Friday, May 17, 2013
You Feelin’ Lucky, Punter?
If the Pimlico Special-Preakness double means anything, which it does, it appears that Orb is likely to be 4-5 or possibly less at post time.
Orb looms the most probable winner, whether you believe there's a lot more in the tank, which I believe there is, or his last was indeed a very big forward move, he's coming back in two weeks, and has drawn the rail.
All his success in two turn races this year have come racing outside of horses. The reason for the short price, the horse notwithstanding, are the popular connections, the talents of Joel Rosario and the public wants it.
(Remember, the public wanted better background checks, too).
But Orb is a very good horse, and good horses show up on the day. When they don't, they still win. Orb definitely should win, but that's not the way to bet, as the saying goes.
Remember when Itsmyluckyday was the fastest 3-year-old in the country in graded stakes around two turns? So do I.
Before sounding his retreat in the Derby, he raced close enough to that hot pace that he comes into the Preakness off a New Pace Top., often a harbinger of improved performance
Itsmyluckyday worked sharply at his Monmouth base and his outisde position and new rider John Velazquez gives him a chance to trip out in Preakness 138, which gives him better than a puncher's chance to pull off an upset.
If Johnny knows one thing, he knows he needs to get first run, which he should, and hold on to that lead, which is the question. At double digit odds, it's a risk that's worth the reward.
We're taking Itsmyluckyday to win at 8-1 or greater, an exacta box with Orb, and super exotics that include all but Govenor Charley and Titletown Five in money positions.
Number of Selections: 1317
Number of Win-Place-Show Finishers: 403-249-202
Amount Wagered: $2,634 [to win only]
Total Dollar Return on Investment: $2,765.50
Profit to Date: $131.50
Written by John Pricci
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Many Small Steps, One Giant Leap
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y., May 11, 2013 – Nine three-year-olds went into the Grade 2 Peter Pan on a sloppy Belmont Park surface looking for an identity and one emerged, looking very much like a horse that might have a future among the three-year-olds of 2013.
Following a stutter-step start, Freedom Child splashed to a clear lead in the opening furlong and improved his position, winning the one turn nine furlongs by 13 ¼ widening lengths, stopping the timer in a worthy 1:49.09 and vaulting himself into the June 8 Belmont Stakes.
When last seen, Freedom Child was stuck in the Wood Memorial starting gate in the grasp of an assistant starter. When the race began his task was hopeless and the New York stewards, to their credit, declared him a non-starter.
A ridgling, he is a son of Malibu Moon, just like Kentucky Derby winning Preakness favorite, Orb, and like Shug McGaughey’s colt, he handled a sealed wet track with aplomb beneath Luis Saez, the South Florida star that has moved his tack to New York.
“I just put him in the race and he responded perfect,” said Saez in the winners’ circle. In the chute he wanted to run so I let him run. It was my first time winning a big race here. I’m so happy.” He wasn’t the only one.
“I was very pleased to see him win like that,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. I didn’t think he would actually draw away by that many lengths… There’s a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ about what could have happened in the Wood but at least we have a nice horse. Hopefully, this might lead us to the Belmont.”
“We thought we were set to run well in the Wood; we just had a little bit of bad luck. The next day we put a circle around the Peter Pan,” said Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds group that owns him.
“We knew there were some quality horses in there but we thought if he had the chance to go down the backside on the lead and got his air, he’d be tough to beat.
“I think we’re going to go to the Belmont Stakes in about four weeks. I hope Orb runs well in the Preakness and the whole world is watching on [June 8] for the Belmont Stakes, and I hope we have the chance to upset the apple cart.”
If Orb runs well in Baltimore, Finley will get his wish. The whole world will be watching, the Malibu Moons and all the rest.
Written by John Pricci
Sunday, May 05, 2013
From Derby Postscript to Triple Crown Prologue
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, May 5, 2013—Since the light bulb went off this winter, Kentucky Derby winner Orb has turned into a complete monster. He won the Florida Derby sitting relatively close to a half-mile in 48.40 and came from 16th off a half of 45.33 on Saturday while making his sloppy-track debut.
