|Songbird at Santa Anita: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire|
Welcome friends to The Turk and The Little Turk Blog, a handicapping and horse racing blog established in 2008 on the premise of offering no BS handicapping to people who never asked for it. It's free and it stacks up well with anything you will pay for.
Mr Rick Porter and Fox Hill Farms are the type of horse campaigners this sport needs more of. A true sportsman in every sense of the word, Mr, Porter has brought to this game some of The Turk's favorite runners over the past 10+ years: Harve de Grace, Hard Spun, Eight Belles, Rockport Harbor, Old Fashioned, Kodiak Kowboy and now Songbird.
How many of you rank 2011's Delaware Handicap as one of the greatest races of this decade so far:
We wish Mr. Porter the best as his long battle with cancer continues. How many losses of true horsemen can this sport survive? That's what the Turk worries about, but that's a deeper question for bloggers more worthy than I.
Today's edition of the Delaware Handicap doesn't contain a Blind Luck or even a Life at Ten (The Life at Ten Breeders' Cup Distaff debacle to me is still one of the great horse racing black eyes of the past decade).
I'm going to think horizontally today with a Pick 3. I can take the contrarian position that the enormous favorite Songbird will be beaten or I can single her and try and find value in the first two legs.
Let's get after it!
The Dirt and Turf are listed as GOOD and there are no scratches as of this morning. The weather doesn't look to be a problem so expect upgrading in the track as the day goes on.
Race 7 is a $50,000 Stakes Race, The Hockessin, a one turn 6 furlong affair for 3 YOs and Up on the dirt. Eighty Three is 8 of 9 on fast dirt in the money and 8 of 9 in the money at this distance. Last raced April 13, Trainer David Jocobsen is only 9% off the 61-180 day break. Expect the 6 YO gelded son of Harlan's Holiday out of Life's a Dance to be chalk. The two I have my eye on are Never Gone South and Debt Ceiling.
Never Gone South enters off a 6f driving win in late June and is 6 of 7 in the money on fast dirt while Trainer Cathal Lynch is 23% stakes winner over past year on 39 tries. Debt Ceiling, a recent claim of Kieth Nations has been working really well over past month and makes 2017 debut here. Nations is 18% with new claims, 12% off 180 Day layoff. Expect good price. I'm not that high on some that will be high on tote board: Always Sunshine and Chief Lion. You have to pick your poison sometimes.
In Race 8 we have the The Kent, a Grade 3 1 1/8 mile route over grass for 3 YOs. Trainer Christophe Clement, a 19% Turf winner on 634 starts in past year, brings in Frostmourne, the Grade 2 Penn Mile winner last time out. This colt is rapidly improving.
Master Plan is an $850,000 March 16 OBS purchase trained by Todd Pletcher. Classy Twirling Candy from Sage Mist (Henry Hughes). Winner of the Delaware Park $50K Stanton, his second race back after a well beaten Show to Thunder Snow in UAE Derby and a very well beaten hand ride in his first effort back, the G3 Peter Pan in May. Will be bet heavily and he's really a coin toss which way he goes.
I like The Tortoise: Two bullets coming into the race and a 1 Mile Allowance win on from turf here at Delaware last time out. Lunaire shouldn't be ignored but again, you can't cover everyone. A Malibu Moon colt, conditioned by Trainer Thomas Albertrani with Mike Smith up. Adonis Creed beaten by Master Plan in the Stanton is a Brilliant Speed colt. Brilliant Speed died yesterday in a freak lightning strike at Three Chimneys Farm. Rest in Peace Brilliant Speed!
In Race 9, the Delaware Handicap it's Songbird's to lose. Trainer Kieth Nation's has Martini Glass training well and enters off a game Place in a 100K stakes. Weep No More goes with blinkers today for Trainer George Arnold. Winless since a Grade 1 Ashland win in 2016 from last at the top of the stretch to first at the wire. Field size is the same and the pace maybe the same. Songbird is better than this.
So what to do? First of all, have fun and do your own handicapping. When it comes to bet construction, you have several ways to approach this.
I think there are 5 contenders in Race 7, 4 Contenders in Race 8 and One Contender in Race 9. Top to bottom in base handicap is how I count those out.
A $2 PICK THREE with 5 Horses OVER 4 Horses OVER Single would cost $40. That's not value and isn't a bet worth betting.
Two basic approaches, maybe three:
- Single Songbird and look for value in first two legs
- Look for Songbird upset, but if that happens you MUST win first two legs
- Keep bet cost <$20 bucks and enjoy the action.
For low cost betting on this three race sequence I've settled on either a $16 bet that envisions Songbird's Defeat or an $18 that gives me three chances in the first two legs and Songbird singled.
I'll be watching the toteboard and won't be that emotional about which 2 or 3 I cover in Race 7 and 8. I'll use my base handicap and the tote board to find value.