The Thorofan for allowing this hack handicapper and wretched blogger the opportunity to write for its good members.
Poor Stephen Foster. He wrote some of the most memorable songs in Americana, including Camptown Races, Old Susanna and My Old Kentucky home, yet he died penniless at age 37 after smashing his head into a chamber pot as he passed out from a high fever.
We remember him each year for this race, and his songs are forever ingrained into people of my generation and before me, you know, when kids use to play outside and frolicked in the summer before electronics.
I like the Stephen Foster Handicap quite a bit and its a key handicap division match. This edition of the race presents some real challenges to a handicapper and bettor. In a relatively small field of seven, you could make a legitimate case for five to Win and the final two, and their long prices, take away from the betting opportunity a bit. I think Lea will be the post time chalk and near even money with Commissioner and Hoppertunity hovering near 4 or 5 to 1. If you are price hunting that leaves from my legitimate five two more runners, Noble Bird and Cat Burglar. Noble Bird is intriguing to me while Cat Burglar coming off the Pimlico Special show I've relegated to Show or Fourth in this Crowd.
I expect it to be wet based on this weather forecast. Keep your eye on track conditions as well as scratches, as if the field drops to six, especially if one of my tosses scratches, value starts to really get diluted.
Let's get after this!
|Also Ran's||Cat Burgler/7||B-|
|Churchill Downs Race 8: Post Time 9:42 ET||The Stephen Foster Handicap G1|
|1 1/8 Miles on Dirt||For 3 YO's and Up|
I typically hate playing horses returning from Dubai, but Lea has been freshened and is training well. Trainer Mott is 15% off the layoff, the horse is 5 for 5 in the money on fast dirt, has a win in the wet stuff and is a versatile turf runner as well. 13 of 15 in the money lifetime for Lea and connections.
Commissioner should challenge for the Win. Trainer Pletcher's 4 YO son of A.P. Indy has won two straight at a 1/16 longer than today and should be out there on the pace if he comes well from the gate and gets forward positioning.
I've slipped Noble Bird in fairly high on my handicap and he'll be equally high in my bet construction. The 4 YO is not in the same class as the other top horses here but current form seems really good: a close loss by a head in the Grade 2 Alysheba here at CD on Oaks Day, a nice run a KEE before that for a win. He may not like the extra route of dirt as he's more of a miler, but we'll see. Expect anywhere from 8 to 12 to 1 odds, so I like the value in the Top 3.
Hoppertunity was my Derby horse last year before he scratched. I liked his win here in the Clark Handicap last Thanksgiving but he hasn't really built far off of that. I like Smith up today and his solid work at CD since early April for Trainer Baffert who is 22% of a layoff like this.
And finally Cat Burglar, Baffert's other runner here, who's a bit slow but steady. I have him pegged from 2nd to 4th.
With five horses I think can finish in the Top 4 I'm thinking Trifecta/Superfecta with the only real question if I take a stand and single Lea for the Win.
Something like this: a $2 Super of 2 OVER 4-1-5-7 OVER 4-1-5-7 OVER 4-1-5-7 is a $48 dollar bet. It's alot of betting capital for a return that may be kinda eh.
A 2-1-4-5-7 $2 Tri Box would cost $120. Eh.
A $2 Tri with 2 OVER 1-4-5-7 OVER 1-4-5-7 would cost $24 bucks.
I like the handicap, I'm not sure I like my bet ideas yet. Have some fun with it friends, keep the gambling real and enjoy.
Don't forget to tune into NBC Saturday Night for the races.