Saturday, June 6, 2015

Belmont Stakes - Triple Crown Edition

Belmont Park – June 6, 2015
Race 11 - 6:50 PM
Belmont Stakes (Grade I)
Purse - $1,500,000
Distance - One And One Half Miles
Surface – Dirt

1 – Mubtaahij
2 – Tale of the Verve
3 – Made from Lucky
4 – Frammento
5 – American Pharoah
6 – Frosted
7 – Keen Ice
8 – Materiality

When I first began writing about horse racing my goals were to learn about horse racing and share what I was learning with other casual fans who may not know much about the sport – another goal of mine was to continue writing until I had followed a Triple Crown winner……and over the past years, accomplishing the latter goal has felt like this:

In 2008 I really thought Big Brown was a lock to win the Triple Crown, but due to equipment failure he was unable to complete the race.

2012 brought the rise of I’ll Have Another  – however an injury before the Belmont prevented him from even entering the race.

And finally last year came the California favorite – California Chrome, who sustained an injury at the beginning of the race and finished 4th in the Belmont, likely due to the discomfort of the injury.

The Belmont has been a lot of Badluck the past few years --- however #5 American Pharoah will suit up today and hopefully bring home the first Triple Crown in almost 40 years.

American Pharoah has only lost one race – and it was the first race of his career. Since then he has been magnificent – twice he has defeated opponents on a sloppy track in pouring rain.

He’s shown a fighters quality down the stretch when rivals were looking to steal away his victory and he runs with a maturity that is uncommon for his age.

In other words – if you’re looking for a Triple Crown contender who’s got it all – look no further than American Pharoah.

His biggest challengers today are fatigue and the daunting distance of this race.

For those who don’t follow horse racing – these horses have never run a mile and ½ before – it is likely the longest distance they’ll ever run in their careers.

Also  – out of this group of horses, only American Pharoah has raced three times (Kentucky Derby, Preakness and The Belmont) in 5 weeks -- most of the time these horse will run once a month at most!

Looking at his competition –

#1 Mubtaahij – concerns me the most – he had a terrible Kentucky Derby, but this horse may have the best breeding and training for the Belmont Distance. This horse closes  swiftly like he’s got warp speed – so he could be the real heartbreaker in this one......he's also an Irish horse -- and for some reason the Irish horses are always trouble.

#2 Tale of the Verve – finished a distant 2nd in the Preakness Stakes behind American Pharoah – Tale of the Verve only has 1 victory in 7 attempts – maybe the ownership thinks he’s got the distance in this one?

#3 Madefromlucky – won the Peter Pan Stakes here at Belmont a month ago – he’s been defeated twice by American Pharoah already (finishing 2nd in the Rebel, and 4th in the Arkansas Derby) – I think Madefromlucky could be a real contender to finish in the top three.

#4 Frammento – 30/1 longshot, who finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby – and he has 1 career victory.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
would like to order a
 Frosted, Keen Iced
#6 Frosted – finished 4th in the Kentucky Derby  but was closing in on the top three at the wire. If American Pharoah is fatigued, I agree with the general consensus (Frosted is the second favorite) that  Frosted certainly could be one of the horses to contend for a victory – however this horse only has 2 victories in 8 attempts.

#7 Keen Ice finished 7th in the Kentucky Derby and has 1 victory in 8 attempts.

#8 Materiality – finished 6th in the Kentucky Derby – however the Kentucky Derby was this horse’s only loss in 4 attempts. I don’t know if this horse has the distance in him, but I think Materiality could be the horse that pushes American Pharoah today.

The Belmont is Coming........
As a horse racing enthusiast and American Pharoah fan – I’m hoping for a Triple Crown victory today…..the smart handicapper would likely tell you that the Belmont Stakes will once again crush my hopes ----like George R.R. Martin was writing it’s outcome –

But this blog was designed for a Triple Crown victory… ---

Closing Speed likes:  American Pharoah,  Mubtaahij, Frosted

If I'm betting $26 today --

$6 Exacta Box - Frosted, Keen Ice and Frammento (because fate would just love to kick me in the shins and have my imaginary Cheetah make the right call on this one).

