Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

26 November 2010

'Tis The Holiday Season

Who says racing cannot be festive during this time of year? Hollywood is running grade ones and high class racing throughout the weekend capped off by the Hollywood Derby, Churchill has a slew of high class racing on tap, and Aqueduct is showcasing its last big day of racing of the year before the inner track meet starts. A lot of holiday weekends have top notch racing, Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekend come to mind, this one coming up gets lost in the shuffle of yearly racing due to the timing of it happening three weeks after the Breeders’ Cup. While a lot of these races don’t have the elite names in the sport running, they serve as a important races regardless. Blame won the Clark Handicap and went on to a Stephen Foster, Whitney Handicap, Breeders’ Cup Classic triple this year. Bluegrass Cat won the 2005 Remsen en route to a Derby second place finish and a Haskell win the following year. Congaree, won the 2002 Cigar Mile Handicap as a four year old setting up for a solid season at five that included wins in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Carter Handicap, San Antonio Handicap, San Pasqual Handicap, and a repeat effort of the Cigar Mile. Cigar won the Cigar Mile back in 1994 when it was called the NYRA Mile for his second out of 16 in a row and his first stakes win.

Cigar Mile

First a little more history, this race was started in 1988 and is still the only other grade one dirt mile race on the schedule for handicap males other than the Metropolitan Handicap. Only one horse has captured both of these races and it wasn’t in the same year, Sir Bear won the 1999 Met Mile and the 1998 Cigar Mile. This year Bribon is trying the same feat as Sir Bear, the 2009 Met Mile winner is coming into this race off of a win in the Bold Ruler that was run on a slightly slower than usual surface.

A few of Breeders’ Cup returnees are entered in this race as well. Haynesfield is looking for a good bounce-back effort from his Classic flop and Musket Man is also coming back off a flat effort from that same race. Girolamo’s backers in the Sprint get a chance to make back the money they lost on him in early November and his stable mate Vineyard Haven is here after a stale performance in the Dirt Mile. It is like a convention of Breeders’ Cup duds who happen to earn their paychecks in New York.

Remsen Stakes

28 minutes before this race the Demoiselle takes place and it is not part of the pick four sequence. There is a $250,000 guaranteed pool that has three stakes races and the last leg is a claiming race. The fact that there is no all stakes pick four scheduled is a bit odd. Other racing days like the Belmont Stakes, Wood Memorial, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup where there is four or more stakes in a row they have this wager, yet it is no where in sight for this late November sequence. An all stakes pick four followed by the sequence they have set up was could have been done very easily, at least they have a grand slam linking up all four stakes races.

The Remsen has had an unfortunate recent history of producing Derby flops, since Thunder Gulch won the 1994 renewal there hasn’t been a winner of the race to go on to Derby glory. The last two winners didn’t even reach the post position draw for the big race and the two winners before that went on to greater glory on turf rather than dirt. This year we get To Honor and Serve as the probable heavy favorite, his last race was visual masterpiece, but looking at the race a bit closer shows two things. The first is that he got an easy pace to wire the field and the second is he faced four overmatched rivals. It may be worthwhile to look around for a price in this race.

Marylou Whitney and Nick Zito must be kicking themselves after letting go of Mountain Town in a maiden claiming race for $75,000 back in August. He may go on to bigger and better things after running decently against the division leader Uncle Mo. He gets a weight break dropping six pounds off of that last race and is a major threat to win the Remsen.

Here today, gone tomorrow

Churchill wraps up its month long meet on Saturday with tons of juvenile action headlined by the Golden Rod for fillies and the Kentucky Jockey Club for colts and geldings. The juvenile showcase day has had a very good recent history of producing at least one noteworthy racehorse the following year. In 2009 Super Saver won the Kentucky Jockey Club on the way to the Kentucky Derby. Rachel Alexandra was the winner of the 2008 Golden Rod, which was her first of eleven stakes wins that included the Preakness and Haskell.

