|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Santa Anita Saturday 2/4/06
I had the benefit of working with an early edition of the DRF, this one featuring no morning lines. Instead of looking at someone else's idea of odds, I made my own. I was scary close to all my choices in race 2, but there's some plays here to be made if you want to buy into my picks. By the way, partly cloudy in Arcadia, CA. No rain.
1) #5 Kiss The Flame - D.Wayne Lukas, blinkers on. Hot workout on 1/29 preceded by a 4F workout to build stamina. I like her at 7/2.
2) #3 Quinton's Relaunch features P.Valenzuela on a pressing stalker. Mike Mitchell is 31% with running horses first out of his barn, and I like the workouts too. 4/1 is my line. #4 Chandtrue hasn't won since 2004, but the class drop will help some. What's up with the last out on turf? Is the trainer darkening his form looking for a score? 8/1. #6 Pure As Gold has so many things to love. First off claim to Mitchell barn (28%), workouts show Dec/early Jan bullets @ 4F, then two very solid 5F runs to build stamina. He gets Tyler Baze aboard. 5/2. (Paid $5.80) #7 Accountable Event is a deep closer in a sprint. Will he get the hot pace he needs? Hell, even a mild regression gives this horse a legit shot. 3/1. #9 Persistent ran huge last out in Dec with a +16 lifetime Beyer spike. Trainer shut him down for workouts, which I respect a ton. The horse responded well, nice mix of speed/stamina on the tabs and even though this is a step up in class, I think this horse is live @ 8/1.
3) Two horse race - #1 Sky Diving is from the Baffert barn and got a huge effort last out, but it took a distance/class/circuit drop to do it. Still, early speed on the post and his workouts are all plusses. 5/2. #6 Bob and John should win this easily. He's a Baffert horse too, with Espinoza aboard. Should get the right stalking trip, but the odds aren't likely to be good. Play at 1/1. (Paid $2.80 - #1 scratched)
4) #4 Enchanted Nymph has a lackluster jock/trainer combo, but a return to average puts her in the money. Play at 6/1. #10 Rose N Bloom gets P.Val and a December bullet to her credit. Since then, mostly distance/stamina work. First timer on the track, I'm thinking 5/1 is fair. #13 Dee's a Legend should grab the lead, and recent performance in routes suggests she can and will hold her speed. Ugly last out, I'll throw that race out the window. 3/1. (Paid $10.60)
5) #1 Horse B With You and #1A Heckuva Rush are interesting, but only above 5/1. I don't think that's likely. #4 Frosty Moments hung a career best after a five month layoff for Cerin, and it was a logical step with the quality of his workouts. I like the stalk trip, the second off angle, and the fact he won his last. 7/2. #6 Shaperelli is a stalker getting a significant weight break to his last few. Hard to judge foreigners, especially with merely adequate workouts. 5/1. #7 Harriet Lane has much to love. Good workouts, good recent races, dialing down to 6F with established pace in routes. Trainer knows what he's doing here. 2/1. (Paid $7.80)
6) Another two horse option here. #9 Neutrality has the lifetime Beyer advantage and a shot at the pace. 2nd off angle is nice. 2/1. #3 Walkonkaydeeavenue gets Tyler Baze, has posted consistent figs, and figures to be up on or pressing the pace. 5/2.
7) I didn't do a ton of handicapping for this one, but my money will be on #11 High Limit. P.Val on a pacesetter from the Frankel barn? Yes, please. 3/1. (Paid $8.80) I also like #5 Dixie Meister as an interesting possibility. Asmussen grabbed him recently and took the place in a GII. He's been working well around and since that effort and is very capable of an improve here. 9/2.
8) #3 Indian Dreamin would need to step up, and that's not out of the question. 6/1. I like #4 Fantasmin, who gets Kent Desormeaux and a trainer who knows turf racing. Last out was very solid, this is a marginal step down. #5 Storm Mate beat #4 by a neck in their last, and Canani is 44% second off layoffs and 30% after a win last out. 5/2. #6 Common Trust has stalkability, and gets hot jock Garrett Gomez in mount. Hung a career-best last out, and has worked solidly since. Sise is 30% shutting a horse down for 30-60 days, and I give this option bonus points for frequent workouts since. 5/2. #8 My Dream is intriguing, as her workouts lately are decent. Still... 10/1.
