Jockeys and their agents are faced with tough decisions every day. In a profession where, for the most part you’re rewarded for winning and blanked for losing, the pressure is always on to ride the best horse in each race that you can. Sometimes the decision is made for you by a trainer or even owner, but if you’ve worked your way up to be a top rider, it will often be your call which horse you ride. Sometimes being on the right horse isn’t as simple as just knowing who gives you your best chance. Calls on horses are given out in advance and part of being a good agent is knowing which horses are running back in which races. Agents often have to know this before the entries are drawn. They work off the condition book and have to maintain close ties with the outfits you ride for.…
Carter Handicap – Race 8 at Aqueduct - Post Time 4:44 PM Eastern Skyler's Scramjet and trainer Michelle Nevin are a potent pair, because if you remove the four races when the horse was in another trainer's care and look at only the races where Nevin was the conditioner, Skyler's Scramjet is five for six. His last three races were very consistent and the best of his career, with 116, 111 and 114 Equibase figures including a win last month in the Tom Fool Handicap, in which he beat four of the other 10 entrants in this race. He has won on mud so as it's likely the track will be wet there is no issue and he's won at 6 1/2 furlongs to the 7 furlong trip is of no concern either. Skyler's Scramjet can sit just off the pace of Red Dragon Tattoo and Green Gratto, who is…
We have three major Kentucky Derby preps this Saturday in three different states across the country. The Wood Memorial in New York, the Santa Anita Derby in California, and the Blue Grass in Kentucky. Unfortunately, all three are in danger of being run under less than ideal conditions. Poor weather is hovering around all of those races. This really puts the connections, who have waited for these spots to get the points they need to get into the Kentucky Derby, up against it. The following Saturday we have the Arkansas Derby and Lexington Stakes that will wrap things up and set the stage for the first Saturday in May. Since the inception of the point system in 2013 all the Derby winners were undefeated in their three-year old campaigns. I don’t believe that was by accident or coincidental. Starting back in 2013 and through last year Orb, California Chrome, American…
Honey Fox Stakes – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 4:47 PM Eastern Stormy Victoria put in an incredible late kick when winning the South Beach Stakes in late January over the course, making up 10 lengths in the last 3/16 of a mile. Before that she closed from last of nine to miss by a pair of necks in the similar Grade 3 My Charmer Stakes, won by On Leave, who also can win but who will likely go to post at lower odds. With a field high 116 Equibase figure from that win which is better than the 113 On Leave beat her right before that, Stormy Victoria gets slight preference among a quintet of contenders. On Leave has won two of her last three, the My Charmer at this mile turf trip in December and a stakes at Laurel last September. She's only run two…
March 28, 2018 Everyone in the Pool By: Jonathan Stettin It’s an exciting time of year in the Sport of Kings. The final Kentucky Derby preps are upon us. The Run for the Roses is shaping up to be an interesting contest with possibly two horses having a chance of knocking out the Apollo curse, by winning the Derby without having raced at two-years old. The Dubai World Cup is Saturday and pits West Coast, the heir apparent to the top older horse in training in the US, against Talismanic the winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf. Saturday is also Florida Derby day at Gulfstream Park and that major Kentucky Derby prep will anchor a stakes filled card to end the Championship meet. Something else will be happening at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. There will be a mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 pool provided there is no single…
Saturday, March 24 Race 7 at Santa Anita – Post Time 6 Eastern Time (3 Pacific Time) Unlike most of the other six entrants in this race, General Mach Four is NOT a need-the-lead type. In his career debut last Marth cat Santa Anita, he rallied from sixth of seven in the early stages to draw off handily by five lengths. That was his ONLY dirt sprint, his three starts since a dirt route and two turf sprints. Having changed trainers since his last start in May, General Mach Four finds himself in the Doug O'Neill barn with a consistent series of workout for his comeback, a good outside post, and a red hot Giovanni Franco in the saddle, who earned his first Grade 1 win last weekend and who now is just shy of 25 wins at the meeting. With Bad Bad Leroy, Quick Finish, Caray and possibly Treasure…
I go back a pretty long way with the sheets, also known as the Rags or Ragozins. Today I use Thoro-Graph. Of all the speed figures I find they give you the best chance of finding an edge. I’ll get into that a bit later. We are just about all familiar with Beyer figures. Today there are an array of speed and pace figures to choose from. In addition to the ones I mentioned above you have Timeform, Brisnet and some others providing figures. One of the biggest mistakes handicappers make is thinking any figure is a substitute for handicapping the race. They are a tool. Not a short cut or substitute for doing your homework. Bruno De Julio of @racingwithbruno offers his Delta Figs, which contrary to all the other figures out there, attempt to gauge the figure the horse will run on race day wherein others assign their…
Kentucky Cup Classic Stakes – Race 8 at Turfway Park – Post Time 4:38 Eastern Time For anyone that plays multi-race bets like the double, pick 3 or pick 4, a race like this is known as a "FREE SQUARE" similar to bingo. When any race in a series has a standout, that can significantly cut down on the cost of the ticket and/or enable bettors to open up (spread) with more contenders in other races, allowing for the chance of a longshot to come in and more than pay for the cost of the bet. Royal Son is such a horse, a "single" (the only horse to use on multi-race tickets in a particular race), because he has been dominant in his last two races and I don't believe anything in this race is going to change that. He won on 11/30 in a classified allowance (just below stakes…
Regardless of what happens on the first Saturday in May, it seems kind of silly to anoint a horse with just two starts, no Kentucky Derby points, and no stakes experience as the winner of the next Run for the Roses. As of today, we do not even know if Justify, a fast and talented, albeit inexperienced and untested colt, by Scat Daddy and trained by the master himself, Bob Baffert, will be in the starting gate. Based on the ease in which he won an allowance race this past Sunday, in a quick time over a fast strip which was wet, he looks visually as talented as any three-year old we have seen in 2018. That, along with all the positives already pointed out, does not make him the Derby winner. Racing hungers for that next champion, that next special horse that out performs expectations and captures the hearts…
Triple Bend Stakes – Race 4 at Santa Anita – Post Time 4:30 Eastern (1:30 Pacific) Captain Scotty is entered in this grade 1 stakes off an allowance win and in only the third start of his career. If it were most trainers I'd say they were reaching, but not Peter Miller, who decided not to run his sprint champion Roy H in this race and instead entered Captain Scotty and Bobby Abu Dhabi. Purchased privately after a seven length debut win in December, Captain Scotty decimated a short six horse field with easy on 1/26 over the track with a 112 Equibase Figure that is as good as the last two stakes figure for Edwards Going Left and just short of the 117 figure City of Light earned winning the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes against three year olds only on opening day of the meeting (12/26). With a LOT…