It’s been an amazingly busy couple of days for me. I spent most of the morning checking the workouts and gallops, and talking to a lot of different connections. The good news? I didn’t find anyone who didn’t like their horse’s chances. The bad news? I didn’t find anyone who didn’t like their horse’s chances.
Some brief thoughts on Saturday.
Juvenile Fillies 12-2-4-11
Angela Renee broke her maiden at SAR, finished second to the well regarded Cavorting in the Adirondack, but was thrashed on a sloppy trac in the Spinaway. She rebounded to take the Chandler at SA. The field strength of the Chandler was no better than average, but Angela Renee’s win was convincing. If you are searching for a “local” horse, this one fits the bill.
Conquest Eclipse was second in the Del Mar Debutante to the highly respected Sunset Glow, and second again to Angela Renee last out. She’d have to have developed a lot in a month to reverse the tables, but her workouts have been good.
Puca took three races to break her maiden but look at the trainer. Mott horses rarely win at first asking, and that maiden score was emphatic. Could be one of those two year olds that just pulled herself together.
Wonder Gal was second in the Frizette, a major prep for this race. On the other hand, it was in the slop and Tiz Wonderful runners seem to freak on the wet track. Plus she was taken by Angela Renee in the Adirondack. It was a good Frizette for her, but how much do you believe she reverses the tables on the fast dirt.
Top Decile finished second in the Alcibiades, coming from another zip code to almost nail the winner. That is a key prep race and with a clean break and an ability to establish position, she could grab a piece.
By the Moon was decimated by Condo Commando in the Spinaway, but convincingly won the Frizette. The last two races were in the slop, so we’re guessing a little on how much the horse could improve on a fast track. Michelle Nevin is relatively unkknown on other circuits, but in New York she is a well-respected horsewoman. 6-1 ML would be a good price to find out if she’s the best.
Filly and Mare Turf 10-2-5-6
Abaco finished second in the Flower Bowl and won the Ballston Spa and she’s probably in as good a shape as she can be in. I’m not pronouncing her totally outless, but I think there are better places to put your money.
Just the Judge came here from Ireland and England to run in the Beverly D at Arlington. That was a good race for her, and she followed that with a nice win on the turf at Woodbine in the Grade 1 E P Taylor. She was having trouble cracking through in European Group races, and while any of the Euros is worth considering, there are a few worth considering more.
Dank won this race last year, but the Dank that showed up looked like a horse ready to win. Doesn’t seem to be the same Dank this year.
Dayatthespa won the First Lady at a mile last out, and while she’s a great middle distance runner, she hasn’t been this far. She a quality horse with a first rate trainer, but at 1 1/4 miles, I’m thinking more to one of the distance specialists. Still, she should have the lead and speed can always upset.
Secret Gesture hasn’t won a Group race this year, and her regular rider takes off to go to Just the Judge. She’s a Euro, and that makes her better than a lot of the Americans. Still, I’d like to see more of the will to win.
Fiesolana is primarily a sprinter/miler, although she has one win at the distance. She’s a solid group horse and passed the mile, a race in which she’d get a lot of consideration, to go in this event. She can’t be dismissed out of hand, but she might find herself wanting in the stretch. I think she’s the interesting longshot.
Stephanie’s Kitten always runs competitively but doesn’t always have the greatest of trips. She’s experiencedand has been working well and in my opinion is the best the Americans have.
Filly and Mare Sprint 6-5-1-3
Sweet Reason ran second to Untapable in the Cotillion, and by the time this one goes off, we’ll know how well Unytapable did. She won the Test and the Acorn, and really looks to be one of the major contenders.
Stonetastic was dominating at six furlongs in the Prioress, and continued her eye-opening string with a strong run in the TCA. She hasn’t run 7 Furlongs yet, but she shouldn’t have trouble with it. She’s on my wonder list.
Artemis Argotera has been lights out this summer and fall. After doing nothing in the Grade 1 Acorn, she demolished an OC $40K field, then came right back to blister a group of 8 in the Grade 1 Ballerina. She prepped in the Gallant Bloom, which almost proved too short for her. She seems like the now horse.