9) #1 Shooter's Touch gets Tyler Baze on the rail as a pacesetter. That's good, right? The trainer's been focusing on stamina, which will help. 3/1. #2 Simon Pure is a Lukas horse, but has three bullets to her credit as a first time starter. Bought at auction for $665K in 2004, so you know the bloodlines are likely in place. 6/1. #10 Record has an enormous Beyer advantage, is capable of stalking close, and has Baffert/Espinoza connex. That's plenty to talk me into EVEN MONEY. (Paid $3.60)
10) Eh, maybe later...
Sunday Morning Update - Assuming you only played my favorites from each of the first nine, $18 would have turned into $39.40. I'm especially proud of how race five turned out, that wasn't the easiest one in the world to handicap, and the morning line on my winner was something like 6/1. She was bet down to 5/2 by post, but I had her on my list at 2/1 anyway so that's value in my eyes. Sadly, I got my ass kicked all day yesterday and quit betting after the sixth. I had a lot of money on both those horses I had picked, and neither factored. Down about $110 for the day, $30 of which I made back at the tables later...
Obligatory Saturday Horse Shit
That's what I get for not checking the weather... Tampa, FL got eight inches of rain yesterday, with the promise of more today. As a matter of fact, the storms were so bad that they cancelled the card. Gulfstream (Hallandale, FL) also got drenched, with expectations of heavy thunderstorms today too.
I suck at off-track handicapping. You've gotta know your weaknesses, and that's a big one for me. I'm likely to play a bit at Tampa anyway, but I may as well just light dollar bills on fire for what good it's going to do me. I may bet at Santa Anita, which kicks off in the 3PM EST neighborhood, and hopefully it ain't rainin' in SoCal today.
Anyway, some quick picks - For the love of god steer clear of these today:
1) #1 Aliflash (I like early speed in sprints on off tracks. This sounds dumb, but that's only based on the theory that horses running behind other horses don't like having mud kicked in their faces. No, I'm not kidding.)
2) #6 Tour a Lurah (Not much I like here, really. He's 9-16 in the money lifetime though)
3) #7 Secret Fantasy (Stalker in a route, improving. Trainer 25% returning a winner after a win)
4) #3 Preceptor (Unchallenged pace, best Beyers over last three, has improved his stamina)
5) Turf race likely to move to the sloppy-ass dirt. Ugh. Look at the "Also Eligible" list for clues.
6) #4 Act Natural (Last out sucked, previous three would be plenty here. No speed inside her either, should find a spot and settle up close)
7) Turf, see above
8) #10 Excellerant (No way you can bet against her here)
10) #8 Platinum Perfect (Ready to improve, has historically taken a step forward with 2nd off angle. I like #12 Ebony Breeze marginally better, but she'll go off close to even money. Here's your value.)
11) #1 La Rochelle (Flashed early speed in first and only race, comes out of classier circuit at Churchill. Solid workouts, should be up there on a fairly hot pace.)
Friday, February 03, 2006
Dread Level: Yellow
The panic? She's easing just a little bit. Most of my concerns were money related, and the one thing I had been blocking from my mind was my end-of-year 2005 bonus check. Between the bonus check and my health care reimbursement dollars, I think I'll be able to knock out the expense with some room to spare.
So that room to spare? Meet my new laptop. I didn't opt for the dual core processors (though that sounds so awesome I can barely stand it), and I stuck at 1GB of RAM instead of upgrading to 2GB (but I'm upgradeable later...). But in about a week and a half Dell's going to deliver me a 17" screen, and 80GB hard drive, and what should be a consistently easy experience having two browser windows, poker, and chat up all at the same time without the laptop threatening to go and blow itself up. I found a $500 affiliate code coupon that was for any system above $1599, so it's a $1700 laptop for $1200. Awesome...
