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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


No, the Jockey Club Gold Cup is not becoming a two-mile stamina challenge once again, but today’s Birdstone at Saratoga will have to do at a mile and three-quarters. For the math-challenged, that’s 14 furlongs in all.

The two favorites, Marconi (8-5) and Rocketry (9-5) are proven at the trip and Marconi enjoys a big match-up edge between the two. So why did I settle on Rocketry?

Both are taking a significant drop in class but we believe that the outside slip will give Rocketry’s rider a tactical advantage, i.e., more options off the break, and he is a Grade 2 winner at this trip whereas Marconi is unproven.

Further, he gets two pounds from the nominal favorite, his last two were were beneath Rosario, who sticks here but most significantly, the blinkers experiment which failed so miserably last time are off today.

Unless he goes favorite at post time–and there are no significant number of late scratches–there’s value in trying to beat Marconi. Taking Rocketry to win, Alice, and boxing an exacta with price shot Patch (10-1).

YESTERDAY: Joel might have been a tad overconfident but taking nothing away from the winner. Saguaro Row was second best.

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4 Responses

  1. Two two-year-old races and a race going a mile and three-quarters. Geez, to bad the first race isn’t a hurdle race and the race card would offer, as Mr. Jicha and you write often ‘great betting races’.

    Rocketry, according to the past performances I have in hand, is the only router that has gone the distance. GPS had to be used to find Rocketry is his last race yet the plodder will be the heavy favorite.

    Pick’in a winner is tough and the racing secretaries writing the condition book certainly have us bettors in mind when they drum up future races; take your pick in distance (what’s your favorite, Alice?): 4F, 4 1/2F, 5F, 5 1/2F, 6F, 6 1/2F, 7F, 7 1/2F, 1M, 1M 40yds, 1M 1/16, 1M 1/8, 1M 1/4, 1M 3/8, 1M 1/2 , 1M 3/4, 2M. Harness racing 1M! Think things would be a bit better for the ‘capper if there were only three distances: 6F, 1M, and 1M 1/8?

    Going to give Shanghai Bonnie a long look in 5th with Kendrick up; listed as favorite but I doubt she will go off the favorite or second favorite.

    Happy that Laurel and Delaware are open today.

  2. First, a safe and speedy journey to Shanghai Bonnie.

    Races are written by the racing office to suit horsemen, not the bettors. But there’s an easy way around this: Don’t bet those races.

    For instance, I can think of off the top of my head: One would only bet dirt sprints up to 7 furlongs, the other turf races only. Oh, and still a third, nothing below a $50K claimer.

    As they say on my street; “saus-each his own.”

  3. Gee, Wendell, for a guy that has a lot to say about the handicapping fare posted here, you’re up awfully early to check it out. We’re flattered and, on a serious note, grateful. Thanks…

  4. Wow! The Birdstone marathon was a thriller. The two favorites beaten by eight lengths and the other four plodders beaten by thirty to fifty lengths; post time for the next race was delayed until they walked across the finish line. Yup, the best racing in the country is at Saratoga.

    Am noticing a lot of empty seats.

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