The all business, Lady of Shamrock, with Mike Smith up, daughter of Scat Daddy, looks to take the next step in filly turf racing in this weekend's American Oaks at Hollywood Park. Thanks to Benoit for the wonderful action picture.
California racing shifts to Del Mar on Wednesday but the Turk will be saying goodbye to California racing until the fall meet at Santa Anita. I'm a hypocrite, I know, but I do well on some fake dirt courses, and Hollywood seems to be one of them, and I don't do well at others, and Del Mar seems to resemble that remark. The Turk's been spending quite a bit of time in Southern California lately and I hope to make a trip to Del Mar in the next few weeks to try and improve on my putrid feel for the racing there.
Is Saratoga really upon us? I preferred opening day on a Wednesday, and I'd rather see a shorter meet with fewer races than a watered down product, but the NYRA doesn't ask my opinion. The Turk will be there opening day as well as several other times throughout the meet, including Alabama and Woodward Day. Why don't I have the same aversion to playing Saratoga as I do Del Mar? I'm not that good at Saratoga either, but hey, I'm an established hypocrite, see my previous paragraph.
What The Turk is, besides being a hypocrite, is a disciplined bettor. I'll handicap a track for days without placing a bet- I like to get a feel for how things are playing on both surfaces and at different distances before I wager hard earned investment capital. At Hollywood, Santa Anita, Woodbine, Arlington and Churchill Downs that approach seems to work and I get locked into a serious winning riff. That approach doesn't cut it at Del Mar and at Saratoga the jury is out on my lifetime ROI, but if I had the nerve to look, I'd say not so good.
All that said, I'll be handicapping lots of races at Saratoga and some at Del Mar, never let it be said I didn't warn you to take these picks with much skepticism.
Let's get after this!
BHP Race 8 and 9: Saturday July 14
I have loved the quality of runners at Hollywood all meet. There are no world beaters, but some really competitive horses and some quality fields. I think these races are no exception.
In the A Gleam, I'm dropping a Thoroughbred Legends Stable runner, Glamorista in as the chalk: 4 of 5 lifetime in the money for this lightly raced mare, a step up in class, but I like the odds this horse will go off at and I'll cover her in all spots in my Super. Sutherland up for Baffert, the Hollywood Gold Cup team.
Another long shot fills my Place spot, Sugarinthemorning. This Candy Ride daughter has Placed three times in last four startsand Trainer McAnally has had her on the bench since late May. A bit high here but I'll also be covering in all spots in my Super.
Switch is a Turk favorite and I'm expecting a change to Gomez might be a good shake-up move for trainer Sadler. I doubt I'm the only one who gets a chill seeing Calumet Farms listed as the breeder, I wish we still had the devil red silks to watch as well but greed screwed that up I reckon. A sharp 6f 1:12 and 1/5 work signals good form. I'm thinking she breaks out here, so I can't let my Super get too pricey.
The next four are all exceptionaly even so this has the potential to be a nice pot for whoever can decode it, even if Switch goes off as a heavy favorite and wins.
In the American Oaks, I like Lady of Shamrock; 5 of 7 in the money on turf but no HOL turf wins and no attempts at this distance. A late turn of foot, I dont think the distance will be the issue.
Colonial Flag and Miss Cato (GB) are two I like alot. Mike Matz ships in Colonial Flag off a close Place in the Regret last month. Maragh ships in as well to take over for Leparoux. I had her on top that Stephen Foster day race.
Miss Cato (GB) gets lasix for the first time and races in North America for the first time as well. 7 of 7 in the money. Not sure if she'll like the turf, I guess we'll find out.
My Gi Gi was demolished in the Breeders' Cup, placed there for who knows what reason, but seems to be building on her turf base and she comes in off a G2 win by a nose and G3 loss by a nose. She's game, no doubt.
There's some nice racing this weekend at Arlington Park and I'll focus my efforts at Hollywood and Arlington this weekend. At Hollywood I'll bet just these two races, focused on exotics, Tri's or Supers. I'll follow my base handicap that i have here and keep both wagers reasonable.