Friday, March 8, 2019

The Nomination Is In: The Hillsborough G2 at Tampa Bay Downs




Hawksmoor (Ire)  Photo by SV Photography 
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk Blog, now in our 11th year of handicapping and bet  construction for people who never asked for it.  I'd like to thank the good people of The Thorofan and the Handicappers Corner for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts with you today about the Grade 2 Hillsborough, a route of grass for four year old and up Fillies and Mares at Tampa Bay Downs.

It's important to bring consistency to your handicapping methods if you want to achieve consistent results.  I like to start any handicap by checking the weather and the expected track conditions prior to starting to analyze the field.  The weather has been wet and the races were off the track on Wednesday but things look dry since Thursday and you can check here for track conditions but I'm going to assume if its not firm its close to firm.

Lets get after the review of this field.



Sometimes its hard to find good video at Youtube for these sort of runners. That's not an offense to Grade 3 Filly and Mare runners, its just a reality that fewer and fewer of us care enough to record and post.  You can find very good video at a site like Twinspires and their Twinspires TV.  When video is lacking, and even when it's not, reviewing race charts to supplement the Past Performances is always a useful endevour. Speaking of endevours, the  Grade 3 Endevour at Tampa Bay Downs contested  at 1/16 of a mile less grass and "kinda firm" like I expect Saturday will be is a good place to start.  Exiting that race from 9 February are Hawksmoor who won by rating, a new trick for an old girl, Viva Vegas, Streetwithnoname, Get Explicit and Goodyearforroses (Ire), while the other key race to study is the Grade 3 Suwannee River from GP on 9 February as well in which my chalk Rymska (Fr) came up Place but short as the heavily bet favorite that day and Peach of a Gal over performed it's much bigger price to get up for Show.

I like to use DRF PDF Race Charts.  For the older races, just select the track you want and manipulate the web address to get to the date you want.


Just change that date at the end to 20190209 and hit enter and away you go.



TAM 9 February Race 10:  1 1/16 Firm Turf; G3 Endevour F and M 4 YO and Up



The interesting thing about this race is clearly at 6 YO and racing for the last time before breeding to Kitten's Joy, Hawksmoor rated and rallied off a fast pace of :23, 47 1/5, 1:11....

I like Viva Vegas exiting as well and late turns of foot by Goodyearfortheroses (Fr) and Streetwithnoname shouldn't be ignored.

GP 9 February 2019 Race 6:  1 1/8 Firm Turf;  G3 Suwannee River F and M  4 YO and Up.



This is a second off a 45-180 day layoff for Rymska (Fr) who failed as the heavily bet favorite to win in first start since 2 December.   Trainer Chad Brown's stats are hard to put in perspective because they are so gaudy, but he's 26% winner off these layoffs, a 29% Turf winner, a 29% route winner and 23% Graded Stakes Winner.  No one else is close in this field with those figures.  4 YO Peach of a Gal set high career Beyer in that race which maybe signals a step forward but I need to see a bit more from the daughter of Curlin trained by Graham Motion.  

The pace scenario is a bit of a mystery to me.  The early speed is Hawksmoor, with a Timeform early 112 and no one else is greater than 80.  I'm guessing that the rating shown in the last race is abandoned and she is sent to the front.  The extra distance is not something she has done well with, a lifetime winless in 4 tries with 2 show finishes.  I think Conditioner Delacour sends her to the front and plays catch me if you can.  Perhaps that's suicide because there is alot of late speed here.  So maybe his instructions are to Bravo to rate and stay close Rymska (Fr), but is that a good plan either?

My handicap assumes the latter, that she reverts back to what she's done for 23 starts in which she has 10 Place and Show finishes to go with her 6 wins (1 win in last 7) and that is to go to the front and carry for as long as possible.   I think she does get caught and I can see any of the 7-3-8 catching her and even possibly 10-9.

