Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

31 May 2011

'Tiz gone

Tizway, son of champion Tiznow ran away with what looked to be a wide open edition of the Met Mile. Usually the offspring of Tiznow improves with age, Morning Line is another example of late maturity with explosive speed in the offspring of the two time Classic winner. There were two horses that loved the big sandy strip, the winner of this race and Haynesfield; the horse for course angle was in full effect here. The time of 1:32.9 is probably a byproduct of a very fast surface though, My Golden Opinion zipped through the distance of 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.32 and claimers ran 1:09.66 for three quarters of a mile one race later.

The horse that most likely will improve off of this race is the second place finisher Rodman, who has come back better than ever in his three starts off the extremely long December 2009 layoff. Haynesfield threw a fit in the post parade dumping the injured Ramon Dominguez and did not run well in his second start off the layoff, not a good sign at all. Caixa Electronica continued his streak of running steady to impressive efforts with his third place effort. Any good efforts from the Arromanches progeny is good news for the racing product as it seems he has passed on his consistency and soundness to future generations.

25 May 2011

Shackleford's Unbelievable Win

How did this colt win the Preakness? It was an unbelievable win that goes against every convention and every canard of reason. Last out in the derby he faced a tepid pace and faded like he did not have the requisite courage to win a classic. Horses that fade in the lane usually fade in the lane every time. Now in the Preakness he faced a stiffer pace which makes fading in the lane an absolute near certainty.

The real mind bender was the looks of this colt before the race. Shackleford was a complete washed out mess. When he loaded I said to myself "no way he wins". Horses that lose their composure and wash that badly do not win races; especially route races. Not only did the disheveled Shackleford win a graded stakes route race- he won a classic after fading in a similar race just two weeks earlier. It is a result that boggles the mind in every way. He must of annexed the efforts of three races and concentrated the exertions into his Preakness run. If any horse was ever going to bounce next out- it is Shackleford.

22 May 2011

Take a shot

Animal Kingdom proved himself to be a legit dirt runner yesterday and will be a major threat going forward. Shackleford will have something to prove moving forward off of this race, he was up on a pace that was much faster and more contested than the Derby and have enough in the reserves to hold off a horse that blew by him two weeks prior. Three-year-old colts can make dramatic improvements from race to race in the spring, but to do these two things in one race is a little hard to believe.

One race left to go to the annual spring series and for a third straight year the crown is not on the line. A bust for bartenders at Belmont and ticket holders looking flip their tickets. There could still be lemonade made out of these lemons though. Animal Kingdom can be the first Derby-Belmont winner since Thunder Gulch if the connections see fit to enter him. Shackleford can prove that his Preakness win was not bias aided (being off the rail in the stretch was key) if he can last the grueling 12 furlongs of the Belmont Stakes. While it doesn’t have the sizzle or flash of a Triple Crown bid, it certainly makes for an interesting rematch with the likely possibility of Nehro running as well.

Street Sense and Super Saver both opted to pass the Belmont after defeats in the Preakness, with the bigger picture of making the Travers in mind. It worked out well for Street Sense, not so much for Super Saver. There is a reason for skepticism that Animal Kingdom would run in the last leg based on this, the same goes for Shackleford. Graham Motion is a conservative trainer who likes more time in between races as well, so another big race in three weeks with other big purse possibilities looming further down the road also gives one a moment of pause on the likelihood of the Derby winner making the Belmont.

Shackleford was all out to hold off the onslaught of closers in his last three efforts, 1 ½ miles gives the runners that excel in the last half of a race more time to make their moves. There is also the issue of this horse laying it all on the line like he did in his last three starts, how much is left in the tank for another big effort?

The Belmont Stakes could very well decide the Eclipse Award this year if both of the classic winners decide to show up. It would certainly behoove the connections of these colts to enter in the third leg as well. If Animal Kingdom goes and Shackleford stays in the stable and Animal Kingdom wins, it makes it harder for Shackleford to make up ground in the division with restricted graded stakes opportunities drying up. The same example could be used in reverse as well. No one in the division has more than one grade one win to their name up to this point, every grade one counts twice as much now as far as division bragging rights. Passing up a chance to take one down is akin to folding a good hand in poker, why not take a shot?

