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.