In 2006, the Kentucky Derby (KD) sold its soul to the Colonel and officially became known as the KD presented by Yum! Brands. Stadiums across the land (other than Buffalo because our owner has a huge ego) have sold the naming rights to grab the almighty dollar. It brings up the question if the Breedrs Cup Classic will now be Powered by the US Government, doesn't it? Anyways I thought I'd have some fun with the four races of the day in the DRF Public Handicapper tournament, where Val and I are locked in a tumultouous struggle at a whopping minus $3.80 with 2 winners of 8 races. Since we learned Axel Foley was running in the CashCall Futurity we decided to re-sponsor today's races based on some of the horses running and a little pop culture.
Race 1: Woodchopper Stakes presented by the Wedding Crashers
This $60K non-graded stakes being run over a mile on the turf at the Fair Grounds (Race 8)features the turf deut of Macho Again (3-1ML), winner fo the Jim Dandy (G2) over the summer at the Spa and last seen in September finishing behind My Pal Charlie in the Super Derby. He may be chasing a different Charlie this time as Myboycharlie is the morning line favorite at 5/2, and won at this distance earlier this month at the FG with Theriot in the irons. However, I'm not passing on Julien Leparoux two weeks in a row, as he jumps on Evade (note: previously ridden by Theriot), who has hit the board in all 8 of his career races for trainer Albert Stall who's having a solid meet thus far. So I'm going with Evade holding off a late charge from Macho Again in the Chopper.
DRF contest selection: Evade
Runnerup: Macho Again
Since the race has such a Charlie (myboy, my pal) theme....it reminded me of my boy Chazz....(warning: some graphic language)
Race 2: Sugar Bowl Stakes sponsored by Beer Pong (the movie)
The second race keeps us right at the Fair Grounds for a $60K non-graded stakes sprint over 6 furlongs (Race 9) for two year olds. I have bitter memories of the 1987 Sugar Bowl, where coach Pat "Tie" Dye of Auburn ordered a last minute field goal to tie my Syracuse Orangemen and halt their undefeated, untied season, resulting in a 10-10 kiss your sister affair. Ugh. Back to the race at hand, which features the one and only, Beer Pong. The Pong by Drewman (out of Diablo's Madam, grandsire Unbridled) has won back to back races at Presque Isle and Churchill Downs and runs for owner Make A Hole Racing for trainer Thomas Amoss. Amoss is hitting them at 30% at the FG so far and has a 23% win rate after a layoff and 26% with shippers. I'm all over the Pong. Steve A sends out Merkel with the usual Shaun Bridgmohan up, who comes out of a Grade 3 race where he finished 4th, these appear to be the top two in this one, although for a longshot play, I like Valid Stripes a Texas bred who shows some solid works and looks to be the speed in the race.
DRF contest selection: Beer Pong
Show: Valid Stripes
No introduction needed for our sponsor:
Beer Pong the Movie Trailer - watch more funny videos
Race 3: CashCall Futurity sponsored by Beverly Hills Cop
Our third contest race features the aforementioned Axel Foley (12-1 ML), he of Beverly Hills Cop fame and featured in an earlier DYK post this week. Only fitting he is running at Hollywood Park in Race 8 a Grade I route at 1 1/16 miles. This race was won by Into Mischief last year, with Colonel John the runnerup, so it is a nice preview as to what may be to come as the Derby prep races start to heat up. Of course, this race was renamed the Cash Call in 2007, and previously just known as the Hollywood Futurity, the first $1M 2yo race ever held. It is now a $750K race for 2yos. This race is loaded with promising colts. First, Bob Baffert sends out (9/2 ML) Pioneerof the Nile (did they forget a space?) fifth place finisher in the Breeders Cup Juvie, only about 3 lengths behind the victorious Midshipman. Well known and expensive colt Bittel Road, tackles the cushion track for the first time, as his five career races (including the BC juvie turf) have all been on the lawn. Pletch has a 22% hit rate on the Turf to Synth angle and he must be respected, as well as a 27% beaten favorite stat. For longer prices I prefer Chocolate Candy (hey it's Xmas and a nice hunch play) who is coming off back to back wins (one in the $100K Real Quiet Stakes). Two others I have my eye on are Azul Leon and Ventana who ran 2-3 in the Hollywood Prevue (G3) a couple weeks ago.
DRF contest play: Pioneerof the Nile
Runnerup: Chocolate Candy
Show: Bittel Road
Race 4: Gold Rush Stakes presented by Chris Brown (the rap artist)
To be run over the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields, this $75K non-graded stakes at a mile for 2 year olds in Northern California could have easily featured Chris Berman for the favorite Backbackbackgone, but all I could find was a profanity-laced rant (off camera) that was not suitable for our viewing audience. So I chose a rapper instead, hell yeah. Why? Because the horse, Run it is racing for Mercedes Stables LLC (home of Rock Hard Ten, Sinister Minister and Seattle Smooth). We also have Cut the Check, a Sky Mesa colt who has finished ITM in all three career races for trainer Walther Solis and should lock into a speed duel with Backbackbackgone. That's why I'm going with Run it in this one, as I think those two will burn it out and Kyle Kaenel will have Run it closing hard to steal this one at 6-1 or higher. Other potential closers are African Diamond or Skimasco.
DRF contest selection: Run it
Show: African Diamond
So let's Run it in the nightcap!