"Players Up" blogger Indulto is a retired computer programming residing in SoCal and has been betting Thoroughbreds since the days of Kelso, cashing his first ticket at Saratoga while in college.

Indulto is well known in racing's cyber world as a participant on the Ragozin Sheets message board, the PaceAdvantage Forum, Paulick Report, and has made important contributions to the industry's audience as an HRI Readers Blog contributor.

Indulto was active in the formation of the Horseplayers Association of North America and with former HANA colleagues worked on the Players' Boycott of California racing when takeout rates were increased by the legislature there.

Taking his nickname from the King Ranch color-bearer of the 1960s, Indulto now devotes his time to advocate for the recreational player and hobbyist, but prefers lower takeout rates for all rather than subsidized rebates for the few.

Indulto supports the creation of a centralized racing authority to establish uniform rules for racing and wagering and for those standards to be enforced consistently.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Strange Twist: Classic as a Lose-And-They’re-In Pegasus Event?

LOS ANGELES, October 24, 2016—If California Chrome can win both the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup he not only will become Thoroughbred racing’s first Win-Your Way/Buy-Your-Way-In winner but also would be the first to sweep all three legs of a bonus-incentivized series that included two Win-And-Your-In roads to the Classic.

Win or lose, it will be interesting to see which approach produces the more competitive of the two races. But should he lose the Classic, what then?

‘Chrome’ would not be the only dual WAYI winner forced to waste a free ride earned on the racetrack. Frosted has a ticket to the Dirt Mile to complement the one he earned for the Classic and, after deliberations, he’s headed to the latter.

Exaggerator’s recent retirement leaves only two possibilities among the six horses that have won seven "Classic Challenge" events: Hopportunity and Melatonin.

But as for Exaggerator, like Belmont winning Creator, Preakness winning Exaggerator will compete for dates with the sexiest broodmares in Lexington. Creator will due his suiting in the Far East.

As for Nyquist, plans are for him to compete in the Classic despite disconcerting defeats in the Preakness, Haskell and Pennsylvania Derby. Then no one knows Nyquist better than the brothers O’Neill.

One clear and present danger to Chrome’s ambitions appears to be another three-year-old, Arrogate, whose 13-1/2 length sub-two-minute Travers victory fuels the fantasy of a latter-day Jaipur-Ridan matchup.

It would be great theater to see two California-based speedsters racing head to head all the way around, even though it’s doubtful that “money riders” Victor Espinoza or Mike Smith would fall into a speed trap.

Besides, Art Sherman believes that Chrome’s at his best when he has a target to run at and said so following a recent workout.

But should a hot pace bring this dynamic duo back to the field, Arrogate’s uncoupled stablemate, the nicely prepped Hopportunity, just might pick up the pieces for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. We’re sure Kiaran McLaughlin’s hoping for something that for Frosted, a likely stalk-a-pouncer in this lineup.

Interesting to note that Baffert could play still another card and add Travers runner-up American Freedom to the Classic mix. That colt is a tactical speedster that’s comfortable either setting or sitting just off the pace. We'll stop guessing when Breeders' Cup pre-entries are announced Wednesday.

The 2016 Classic could, in fact, boast the greatest number of uncoupled entries in its history.

The improving Shaman Ghost and sometimes enigmatic Effinex, unsuccessful in three Chrome-less WAYI races but nonetheless always brings his game, will represent the Junior Giant Killer Jimmy Jerkens' outfit.

Recall that Shaman Ghost nosed out over-confidently handled Frosted in the Woodward while Effinex was worn down by a tighter Hopportunity in Belmont’s Jockey Club Gold Cup.

With Dortmund headed to the Dirt Mile, along with Pa Derby runnerup Gun Runner, his conqueror, Connect, will sit on the sidelines.

It’s difficult to conjure up at this juncture where 12 Pegasus starters might come from. But how about Great Britain?

This weekend, trainer Aidan O’Brien indicated he would enter last year’s Turf heroine Found to the Classic lineup. The four-year-old filly will be cross-entered in the Turf but the connections want to “take a look.” Window shopping doesn't cost a dime.

Win The Space, third in the San Diego Handicap, Pacific Classic and Awesome Again, is expected to be pre-entered tomorrow with along with a fresh, fast-working early-season high-profile divisional player, Melatonin.

Superfecta anyone?

And just last week, the owner of 2015 Travers winner Keen Ice, Jerry Crawford, said he wants in, figuring all the Classic speed and its mile and a quarter distance suits his late finisher very well. It does, but then the competition might not.

Trainer Todd Pletcher backed Crawford's play re the pace and distance scenarios but unless the Classic falls apart completely it’s difficult to figure them making a case for trying nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park in late January, which brings us back to the Pegasus.

So the question remains which dozen horses will fill the Pegasus starting gate? One of Exaggerator’s owners recently sold his slot which could go to a Classic upsetter. A starting-stall would be a lot more valuable should Chrome be defeated. If that occurs, Chrome would lose the bonus which was expected to cover his Pegasus entry fee.

Worse, his anticipated stud career might lose a little momentum. Doubtful in light of his 2016 resume but anything’s possible in the horse business.

Unless there’s a clause we’re unaware of that allows investors to bail out of their commitment without taking too big a hit, the Pegasus very likely will have a full field.

And as far as that's concerned, it might turn out to be a LATI scenario for some not-quite-ready-for-primetime players. For the Classic/Pegasus favorite it's a Lose And They’re In scenario.

Written by Indulto

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