a lot more like a dowdy old leather bag. Champs Elysees did finish second to the defending champ but that's an optimists spin. The reality is that he got beaten squarely in a four horse field that he towered over and this is just another disappointment in a career marked by underachievement. He will probably win another race or two but he's a money burner who is not up to making himself a dominant force in the division.

TCR Mover’s and Shakers: Not a great of movement atop the standings. Big Brown remains the top ranked horse in the nation. Really the only other horse of note to be in action was Champs Elysees who is the #2 Turf Male but is well back of Einstein in first.

Tip O’the Cap: Hidetoshi Yamamoto and Kazuo Fujisawa please step forward. I wish more owners and trainers had the guts and pioneering spirit of these two. To bring a once raced maiden winner half way across the world to compete in a race tough race like the Belmont was very courageous and as it happens extremely well timed. Little did they know but their decision to bring their talented colt Casino Drive to America was just the tonic needed after the Derby tragedy. Nothing helps us get over a fallen hero than the debut of a potential superstar. Casino Drive, Better Than Honour and these two Japanese citizens are great stories for racing. A breath of fresh air just when the stench injuries and activists had become too much.

KC Handicapping: Well drat, I took some risks against three horses who were highly touted but unproven. All of them ended up winning. Luckily I included the clause that stated I only wanted Man of Danger if Executive Fleet scratched so I don't get docked for that one. Still he ran a great race to be second at 7/1. I took a shot against Casino Drive in the Peter Pan but that one stung me as he turned out to be quite impressive. Still I used the best two alternatives including Mint Lane who was 18/1. Bonfante just never picked it up and Street Boss proved to be the real deal.

Cumulative record of selected horses: 3(2)-0-1-1 (-$6.00 -100.00% ROI)
Overall record: 521(263)-95-91-74 (-$90.60 -8.69% ROI)

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