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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, August 1, 2021 – There’s absolutely nothing wrong with riding the best horse like he’s the best horse. In fact, that’s the preferred tack. But one of these days, Luis Saez’ overconfidence in Essential Quality will make the difference between victory and defeat.

But until then just know that Essential Quality, now 7-for-8 lifetime, is going to find a way to beat you. Just as it appeared he was becoming one-paced inside the sixteenth pole, he dug down deep and overcame, just like he’s always done, except that one time.

And recall that he was carefully handled and saved no ground at any point to lose the Kentucky Derby by a length.

In fairness, Saez found that seam between a rock and a hard place. The Jim Dandy pace was somewhat competitive but deliberate, by no means suited to a late run type, even if late runners did manage to complete a dandy exacta.

However, the winning dynamic appeared to be more a function of the tiring surface than any other factor. And the time of 1:49.75 under the circumstances was very solid, especially since he sustained an unusually long drive.

Many fans might have been underwhelmed by Essential Quality’s performance. And even if the purse was a lofty $600,000, it still was a Grade 2 prep for a Grade 1 Midsummer Classic. But it turned out to be the perfect prep. He had put on weight since the Belmont and needed to go forward in condition. All set now.

Dynamic One took advantage of the distance and a tiring tiring surface from an opened sealed sloppy track to get the job done with authority in Friday’s Curlin Stakes. A perfectly judged and well time finish by Irad Ortiz Jr. didn’t hurt, not did Todd Pletcher’s ability to bring back classy individuals after a lengthy freshening.


Laoban’s Legacy trainer said post-race he believed his debuting baby was a work or two short of his best but still made a wow debut despite racing greenly, taken in hand in deep stretch. Was it the sealed slop or the filly? Probably a little of both…

American Xperiment benefitted from his Main Track entry was in complete control of his debut, looking a winner every step. He was that and more, impressing most favorably and appears to have a bright future. The strong of impressive first starters from the Asmussen shedrow rolls on…

First race Saturday was loaded with interesting takeaways: Kevin’s Folly showed class to break maiden despite racing in close quarters virtually throughout; note. Master Game raced greenly, showed very good speed, and likely wasn’t wrapped all that tightly, appearing short of best; bet back… Hoist the Gold made sustained, wide turn-move, entered the stretch in the 6-path and continued willingly when he had every right to chuck it; note.

Going long on turf, juvenile colt Limited Liability finished like a wild horse in deep stretch, seeming more like a 4-year-old than a baby… Doctor Davis was bet strongly from the bell and was a near run-off as he raced 4 to 5 wide throughout. He had a license to tire and did so in deep stretch; next time dear diary…


Unlike today, when the beat-the-favorite club had reasons to find an alternative to First Captain (7-5) in the Curlin Stakes, finding alternates to Essential Quality (1-2) in Saturday’s Jim Dandy will be more difficult.

Nothing First Captain has done would give bettors cause to beat him. Undefeated in three lifetime starts and a graded winner by virtue of a condition-book loophole—he has the scope and the stride to suggest two turns could be better for him than one.

But this is why they run races and it’s reasonable not to accept a short price. Dynamic One (4-1), Beren (5-1), and Harvard (6-1) are all viable, as are Weyburn and Masqueparade in Saturday’s Jim Dandy. But while the latter two are on improving, they will have to raise their game significantly.

Dynamic One is proven around two turns at the trip with a maiden-allowance score and G2 Wood Memorial placing after making a sustained, premature run; Beren, most experienced at 5-for-10 lifetime, and our choice, Harvard, is 2-for-2 around two turns after adding blinkers and attracts leading rider Luis Saez here.

Essential Quality just has too many weapons for the promising Weyburn (6-1), the “comeback colt” who is sharp and wants to beat you. Masqueparade (4-1) is developing smartly and owns progressive figures for trainer Al Stall Jr. who’s been extremely live at the meet.

The defending champion is 6-for-7 lifetime, his only loss by a length coming in the wide-throughout Kentucky Derby run, his figures are consistently faster and have improved incrementally. Best of all, he loves a fight. He even sheds two pounds off his magnificent winning Belmont battle over Hot Rod Charlie.

Simulcast Saturday features graded stakes from coast to coast, including two “Win-and-In” Breeders’ Cup Sprint events, Saratoga’s G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt and Del Mar’s G1 Bing Crosby.

Monmouth offers the G3 Monmouth Oaks and Gulfstream Park showcases Florida-bred babies for both sexes, the Dr. Fager for colts and Desert Vixen for the ladies.



