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Friday, April 30, 2010

Oakey Dokey Smokey

It's finally here....Oaks Day and the anticipation to get this weekend started is over. We'll be spending the early afternoon with handicapper extraordinaire GG down at the Wehrle OTB (a time honored tradition unlike any other) to have some lunch and play the ponies and catch Rachel's payback race. You know what they say about payback. Look out, little Z, she's a'comin.

I took a look at the Oaks card last evening and while I think Blind Luck is the creme de le creme, I think there are three horses that I'll be boxing in a trifecta with her: It's Tea Time, coming off a game effort in the Ashland at Keeneland; Tidal Pool with Mr. Churchill (Borel) in the irons after two nice Beyers; and Amen Hallelujah, a horse I've been following closely who was last beaten by Devil May Care at GP, who will be in gate 11 in the big one on Saturday. The other horse that scares me in here and if I play a $0.50'er I'll throw her in underneath in the 3rd spot is Champagne d'Oro, a Medaglia d'Oro who has a couple solid outings to her credit and looks to be maturing for trainer Eric Guillot.

As promised we have a cast of characters (under their aliases) agreed to contribute their Derby thoughts to this post and we'll give the boys (and Gal) their due as loyal readers to this blog.....

First up, the infamous JB, who you can find under the trees at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes day, 'cappin away with his boys and picking winners like no other...

Geno: Thanks for the invitation to participate. I must admit I haven't spent a ton of time preparing for this year's race. Here are my thoughts: (1) Look at the smaller horses in the field. Small hoofs and a light frame are a deadly combination over a slick Churchill surface (see Mine that Bird). (2) Watch the races earlier in the day. If the rail is the fastest part of the track (and it usually is at a soggy Churchill) look closely at post positions and for regular Churchill riders to take advantage of it. (3) Look for horses washed out in the paddock or post parade. Some horses really feel the pressure of the day. (4) Examine each horses last workout at Churchill Downs. If a horse is bred for the distance and lights up the Mike Welsch's watch -- watch out. (5) Look for jockey's who've ridden their horse on a regular basis.

Horses: Lookin at Lucky - most likely to hit the board in a wide open race. Baffert must be respected. Awesome Act - jockey due for a breakthrough performance. Should have plenty of pace to run into. Noble's Promise - Almost took down Lucky in Arkansas. Throw out last race. Dublin - Very consistent. Everything points to a career performance. Super Saver - This horse reminds me of Bluegrass Cat who ran second to Barbaro at 31-1. Discreetly Mine - Decent 2yo form. Just a hunch.

Next up is my boy, Wack, hailing from Lancaster, NY and as good a 'capper as they come. You may remember, Wack asked me a year ago today about the wet Tomlinson numbers in this blog and it has become part of his regular he goes....

Gotta love when JB prefaces his take with "I must admit I haven't spent a ton of time preparing for this year's race. Here are my thoughts," and then writes a 2 paragraph blog that was better than most articles I've read (except the always top notch shit on My thoughts are as usual, much simpler. I'm betting that a 0:45 and change opening half-mile burns up most of the speedballs, i.e. Sidney's Candy, Line of David, Conveyance. To a lesser degree American Lion and Discreetly Mine. Also included in this pack should be horses like Jackson Bend and Paddy O'Prado. With that said, my Derby exacta, will be Ice Box closing from waaay back and Super Saver, who has the pedigree to be close enough to the early lead and still hang at the wire. If I box a tri, I'm still not including Lucky from the rail or Sidney's Candy - just a hunch. Probably would include Awesome Act to be ITM.

We'll give Crazy Joe Davoli the spotlight next, hailing from smallBany and part of the Obviously NY Stables group who own the impressive Canadian Ballet and Mother Russia racehorses. Crazy Joe says....

Derby bombs away with the two favorites drawing horrible post positions. I'll take Baffert speed any day on any ticket so it's Conveyance with improving stalkers Super Saver and Awesome Act. IRS Ticket!!!!!

Next up is another Capital District hometown boy, Jazzy Jeff, a big fan of ONY and a cool fellah to hang with at the track and Siro's afterwards....cashes big tickets...and is calling for the three-peat!

