The Little Turk strikes. Pre race, I talked about the work that General Quarters was putting in at Churchill Downs, including a 5f in :58 work. I was impressed and made a note that if he started the Derby, that type of speed on that surface would bode well. I like General Quarters, but not enough to bet him to win, but the beauty of being a 9 year old handicapper is no fear. The Little Turk was rewarded with a $30.60 win bet, which to him meant more Star Wars Legos. Hold Me Back had a good effort. Mafaaz broke in the air and showed his abilities as well as his inexperience all in the span of 2 minutes. Nothing about this race changed my mind from my pre-race comments; There were some nice horses here, lots of parity, but few world beating Grade I types. I credit consistency with my exacta win, which paid a cool $117.60. I made my handicap, I worked my handicap, I followed my rules about when to bet or not bet Trifectas and Superfectas, and I cashed a workman-like ticket. I said pre-race that if I won money at this race I wouldn't gloat, and I'm not. Little Turk guessed and his guess negated 2 hours of handicapping analysis on my part. The 2 hours of work allowed me to make educated bets and the one I expected the least, hit. Consistency. Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mechanics teaches much about the pursuit of quality in life. I like to think I apply the metaphysics of quality to my 'capping. A Turk has to have standards. I'm proud of the Little Turk. He listens to me talk about the horses, he watches the replays when I blog, and he has a fantastic memory for what impresses him. He seized on General Quarters not because of the name, but because of what he saw with his eyes. Trip handicappers everywhere, rejoice.
Race 9: Keeneland; The Blue Grass Stakes Grade I; 1 1/8 on fake dirt for 3 YOs.
Race 11: Oaklawn: The Arkansas Derby Grade II; 1 1/8 miles on dirt for 3 YOs.
I wasn't surprised to see Papa Clem take this one. As I said pre race, Papa Clem is battle tested and has consistently raced against the best in the 3 YO class and has acquitted himself well. Old Fashioned has an effort that Larry Jones can build on. You'd like to see more desire to finish, but this is still a fine colt. I think it was a weak field, or more appropriately as i said pre race, a field of parity outside of the top two. My exotics were mostly blown up by the presence of Summer Bird, a horse that Mrs. Turk identified as live and long. The exacta payout was a result of the consistency I have been preaching; Build your handicap, work your handicap, bet no more then you feel comfortable losing.
Little Turk, Mrs. Turk, and The Turk himself colored Easter Eggs tonight. Not satisfied with his domination of the handicapping world, Little Turk left his stamp on the symbol of the secular holiday as well. I thank the higher power who brought this little boy to me from half a world away. He's someting special!