Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Review

Weekend Overview: The weekend has come and gone and hardly anyone has noticed. It something of a weekend that wasn't. It definitely had more of a midweek flavor with the odd stakes race being run but the headlines dominated by race entry speculation and controversy. The Peter Pan stakes is supposed to be a major prep for the Belmont but connections of Charitable Man didn't seem fully sold on the last leg of the Triple Crown. I imagine they'll wait until after the Preakness to decide if it's the Belmont or Dwyer for the once beaten son of Lemon Drop Kid. Rail Trip suffered his first career defeat but don't get too discouraged. Ball Four earned the co-highest synthetic Beyer speed figure of the season. Only 3 horses (Ball Four, Devoted Magic, Zensational) have earned higher synthetic BSF's than Rail Trip did in defeat on Saturday. Still, one wonders if he couldn't have been ridden a bit more aggressively to get some pressure on the savvy old gelding. The showdown between undefeated three year old female sprinters Carlsbad and Witty did not disappoint. Witty came out the stronger but I think both connections would be happy with their fillies and would fancy a rematch.

Thoroughbred Championship Rankings: The modern business model for racetracks seems to be to stack up all your quality on a single day. For standings it means that there are often weekends like this one where no notable action took place. Looking ahead Rachel Alexandra has the chance to attain something that very few three year old females accomplish. She could be the #1 overall horse in the nation if she wins the Preakness. Rags To Riches held the title briefly following her triumph in the Belmont but she is the only other filly in the last decade to do so.

Power Rankings: Once again the weekend gave us very little to reflect upon so we look ahead at the possible impact of things to come. The Three Year Old Female division has been dominated by Rachel Alexandra and Stardom Bound but the Black Eyed Susan will give us a chance to get a look at some of the second tier quality in the division. I'm not sure who is headed to the Maryland Sprint (G-3) but I sure hope we finally see some quality and consistency among the male sprinters. What we've seen so far is simply pathetic.

Performance of the Week: I suppose I'll give this to Charitable Man who looked at least useful in the Peter Pan. I think his task was made pretty simple by the kamikaze tactics of Hello Broadway. I meant he only had Imperial Council to deal with and his superior tactical speed gave him the advantage. Still he remained undefeated on the dirt and notched his first route stakes win. He's a definite asset to the strength of this crop.

Race of the Week: The highlight of a low key week was the Railbird match up between Witty and Carlsbad. Neither filly had tasted defeat and both were looking impressive. Carlsbad probably had the rougher trip as she was pushed through the opening stages by longshot Strawberry Tart. Witty sat a perfect trip and engaged Carlsbad at the head of the stretch. Both fillies were game in the stretch but Witty just had too much for the softened Carlsbad. Both horses ran extremely well and still look like exciting prospects going forward.

Flop of the Week: I think it has to be Giant Moon in the Kingston. A son of Giant's Causeway coming off a graded stakes victory has trouble even finishing a state-bred turf race? I haven't heard if he was injured or not. Hopefully it was just a bad day at the office. He did look dreadful though.

Tip o'the Cap: By The Light tried to pull off a nice coup by taking a pair of stakes races in the same week. She won the Elizabeth Bay Stakes at Belmont on Wednesday but came up about a length short when third in Sunday's Red Cross Stakes at Monmouth. Dutrow is one of the few trainers that still tries moves like this with stakes horses. Not every horse needs a month off. Some trainers act as if it's animal cruelty to put in a campaign.

KC Handicapping: It was a great week to keep the powder dry and just watch. Unfortunately I couldn't stay away from the weekend features at Belmont and got punished for that. Hello Broadway got carried away with those new blinkers and set an unsustainable pace. The horse is a bit of a head case. Giant Moon reminded me why I always hate playing dirt stakes winners who are first time on the turf. It's a rare thing for a horse to be good at both. It's better to let yourself get beaten by them until they prove they can do it.

Weekly Record: 2(2)-0-0-0 (-$4.00 -100.00% ROI)
Overall Record: 749(411)-129-120-97 (-$122.90 -8.20% ROI)

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