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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Of all the races on the Showcase Day card for New York breds on Travers Eve at the Spa is the Funny Cide for juvenile colts at 6-1/2 furlongs.

In it, we’re breaking a personal handicapping dictum, that when young horses meet, favor those with experience.

There are two debut wins that handicappers need to see to make up their minds as to which was the more impressive effort; that of early line choice City Man (3-1) or price shot Opportunist (10-1).

Going a bit deeper, we need to favor City Man because his debut victory came over today’s racetrack.

Following a wide run down the backstretch going 5-1/2 furlongs in an off-turfer last month, she swooped the group on the turn, momentum carrying her 6-wide into the lane, she caught the leaders and drew off strongly late.

But then there is Opportunist, who broke maiden on debut at Gulfstream Park, a different animal to be sure, but it as against open rivals that included a speedy heavy-favorite Kantheros newcomer with rail position.

The favorite was about five in front into the stretch while Opportunist was trying to find his best from impossibly far back on the fence. But find it he did, very, very late, surged wildly and got up to dead-heat for the 6F win.

The final time was slow, not close to the favorite on the Thoro-Graph scale, but there are three that have run a tad faster than the favorite.

But no runner here was as impressive as either of the two debut maiden breakers. Judge for yourself.

Going on record with City Man to win, 2-1 minimum ante post with no program scratches, boxing an exacta with Opportunist, and adding new gelding Mission Wrapitup (5-1) to the exotics mix.

YESTERDAY: Don’t win too many turf races with the kind of trip Javier gave his filly. She finished well, after the fact, for third, and galloped out strongly. Stable mail for me.

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4 Responses

  1. I’ve have never liked stake races because one handicapping tool, class edge, rarely is determinable; further, most entrants in a stake race have not raced enough times for me to ascertain what the horse is capable of. Further, it is a rarity when I am able to toss all entrants to get it down to three, then to one. In lower level races all my ‘capping tools’ can be applied and I don’t feel that I am guessing. I’m following your stake race analysis at Saratoga and rendering my opinion when I can narrow it down to three blue bloods and then pick one of ’em. To date getting it down to three has been the most difficult.

    Don’t have today’s PP’s yet.

  2. Got the PP’s in hand and after perusing the blue bloods in the Funny Cide Stakes I can’t toss not one entrant. There must be at least fifty other races across this country today that give a ‘capper’ a better chance of pick’in the winner.

    A couple of characters from the local joint made their annual sojourn to Saratoga and came back losers. They did say that empty seats were in abundance and that the atmosphere didn’t get then enthused.

    Years ago I wrote here at HRI that if the owners of Funny Cide had kept the terrific thoroughbred in New York bred races the horse would have broken Cigars record. But, the owners had to go into open stake company and the horse fought it out to the wire but couldn’t quite get there – damn shame, as Funny Cide was one of the best when properly placed.

  3. Just looked at the 7th race. Purse $200,000. Only six sprinters entered. Geez, many owners are ignoring how to receive a check for $3,800 minimum guaranteed as long as the horse staggers across the finish line. Trainer Oscar Barrera III noticed. And us bettors have got to try to pluck a winner from this two-year-old race.

    Any of ya’all gonna turn a profit of $3,800 this year or for the next ten years? Oscar will in two minutes!

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