20 November 2010

Horse Of The Year Takes Down GIII

Forget about the wasting your energy in the Zenyatta/Blame HOTY pissing match. In Power Cap's world the horse of the year is a done deal and it is a three year old New York Bred. Our own personal "horse of the year" Stormy's Majesty wins the Discovery handicap at the Big-A and fulfills our prophecy of winning a graded stakes race. Take a look and see how Stormy's Majesty dwarfs the other horses in the race and powers past for the score. This colt has won five out of eight races and only has been the favorite once in his career. We were even able to get a piece of the action in a big way.

More from DRF.COM

Stormy's Majesty, the lone New York-bred in the field, rolled to a two-length win over Not Abroad Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Discovery Handicap for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct. Edgar Prado was aboard for trainer Dominic Galluscio as Stormy's Majesty ($9.10) improved to 5 for 8 with his first win in open company. A homebred for Majesty Stud, Stormy's Majesty had captured the Albany Stakes for statebreds in August at Saratoga. Prior to Saturday, he ran last in the Empire Classic against older New York-bred foes. In the Discovery, Stormy's Majesty was well in command. He battled Golden Moka for the early lead before dispatching that rival with a quick burst at the top of the final turn. "In the Empire Classic he got behind and didn't seem to catch his stride or breathe as well," Galluscio said. "I was surprised he was on the lead because it looked like there were horses with more speed, but I was very comfortable when they showed the fractions and saw the way Edgar was sitting." Stormy's Majesty was on cruise control the rest of the way, needing only minimal encouragement from Prado. The time was 1:50.02 for the 1 1/8 miles on the fast track. Teaks North was third followed by Overcommunication, Golden Moka, Al Muhtasib, and Dominant Jeannes.

Big-A Handicapping Challenge Report

After many years of procrastination I finally entered the Big-A handicapping challenge; a solid pick four score provided the funds for the $400 entry fee. It was my first shot at a live handicapping tournament. These tournaments are taken very seriously. Many of the players had laptops, Ragozin sheets and a file so large it looks like they were doing corporate tax returns. I must have looked very amateurish with my "power cap" composition book and DRF printouts. The Big-A tournament makes for a long weekend of handicapping. This is not just a day at the races. It is a 5 days of pouring over three different tracks for two race days in a row. It sort of becomes a mental endurance challenge by the end of the second raceday.

The first day was a near disaster and a huge disappointment. There is nothing worse than entering a contest, capping for 8 hours and having nothing to show for it for the first nine selections. Tough decisions were fumbled. My big regret-horse betting is filled with them- is betting Daveron to win in the Long Island in the contest but betting her to show with $20 real cash. I spotted the bridgejumper action but elected to just bet against the bridgies for real cash and bet an orthodox win bet in the contest. This was totally foolish. Daveron ran second and paid over $15 to show. I was 0 for 9 going into the nightcap at AQU and hit a modest $8 winner (Broken Home) to get off the duck. That was it for day one only one small hit and was in 103th place out of 220 players after day one. Two horses I picked ran last as I was shooting for the moon with outrageous bombs hoping for form-turnarounds on surface switches that never happened.

Day two also started off slow with chalk beating my first two contest selections. Then in Churchill my luck turned. The first winner on day two was in a $50K maiden claiming race; I noticed that most of the horses were stretching out and were speed and fade types. Channeling was the only closer in the race with positive stretch comments and he was cutting back from two turns to one. Closers cutting back from two turns to one is a profile I fancy. To my delight Channeling rolled and payed a generous $31.20. Just this one winner elevated me to 20th place in the contest.

Then two races later I popped a first time starter in a $30K maiden claimer at Churchill that paid $20. What I liked about this horse was that he was working well over the course and the trainer had great first time starter stats listed in the form. To my surprise just these two hits propelled me right into contention for the championship.

