Weekend Overview: Congratulations to Indescribable for her hard charging win in the Cardinal Handicap. It looks like Turf will be the new home for the Mott trainee despite the fact that she's G-1 placed on the dirt. She never had a kick like that on the main track. It was nice to see Evita Argentina get back on track with a stakes win. So many of the win early juveniles like Evita or Emmy Darling fizzle out by the fall and are underachievers the rest of the way. Hopefully Evita Argentina is able to find success in her niche. Active Duty took Canada's premier two year race the Coronation Futurity. Unfortunately the fact that this maiden won only serves to underline the general weakness of the Canadian crop. There really isn't much north of the border in the way of exciting juvenile prospects.
Thoroughbred Championship Rankings: So Curlin is all but retired, connections left the door open a crack for another race somewhere but essentially it would have to be created for him. I don't see it happening. Curlin goes down as the most successful TCR horse of the decade. He broke the 400 point mark in consecutive seasons which is quite a feat. Mineshaft was the only other American based horse to break the 400 point mark. Of course earnings has much to do with it. Earnings are part of the TCR calculation and Curlin has obviously out-earned all the recent competition.
Power Rankings: I was saddened by the news of Zaftig's retirement, especially during a time when connections were strongly considering a race against the boys in the Cigar Mile. Zaftig's career is one that will be more remembered for it's brilliance than accomplishment. She ranks just 12th among Three Year Old Females in the TCR but her Power Ranking of 8.95 identifies her as a very good horse in the making. Injuries are a real blight on this game. Zaftig could easily have developed into a dominant older mare.
Performance of the Week: Definitely goes to the exciting two year old filly Selva. She remained undefeated with a win in the Glorious Song stakes at Woodbine. This is not a Canadian juvenile, this daughter of Forest Wildcat trained by David Carroll was simply sent north because connections thought the race was a good fit. Selva has very good speed as she demonstrated in her maiden effort, outrunning the very quick and talented Gemswick Park. But here it was her patience that caught the eye. She could have easily gone to the front again but she rated willingly and simply waited for her cue to strike. She swept past the leaders entering the stretch without even being asked and maintained her advantage willingly through the finish. I don't know how far she'll go but Selva will be an intriguing prospect for the new year.
Race of the Week: Why not the Cardinal Handicap? It had all the elements of a good race. A tightly matched field on paper, plenty of lead changes and a tight driving finish. I almost always pick a turf race as the race of the week but that's because they always seem to have tight driving finishes. The kind that make you hold your breath for those last few strides. The great part about racing is that even the match ups that supposedly don't mean anything can bring you to the edge of your seat. Every race has the potential to thrill and excite.
Flop of the Week: Solar Flare was supposed to be a genuinely good horse. In the Suburban handicap he looked like a very good horse who just didn't stay 10f. Now as time has revealed his class for what it is we see that the horse is simply not very good at all. He was last and listless in the Stuyvesant and it's hard to see a real future for him in Graded Stakes company.
Tip O'the Cap: To Zarkava for rightfully earning the Horse of the Year title in Europe and to the European system itself that uses a combination of points and votes to decide year end awards. They always seem to get the rightful winners on top, go figure.
KC Handicapping: The hot streak is over, none of my selections ran up to par. Thankfully Helsinki scratched so I only had 3 losers instead of 4. I simply got the races wrong. One thing I was right about though was that Solar Flare and Callwood Dancer were bad bets. Neither horse finished in the money. Temporary Saint doesn't handle the slop so while two turns is his game look for him on a fast track.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 3(2)-0-0-1 (-$6.00 -100.00% ROI)
Overall Record: 658(342)-114-105-89 (-$101.70 -7.73% ROI)