Overview: I thought this weekend was highlighted by the magic of knowing your horse. Bobby Frankel brought Ventura to Woodbine because there was a big purse being offered for a race that fit her preferences perfectly. Ventura is a one turn specialist and she flaunted her proficiency once again. Forever Together also came to Woodbine but she's the polar opposite of Ventura, she is definitely a two turn horse. Forever Together has never lost a two turn turf race but she's struggled mightily in one turn races. That struggle showed itself again as she was nosed out by the inferior Princess Haya. Don't worry too much about the reigning Female Turf champ. The division is won or lost in two turn events and she'll still have a couple of those left on her dance card this season. Regal Ransom looked good in the Super Derby but he's still a few notches short of the real cream from this crop. Blame on the other hand had the pace against him but still came with a bold run in the final few furlongs. His star seems to be on the rise. I wouldn't make too much out of D'Funnybone's latest runaway victory. I thought Discreetly Mine was equally impressive after having a rough trip. With Dutrow planning to take D'Funnybone straight to the Juvenile off this 7f effort he's an easy toss.
Thoroughbred Championship Rankings: Just As Well got lucky when he inherited a win via DQ. He wasn't affected by the trouble but he did get most of the benefit. That result has propelled him into a firm second place in the Turf Male rankings and 6th overall! Who would have ever thought that Just As Well would be ranked higher than Forever Together?
Power Rankings: Ventura has gone from the head of one division to the head of another. The way Power Rankings work is that a horse is given a score based on their entire body of work but the division they get placed in is based on what kind of races make up the bulk of their score. Ventura had been the top Female Sprinter until this weekend when she captured a massive prize on the grass. That made her more of a grass horse than main track sprinter this season so she moved divisions. Expect her to flip flop back into contention for the top Female Sprinter after the Breeders' Cup.
Performance of the Week: Ventura was really good but the pace really helped her as well. She would certainly be a deserving choice for performance of the week but she's also every one's top choice. I'm going to go against the grain just a bit and say that I was personally quite impressed with Awesome Maria in the Matron. She sat right on the pace which was lively then looked powerful as she just extended away from the field. I'm pretty convinced that she'll go two turns and she's a pretty nice physical specimen for a 2yo filly as well.
Race of the Week: Surely the 2009 renewal of the Noble Damsel has to go down in history as one of the tightest non dead-heat finishes of all time. Check out the photo. What is that winning margin, like 3 millimeters? To the naked eye Rutherienne never had her nose in front, even her jockey Alan Garcia congratulated the rider of Quiet Meadow for winning. It just goes to show how important photo finish cameras are. A few weeks ago someone expressed surprise when I said that all dead heats awarded prior to the era of finish line camera's were suspect in my mind. This is why. Even an experienced eye could not have seen Rutherienne get in front at the line.
Flop of the Week: I thought Bribon was ridden far too close to the pace to be effective at Woodbine. Obviously his connections feared Rahy's Attorney more than they should have. Bribon was ridden from further back in the Met Mile, Cigar Mile and even the Saratoga allowance and he did just fine in those races. Here he struggled home without any real kick at all in the lane. He still managed to run 4th just a nose out of third but my feeling is that with some better tactics he could been flying home right with Ventura. Badly done by Alan Garcia.
Tip O'the Cap: 2007 Arlington Million winner Jambalaya was back in action for the first time since that victory and he picked up right where he left off! Okay maybe he wasn't quite back to that level but he did manage to win and he looked pretty good while doing it. Woodbine was never even his favorite course. He always seemed to do better away from his home track but it's great to see him back in action. Who knows, this 7 year old gelding may actually be a major contender for some of this seasons big Turf stakes. He is 19-9-1-6 in his career on the grass but he's 5-4-0-1 away from Woodbine. He's won G-1's at Gulfstream and Arlington and a graded stakes at Saratoga. Jambalaya is a serious horse and congratulations to his connections for getting him back to the races. Patience rewarded.
KC Handicapping: I missed the mark pretty badly this week. For a moment it seemed as if Quijano was going to be good enough but he just doesn't have enough punch in the lane. Rahy's Attorney was too close to a fast pace and he just wasn't good enough. It's been a rough little streak for my 20-20 profiles. Losses in the Woodbine Mile, Pacific Classic and Whitney are beginning to add up. All the 20-20 profiles combined are just $0.70 profitable this year nailing only 6 winners from 11 races. The overall overage is 195% ROI and 79% winners. The Breeders' Cup (eight established races) and Canadian International are the only races of the year left with a developed profile.
Weekly Record: 3(2)-0-1-0 (-$6.00 -100.00% ROI)
Overall Record: 803(455)-138-126-102 (-$172.50 -10.74% ROI)