Calabrese was listed all over Aqueduct in 3rd place and I felt like I was on top of the world. 3rd would be the closest I would get to winning. I continued my aggressive play but could not get lucky the rest of the day. Maybe I should have adjusted my approach and keyed on live 5-2 to 5-1 shots. Fortunately the total from my three winners was good enough for 15th at the end of two long days. It turns out the Daveron show bet mistake cost me $4300 but mistakes will happen in this game. In the end I walked away with $700. Not bad considering I had a horrible weekend only hitting with three of my twenty contest wagers -yet it was good enough to contend for the title. Next time with a contest under my belt I feel like I will be a live contestant; someone with the potential to walk away with more than $700. My advice to others is to enter these tournaments. They can be very rewarding and introduce new points of view to your handicapping approach. There is no reason to be intimidated as it really doesn't take all that much to win one. If going a miserable 3 for 20 is enough to contend for the title imagine what could be done if a capper has a good luck and live selections.

Aqueduct Handicapping Challenge Results


Name Player Rank Winnings Wagers
Ragab 213 1 862 20
Clements 212 2 849 20
DiFusco 96 3 798 20
HOM 189 4 760 20
Elam 85 5 749 20
CONTE 19 6 720 20
Fitzpatrick 176 7 665 20
Henry 39 8 657 20
Summers 118 9 645 20
MICHAELS 136 10 623 20
Mark 164 11 611 20
Florides 201 12 603 20
Malangone 190 12 603 20
LEIBMAN 125 14 599 20
Calabrese 97 15 593 20
Famularo 104 16 589 20
Weber 92 17 588 20
Longobardi 41 18 585 20
NOLAN 60 19 567 20
De Sena 178 20 564 20
Civelin 196 21 545 20
Rippey 28 22 540 20
Couvaris 120 23 532 20
Johnson 81 23 532 20
Valeriani 73 25 521 20
Racenstein 185 26 520 20
ZIMMER 24 26 520 20
WINICK 132 28 506 20
RENDINO 180 29 499 20
CARSON 23 30 481 20
Templin 137 31 474 20
Jordan 199 32 459 20
Cox 140 33 458 20
Perry 110 34 449 20
FOTI 6 35 448 20
Ferraro 48 36 440 20
Lods 1 37 437 20
Olsson 10 38 435 20
RITTER 133 39 432 20
LEVINE 66 40 426 20
Cornelia 197 41 423 20
Kiss 177 42 422 20
Korman 131 42 422 20
Engelhard 121 44 419 20
ZIMMER 25 45 416 20
Berg 144 46 415 20
FOTI 5 46 415 20
Mohamed 45 48 414 20
Shuman 139 49 408 20
Russo 127 50 403 20
Henry 38 51 400 20
WILLIAMS 79 52 392 20
Schwartz 147 53 390 20
Rowlands 111 54 389 20
SPINELLO 49 55 387 20
Rippey 29 56 380 20
Brooks 165 57 377 20
DELIA 52 58 373 20
MAYS 65 59 370 20
HARRIS 89 60 361 20
Faello 130 61 360 20
Felt 46 62 354 20
Teicht 150 63 342 20
Sterio 71 64 335 20
Kelly 86 65 330 20
Moscatelli 214 66 329 20
TILLES 88 67 326 20
Natale 43 68 324 20
Bamberger 15 69 320 20
DARRON 4 69 320 20
GARRITON 64 69 320 20
Lawless 102 69 320 20
ODonnell 119 69 320 20
Reese 191 69 320 20
Smith 204 75 316 20
McCruden 129 76 314 20
MAGNETTI 105 77 312 20
MANCARI 61 77 312 20
Surmick 37 77 312 20
Amendola 142 80 304 20
Smith 128 80 304 20
Zukaitis 69 82 302 20
Wecker 75 83 299 20
WOLFSON SR 186 84 296 20
Harris 141 85 295 20
Majkowski 195 86 292 20
McLaughlin 126 87 291 19
KLICH 62 87 291 20