20 May 2011

NYRA Rewards Meltdown

For the last nine years I have had a NYRA wagering account. First it was NYRA telebet then NYRA one now it is known as NYRA rewards. This was the best account. Friendly staff. The key thing was that on a busy day like the derby or breeders cup they were the only ADW that answered the phone. The service was reliable; if you had two minutes there was time to sneak a bet in. No other ADW was like that- the rest of them are overwhelmed with long queues on the phone. Then the NYRA corporate stiffs got involved and outsourced the NYRA call center to twinspires. Now the service is unusable.

When I was visiting Las Vegas on derby weekend I attempted to make a few wagers from my room. No luck. This was clearly the worst big day for nyra telebet in the 9 years I have had the account. Now it is only Black Eyed Susan day at Pimlico and after about ten attempts I can not reach an agent at NYRA.

Only corporate stooges- blinded by numbers yet far removed from the daily operation of customer service would close the most efficient call center to sub-contract out to the most over whelmed call center. With the outsorced help in place NYRA rewards is now a useless service. I urge all NYRA rewards members to close their accounts and spend the time they used playing horses serving some charity. It is not worth making ten phone calls to make one special daily double that is only available on the phone. This beleaguered outfit does not answer the phone.

19 May 2011

Preakness field rundown

1. Astrology (15/1)

Looking back at the charts from the April race at Aqueduct, the inside was not a good spot on the track. Anyone that started on the rail that day did not win and Adios Charlie was wide and off the rail early on in the Jerome. Astrology finally got into gear when taken off the rail in that race as well. Astrology is the consistent sort and could merit a chance with a decent value in the win pool.

2. Norman Asbjornson (30/1)

Exits the Wood Memorial, which retained its title as the worst prep race to be in with two defections of key contenders before the Derby was run (Uncle Mo and Toby’s Corner). He did close into a slow pace in the Wood though.

3. King Congie (20/1)


4. Flashpoint (20/1)

Pretty light on the experience side and will likely be up on the pace with Shackleford.

5. Shackleford (12/1)

Got away with a comfortable lead and easy fractions in the Derby, he looked like he hit a wall in the last eighth of a mile in that race as well. More than likely he will see some competition up front in this one as well.

6. Sway Away (15/1)

Went zero for three in stakes company and made a premature move in the Arkansas Derby. Nehro was third out of that race and Archarcharch was well off the board. Mixed signs on that front and this one could better fitted for sprints base on his record.

7. Midnight Interlude (15/1)

Went from maiden to derby also ran in two races and could be up against it based on experience alone. Not to mention that the Southern California contingent has had a sour winter and spring as well.

8. Dance City (12/1)

Another speed here, this one is another Arkansas Derby new shooter.

9. Mucho Macho Man (6/1)

Always seems to run a decent to good race and showed a different dimension with his closing kick at Chuchill Downs. Would not be a shocker if this one got to the winner’s circle.

10. Dialed In (9/2)

His dramatic one run running style worked against him last out and is aiming for a big purse here. It will be hard to leave him out of the exotics and multis.

11. Animal Kingdom (2/1)

Could he win this race? Sure. Is he worth the bet at the fraction of the odds that you were getting two weeks ago? Probably not. By no means is this horse a lock for this leg, some of the new shooters have a chance and the returning Derby foes have a solid case for a rebound performance. This is a race that is worth shopping around for value in the win pool. As for the exotics and multis, it is probably a good idea to include this one for protection from a bust with juiced up odds in these pools.

12. Isn’t He Perfect (30/1)

If this is a question, then the answer is no.

13. Concealed Identity (30/1)

Probably will run like he is in witness protection here.

14. Mr. Commons (20/1)

If this horse wins, look for the stud fee on Artie Schiller to shoot up shortly after the results.

15 May 2011

Preakness Power Longshot

With the Preakness Stakes 2011 looming it is time to share our longshot selection. Astrology is a speedy horse we have been following since he broke his maiden at Saratoga. With projected odds at around 15-1 this new shooter to the triple crown could make Preakness betting very rewarding. After a stakes win at Churchill last year he has followed up with three consecutive second place finishes. This colt has the pedigree and connections to win this race.

Astrology broke his maiden at the Spa in one of those super maiden races; a full field of 14 and he beat future stakes winner To Honor and Serve. This might have been a sprint win but this horse is by Chef de Race A.P. Indy; this a horse bred to go long. With 2011 derby-like tepid pace Astrology could sit a nice trip right off the pace. The threats to win -both closers- Dailed In and Animal Kingdom should leave Astrology alone on the pace.