$5 to win on numbers #1, #2, #3 and #8.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Preakness - 2015

Pimlico  - May 16, 2015
Race 13 - 6:18 PM
Preakness Stakes.   (Grade I)
Purse - $1,500,000
Distance - One And Three Sixteenth Miles
Surface – Dirt

American Pharoah
Mr. Z
Danzig Moon
Tale of Verve
Diving Rod
Firing Line

Like most anyone who follows horse racing – or even just tuned in to the Kentucky Derby, I believe this race is a three horse race – between the Win, Place and Show horses of the KY Derby – American Pharoah, Dortmund and Firing Line.

If you missed the Kentucky Derby:

#1 American Pharoah – looked his normal, fantastic self in the Kentucky Derby – running just as I (and many expected) to victory. Watching this horse run is a thing of beauty – he seems to effortlessly glide into the final stretch, and then he’ll give you another level that separates him from the rest of the pack. He struggled a little with the distance in the Kentucky Derby – which is not unusual for all horses his age, and since the Preakness is a slightly shorter race, he should be solid here.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
does NOT like the sounds of
Tabasco Cat!
The big concern is that he starts on the rail – where a horse hasn’t won the Preakness since Tabasco Cat in 1994.

#2 Dortmund looked gassed at the end of the Kentucky Derby – there are two distinct possibilities – he just wasn’t “feeling” it for the biggest race of his life or more likely he just isn’t meant for a distance over a mile and 1/8.  I believe it’s the latter – at this point in his life (and maybe for his career) – he can challenge and beat almost anyone at 1 1/16 miles or 1 1/8 miles – which means he can win a LOT of money in his career, but the Triple Crown races may be out of reach.

Then again, if the Kentucky Derby was just an off day – or he didn’t like the feel of the track and he can return to his earlier Spring Form – he could certainly challenge today.

Similar to American Pharaoh – his post position also comes with a bit of historical bad news – the last horse to win from the #2 spot was Snow Chief in 1986.

"13 Month Old Baby
broke the looking glass"
#3 Mr. Z – has 1 victory in 13 attempts, in the Kentucky Derby he finished 13 – the Preakness is Race #13!!!! If you’re more superstitious – than Stevie Wonder….than I suppose go for it – but Mr. Z (while he’s a quality horse) hasn’t shown enough talent to really compete with these horses.

#4 Danzig Moon – has 1 victory in 6 attempts – he finished 5th in the KY Derby – I think he “could” squeak into the top three with a lot of help – but I just don’t see it happening.

#5 Tale of the Verve – has 1 victory in 6 attempts – however his only victory, was his most recent race at this distance. He comes in slightly more rested than the horses who raced in the KY Derby, and his odds are at 30-1 – which has my interest, however he’s never raced against this kind of competition.

#6 Bodhisattva – has a very cool name which means the following: (in Mahayana Buddhism) a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings.

Is it just me – or did the owners give this horse a name that implies he lets others cross the finish line before him?? 

He has gone to Nirvana first in 3 out of 11 races – and his last race was a victory here at Pimlico.

Bodhisattva – is another horse who has never competed at this level – so 20/1 odds seems legit. I like his victory in Pimlico – but not against the top three.

#7 Diving Rod – enters the Preakness with 2 victories in 5 attempts – however one of his victories was in his last race the Coolmore Lexington Stakes over a month ago.

What concerns me about this horse is that he is rested compared to the big three and he was sired by Tapit – Tapit horses always concern me. I believe this horse “could” sneak into the top three with some help – but I still don’t see it.

#8 Firing Line – the closest we have to an upset in the Preakness would likely have to come from Firing Line who finished a very competitive 2nd in the Kentucky Derby (so not much of an upset really).

Firing Line has a great post for this race and will be able to dictate his own race – he is a gutsy fighter of a horse – however in the “big” races he tends to always find a way to finish 2nd --- against Dortmund he twice finished 2nd by a nose – he finally surpasses Dortmund by several lengths only to finish 2nd against American Pharoah.

If you’re going to bet against the favorite – Firing Line seems to be your best option, however I think he lacks a killer instinct.

As I see it – Firing Line has the most going for him, he’ll be able to dictate his entire race and unless he’s fatigued (which is possible) I think he’s a lock for 1st or 2nd place.

American Pharoah and Dortmund will need a VERY clean break from the gate and hope to prevent horses #3 through #7 boxing them in.

