Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Weekend Review

Weekend Overview: It's interesting to look back and think about what this weekend will be remembered for six months down the line. It's highly possible that no one will remember this one space in time but if it were to be memorable who would be the main attraction? Santa Teresita or Life Is Sweet with their nice wins in the Santa Maria and La Canada? Likely not, this division is just waiting for the return of Zenyatta anything that happens before her return seems like undercard entertainment. How about the sprint success's of True Quality, How's Your Halo, Any Limit or Royal Michele? All won their races nicely but they were all upsets ranging from slight to absolute bombshell. Evita Argentina earned a famous victory over male rivals in the San Vicente but I think if we're realistic we'll realize that this weekend can only be about the Derby contenders. The Road to the Roses is an all consuming passion and if this weekend is set to be remembered it will be because of the debuts of Old Fashioned or Imperial Council, or perhaps the triple digit Beyer Figure earned by General Quarters, maybe the gutsy effort from Chocolate Candy. We love our three year olds and even when the quality is questionable they remain supremely captivating.

Thoroughbred Championship Rankings: Courtesy of the new calculation guidelines you may notice that certain horses like Jibboom and Marzelline show different scores overall than they do within certain divisions. That's because scores for each division are split to include only the races for that division while the overall score takes every race into account. The color chosen to represent the horses in the overall standings has to do with what division they are most accomplished in. True Quality is the only new division leader this week after his gutsy win in the General George.

Power Rankings: A reminder once again that these rankings are meant to identify the "best" horses in action year to date. Although horses like Wild Promises and Old Fashioned may not be among the top five most accomplished competitors in their divisions they are among the five best and the Power Rankings recognize that ability. Santa Teresita made quite a bow this weekend. she was always a nearly horse last term but there was no doubt about her ability to close the deal in the Santa Maria. She debuts with a solid 12.63 Power Rating. Last year she finished with a 5.45.

Performance of the Week:
If there is a more aptly named horse than True Quality I'd be interested to know who it is. "True Quality" says everything you need to know about this horse's victory in the General George. Since changing barns and growing up a little bit True Quality has maybe turned into the best dirt sprinter in the east. He has won 3 of his last 4 starts and in the General George he gained revenge for his only recent defeat by turning back the very talented Fabulous Strike. True Quality got to the lead and never looked back. Seven furlongs is a very tough distance to win at when going wire to wire, especially against classy opposition but True Quality brushed off the challenge of Fabulous Strike and was even going away at the wire. He'll certainly be favored for the Carter Handicap back at his home base.

Race of the Week: The Hurricane Bertie wasn't supposed to be much of a race. It was a short field with a heavy favorite but it turned into an epic duel between the most accomplished members of the field. Any Limit got to the front and while Game Face stalked in behind. When they turned for home Game Face came through a gap on the fence and seemed to getting the best of Any Limit but the six year old stuck her neck out and re-rallied to fend off the Pletcher horse.

Flop of the Week: Tale of Ekati was listless and never in the Richter Scale. It was definitely his worst career performance in a sprint race. Tagg and the bettors will likely forgive this effort because it was his first of the season but I would not be surprised if he stays away from Gulfstream in the future.

Tip o'the Cap: I want to tip my cap to John Sadler for having the courage and insight to recognize Evita Argentina's strengths then put her in a spot where she could exploit them. Many trainers don't have the courage to send such a young filly in against males but in reality if a horse is good enough then why not. I'm glad they were rewarded for the move. Hopefully it causes more trainers to look outside their own division for spots where they could exploit their horses strengths.

KC Handicapping: You just never know how this game will end up. Sometimes you look like a genius other times more like a schmuck. I think had both extremes covered this weekend as I tipped Ballymore Lady to win the Endeavour at a decent price while also proclaiming that Any Limit was past her best and no longer capable of running with a horse like Game Face. It's interesting to me that the blended average speed figures I'm using tipped the hot horses in the Sam Davis to be Musket Man, General Quarters, Free Country and Atomic Rain. They ran 1st, 3rd, 4th and nowhere and I happened to throw my weight behind the one that ran nowhere. I like both Seventh Street and Royale Michele for the Barbara Fritchie but I ended up only picking the heavy favorite while Royale Michele romped at 10/1. In the long run it pays to go for the longshot but it's easy to forget that when the favorite looks so solid.

Weekly Record: 4(4)-1-2-0 (+$6.80 +85.00% ROI)
Overall Record: 704(377)-121-113-93 (-$124.30 -8.82% ROI)

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