I'm building exactas without her in them and that's how I'm approaching, with something like this:

$2 Exacta:  7-3-8-10-9 box for $10.  I'm not sure I don't even go more narrow and bet $2 7 over 8-10 for $4 and call it a day.  I'll be watching the toteboard and the willpay and I will unemotionally bet this one for low risk, ok reward.

Have fun with it friends, Turk Out!


Friday, February 22, 2019

The Nomination Is In: The Grade 3 Buena Vista at Santa Anita

Vasilika- Photo: San Diego Union Tribune
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk, now in our 11th season of providing horse talk and handicapping to people who never asked for it.  I'd like to thank the Thorofan for awaking me from my handicappers holiday and inviting me to write for their Handicapper's Corner

Life to me is always about striking a balance.  I try to strike a balance in my handicapping by taking a break from Breeders' Cup until right about now.  I know the powers that be want me to be excited about The Pegasus World Cup, blah blah blah, but I'm not, it's more important to me to put my red gel pen down and relax my brain. 

I'm not much of a Triple Crown handicapper either.  Over the last several years I've really honed in on what I do well.  I keep a database that goes back well over a decade and its always been clear to me my ROI is the best with 4 YO or Greater, Turf, Good or Firm.  That works for me because I love the older horses, the ones not valued yet in the breeding shed, and I love the data that comes through the Past Performances and Race Charts on these animals.  Today's Buena Vista Grade 3 is in the sweet spot.  That beast pictured above is my heavy chalk, Vasilika.  She is just the sort of Mare that makes me love this sport, a survivor, a competitor, a former claimer turned Grade 1 winner.  Great stuff. 

Let's get after it!  The weather looks to be dry today and tomorrow.  The turf is currently listed as good with rail at 20 feet but I'm sure its trending towards firm.

If the past is prologue, which the recent past usually is in horse racing, let's start with same distance, good turf, same track and review what we have here. 

21 January 2019  SA 1 Mile Turf/Good:  Grade 3 Megahertz








I don't think you need to overthink and the system archetype (if your into Peter Senge speak) is simple:  Take Vasilika as heavy chalk and build Place -Show Tri's and Exacta's with value underneath her -OR- put her in Place and Show and Find major value beating her.  I'm not completely sure what I'm doing yet, but those are my game plans when faced with this scenario and my results are typically very good with some massive takes when the heavy chalk stumbles and some good takes when so real value sneaks into Place and Show (or just exacta Place).   Get out of your head ye' beginners that every bet has to be the grand slam.  I often will take a race like this and put Vasilika on top and wheel through my 12-1 and greater Turk Fair Line runners on $2 exacta's.  You'll lose more than you win but the wins should be greater than the losses over time so long as your fair line odds setting is reasonably sound.  I wont waste much time talking about Vasilika, an absolute beast with great late turn of foot and no slouch early either.  50% winner over Turf.  8 wins in 9 SA turf starts.

To me the interesting runners are:

Fahan Mura, with conditioner V. Cerin, is 7 of 7 in the money with 6 wins at SA and 12 of 15 in the money at the distance.   I toss the Pegasus World Cup Turf outing if I'm optimistic.  Cerin's Stakes win percentage of 6% makes me keep things real here, but huge Timeform early speed fig of 125, how she carries will determine if she hangs on for Place-Fourth. 

Mike Smith, atop a Blame filly (oh the irony dear Z) Ms Bad Behavior has seen the best of Vasilika.  I tend to not think more opportunities will change outcomes.  This filly has 4 straight Place finishes, something that I also think is a red flag for winning chances.  12 of 14 lifetime in the money, 9 of 10 lifetime turf in the money and 5 of 5 distance in the money says she'll be heard.  Worst case scenario is a 9-2 exacta. 

Amandine at ML 8-1 and Zaffinah at ML 12-1 interest me.  Conditioner Mullins (23% stakes) turns Amandine (GB) back after weakening in the Megahertz.  The 4 YO has an underlying class and sometimes that jump from 3 to 4 unlocks stars from pretenders.  Zaffinah (Ire) is in same situation.  Trainer Carava is 25% 2nd off 45-180 but zero stakes wins in last rolling year. 

