Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Nomination is In (Part 2): Race Day February 28, 2009

Santa Anita, The GREAT RACE PLACE, race 9; The Sham, Grade 3: 1 1/8 Miles on Pro Ride, for 3 YOs. Ahhh, the mighty Sham, pride of California, with Pincay up, having the unfortunate luck of being born in the same year as Secretariat. He ends the race pictured here 31 lengths behind Big Red. Never forgotten here in Arcadia, nor should he be. Valiant in victory and proud in defeat.

With Baffert's Ventana scratching, The Turk sees a relatively weak field to push The Pamplemousse, a horse whose hype is building at least as quickly as his talent seems to be as well.

It's a Grade Three race, and I think there are some quality Grade 3 horses in this mix, but in my humble handicappers opinion, only The Pamplemousse is G1 quality.

I'm going to build my ticket with the heavy chalk at the top and I'm going to build several trifectas and exactas that hunt for value, all straight. I think the interesting wildcard is Trainer Pletcher's decision to run here instead of the Fountain of Youth at GP with Take the Points. J/T stats for Pletcher and Gomez at SA are 24%, offsetting the trainers so-so 17% synthetic rate. I don't know where to place this horse, so I'm taking the approach that he's a dirt runner who will vie for the lead and then get swallowed up in a Calvary charge in the stretch. I'm looking for Mr. Hot Stuff, Hi Flyin Indy and Mark S the Cooler to be in the mix.

The money will be spread around this field away from The Pamplemousse and exactas and trifectas will pay big. To paraphrase Danny Ocean, when you have a chance to beat the house, bet big. I may swing for the fences more then usual with this race. God forbid The Pamplemouse loses, the payouts will be big!

The Nominations Are In (Part 1): Race Day February 28, 2009

The Turk is looking at three Triple Crown prep races today, at three different tracks. First up is The Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct, run at 1 1/8 miles on the Inner Track Dirt for 3 YOs

As readers of the Turk know, I'm not advocating a betting strategy with my posts. Instead I am ordering the field based on how I view the most logical outcome. From my ordering of the field I will then look for value on the tote board and create my simple betting stategies which I place small amounts of money on. My arcane sense of excitement is winning regularly while betting little.

My biggest flaw as a handicapper is overlooking the obvious. I overlook track bias often as well as current form. Knowing this, I try to tweek my handicapping each week to compensate.

In the Stymie, it would be easy for me to overlook the current form of Barrier Reef , possibly ignore the lack of current form with Researcher, or overreach on a foreign invader like Real Merchant.

All that said, I am after all looking for value and I'm not interested in placing down two bucks on the chalk to show. I think there are a few horses, Manteca and Judith's Wild Rush in particular that could win at >8-1.

"Order the field and watch the tote" Mrs. Turk tells me I mumble that in my sleep. By the way, that is Stymie (pictured above) when he was at stud. He was the foal daddy of last week's feature, Rare Treat.

In the second race of my day, I'm looking at is at Gulfstream Park, Race 9, The Fountain of Youth Stakes, reimagined at 1 Mile on very fast dirt, for 3 YOs'.

This is a race that personifies what I was rambling about: There are numerous winners in this field, so if you do feel complelled to bet, find value. I am going to slightly discount Notonthesamepage, who has been drilling well but unraced since January 3rd.
I generally discount the outside posts at GP somewhat, but i'm looking for Capt. Candyman Can or Taqarub (pictured) from the 7 and 8 hole to play a promienent role in the race. 8 of the 401 Triple Crown nominees are here, this will be a barn burner, and with that hard dirt, I would expect a big BSF to come out of this as well.

And the last race for this afternoon, is Race 11 at Turfway Park, the John Battaglia Memorial, 1 1/16 mile on fake dirt for 3 YOs.. For the uninformed, John Battalia is the former general manager of the old Latonia Race Course, which is now known as Turfway Park.

A current betting angle is finding races with horses that I believe have a greater then 75% chance to win or place and filling the boxed ticket in around them. I think that is very possible here, a series of boxed trifectas or supers.

I'll be back in a few hours to look at The Sham at the Great Race Place

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Post Race Analysis for Raceday February 21, 2009

Aqueduct Race 3: The Rare Treat 65K, 1 1/8 on inner dirt, for F&M 3 YO and up.