G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap   Race 8

A:  2-Mischevious Alex (2-1)

B:  9-Special Reserve,  3-Firenze Fire (3-1)

C:  6-Whitmore (4-1),  8-Montauk Traffic (15-1)

G2 Jim Dandy Stakes   Race 9

A:   5-Essential Quality (1-2)

B:  3-Weyburn (6-1),  2-Masqueparade (4-1)

C:  4-Keepmeinmind (6-1)

G2 Bowling Green   Race 10

A:  1-Channel Cat (5-1),  5-Channel Maker (5-2)

B:   2-Cross Border (9-2)

C:   None



A:   8-Dr. Schivel (7-2),  6-Collusion Illusion (4-1)

B:   9-Brickyard Ride (7-2),  3-C Z Rocket (5-2)

C:  None


Desert Vixen Stakes Race 10

A: 11-Demurely (8-1)

B: 2-Royal Rocker (15-1), 10-Ukiyo (10-1)

C: 7-Silver Smile (7-2), 3-Noble Dreamer (5-2), 4-Soul Flight (20-1)

Dr. Fager Stakes Race 12

A: 3-Cajun Magic (5-1), 9-Dean Delivers (4-1)

B: 7-Hope in Him (8-5), 6-Lightning Larry (6-1)

C: None


G3 Monmouth Oaks Race 9

A: 9-Edie Meeny Miny Mo (4-1)

B: 8-Coppelia (6-1), 3-Midnight Obsession (3-1), 6-Allworthy (5-1)

C: 1-She A Hot Mess (10-1), 7-Miss Leslie (15-1)

When multiple horses are listed in a category, preference is for first horse listed

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20 Responses

  1. I’m intrigued by Vertical Threat in the Bing Crosby, and will use him on top with CZ Rocket and Dr. Schival.

    Mischievous Alex stands out in the AG Vanderbilt. Photo finish camera twice had to separate Lexingtonian from Whitmore.

    Weyburn gets Irad for Jim Dandy after whipless duel with eventual Haskell winner.

    Breakpoint could be best price value in a very competitive Bowling Green.

    1. I-man, to your points:

      I understand taking a flyer with Vertical Threat, 8-1 Baltas and Bravo.

      Hope you’re right about ‘Alex’

      Weyburn will probably make a lifetime best effort today.

      Breakpoint 10-1 Chad I understand, just think this horse has to step up in a big way. If you win, you will get paid…

  2. Hey John! I need the 2 or 3 here to hit a decent Pick-5 that started in Race-5. Hoping we’re both on point and get lucky!

  3. Tough beat if you used Special Reserve, but huge payday for those that had the winner. I could never have found him myself. Raced his eyeballs out!

  4. Thanks John. Turned a profit today and had fun doing it. I would have scored much more had the 3 passed the 7. I had 8/3/all in the tri with house chips in play. Next time. Thanks again, McD

  5. Are there lots of better things than spot betting on a favorite jock with a losing streak of some 9 races and then paying you back with a $ 70 win on a progressing bet ? Doing extremely well at the Spa even if I skipped that lousy rainy day card the other day. Cannot be greedy while staying in the lane.Hate betting with so many scratches and no turf . Stick to what Still Work$$,, and keep factual notes. Today,Saturday ,the television,” talent selections” in a later race picked 5 different ones in a race with 8 Horses….. one of the 3 left, ignored horses Won… With such continual record,why bother being there ?? Tom Amoss,famous trainer,cannot pick any winning horse ! Again,the record,winning average of these guys who make picks a few minutes before a race, must be shown !! It’s a farce between commercial breaks ..and the reasoning why a horse won,a la monday morning quarterbacking, is ludicrous ! Tell me why Your picks LOST ! Never mind…🐴🐴

      1. Your continual sarcastic replies are obvious and expected,no matter the subject at hand. Signs of getting old,Fast ! I mostly write comments so that i can print them for myself and as for your replies they are tired and as repetitive as those remaining few anonymous people who are still wasting their time being too close to your S and when they vanish there Wont be anyone to replace them ,,Except those Nome de plume that you keep on creating..Time will tell but like in any business insulting customers,,former contributors, and readers wont lead you to any success,as evidenced by your puny followers.,including the one that you unpolitely mentioned.Addio.

  6. Today’s races at Saratoga did not disappoint exciting, unpredictable and thrilling. Essential Quality continues to prove he is ultra competitive. Despite Luis Saez overland route to victory, Saez rode him like he was tons the best. Why so wide Luis on both turns? He lost the Derby this year partly due to his wide trip. He’ll need to save some ground when he races in the BC Classic.

    Nice pick JP in the Dr Fager at Gulfstream. Cajun Breeze babies look like stone cold runners.

    1. Thanks re GP. Ans Saez may need to save some ground in the Travers, too. He’s a little tight when he rides this horse. Meet’s leading rider is aggressive, waits, darts between horses, etc. With EQ, he’s overconfident and gives the horse too much to do unnecessarily.

  7. ”staying between the lanes’ works with horses just like it does with stocks and bonds. keeping the wagers risk managed, and the ticketa all governed by fractal math. stay disciplined with your process, and having fun moving the chains forward. for some that equates win bets only. for me i tend to follow John’s lead most times. Win bet, ex box, ditto tri, and at times adding a small amount of salt and pepper added to the indulto sf’s. All about staying young, and having some fun. If hitting for a slice with extra cheese every now and then, give a little back via a local food bank. Good Karma always comes back around to refill the sails and keeping the boat back between the lines.