Elysea's World (Ire), ML Place at 4-1, is first time out for Trainer Baltas after leaving Chad Brown's barn.  The 6 YO has never won at the distance, racing at 1 mile only once, and has never won at SA, with a Place effort in December 2017.  I love the late turn of foot.   Easily could upset the apple cart Place to Exotic but I have a hard time picturing her catching the speed in front of her, which there will be many targets. 

Streak of Luck/10 is a pretty flat runner.  A nice bullet work of 5F at :59 3/5ths off a 1 Mile Turf win at SA in late January, albeit at a pedestrian Beyer of 82, signals good form. 

I'm not sure which way I'm going but a couple of ideas:

9 OVER 4-2-6-3 $2 Exacta for $8 OR 4-2-6-3-8 over 9 a $2 Exacta for $10. 

Have fun with it friends!

Turk out.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Breeders' Cup 2018 Handicapping Homework: The Breeders' Cup Turf Video Review

Breeders' Cup Turf; Photo Harry How/Getty Images

Welcome friends to the Turk and the Little Turk Blog.

The purpose of this post is to provide the last two and sometimes three races of each entrant in the G1 Breeders' Cup Turf. 

The goal one week out is just to get a feel for the runners and link the past performances to the visual handicapping.  I'll come back tomorrow and start adding my notes and observations for each race.  It's alot of effort that I'll only invest into 3, perhaps 4 races over the coming Breeders' Cup weekend.  Any other betting I do will be done using a tote board handicapping method, strictly taking some low risk/medium reward cracks at positive ROI.

The following are covered here:


  • Arlow 4 YO colt.  Sycamore, Kentucky Turf Cup. 
  • Channel Maker 4 YO gelding.  Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Sword Dancer, Bowling Green, Manhattan.
  • Crystal Ocean (GB) 4 YO colt.  Championship Stakes and September Stakes.
  • Enable (GB) 4 YO Mare.  Prix Arc de Triomphe and September Stakes.
  • Glorious Empire (Ire) 7 YO gelding.   Sword Dancer and Bowling Green.
  • Hi Happy (Arg) 6 YO Horse.  Knickerbocker, Sword Dancer, Bowling Green and Manhattan
  • Hunting Horn (Ire) 3 YO Colt.  Arc de Triomphe and Secretariat Stakes
  • Liam the Charmer 5 YO gelding.  John Henry Turf Championship
  • Magical (Ire) 3 YO Filly.  British Championship Stakes and Arc de Triomphe
  • Quarteto de Cordas (Brz) 4 YO colt. Mathias Machline.  
  • Roaring Lion 3 YO colt.  QE2 Stakes and Irish Championship Stakes
  • Robert Bruce (Chi) 4 YO Colt.  Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and Arlington Million
  • Sadler's Joy 5 YO horse.  Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Sword Dancer, Bowling Green, Manhattan.
  • Talismanic (GB) 5 YO Horse (2017 BC Turf Winner).  Arc de Triomphe and Prix Foy
  • Waldgeist (GB) 4 YO Colt.  Arc de Triomphe, Prix Foy, Prix Saint Cloud

Return back to my blog, The Turk and the Little Turk,  all week leading up to the Breeders' Cup for more content.



The Sycamore G3:  Kee.  Good Turf. 1 1/2 Miles.  18 October 2018




The Kentucky Turf Cup G3;  Kentucky Downs. Good Turf.  1 1/2 Miles.  8 Sept 2018




Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational G1. Belmont.  Soft Turf.  1 1/2 Miles.  29 September 2018




Sword Dancer G1: Saratoga.  Firm Turf. 1 1/2 Miles.  25 August 2018




September Stakes G3: Kempton (UK).  Firm Turf. 1 1/2 Miles RH.  8 September 2018



Knickerbocker G2;  Belmont. Good Turf.  1 1/8 Miles.  8 October 2018




The Bowling Green G2;  Saratoga.  Soft Turf. 1 3/8 Miles.   28 July 2018



Secretariat Stakes G1; Arlington Park.  Good Turf.  1 1/4 Miles.  11 August 2018




Prix de l' Arc de Triomphe G1.  Longchamp (Fr).  Firm Turf. 1 1/2 Miles RH.  7 October 2018