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Expect Nothing From a Hand.
More goofing around, thanks to Bill Rini for the topic suggestion.
"I can tell when you're lying..." She floated that out in a teasing sort of way. From across the table her cheeks glowed amber when she grinned through the cliched Italian restaurant candlelight.
"Yeah, how do you know I'm lying?"
"Your lips are moving." She was the straight man with a punchline, but it was the up-twisted corners of her lips and sapphire gleam in her eyes that gave her away. When she asked my name, I told her the truth. When she asked what I did for a living I said, "I knit sweaters for homeless kittens displaced by Hurricane Katrina." She snickered and threw it back to me in that faux-accusatory tone.
I love this dance.
"Perhaps, then, I should have told you I was a ro-essh-i-nul vehn-ril-uh-kisst." It was supposed to be "Professional Ventriloquist," but I made sure that my lips weren't moving this time.
"Really? I bet you're very good. What's your dummy's name?"
"Jingo Joe America," I said. "It's a fairly controversial show. Plenty of ethnic humor."
Her eyes narrowed as she was obviously wondering where I was going with this one. "So you and your 'dummy,' you spend your time making fun of immigrants?" She was obviously thinking, "Okay, you're teetering into asshole territory guy. Can you dig yourself out of this?"
I gave her the "just a second" gesture, then picked up a cloth napkin from the other place setting and stuffed it into the pocket of my palm to create an impromptu puppet. He wasn't quite right, so I swiped my finger in the ashes of the ash tray and drew eyes and a nose on the napkin. I turned him around to meet Veronica and made my little fake Jingo Joe look around with a little anxiety. "Hi there Jingo Joe, why don't you say hello to Veronica?"
"Hi Er-onica! I'm Jingo Joe!" She laughed just a little, hopefully giving me bonus points for dedication.
"Hi Jingo Joe," she ran her hand across his forehead, obviously coming on to the puppet. This next part was obviously meant for both of us. "I love a puppet who can make me laugh. Do you have a joke for me?"
I mustered up as much sincerity as talking to a hand puppet would allow. "Do you tell jokes Jingo Joe?"
"No Ste-ee," My name's Steve, by the way. "I don't tell jokes. I tell the truth!"
I cut Jingo Joe off abruptly. "Now Joe, Veronica here was told that you tell ethnic jokes. Do you have a problem with people who are different from you?"
"Not at all Ste-ee. I love all ee-ehl." That's people, by the way. "Just not those ilthy ucking Canadians." Veronica laughed, thank god. It'd be just my luck to meet a girl at the bar, invite her to eat with me, and then find out she's from Montreal about two minutes too late.
Veronica batted here eyes at the puppet and was clearly having a good time with the whole thing. "Aw, Jingo Joe. What could you possibly have against Canadians?"
"Hockey. And aple syru-h too!" (Maple syrup) "They're just Ah-air-ih-ca junior and they suck! Hey Er-onica! Knock knock."
"Socialized health care." That wasn't an easy one to say stiff-lipped.
That got her, she was full out giggling now. "Socialized health care who?"
"Stay out of Ah-erica Commies!" Hell, I was giggling now too. Good thing I had bought a couple rounds for the two of us before we sat down for dinner. Jingo Joe wasn't done. "Hey Er-onica! How any Canadians does it take to screw in a light-ulh."
"I don't know Jingo Joe," she was flushed from trying to keep from falling over laughing. "How many Canadians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"
"They don't screw in light-ulhs, they screw in igloos!" I barely got the punchline out with the laughter I was holding back. Veronica was laughing her damn fool head off as I took Jingo Joe off my hand and said, "Well, you get the idea."
"That was certainly... unexpected." She dropped a hand to my knee. raised her eyes to meet mine and earnestly said, "Maybe you and Jingo Joe should hit the road. I bet you'd be real big down south..." She let that last part hang between us for a beat, making sure I didn't miss the double entendre. "Care to split a bottle of wine with dinner? I'm hoping you and Jingo Joe don't have anywhere else to be tonight."