Leigh Court won the TCA a month ago at Keeneland after making her 2014 debut in the Grade 3 Seaway on the poly track at Woodbine. /She obviously loves the poly track, but is still two out of three on the dirt, three for three at the distance, and has beaten a couple of these already. You have to believe the abbreviated 20014 campaign was all about this race, so she is a major contender.
Judy the Beauty is listed at 5-2, and why not given she finished second here last year. She only beat a field of four last out. She’s one out of eight on the fast dirt with six seconds. Not likely the winner at those odds, but could factor in the lesser awards.
Living the Life came to life with th addition of Lasix. She’s got a Grade 2 at Presque Isle, and not group wins showing in her European poly track races. Could surprise, but I don’t think you can spend a lot of money finding out.
Turf Sprint 10-1-6-12
Reneesgotzip is aptly named. The five year old daughter of City Zip is looking to make up for last year’s heartbreaking loss. She’s had two races this year and it is clear Peter Miller has had only one thing on his mind – redemption. She’s plenty fast and in 15 lifetime starts she’s only been out of the money once.
Silentio is one of those horses that always looks good and finishes third. That’s probably the best he can hope for today.
Tightend Touchdown dead heated with Reneesgotzip last year and despite the fact he looks pretty much the same as last year when he went off 18-1, I just can’t bring myself to put the horse on top.
Bobby’s Kitten is by far the most interesting horse in the race. He came up just short in the Woodbine Mile. He’s obviously not a mile and a quarter horse, and he seems to favor the mile, but he did run a great race in last year’s juvenile on this turf course. I think he has to be on some tickets.
Home Run Kitten came from the coulds to win on the SA downhill last out. He 4 for 6 on the turf and 2 for 2 on the downhill course. Given the quirkiness of the course experience counts and that makes him a major contender.
Undrafted ran a decent race at Kentucky Downs and the race before that he ran a close fourth in the Grade 1 Darley Cup. He’s not completely outless – one of a few that would be no surprise.
Caspar Netscher got Lasix and became a new horse. The Nearctic wasn’t a particularly fast race, but it was a breakthrough for Caspar. I don’t know if he is good enough to win this – you have to decide that the Lasix has made a new horse of him – but he’s another that wouldn’t shock me.
No Nay Never had two group wins as a two year old and a grade 3 win in his last out. He’s not getting a great amount of buzz but I watched him work this morning and he looked great on the track. Three year olds can improve with big jumps later in the year and he might be one that does.
Calculator inherits the West Coast banner with the scratch of American Pharoah. No reason he can’t carry it all the way home.
The Great War is the foreign invader. He has no graded wins, but he is trained by Aiden O’Brien. Lasix may give him a gear he has’t found overseas.
Carpe Diem pounded the Breeder’s Futruity field at Keeneland in a nice time. He should volley with Daredevil for favoritism.
Daredevil won the Champagne on a soggy course. He’s done everything right so far and the Toddster is killer in graded stakes.
Upstart finished second on the Belmont goo last out in the Champagne. He certainly did well on the fast SAR track and if he gets a dry dirt tomorrow he might be best.
Telescope leaads a strong European contingent this year. He’s has gone against the best Europe has and has more than held his own. He’s only got one Group 2 score this year, but don’t be fooled. He is a Group 1 competitor who comes to the race looking ready.
Twilight Eclipse has struggled to break through the win column lately, but has been achingly close in some quality Grade 1 races. I don’t think he is quite in the same league as the Euros, but he is a solid and reliable turf runner.
Imagining is another that is good enough to race at the Grade 1 level but is most likely to be mid pack at the wire.
Brown Panther really came into his own when he drew away from a talented St. Ledger field.. He’s rated just a step behind the best in Europe, but that doesn’t mean his chances are limited here.
Flintshire has the same good news and bad news. He ran a bang-up race in the Arc to the highly regarded Treve, and often horses pointed at the Arc flop when shipped to the U.S. He has the talent and the connections to win, but I’m hesitant to pull the trigger, even though Fabre suggests he’s been point at the BC all along.
Hardest Core won the Arlington Million, beating less than the same Magician in the process. Where he found that race is a good question, but I think his winning streak ends today.
Chiquita looks a cut below the best in Europe but does add Lasix. Perhaps that jumps him up enough to grab a piece.