Champions Stakes G1. Ascot (GB).  Soft Turf.  1 1/4 Miles RH. 20 October 2018




John Henry Turf Championship G2.  Santa Anita.  Firm. 1 1/4 Miles.  30 September 2018




British Championship Stakes G1 (F).  Ascot (GB). Soft Turf. 1 1/2 Miles RH. 20 Oct 2018

Magical (IRE)




Mathias Machline (G1).  Gavea (Brz). Heavy Turf. 1 1/4 Miles LH.  4 August 2018



The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes G1.  Ascot (GB).  Soft Turf. 1 Mile.  20 Oct 2018



Irish Championship Stakes G1.  Leopardstown (Ire).  Good.  1 1/4 Miles  LH.  15 September 2018



Arlington Million G1.  Arlington Park.  Firm.  1 1/4 Miles.  11 August 2018



Manhattan Stakes G1.  Belmont.  Firm Turf. 1 1/4 Miles. 9 June 2018




Prix Foy G2. Longchamp (Fr). Firm. 1 1/2 Miles RH. 16 September 2018




Prix de Saint Cloud G1.  Saint Cloud (Fr).  Good/Soft.  1 1/2 Miles LH. 1 July 2018



Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Nomination Is In: The Dowager G3 over Turf at Keeneland


Photo by: Keeneland
Welcome Friends to The Turk and the Little Turk blog.

I've wanted to play Keeneland for the past few weeks but work was busy, I was traveling quite a bit, and I just ran out of time.  With few graded stakes left in the meet, I think Sunday's Dowager is my last opportunity for 2018.

I don't play Keeneland very much.  Like, Del Mar, I gave up on the track during the fake dirt years.  The 19.5% takeout on Exactas (NYRA currently 18.5%, Arlington on Million Day 20.5%) is high but that's not a cross I carry around like many social media whales, my investing volumes are too low to get hung up on that.  I think I just have other options usually and it's not a track that I'm quick to play.  That said, I love the grounds, the tradition and the turf course especially.

I'm taking a bit of a handicapper's holiday over past few weeks as I gear up for Breeders' Cup Weekend.  I did however blog, and win, The Laurel Park Maryland Million Classic Exacta, providing a $1 dollar bet for $24 that returned $82.10.  Low risk, good reward.

Anyway, lets get after this 1 1/2 mile Turf affair at Keeneland.  Expect cold but dry conditions.  The turf was yielding today but you can find the latest here, part of Keeneland's player friendly website.  Laurel Park: You need to step up your web services!




I like the betting potential of this race that is lacking serious chalk.  I identified Daring Duchess and Savannah Belle as my top two. 

Daring Duchess is 6 of 9 in the money at this distance and 13 of 26 in the money over grass.  The 6 YO mare from Arch is winless in 5 KEE starts with only 1 Place to show for those trips.  Added 6 pounds from last time out.  A flat runner, I'll expect her on or near the pace the whole way.  If the turf is Yielding or Soft I'll like her less although she had a nice outing over good turf at this distance two races back.

4 YO Savannah Belle is trained by Brian Lynch, a 22% stakes winner but also only 1 win in 7 starts at KEE over past rolling year.  295 Tomlinson at the distance with an asterisk for sample size, she does have a Place at this distance, making her the only other to hit the board at this distance besides Daring Duchess.  Late runner. 

Vexatious was winless in six starts as a 3 YO last year and has only 2  wins in 12 starts lifetime.  1  win in 4 turf starts and last time out her running line was "...passed tiring foes" as she finished 6 1/4 lengths back at today's distance. A winner at 1 3/8 miles at Del Mar in August in a minor stake.  7 dirt starts.  Classy and ready for a breakout possibly.  Late runner.

