That smilin' cowboy to the left is Larry Jones, the winning conditioner of Havre de Grace, the 2011 winner of the Grade III Azeri at Oaklawn Park on Rebel Stakes day.
The Turk netted $140 bucks but came up just short of his targeted Pick Four bet when the last leg, a Maiden Claimer, didn't go our way. A Superfecta bet on the Azeri did well for me, as I didn't think it was too complicated to have Havre de Grace and Blind Luck 1-2 and then find a few others for Show and 4th. My Superfecta bet in the Rebel came up just off, as Sartaoga Red and JW Blue snuck in ahead of lumbering duo Sway Away and JP's Gusto. Sway Away was a real disappointment and I'm curious where he turns next, while J.P's Gusto is about what I thought he was. The race was very different then what I handicapped with the scratch of Elite Alex and then the late scratch of Alternation, but no excuses.
What do we make of The Factor. I've loved him this spring but perhaps wrongly pigeonholed him as a sprinter/miler. The gallop out showed me he's got 1 1/8 no problem and 1 1/4 may be within reach.
Oaklawn Park Pick Four March 19, 2011
We've finally reached the most interesting part of Derby prep time. The serious runners of the 3 YO crop will be making plans for their final preps and horses we may be discounting at this point will slip under the radar. What a great sport, ain't life grand?
Have fun this week, be safe, show your friends and family you love them. The Turk gave up bourbon and cigars for lent so I'm overcompensating with coffee to keep my cheery disposition intact.