"I think we can be talked into staying. Just don't order the Chicken Cordon Bleu... Canadian bacon, you know."
Veronica tipped her wine glass back and drained the remainder in one gulp. "So, what other talents do you have?"
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
This Narrow Area
I'm totally pre-occupied with all things ME these past few days, and I'm even pissing myself off with all the internal whining I'm doing. So I asked Gracie for a fake book title (see above), which I'm going to write at least 500 words on. Because I suck and can only think about getting cut open and having an IV bag and sixteen days of fatigue and boredom and... See, no more whining little bitch today. That's why I'm taking the title above and goofing around...
"Mr. Halstead can just fuck right off then." To that point Deborah's words had been measured and careful, but my methodical approach to staying on my talking points couldn't be sidetracked. Instead, she chose to take the low road and throw spite at her perceived aggriever before turning on her heel and storming out of my office. Deborah's gait carried her with a forced dignity, heads turning from every cubicle with assumptions in low frequencies and hushed tones buzzing her ears. I thought it was all very funny.
She stopped dead in the middle of the cubicle maze when she spotted two security guards stepping from the elevator. One spoke into his shoulder-mounted radio and Deborah turned her head to confirm her suspicion. I had the phone to my ear and smiled and waved to Deborah. Yes, that's me telling these guys to get you out of here. Yes, yes... I'm a bastard, I know. One of the officers circled around back of her, taking a tactical route around a stack of cubes to cut off any access back to her desk - my idea, I admit. I giggled just a little when she looked back to me again with that "You're not even going to let me get my wedding picture?" look in her eyes. She was resigned, totally broken for a moment. She pricked her ears sharply just then, with an instant recognition of what must now be done. Softly, but audibly to her rapt former office mates she declared, "There isn't an ounce of truth to this. Whatever Mr. Halstead says is a pack of lies." One of the guards tugged at her elbow. She found a little more resolve, and a lot more volume. "Lies!"
It was 9AM.
I let forty minutes pass, hoping to ease the nervous tension of the early morning drama into a dulled sense of dread among the staff. They had no idea what was going on around them, or what exactly - if anything - was coming next. Perfect. I pressed the intercom button on my desk and reached my secretary. "Eustice, can you send Miss Appleton in for just a moment please?" I wore the stone mask of unvarnished indifference, but inside I was running an adrenaline-laced spat of giddiness. I spied Dianne Appleton through my glass office walls tenatively approaching Eustice's desk and was already on the phone arranging to have security clean up another mess. "Yes, thirty-second floor east... She'll be the caucasian forty-something with the red sweater and khaki slacks, dark hair - probably a dye job. Do not allow her to return to collect personal items, we will have those delivered via courier. Ten minutes, thanks."
It took twelve. I must say Dianne turned in a masterful performance: tears flying, plausible sobbing, apologetics in abundance (which was, naturally, the most curious part of it all), and even a knee-buckling prostration as soon as she spotted the two guards waiting patiently outside my door. I dismissed her cooly, never once letting my abundant glee shine through. Dianne was too distraught to offer anything to the visibly frightened business-casual crew on her way to the elevator, and you could hear her unabashed sorrow down the shaft to at least twenty-nine.
I couldn't wait for the next one, so I bid Eustice to come in and shut the door behind her. She gingerly stepped across the threshold and peered into the far corners of my office, as puzzled and shocked as the rest of those fuckers out there. "Eustice, I need about fifteen minutes for security to get Dianne to the front door. At ten after I'd like for you to have Jerry Romans come and see me, but I'd also like for you to call Ben Geathers up from thirty-one. Have him wait on the couch." I gestured outside to the couch with full view of my desk, the chairs in front, and what promised to be an animated meeting with Jerry.