Amboseli hasn't done much lately.  The 6 YO has only 3 Show finishes to show for her last 10 starts over past two seasons.  13 of 22 in the money lifetime with 8 Shows in 22 starts.  Late runner.

Res Ipsa is a 5 YO English Channel with a great closing turn of foot.  Winless in 6 starts in 2018, 12 of 21 lifetime in the money over grass.  First time at the distance but ran well at Kentucky Downs at 1 5/16 miles.  Last win past 1 mile?  October 2017 at KEE in a $70K Alw at 1 1/16.

My three wildcards are:

 English Affair who is coupled to Trainer Arnold and Pilot B. Hernandez, a combo that wins 23% of the time at KEE. Winless in 4 starts in 2018 and first time at this distance.  First KEE start.  6 of 9 in the money over grass lifetime.  Bullet work, 1st of 54 at 4f at CD over dirt this month. 

Viva Vegas also makes first start at distance.  The 4 YO The Factor daughter as you would expect has a 315 Tomlinson with an asterisk.  Placed in G3 Violet at Monmouth. Early speed.

Shezaprado is slow out of gate but has 111 Timeform US Pace fig late.  226 Tomlinson at the distance which the 4 YO Filly has tried once.  5 wins in 17 turf starts.  Last win two races back on 6 Sept at Kentucky Downs at 1 5/16.  She ran back 7 days later and made a mild bid and then followed that up with a work at KEE earlier this month.

I'm tossing 3 YO Rahway and  main track specialist Beach Flower from my exactas, maybe foolishly at least with Rahway.  Sired by Eskendereya, has a KEE win aand a bullet work over turf earlier this month.  I'm a bit intrigued at what should be a big price. 

What to do with all this?  I'll be assembling an exacta but I want to see the toteboard odds before I lock in. a $1  5-3 OVER 10-6-8-1-2-4-9 for $16 is my initial thought.

Have fun friends!

Turk Out.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Nomination Is In: The Maryland Million Classic at Laurel Park


Jim McKay.  Photo: Blood Horse
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk, a horse racing analysis blog serving a rabid audience since 2008.  I'd like to thank The Thorofan for allowing me the opportunity to talk to their members and readers of The Handicappers Corner as well.


Jim McKay, a 40+ year legendary broadcaster of sports loved horse racing and he loved his home state of Maryland. You could say Jim was inspired to create the Maryland Million Day after attending the 1984 Breeders' Cup, the first one, at Hollywood Park (Ehalt, 2016).    He envisioned a spectacular day of championship racing, and one that highlighted Maryland Breds and Maryland Sires.  It is Maryland Racing's day.  His vision has never been more apparent to me after looking at the Past Performances for The Maryland Million Classic, the feature race, with the best three horses Also Eligible, including last years winner, Bonus Points.  It's doubtful that 9-5 ML Hammerin Aamer, 5-2 Belfour and 7-5 Bonus Points  reach the gate because they "...are Maryland-bred but not Maryland-sired and, thus, not likely to draw in.  Maryland Million races are limited to Maryland-sired horses as long as six or more face the starter. With 10 Maryland-sired runners entered in the Classic, it’s exceedingly unlikely that any of the also-eligible runners will end up in the race" (Vespe, 2018)."  

So what do we have on our hands?  A wide open, very interesting betting race.  Let's Get after it!




I think there is a a slight chance Crouchelli scratches as the 3 YO is entered in the 10th as well.  At the time of writing this I can't determine that yet.  If any of the top three are entered it completely changes my thinking and I'm singling that horse to win and playing some longer prices below below for the exacta.  If two of those three horses make the starting field, I most likely pass on the betting opportunity.

Let's assume none of them are in the gate for our purposes.

