Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

03 September 2010

Yet another another Woodward and another heavy chalk running

Closing Weekend at the Spa and the usual stakes are on tap around the country with the exception of the Pennsylvania Derby, which has been moved to the end of September and will probably act as a feeder for the Breeders Cup Classic. Philadelphia Park (there is no way I am calling that track Parx) replaced the Pennsylvania Derby with a lucrative prep for said event called the Smarty Jones. On my count that is two races named in honor the Kentucky Derby winner, Oaklawn has a stakes named the Smarty Jones as well.

On Saturday at Saratoga a horse of legendary status is set to start his march towards greatness, that horse is Mr. Fantasy. The impressive winner of the Withers that Greg posted about a few times last year is looking to get his year back on track after two straight tough beats. The race that Mr. Fantasy is entered in is race three and it shapes up like a good listed stakes race featuring Brother Bird (half to Mine That Bird) and Safe Trip who was last seen chasing Discreetly Mine. This race is certainly one to watch out for and probably will be a productive next out race.

The Forego came up a full field with lots of viable contenders, Bribon turned in two straight good efforts going six furlongs and seems to show no signs of slowing down. Vineyard Haven has been a model of consistency at this track with two wins and two placings out of four starts. Big Drama is back to what he does best and that is sprinting, seven furlongs is no issue either with two wins at the distance. Warrior's Reward is another one who relishes the 7/8 of a mile trip with wins in three out of five tries. If anything, this race is wide open with a few solid opportunities to make a good score.

The Woodward has had recent history being a playground for the heavy chalk. In the last three years champion runners Lawyer Ron, Curlin, and Rachel Alexandra won with heavy public support. This year the morning line favorite is Quality Road who is listed at 1/4, when a morning line odds maker is setting the odds that low it usually means that they don't too high of an opinion on the rest of the field. The morning line odds maker has enough trouble listing a horse at 50/1 and seeing the extreme from either end of the spectrum is rare.

The rest of the weekend at Saratoga has two grade three turf stakes, the Hopeful, and the Spinaway. Might as well lump these four stakes together, because the juvenile picture is almost always murky no matter what the experts say and Greg has a better idea of turf racing than yours truly.

As far as the the Hopeful and Spinaway being an effective barometer for the future of the juvenile division it has a bad recent record, especially the Spinaway. Hot Dixie Chick has not been the same this year, Irish Smoke never ran that race again in her career, Mani Bhavan never developed, and Appealing Zophie did not run back to this effort in her career. The last horse to go on to do anything of consequence from this race was Ashado back in 2003 who went on win the Kentucky Oaks among her other accomplishments. The Hopeful has a better record of turning out future stars in the sport. Silver Wagon won this race in 2003 and went on to win a few stakes races, Birdstone also ran in this race and he ended up winning the Belmont and Travers. Afleet Alex was champion three year old the following year after capturing the Arkansas Derby, Preakness, and Belmont. Vineyard Haven won this race two years ago and had a solid abbreviated campaign with a win in a grade one sprint at Laurel and placings in the King's Bishop and the Cigar Mile Handicap.


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