Thursday, September 25, 2014

Super Saturday Picks

This week on Down to the Wire we previewed the Joe Hirsh Turf, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Awesome Again, and Oklahoma Derby, so if you want to hear more in-depth analysis of those races, feel free to watch below. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014 (Super Saturday!) Picks and Plays:  

Belmont R4: G2 Kelso -- #4 River Rocks (M/L 5/1)
While Itsmyluckyday got the win for us last time out in the Woodward, his workmanlike performance on what was labeled by Timeform as a speed biased track didn't necessarily impress. Here he runs into a sharp four-year-old by the name of River Rocks, who has won three straight -- two in wire to wire fashion -- and while I don't typically bet sprinters stretching out to a route, he appears to be the lone speed here. Bradester also looms a threat coming off of his win over an in-form Carve in the Ack Ack. 
Plays: #4 River Rocks to win
Double (starting with race 4): #4 River Rocks and #5 Bradester with #4 Stanwyck

Belmont R7: G1 Flower Bowl -- #9 Stephanie's Kitten (M/L 5/2)
She may have come up just short, but there was no shame in Stephanie's Kitten's performances in her past two outings where she finished a neck behind Somali Lemonade after closing into a slow early pace and was runner-up to Euro Charline after putting in an impressive closing run down the stretch. This may be a Grade 1, but this field is not of the quality she faced in the Beverly D. on Arlington Million day, so a repeat of her last run should be enough to get it done here. 
Plays: #9 Stephanie's Kitten to win
$0.50 Pick 4: 1,6,7,9 / 1,2,6 / 1 / 8,9,10 --> $18.00

Santa Anita R6: G1 Frontrunner -- #5 Red Button (M/L 20/1) SCRATCHED 
Given his breeding (Distorted Humor-Skipping Around, by Skip Trial), Red Button should appreciate this stretchout to a route more than many in this field and as a half brother to multiple graded stakes winner Sugar Shake, who twice won in routes at Santa Anita, this move could be just what the doctor ordered. He hasn't been one to show much early zip in his races and each of his three runs have come on tracks labeled by Timeform as speed favoring, so if the newly resurfaced Santa Anita dirt track is playing fair, I'd expect him to have a much improved performance. He enters here boasting a few quick local works and Glatt has had success with this synthetic to dirt move. 
Plays: #5 Red Button win/place/show ladder (example: $2 to win, $4 to place, $6 to show)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Keeneland 2014 September Sale Session One Highlights (Hip 001 - 190)

  • Hip 19: Hard Spun x Layreebelle, by Tale of the Cat: He may only have four crops of racing age,  but Hard Spun has already made his mark having sired the likes of G1 winners Questing and Wicked Strong and he looks to have another well bred one here out of unraced Tale of the Cat mare Layreebelle, whose two to race (Spellbound and Kid Cruz) are both graded stakes winners. 
  • Hip 29: Curlin x Leslie's Lady, by Tricky Creek: Undoubtedly one of the the stars of the sale is this filly, who is not only by productive sire Curlin, but is a half sibling to multiple graded stakes winner and Eclipse Champion Beholder, as well as, graded stakes winner and successful young sire Into Mischief.
  • Hip 47: Uncle Mo x Lotta Dancing, by Alydar: From the first crop of Champion Two-Year-Old and multiple graded stakes winner Uncle Mo comes this colt out of productive Alydar mare Lotta Dancing, who aside from being a graded stakes winner in her own right, is an unblemished eight winners from her eight to race. Among Lotta Dancing's progeny are unraced Seattle Slew mare Shootforthestars, who has produced nine winners, including G1 winner Centralinteligence. 
  • Hip 68: War Front x Meridiana, by Lomitas: By popular sire War Front comes this colt out of German-bred Meridiana, winner of the Italian Oaks in 2003. She has since produced four winners of her five to race including multiple stakes winner and G2-placed Chamois. 
  • Hip 86: Fastnet Rock x Misty For Me, by Galileo: Australian star stallion Fastnet Rock meets Irish 1000 Guineas winner Misty For Me (a full sister to stakes placed Twirl) in what combines to make a superstar pedigree, highlighted by a reverse of the successful Galileo/Danehill cross. 
  • Hip 105: Bernardini x Mushka, Empire Maker: This well-bred Bernardini filly is out of multiple graded stakes winner and 2009 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic runner-up Mushka.
  • Hip 108: Smart Strike x My Miss Storm Cat, by Sea of Secrets: Colt is a full brother to Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old filly My Miss Aurelia, who won her first six starts (three of which were G1s), including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Dam My Miss Storm Cat has produced two winners from three to race. 
  • Hip 118: City Zip x No Dress Code, by Distorted Humor: A full brother to multiple graded stakes winner Reneesgotzip.
  • Hip 143: Tapit x Peeping Fawn, Danehill: Peeping Fawn, European Champion Three-Year-Old filly and half sister to Group 1 winner Thewayyouare, meets top American sire Tapit in a blockbuster mating. Peeping Fawn has has two to race, both of whom were winners, including Sir John Hawkins, who finished third behind War Command in last year's Coventry.
  • Hip 160: Tapit x Pretty 'n Smart, by Beau Genius: Graded staked placed Pretty 'n Smart has been a productive broodmare having produced six winner from as many to race. By top American sire Tapit, this colt is a half sibling to multiple graded stakes winner Heart Ashley and popular undefeated stakes winner Indianapolis.
  • Hip 184: Galileo x Ramruma by Diesis: The successful Galileo/Sharpen Up line cross that gave us St. Leger winner Sixties Icon is featured here in a filly out of Oaks winner and European Champion Three-Year-Old filly Ramruma. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Down to the Wire: Super Derby + Weekend Quick Picks

This week on Down to the Wire we discussed the Super Derby, Iroquois Stakes, Pocahontas Stakes, and the Dueling Grounds Derby, all of which feature competitive fields. 

Picks for Saturday, August 6, 2014:

--Kentucky Downs Race 9: Dueling Grounds Derby -- #2 Can'thelpbelieving (M/L 9/2)
Son of Duke of Marmalade has ran in both of the three-year-old turf races that I've marked as key races and has improved by leaps and bounds in that time span. He's one who wants the distance in a race where stamina looks to be the overriding factor. 

--Monmouth Race 7: Jersey Girl Handicap -- #4 Sweet Henrietta (M/L 6/1)
Won her first time going a mile and she'll stretch out a touch further here. She should appreciate the stretchout, does her best running late, and a likely quick early pace only further helps her case.

--Arlington Race 8: G3 Arlington Washington Futurity -- #8 Mr. Lightning Boy (M/L 15/1)
Came from off the pace to win on debut before never really looking comfortable when stretching out on the dirt in his second start. The slight cutback and return to synthetic should help, as will the addition of blinkers for a barn that is sharp with this type. 

-- Los Alamitos Race 8: Los Alamitos Mile Stakes -- #8 Sky Kingdom (M/L 5/1)
Won in first asking off a 307 day layoff going slightly further locally in July before chasing Irish Surf around a biased Del Mar synthetic surface. Espinoza hops off to ride favorite Masochistic, but third start off the layoff, I like this guy to sit a nice stalking trip behind what could be plenty of speed out front early.