Dortmund prefers to be a front runner – so if he gets “really” boxed in, I don’t know if he has the maturity to overcome it – this could be a very bad set-up for this horse.

American Pharoah I have seen run with maturity – and if he gets boxed in early I believe he can still overcome those obstacles – the problem is, will he still have enough time to be patient and break clean from being boxed in and still catch Firing Line in the final stretch??

I’m hoping to see American Pharoah make a run at the Triple Crown – so no surprises here:

Closing Speed likes: 
American Pharoah / Firing Line / Dortmund

I think if you’re betting $20 you use a pick 3 in races #12, #13 The Preakness, and #14.

Here’s my Pick 3 using American Pharoah as the “anchor” of my line-up.

Race #12 – it’s WIDE open and has tons of long shot potential – pick any 5 horses you like here – I’m going with: #3, #4, #7, #11 and #14

Race #13 - #1 American Pharoah

Race #14 –Upsets very possible, pick any 4 horses – my choice:  #2, #4, #8, #9

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Kentucky Derby 2015

Churchhill Downs – May 2, 2015
Race 11 - 6:45 PM
Kentucky Derby (Grade I)
Purse - $2,000,000
Distance - One And One Quarter Miles
Surface - Dirt

1 –  Ocho Ocho Ocho
2 – Carpe Diem                                                
3 – Materiality                                                  
4 – Tencendur                                                  
5 – Danzig Moon                                                             
6 – Mubtaahij                                                                   
7 – El Kabeir
8 – Dortmund
9 –  Bolo
10 – Firing Line
11 – Stanford
12 – International Star
13 – Itsknockout
14 – Keen Ice
15 – Frosted
16 – War Story
17 – Mr. Z
18 – American Pharoah
19 – Upstart
20 – Far Right
21 - Frammento

**First some fun facts to entertain your friends:
  • If you like "betting" the jockey Victor Espinoza won the Kentucky Derby last year and is riding the favorite American Pharoah this year.
  • Jockey Calvin Borel has won three out of the last eight Kentucky Derbies and is on board #7 El Kabir.
  • Only three of these horses were sired by Kentucky Derby winners - (Ocho, Ocho, Ocho / 2007 Street Sense) // (Dortmund // 2008 Big Brown) and (International Star // 2000 Fusaichi Pegasus)
  • I've checked several times and they misspelled Pharoah -- my auto spell is NOT happy.

Most experts agree this is one of the most competitive Kentucky Derbies we've seen in a long time. Two of these horses are undefeated, and three of these horses only have one loss!!            

I believe you can easily make cases for 7 or 8 of these horses….and that’s what I’m about to do.

Let’s begin with #2 Carpe Diem – his only loss was in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile (2nd place) and that was his only loss in 5 races. Incidentally he was defeated by Texas Red who is off the Derby Trail.

Here is Carpe Diem’s last race - the Blue Grass Stakes:
(also featuring: #1 Ocho Ocho Ocho & #5 Danzig Moon)

Carpe Diem has been very impressive his entire career and the morning line has Carpe Diem at 8/1 odds – unfortunately he may have the most to overcome of all of the really quality horses. Carpe Diem will need a fast, clean break out of the gate and then to overtake the lead in the first turn. If he can accomplish that he’ll have a solid shot at going Wire to Wire in this one.

Unfortunately there are so many good horses in this race, I think he could easily get swallowed up in traffic before they hit the first turn and never find a way out.  Nobody is going to “help” this horse win.

Next to Carpe Diem is Florida Derby winner  #3 Materiality, who outlasted serious contender #19 Upstart.

Here is the Florida Derby:
(also featuring #12 Itsknockout & #19 Upstart)

Materiality enters this race undefeated – and his victory in Florida is impressive. He’ll have the same struggle as Ocho Ocho Ocho and Carpe Diem in that he’ll need to escape the starting  gate without error or his race could be over in less than 4 seconds.

Materiality is going off at 12-1 – I think fair odds would have him closer to 15 or 20 to 1. I don’t like his lack of experience….and he’ll need some luck in the beginning – but (similar to Carpe Diem) if he can escape the traffic and grab the rail early, he looks legit.