He didn't disappoint. Jerry was our point guy in Sales, and for once in his life he didn't have control of the room. I remained stolid, explained the circumstances and brought Jerry to a mad bubbling froth that couldn't be contained. "Old man Halstead said what?" Jerry was bent over my desk, both palms providing balance as his furor threatened to sway him to toppling. "I'm just the messenger," I started. "He asked me to express to you his severe disappointment, and to let you know that Geathers there-" I stopped to gesture through the window to the obviously agitated and panicking shell of a man on the couch, "-will be taking your place leading the sales team. If there's anything I can do," Anything, meaning 'fuck you Jerry' "please feel free to ask Eustice. I'm sorry to be the one to let you go. Now, if you'll just follow these two men..."
Goddammit, this was fun. Geathers saw Jerry being lead away by armed guards with a slack jaw and frantic eyes, and tenatively cowered just a little as I came over to the couch and picked him up with a handshake. The rest of the staff never knew what hit 'em when I threw my arm around Ben and took him into my office to give him the title of Sales Director. It was a proud moment for Ben. As soon as he managed to collect himself and ask why Mr. Halstead would ask the Assistant Director of Finance to lead the sales force, I simply replied, "Trust. It's all about trust Ben. And that's what Mr. Halstead has in you. Trust. He's been watching you since you started here Ben, and wishes he were here instead of Pebble Beach to have this conversation with you directly. But," and I gestured globally, "you understand what's going on today." I said that last part as if he were a person in the know. He slowly nodded and stood to shake my hand. "You'll start Monday Ben. Why don't you take a four day weekend on us?" Ben Geathers was wearing a three-hundred watt smile all the way to the elevator.
"Eustice, can you come in here please?" Next was Sarah O'Guinn, then Rodney Watts, then Ed Sharpley. They were angry as hell, argumentative, and litigously threatening respectively. The thrill was growing exponentially too. I couldn't possibly be enjoying myself any more than this.
It was two thirty, and I was running out of time. I had wanted to save Paul Post for last. I wanted to savor the feeling of nailing this asswipe, but it was late, getting later, and I didn't have time to dick around. "Eustice, Paul Post as soon as he can spare a minute, please." I placed the usual call to security and took three deep breaths to try and quell the spasmodic merriment flowing through my veins. I shut the blinds to the office to give Paul and I some privacy.
"Paul, can you shut the door behind you and have a seat?" Paul approached with trepidation, and didn't break eye contact as he sat down. "Now, I suppose you already know why you're here?"
Paul started, meekly. "I don't have the slightest idea why I'm here." I let that sit in the air, alone and between us for a few more seconds than was obviously comfortable for him. "And I don't know why any of the others were in here today either." His speech was clipped, he was already broken. All my groundwork today, no matter how much I enjoyed it, was well worth it.
"It's about the numbers Paul." His head tilted to the side and he blinked just once. It was confusion. "Mr. Halstead has asked me to ask you for an explanation. Everything will be much easier on you if you own up to the truth."
"Truth? The numbers? What are you talking about? I don't even touch the numbers, whatever they are! You know that... Hell, Halstead knows that! I'm in Sales for chrissakes!" Obviously incredulous, definitely defensive... I was enjoying this, but stuck to the script.
"Paul, there was an... aberration five quarters ago. Another the quarter thereafter. Mr. Halstead asked me to install a system of checks that allowed me to track these inaccuracies, and we know Paul." My intercom buzzed. I ignored it. "We know everything Paul." The intercom buzzed again, somehow more insistent than the first time. I lifted the receiver a centimeter and dropped it back again.
"I don't know what you think you know, but..." The buzz was replaced by three large raps at the door.
"NOT NOW EUSTICE!" It was the first time the fury had caught me all day long. My face grew red and my fingers tightened around the arms of my chair. I kicked at the side of my desk from underneath in frustration, trying to stifle the building rage. The knocks came again, with two voices - male, unrecognizable - asking me to open up. "NOT FUCKING NOW EUSTICE!" I kicked the chair out from under me and circled the desk to confront Paul, who was rising to meet me.
"You're fucking finished here Paul," I hissed. "Done. Fired. I want you fucking gone."
Paul read the situation perfectly, replying simply, "Why don't we see who's at the door Leonard?" He walked over and twisted the knob to find a shaken Eustice and two large uniformed police officers. "Are these gentlemen here for me Leonard?" Paul was taunting me... He was always fucking taunting me.
