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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Another Marquee Day at the Spa

My first live Travers was in 2005, when Todd Pletcher's Flower Alley (inset) beat the Boss' Bellamy Road and my favorite horse of 2005, Roman Ruler, who rounded out the trifecta. Flower Alley now stands at Three Chimneys. The Hopeful was also run on that day (now run on the last Sunday of the meet) and First Samurai went out and beat Henny Hughes, who ended up having a pretty decent career as a sprinter, neither went on through the Derby trail. It was the day that really turned me into a huge racing fan. I hit my first pick-four which included Flower Alley, First Samurai, Leroidesnimux (BRZ- in the Fourstardave) and the only Spa appearance of the great sprinter Lost in the Fog who won the King's Bishop handily. Looking back on it we saw some true champions that day, and it was definitely the day I became hooked on the sport. Great memories.

After taking a couple days off to enjoy this beautiful WNY weather (my 3 wood is back in form) it's back to the actual Form to see what we have cooking on Travers Day, circa 2008. Ace handicapper JB has commented on his in-depth thoughts on the race and likes Harlem Rocker, as does Kevin over at The Aspiring Horse Player. Power Cap likes Mambo in Seattle as his Play of the Day, as does the DRF's Dave Litfin. The HR Maven likes the fact that Tyler Baze made the cross country trip for one mount, the lovable Tres Borrachos. The Puma has been uncharacteristically quiet maybe we'll hear from him later. John DaSilva of the NY Post and Steve Crist of the DRF both like Pyro. The race is basically wide open and has a tremendous amount of opportunity for value. It's going to be one of those races that you'll have to keep an eye on the tote board to see if any of these horses creeps up on the board. Five of the last seven winners have had Beyers in excess of 110 for this race. The last three also won the Jim Dandy, Flower Alley (110 -Travers, 112 Dandy), Bernardini (116 -T, 114 - JD) and Street Sense (108 - T, 105 - JD). Here's where the Saratoga Resident would say "Beyer Smeyer." Macho Again, looking to make it four in a row for the Dandy/Travers double, had a 102 in the Dandy, Pyro a 101. The Three Drunks had a 101 and Colonel John a 99 in the Swaps, also at the 1 1/8 distance. As the Travers stretches out to a mile and a quarter, this should favor the closers. I'm not going out on a line again on Tale of Ekati (which means he will win), but I think Pyro, Colonel John and Macho Again will round out my trifecta box. I don't think Mambo in Seattle has faced these caliber (i know i'm stretching it here) of horses, and my two Derby future horses Cool Coal Man and Court Vision, are just too slow. The Zito spoiler just might be Amped, who looks like he might like the extra distance, and could end up second or third and might be worth throwing in some exotic tickets. Of course, we'll be rooting for the Adena Springs' owned Rocker, who I have in my Toga handicapping tourney. Looks like a nice day so attendance should not be hindered by the weather.

Other the other stakes today I favor, Indyanne in the Victory Ride, Russell Baze also making the one mount trip from the left coast, might be worth a single in pick three and pick four plays. I like Operation Red Dawn in the Baruch (G2) with the red hot Ramon Dominguez up. In the King's Bishop, talented J be K may be tested by Lantana Mob (Dominguez again), Golden Spikes (who seems to be doing well in the sprints) and Larry Jones' Kodiak Kowboy, winner of the G2 Amsterdam, Gabe Saez trying to win his second straight Saturday Grade 1. I'm going with KK (coupled with Lantana Mob) for the upset.

Speaking of making the cross country trip for one mount, it was certainly worth it for Raf Bejarano yesterday, winning the thrilling Personal Ensign (G1) on champion filly Ginger Punch by a "snot bubble" over Lemon Drop Mom (who I told the Space Gal before the race, "if anyone will pull the upset that horse will"). That race is up there with the Alabama, for the race of the meet, so far. Maybe today will produce another thrilling finish at the wire.

1 Comment:

JB said...

Kudos to Eion Harty and Colonel John. Irish born Eion is a former assistant to Bob Baffert with deep ties to the Sheikh and his horses. Very little is then lost on his standout 3 year old, Colonel John, breaking through with a scintillating win in the Travers, sponsored by Shadwell Stable. I stuck with Harlem Rocker with Pyro and Mambo but CJ had a beautiful trip under G. Gomez to nose (maybe lip) out a very fresh Mambo. Great race. JBK disappointed but Shakis showed his old form circling the field, under a white hot Alan Garcia, to capture a very competitive Grade 2 Benard Baruch.

 

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