Friday, February 27, 2015

Down to the Wire + Australia Plays

This week on Down to the Wire, we previewed the Swale and Palm Beach Stakes for three-year-olds at Gulfstream Park in addition to the Santa Ysabel Stakes for three-year-old fillies at Santa Anita. The potential for rain is in the forecast for both racetracks, but the picks and analysis for the Palm Beach in particular were done assuming the race stays on the turf. Thanks for watching and best of luck with your plays this weekend. 


Warwick Farm Race 2: #5 Exosphere (best bet) and exacta 5 / 1 
Few youngsters have visually impressed the way Exosphere did when last seen easily winning at Kembla Grange. He's one of many promising Godolphin juveniles and a repeat of that last performance would have him tough to beat here. We'll play him to win and over Odyssey Moon, who disappointed in his most recent start after a solid win at Randwick. The Snitzel colt may have in fact needed the run, however, after a short break and a bounce back to form could have him add a bit of value underneath in the exacta. 

Warwick Farm Race 4: #11 Supara (win/show)
First Seal returns here after an impressive first-up run in which she finished second and figures to be tough to beat second up over 1400m. At what will likely be a bigger price, however, Supara appeals having taken quite a bit of money last time out and although she didn't do much there, she was taken back there and will instead be ridden up near the pace this time. At what should be a bigger price, I'm willing to see if she returns to form second up and with the tactics change. 

Warwick Farm Race 6: #14 Silent Achiever 
After a strong run first-up, Silent Achiever shows up here and as a mare that typically progresses in her second-up runs, she figures to go well. In four tries at this distance, she's won twice and finished third once and another honest effort here could see her finishing first. 

Caulfield Race 6: #9 Akzar
Akzar has been consistent without winning over distances that for the most part have been too short for him and after again finishing well over 1600m, this step up in trip should only help his cause. He's drawn well and will have a fitness edge over Melbourne Cup winner and likely favorite Protectionist

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Down to the Wire: El Camino Real + Weekend International Picks

This week, there are two Kentucky Derby preps, but with the Southwest Stakes entries not yet released as of out taping, we only covered one of them -- the El Camino Real on this week's video, along with the G2 Santa Maria at Santa Anita and the Phoenix Gold Cup H. at Turf Paradise. In addition to those picks and analysis, below are my picks for this weekend's racing in Australia and Hong Kong. 


*updated with scratches*

Caulfield R5: #2 Lidari and 2 / 3,4
Lidari enters here in what will be his first race since running in the Melbourne Cup. He showed his class in the spring and he typically fires well fresh, having won three of his six first-up runs. Over this distance, he's also won once and finished in the top three in three of his five starts, as well. Others with placing chances look to be Jacquinot Bay, who has won three in a row (all over 1600m) and the ever consistent Red Excitement, who is 2-for-2 over 1600m. 

*Red Excitement scratched, so we'll replace underneath with Big Memory, who although this will be a bit on the sharp side for distance-wise, he should relish the ground more than many of these. Trialed well enough for a horse who's twice placed in four first-up appearances. 

Caulfield R8: #10 Star Rolling win/show 
Star Rolling was a winner over course and distance when first up last August and although that was his only first-up win in three starts, his good draw merits him consideration at a big price. He tailed off as his spring campaign went on, but those runs were over further distances, as well. 

Randwick R5: #9 Slightly Sweet win/show
She may not have the experience of some of these fillies, but Slightly Sweet has impressed visually in both of her wins to date (has made three starts). This is a bit of a litmus test as she's certainly stepping up in class, but at what will likely be a big price, we're willing to see if she belongs in this group and even moreso coming off of a solid trial at Warwick Farm. 


Sha Tin R5: #1 Sunny Ying
He has yet to win this year, but Sunny Ying has gone against tougher a few times this season and back in Class 2 company, he looks to have as good a chance as any to hit the line first given he's drawn low and figures to go forward in a race devoid of much early speed on paper. Add in that this course has a short run to the first turn and his draw becomes even more favorable in this spot. 

