|Preservationist with J. Alvarado up; Photo by Coglianese/Joe Labozzetta|
Readers of the Turk will note that I have not been very active in horse racing this year. Quite frankly, I considered quitting The Turk and leaving the sport entirely. I'm tired of the constant ways that this sport finds to turn off the fans, the bettors, the lack of any real vision, the criticism of anyone that offers any real vision, and then the tracks themselves: tone deaf, reactionary, caring only about themselves. Musicians playing on the deck of the Titanic, except the Titanic sank years ago. This is not the grand boat it was. Look at the empty seats behind Preservationist at Belmont as he enters the win circle. Visit tracks most days of the week, you already know what I mean. The Turk is talking to the choir, and its a small choir. I love the sport, as anyone reading this does to. Try as much as I have tried in 10 plus years and I have only been able to grow a few new casual fans of the game. It's disheartening. I still have my loves: Kentucky Downs is opening for its short meet (5 dates beginning tomorrow through September 12), Arlington is still a palace and sooner or later CDI will let it go for someone to try to make it right, and the horses themselves, the older vets grinding out a living. Try as humans do to screw things up, the horses are why I won't quit the sport.
Let's get after this handicap!
Let's start with a bit of light video review.
The Whitney G1 SAR: 1 1/8 Miles/Fast Dirt/August 3
The Alydar $100K SAR ; 1 1/8 Miles/Fast Dirt/August 2
The Gold Cup (Not at Hollywood thanks CDI) Santa Anita: 1 1/4/Fast Dirt/27 May
The Pacific Classic G1 Del Mar; 1 1/4 Miles/Fast Dirt/17 August
I'm pretty torn on this race. There is not a ton of early speed, perhaps enough for the late chargers to take an aim at, but the pace is a bit foggy to me. I'll assume that Mr. Buff, Tom's d'Etat, and Preservationist will strike the lead early. By my base handicap you have already surmised that Yosida (Jpn) and Preservationist have the best opportunity to be there at the wire, with Tom's d'Etat, Vino Rosso, Mongolian Groom and Mr. Buff moving in different direction in the last 1/8 of a mile, some advancing some retreating. I think I just summed up every horse race that's ever been run over grass! My apologies.
I think I ultimately see Yosida's class as what separates him from everyone else by a head or so. The 5 YO $2.3 MM earner is winless in 2019 but possibly just getting going after the grueling Dubai trip, with a very solid Whitney run. 2 of 2 in the money at Saratoga including last year's Woodward. 1 win in 5 dirt starts
Preservationist is my kinda horse, 6 YO, out of Arch, with only 9 career starts. 5 wins in last 7 starts, 5 of 6 in the money over fast dirt. Trainer Jerkens is 29% in Graded Stakes over past rolling year, 21% over Dirt and 24% routes. Jerkens/Junior Alvarado 25% winners in 16 SAR starts.
Out of my group of 4 possible Place/Show horses, I'm intrigued by Mongolian Groom. The numbers tell me I shouldn't be: 0 wins in 8 dirt starts, shipping from California, no SAR starts, no wins at distance, 2 wins in last 14 starts, $370,000 earnings in 14 starts, Trainer Ganbat 0% Graded Stakes in 10 tries rolling year. Why did they ship? Current form off Grade 2 San Diego and 2 weeks back Pacific Classic not too shabby. I like the taking a swing approach. It's not like they shipped to a County Fair, they shipped to Saratoga. I dig the effort.
Vino Rosso, the 4 YO Curlin, has got the class and 2 straight triple digit Beyers, including a saavy Pletcher move to put him in a weak Gold Cup. Ran a solid Whitney. Blinkers off, something Pletcher wins 24% of the time in 25 tries. Training good. Nothing to dislike, but this is gambling and The Turk is unlike a public/paid handicapper who doesn't want to look bad and just tells you what he thinks. Turk thinks Vino Rosso is an OK horse, $1.3 MM earner who is winless at SAR and incredibly has never Placed.
Tom's d' Etat is also very interesting and I consider him a good priced win candidate. 4-1 ML, I think that goes towards 3-1 but I'd like to see it head towards 5-1 to get really excited. 3 of 3 at SAR, 8 of 8 in the money on fast dirt and 4 of 5 in the money at the distance. The 6 year old was a $100,000 Smart Stike who only has 13 starts. 5 of last 7 in the money with 3 wins.
I'm thinking exacta's will be my play and I'm watching the price on Tom d'Etat to see if I include him in win portions of the bet.
Have fun with it friends!