Monday, February 02, 2009

Weekend Review

Weekend Overview: So Albertus Maximus wins the Donn but not in a fashion that suggests real stardom. One even wonders if the Sunshine Millions Classic winner, It's A Bird, wouldn't have been able to win this one easily. Certainly the form line through Einstein suggests it was a solid effort but nothing to write home about. Nice to see Ventura and Kip Deville get their campaigns off on the right foot. Jibboom and Court Vision ran well in defeat and should be able to earn themselves a few nice stakes wins this campaign. Saratoga Sinner and Capt. Candyman Can got their triple crown trails off to a flying start with nice wins in Gulfstream stakes races. Despite her dominance in the Forward Gal Stakes Frolic's Dream is not necessarily the best three year old female sprinter. Well bred Elusive Heat annexed a Gulfstream allowance and earned a 109 Beyer Speed figure for her trouble. I suspect that the sophomore sprinters this year are very good indeed.

Thoroughbred Championship Rankings: The year has begun to take shape and there is no better way to get a handle on that shape than to consult a point system. Points systems have been around for years and have proven to be quite accurate in quantifying the accomplishments of our stars. The TCR specifically enters it's 4th year of live calculation and has 10 years of history in the books. I'd encourage you to take a quick look back at how the system has performed in the last decade. There has been a slight change in the rankings this year. We are constantly looking for ways to make the system better and more accurate and the focus of this year is the definition of divisions. Racing has always had problems defining each division. Was Indian Blessing a Female Sprinter, a 3yo Female or both? Should a turf horse like Kitten's Joy be eligible for the 3yo Male award or the Turf Male award. What about a top notch Turf Sprinter what award would they get? I've set about the task of categorizing every type of race into a specific division based on four factors: Gender, Age, Surface and Distance. Every division has a unique blend of those four factors and you can view the new definitions here on the page entitled "Point Sheet". The basic results of these changes is that no horse will be eligible for two different divisions unless they run in three races that qualify for another division. With the old system a sprinter like Indian Blessing would be climbing the ranks in both the Three Year Old Female and Female Sprinter divisions with a win in an age restricted sprint. Now it would only count in the sprint division.

Power Rankings:
Top 5 standings for each of the divisions are now linked on the sidebar. Last year we only showed you the top 10 overall. The new division definitions apply to the power rankings as well as the TCR so that's why you see a horse like Capt. Candyman Can ranked among the sprinters not the three year olds. Albertus Maximus is naturally the overall leader after his win in the biggest race of the year to date. It's a shame that he's now headed to Dubai because it means that at best he's going to have a limited stateside campaign. Our older male division needs all the potential stars it can get.

Performance of the Week: It was a close call for me between Capt. Candyman Can and Kip Deville. Both horses looked extremely fine and both showed a new dimension. The Candyman looked a lot more relaxed and in tune with his rider than he ever has and Kip Deville showed that he can win beyond a mile. I'll give the slight nod to the gallant old gelding Kip Deville. It's no easy feat to shake off Court Vision and still finish strongly. It's amazing that this horse had lost all of his previous nine attempts to win beyond a flat mile. He looked as if he fully stayed the trip. Kudos to Dutrow for getting the best out of this 6 year old.

Race of the Week: Lady Carlock and Mushka are probably as good as they'll ever be. Neither horse is going to win a championship but both had a huge hand in making the Suwannee River the most exciting and watchable race of the week. The Super Bowl had it's fair share of drama and an excellent late finish but still nothing in sports can match a good old stretch duel. Lady Carlock came from last to hook up with Mushka in the final furlong and from there it was all a question of will power. This is the kind of race that most people won't consider important enough to watch but you should. It's what racing is all about.

Flop of the Week: Danger To Society had never lost going into Saturday's Holy Bull Stakes. The beat down he received was so severe he'll have to do quite a bit of mental regrouping if he hopes to ever win again. Despite the fact that the field was filled with allowance caliber horses he was all at sea and was a huge disappointment to his backers and connections.

Tip o'the Cap: There is much to admire about the life of Eddie Logan but perhaps the greatest thing in my mind is how in humility this man was raised to a place of honor. The old values still count for something.

KC Handicapping: This week was a disaster at the windows. I considered seven races to analyze and select and decided to narrow it down to the four "best" races. Wouldn't you know it I lost all four of the races that I went on record with and won all three races that I decided not to feature. Two of those three winners paid handsomely as well. Hard luck stories are a main staple of handicapping. There is always the one that got away. Lucky for those of us who pursue perfection there is always another day and another opportunity to get it right.

Weekly Record: 5(4)-0-1-1 (-$10.00 -100.00% ROI)
Overall Record: 697(371)-120-110-93 (-$125.10 -8.97% ROI)

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