#6 Mubtaahij (means “elated” in Arabic” – however he’s an Irish Horse) absolutely crushed the competition in the UAE Derby – (for those who don’t know the UAE Derby is in Dubai) – See Here:

It’s not often we get the UAE Derby winner in the Kentucky Derby – so this is really cool! This horse brings a lot of mystery to the table and it would not surprise me if his odds go from 20-1 to somewhere around 10-1 or lower. Watching this race he looks like a monster to me (not the only one in this field though) ---- however most horses do not travel well – and Dubai to Kentucky is no easy trip, including the time change that I’m sure messes with a horses schedule.

He’s got everything going for him except the jet lag – I like this horse to be competitive, but a victory is asking a lot.

***Incidentally he's an Irish Horse -- and Irish Horses are always tricky -- for me they either seem to finish first (when I don't bet on them) or last (when I do).

#8 Dortmund is currently the 2nd morning line favorite and for a number of very good reasons. He is undefeated in 6 races and has a fantastic post position. His last victory was the Santa Anita Derby – (also featuring #9 Bolo).

**As a side note Dortmund, twice squeaked out wins against #10 Firing Line.

Dortmund deserves to be a favorite in this race, however I don’t like the 3-1 morning odds. I don’t think he’s seen enough competition, and I think there’s too much talent in this race for him to be sitting at 3-1.

#12 International Star is currently going off at 20-1 – and this may be the horse flying under the radar. His lifetime record is 5 wins in 9 races – however he’s won his last three. Here he is duking it out in the Louisiana Derby:

(also featured: #11 Stanford, #14 Keen Ice, & #16 War Story)

International Star has a great post position – he’s got a lot of experience and he’s on a 3 race winning streak – he’s very tempting at 20-1 – if his odds stay here or go higher, you should really consider at least wagering $2 on this one.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
says the Cold Never Bothered
Him Anyway......
 Going off at 15-1 is Wood Memorial Winner #15 Frosted – I personally am not enamored with Frosted, and not just because when I think of his name I think of a very popular Disney Tune……I think the general consensus was that #7 El Kabeir would finally put his talent together and win the Wood Memorial, instead he came in a distant 3rd, so Frosted was a bit of a surprise. 

See Wood Memorial: (also featuring #4 Tencendur and #7 El Kabeir)

Frosted only has 2 victories in 7 attempts and I would need to see odds north of 20-1 before even considering this horse.

Finally we come to the favorite #18 American Pharoah – winner of the Arkansas Derby, and a horse who has also won 4 of his last 5 races.

(Arkansas Derby – also featuring #17 Mr. Z and #20 Far Right)

The expectation is that American Pharoah will patiently wait in the opening stretch to find the right spot and then slowly move to the left….he’ll have ample time to do it from the 18th spot, and he should be able to dictate where he'll be going into the first turn.

He’ll go wide in the first turn and at that point we’ll find out what kind of competition he’ll be looking at……did Carpe Diem or Materiality find a way to survive the opening …if they did American Pharoah will need to have the race of a lifetime….if they didn’t, things are looking up for American Pharoah.

Coming out of the first turn American Pharoah will be close to the lead –(a length or a few lengths off) and we’ll see if anyone is there to challenge him – likely Dortmund, Firing Line (don’t forget this horse) or International Star – all could be a few lengths ahead  or even with him as they hit the second turn.

If all of the major contenders (except Mubtaahij) are behind American Pharoah as they come out of the second turn and head for home…..then I believe only Mubtaahij stands a real chance at catching this horse from behind.

If Dortmund, Firing Line or International Star have the inside (and American Pharoah is forced wide in the final turn) and any of these horses have a length or two ahead of American Pharoah….it could be a nail-biting finish!!

Closing Speed likes: American Pharoah / Firing Line and Dortmund

If I’m betting $24 on this race I like:

$1 Exacta Box: 2,3,18 (Carpe Diem / Materiality/ American Pharoah) = $6
$1 Exacta Box: 6,10,19 with 8, 18 = $6
$1 Exacta Box: 8,18 with 6,10,19 = $6
$2 – to win – 20, 19, 6 = 6

Friday, March 6, 2015

San Felipe Stakes 2015

San Felipe Stakes (Grade II)
Purse $400,000
Distance 1 1/16 miles

Lord Nelson
Ocho Ocho Ocho
The Gomper
Prospect Park
Sir Sampson
Pain and Misery

#3 Dortmund enters this race as an undefeated (4 for 4) morning line 8/5 favorite -- below is the video of his last thrilling victory (by a nose). in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes.

