Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend Review

Weekend Overview: It was not a great week for well known horses like Thorn Song, Azul Leon, Kelly's Landing, Indyanne and Euroears but maybe a few horses like Wishful Tomcat and Well Positioned can become well known. Most of the other news this week was in regards to sad affairs like retirements and passings. We generally don't take the time to acknowledge such events but the retirement of Wait A While struck a personal chord with me. She was my favorite horse in training and I wish her well in her new career as a broodmare.

Thoroughbred Championship Rankings: The only change of note to the standings this week was a slight change to the color I use to highlight sprinters. My wife claimed the electric blue was hard on the eyes so it's switched to calmer aqua type color. The actual rankings were pretty much unchanged as none of the graded stakes winners had done anything of note prior to this weekend. Thorn Song missed a good chance to move up the Turf Male rankings but realistically the result looks just about fair. Thorn Song doesn't really deserve a higher ranking than 4th in the division despite the fact that it's a weak group.

Power Rankings:
I've been working on a way to see Power Rankings included in the consideration for the year end TCR Awards. My thought is that the TCR is a measurement of accomplishments while the Power Rankings are a measurement of brilliance. A marriage of the two would seem to be an ideal way to decide the rightful champions. Perhaps it might even pave the way for the removal of voting.

Performance of the Week: I was personally impressed by Wishful Tomcat in the Discovery Handicap. It's nice to see some New York-breds like this horse and Tin Cup Chalice step out of state-bred company and do so well. The Tomcat went right to the front and improved his position under a patient Ramon Dominguez. He was still looking pretty fresh at the line. I know juveniles went relatively faster in the preceding race but it's always tougher to get it done against classier horses. Wishful Tomcat has been a faithful servant for his ownership winning 4 of 5, all in the second half of the year.

Race of the Week: Has to be the dead heat in the River City stakes between Karelian and Demarcation. Karelian ran exactly the type of race he was expected to. He's a consistent type who likes Churchill and the distance but Demarcation came out of nowhere, at least from my perception. Once it was clear that Thorn Song had failed it looked to be an easy win for Karelian but kudos to Demarcation. At the line it appeared that Karelian was lucky not to be beaten.

Flop of the Week: The Bet On Sunshine stakes featured the comebacks of the the undefeated Euroears and the million dollar earner Kelly's Landing. None of the other contestants were really thought to have any chance but in the end both of the favorites failed badly. Euroears never looked into it and Kelly's Landing looked like he'd prefer to be retired. It was an abject performance by both.

Tip O'the Cap: For Paul Pompa the exciting Well Positioned gives him perhaps another chance at Derby glory. Except this time he's considering holding onto the entire horse himself. You can't fault a man for selling. It's the only business decision that makes sense and if money were his end game you'd have to advise selling Well Positioned as well. But it seems like a bit of a sportsmans sense has crept in and Pompa is considering sticking around and seeing how high he can ride the balloon. Although if I were his adviser I'd be telling him to sell I do admire him for wanting to take a shot at the things money can't buy.

KC Handicapping: I played three late running sprinters in three separate synthetic sprint stakes races and all of them rallied strongly only to be denied by less than a length. It kind of irked me that all three of my choices ended up favored as well. Despite the perceived bias against speed on synthetics it's worth noting that playing the deep closers doesn't necessarily get you anything either. Horses with handy speed that took up stalking positions seemed to do the best this weekend.

Cumulative record of selected horses: 3(3)-0-1-2 (-$6.00 -100.00% ROI)
Overall Record: 661(345)-114-106-91 (-$107.70 -8.15% ROI)

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