"Leonard Coffey?" Paul pointed, so very helpful. "You're under arrest."
Eustice, protective to the end, asked, "What's the charge officers?"
"Embezzlement. At least $250K over the last sixteen months." I spat at the smaller officer's shoe.
As they were pulling me from the office Paul asked, "Does this mean I still have my job Leonard"
Monday, January 30, 2006
Anyone wanting to sign up to YouBet for horse wagering should use my handle, "boygza," as the referral code (how'd you find us...). Then, you've gotta stay a member for 60 days and play through $100 for me dammit, then I get paid.
Not that it matters. Got an email today from YouBet congratulating me on my dollar volume of wagering lately. They've credited me with one year of free service.
I'm a high roller.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Started off with a miss, but hit a winner and the exacta in the second for net $39.40. From there, it all fell into place... I had $10 to win and $20 to place on the winner in the third (watch those place pools, I got a very agreeable price on that play) for $81 net, hit the winner in the sixth (but missed the tri by a NOSE) for net $14.40, the exacta in the eighth for $25.30 and then a $2 flier in the tenth turned into $121.60.
Net take for the Tampa card today = +$161.20. Very good day.
Tampa Picks For Sunday, January 29th
I took a look back at the last two days of racing at Tampa (sample size, I know), and noticed that pace setters have only won three of twelve dirt sprints, with either a presser (nipping at the heels of a pace setter) or close stalker coming up with the other nine victories. If a horse isn't capable of getting within three lengths of the leader by the first quarter, he's not scoring a win. The pace setter who doesn't win these sprints (all three on Friday - one MCL with slow fractions, one 5K claimer and an 8.5K claimer who lugged his ass in for an unspectacular win after a pretty solid first four furlongs) isn't placing either.
For this reason, I'm discounting all pace setters today, and doing my best to find some good horses who can stay up close and take advantage of these vulnerable front-runners.
Looking at dirt routes, it's more of the same. Pace fell off the map in a few, but hit the board in a couple of the classier races. By the way, if you've got Virtual Stable email notification at Equibase, there's a horse by the name of SOLDIER'S WORD you need to add to your stable. He ran a 1 and 1/16 MSW race on Friday and won by 11 lengths. Not only that, but he hung a time of 1:44.9 on the teletimer. Fast track you say? Well, two previous races at that distance on the card were run at 1:49.3 and 1:49.8. Worth watching to see where his trainer takes him from here.
On to the picks...
1) 6F $10K Clm N3L - Look at #4 Flight To Eden. Recent speed figs are tops here and have improved over the last three. Par here should be around 61, and there isn't much else in this race close to that number. Three back's sixth place finish was an aberration, as nine of the 12 entries in the field went on to hit the board (4/4/4 WPS) in their next out, plus the winner hung a huge 70 Beyer, which is about four to five points above par for that class (at least). Like him to strike in first, 4/1 on the morning line. You can look at #6 Rare Fool too, but I think he's going to struggle coming from as far off the pace as he seems to want to. His speed figures are there, and he ran a nice one in this class/dist last time out, but I don't see the pace shaping up for a deep closer (for a sprint) to work his magic. Probably a touch of an underlay at 7/2, I'd play at 5/1. PICK! I like #4 above even money.