Dortmund is a deserving 8/5 favorite - however in his last two races he was really pushed by Firing Line, (who is looking for any race that doesn't involve Dortmund right now) -- the Robert B. Lewis Stakes also didn't have many horses racing....these are very mild concerns -- it is likely Dortmund will be the early leader and finish this race uncontested.

However #1 Lord Nelson,  #2 Ocho Ocho Ocho and #6 Prospect Park may prove to be worthy challengers ---

Lord Nelson has won 3 of 5 races including his last outing The San Vicente Stakes, here at Santa Anita.

I kind of miss Ocho Cinco
Ocho Ocho Ocho has been out of racing for over 100 days -- but his last race was a solid victory in the Delta Jackpot.

And finally Prospect Park ran with a lot of patience and confidence (a victory over #4 The Gomper) in an allowance race in late January.

I would love to offer up a big upset here but -- I think Dortmund will run away with this one. I think Prospect Park could surprise -- but at 4/1 odds that isn't much of a game changer.
Closing Speed likes: Dortmund, Prospect Park and Lord Nelson

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah thinks
Closing Speed should choose
Pain & Misery -- because
that's what his betting advice
usually is.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tampa Bay Derby 2015

Tampa Bay Derby
Date/Track: 3/7/15 - Tampa Bay Downs
Post Time: 5:23 pm EST
Distance:  1 1/16 (Dirt)

Diving Rod
Ocean Knight
Carpe Diem
Ami's Flatter
My Johnny Be Good
Souper Colossal
Great Stuff
Moonlight Bandit
Danzig Moon

For #1 Diving Rod, #2 Ocean Knight, #4 Ami's Flatter and #5 My Johnny Be Good this will be a rematch of the Sam F. Davis Stakes - see video below:

The morning line of this race has Ocean Knight going off at 2/1 odds and Diving Rod going off at 6/1 odds  -- which seems like a sizable gap considering Ocean Knight barely won this race with a nod of his head.

For those who have followed racing for some time - Ocean Knight was sired by 2007 Preakness Winner (and one of my favorites) Curlin -- and they have a very similar running style.

However the "prime time" morning line favorite is #3 Carpe Diem - who finished 2nd in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile. Carpe Diem may be the most talented horse in the field however he hasn't seized the race in over 120 days.

I certainly have my reservations about a young horse having that much time off and then making him the favorite -- so this race could be prime for an upset -- well maybe a "mild" upset.

A horse that I think is flying under the radar in this one is: #6 Souper Colossal - and his last race can be seen here:

After watching this video
Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
can't get the song
"Moon River"
out of his head.

If Carpe Diem can shake off the rust and can return to his late fall stride -- he'll be very difficult to defeat in his one.

However I'm going to take a little bit of a chance and.....

Closing Speed likes: Ocean Knight, Souper Colossal, and Carpe Diem.

I like a $2 Exacta Box of Ocean Knight / Souper Colossal and Diving Rod. ($6)

I can't help but add this last video for Robin Williams:

Friday, February 20, 2015

Risen Star Stakes - 2015

Risen Star Stakes
Date/Track: 2/21/2015, Fair Grounds Race Course
Post Time: 5:24 PM ET
Distance:  1 1/16 m (Dirt)

1 – St. Joe Bay
2 – Tiznow RJ
3 – Bluff
4 – J.S. Bach
5 – Imperia
6 – War Story
7 – Hero Of Humor
8 – Keen Ice
9 – Big Big Easy
10 – International Star

For #10 International Star, #7 Hero Of Humor#6 War Story and #2 Tiznow RJ this will be a rematch from the LeComte Stakes (See Video):

If you pay special attention to International Star you’ll see just what an impressive victory this was – he remains very patient and very disciplined while pinned up against the rail for most of the race.

And then when he is asked he fearlessly kicks it into another gear – shoots a small lane and finally takes over the race – this is the kind of seasoned ability I haven’t seen often in three year old horses. In fact for most horses this is making the most out of a difficult trip.

