Dear friends, thank you for reading The Turk and the Little Turk.
The Ogden Phipps. It's not an easy family for most of us to relate to. Old money, power, privilege. Pull back the curtain and you'll find arts patronage, philanthropy and horses, some wonderful, incredible horses. Personal Ensign. Buckpasser. Easy Goer.
We may not be able to relate to the incredible wealth, but the family ties, the love of horse racing, if you are reading this you can relate to those qualities.
Today brings an end to silly season, the Triple Crown race. I sat out this year and don't feel worse for it. My personal rant is the Belmont should be reduced by at least a quarter of a mile when a Triple Crown is not on the line. There is no reason to make these horses run that distance. I know, Turk, what about Marathons? It's a stupid distance and I'm not going to change my mind about that. Anyway, no one listens to The Turk, or fans for that matter. I applaud the work of The Thorofan and other fan first organizations, but this sport is seemingly unable to get out of their own way. I digress again.
I have focused this season on my first love, older horses being campaigned on dirt. I find the stories and the past performances of a five or six year old so much more interesting than a three year old colt who with a little bit of success, will disappear to the breeding shed. Anyhow, let's get after this 1 and 1/16 mile race on dirt for fillies and mares, 4 years old and up, the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps.
Let's take a look at Curalina/5 and Sheer Drama/7
The Grade 1 La Troien at CD on fast dirt at 1 1/16 miles.
The 1 mile Ruffian at BEL with Carrumba/1 and Cavorting/4
The G1 Madison at 7F at Kee with Stopchargingmaria/2 and Sheer Drama/7
1 1/16 mile Apple Blossom G1 at OP with Forever Unbridled/6
I'm thinking about singling Curalina who I think stands out even in a field of 7 with 5 horses you could make a legitimate win argument for. A driving win on Kentucky Oaks day, 5 wins in 8 starts on fast dirt and 8 of 8 in the money on fast dirt, and 9 of 9 lifetime in the money from the 4 YO daughter of Curlin. Johnny V up after jumping off of Forever Unbridled for this. Pletcher is 30% in 2nd races off a long layoff.
Stopchargingmaria and Cavorting are a blanket finish in my rankings.
Stopchargingmaria has been on the shelf since early April, and Pletcher is 22% off a >60 day break. Very consistent. No wins at the distance, no wins at BEL, 12 of 15 in the money lifetime.
Cavorting ran a spectacular 1 mile Ruffian here in May. 75% win rate at BEL, 60% winner on fast dirt, 8 of 11 lifetime in the money. The 4 YO Bernadini has been improving on the stretch out but this is first attempt at the distance and is a 1/16 longer than previous efforts.
Forever Unbridled is also off a break since mid April, and Trainer Stewart is 14% off a 30-60 day break. Training sharply and seems to still be improving. Would be a huge statement but I'm more intrigued by Place than Win for this 4 YO Unbridled Song operating in diamond miner, Charles Fipke's, silks.
Florida bred 6 YO Mare Sheer Drama has 7 wins in 22 career starts and is 15 of 18 in the money on fast dirt, 5 of 6 in the money at the distance and winless at BEL. Was really coming late in Breeders' Cup Distaff and upset StopchargingMaria at 9-1 at 7F in April, followed up by a flat La Troien as the chalk in May. Which runner will show up for Trainer Fawkes.
I think this is a fantastic field and a challenging bet construction. I may single Curalina and look to build some exactas and Tri's covering down to Sheer Drama and leaving Carumba and Desert Valley on the outside looking in.
Take a moment to remember Mr Ogden Phipps, whose son, Dinny, passed away just recently as well. The end of a horse racing era.