Monday, October 06, 2008

Weekend Review

Weekend Overview: The juvenile picture looks a little clearer unfortunately it doesn't bode that well for the Breeders' Cup. The ones we saw at Keeneland were not very good at all and the best juvenile in the nation doesn't want to pony up the entry fee. Chalk another strike against the current Win and You're In format. If nominations fees are not fully paid then at least there should be some kind of discount for WAYI qualifiers. Square Eddie will be a solid type of horse but I think his runaway victory underlined the weakness of his opposition. Vineyard Haven was immense and left no doubt that he's the current king in New York. It's a big loss for the Breeders' Cup not to have him. Dream Empress and Sky Diva look like nice horses on the Juvenile Fillies side. for those waiting to play any European that enters in the Juvenile Turf perhaps you might think again. Bittel Road looked hopelessly beaten but snatched a victory at Keeneland while Sam-Son's Grand Adventure put up a huge 94 Beyer in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine. Neither has ever lost a race. I was pleased to see solid campaigners Thorn Song and Carriage Trail break through at the G-1 level. For anyone who has failed to notice Indyanne is a very good horse and although her figures are well behind Indian Blessings it would surely be great to see them on track together. The odds suggest that Sing Baby Sing came from total obscurity to win the Phoenix Sprint at Keeneland but in his last 7 sprint races he's 7-4-3-0. Just a reminder to those who missed the comment in my handicapping analysis. Most main track stakes winners at Keeneland have had either a race on turf or synthetics. All the stakes winners this weekend fit that mold and the horses who had only been on dirt went 9-0-2-1. Three losing favorites were among the defeated.

Thoroughbred Championship Rankings: In a not at all surprising turn of events the Two Year Old divisions were ones that had the biggest shake ups. Forever Together was the only major mover in the older horse ranks as she shot up to second in the Female Turf division following her second G-1 victory of the year. Vineyard Haven is the #1 Two Year Old Male in the nation and Midshipman is still #2. With Vineyard likely skipping the Breeder's Cup he had better Midshipman is not the winner of the championship event because he may struggle to make up the difference in the Hollywood Futurity. Stardom Bound looks all the more invincible atop the Two Year Old Female division. Mani Bhavan still narrowly holds second ahead of the pair of newly minted G-1 winners but none are that close to the budding superstar.

Power Rankings: Again most of the movement in this weeks Power Rankings comes in the Two Year Old divisions. Vineyard Haven, Midshipman, Run Away And Hide, Charitable Man and Bittel Road make up the top 5 ranked horses on the male side. It's notable that Street Hero is not on this list. He could only make 6th place in the division at the moment thanks to Bittel Road's undefeated status. Run Away And Hide is definitely the forgotten horse on that list, the rumor is that he is headed straight to the Breeders' Cup after missing some time this fall. Square Eddie debuts in just 7th place. Stardom Bound is still the best Two Year Old Female in North America after Mani Bhavan's complete failure which saw her tail off to 4th place. Sky Diva is ranked second and is clearly a very exciting prospect. She was not seriously challenged in the Frizette and no one could get close to her in her debut either.

Performance of the Week: With apologies to Carriage Trail who freaked out I thought Vineyard Haven was smashing. As they shot around the far turn I was muttering "too fast" under my breath but Vineyard Haven seemed impervious to the toil a half in :45 is supposed to take. He powered away from his would be challengers in the best juvenile performance since War Pass in the Juvenile. Whatever Frankel paid for this youngster from Calder it looks like money well spent. He's a very serious horse and by far the best juvenile so far.

Race of the Week:
I thought the Thoroughbred Club of America stakes was excellent value for money. Indyanne and Wild Gams put on quite a show and both fillies look dangerous in the upcoming Filly and Mare Sprint. Indyanne still has just the one loss, courtesy of a horrendous trip while Wild Gams is one of the most consistent synthetic sprinters around. Two years in a row now she's been a major player in the this race and the Presque Ilse Masters. Last year she won this one but was second at Presque Ilse, this year she reversed the results. Keeneland is not an easy track to wire a field but Indyanne is no ordinary horse.

Flop of the Week: I think I have to get tough on Doctor Dino. Perhaps he was done no favors by the ride but he just threw in a stinker at Woodbine. Champs Elysees was hurt by the tactics as well but at least he gave it the old college try. Doctor Dino was listless and quite poor. Had he been on form the race should have been a walkover.

Tip O'the Cap: This weeks Tip O'the Cap goes to the plucky Tin Cup Chalice who rebounded off his first career loss in 8 starts to win his first graded stakes. This is not your garden variety New york bred sprinter. Having already won the Big Apple Triple Crown Tin Cup Chalice could actually be a legitimate player in the older horse division next year. He is certainly fast and as genuine as they come. Now he's proven that he's got a little class as well. This year we've lost Lava Man, Perfect Drift and Evening Attire. Hopefully this New York bred gelding can pick up the mantle and be a lovable star for years to come.

KC Handicapping: Although I lost a bit of money overall on the straight win bets I felt pretty good about this weekend's handicapping. The Turf races were not kind to me at all as I went 1 for 5. Despite mentioning that Thorn Song was dangerous as the lone speed I didn't use him on top because of a lack of recent works. It didn't seem to bother him one bit. Carriage Trail and Vineyard Haven were the most impressive winners of the week and Persistently the horse I called the "safest show bet of the week" ran a non threatening second.

Cumulative record of selected horses: 17(10)-4-0-1 (-$2.50 -7.35% ROI)
Overall Record: 624(321)-112-104-88 (-$147.70 -11.83% ROI)

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