**An interesting side note to International Star is that he was sired by 2000 Kentucky Derby Champion Fusaichi Pegasus – the reason that is of interest is that breeders have had difficulty breeding Fusaichi Pegasus, so it’s a little rare to see one of his progeny.....maybe some old Prince Jams would help????

International Star has reminded me how much I enjoyed
Prince's International Lover and Baby I'm a Star!
The current favorite going into the Risen Star Stakes is #5 Imperia  who last raced 84 days ago and finished 2nd in the Jockey Club Stakes El Kabeir.

Last fall Imperia definitely looked like a promising contender – however this will be his first outing at the Fair Grounds, and I think that he will be at a disadvantage especially when facing several horses who have experience on this track.

#8 Keen Ice – was sired by one of my favorites Curlin – and I think he could surprise here….but I don’t think we’re talking winners circle. 

He had a horrible trip in the Holy Bull (finishing 6th behind Upstart and the Gang). He got out of the gates poorly and he went for the rail and then got cut off – forcing him to pull back and he never really recovered. If he gets out of the gates well and finds his stride he could mix things up here. At 8/1 he could work in an Exacta or Trifecta.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
will NOT enjoy the irony of being
Bluffed by a horse named Bluff,
if he wins!

#3 Bluff – is a Tapit horse and Tapit horses always concern me – but outside of the breeding, I just don't see enough on the resume to become a believer.

I see similar results to the LeComte:

Closing Speed likes:  International Star / War Story / Imperia

Betting a $1 Exacta – I like International Star / Imperia and Keen Ice for ($6).

Fountain of Youth Stakes - 2015

Fountain of Youth Stakes
Date/Track: 2/21/2015, Gulfstream Park
Post Time: 5:30 PM ET
Distance: 1 1/16 m (Dirt)

1 – Juan and Bina
2 – Bluegrass Singer
3 – Frammento
4 – Gorgeous Bird
5 – Itsaknockout
6 – Frosted
7 – Upstart
8 – Danny Boy

For #1 Juan and Bina, #2 Bluegrass Singer, #3 Frammento, #6 Frosted and #7 Upstart this will be a repeat of the Holy Bull (see Video):

The 8/5 odds favorite - Upstart is considered one the early favorites for the Triple Crown – as he has won 3 out of 5 attempts and finished 3rd in the Breeders Cup Juvenile (behind Texas Red and Carpe Diem).

Even if Upstart were to come out flat --- #6 Frosted is a quality contender and I would be very surprised to see someone from the field upset both of these horses.

#5 Itsaknockout currently has 4/1 odds and is undefeated after 2 races – however this seems like a HUGE leap in competition for this horse.

The same could be said for #4 Gorgeous Bird who is currently sitting at 6/1, and has two victories in three attempts.

Outside of using Upstart in a Pick 3 or Pick 4 --- I’m not crazy about putting money on this one -- just sit back and watch some great Thoroughbreds run.

A quick glance at Gulfstream Park - here is my Pick 3 – beginning with Race 9:

$1 Pick Three: 1,3,6,7 // 1,7,9,13,15 // 7 = $20.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Southwest Stakes 2015

Southwest Stakes (Grade III)
Purse - $300,000
Distance - 1 1/16 Miles
Surface Dirt

**J.S. Bach
Far Right
Private Prospect
The Truth or Else
Phenomenal Phoenix
Bold Conquest
Mr. Z
Bold Animaux

For many of these horses this will be a rematch of the Smarty Jones Stakes (see video):

Unfortunately for  # 10 Mr. Z. - he ran without a lot of disciple or control in the Smarty Jones Stakes.

It appears to me that in the first turn he's turning his head towards the infield, which is not an optimal racing style -- nor is sweeping to the middle of the track after coming out of the the second turn.

Mr. Z -- may be the most talented horse in this field -- however he also seems to be one of the least focused animals at this point in his career -- not terribly unusual for a three year old.....but he may have a case of Arrested Development......perhaps he should have been named......

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
REALLY misses
Arrested Development
Mr. Z is the most experienced horse entering the Southwest Stakes -- and I believe at post time he could be the favorite - despite having only 1 victory in 9 outings. If Mr. Z can just hold off on making big mistakes he could be the one to watch after this race.
#2 Far Right is the current favorite - and he has enjoyed 2 wins in 7 outings -- (as you've likely already watched) - he was superb in the Smarty Jones - his timing and ability to ride the rail in the home stretch shows a maturity you look for as we approach the Triple Crown. However I'm having a hard time with only 2 wins in 7 attempts.

