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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, January 12, 2024 – Stakes for three-year-olds at this time of year are always of interest, even if they are not necessarily compelling betting events. Value is, after all, in the eye of the price shopper, and no one knows for sure until the field approaches the starting gate.

There are no preps for Derby horses at Aqueduct but Oaks fillies might reveal themselves in Saturday’s nine furlong Busanda, but what does this say for the current state of New York racing when this prep, similar to last weekend’s Jerome, attracted but a field of five?

Shimmering Allure has seven Oaks points thanks to efforts in the Oaks and Alcibiades. She has the most experience, has compiled a solid (7) 2-3-0 slate while appearing at five different venues. Her Tempted run was her best go, showing a stylish kick. She is fastest on performance figures and looms a deserving favorite.

Last weekend, Brad Cox saddled the winning Jerome favorite, but today his Gin Gin will have to line up behind Ken McPeek’s Shimmering Allure for that honor. Her last two runs in the Rags to Riches and G2 Golden Rod did earn her a half-dozen qualifying points. The the main danger to the favorite.


BUSANDA STAKES                                                               Race 6     

MOST PROBABLE WINNER:   Shimmering Allure (4-5)


EXOTICA:  Gin Gin (5-2)     



MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Book’em Danno (3-2) 3-for-3 under one mile, layover figures, sharp local trials

BEST VALUE: Crazy Mason (4-1) finished well in last two following removal of blinkers

EXOTICA: Banded Rocket (10-1), Rathmore (6-1), West Saratoga (9-5)


MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Opus Forty Two (7-5) class relief, experienced, well drawn, loves it in Oldsmar, handles the trip

BEST VALUE: LIBBAN (9-5) much improved development this fall, progressive filly, pedigree screams two turns

EXOTICA: Dream Concert (6-1), Magical Lute (9-2)


MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Mystic Lake (6-5) class tested, benefits from surface switch, purposeful workline

BEST VALUE: Girvin’s Princess (7-2) undefeated with blinkers and never a backward step on the Thoro-Graph scale.

EXOTICA: Copper Bound (20-1), Runaway Diva (10-1)

when more than one horse appears in any category, ratings are listed in preferred order

this live column will be updated throughout the weekend

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5 Responses

  1. Yesterday , Friday, after about four or five races , when closers were doing reasonably well, a NYRA handicapper claimed that the track “Had Changed” after a horse won wire to wire. How can that happen so fast even if the somewhat heavy track was combed ? Why couldn’t that win have happened because that speedy horse was superior to the others ? I can see it if the track was muddy or wet but not when nothing distinctly changed before the race.How much can a raked track change?Is that another angle, excuse or a legit consideration, and if so, how does a player measure it before a race ( and not after, like this guy did). Ps: Any thoughts about closing , resting this track for the worst winter part, mid January- February ?? Some of these races are awful, not just this winter but almost always.

  2. Didn’t analyze the race in question so can’t render a fair and valid opinion. I’ve have never been a fan of winter racing in New York but acknowledged that this was the time of year when smaller stables get a chance at the big pots while the top barns take their better horses and grass specialists to sunnier, warmer climes. That’s still a valid reason and it seems only fair. Plus, if you want the state’s help from time to time, you don’t shut down a revenue source …

    1. I guess that there is not much consideration for the equine athletes nor for the most Latino riders racing in icy,gelid conditions and winds , IF their mounts are not being scratched or races totally cancelled. For a month or so,which is about one or two races for the ever present cheap claimers, if a connection cannot support its expenses, maybe they should not be In this type of gambling business, which, according to the generous purses, looks more and more like an entitled welfare ‘ club’ program. Have you seen those purse$ for bottom claimers ?? No wonder so many degenerate horse players robotically bet their pension $$ without caring about the levels of competition,weather – track conditions or fields sizes. Less than five entries? No problema, ‘ I got more chances Not to lose’ !! Gotta feed the ‘ Juice ‘ , as they ,once again,shell out their credit card while being in pajamas , with a drink in hand… So many, of all ages and demos do it that , just like driving with a phone and sandwich in hand, it is ‘ accepted’ . Cannot lose, as the innumerable ads suggest to desperate, gullible addicts… ( No, I’m Not one of this ever increasing epidemic number)

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