Murray 112 87 291 20
Falcone 40 90 290 20
JOHNSON 215 91 285 20
Streiff 209 91 285 20
Gutfreund 12 93 284 20
Neuburger 124 94 282 20
Flanagan 109 95 269 20
Wankmiller 106 95 269 20
Fasola 202 97 268 20
MICHAEL 183 98 267 20
WELSH 58 99 262 20
Gianquitti 51 100 260 20
MC CLYMENT 68 100 260 20
MC CLYMENT 67 100 260 20
NACE 123 100 260 20
Seeman 13 100 260 20
Leone 168 105 251 20
Sorenson 84 106 237 20
Burke 198 107 231 20
Padgett 134 108 228 20
Zmich 211 108 228 20
Tsui 2 110 226 20
Lochansky 87 111 214 20
Pallidine 163 111 214 20
DAMBRA 152 113 201 20
Downie 216 114 200 20
GREENVALD 53 114 200 20
Fasola 170 116 188 20
Filoso 205 116 188 20
Hamer 93 118 187 20
Hamer 94 118 187 20
Reuben 167 120 175 20
Garofalo 34 121 171 20
CARSON 22 122 170 18
Kandias 210 123 166 20
Hilado 161 124 159 20
Esposito 95 125 154 20
Smith 203 126 152 20
Wolfson,Jr 187 126 152 20
Boyle 80 128 151 20
DAVIS 33 129 139 20
Pellegrino 217 130 124 20
Weber 91 131 120 19
Cettina 83 131 120 20
Isolano 3 131 120 20
Powers 114 131 120 17
Conte 56 135 111 20
BRICE 21 136 110 20
Festa 158 136 110 20
Stewart 172 136 110 20
Deicke 155 139 104 19
Girardi 157 139 104 20
Hopkins 17 139 104 20
Ciprelli 174 142 95 20
CONTE 18 143 94 19
SPINELLO 50 143 94 19
AURIEMMA 42 143 94 20
BUSER 8 143 94 20
Hopkins 16 143 94 20
NELSON 30 143 94 20
Parker 166 143 94 20
Sultan 192 143 94 20
Dunkel 148 151 92 19
Engelhard 122 152 90 20
McClenin 99 153 85 20
Powers 113 153 85 20
STATH 90 153 85 20
Streiff 208 153 85 20
Richardson 107 157 84 10
Gutfreund 11 157 84 15
Jackson 188 159 81 10
Arsenault 116 159 81 20
Herman 138 159 81 20
Russo 171 159 81 20
Salierno 184 159 81 20
Surmick 36 159 81 20
GIORDANO 181 165 80 20
Garofalo 35 166 76 19
BUSER 7 167 67 20
Gallagher 160 168 57 10
Mooney 54 168 57 20
Fooden 27 170 55 20
Teicht 151 171 50 20
DAVIS 32 172 45 20
Scanio 74 172 45 20
Visco 207 174 22 20
OConnell 146 175 0 10
Rowlands 169 175 0 7
Sidor 98 175 0 10
CLEMENTS 220 175 0 17
BROOKS 218 175 0 19
Fotias 20 175 0 19
GROSE 154 175 0 19
HOUSTON 219 175 0 19
Houston 206 175 0 19
Shurman 101 175 0 19
ALBANO 55 175 0 20
Arsenault 117 175 0 20
Berg 200 175 0 20
Berg 143 175 0 20
CLARK 173 175 0 20
Caputo 44 175 0 20
Dantonio 194 175 0 20
De Orio 108 175 0 20
ENGLER 57 175 0 20
Elliott 175 175 0 20
FELRICE 153 175 0 20
Ferraro 47 175 0 20
Fooden 26 175 0 20
Gianquitti 70 175 0 20
HEALY 182 175 0 20
Kingsbury 149 175 0 20
LAM 156 175 0 20
LEVY 78 175 0 20
MICHAELS 135 175 0 20
NELSON 31 175 0 20
NOLAN 59 175 0 20
Olsson 9 175 0 20
Parisi 145 175 0 20
RENDINO 179 175 0 20
Riccobono 82 175 0 20
SCANIO 63 175 0 20
Seeman 14 175 0 20
Shurman 100 175 0 20
Smith-Lawless 103 175 0 20
Stair 159 175 0 20
WOLFSON SR 115 175 0 19
Weber 193 175 0 20
Wecker 76 175 0 20
Yarwood 162 175 0 20
Yee 77 175 0 20
Yee 72 175 0 20

10 second pick 3

A special play for Saturday. I really like Spa City Fever to go wire to wire in the 6th at Aqueduct. He is true lone speed and working well over at Belmont. Race 7 looks wide open and then we have "Power Cap horse of the year 2010" Stormy's Majesty in race 8. Looks like a pick 3 play if I ever saw one.

