Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekend Picks And Analysis

Cardinal Handicap
I've chosen to analyze this race not because I have a great feeling about the winner but because the field looks so even on paper that anyone who wins, including the favorite, will likely pay pretty well. I think Callwood Dancer might be the narrow favorite but she shouldn't go much below 3-1. Callwood Dancer may have a bit of a pace advantage on the field. She isn't dedicated speed but she is likely the speediest horse in the race. I think the fact that she is the favorite and looks like the lone speed will be enough to convince at least one member of the field to keep tabs on her. I don't like the fact that she is so deep into a form cycle and that she's at a Beyer figure top while the BRISnet figures show her last few races as regressions. I actually don't like to see either pattern. I'll try to beat Callwood Dancer, especially since she's had her success on a totally different type of course. Lady Digby is the classiest stalker and I think she's the benchmark. I thought she was a live longshot in the Diana and she performed with some credit. Against this class of horse she looks very tough. Only three horses in this whole race have won a Turf stakes race this year. I've already mentioned Callwood Dancer and Lady Digby. The only other one is a 30/1 shot, Sousaphone. She looks a little slow but as I mentioned she is one of the few current stakes winners. Her best lifetime race did come at Churchill Downs and all of her career victories came off layoffs. She is 5-4-0-1 first off the bench and 5-0-0-1 in every other start. She didn't have the cleanest of trips but did rally on a bit. I like it when horses regroup after losing ground to rally again in the final 1/8th. At 30/1 she is worth a least a second look. Clearly Lady Digby and Sousaphone have caught my eye as the horse to beat and the live longshot but the difficult thing about this race is we still have to deal with course specialists Ciao and Ballymore Lady. I think they're very close on ability but Ciao has been consistently competing at a higher level. But because she comes from so far back she struggles to find the winner's circle with consistency. Ballymore Lady has a bit more tactical speed but she might be better at a mile. The case against these two is pretty thin considering their best races have come on this course but you can't bet everyone.

Lady Digby

Stuyvesant Handicap
The horse to beat is Temporary Saint with his dangerous speed and noted surface preference. He loves two turns on the dirt and this race is a return to that preference after three one turn races in a row. I think Solar Flare is a bit of a fraud but he does have a pivotal role to play in the pace. If he goes with Temporary Saint the pace will be in danger of collapse and that might set it up for a horse like Helsinki. He's not much horse but he's a consistent closer and if a race is going to fall apart he's the type of horse who is waiting to pick up the pieces. The long layoff is a big question and Temporary Saint is a far more likely winner but even Brilliant Son has speed so it may not be the easiest of trips for the Jacobson trainee. Brilliant Son is a danger second off the bench for McLaughlin and going turf to dirt but I think it's not quite the right spot for him because of the pace. If Temporary Saint were to scratch I'd love him but with them both in there I have to stay with the classy Saint.

Temporary Saint

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