Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Nomination Is In: The Queen's Plate $1,000,000 at Woodbine

Attfield looking for 9th Win: Globe and Mail
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk, handicapping today for the Thorofan Handicappers Corner.

The Queen's Plate, a restricted classic distance race run over poly, has been a tough race for me to handicap over the years.  The contenders often  have varied and unimpressive past performances, especially when compared to their three year old contemporaries in the United States.  Once you embrace Woodbine as a track to play you'll learn its poly places pretty fair, that in general turf like pace is the norm, and that it's racing, just a bit different, and with just a bit different paradigm.  The trainers are good, the locals are good, there is a home field advantage and Yanks just don't show up and win easily. Fillies win, maidens win, it's a gosh darn free for all!  So what is a handicapper to do? The same thing he always does:  be consistent in your approach.  What that means for the Turk is a complete analysis of the Past Performances, video analysis where practical, an open mind, and bet construction that comes only after a base handicap, regardless of odds or tote board action specifically, is created.

Anyway, let's jump into this and see what we have to work with!

I print my DRF Formulator PP's (now that they print again- don't get me started on that debacle DRF!) without Morning Line odds.  In my opinion, morning lines are another handicappers bias and bias is something I try to avoid.  I also try to avoid reading articles pre race, mainstream media or other bloggers, about a certain horse, owner, or any sort of human interest tied to the horse. Again, that creates bias.  As a racing fan, I get into all that stuff, just after I've ponied up to the betting window.  I do however like to print the DRF Closer Look and DRF's Jennifer Morrison is one of the best.  Her opinions provide just enough of a balance to my own opinions and after doing this a long while, I like the collaboration, albeit loose collaboration.

We Miss Artie seems like an overwhelming favorite and I would suspect he will be bet down top even money or lower. :26 2/5ths in the last 1/4 mile of the Kentucky Derby, across a surface he didn't much like, winner of the Spiral and handily in the Plate Trial on 15 June.  Trainer Pletcher, with Castellano up, have a three for three poly winner and Pletcher won the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity at KEE.  Pletcher won the Queen's Plate in 1998.  Were not talking unbeatable but very solid.

I like Asserting Bear and the filly Lexie Lou as possible upset candidates.  Asserting Bear should like the extra distance, is very game, and has been training sharply.  Trainer Baker places Sutherland-Kruse up. Only one win in 5 poly tries.  Lexie Lou should also attract betting dollars.  Winner of Woodbine Oaks on 15 June, she sports the best Beyer on fake dirt of all starters and is 8 of 11 in the money at Woodbine lifetime.  Husbands, Up and Trainer Casse are 27% together at WO in 179 tried over past year.

My next group of four could jump into Place, but I'm expecting Show, fourth or fifth: Matador, Casse's second of three starters, with Leparoux up, came off the road and posted a $75K OC win going away at 8.5 panels on 28 June.  A Malibu Moon colt.

Lions Bay, sent to the gate by young Jamie Attard, is really stepping up in class, but he should like the distance.  Tower of Texas is Trainer Roger Attfield's lone entrant as he attempts to win this race for the ninth time.  1 win in 8 Poly starts. 1 win in 7 WO starts. He has a perfect running style and I could easily make a case for a Win spot.  Consider playing him for a good price.  John Velazquez is up today.

Ami's Holiday is my cut off line.  A good effort in G3 Lexington at KEE  and  a G3 winner across this track.  Jock/Trainer combo of Contreras/Carroll won in 2011 with Inglorious and Carroll has won this twice. 

Majestic Sunrise and Coltimus Prime are my only two "non tosses":  Casse's third starter Majestic Sunrise ran well in the Plate Trial; Coltimus Prime ran well in the Blue Grass Stakes but comes in off a slow N2L Allowance win at WO at 1 1/8 Miles on June 8.

I'm tossing at my own peril Niigon Express and Man O' Bear.  Either could have been in my Exotic Group.  I'm tossing without fanfare Athenian Guard, Cap in Hand, Heart to Heart and One Destiny (entered 5 July as well).

There is a mandatory payout Super High Five with 20 cent options.  Better than a lottery ticket and I'll take an educated bet over an idiotic lottery ticket any day.

What shall The Turk do?  After pondering a bit I wasn't able to assemble a Super High Five ticket that created an investment option that felt good in my gut.  I have however built a Superfecta option I'll consider:

$0.20 Superfecta:  4-6-12-14 OVER 4-6-12-14 OVER 4-8-10-12-14-15 OVER 4-8-10-12-14-15 =$60  Will it pay enough to cover the bet?  I have to think on that awhile.  Speculative investments are just that, and past performance is no promise of future outcomes. Bet responsibly or just use monopoly money and enjoy the racing.  It should be a good card.

Have fun friends, Turk Out!