I have a group of three I'm looking at to win, with Admiral Blue, Flash McCaul and Saratoga Bob all about the same to me.  Of them:


  • 1 win at the distance, Admiral Blue, who is 3 of 8 in the money at the distance.  
  • No last time winners.  Only Admiral Blue hit the board, a Show finish in a $50K Claimer
  • Admiral Blue is winless in 15 fast dirt tries. 
  • Admiral Blue drops 6 pounds from last time out
I think I just made my tepid case for Admiral Blue as my chalk for the race.  From the 9 spot he'll need his early tactical speed to position himself.  I'm torn on where he's breaking from and trip and pace will be key if he is going to break his fast dirt goose egg.

I think Flash McCaul will enter the gate as the bettors favorite.  8 of 17 in the money at Laurel Park with 3 wins, but none at the distance.  The five year old breaks for 25% winner at Laurel Park, conditioner Michael Trombetta.  His post draw is good and its conceivable he will be well positioned to let out his late speed.  

Saratoga Bob is 6 of 7 in the money at Laurel Park and on fast dirt, but the distance is new.  Prado up for Trainer Voss.  His race 2 back, a 6F $38.5K Alw, he came back from a bad start, was five wide, and had a great closing kick.  His last race out he was bumped at start, 5 wide and faded.  

As I'm looking at this field, I like Clubman, Pal Cal, Dothatdance and Crouchelli as possible place finishers.  

Clubman trains well with two sharp bullet works on his past performance line and he has improving Beyers.  Hideous performance in the afternoons though as he's winless in 4 starts in 2018 and winless at the distance.  5 wins in 16 starts in 2017.  Of the group of non potential winners I've listed he's the one that could throw that apple cart over.  I need to see what the bettors think of him just before post time but I'm expecting they will like him as possibly 2nd best of the field.

I'm not sure what I'm doing with all of this yet, but exacta and 10 cent Super is most likely what I'll construct.  An idea of a 10 Cent Super is:

3-4-7-9 OVER 3-4-6-7-9 OVER 1-2-3-4-6-7-9 OVER 1-2-3-6-7-9 for $28.40.  I typed it, I read it, and I mostly hate it.  I'll sharpen my pencil and hone in on something more like:

3-4-9 OVER 3-4-7-9 OVER 3-4-7-9 OVER 1-2-5-7-8-10 for $9.60.  

I just gave you two Supers and I can't say I like either very much, but they are plausible.  I prefer Exactas and I'll be playing some version of combination in my base Handicap with possible winners 9-4-7-3 and Possible Place 6-2-1.  If I just bundle that together:

$1 exacta 3-4-7-9 OVER 3-4-7-9-6-2-1  $24.  I think I'm close to what my bet will look like now and I'll forget those Supers.

Have fun friends.

Turk Out!














References Cited

Ehalt, Bob.  2016, October 10.  Legacy of Jim McKay: Beloved Racing Voice and Visionaire.  Web.  America's Best Racing.  Retrieved from:  https://www.americasbestracing.net/the-sport/2016-legacy-jim-mckay-beloved-racing-voice-and-visionaire

Vespe, Frank.  2018 Oct 17.  Md. Million Classic: Trainers Voss and Maldonado approaching from Different Directions.  Web.  The Racing Biz.  Retrieved from: https://www.theracingbiz.com/2018/10/17/md-million-classic-trainers-voss-maldonado-approaching-from-different-directions/

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Nomination Is In: The Joe Hirsch Turf Classic

Joe Hirsch-Photo by Blood Horse

Welcome friends to the Turk and the Little Turk Blog.   Joe Hirsch, known as the Dean of American Turf Racing has been gone over over 9 years now, but with a Grade One race, The Turf Classic, names after him, he's far from forgotten.

Such a different era on so many different levels.  the County was different, horse racing was prominent, journalists were respected, integrity and ethics were everything.  It's amazing to me how as a society we have devolved the institutions of news reporting, in my humble opinion set in motion by a perfect storm of deregulation, the treating of news media as entertainment, the collapse of print and the rise of the internet, where any half-ass blogger or tweeter can say anything in a few pithy sentences and have it read more often, by more people, than any long form writer could hope for.