Big A race 6 pick 3 4 /ALL / 2

A return to normalcy

The Breeders' Cup is two weeks removed and fading into the rear view mirror until next year. Horse racing moves on, unless you work for the Daily Racing Form. The writers for that publication will not stop talking about Zenyatta’s loss in the Classic. This will be the only paragraph you will see about her loss, she was on the dead rail headed into the stretch and had to make up more ground than anyone else in that race by moving off the rail during the stretch. If Smith swings her out wide at the top of the stretch like he has done so many times before, the outcome may be different. Yes, it was Smith’s mistake and mistakes happen. After Cigar’s first loss in 17 starts Bailey took the blame because the horse could be held to fault after 16 straight wins. As for the horse of the year controversy, who cares? The top two finishers are headed to the breeding shed and they faced off once, it is not like it is the end of a great rivalry like Sunday Silence versus Easy Goer or Affirmed versus Alydar, it was one race with two top quality horses. Only two groups of people place any importance on Eclipse awards, out of touch racing journalists and overly devoted fans of the horses in the running for these awards. There are plenty of races after the Breeders’ Cup and a lot of it is worth watching.

The Mad Hatter Stakes

Just to highlight the ridiculousness of placing too much importance on Beyer Speed Figures, take a look at Understatement. He ran a figure of 115 in February and the Classic winner had a figure of 111, if you go solely on these numbers you will be tempted to say that Understatement is a beast that could have mopped the floor with the Classic field. Closer form inspection shows that he runs his best on the winter surface at Aqueduct though, he ran that big number over the ice rink last January and was shipped to the mid-Atlantic twice in the spring to no success. His tries at Monmouth last year were also mediocre in comparison to his inner track record. It also could stand to reason that his form cycle peaks during the winter as evidenced by his big effort in December of 2009 before running big efforts in two stakes at the Big A. When the racing returns to the inner track, beware of this one.

Suburban Handicap winner Dry Martini is going to post for the 35th time in this race. The one thing that racing has not been good at in recent times is promoting the geldings, they make up most of the horse population at any given track and they run in more races than the high class stallions do as well. The geldings are a great promotional tool, because you know that the breeding shed will never call and all they can do is race. More Than a Reason is not gelded and is making his 59th start, I guess winning starter allowances is not highly sought after in the breeding shed. He made 24 starts last year and 16 starts this year, a total of 40 starts with five wins and a little over $300,000 to show for it, not bad at all.

Juvenile clearinghouse

The Delta Jackpot will be renewed for the eighth time today, seven times prior this race as produced nothing more than futile longshots for the Kentucky Derby. Despite that fact trainers will send their juveniles in this spot because it makes it that much easier to get into the Derby field even if their horse doesn’t have any foundation being in that spot. If there ever was a solid reasoning for restructuring the the Derby entry process this is the example that could be used.

Uncle Mo was a much the best winner in the juvenile, but before everyone goes rushing to Vegas for Derby futures on this one, here is something to consider. The last three Juvenile winners failed to reach the gate come the first Saturday in May following Street Sense’s Juvenile/Derby double in 2007. For some reason the runner-ups and also-rans from the Breeders' Cup Juvenile seem to fare better going forward. This is not a recent trend either, Alysheba was third in the 1987 Juvenile and won the Derby and Preakness the following year. Lookin at Lucky and Afleet Alex were on the board in juvenile and went onto bigger and better things, Wilko never panned out and Vale of York all but disappeared from the radar if it wasn’t for a recent notice about his retirement.