Here goes - 3 entries: (1) American Lion - Good for the distance. Like the bullet this week for readiness. They have worked him in good company all year. This horse seems well trained for a variety of pace outcomes. In the end, I like the Musket Man analogies, not just coming out of the Illinois Derby, but in other ways he and his connections seem to mirror the way that horse came in last year and performed so brilliantly in the Triple Crown Series. (2) Awesome Act - I get a sense of navigating toward this spot. Willing to throw out the Wood as slow and take a disproportionate degree of encouragement out of a faster Gotham, where he handled traffic so well (key for this 20 horse pile-up) -- and, I think the 98 could become a 106 and that might be all it takes. Something tells me this guy might have the best career of them all. (3) Super Saver - I could go on about value, and that he ran so strong in November at Churchill, blah, blah, blah. But, the reality is I settle on this colt for Jockey reasons, almost alone. Few seem to have the resolve, gambler's guts, overall fortitude and plain calmness to ride tight on the corners and save ground in this race the way that Calvin does it, and this makes him a contender in the Derby regardless of mount. I don't know if the Red Sea will part for Bo-"Rail" the way it did when he was up on Street Sense, or if he is on a ride that will charge like the Bird did from last to first in the stretch last year. But, I think he just might make a run at 3 in a row if there is any speed whatsoever in the first 6 furlongs.

My longtime pal, Dr. No, from the B-lo is on the clock next, he has one of the smoothest golf swings around and has been known to capture a W-2G more frequently than not...Dr. No is still hoping trainer James Bond will someday get a horse into the Derby...

In the Derby...... Lookin at Lucky looks so good. I will play one saver with Super Saver. Ice Box fills out my tri. Thanks again and good luck.

My beloved Space Gal (who has a killer RttR stable) didn't want to be left out so she is going to put her two dimes in (she's much more expensive than two cents).....but she won't give us any analysis other than verbal, so I took down this interview with her during a commercial...

I just used "speed scores, routers, jockeys and trainers." The Smith and Talamo selections are solely based on the show, Jockeys. Plus I've learned whenever I pick against my favorite jockeys, I lose. And right now, I'm too busy watching the Housewives to write my own blurb for your ridiculous blog. 1. Sidney's Candy 2. Devil May Care 3. Paddy O'Prado 4. Jackson Bend

Sending in his annual Derby email is GG (who I'll spend a few hours with today in the bar at the Wehrle OTB) and I see he's back to his 2005 trifecta strategy (he boxed Giacomo and Afleet Alex and caught the 71-1 Closing Argument with the ALL button). I still have the email that he sent me before the 05 Derby that says "save this email for evidence!" GG shares his thoughts with us.....

Geno, GG with my opinion on The Kentucky Derby. What a difference it makes seeing this race on paper. The first thing I like to do in the derby is to cut the race from a 20 horse field by eliminating horses that in my opinion can't hit the board. This includes Stately Victor6, Deans Kitten8, Paddy10, Devil11, Mission14, Backtalk18 and Homeboy19. The race has come up with a ton of speed and I think the only one you can keep in is Super Saver4 and that is only because I think Borel will try to keep him off the pace and come up the rail with his typical move. I am taking out all other speed because this looks like a battle that none of them can withstand. This includes Line Of David5, American Lion7, Conveyance12, Discreetly15, Sidney's Candy20. I now have an eight horse field which makes things a little more manageable. Lookin at Lucky1 looks good, but this is no day to play the favorite and the rail will hurt. If you like him, how can you not use Noble's Promise3, as he runs with him every time and Martinez rides him quite well. This crowd will not bet Willie so he will be a price. Jackson Bend13 is 9 for 9 hitting the board and I like that he is a closer. Ice Box2 is a closer and had a great work in the slop and I really like Dublin17 to hit the board. That leaves Awesome Act16 and Make Music9 who I will only use in 2nd and 3rd. I dont think they can win, but Rosario can hit board on 9 and he is quite capable. Ok, so what to do with it? I have an 8 horse field that I will play tris with. I will box Lookin at Lucky1 and Dublin17 with 2, 3, 4,9, 13, 16. I might do the same with Noble's Promise3 and box him with Dublin and Lucky with these horses. These are my top 3. Good Luck. The funny thing this year as that the name players don't have many choices. Did you notice that the only name horses this year are Sidney, David, Dean and Kris? ~GG

The Space Bro, never one to lecture on any topic gave us this to ponder...

The 136th Run for the Roses that is sponsored by YUM Brands! So why not Sidney’s Candy? The Craig Family’s favorite colt will start from the outside and bring home the sweet victory! Followed closely by one of the four Pletcher entries, the filly Devil May Care in 2nd. I have a feeling Lookin at Lucky will get squeezed early and make a late charge for 3rd.

That's it for now....if I receive something from the Puma and the Saratoga Resident, we'll update this bad boy....thanks all for reading and participating....feel free to throw in a comment. Whodoyoulike?



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