The American's of Joe Hirsch's heyday had to get the paper and read the words written about the greats of turf.  For me, it was waiting for Sports Illustrated and the writing of another great voice, Bill Nack, or listening to Jim McKay on ABC Sports on the weekend.  The Turk is none of those men.  I am neither a trained journalist or a professional writer.  What I do have in common with them is ethics and integrity.  I try to express my views and opinions on the sport of horse racing, and handicapping in particular, with honesty.  There is enough of fake news in our world, I try not to add to that blight. I'm not a tout, as four a four-letter word as there are to me.  I'm also neither part of the online horse racing intelligentsia that chimes in from some moral high ground tweeting disdain for anyone deemed not worthy.  If you are reading the Turk, and I know who you are,  all I can offer is my love of the horses above all else, my thirty years of reading past performances and analyzing the repeating patterns of them and my bet construction thoughts.  Know this:  I'm not trying to get rich betting the races.  I'm game is purely to carve out positive ROI over a long period of time and this platform of mine, now in it's tenth year, most likely isn't going to change much.  If that's cool with you, thanks and let's get after this race!


The weather is dry but the tracks are soaked.  This one however is on the turf which I'm handicapping as Soft/Yielding.  By the way, I've already handicapped The Vosburg, which is on the dirt, currently listed as Good but I have hopes it will be Fast later today.

Five of the eight entries here last raced in the 1 1/2 Mile Sword Dancer on Travers Day (missing: Robert Bruce, Carrick and Teodoro)


Sword Dancer G1:  1 1/2 Miles Firm Turf SAR



Four the entrants went in The Bowling Green on soft surface.

Bowling Green G2: 1 3/8 Miles Soft Turf SAR



Robert Bruce (Chi) looking pretty strong swinging wide and closing at the Arlington Million.  Below you'll see him run a subtle 6th place finish but close to the winner in a blanket at The Manhattan. 

Arlington Million G1 : 1 1/4 Mile Firm Turf AP





6 lengths back at the 1/8 pole.  Very strong showing indeed.












Here we have Carrick, a lightly raced 3 YO coming in from good turf at 1 1/4 Miles.  2 of 2 at Belmont, 4 of 4 in the money over turf.


The Secretariat G1:  1 1/4 Miles on Good Turf AP




The Manhattan G1:  1 1/4 Miles on Firm Turf BEL



I watched a bunch of video as well this morning on Twinspires TV of Teodoro (Ire).  Lasix for first time, drops 5 pounds, cuts back in distance.  Very inconsistent.  Isn't chalk overseas. I'm passing for now.


What do we do with this information?  I can't say I have a very strong opinion as The Turk fair line illustrates.




I'm thinking low risk exacta where I'm purely hunting for value.  I may just put Channel Maker on top with four or five of the field below him.  Something like 8 OVER 3-6-1-2-7 for $5.  Perhaps that's a bet that you hit only 20% of the time, maybe less, but the reward is worth the capital risk, and you must face it, capital risk is part of any game where you hand 20+% back to the house before you even start. 


Have fun with this friends, Turk Out!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Nomination Is In: The Vosburgh G1 at Belmont


Imperial Hint- Photo Breeders' Cup website/Gulfstream Park
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk Blog, which just days ago celebrated 10 years of handicapping and bet construction.  I'd like to thank the good people of The Thorofan and The Thorofan Handicappers Corner for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts  with their readers.

Today's effort is The Vosburgh, a 6f Grade 1 on the dirt at Belmont Park.