It was hard not to like the chalk, Weathered, and she didn't disappoint, leading from first call on. She won by 7 1/4 lengths and earned a big 45 cents on the dollar.

After Successful Sarah raced the day before, I slid Bourbon Maid up, and while having a good race, was no match for Aristo. Point Me To It finished as predicted fourth.

The Turk each week talks about what his bag is; Grading and ordering the field of finish from Past Performance and Trip Handicapping. Bet strategy is always secondary.

I mentioned Aristo in my prerace writeup as the only speed beside Weathered. Looking at the handicap in hindsight, I really missed on Aristo: She was coming off a win, had worked sharply, and was a 50% winner on the inner track. The six year old Mare had better current form then I credited her with.

While I didn't have a bet down, I would have lost because Aristo would not have been in my top four, as Rap Tale was rated by me still ahead of Aristo.

Aristo was the 5th favorite betting choice in a six horse field. If you had Aristo finishing for Place, good job!

Race 7 at Turf Paradise, The Turf Paradise Derby 100k, 1 1/16 miles on dirt for 3 YOs.

Ye' old Turk had a pretty good read on this race as well, but this wasn't geniuses 'capping, just a field with a stratification gradient between classy Grade III and II potential and Allowance and Claimers.

The chalk, Mayor Marv, seemed completely unbeatable by this field to me, and he was. I credit Baffert for finding a dirt race for his Derby contender while at the same time collecting perhaps the easiest $100,000 this horse will ever earn. Hidden Bounty, who I expected to challenge for Show, was clearly the second best horse in this race. In my pre race line-up, I graded both Hidden Bounty and Pauper's Prince as A- horses, and when I grade even it's a toss up that leads me to a boxing bet situation. While I didn't bet on this race, I would have lost as I completely discounted Just Jebicah, who finished third.

Pre-race I said I thought Pauper's Prince, while a Triple Crown nominee, was vulnerable. All the horses here except Mayor Marv were stretching significantly in distance, and that creates chaos at the top of the stretch usually. At the 3/4 call, Pauper's Prince was in third, and in the stretch, the field reordered as expected.

I had three of the four for a boxed superfecta, but really it would have been more guessing the handicapping, so the conservative bettor in me passed.

Next week presents a much more exciting collection of Derby Prep's to preview. The Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park and The Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita will be very good races.

The Turk has already made his plans to attend Santa Anita on Santa Anita Derby day April 4th. I'd love to meet as many folks as I can that day, so drop me a line.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Nomination Is In: February 21, 2009- The Turf Paradise Derby

The Turk likes to think at his advancing age he can still learn new tricks. Today's new trick is analyzing a race at Turf Paradise, a track I have avoided even thinking about for years, for no good reason other then it was in Arizona (no Arizona death threats please). I'm paying attention to the track now, and I have a trip to the area soon, so I'm going to go one step further and visit Turf Paradise (which the name is my idea of life after death- Note to terrorists: Offer me Turf Paradise and 5 virgins and you have a deal~ Just kidding, no death threats from JDC members).

There are two of the 401 Triple Crown nominees in this race, and if either get beat by this field, they should immediatly withdraw from the chase.

I like Mayor Marv. I'd like him better if he was in Florida or Oaklawn right now prepping, but at least he's on dirt. This son of Distorted Humor looks to easily be the class of this race. He's got speed and his work is very crisp. Baffert knows a bit about Derby preparation, far more then the Turk, so I think this horse if impressive today, will be in a big prep as a bit of an unknown quantity in 4 weeks or so.

Pauper's Prize, the other Triple Crown nominee is really stretching in distance today. I think he'll be there at the end, and Trainer Cerin must think so as well.

Another horse going much longer today is Hidden Bounty. A star at this track when the competition isn't so stiff, 5 wins in 8 starts at Turf Paradise and never out of the money. I don't think he can beat Mayor Marv, but Pauper's Prize is vunerable.

Every horse here will struggle with the distance except for Mayor Marv. A mad scramble for Place and Show may happen. That does present betting chaos, but such is life, stay on the sidelines when you don't think you have a reasonable shot.

For me, I'll watch the tote and the scratches and I'll place Mayor Marv on top and look for a value exacta as well as a few cheap straight superfecta chances.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Nomination Is In: February 21, 2009- The Rare Treat 65K at Aqueduct

The Turk is an optimist. He always sees his bourbon glass half full (with ice cubes solid) and his cigar humidor is always a perfect 70% relative humidity (with a fine Cuban via Canada waiting for him).

