Friday, January 30, 2009

Weekend Picks And Analysis

Forward Gal Stakes
Probably the biggest news of the Gulfstream meet so far has been the other-worldly speed figures being earned by three year old sprinters. We've all heard about the controversial 117 of This Ones for Phil and the 115 for Notonthesamepage but just yesterday the talented daughter of Xtra Heat, Elusive Heat earned a 109 for a 6f performance. That effects this race because in her last start Elusive Heat finished a nose in front of Frolic's Dream and a nose behind Gemswick Park. The form from the Old Hat looks pretty strong and all indications are that Frolic's Dream should gain her revenge here because she missed by just two noses after having some trouble and overcoming a bad draw. The whole reason I'm playing this race is because I'm banking on the public chasing Frolic's Dream and driving her price down to 6-5. I prefer Gemswick Park I think she is a horse of immense quality. I thought her maiden win was stunning and her subsequent route attempts hinted at a high level of class. I know Frolic's Dream was maybe unlucky last time but who is to say she'll be good enough to beat Gemswick Park this time? Gemswick will be in front and Frolic's Dream will try to stalk her from the outside. Gemswick Park is a very tough horse when in front and I think she has the advantage here. Too many people go after the supposed "trouble" horse and ignore the one who ran well enough to win.

Gemswick Park

Hutcheson Stakes
Tough race to start out your Derby campaign but it's nice to get the class checks out the way right now. Hello Broadway, Capt. Candyman Can and Break Water Edison are the real Derby horses in this race and I expect one of them to win. Break Water Edison was aptly described by his trainer as a "plain wrapper". There is nothing about him that is specifically exciting he is just a good horse. The inside draw really hurts him here and I don't think an off the board finish will reflect too poorly on his future Derby chances. He's good but there is no way I'd bet him to win here. Hello Broadway is the horse to beat and I'm not sure any of them will be able to handle him. I think you'll see him get the typical favorites ride. Just off the pace and to the outside so he can avoid what happened in the Nashua. Tagg has him razor sharp and ready to win. I think Capt Candyman Can is every bit as good as Hello Broadway but connections were very disappointed with the way he acted in the KY Jockey Club. They're looking to teach some things here. This race will be a learning experience and I don't think we'll see him in his full glory. Also the barn has reputation of bringing horses around slowly. If the Derby is the goal the 7f Hutcheson will just be a stiff workout in their minds.

Hello Broadway

Donn Handicap
This is the toughest race of the weekend. I could give you reasons why every horse should lose and why all of them aside from Great Hunter and Anak Nakal could win. I think it's a race to take a shot in. Einstein and Arson Squad will be favored but neither are worth the price despite have good chances to win. Einstein ran poorly in this race last year and despite his good recent form it certainly throws up a few red flags. The outside post is just confirmation for me that he's a poor gamble in this spot. Arson Squad then becomes the logical horse to beat. All the signs from his camp are positive but looking at his speed figures I think Beyer has rated him a little too high. He isn't quite as fast as those numbers suggest. It doesn't mean he'll lose it just means that in my mind he has gone from having a real speed advantage to just being one of the guys. Getting him back on dirt has been a godsend and I'm sure he'll run well. He'll be coming from out of the clouds though and I generally prefer to play those with tactical speed. He's dangerous but not worth the risk for the price he's going to be. I'm going to take a shot in this race with a pair of underrated horses. The first one is On Board Again. He has never won a stakes race or a two turn race but he has a lot more class than you think. His best career races came in his only two turn races, they also happened to be the only time he was in stakes company. He is definitely good enough to win a race like this and the conditions will suit him. He is also going to be able to stalk the pace from close up which I like. I do not understand him being the longest shot on the board. If injury had not erased a year and a half of his life everyone would recognize him for the serious horse he is. Frankel has always known he's a good one and he rarely places his horses way above their ability. He knows this horse is ready. The other horse I like is Bullsbay. Arson Squad isn't the only horse who is loving life away from synthetics. Bullsbay does not have flashy figures but he's good enough. He loves two turns and no one has ever gotten near him around two turns on the dirt. Granted he has never faced this quality but if he was able to run second in a decent one turn stakes race here at Gulfstream then he is good enough in a spot like this where conditions will suit him better.

On Board Again

Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap
My play in this race all hedges on how Gulfstream treats the common ownership of Court Vision and Kip Deville. If they're coupled in the betting then the play is off but if they're separate entities then I love Court Vision. The Kip is a good horse but he has never, in all his life, won a race beyond 8f. I don't know why he would now against some very tough horses. Court Vision and Red Rocks likely prefer a bit more distance and I think the pair of them will likely have some good duels in the year to come. But here at 9f Court Vision has the advantage over Kip Deville and Red Rocks. If you want an outsider consider Sligovitz. In his only turf start he matched up well with Marlang who won the Saranac at the Spa. The distance is good for him and so many of these Stronach horses improve with age. Lynch is no dunce, he knows his horse doesn't have the class of the top three but he also knows that his horse is entitled to improve in a big way. If some of these horse slip up he could be a big surprise package.

Court Vision (if not part of an entry)

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