Main Sequence is a Kentucky bred that started his career in Britain but came home to reel off three straight Grade 1 victories, the most definitive one by a neck. He could be the best of the Americans, but I think he has trouble running by the Euros.
Big John B hasn’t gotten the big figures that some of the others have, but he does have a run over the course. Looks like an outsider, but might have enough talent to sneak into a back hole.
Secret Circle won the race here and it certainly looks like Baffert has him looking directly at the bullseye for this race. The last time the horse did something really wrong – well, never. Leave him out at your own risk.
Private Zone won the Vosburgh impressively in only his second start of the year. I think he’s been pointed at the race, but as he showed last year, his form didn’t translate well to Santa Anita and the BC field.
Rich Tapestry was knocking around on the turf and poly track in Hong Kong and the UAE occasionally running lights out. Then he shipped to SA and hung on for a tough win against no less than Goldencents. If you’re measured by the company you keep Rich Tapestry is highly measured indeed. Everything is looking like a go for him.
Palace is a quality American sprinter and would be no surprise at all if he hit the wire first at SA.
Salutos Amigos is to be saluted for making the trip to California. He convincingly won the Bold Ruler on a good track, and although David Jacobson was excited enough to get him entered at the last minute, I think the bubble bursts today.
Big Macher was shredded by Goldencents in the Pat O’Brien after holding him off in the Bing Crosby. So which Big Macher shows up today? I’m betting it’s the one that likes Santa Anita. Expect a much bigger race from him today.
Fast Anna was a courageous second in the King’s Bishop followed by another second in the Gallant Bob. She’s never been up against this sort of field though and I think that cooks her goose.
Bourbon Courage has been getting some buzz, and although there just aren’t enough races written for good sprinters, his only win this year was in an OC $80K. Not enough for me.
Obviously is four for nine on the SA turf and although he has the speed to carry the day, I think this field is a little too strong to let him slip away..
Veda is one of those maddening 3 year old French fillies that has you kicking yourself whenever they win a race like this. If she wins I’ll be kicking myself again.
Mustajeeb has not been overraced – only 7 starts. He’s been beautifully managed and I don’t think we’ve seen near the depth of his talent yet.
Toronado is the best the Euros have in this race. He’s been pointed at it all year and adds Lasix just in case. Hard to see a scenario where he is not one of the ones at the wire.
Trade Storm is a nice horse. He’s not Toronado on British soil, but he travels fairly well. I have low expectations here.
Anodin, unfortunately, is not his sister Goldikova. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have chances. Euro analysts like the horse at a mile. Seven furlongs is just a bit too short. He’s only listed at 6-1 ML. That should tell you something.
Summer Front is trained by the always dangerous Christophe Clement. He has a second over the SA turf and five of seven wins at the distance. Longshot possibility.
I’ll make this one quick. There are a few horses getting buzz including Cigar Street, Zivo, and of course California Chrome. Here is my race guarantee. One of the NBC cameras will be on Steve Coburn, the owner of Chrome, and someone is going to be shoving a microphone in his face, win or lose. I think most of us are rooting for a loss and another stupid rant. Tonalist showed he has come into his own and is simply the best horse in the race. Forget the “he can only win at Belmont” line. That’s mainly people looking for a reason to bet against him. He looks every bit a classic winner to me. You can’t knock Shared Belief, and his last race showed he is everything you want a race horse to be. His odds will be too low for me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe he has a big chance. Toast of New York is that sentimental European pick. All I know is that the Euros think he belongs here, and if he hits it will be at big odds. Why not. Finally, the other buzz horse is Candy Boy, a three year old getting good at exactly the right time of the year. At 20- 1 ML he can make the exotics. Do I think Bayern and Moreno kill each other on the front? Not necessarily. Moreno will be happy to track Bayern and if Bayern gets soft fractions, it could be deja vu all over again. Zivo is probably the best of the older horses, and while all the talk is for one of the three year olds, Zivo has quietly had an outstanding year. If he wins I may not get rich but I’ll feel good for a NY bred winning the big one. California Chrome – what can I say. I’m not a believer. But he won on the biggest stage earlier this year and if he wins again he’ll have shown the world it was no fluke.