Thursday, August 07, 2008

Weekend Picks And Analysis

Secretariat Stakes
I'm not sure if I'll be around much on Friday so I'll have to get in some of the weekend handicapping now. That will give you plenty of time to make yourself aware of who I've selected and confidently toss them from consideration. I have a feeling that all three favorites: Tizdejavu, Precious Kitten and Archipenko can all lose but mostly likely only one or two of them will. I think one is justified in taking shots in all three races because you never know when the value might spring up. Tizdejavu is the heaviest favorite in all three races and he can definitely win. I'm not up to taking a strong stand against him. But I see him as vulnerable for a few reasons. One reason is that everyone knows what he's all about. He'll go straight to the front and try to gallop them off their feet. I always worry taking a confirmed speedster at a short price going long on the grass. Someone could easily decide to get suicidal and spoil his chances. Sr. Henry chased home The Tiz last time out and has more speed than he showed. He might decide to go head to head with him. Another real worry about Tizdejavu is that despite three nice wins on the grass he has never stepped up and run a big figure. His dominance may be an illusion of sorts and although I was already biased towards Gio Ponti before this campaign started I think Gio Ponti has even shown the neutral he's already better than The Tiz. It has also been a long time since Tizdejavu got a rest. I'm a firm believer that big turf events like this often go to horses with a recent freshening. Any more than three races into a form cycle and I start to get nervous. A horse who interests me as an alternative is Secret Getaway. I know he's about 10 points slow according to Beyer but horses at Woodbine often get the shaft figure wise. He is a very interesting case. In his first start this year he was awarded a win at Keeneland in a sprint against Accredit. We was only a neck behind him at the line but suffered some bumping from the winner. Accredit is at least a G-3 quality sprinter who recently won at Saratoga. Secret Getaway is an awkward gangly type who needs a route of ground. The fact that he ran him so close is a huge indicator of ability. He followed that with a minor stakes win on the Polytrack at Woodbine. In his turf debut he won the Toronto Cup by a good 3 lengths over a horse called Marlang who recently returned to win the Breeders' Stakes which is part of Canada's Triple Crown. It was Marlang's only loss on the Turf. Secret Getaway was much the best that day despite running greenly. He never switch leads yet he still drew off. A more professional display could see him take a huge step forward. He also has good speed so he can be the first to pounce if Tizdejavu starts to weaken.

Secret Getaway

Beverly D Stakes
There is a horse I really like in the race and I've been waiting to play her at a price since last fall. It's a high quality race and personally a far more exciting one than the Million. Rosinka is my fancy and I'm hoping she stays relatively unnoticed at 8/1. She does not have the profile of horses like Precious Kitten, Dreaming of Anna or Mauralakana but she is every bit as good if not better. Rosinka can be an absolute bear when she's feeling up to it. Last year she beat Royal Highness who then turned around and won this race. She then took out Mauralakana who has turned around and won 4 of 6 starts since. Her final start of last year was a narrow reverse to Lahudood in the Flower Bowl. She was very tough to get by that day and probably would have been tough in the BC FM Turf if she had stayed healthy. She's been a bit below her best in her first two starts back but Motion is placing her aggressively and that's a very good sign. She has a bit of a problem finishing races. Last time she had the race sewn up until she veered and lost all momentum. C Velasquez rides her back and should be wise to her tricks. She has tons of speed and will give Dreaming of Anna all she can handle early. Unlike Anna this filly is all stayer. She is robustly built and does her best running at 10f or beyond. While Anna is more feminine and is yet to be tested at the distance. Precious Kitten is unproven at this distance and has never been an unbeatable horse. 9/5 is horrendous value on her. I'd use Mauralakana in all spots as well as Rosinka. Although I don't see Mauralakana as a brilliant filly she is solid and is the safest show bet on the card.


Arlington Million
Archipenko will be over bet in my opinion, the real problem with him is that I do still like his chances of winning but he really gives you no choice but to look elsewhere for value. We can all see the reasons he can win but I wonder if his form is not pumped up a little. He has been running in all the right type of races but his competition has been weak. The Dubai Duty Free looked like a great race but he sort of sucked up for third and no one behind him as done much since aside from Creachadoir who was always more effective at a mile. He beat Viva Pataca but that one has tailed off significantly. Last time he faced Ramonti who exited the race with an injury. All the results look right and give the illusion of a classy horse in fine form but if he's 2/1 and I can find some nice price alternatives I'll take them. I don't trust Mount Nelson despite O'Briens fabulous form and record at Arlington. He can win but he'll be 7/2 and he's really not that much of a horse. Einstein is the American class and he should run well but his figures are declining and he has not had any recent rest. I think this is the best time to play against him. If he wins here he is much better than I thought. I don't trust a horse like Spirit One. French horses rarely live up to the hype in the summer. They're trained to be at their best in the spring and fall. Horses like Vangelis, Touch of Land and Alost had form that was just as good but it didn't work out for any of them. I am most interested by Sudan and Stream Cat. Sudan will likely be my primary play as long as he doesn't get bet down. He has superb hidden form. His is a G-1 winner who was not far behind Rail Link and Manduro at one point. In North America he has had mixed fortunes. I think Frankel took a while to figure him out but he's got him good right now. Take a look at his last race. I know most people were watching Curlin and the other two BC Turf winners but Sudan may have run the best race overall. He got into a ridiculous speed duel with a 38/1 shot. He went the first quarter in :22 and change and 6f in 1:11.8. It was an idiotic pace but he would up just 3 lengths behind some serious horses. Better Talk Now in fact could not get to him until the last few jumps and he was within a length of him for the last furlong. Sudan was not quitting like he should have. There is no other pace in this race unless Einstein decides he wants the front. Sudan could have things all his own way and may just pull a Tin Man on them. It is certainly worth a shot at a price. Another horse you must consider is Stream Cat. He has always sort of hung around the fringes. He's flashed talent but doesn't have more than a few G-3's to show for it. Last year in the Million he ran 4th beaten just a length against a much better group than this one. He also came into the race in worse form than he is this year. He switched barns because of Biancone's suspension and his initial start with George Arnold was a huge success. Cosmonaut has everything his own way lose on the lead but Stream Cat blew his doors off. It was easily a career best for him. It was the type of form that would even give Einstein trouble at his best. Stream Cat is a superb play if the speed of Sudan doesn't hold and just maybe he'll get Sudan even if that one runs his best race.

Stream Cat

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