The sun is shining and summer is here. My mind drifts to my favorite place to be, Saratoga Race Track, with a season that's only 27 days away. The litany of races that I enjoy is legion, but the short list is The Kings Bishop, The Woodward, The Travers and The Alabama. That's the short list, I could babel on, but I've already made plans to be there on Alabama and Woodward Day which gives my work-weary mind something to look forward to. That beautiful gal pictured is the regal, Royal Delta, Alabama winner, Breeders' Cup Distaff Champion and last week's runaway Stephen Foster Handicap, errrrrr, Fleur De Lis winner. In a year that is devoid of older horse speed, Royal Delta suddenly seems like Game On Dude's biggest challenge in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Yeah, I'm getting ahead of myself, but I'm a blogger, I'm allowed to be irresponsible.
Today's pickings were a bit light. I'm going to focus on tomorrow's Woodbine Queens Plate Day but keep an eye on the fillies I hope to see the Alabama, and to do that, I'm handicapping The Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont and the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks.
I had an OK betting night last weekend on Stephen Foster Handicap Day at Churchill Downs. We'll take a peek back and at some of that action as well.
Let's get after this!
Kentucky Oaks 2012
Acorn Stakes 2012
Black Eyed Susan 2012
Have I mentioned how much I am looking forward to the Alabama?
Larry Jones is 25% off the layoff and Believe You Can is making her race leading 10th start and looks to add to her race leading career earnings of $1.06 MM. A Grade 1, 2 and 3 winner.
Contested cruised here at Belmont,essentially uncontested, in the Acorn. She's a major player, with wins at Santa Anita, Belmont and Churchill Downs. Her sixth start, she was the chalk in every one of her previous 5 trips to post. Baffert clipping along at 32%.
Watch the Black Eyed Susan (above)and tell me who was opening up in the last 1/16 after working so hard to get through traffic. That's right, the Gr/Ro. daughter of Giacamo, Disposable Pleasure. A nice play may be to put Disposable Pleasure, who'll go off >6-1, on top and key exacta with both Believe You Can and Contested. that's worth $4 bucks to me!
At Hollywood later tonight is an 8 horse Hollywood Oaks.
The Santa Anita Oaks 2012
Melair Stakes 2012
Hollywood Starlet 2011
If you have a pulse, you've enjoyed Willa B Awesome all spring. 5 of 7 in the money on fake dirt, a Grade 1 winner, a Grade 3 winner, the race career earnings leader and making her race leading 14th start. A zippy :59 flat 5f work this week. Lots to like but I'm going to back Potesta.
Trainer Mitchell's stats are eye-popping: 35% fake dirt, 32% off layoff, 28% won last start, 26% routes and 33% wins on 61 starts when he places Talamo up. 8 pound advantage over Willa B Awesome.
Killer Graces pulled a $28.40 shocker in the Hollywood Starlet in December but is winless in 2012. 5 of 5 in the money at HOL, 5 of 7 in the money on fake dirt, trainer Hollendorfer is 24% on the Turf/Fake Dirt Switch. Not sure if she can win, but she's got guts and will be in the mix.
Eden's Moon is a Grade 1 winner but comes in after flaming out badly in the Kentucky Oaks. Baffert has her sharp and she will be dangerous in this group. Winless on only one fake dirt start
Hollendorfer has Via Villagio as well, returning after a Beyer jump to win the Grade 2 Railbird at 7f on HOL fake dirt in mid May.
I think this is a nice betting race, just enough horses and just enough parity to keep the odds honest. I'll be constructing exotics based around my base handicap.
In last week's Pick 4 of the Stephen Foster Handicap Day, an excellent nigh time racing card at Churchill Downs, I had some good handicapping and some OK, not great, bet constructions. Highlights were getting Treasured Up into the Trifecta of the Grade 3 Regret. Positive ROI, more of a single than a home run.
Fleur De Lis 2012
Have Fun, Turk Out!