Saturday's race number 3 at Aqueduct, The Rare Treat 65K, 1 1/8 miles on the inner dirt track for fillies and mares 3 YO and up, tests my optimism. Of the 7 entrants, a total of 32 starts between them on the inner track, with only 5 wins in the bunch. Aristo in the 2 post earned three of them. By the way, that handsome colt is Stymie, sire of Rare Treat, Dam of What A Treat.

I can't see how Weathered won't be the chalk. She earned three 90 plus Beyers in 2008, far outstripping the field. She's been training well since her last race in early January. The knock on her is she's been fading in races at 1 mile. Today's stretch to 1 1/8 should test her, but the works seem to be building her towards this.

John Terranova is really sporting some big trainer stats. He brings Successful Sarah, who was successful before Terranova took her over, into the three post. Not sure what form she's in but the horse is a winner on fast dirt tracks.

The Turk isn't a name bettor, but he likes Bourbon Maid for the name but also as a runner. 6 starts and 6 finishes in the money on fast dirt. Only 1 win in 10 starts lifetime. Violette's trainer stats are really ugh.

I don't have a betting strategy yet, but it seems to me my top two horses will finish in the money, so I may stick with what has been working for me and insert several other horses into the show spot on a tri ticket and see what happens. I'll be watching the tote to see where the value is on the middle part of my grading, but I think I have the top and bottom down pretty good.


Update: The Turk doesn't like to handicap with the Morning Lines, just the weather report for the track. The other thing I sometimes miss is scratches. I saw in the PP that Sucessful Sarah was entered on the 20th but ignorned it until a few minutes ago. Yup, she raced.

The only thing it changes is my betting strategy. I will tentativly slide Bourbon Maid into place and Rap Tale into show and I'll watch the tote before making my final bet. Regardless of what I do, I'm sticking with Weathered to win and keying others to her.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Post Race Analysis for Raceday February 16, 2009

Oaklawn Park Race 9: Southwest Stakes Grade III; 1 mile on dirt for 3 YOs.

The Turk likes to wax poetic about learning and evolving as a horseplayer. Last night I wrote about being too conservative when I had a nice bet on the Dearly Precious at the Big A. It was a five horse race and I knew, as many others did, that my top three graded horses would finish in the top three, yet I was too conservative to place a creative bet and pocket an OK tri payout.

I'm still good with passing on the Dearly Precious bet. I'm a handicapper, but not a big bettor. My game is small bets, mid sized rewards, and I also believe strongly in the best bet is often the one you don't make. With all that said, with the size of the field today, and the number of quality horses that were going off at long odds, the light clicked on that I had a betting situation and I wondered how I would approach it.

Resetting the situation, I felt Old Fashioned was the best horse in this race, but I thought Silver City had a good chance based on current form. I graded them both A plus horses, and to me there was a good rift between these two and my next highest graded horse, Poltergeist.

This morning, while I handicapped the Southwest I thought there was a pretty good chance of a pretty good sized tri payout, especially if one of the longer odd horses rounded out the ticket. As a handicapper, even one as conservative as me, when you feel pretty good, you have to let it ride.

With my belief that the top two horses would finish 1-2 or 2-1, I decided to place a series of tri bets and hope for the best. It worked and paid $111 dollars.

Obviously my gamble isn't worth it if the third choice of the bettors finishes third. I took a chance, which isn't like me, but again, I felt pretty good. My blog isn't about betting theory or even betting strategy. I fancy myself a horse race analyzer who occasionally bets. Here's hoping I can keep my current very hot streak alive, but any horseplayer worth his red flair pen knows I'll run cold soon.

I'll order a few bourbons tomorrow on the airplane to celebrate.

The Nomination is in: February 16th, 2009

The Turk is very interested in the Southwest today at Oaklawn. 10 of the 401 Triple Crown nominees are present, which means someone has a chance to announce themselves as a real contender, but many more will be exposed as good horses who shouldn't be spoken of in the same breath as Triple Crown.

It seems to me that Silver City and Old Fashioned are the two best horses in this race. I believe, as many others do, that Old Fashioned is a special horse; Good at 2 YO but not rushed, allowed to be a horse for a long break after Thanksgiving, working steady and fast, and the absolute best Trainer working in North America right now, Larry Jones. Jones saddled 477 runners in 2008. It was too many for a trainer who believes in the traditional ways of doing things, the right way of doing things. For all those reasons, Old Fashioned is going to be fully prepared for the Derby, but maybe he's not at his absolute best today. The competition to garner the earnings in this era of fewer prep races must be intense. I think Old Fashioned could win this race even at 90% effort.