    I never mentioned this, but early this year, very early, I added a few between my line wagers on Game Stop to my investments. Next I knew, on that ticket, I was walking up to the windows and naming my own payouts. In at $15, and some out out at $150, 200, 300, and 350. Gave a bunch to Island Harvest and a bunch to the poor on Bridgeport as well via Hedgeye Cares. Used 12K of the profits to invest with 60 others in a racing syndicate based on the principles of the late Ed Bain that was just being established. All based on trainer patterns and analytics in Python coding and C plus plus. Don’t ask me how the analytics work. I only went down this road, because I know that it works. In the last two days, our small group took down two scores on 2 Pk 5’s that paid out over $5K each. (I ain’t a promoter mind you John Boy, but if you might want to look into any of this, will forward you the name of Ed’s ex. She once met you she said. She is a sweet woman. Has her own immune systems which are all challenged, mostly Lupos, but like my sons partner enduring issues with MS, she’s a fighter. That’s a wrap. – McD

  8. I should add comment, my youngest guy is a Python analytics C plus guy at Google Metroplex in Manhattan for over 15 years. Me I don’t know nothing. Only need know tthe people who do know something. One of them guys is John Pricci. WEenstein of the capoping world is my take. Not looking to get rich, but I am a rich man in fun following Broadway. Staying with my process I am. Since John was at Newsday. That’s why I aka him John Boy. He was a boy back then. Just ask Toni. Lol.

  9. John, “We’ll never get old unless we want to get old.” And another line from writer of old Robert Ruark (of The Old Man’s Boy Grows Older, written in dedication to his grandfather.) the trick with getting old was to stll be able to raise a little hell, translating to mischievous fun is all, raising as much hell as you can without appearing to be a damn fool. Like with the Ballentine quart bottle cap days of my youth, when you couldn’t figure out the puzzle on the cap, it was simply time to stop writing and drinking. To this day, I constantly chuckle “Oppala” aloud when lifting something heavy, in recognition of my wife’s Dad who snuck up on me by becoming a best friend in all things with ilfe. Her it in an old navy film once, and he was navy WWII. From my Dad, I gained a sense of self containment in my humor. My recall on my Dad was his telling me a story of tell me a story. “Oh my name is J’on J’onsenn, I come from Vis’consin. I v’ork in da lumb’a yards ‘der. All the people I meet, v’hen I v’alk down the street , ‘dey say J’onsenn got clean under’ver. Back when mine ‘ver young, I put ’em to bed with a brush them teeth good, and we adjusted the lines of tell me a story and sang of poop in to ‘der brown under’vare.

    Well I full cycled back to Procter and Gamle for just the fun of it. Recycled oats on a horseracing page if you will. My Grand Dad “Pop” was a die hard Yankee Fan, and I had all the youngsters in Malverne Lynbrook calling him Finley after the old guy out in Oakland. Charles to be exact.
    The neighborhood kids all kept him young everyday as well. At age 94, he would still get a kick out of it. Once I sent away to D.C. and got him in his early nineties a Presedential Bithday Card from the Whitehouse. He read the name Nixon on the envelope, and laughed aloud, “What’s that son of a bitch want?” Raised out side Boston and a BC graduate in 1908, he was a Kennedy man. In modern times, a “Boo Who” Democrat. Life was always brown bread buttered, and good plate of Boston beans. And some fresh fish, any kind if you have extra. Gotta be fresh though.

    P.S. If any of the HRI crowd ever tired of my rants, just complain to the Editor. He’ll get me to stop when I cross over into Rod Serlings land of “Do Do, Do Do.” Remember the one a about the camera that took pictures of the race results before the race was even run. Back when Pricci worked at Newsday Pricci had one. Thinking his Mom may have tossed it with all of his treasured Mickey M. cards. Whites and Yogi as well.
    Now you can at least buy a sheet of Yogi’s at the post office. Got to shake his hand at a March of Dimes Golf Outing on S.I.. Asked for a handshake is all. Well covid days now, I asked for his hand, said it was something I collected over autographs. Signatures get old and dusty, but memories never age. I do have an old ball signed by Gerig and Joe. D from Joe’s rookie year. I loved Gerig’s “Luckiest Man”, my Mom was in the seats that day. Never left her memory, and that story has never left mine.

    Leaving now to go look at the third at Saratoga. No Preach today, so I changed the page to Timeform and the morning line guy David Aragona. Good day to you all. Peace and out, Mcd

    1. I’m an Aragona fan. McD, you need to get back to work; obviously too much time on your hands (smiley here)

  10. Market back open in the morning. Used to spend my idle downtime drinking beer. Banging on the keyboard is much easier life.

    “Boss Finley” he would add in reply. RIP my ancestry friend of days gone bye. Still miss your stories.

    Good night or good morning. Your call. One foot up on the bed, one firm on the floor. Am I settling in or just getting out? At our age, up to pee no doubt, lol.

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