Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

05 May 2011

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.

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