Friday, July 31, 2009

Weekend Picks And Analysis

Jim Dandy Stakes
The Haskell may have most of the headliners in the 3yo division but the Jim Dandy is a far better race for a handicapper. Rachel Alexandra should have very little trouble with her opponents at Monmouth but it's genuinely difficult even coming up with a favorite for the Jim Dandy. There are seven horses in the race and I like five of them. In a race like this you will probably get a fair price on whomever you land on. I'm thinking of taking Charitable Man over the others. He ran one of the best maiden races of the summer at Saratoga last year and other than his Polytrack effort he has never run poorly. I thought he ran well enough to win the Belmont until the final furlong when the distance simply found him out. I don't think connections seriously view him as a contender for the BC Marathon so that lack of stamina won't really matter in the long run. He fully stay 9f which is what we're concerned with here. He also has excellent tactical speed which gives him a slight edge over the other horse I really like, Convocation. If Convocation were a publicly traded company you'd have to be buying into him now before his price gets out of control. His run of three races at Belmont has seen his stock rise considerably already but I think there is much more to come. If there is any horse really poised to have a "Tiznow" like second half of the year it's this horse. If he doesn't win a very nice stakes race before the year is out I'll be surprised. I'm a bit concerned that he'll be further off the pace than Charitable Man but then again horses have been coming from off the pace without too much trouble. I think I'll have to use both horses in this space. Kensei had his breakout race last time and I'm hoping that he regresses a little bit. Warrior's Reward has been an excuse horse for most of his life I think he'll run well but I don't want him for the win spot. Saratoga Sinner is likely just too fresh for this spot. He'll need a race or two and maybe a lighter field.

Charitable Man

Fourstardave Handicap
It's hard to tell what the weather will be like this evening at Saratoga so figuring out the conditions for Sunday's will probably be tricky. But I will assume with the way it's raining today that soft or yielding conditions are likely. I think it's a critical issue because Cowboy Cal can win this race on a firm track but I think that more testing conditions play against him. I have been looking for a chance to play Kip Deville when he comes back to two turns and I think this is it. Soft conditions should not be a real problem, remember he won the BC Mile at Monmouth when the weather was worse than I've ever seen. I think the one turn configuration had more to do with his loss last time than the soft ground. It's hard to believe that this 6yo has never been to Saratoga but I think he'll settle in just fine. At his best he's the best horse in the race but I may hedge on him a little because of the other speed in here. Cosmonaut, Papa Bear and Cowboy Cal are all likely to keep close tabs on him and press him through fractions that may prove to be testing. I think the in form horse that will benefit from this is Justenuffhumor. He has never lost a grass race and he ought to sit a perfect trip in behind the speed. McLaughlin and Garcia are a potent combination and this horse has already mastered the allowance ranks in New York. It's a step up in class for him but it's the logical place to go. Connections have been really careful when placing him so I have to assume that he is more than up to this task.

Kip Deville

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