Astrology can be absolved of his last two losses. His first first loss this year was in the Sunland Derby. Off a long layoff he pressed a wicked 45 and change pace. Rather than fade meekly Astrology still finished strong for the place. Horse thrive on routine and do not like abrupt change. Astrology had to deal with massive change for his next race. From bone dry desert to bog Astrology was shipped to Aqueduct for the waterlogged sloppy Jerome. He finished a gallant second to Adios Charlie who subsequently gave a good account of himself in the Peter Pan at Belmont.

With two races under his belt in this form cycle Astrology should be ready to run his peak race in the Preakness. The connections of trainer Asmussen and Stonestreet stables have won this race two of the last four years with 2007 winner Curlin and 2009 heroine Rachel Alexandra. Astrology has a shot to make it three out of five.

14 May 2011

A Crucial Turning Point

The Preakness is now a week away; the Derby is considered the biggest event of the year, but the most important race of the year historically speaking is the Preakness. It has decided more year end honors than any other race has done in recent memory. Not to mention the obvious that it is the middle leg of the Triple Crown and is a single elimination playoff race for the Derby winner. There have been some dramatic finishes in recently as well. Recent memory speaks for itself on this one.

2010, Lookin at Lucky

After rough trips at Churchill and Santa Anita, he acquitted himself nicely with a jockey switch from Garret Gomez to Martin Garcia. Lookin at Lucky went on the clinch the divisional championship with a win in the Haskell. The Derby winner Super Saver was not the same after this race with the first of three off the board finishes. First Dude finished a resilient second after setting the pace, foreshadowing what the rest of the year held for this horse.

2009, Rachel Alexandra

Mine That Bird did not scare off many in this race and one of the chief opponents was a filly that just won by 20 lengths in the Kentucky Oaks. Breaking from post 13, Rachel Alexandra was wide most of the way while near the lead and still had enough left to hold off the surge of Mine That Bird. She went on to beat the male competition twice after this race en route to Horse of the Year and Champion three year old filly honors.

2008, Big Brown

After a dominant win in the Derby, he won with ease in the Preakness. If it weren’t for a quarter crack injury before the Belmont, this one would be referred to as a Triple Crown winner. He won two races at Monmouth Park and was named three-year-old champion.

2007, Curlin

The juvenile champion Street Sense and Curlin battled down to the wire in a photo finish that was about a fingernail difference between Street Sense going for a Triple Crown and taking an extended rest for the Travers and the Breeders’ Cup. Curlin was involved in two other thrilling stretch runs, the Belmont against Rags to Riches and the Jockey Club Gold Cup against Lawyer Ron. Both of those opponents went on to be named three-year-old filly champion and older male champion respectively. Curlin went on to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Breeder’s Cup Classic, which was the first of two Horse of the Year campaigns.

Animal Kingdom and Dialed In are the two horses that will immediately get a boost to the top of the class based on past successes. If one of the fresh horses or a Derby also ran wins it, a new challenger for the year-end championships has arrived. It will certainly be an interesting week.

Do My Eyes Deceive Me?

What you see above is entries for a race at 1 ¼ miles on the Sunday card, a two turn race at Belmont that is not named the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Belmont Stakes, or the Brooklyn Handicap. Surely this is an illusion, NYRA cannot card enough turf sprints and this is taking up space of another turf sprint. All those distance races get in the way of those magnificent turf sprints for maidens, claimers, and maiden claimers alike. Those same turf sprints that reside at least half of a late pick four on any given day and add more horses onto said pick four tickets. Yes, those turf sprints are something!

13 May 2011

Money Money Money

The Preakness is fast approaching after the long build towards the Kentucky Derby; the connections of Dialed In will be going for a $5.5 million payday being offered for winning the Holly Bull, Florida Derby and the Preakness. If Animal Kingdom wins this race and the Belmont to become the 12th Triple Crown winner, the owner is in line for $2.4 million in total purses without any bonus.

If Dialed in does win this race it is more than likely than not that Zito will chose to skip the Belmont with this one. He has stated that this horse thrives on a light schedule, a mile and a half race three weeks out from the Preakness is definitely not in a light schedule. If there were no bonus being offered for the middle leg of the Triple Crown, it is very likely that Dialed In would be training for the Belmont.

Only one horse has a chance at the Triple Crown, Animal Kingdom. His explosive run in the Derby made this possible. Up until 2004 there was a bonus offered by Visa for any horse that could sweep the series and in addition to that they held a less known, but lucrative bonus for the points leader of the three-year-old division up until August of the racing season. Before Visa, Chrysler had a Triple Crown series bonus based on points with a million-dollar bonus for the leader in points for those who raced in all three races. No one is sponsoring the hallowed racing series this year, leaving a $2.9 million dollar gap in purse incentives between the three big races and the Magna purse sweetener.

