Last night's North America Cup was about as interesting as a race can get. Thinking Out Loud, the Bob McIntosh trained son of Ponder, exploded home off cover to get all the marbles. The very good Time To Roll was second, with Bob's other charge, Dapper Dude, rounding out the tri.
This morning it is pretty clear that last week's slugfest took something out of both Warrawee Needy and race favorite Sweet Lou. Needy was beaten by 26, and Sweet Lou seemed to have a bit of a head nod throughout the race, and he bravely hung on for fourth. Although both horses did not perform up to expectations, count them out at your own risk, in this players' opinion. They are both very talented, and although (especially in Needy's case) it may take some time to get back to form, I suspect they both will.
It just shows something we all know, and what handicappers go through each day to try and make a score: They are not machines.
In other action, the freshest and soundest looking horses did the job. Check Me Out is no Snow White (and I hope those comparisons end soon) but she proved she has still got it. She marched first over in slower fractions (an advantage for the first up horse) and she held off a fast closing Maven. I thought Yannick was going to get her (I bet him!) but he fell just short. Both fillies were really good and it portends a nice year for them both, and hopefully some good battles. Yesterday I was sure Maven was the better of the two, today I am more 50/50.
In the Goodtimes Final, the chalk faded into obscurity. Beer Summit, off a nice speed try in his last was good and he took home the prize. All the big colts seemed to be flat, other than the very good Guccio. I don't think we're going to make too many Hambo predictions off that race, and we can perhaps keep in mind it is mainly a prep for the big one in August. Honestly, I am not sure Woodbine should keep that race as is (and they probably won't since slots will end next year).
We Will See won the Gold Cup, finally showing some flash that we expect of him. Perhaps he needed to get some fast miles under him before letting loose, because in his first three he hung like a chandelier near the wire. Usually that is a sign of something not quite right. I don't think so in this case, however and the older pacers better watch out. Early season star Golden Receiver threw in another bad one, and that makes two in a row. I wonder what's bugging him.
American Jewel was spectacular, winning in 148.3. There's really not much else you can say about that. She and her stablemate are very good horses, and they will light up the toteboard with their numbers quite a bit this year, I think.
Last night's handle was short of $3M and I did notice more space on the tarmac. No matter how you slice it, that's disappointing. The field was great and the weather was too.
Enjoy your Sunday everyone.
Ps: Thanks for the congrats on our HRU North America Cup analysis. I wish $133 exactas were that easy all the time :)
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