2) 7F $5K Clm N2Y - Kind of a tough race on paper, there's a lot to like here. The pace might not be hot, but it'll be just north of lukewarm. Some combo of #2 Bus Man Jack, #8 Dragon The Pot and #5 Short Hair should move out front and start the action, and I like all three for different reasons. #2 seems to be improving, and I'll like him here if he can stay in second a good half length or so off the pace through the first three quarters. If that happens, and the fractions are agreeable, I could see him grabbing a piece at a nice price. #8 spiked a big Beyer over his few previous last out, so he's a candidate to bounce in this spot. He'll want to move the action early though, and any repeat of last race (to be fair, he did look primed for a nice uptick, just not 15 points and a lifetime best) will be plenty here. #5 is interesting, as he laid off for just about a year and came back with a vengence. He fired a bullet workout on 1/9 and then came out on 1/19 (ten days later) to totally control the pace and dominate at a slightly lower level than this. It's ten days later, and he's entered here. I like the symmetry (bullet - ten days - hot race - ten days...), and I want to trust the trainer knows what he's doing. I'd really like to see this horse around 9/2 (his morning line) as the minutes to post dwindle. He could improve sharply here. #4 Bruney might be too much of a closer here, but he's ten for his last sixteen in the money (4/4/2) and can't be ignored. I'd like to see the crowd throw their support here and give me better prices elsewhere. I do also like #3 So Far So Go. He's improved three straight Beyers since laying an egg in December, and a 71 Beyer seems within reach again for this horse, which will be very competitive in this class. I like that he's a close stalker, and he's got a real shot here. I'd like him more at 5/1 than his 4/1 morning line though. PICK! #5 above 4/1, #3 above 4/1
3) 7F MCL $12500 - If you want to throw your support behind 3/1 morning line favorite #10 Westcoasteastcoast, be my guest. I'm not getting anywhere near him though. He's had three straight improving Beyers, but he's getting an eight day turnaround and a class jump after being claimed? He's the horse I'm praying is overbet here, and if he wins, more power to you. Good luck to a jockey with 2% winners and a trainer under the Mendoza line himself. I don't know what to think about #8 Greatest Creation. I like improving Beyers, and I like when a horse finds his early speed. He hasn't shown the ability to hold up over the course of the race, however, and despite a pretty solid looking (five furlong?) workout eleven days ago, I'll leave this 4/1 shot out. Give me a shot at #5 Lucky Straight. He's 5/1 on the morning line, gets a class drop and found his early speed last time out. He's got an enormous lifetime Beyer advantage and solid workouts this month. #3 Barkeeper is worth watching too. After a number of blase workouts, he hangs a huge one five days ago. He's never raced before, and I guarantee #10 is going to get a lot of action at the windows. Could be a very fair price on a 9/2 morning line horse. PICK! #5 above 5/2, #3 above 3/1.
4) 1 and 1/16 Clm 5K N2Y - I'm going to toss the likely favorite, #8 Keystone Point. He's running first off a claim with a shittier trainer/jockey combo, and I'm betting on regression. I do like #7 Siberiano with his quick turnaround and class drop. He ran last out with a horse at an unrestricted $6250 tag that had bested a few of these in early January. I think he and #9 Joust will get up front and one of the two will score the win, especially if Joust regains his form from two and three back, which isn't out of the question. PICK! #7 above 8/5, #9 above 2/1.
5) 1 and 1/16 Turf MSW $18K - Lots to like about #7 Selway. He was working successfully back at Gulfstream under Barclay Tagg a year ago, then came off a long layoff with two very consistent performances at Calder and most recently at Tampa. He lost by a neck to an 18-1 shot who grabbed the lead at the three quarter pole and never let go. He'll be wildly overbet, but I like him at any price over even money. Then again, you might find value with #5 Classic Fran. He comes out of much classier company in the New York circuit, and ran a nice warmup performance in his first race off layoff on January 6th. He's 6-1 on the morning line, I fully expect he'll improve and contend. Interesting longshot, if you want to take a flier, might be #3 Stellar Soldier. Like his last two, although they were in June and August and only at a mile on the grass. I think he could be worth a few bucks at 10/1. PICK! #7 at even money, #5 above 9/2, #3 above 9/1.