Discovery Handicap

This race usually produces some good runners going forward, a recent example is Haynesfield. Reaching into the vault, Evening Attire was the winner of this race back in 2001. Recently a half brother of Evening Attire, Con the Cat broke his maiden over the Big A carrying the tradition of success over the Aqueduct oval in the family’s genes. If Con the Cat is half as good as his older brother than he should be a hell of a racehorse. Not much insight on this running of the Discovery though, just an excuse to post a youtube link to Evening Attire’s 65/1 upset in this race.

06 November 2010

Breeders' Cup Roundup, Saturday edition

Six races in the books and eight more to go, if yesterday’s results taught us anything it is that shopping for prices during the Breeders’ Cup is still the way to go. Not a single pari-mutuel favorite won throughout the Breeders’ Cup portion of the Churchill card. The heavy chalk did manage to hit the board in the Distaff, Juvenile Fillies Turf, and the Fillies and Mares turf. Playing the heavy favorites underneath may be the way to go for the remaining Breeders’ Cup races.

Juvenile Turf

From the looks of it there should not be a horse going off less than 4/1 in this race, this is a very wide-open field. As I said yesterday about the Juvenile Fillies, someone has to win this. If you have a dartboard lying around it may be your best handicapping tool in this race.


Warrior’s Reward is in this race and not the Dirt Mile, his form has been darkened up a bit with his last three starts. The Met Mile he was on the pace, he doesn’t like Saratoga all that much and he showed it in the Forego, and he is zero for two on synthetics. It may be worthwhile to use Warrior’s Reward in the exotics based on the value and the murky form.

Turf Sprint

If you found a dartboard and used it for the Juvenile Turf, keeping that out for this race highly advised.


Looking at the pedigrees of this field, it seems like less than half of them can go any further than 1 1/8 miles. JP’s Gusto has had a very nice season out in southern California, yet there are two knocks on him coming into this race. The first being he has a great sprinters’ pedigree and the other is he did not stay the distance of 1 1/16 miles despite a perfect trip. Boys At Tosconova has been training like clockwork and has some stamina influence on the mare’s side of the pedigree with Coronado’s Quest. Unclue Mo will probably be an underlay in this race, his connections are always bet, the big speed figures are always bet, and he was less than even money in his first two starts.


Goldikova is the first one trying to get the hat trick with consecutive Breeders’ Cup wins today. To appreciate the difficulty of this task you have to go back to 1994 when Lure was attempting the same feat in this race. As usual the Mile has some stiff competition lined up, Gio Ponti is three out of four at the distance, Court Vision has turned in his best races at this distance as well, Paco Boy has been chasing Goldikova since June, Sidney’s Candy had a monster race last time out, and Proviso has a great closing kick going a mile.

Dirt Mile

There were two prep races that were set up for this spot, the Kelso Handicap and the Presque Isle Downs Mile. Tizway and Cool Coal Man are the only ones that used the race Kelso and Gayego is coming from the Presque Isle Downs Mile. The rest of the field is coming from an assortment of races that are being used as preps for the Classic or Sprint. The Forego, Woodward, Pennsylvania Derby, Goodwood, and Indiana Derby were the races to be exact.


Winchester is the America’s best chance at winning this race, the Turf Classic was run over a yielding course at 1 ½ miles, that was a tougher race than the Beyer figures are giving credit for. Debussy has already shipped from England once to win a big race in the U.S., what is stopping him from repeating that effort? His last race was against Vision d’Etat and Twice Over, two top notch runners, and he is in peak form for this effort. Behkabad had a rough trip in the Arc de Triomphe where he was boxed in for most of the race and has run some solid races this year, he could be worth a look at a price.


Pace makes the race and there is an abundance of it in this race. Quality Road has the rail and very few options, Haynesfield’s best races are on or close to the lead, First Dude is usually up on the pace, and Etched has shown nothing but speed throughout his career. Having just three out of four of the projected speeds up there still would set up for a fast early pace and a sweet trip for the closers like Zenyatta, Blame, and Lookin at Lucky. There isn’t much to say about Zenyatta that any other person has said about her, she is an undefeated freak of nature, but taking short odds on what could be her last race of her career is something that is hard to do in a race loaded with talent. Anyone expecting even money or higher on her in this spot will be sorely mistaken, she has received a bulk of the media attention in the last few weeks and has a very loyal fan base so 2/5 odds is more likely than not.

