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.

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