Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Whirlwind Saturday

Good Sunday morning racing fans.

It's snowing here. Yes, snowing. Winter is not going to end until next winter, I am sure of it.

Yesterday's Kentucky Derby preps are in the books. Here are a few thoughts from a handicapping person.

 > Both preps were glacial, but you don't need fast times to generate excitement, in my opinion anyway. Both were entertaining affairs, and presented betting opportunities.

> If you have a horse coming into the Derby I am not sure you're happier than Ken McPeek. Java's War had one prep on dirt, where he closed nicely, and one on poly where he did the same. Discount the performance yesterday all you want by the teletimer, but he passed every horse, and he did not get a 46.2 half or anything either. I suspect what one might be worried about at the Derby is his break in a 20 horse field, as well as the fact the Churchill oval might be a runway like it was last year. Regardless, if you like to bet a horse who looks like he has a Derby pedigree who can run all day, who looks 100% sound and ready, that's your horse.

> Todd Pletchers 2 for 49 triple crown race record is well documented, but there are a couple of nuances this year to notice. Overanalyze, who won the Arkansas Derby going away has not had a "Perfect Pletcher Prep" season like most of his 3 year olds do - most of whom race in the Derby about as slow as a fat man in flip flops. Overanalyze comes in just like Super Saver did, which represents Pletcher's only Derby win. Also, Palice Malice who got mauled in New Orleans does not have "PPP" either. He raced well yesterday and is coming into the Derby with a different foundation. If you want to fade "PPP" - like a lot of sharp bettors have over the years - with Revolutionary and Verrazano, there are reasons to like the other Pletcher's, in my opinion.

> It's important to pay attention to how ready a colt is, and maybe you can make some hay. Frac Daddy had a quarter crack after the Holy Bull, and was probably unable to be trained much for his next effort. Yesterday, with some sort of soundness and fitness he fired an excellent shot in the Arkansas Derby, racing very wide throughout, coming a nice second.

> Fade the flash. Flashy wins, which are made look better by the competition, are usually a good fade. Rydilluc raced okay I thought, but wow, 7-2, off a perfect set up win, on a different surface from post 13?

> We thought Fort Larned's riderless escapade in Florida was achieved by racing like a scared cat. Racing like a scared cat can produce fast times, but they also can present a big bounce. I think we saw that yesterday in the Oaklawn Handicap. The next uber-fade we might have to look at is Dreaming of Julia, in my opinion.

> I've bet thousands upon thousands of races and can recite hundreds of bad beats, but I could never ever say "I was leading at the top of the lane, took a right turn, then a left turn, then a right turn around the starting gate and lost by a nose". Fast forward to the 3/4's for this stupendously bad beat.  

> If you watched the Arkansas Derby and said "oh, oh" when I did after Baffert's horse pulled up, apparently he's okay. But it was reported by Baffert on twitter and no one else that I saw. Gosh it looked bad.

Have a nice Sunday everyone and I hope the races treated you well yesterday.

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