6) 7F $7500 Clm N2L - God, I hate all of these horses. Do you want to bet on the pace setting horses at a short price? Then jump all over the inconsistent #3 Worthy Performance, who's been toiling at this level since September (always a bridesmaid - or worse), or the nine-tries-to-break-my-maiden mediocrity of the projected even-money oddsline of #7 Smart Connection. #7 gets Umana, so I can't toss him out, but I really want to look elsewhere. I'm tossing the morning line favorite, #8 Slew On Slew, to the wolves here too. Screw playing a horse that needs to find July's form (and hasn't, over five races since September) to contend. How about #5, the imaginatively named Lordlebo N Marylou. He could improve (the pattern is there), and I like that he'll stalk these. I think his problems with late-race stamina might have been corrected when the trainer dumped him in a route last out. I think that's what he was doing there, now he's dialing the horse back down to a sprint and will find the winner's circle at 10/1, and I'll buy a pizza for dinner. PICK! #5 above 5/2, #7 above 5/2
7) 1 and 1/16 Turf Alw $19,200 for 3YO horses - Early speed is 1-5 across grass routes over the last two days, which leaves me wondering how #3 Sweet Grass Creek is going to do. He's by far the classiest horse in the field (bred for $125K, sold in 2004 for $195K) and should take to the grass well. However, he pressed the pace in his last (on the dirt) here in December, and I don't know if that running style will be beneficial here. He has been working out solidly since that race, so I have to believe the trainer has him in the right spot to score. #9 Obispo Street will also be a favorite here, and showed a real nice return to the grass at this class twelve days ago. I like his chances here a lot, but he spiked an improvement last time and he'll have to go even higher today unless #3 collapses. Obispo gets Lezcano, who's won 20% on the turf this year. #5 Red Dirt Road might creep up to take a share, but I don't have a ton of confidence to play him. PICK! #3 above 8/5.
8) 7F MSW 18K - #8 Major Tom is a Nick Zito shipper from Calder, who already took two tries at Belmont and Churchill to break in much better class. He didn't score, but absolutely should here. Play at even money, though I doubt you'll get that. Interesting first time starter #6 Confederate. Kentucky-bred, workout warrior, hung a :38.1 in a 3F workout six days ago. Maybe he grabs the lead and won't let go? PICK!#8 at even money, #6 above 9/2.
9) 1 and 1/16 $19200 Alw - I'm reaching a bit for #7 Rain Spinner. I like Lezcano aboard, I like the improving figures, and I like he had a solid effort (losing to a hot front runner) in this class/dist last out. Very capable of scoring at a nice price. I like two of the favorites here too, with #3 Excellent Job looking very solid. 5/2 for an improving horse seems fair. #1 Gumba comes out of the Illinois circuit, and I like this as a class drop scenario for him. I think this is his distance, even though it seems like his trainers keep tossing him in sprints. Nice workout last week over 4F (:49 flat), and I like him to improve as well. PICK! #7 above 5/2, #3 above 2/1, #1 above 2/1.
10) 1 and 1/16 Turf MSW $18K - Here's an interesting angle... How about #4 Sirdar with a morning line of 8/1? I like that he's a classy horse ($150K to breed, sold in 2002 for $290K), I think he likely battled injuries as a 2YO and 3YO, and didn't make it to the track until he was 4. Three races under his belt, and they don't look spectacular. However, the speed ratings weren't bad, and the track variants for all three of his races were right around 30. That's like running through quicksand. Tampa's turf course has been faster, maybe he scores today? PICK! Play him at 5/1 or better, if you can get it.
11) 7F Clm $7500 N2L - I bet I don't even play this one, I'll likely need a break by now. I don't know if #8 Miesque's Boy deserves to be this heavy (7/5) of a favorite, so I'll look elsewhere. How about #7 Spirit of Life? Nice workout last out, looks to be on the rebound back to his old abilities. Why not? These horses all suck anyway. PICK! #7 above 4/1.
Sweep and a Mop
Feels like spring cleaning around here today... I've added a bunch of way overdue links to the blogroll to your right, please click them all before you leave. I've also taken yesterday's enormous but horribly fun live-blogging post and moved it into my archives. I thought it turned out pretty well, but winning $80 (hit the exacta in the Sunshine Millions Classic to buffer the bad bets I made in opposition to the overbet Silver Tree in Jerry Bailey's last ride) kept my attitude high all day.
Anyway, I've also published a feedburner RSS feed here, and would like to remind you that you can plug this link into Bloglines or any other aggregator too: http://www.gamblingblues.com/homes/sitefeed.
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