The old saying “Money makes the horse go” can certainly be used here; Dialed In ran an even, but distant ninth in the run for the roses. The Preakness would not be on the radar of the connections of Dialed In if it weren’t for the money being offered. Ice Box ran a visually impressive second last year in the Derby for the same trainer and same owner as Dialed In, they opted to try the Belmont instead of wheeling back in two weeks for the big race in Baltimore. This only goes to show that if there is an added incentive to run that trainers and owners will find their way to the secretary’s office a lot faster than usual. Back in the early nineties there was a series of races that offered bonuses for the handicap division called the American Championship Racing Series. Those races featured full fields with top horses facing off.

If anything the slot machine parlors and card rooms probably won’t be the savoir of racing, but they do offer a new revenue stream. That revenue stream at its best can serve as a way to get horses out of the stables and back on to the racetrack. With NYRA eventually getting this new source of income, one could be hopeful that this could lead to juiced up purses with bonuses that have the possibility of attracting large fields for one of the beacons of racing in the United States.

08 May 2011

No Big Shoes to Fill Here

The past ten years have not been kind to the winners of the Kentucky Derby. The last great horse to win this race was Silver Charm with seven graded stakes victories following his triple crown season and his greatest racing accomplishment being a victory in the $4 million Dubai World Cup.

2001, Monarchos

Only three starts after the Derby (two of which were in the triple crown) and was defeated by a combined 29 ¼ lengths in those starts.

2002, War Emblem

One for three after the triple crown bid, his lone win coming against three year olds in the Haskell. His two losses against older competition in the Pacific Classic and the Breeders’ Cup Classic

2003, Funny Cide

Probably the most accomplished of the bunch. He won the 2004 Jockey Club Gold Cup and a few other races in his seasons following the Derby win and Triple Crown bid.

2004, Smarty Jones

Raced twice after the Derby and had his Triple Crown attempt was thwarted in the final yards of the 2004 Belmont Stakes. Was retired before the Breeders’ Cup with soundness issues.

2005, Giacomo

Following two distant finishes in the Preakness and Belmont; Giacomo went one for six with a win at four years old in the San Diego Handicap.

2006, Barbaro

Was catastrophically injured during the running of the Preakness Stakes. He showed great potential before the injury and is in the same league with Ruffian in the “what might have been” category.

2007, Street Sense

Won the Jim Dandy and Travers after his narrow defeat to the great Curlin in the Preakness. Managed to get four starts in before going to stud at three with 2-1-0 record out of four starts. He ended his career with two losses though, a second to Hard Spun in the now defunct Kentucky Cup Classic and a distant fourth to Curlin in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

2008, Big Brown

After a record setting loss by any horse attempting the Triple Crown, he went on to win two races at Monmouth (one of them being the Haskell) and was retired after a recurring hoof injury reared its ugly head.

2009, Mine That Bird

Managed to do better in the Triple Crown series than his upset counterpart from 2005 with a second in the Preakness and a third in the Belmont with a combined margin of defeat of four lengths. Was winless for the rest of his career and retired at the end of 2010

2010, Super Saver

Tried hard to match Monarchos’ record for Derby futility in a record amount of time with three losses following his moment of glory at Churchill. Super Saver far back at Baltimore, blown away by Lookin at Lucky again in the Haskell, and was tenth in the Travers. If you ever needed a shining example of a flash in the pan, this is it.

Graham Motion trains this year’s Derby victor and he can stretch out a horse’s peak form for quite a while. Just from a first impression it looks like Animal Kingdom and Mucho Macho Man are probably the two most likely horses who can parlay their Derby performances into Preakness triumphs. Not a lot else looked impressive out of the other 17 runners that crossed the finish line. Shackleford may be at his best going a mile to 1 1/8 miles as he hit the wall inside the 1/8 pole. Shackleford will likely take a lot of monetary support if he goes in the second leg. Otherwise, it probably will be prudent to look at the fresh challengers as legitimate threats to take down the Preakness.

06 May 2011

Oaks-Derby DD

05 May 2011

Kentucky Derby Degraded Handicap

A feature in the Daily Racing Form entries that has been a staple for decades and is now in an experimental run here in an effort to expand the horse racing betting bankrolls of all of our fine readers. Here goes nothing.