I think Silver City is a fine horse. The Unbridled's Song son may be a classic distance runner, but he'll have to prove himself at longer distances. William Calhoun, who saddled 866 runners in 2008, winning 26% of the time, including a gaudy 28% on dirt, 27% of last start winners and 26% off >31 day layoff, has been working Silver City in a mixture of 1 mile breezes and 4 and 5f bullets.

After the big two, there are some interesting horses running today that could take a real leap up in profile, including one I don't have the guts to pick too high, but I go hmmmmmm when I look at his run lines, Kick On. I don't like his post position, but he's working really well and fast. At 1 mile, with the speed he's been flashing, you never know, especially if the fractions get numbing. He's flashed early speed in his races but faded, so well see.

On an unrelated note, the Turk is now a Thorofan. After reading the news that Turk jock favorite Richard Migliore joined the fledgling group, I wanted to be a part of a grass roots organization like this that is about the fans and growing the sport. Thorofan should consider the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance as a strategic partner, providing a fan voice to the fan group.

For more information:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Post Race Analysis for Raceday February 14, 2009

Aqueduct Race 3: The Dearly Precious Stakes 65K; 6f on the inner dirt for fillies 3 YO.

I was not enamored with this 5 horse field, but I had no doubt in my mind I could predict the top three horses. The dilemma I had was do I box or not? Looking at the tote board, I would have been boxing the top three bettors choices and I estimated the trifecta after the bet was no more then 25 bucks or so. While it would have worked in my favor this time, I protect my bankroll and this just isn't the type of bet for the conservative bettor I am. I passed and the trifecta paid $54.00.

I was a bit surprised at how dominant Dream Play was in the stretch. I liked Chatterbox and was right that Lisa Too was a bit overheated, and she was way over bet.

The game the Turk plays is small bets, mid sized rewards, and that means I'll sometimes leave money on the table, but it could have easily have gone south and you always have to weigh the risk and reward.

Tampa Bay Downs race 9: The Endeavour Stakes Grade III; For fillies and mares 4 YO and up.

I really liked this field. I knew Ballymore Lady and Elusive Lady were good horses, but I expected more of an effort from Ginger Brew and Stormy West. I had a straight tri bet that mirrored my pre race choices and lost.

Tampa Bay Downs Race 10: Sam F. Davis Stakes Grade III; 1 1/16 on dirt for 3 YOs.

Amateurcapper ( had talked up Sumo in a comment I saw him leave at another bloggers site. I tip my hat to him, as Sumo was truly live and long. I did win a nice $13.50 win bet on General Quarters but lost the straight tri I bet based on my pre race choices.

Sam F. Davis Stakes

Santa Anita Race 9: The Santa Maria Handicap Grade I; 1 1/16 miles on pro-ride for fillies and mares 4 YO and up.

I was shocked at how low the bettors bet down Visit. I think she's a fine horse, and I had her pre-race in a superfecta, which I didn't place, but I can't believe she went off as the chalk. Checking the board just before post, I liked the value on Santa Teresita and cashed a $13.40 win bet.

It wasn't a sexy collection of bets I made, but productive and I continue to scratch out decent returns with low risk. They won't write books about the Turk, but it ain't about sexy, it's about positive cash flow.

The Little Turk had a great birthday and I thank all the folks who sent him birthday cheer. We'll be back tomorrow for a pre race look at the Grade III Southwest Stakes from Oaklawn.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Nominations Are In: February 14, 2009

The Turk is enjoying Valentine's Day, even if the races today are a bit underwhelming. This is a special day in the Turk household as well, as Little Turk is nine year's old and takes another step along the monopoly board of life. In each one of these races, I think I'll form a betting strategy just before the race goes to post. It will be a simple exacta or tri bet, but I'm on the hunt for value and I need the tote board to compare against my grades as I hunt for value and ROI.

Aqueduct Race 3: The Dearly Precious 65K: 6 furlongs of dirt for 3 YO fillies.