Sha Tin R7: #2 Aerovelocity (Best)
He's crucially drawn low and figures to go forward alongside the rail -- a position where he does his best running. His presence along with the low draw also should force chief rival Peniaphobia to go forward and although he's capable from that position, he's much better when held up early. 

Sha Tin R8: #7 Travel Renyi
Travel Renyi has been stuck in behind slower paces since arriving in Hong Kong and yet he's still ran on well each time. The step up in trip along with additional pace presences (that is if Dr Good Habit can get out of the gates well) this time around should offer prime conditions to go close. 

Sha Tin R9: #7 Obliterator 
Ran on well in his only local race to date despite being well back off of a slow pace and with both Contentment and Twin Delight in this field, he should get better than that sort of a tempo this time around. The step up in trip should also suit him moreso than some of the others. 

Sha Tin R10: #4 Arpinati 
Been stuck in behind a few slow paces this season and yet has still always gone close. With three seconds in five local starts, he's been close to breaking through with that first win a few times and perhaps here, back to a handicap and where he should be able to get first run on the main speeds, will allow him to get over the hump.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Down to the Wire + Weekend Picks

This week on Down to the Wire we discussed the Withers and Robert B Lewis, both of which are Kentucky Derby preps, as well as, the Donn Handicap for older horses at Gulfstream Park. While we see the favorites looking good bets in both of the three-year-old races, we're both against probable favorite Lea in the Donn. 

I also have my analysis and play for the X-Country pick four posted at Against the Number, if you're looking to get in on that action. 

Weekend Quick Picks:


Rosehill (AUS A) Race 4 -- #1 Odyssey Moon
Snitzel colt out of the Arch mare Run To The Moon caught the eye in a big way when winning his debut and he looks to have more upside than the others he'll face here. This colt looks to be on the path to bigger and better things with this run simply being a stepping stone along the way. 

Rosehill (AUS A) Race 5 -- #3 Delectation
Ran on well despite being short of room late when second to Brazen Beau in a Group 1 at Flemington last out. Proven class with rock solid form and has trialed forwardly as of late having won a strong trial that included the likes of Scissor Kick and Panzer Division and Randwick last month. 

Rosehill (AUS A) Race 6 -- #6 Plucky Belle 
Six-year-old mare hasn't raced since June, but her most recent form is competitive in this level. Likely favorite Catkins will be tough to beat, as she always goes well fresh, but Plucky Belle has had her moments first-up and her most recent trial over Neena Rock was nice and easy, in which she traveled well on the lead throughout. 

Rosehill (AUS A) Race 8 -- #12 Spacecraft (win/show)
Looks lone speed at a big price in a field where a few of the classier horses are first up and/or finished off their spring campaigns poorly. Track conditions and distance should suit for what should be a very fit horse having not having had a recent break. 

Sha Tin Race 7 -- #7 Bubble Chic win/show + 7-8-10 quinella
Bubble Chic enters here with a bit of muddied up form, but given he was most recently entered in races that were too far for him and before that he was taken back, which is not a tactic with which he's performed well. Drawn outside here, he should go forward once again and back over his preferred 1800m, he could get a slipstream run just in behind Khaya, who's connections have already stated will try to lead at a solid tempo given his light weight. Bubble Chic recently looked really well despite being restrained into last in a trial and his recent trackwork stood out. Helene Super Star, formerly Lines of Battle who ran in the Kentucky Derby, enters here in solid form and is another who figures to sit just off Khaya (if he can break well, which can be an issue for him). 

Sha Tin Race 8 -- #1 Ishvara (best bet)
Consistent runner looks to not only have this field's measure despite carrying top weight, but he's drawn well and the race shape also looks to be in his favor. Simply too good for these. 

Sha Tin Race 9 -- #13 Pikachu + 13 / 2,7,10
Pikachu has really come into his own in recent months and carrying a light weight here, he looks to get a nice run in behind the main speeds. Precision King enters in good form and figures to go forward, but will be pressured by the likes of Wonderful Moments who should soften him up and I'm not sure the switch from Happy Valley back to Sha Tin necessarily suits as far as his win chances are concerned. Trump is interesting as a longshot, as he's returning back to 1400m, over which he's ran well previously and he should be well placed forwardly in behind the two main speeds.