8. Dialed In (4/1)

The default Derby favorite after the sudden drop of Uncle Mo's stock, he has shown an impressive closing kick and will likely be leading the charge from the back of the pack.

9. Derby Kitten (30/1)

Ran an impressive race in the Lexington on my pace figures and the main knock on the fact that the field he faced not being good is probably superficial. None of these prep races has produced anything worthy of superstar status.

1. Archarcharch (10/1)

Much like the Zito favorite, he is a dual stakes winner in 2011. He is not getting the same amont of respect due to the fact that both were tote board busting victories. The post is terrible, but he is one that could settle back on the rail and have the shortest path to the winner's circle.

19. Nehro (6/1)

This one is the third choice on the morning line despite not having a stakes win to his name. He is probably going to go off at a short price for this type of spot as well with the kind of closing kick he showed in his two stakes defeats.

11. Master of Hounds (30/1)

Included this high because he is the stranger of the bunch. Aidan O'Brien rarely if ever ships over for the Derby and this one apparently is a horse he thinks can win this race. He ran second in the UAE Derby going 1 3/16 miles, so distance should not be a problem the dirt surface is another issue though.

4. Stay Thristy (20/1)

This one has been under the radar with the presence of his well known neighbor Uncle Mo. His form was flattered when Toby's Corner rebounded from the Gotham defeat to win the Wood Memorial.

15. Midnight Interlude (10/1)

Up until April 9th, not a lot of people had this horse on their radar for the Derby. The defection of a few top stars in Southern California changed that outlook quite a bit. He could be coming into his own at the right time or that was a one race wonder. Either way the 10/1 line seems a bit low.

13. Mucho Macho Man (12/1)

Has shown the ability to rate off the speeds and has been working decently leading up to the Derby, he could be overlooked here and the value is there.

18. Uncle Mo (9/2)

How the mighty have fallen, there is a chance he may not run. Only included on here because he is the lowest in the line of probability in likely winners.

A graded handicap would have all twenty runners listed, but at this point trying to make a case for the other 11 is not an easy task at all. All the ones not mentioned above either have zero form or only positive races on the synthetic surfaces with no other redeemable qualities to speak of. You kind of have to feel sorry for the public handicappers who do the graded handicap and go through this mess on a yearly basis.

Oaks day preview

Derby weekend kicks off with five stakes races and the Oaks on Friday, the first post for Churchill is 10:30 in the morning. The La Troienne (older fillies and mares, route), Edgewood (three year old fillies, grass route), Eight Belles (three year old fillies, sprint), Alysheba (older males, route), American Turf (three year olds, grass route), and the Kentucky Oaks are the stakes races on hand for this day of racing.

La Troienne

Arguably the best race featured on the card with the rematch of the one-two finishers from the Breeders’ Cup Distaff from last year. The rematch of Unrivaled Belle and Blind Luck doesn’t have the same luster that it would back in December or January due to the fact that both have combined for four losses since that November night. Blind Luck contributed with three of those four loses. In two of those loses she was up against a lone leader who controlled the race from start to finish and the most recent loss to long time rival Havre De Grace, who has come into her own in her four year old season with two stakes wins so far.

The three out of the supporting cast that could have a chance at making an impact is Quiet Giant, All Due Respect, and Absinthe Minded. All three also will likely contribute to the pace scenario as well. Quiet Giant ran some big numbers over the winter at Aqueduct although it was against a weaker bunch than at other locales. All Due Respect is exiting from the extremely competitive Gulfstream meet where she ran a big race against Florida bred runners. Three out of her four wins have been against allowance fields in addition to her stakes victory and will need to step up big to win here. Absinthe Minded was part of the Lukas stable that led the Oaklawn meet in wins. A six pound shift in the weights against Blind Luck and a shift to an outside post could make a difference in the outcome here.

The Edgewood

2000 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Perfect Sting is represented here with Smart Sting, who is unbeaten in two starts. The sire of Smart Sting is Smart Strike, this filly is bred to do anything. Sassy’s Dream has shown some decent closing kick in two of his last three on the lawn, if she holds at the 8-1 morning line she will be a decent value play in this race.

The Eight Belles

Fame by association here; Arienza faced top class filly Joyful victory, Pomeroys Pistol was up against R Heat Lightning, and Honey Chile was competing against Turbulent Descent in her latest. Two interesting runners in here are Home Sweet Aspen and Holiday Flare, both are stepping up to graded stakes company after preliminary condition wins. Home Sweet Aspen is coming off a maiden score and has a pedigree geared for speed. Holiday Flare ran fast breaking her maiden and then ran evenly in her allowance score, with Pletcher training this one the odds will probably be depressed.