A seemingly ho-hum Aqueduct marque race today, I think Lisa Too will have the chalk, and I'm hoping to get Chattertown at a decent price. A five horse field may make me pass as I don't see a real live and long in this bunch.

Tampa Bay Downs Race 9: Endevour Grade 3: 1 1/16 Miles on Turf for fillies and mares 4 YO and Up.

Turk really likes this field for the most part, especially Ginger Brew, Stormy West and American Border. Zip Trick will go off at a really attractive price and I think he could make some hay. Enough to win? I dunno. This is a really competitive race in my opinion, and all my A's and B's could win.

Tampa Bay Downs Race 10: The Sam F. Davis G3: 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt for 3 YOs.

No strong opinions yet on this group either. I don't generally bet to win any horse with A.P. in it's name (except when I always did well with Indy)but maybe this one is different. Another strong field and strong fields to me are great places to find real value on a simple win bet. Nine of the 401 Triple Crown nominees are present, but , I like non-nominee Musket Man's works and last race.

Santa Anita Race 9: The Santa Maria G1: 1 1/16 miles on pro-ride for fillies and mares 4 YO and Up.

And my lone Grade 1 today, I may throw the Turk grades off a bit as I hunt for value. I have liked what I've seen from Visit (GB), especially at SA. The 4 YO has Frankel and Gomez in her corner. There is no real reason for Leah's Secret to get beat, and her current form is solid, but I don't think she's the best horse by much. Some real head shakers here too. What do you make of Country Star, Santa Teresita or Bsharpsonata? I think all can be excellent older horses in the class this year.

Little Turk likes Lisa Too, Stormy West, Top Seed and Country Star today.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Post Race Analysis for Raceday February 7, 2009

The Turk enjoyed today's races, even if they were a bit chalky. As I show, mixing in some longer odd horses with the chalk can still produce a good Trifecta.

Race 8 at Aqueduct: The Whirlaway Stakes 100k, 1 1/16 on dirt for 3 YOs.

The Turk felt really good about Haynesfield today, and I also felt and wrote that I expected Mike from Queens to take show. I thought that Peace Town would take the place, and he was there to the top of the stretch before fading and giving way to Cellar Dweller, a horse I had a hunch could make some exotic tickets work today.

I don't think much was reveled today except there aren't many 3 YOs at this meet at the Big A of the quality to take on Haynesfield. His last four races have been won by a collective 19 1/2 lengths. How good is he?

Fair Grounds Race 9: The Risen Star Stakes, G3: 1 1/16 miles on Dirt for 3 YOs.

I'm still shocked that the bettors choice of chalks was Giant Oak. Yes, I liked this colt too, but Friesan Fire in my mind clearly has better current form, and I found it no surprise Larry Jones horse won again.

Post race analysis confirms my pre race opinion that Flying Pegasus was up to the challenge, but I had discounted Uno Mas. It seemed to me the horse had hit a wall and was as good as he would get. While not a great finish, I won't criticize a finish in the money too much. I guess I was most disappointed in Indygo Mountain. He really needs to show something soon, or he just isn't the colt I think he is.

Race 6 at Santa Anita: The Las Vigenes G1: 1 Mile on Pro Ride for 3 YO Fillies.

No great surprises here. Stardom Bound. Stardom Bound. Stardom Bound. My dearly departed Aunt Rosie would have loved this beautiful grey who showed speed and power today.

I was surprised to see Saucy Evening bet down as low as she was. She ran a gutty race, as did Haka. I discounted African Skies (GB) greatly, but she ran well and we'll look for her again.

Race 8 at Santa Anita: The Robert Lewis Stakes G2: 1 1/16 miles on Pro Ride for 3 YOs.

Break out the cigars. Pour the bourbon. The Turk hit himself a nice Trifecta in this race. I liked Papa Clem a lot, for no particular reason and he didn't disappoint. If you can insert a longer odds horse into the Tri with a chalk that will win, if gives you a good shot at payouts like this. I have to count, but I've hit maybe three of these since November. The money I've made just on those three wins easily balances the books on my misses. I have no illusions of beating the races, but I do like to prove that a $2 bettor can break even if he keeps his betting discipline. The tri paid $100.90.

Whew! It was a full day. Thanks to my horse racing friends who motivate me to do my homework and produce the best quality blog I'm capable of.

The Nominations Are In: February 7th, 2009

Spectacular, Spectacular. The Turk would love nothing better then to be at the track today, but which one? If forced to choose, I'd say Santa Anita. If I was picking for the most compelling race to me, it would be Fair Grounds.