That’s the kind of versatility it took to win a Kentucky Derby—and the kind needed for a Triple Crown, too. First, there’s a stop-over in Baltimore. When that’s over, it will be back to his home barn at Belmont Park to take aim at racing history.
Fearless predictions: Shug McGaughey will not be pleased when forced to move his colt to the Belmont security barn in the days leading up to the Test of the Champion. Still, Orb has the best chance in the last 34 years to win all three…
It wasn’t necessary to await the Kentucky Derby results to know that Joel Rosario is a bona fide star. Showing confidence in his ability, he brought his tack from California to ride the big horses for the big Eastern outfits; Animal Kingdom and Orb certainly fit the bill.
This year, Rosario was in contention for leading rider throughout the Gulfstream Park meet, dominated the Keeneland session like no other in recent memory, and warmed up for Orb by winning 13 races in advance of Derby day at the Downs.
Rosario has great timing and strength, the right amount of aggressiveness, and, most significantly, hands that are reminiscent of Shoemaker and Day. A true race-rider, horses run for Rosario from anywhere on the racetrack...
Total betting of $130.5 million on this year’s Derby is testimony to the race’s popularity and the contentious form demonstrated by the division’s best sophomores.
Six horses, including the winner, were sent off between 5-1 and 9-1. Race handle was $3 million less than last year but there was one fewer starter, two ADWs with bet processing issues, and, most significantly, the track was sloppy…
As it appeared all year; this was not a banner crop of California-based three-year-olds. Only one made it to the dance, and the blinkers took Goldencents out of his best game—the blinkers worn by Palace Malice, that is. Goes to show that, somehow, some way, the Derby pace is always going to be hot…
No matter how many horses Todd Pletcher brings to the 2014 Kentucky Derby, the stat that will be read or heard most often is 1-for-36, which of is misleading given the number of multiple entrants in any given year. He’s provided with great ammunition, indeed, but you still have to get there. Just ask Bob Baffert, who probably wanted to keep his current profile on the down low, anyway…
Johnny Velazquez certainly looked no worse for the wear when he won a photo aboard Authenticity in Friday’s Grade 2 La Troienne by a head over On Fire Baby, who challenged the winner the length of the stretch. But given his dedication to the job, don’t you have to wonder whether or not he’s channeling Derek Jeter when asked about his physical condition?...
There’s no question that it appeared Calvin Borel was not concerned for his rival when he angled inside at the start of the Kentucky Oaks and bumped Dreaming Of Julia hard, effectively eliminating her. But to say it was a deliberately vicious act is absurd.
Unlike Rajiv Maragh in the Belmont, Borel was not taken off any recent winner by the trainer; quite the contrary. And after being named as a last minute replacement aboard a serious Derby favorite by Todd Pletcher, putting that relationship in jeopardy doesn’t make sense. Further, didn't he ride Rachel Alexandra for the owners of Dreaming Of Julia?
But I will say this: After bearing into Dreaming Of Julia--who also got bumped from the inside as various fillies were reacting to Beholder’s right turn when she left the starting gate, Borel never hesitated or turn to see what trouble he had wrought…
There were no roses for Rosie but it was quite the weekend nonetheless. She won graded stakes aboard Take Charge Indy and Delauney and missed a show finish in the Derby by two heads on Mylute, a 30-1 early line chance but 15-1 ante post, a tribute to this country’s second leading rider…
In the Derby Profile Wednesday night, I wrote: “Golden Soul…is developing nicely at 3, showing improvement on the Equiform scale from last season. While he is marching in the right direction, his 72½ and 72 in his two most recent starts are much too slow to contend in this spot. A nice horse, a good effort here could punch his ticket to Baltimore; not today.”
To be right--and be so wrong, twice--cost us dearly, exotically speaking:
Saturday was almost the day for well-handled Golden Soul, but Dallas Stewart said the Belmont would be next, not the Preakness. (Did anyone notice that as the Derby horses entered the paddock tunnel pre-race, it was Stewart holding the shank and not the groom)?
Much was made pre-race of Doug O’Neill’s loyalty to Kevin Krigger, and the successful relationship between Hall of Famers D. Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens, both worthy storylines, but perhaps it will be Stewart’s loyalty that will resurrect the business of Robby Albarado. Stories like these make the principals easy to root for.
Written by John Pricci