Friday, December 05, 2008

Weekend Picks And Analysis

Delta Jackpot Stakes
Quality follows money and the Jackpot is finally attracting real Derby type quality. Unlike in previous years one can actually envision a few of these horses developing into Derby types. Terrain is the class of the field and I rank him very highly among prospective Derby entrants. However I don't think he's a great bet here. Coming from the back on a bull ring is not an easy feat. The quicker horses will likely have an advantage. I expect Terrain to be closing hard at the line but I'll be very impressed if he is able to get up. I think the horse who is being most overlooked is Trinity Magic. He has never lost and he received a massive 99 Beyer last time out. Perhaps it's the state-bred condition that has everyone nervous but to me a fast horse is a fast horse. Funny Cide came out of those same races and who knows maybe Trinity Magic can be the next big New York bred. He has been beating the same group over and over but he is obviously far better than Tall Poppi and Fiddlers Afleet. He might be the controlling speed with that inwardly draw. One slight worry is that Bridgmohan has chosen stablemate Retap over Trinity Magic but I don't trust Retap's winning ability. Big Drama could be any kind but I'm not usually hasty to support the so called "Calder flashes" It seems like every year one horse dominates all the juvenile stakes races at Calder and almost never does that translate into dominance elsewhere. If Terrain's price drifts out to something like 4/1 he'd be great value but I'll stay with Trinity Magic. A win here for him really would make Trinity Magic into a legitimate Derby Trail contender.

Trinity Magic

My Charmer Handicap
I had handicapped the Delta Princess but with my pick scratching there was little point leaving the analysis up there. I have since taken a closer look at the My Charmer and I think there are some playable horses. Rutherienne is a bet against. She's stuck in a rut of an amazing five third place finishes in row. Although she loves Calder I don't like taking such a verified non winner. Also despite the fact that her Beyers are the highest in the field her DRF Speed Ratings are actually pretty low. I know it's the old fashioned way to quantify speed but the speed ratings are just pure math. I find it interesting that Rutherienne has the highest average Beyer figure in all starts this year but the lowest average DRF Speed Rating (plus variant) I don't think I've ever seen that before and it definitely makes me pause and wonder just how much her figures are inflated. The fastest horses on average if you take both numbers into account are Never Retreat, Wild Promises, Jade Queen and Waquoit's Love. I don't like Wild Promises because I don't think California speed will rule on Calder grass. She is a consistent horse who is well rested but I think Callwood Dancer, Never Retreat and Waquoit's Love will keep her honest. The horse I prefer is Jade Queen. I know she's win-less in two years but I loved her last race. Chestoria swept by on the outside but she really showed some fight in coming up the rail. Second off the layoff with a barn that is in good recent form Jade Queen might be some value. I also have to have a saver on Never Retreat. We don't know how good she is and she might just become a top tier grass filly which none of these are.

Jade Queen
Never Retreat

Tropical Turf Handicap
I know I'm being a chalk eater here but the way I look at it is this. If Manuel Cruz had managed to stay aboard Soldier's Dancer last time out he'd be 4/5 in this race. Because of the uncertainty that a blank line in the PP's creates you might get this horse at 9/5. He should be 3/5 against this group. Aside from his spill last time Soldier's Dancer has been a machine this year and there is nothing he does better than 9f at Calder. If this race comes off the Turf I don't want him, although he'd likely stay in I'm not as big a fan of his ability on dirt. One has to respect Ballast and Silver Tree but Soldier's Dancer is better than both of them. The pace is not much of a worry since he can close into any pace. There are only two things that dull his closing kick: Increased distances, which he won't be contending with here and better horses which he also isn't facing.

Soldier's Dancer

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