Weekend Overview: Although we had a G-1 race this weekend the horse stealing most of the headlines is one who only ran in allowance company. The still undefeated Casino Drive made his long awaited return to the races at Santa Anita on Sunday. He outclassed some below average allowance horses and is now set to contest the Breeders' Cup Classic. Whether or not you believe he has a chance, and I don't, you have to like the intrigue he adds. The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup didn't prove much as a race. Alwajeeha sat a perfect trip and was too well placed to get run down. Backseat Rhythm is the best three year old turf filly and Paul Pompa should have a great season with her next year. One has to be impressed with the way the form has worked out from last years Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Indian Blessing, Proud Spell and Backseat Rhythm finished 1-2-3 that day and are arguably the three best fillies sprinting, routing and on turf. After being mismanaged for much of the year it's nice to see Global Hunter put back in a spot he can win. The horse is a born Turf miler and since his connections got a clue he's been providing decent returns. He won the listed Lure Stakes at Santa Anita. Stonerside decided to keep just one horse after selling everything to Darley. The horse they chose to keep, Cowboy Cal, is a decent sort who needed a DQ to win the Bryan Station at Keeneland. He definitely deserved to be put up. I think he'll be winning more than a few stakes for his connections.
Thoroughbred Championship Rankings: Virtually no movement at all since Alwajeeha was the only major race winner and she was well back in the standings going into the weekend. Backseat Rhythm has nearly caught up to the ill-fated Eight Belles for 5th in the Three Year Old Female Division a win would have done it but a second requires her to get at least one more top 3 placing this year. The forgotten division leader is Einstein. He has been in front of the Turf Male division for months but has been inactive for ages and a tilt at the Breeders' Cup seems unlikely. It's a shame he's not active right now. The Turf Male division has really struggled for quality.
Power Rankings: The biggest mover was Casino Drive who vaults into 4th place in the Three Year Old Male division. He's well behind Big Brown and Colonel John but he is a pretty talented horse. The numbers and the visual impression he makes back up that stance.
Performance of the Week: The IEAH team has another good one in Two Year Old Turf Filly Laragh. She won the Jessamine at Keeneland in overpowering fashion after making all the running. It seems like ground has been hard to makeup on the grass at Keeneland but she was most impressive. She drew off and looked like she could go around again. Hats off to the IEAH advisers who keep unearthing horses like this. The stable is well stocked.
Race of the Week: I think the Perryville was exciting enough to merit Race of the Week status. I know some people hate synthetics because they "finish like Turf races". I'm sitting here and wondering why on earth would that be a bad thing. Nothing gets the blood pumping like a good photo finish. Hatta Fort and Amazing Results both came flying in the stretch to be heads apart at the line. Hatta Fort was right along the rail and Amazing Results was so wide it made judging the finish with the naked eye difficult.
Flop of the Week: Definitely Ariege, I thought she was sitting on a big race but she never really picked up her feet. This definitely changes my assessment of her in that I no longer believe she has what it takes to win a good Turf race. From now on, unless she's facing totally over matched opponents in some minor stakes I'm only going to consider her in synthetic races. She has a much better kick on synthetics it would seem.
Tip O'the Cap: John Velasquez was nearly killed in a spill at Keeneland last week. It was nice to see him come back and get a G-1 win in the QE II. You never like to see jockey's get hurt and I especially like to see them rewarded with an early win after coming back. That should shore up the old confidence and get him set for the Breeders' Cup.
KC Handicapping: Heart breaker for me in the Perryville. Amazing Results made that big sweeping outside move that I was looking for and just came up a head short to Hatta Fort who was probably 10 paths to his inside. Alwajeeha was my 4th ranked selection, none of the three that I liked more than her ran at all. The week finishes negative but it was oh so close.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 4(2)-0-1-0 (-$8.00 -100.00% ROI)
Overall Record: 628(323)-112-105-88 (-$155.70 -12.40% ROI)