Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Nomination Is In: April 8, 2011: Keeneland Opening Day; The Transylvania Grade III on Turf

di·chot·o·my   /daɪˈkɒtəmi/ [dahy-kot-uh-mee]

–noun, plural -mies.
1. division into two parts, kinds, etc.; subdivision into halves or pairs.
2. division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups: a dichotomy between thought and action.
3. Botany . a mode of branching by constant forking, as in some stems, in veins of leaves, etc.
4. Astronomy . the phase of the moon or of an inferior planet when half of its disk is visible.
5. Hating the BS synthetic race track but loving everything else about Keeneland

It just feels like spring finally and opening day of Keeneland has lifted my spirits. I admit to being a rather bored horse racing fan right now. My good friends know my passion runs deep for older horses, milers and turf runners but every year I get sucked into the Triple Crown season and this year has just left me cold. I look at Uncle Mo and I think i see greatness, but who knows? How would we know from the body of work he's composed as a three year old. I don't want to strike the same note I rang in my last blog post but I just hate the play it safe campaign. My heart sank when I heard the news today that Premier Pegasus was out of the Santa Anita Derby with a broken cannon bone. That was a horse campaigning and making a fan out of me.

So, I reckon I digressed: I'm here to talk about the Grade III Translyvania on the grass. I think I gravitated to a turf race as I haven't seen my own lawn up here in Buffalo since sometime late last year and I just don't like the synthetic dirt. Everybody has their own personal gripes: I put up with it at Hollywood and Woodbine and Arlington, but I just never got over it at Santa Anita and I don't like it much here.

I love the field size and the challenge of the turf, and while these 3 YO babies don't have much of a history over the grass, I treat these early season races as homework. We'll keep the risks reasonable and live to bet another day. Let's get after it!

Keeneland Race 9: Post Time 5:23 ET

Some of the top turf conditioners bring colts into this race and I'm backing Christoper Clement's Adirondack Summer. With Alan Garcia up, and by the way, he wins 20% of the time teamed with Clement, 3 of 3 in the money on turf with 2 wins, and a very sharp effort at Gulfstream Park in the Dania Beach, embedded below.

Powhatan County is 4 of 4 in the money over turf. Just got the distance at 1 mile in early March. feast or famine, I think I could have easily slotted him in the fifth spot. Talented but not wildly classy.

Great Mills, son of War Front, has just gaudy Tomlinson numbers: 475 on Turf and 460 at the distance on Turf. Steve Asmussen puts grass master Leparoux up. Won last start on yielding turf at 7 and 1/2 panels.

Pluck was just sick at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He had a fantastic 2 YO campaign and while he started his three year old season off slowly as a well beaten heavy chalk, Trainer Graham Motion, with Go Go Gomez up, win 22% of their 2nd off of 45-180 day layoffs and Motion clips along at 22% of graded stakes and 19% turf. His pairing with Gomez is something rare for the both of them.

Stormy Rush has been training regular and sharp and I have pretty deep respect for Trainer Roger Attfield: a 20% turf winner and a 23% winner on long layoffs. I may sneak him up and drop back Powhatan County on a few of my tickets.

I hope Ronin Dax runs well: Owned by two of my favorite handicappers, I like the Beyer progression and the sharp work but the son of Tapit will have his work cut out for him in this spot.

I put up some interesting video to get a feel for how these horses won and lost. Have fun with these races and enjoy Keeneland opening day.

Turk out!

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf

Dania Beach 100K Gulfstream Park

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