Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

26 June 2011

Life after the Triple Crown

It has been two weeks since the last jewel of the elusive Triple Crown and what do you know, there is still racing going on. The three-year-old division, which has been the focal point of the first six months of the year, is still wide open. So are the less recognized divisions, which up to this point is every other division going.

Older Males, Turf

Paddy O’Prado was one of the best of the turf division last year and made a promising return with a victory in the Dixie, he was injured shortly after the finish of that race though. Gio Ponti made his stateside return on Belmont Stakes day in the Manhattan and the boggy turf, not one of his better surfaces, did him in. Since his 2009 championship season it looks like he has lost a bit of his closing kick that strung together four straight grade one victories. Winchester is yet to race this year as well; he won two important grade one races last year and could be a player if he returns to action this year.

Over on the West Coast Bourbon Bay and Champ Pegasus were in some tight heats over the course of the last few months and will probably be the standard bearers for the West Coast contingents. Acclamation recently repeated the Charlie Whittingham/Jim Murray Handicap double that he accomplished in 2010, after that point last year his form dropped off dramatically. It remains to be seen if he can hold up his form this time around.

Older Females, Turf

Late last year this division was peppered with longshot winners, Shared Account by way of her upset win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf is the division leader. It is a tenuous lead though, if any filly can go on a hot streak in the next few months they got the division clinched.


The colts and geldings side of this division is extremely deep, Apriority was competitive versus the top echelon of the division in his two tries and was done in by a dead rail in the Churchill Downs Handicap. Morning Line won his only sprint effort this year, the Carter and should be kept at the seven furlong or six furlong tests if the connections like the winner’s circle.

Big Drama is taking an extended break after a stakes win at Gulfstream in January and his connections are aiming for a stakes race or two at Saratoga before trying to win back to back renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Trappe Shot won the True North by open lengths, in the race before that he faced Rule By Night who ran some big races the previous year and could be a decent under the radar horse for the upcoming stakes races.

On the filly and mare side of the spectrum, it looks like Hilda’s Passion is the filly to catch. She has run consistently fast races so far this year. Unless there is a fleet three year old filly out there, it looks she will have it her own way for the rest of the year.


Last year Havre De Grace and Blind Luck faced off four times, Blind Luck was ahead of Havre De Grace in three of those encounters with the average winning margin being a quarter of a length. This year in their only meeting Havre De Grace was three lengths clear of her rival at Oaklawn in the Azeri. Blind Luck has gotten back to her winning ways recently with victories in the La Troienne and the Vanity Handicap.

Awesome Maria is perfect in four starts this year, but the fields she has faced so far this year have been less than stellar. Her win in the Shuvee Handicap was over a surface that was faster than normal as well. She will likely be over bet when she has to face some of tougher competition.

The three-year-old section of this division is another wide-open division. Three returnees from the Kentucky Oaks run yesterday and one was victorious, Zazu. Plum Pretty was supposed to run in the Mother Goose and came down with a fever so instead she was entered in the Hollywood Oaks. Zazu was in the Hollywood Oaks as well and benefited from a four-pound weight shift on Plum Pretty. Joyful Victory was the heavy favorite in the Mother Goose and disappointed her backers. Buster’s Ready benefited from an inside trip and posted a four-length victory in the Mother Goose after facing Royal Delta in the Black Eyed Susan. Much like the male counterparts, the title will likely come down to the last few major races left.

Older Males

With the retirements of Lookin At Lucky and Blame from last year, this division is will be a battle royale down to the end. Last week Pool Play came from out of the clouds to capture the Stephen Foster at 36-1, Apart won the William Donald Schaeffer on the Preakness undercard, and First Dude won the Alysheba on the Kentucky Oaks under card. From the looks of it, if Zenyatta was to come out of retirement to avenge her Classic defeat from last year, it would not be a tough task to pull off. The same theory would go for Lookin At Lucky as well.

Parity in the divisions is not all terrible though, it certainly makes things more interesting from this point on with each race increasing in importance and the chances of a nice payoff on a strong opinion of these races very likely as well. With the Versus channel showing the premier events from Saratoga and the chances of some very crucial races to be run, this can be seen as a boost to a sport that could use all the help it can get.

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