Pictured is Imperial Hint.  Readers of The Turk know I have a general disdain for morning lines and I usually avoid most racing news articles in advance of handicapping.  Why?  I find that sort of information can bias my thoughts and I try to avoid preconceived notions and confirmation bias.  I print my past performances without the Morning Lines, I build my Fair Line Odds and only then do I look at the Morning Lines.  I had a feeling when I looked at the past performances that Imperial Hint would be a big Morning Line, and 1-5 didn't really surprise me.  Not only is the 5 YO son of Imperialism a truly dominant sprinter, this field is pretty unspectacular.  the remaining six horses in this field, in their last two races each or over 12 races we have:


  • 1 Graded Stake:  Mr Crow who also raced (4th - 8 1/4 back) in the Vanderbilt G1 with Imperial Hint.
  • 4 Claiming Races $32-$50
  • 3 Optional Claimers$35-$80K
  • 1 $25K Allowance
  • 3 $97 Stakes
Imperial Hint has $1.2 MM in career earnings and the rest of the field $1.4 MM.  

While I have no preconceived notion of the handicap, I do have an early idea of my bet construction plan when I see this sort of pattern forming with a heavy chalk and an unheralded field.  I'm thinking low risk exactas with Imperial Hint on top and two or three of the longest prices entering the gate in Place for now more than $6 bucks or so OR 3 or 4 of the mid sized prices over Imperial Hint for no more that $8 bucks. 

Friday sees the end of a rainy week and most of Friday and Saturday looks dry.  Expect a fast track.  You'll find the link to NYRA/Belmont here for track condition, scratches and changes, etc. 

Let's get after this!

Let's start with the whale, Imperial Hint



Vanderbilt G1: 6f on good dirt.  A complete handride by Castellano.  Dominance.




The True North G2: 6 1/2 f on Fast Dirt.



Imperial Hint is training exceptionally well;  six straight bullet workouts with lots of company(19,10,26,18,61,43).  8 of last ten races 100+ Beyer.  7 Wins in 10 starts at the distance.  Only finish out of the money in 2018 was on the slop at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.

 The Churchill Downs Grade 2: 7f on sealed slop.





Silver Ride has always been a bit of a tease but its hard to believe, the gelded son of Candy Ride (Arg) is 6 YO.  9 of 16 Lifetime in the money over fast dirt with 429 Tomlinson on Wet Dirt and 408 Tomlinson at the distance but only 1 win in 7 tries at 6f.  Adding 4 pounds from last effort, The Tale of the Cat $97K at Saratoga at 6f on fast dirt.



Paceless, 5 horse field that included Mr. Crow in his last off effort. Trainer Lynch is a 23% Grade Stakes winner and a 7% winner only at Belmont over current meet.  He is a 33% winner at Belmont coupled with J. Ortiz, up. Eh.

Still Krz comes in off a $32,000 claimer.  He's been claimed three times in past year.  6 YO gelding has 6 wins in 20 starts at the distance and 11 Win-Place efforts in 19 Fast Dirt Starts.  Ontario bred. Big Timeform early pace fig of 129.  Will/can he carry?

Mr. Crow finished 13 1/2 lengths up the track back of the winner in last years edition of this race.  Since that effort, he was claimed for $62K and has one win in last five efforts.  His running lines:  "...last away...weakened....bobbled...no match..."  Adds 4 pounds from Tale of the Cat.  Last two races J. Ortiz was up but he jumps to Silver Ride, and Saez, who's piloted Silver Ride's last two races is up on Mr. Crow for Conditioner Ben Colebrook.

Forge and Manical should be rolling early and I suspect Imperial Hint will set up off their flanks pressing their pace.  Forge is 0 of 3 starts at Belmont but 6 of 7 in the money at the distance and 7 of 11 in the money on fast dirt.  Manical goes for Wesley Ward with J. Velazquez up.  6 of 8 in the money in 2018 for a Kitten's Joy who has started 7 of 16 times on grass.

For my purposes, I'd tossing Sightforsoreeyes at my own peril.

So what to do with this?  My mind hasn't really changed.  This is the sort of race I'll be paying attention to the Will Pay ticker as the post parade nears the gate.  I'll be looking for the value bets with Imperial Hint in the Win spot as well as the Place Spot.  I'm not interested in investing $2 dollars to make $3.  I am willing to invest $10 for a chance to make $50.  Is he unbeatable?  No.

Have fun with it friends,  Turk Out!