Home field advantage could be the deciding factor here as it was in the Filly & Mare Sprint a day earlier. Blame is three for four at Churchill and his late kick should be well suited for this race. Fly Down is a horse worth a flyer at long odds, he ran a big race in the Travers and is facing older competition for the second time. Flower Alley comes to mind with this type of angle, he did not run to his ability first time against his elders in the 2005 Jockey Club Gold Cup and came back with a second place finish in the classic that year.

04 November 2010

Breeders' Cup Roundup, Friday edition

The first day of the two-day Breeders’ Cup program is on tap with 14 high-class races carded and it has never been a better time to be a spot player. With so many races to choose from a player can bet into the races that are in their wheelhouse and sit out the races that aren’t to their preference.


The Sprint used to be the kickoff race for the program back when there were only seven races held. Twice the amount of races scheduled, double up the distance of the first race to be run. This cannot be a coincidence with the way they carded this. The Europeans sent their allowance grade runners in this race too, parroting what their American counterparts do with marathon dirt races on a yearly basis.

Awesome Gem is back to take another crack at the Breeders’ Cup, the seven year old gelding has been to the big dance three times prior and his best finish was a third in the 2007 Classic. Looking at his record two things are apparent, the first and most obvious is that he finishes second a lot with 13 placings out of 38 starts and the other is he may better on dirt than synthetics. His record on dirt is three wins and five on the board finishes out of ten starts, his record on synthetics two wins and seven on the board finishes out of 16 starts.

Juvenile Fillies Turf

This is the first wave of European turf invaders, Together leads the foreign charge in this race with a grade three win and a place finish facing grade one competition two starts back. Winter Memories has a big closing kick and the pedigree that this event was made for with Memories of Silver as the dam. Winter Memories had only two horses beat and was six lengths out of it with 5/16 of a mile left and circled the field to win easily on a yielding course in her last start. She could be a star on the rise.

Filly & Mare Sprint

Informed Decision is the first of four horses trying to repeat from last year’s success in the Breeders’ Cup. I’m sure Vegas has a proposition bet on which horse or horses will repeat in this year’s renewal and if they are offering this proposition bet Informed Decision has to be highest odds of the four. She has lost a step or two from the monster year she had in 2009 when she won six of seven.

A longshot worth a look is Rinterval, she faced Zenyatta two back and was in the teeth of a fast pace last out in the Spinster. The quarter of a mile cutback and switch to dirt could prime her for a big effort at a price in this spot.

Juvenile Fillies

Someone has to win this, none of the horses coming out of the big three preps ran particularly fast. The all button may be a multi-race player’s best friend in this spot. If a longshot wins this race and Winter Memories wins the Juvenile Turf, a case can be made for Winter Memories as the eclipse winner for the juvenile fillies division.

Filly & Mare Turf

Midday is coming into this race with wins in three straight grade one races and is in sharper form than she was last year when she won this race, she will be tough to beat here. Red Desire is better than her last start, which was over a yielding course. Miss Keller had the lead in mid-stretch of the EP Taylor and has been gradually stretching out to a 1 3/8 miles in her last four starts.


Still not calling this race the Ladies’ Classic. The pace scenario is interesting in this race, a lot of the public handicappers are projecting Malibu Prayer as the early speed. There may be more horses up front than expected though. Milwaukee Appeal was on the hot pace of the Spinster, Acting Happy is adding blinkers, and Unrivaled Belle has not been worse than third early in her races since October of 2009.

Blind Luck has had a heck of season with eight races at seven different racetracks and five wins out of those starts including a narrow victory in the Kentucky Oaks. If Blind Luck wins the Distaff and a longshot ends up winning the Classic, a case can be made for Blind Luck being horse of the year.

A longshot worth a look is Acoma. She got no respect from the morning line odds maker Mike Battaglia with a 20/1 line. The Spinster was a fast race early and late, in addition to that Acoma is perfect in two starts over the Churchill dirt.