The Turk has analyzed five races today: Race 8 at FG, The Risen Star G3, Race 8 at Aqu, The Whirlaway 100K, Race 6 at Santa Anita, The Las Virgenes G1, Race 8 at Santa Anita, The Robert B. Lewis G2 and finally Race 9 at Santa Anita, The Strub G2.

Fair Grounds Race 9: The Risen Star G3, 1 1/16 miles on Dirt for 3 YOs.

As usual, my analysis is not a betting strategy. I have constructed a matrix of my expected order of finish. As always, I believe strongly in watching the tote board and looking for value, even if that means betting my third favorite to win if his value is just wowza!

I think my two top horses, Fiesan Fire and Giant Oak are far from locks. My second tier of horses, especially Indygo Mountain and It Happened Here could surprise for a solid win payout. I'm intrigued by Flying Pegasus and Giant Oak, as I think their stock could really rise.

Aqueduct Race 8: The Whirlaway 100k: 1 1/16 miles on dirt for 3 YOs.

Ho hum field. I expect Haynesfield will continue his dominating streak.

Santa Anita Race 6: The Las Virgenes G1: 1 Mile on Pro Ride for Fillies 3 YO.

Another race with a dominating Chalk. Stardom Bound, the beautiful gr/ro hasn't raced since the Breeder's Cup and has a new trainer with Frankel. Work steady.

I'm going to take a 2 buck flyer in the race in the hope that Stardom Bound isn't sharp. My best two candidates are Navigator and Saucey Evening. Like I said, I'd love to see this one live.

Santa Anita Race 8: The Robert B. Lewis: 1 1/16 miles on Pro Ride for 3 YOs.

Pioneerof the Nile finds himself all over Derby favorite lists, and rightfully so. He's a synthetic monster and will be a force in California, of that I am sure. Since the Cash Call, he has worked steady and with urgency in his gallop. 6f and 5f work is very, very good.

I Want Revenge gave Pioneerof the Nile everything he could handle in the CashCall. Papa Clem, and a possible live wire, Oil Man, may compete. As I said, I wish I was here today.

Santa Anita Race 9: The Strub G2: 1 1/8 on Pro Ride for 4 YOs.
I'm burned out at this point, so now charts. i'll be watching Gio Ponti, Nownownow, Cowboy Cal, and from the 13 post Slew's Tiznow. I'm taking Nownownow.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Post Race Analysis for Raceday January 31, 2009

The Turk had a very forgettable weekend of handicapping, with the Donn, the Holy Bull and the Santa Monica all giving him no joy. My fellow horse racing aficionado at tells me quite correctly that the bias was too great to overcome at Gulfstream Park. While I don't disagree completely, I think that bias is relative to the horse, especially at 1 1/8 miles, and that a quality horse can overcome the bias. My mistake, especially in Holy Bull, was throwing the bias out completely.

The Holy Bull G3, Gulfstream Park. 1 1/8 miles on dirt for 3 YOs

The Donn Handicap G1, Gulfstream Park. 1 1/8 miles on dirt for 4 YO and up.

Even when you're not correct you should try to learn/decipher/grasp/rationalize what happened, good and bad.

In the Holy Bull I discounted Saratoga Sinner, as much as I loved the name. The horse had worked very fast before its last race in early January. Leading up to the Holy Bull, the horse's work was dull. I'll be watching Saratoga Sinner, but I don't see how you pick this horse to win from the PP. I guess that's why I'm engaging in "loser talk". Steve Byk spoke highly of Reade Baker's Bear's Rocket, and the horse had worked good, but nothing breath-taking, plus the horse is mostly a synthetic runner. Mrs. Turk nailed this pick in full disclosure.

In the Donn, I was on the hunt for a horse that I thought would bring me good value with a legitimate chance. Anak Nakal went off at $11.50, the bettors 6th favorite choice. He had a great run line, "...was outrun...." Really? Did they have a team of monkeys on that? I was surprised how well Finallymadeit ran. Two races in two weeks. Break up the Yankees!

And in the Santa Monica, I picked Ventura, liked Jibbom, and thought Baronness Thatcher would make the top three. Baroness Thatcher was very strong to the top of the stretch and then dropped like a stone.

Back after it next weekend. If you ain't in it, how you gonna win it!