By now most of us have at the least finished our preliminary work for the Breeders’ Cup. We know the post positions, fields, probable weather and the wagering menu. Before finalizing decisions, I am going to keep some bullet points in the forefront of my mind. Here we go: The draw is important in some races. Pay attention to it and who it has helped and who it has hindered. Consider rider tendencies when you project how you think the pace will play out. Pace often makes the race. Some riders are more aggressive than others. Anticipating what they are likely to do can be an edge. You have waited a year to get to this dance and you’re in it. Nothing in the rear view matters this weekend. Go in strong and with conviction on your opinions. #NoFear The board is less important this weekend than on any given…
Overskate Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine - Post Time 4:47 PM ET Not So Quiet is an up-and-coming star while some of the others in this race, already proven, are contenders as well but open at much lower than the 5 to 1 he opens at. Not So Quiet is three-for-four in his career, with all three wins earned in dominating fashion leading from start to finish. Hernandez was up for all three wins and rides today and there is little doubt the strategy will be to SEND the horse to the lead form the start and control things on the front end once more. The 114 Equibase figure from the most recent win, on 9/22, is better than ALL BUT ONE of the career Equibase figures likely heavy favorite Pink Lloyd has earned in his 16 wins and better (by one point) than the 113 figure Kingsport (who…
The Breeders’ Cup is a little over a week away. The pre-entry past performances are out. The early weather forecast is in. It is almost time to seal the deal. The Breeders’ Cup is a major wagering event for many of us and there is a good reason for that. There will be a lot of opportunities and a full wagering menu to make the most of them. While final handicapping comes after the draw, I have begun to strategize my attack and will share some early thoughts. Most serious players keep track of where they stand annually. I have for many years. While most years I am usually in a good spot by now and comfortably in the black, this year that is not the case. It has been a rough year on the racetrack for me, but that won’t change anything in my approach. I will kick the…
Maid of the Mist Stakes – Race 7 at Belmont - Post Time 3:42 PM ET Today is Empire Showcase day at Belmont and most of the state bred races are ho-hum affairs consisting of horses who take turns beating one another. Not so for the stakes for two year olds, this one for fillies and the Sleepy Hollow Stakes (Race 8) for males. This race features a field of 12, all running a one-turn mile for the first time, and there are some shots to take with horses who may be coming in under the radar of most bettors. Kept True ran the FASTEST of any of these when earning an 87 Equibase Figure in her debut, drawing off by a couple of lengths after showing a lot of maturity when stalking in fourth early and rallying in spite of being bumped at the 3/16 mark. Maragh rides back…
Timing is everything. Not only in horse racing but in life in general. Timing affects so much in our lives and how things play out. In racing so much is based on timing. It is a focal point of the sport in more than one way. The timing of spaces between races, timing of workouts, timing of claims, and of course the timing of the races themselves. I like to look at times in my handicapping. I look at the fractions of the winner, the leader, and the horses behind. Knowing the fractional splits of all the horses in a race helps me accurately figure out what the pace will be, and when I factor in the trends and intangibles that a computer can’t, it gives me an edge. Paying as close attention as I do to the times of races, including internal fractions, I have always been frustrated by…
Nearctic Stakes – Race 7 at Woodbine - Post Time 4:30 PM ET Hemp Hemp Hooray, Kitten's Cat and Lady Alexandra are the win contenders, the first two opening at superb double digit odds out of line with their probability to win (in my opinion) and Lady Alexandra very interesting if her connections choose this spot against males over the race at Belmont. Hemp Hemp Hooray has a record of 3-3-0 in seven races. I know he's run eight times but his race at Ascot doesn't count in my opinion. He adds blinkers worn for his first three races but not his next four and his three races in blinkers consisted of two wins and a neck loss last year in the G2 Summer Stakes here at Woodbine. He's been based here since coming back from England and has finished 2nd twice in stakes against three year olds only, both…
Nearctic Stakes – Race 7 at Woodbine - Post Time 4:30 PM ET Hemp Hemp Hooray, Kitten's Cat and Lady Alexandra are the win contenders, the first two opening at superb double digit odds out of line with their probability to win (in my opinion) and Lady Alexandra very interesting if her connections choose this spot against males over the race at Belmont. Hemp Hemp Hooray has a record of 3-3-0 in seven races. I know he's run eight times but his race at Ascot doesn't count in my opinion. He adds blinkers worn for his first three races but not his next four and his three races in blinkers consisted of two wins and a neck loss last year in the G2 Summer Stakes here at Woodbine. He's been based here since coming back from England and has finished 2nd twice in stakes against three year olds only, both…
The world is full of people who see the glass as half empty. Sometimes it is, and we all know the Sport of Kings has more than its share of issues and things to complain about. If you are a bettor, or racing fan, the Breeders’ Cup is not one of them. Over the past few weeks, as preps were being run, we saw announcements about horses retiring, missing the Breeders’ Cup, training up to the Breeders’ Cup and committing to the Breeders’ Cup. The first three categories prompted many complaints on social media implying this year’s event is subpar. I couldn’t disagree more, and I view the glass as half full. The main reason the masses seem to be complaining is the perceived lack of big-name stars running. The Breeders’ Cup makes stars, and we are sure to recognize some new ones after the two days of racing. Stars…
Hill Prince Stakes – Race 9 at Belmont Park - Post Time 5:00 PM Eastern Have At It and Prioritize just finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the Better Talk Now Stakes at Saratoga, separated by a neck at odds of 7/1 and 9/1. In spite of running very well in a similar stakes, they open at 8/1 and, even more out of line, 15/1, because of the nature of how heavily Chad Brown's Raging Bull will be bet, opening at 6/5. However, these are ALL three year olds and when comparing the 98 Equibase Figure Raging Bull earned winning the Saranac Stakes to the 102 and 100 figures Have At It and Prioritize earned just five days earlier, the keys to profit in this race are obvious. Add to the mix Ride a Comet, who finished third behind Raging Bull in the Hall of Fame Stakes on August 3…
All too often we see the term “freak” thrown around in horse racing. If we truly had as many freaks as horses the term is used to describe, this would be one heck of a game. People love to throw the label around off one sole performance, especially when it is a debut or easy victory. Often these winners are not only not “freaks”, but not even the best horse in the race. To go a step further, many times the winner is not the best horse in the race and wasn’t the one who ran the most impressively. The above is one of many reasons why I like to take a step back. By taking a step back, I will watch the replay a week or so after the race so all the hype, excitement, and wagering influences die down. I have found over the years, this gives you…