Currently I'm getting conflicting information about #1 J.S. Bach - I'm reading in some materials that he IS racing and in others that he will likely run next weekend in the Risen Star Stakes.

J.S. Bach is currently one out of seven of these horses to only have 1 victory going into this race -- however J.S. Bach is going off at 4/1 and could be looking to make a name for himself in this one.

This is just the kind of race that screams out a LONG SHOT to me -- Mr. Z is likely the superior horse, but seems to find new and unusual ways to lose.

If J.S. Bach runs - I like him -- but not at 4/1 odds.

If Far Right pulls off a victory here - he very well could be a contender.

But in honor or President's Day -- if I'm throwing out a couple of Washingtons or Lincolns - I like a few long shots in this one.

At 30-1 I like #7 Phenomenal Phoenix -- he hasn't matched up with this kind of competition, but I like his post position and I like his limited experience.

Also at 30-1 I like #12 Bold Animaux - same sire as Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, and he enters this one having won 3 out of 5 races. I fear he may not like the distance here, but at 30/1 he's worth a look.

And finally #9 Bold Conquest - sired by one of my favorites Curlin. 130 some days ago he finished 3rd (immediately behind Mr. Z) in the Breeders Futurity. He will likely come out rusty -- however in this field I'll might take the chance that he'll come out a rested and much better horse than he was last October.

For your betting dollar in this race I say Be BOLD, Be BACH or Be Phenomenal -

$5 - Win - Bold Conquest
$2 - Win - Bold Animaux
$2 - Win - Phenomenal Phoenix.

(If JS Bach runs - I'd likely do an exacta of JS Bach / Mr. Z and Bold Conquest - Bold Animaux and Phenomenal Phoenix -- for $5 -- but I don't think JS Bach is coming out to play.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Robert B. Lewis Stakes & Withers Stakes 2015

For a number of reasons I thought I'd skip writing about horse racing this year - my original goal, nearly 7 years ago,  was to champion a sport that (for a number of reasons) doesn't get the positive attention it deserves.

When I began writing I had really hoped by some stroke of luck I might cover a Triple Crown Winner from the his (or her) first big stakes victory to the walk off victory in the Belmont.

Move Along Nothing
to see here!
And a couple of times we came close - Big Brown, I'll Have Another and California Chrome almost did it.

And as the racing began in 2015 -- I approached it with cynicism -- in my memory the early three year old races seemed rarely competitive and also were seemingly filled with horses that were unlikely to be heard of once the "real" races began.

(Sadly) as I approached 2015 - I figured what's the point -- the populous is correct about Horse Racing there's nothing to see here....let's all just show up in May for two races and a call it a sport.

And then I saw three of the best races I've seen in a long time ---

The first race took place back in December - which was the Los Alamitos Futurity -- this features an incredible three horse finish of Mr. Z, Dortmund and Firing Line!

The rematch of two of these horses took place in Santa Anita just this past Saturday (Feb. 7) - between Dortmund and Firing Line in a rivalry rematch certainly worth watching!

For a little more insight on these rivals:

Dortmund was sired by Big Brown who won the 2008 KY Derby and Preakness - and in my opinion was the closest horse we've had in 15 years to winning the Triple Crown.

Firing Line was sired by Line of David - who was a very solid horse - winning the 2010 Arkansas Derby but failing to really compete in the Triple Crown races.

And here is the Rematch -

And finally one of the best finishes I've seen in a long time -- you'll likely need to watch this one twice.

Far from Over (so aptly named in this last outing) was sired by Blame who is the only horse to have ever defeated (fan favorite - the Queen of Racing herself) Zenyatta in the 2010 Breeders Cup Classic.

My feelings about these races and horse racing can pretty much be summed up here ---

Due to time limitations I may change how I approach my blog but you can be sure I will remain consistent in two things -- 

#1 This guy will still be apart of the blog - 

Strangely Sensitively Cheetah
does not like change....or
being at the end of the blog!

#2 My betting suggestions should still probably be ignored.

These very interesting prospects, Dortmund, Firing Line and Far From Over may have made me an offer I can't refuse.