The Alysheba

Toby’s Corner may not be going in the Derby, but New York stalwart Icabad Crane is entered in this spot. Coming off of back to back state bred triumphs Graham Motion and company are rolling the dice here for the winner’s share of the $300,000 purse. The shipping in from Fair Hill for a race angle is in effect here and it has paid off in the past with some decent prices.

Regal Ransom’s last year may have been a complete wash with three poor finishes in three stakes race, but he comes in to this race with some foundation. His first start of the year was at Gulfstream in a sprint stakes race against Capt. Candyman Can, a multiple time stakes winner. In that race Regal Ransom broke from the rail, was behind the eight ball the whole way, and just missed for the win.

The Kentucky Oaks

The jewel in the crown of the Friday card. Joyful Victory has reeled off two dominant wins at Oaklawn since the layoff from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Lilacs and Lace wired the Ashland field at 48-1 and now has to prove she can run on dirt. If Kathmanblu had won the Ashland more than likely she would be an overwhelming favorite here, she could be had at a price here off of that defeat. Zazu was in the Santa Anita Oaks, which had Turbulent Descent win her next start at Keeneland and the race was running identical fractions to the Santa Anita Handicap on the same day. Plum Pretty won by 25 lengths in her recent outing at Sunland Park upstaging her male counterparts that ran in the Sunland Derby. Much like the American Turf Stakes, this race is wide open. There is double wagering on the last two stakes races and a longshot in either or both would make for a nice cap off to the day.

03 May 2011

Let the insanity begin

Derby week is upon us, it is a cornucopia of the good and the bad encompassed in one weekend at Churchill. It used to be that the Kentucky Derby and the other Triple Crown events were the definitive weekends in the sport. With advent of simulcast racing and multi-million dollar purse days at racetracks, the Triple Crown has lost some impact as the center of the racing universe. One thing remains certain though, the Derby is still the best known and heaviest bet race on the calendar year with the exception of a Triple Crown bid and the two dollar souvenir ticket bonanza that happens that day at Belmont Park.

The Bad

Despite the fact there is 12 to 13 races on a Derby card, the only race that is remembered is the main event. Despite the fact there has been some decent horse that have competed on that weekend, last year Rachel Alexandra was in an all out stretch duel with the eventual Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Unrivaled Belle. In 2004 reigning horse of the year Azeri was on the Derby undercard as well and was also in an all stretch duel and was defeated at short odds. The undercards of the Oaks and Derby get lost in the shuffle, yet they are always loaded with talent that end up going places later in they year. It is frustrating, because of the fact if the public got familiar with the divisions other than the three-year-old group maybe there would be increased interest in the sport. Maybe with the NBC affiliates picking up the races leading up to the big race there could be some prolonged interest in the sport outside of the big days.

Some call the infield of Churchill the biggest party of the year, it looks more like people that are there just to get drunk and don’t follow the races to me. When ESPN used to do the follow up coverage to the Derby, they would send a reporter (usually in their 20’s and a female) to the infield for what could be described best as small talk with really drunk people. It is actually a bit of surprise that the reporter was never treated like the one that was abused in Egypt during the revolution, even with the influence of alcohol. It would be nice to see the racing coverage divert to the races on hand and not the frat house guy who can down a 30 case of Natty Ice or the celebrities on hand who wouldn’t know Seattle Slew from Zippy Chippy. It would be nice to see this happen, but it is highly unlikely.

The Good

Look at all that good racing, it makes you feel cheated doesn’t it? Yes, after enduring months of $7,500 non winners of two lifetime claimers and racing cards with five state bred maiden claimers you the horseplayer get an overload of high quality races with juiced up pools. Churchill has twelve graded stakes races with varying divisions on tap over the course of two days and as many wagering pools as the mind can dream of. Be warned though, the letdown from these types of days is tremendous. It is like taking a vacation from work and having to come back to work on Monday when you look at the Sunday card at Belmont following the two big days at Churchill.

This is the only time of the year it is considered all right to drink mint juleps. That sticky sweet concoction using bourbon and mint leaves is considered a really bad drink 364 days of the year and this is the one day can drink it without getting a weird look from your bartender or the patrons at the bar. Maker’s Mark produces a blend of their bourbon that is mint julep flavored, finding it is near impossible in NY, because no one in their right mind would drink this on any other day than the first Saturday in May.