Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Nomination Is In: The Whitney Grade 1 at Saratoga

Gun Runner in the Razorback-Coady Photography

Welcome Friends to the Turk and the Little Turk.  

Today's Handicap's of Race 9 and 10 at Saratoga are in support of a vertical Pick 3 bet construction project, with Race 8, The Test as the opening leg.  You can find my full blown video analysis and thoughts on that race here

Race 9 is The Grade 1 Whitney contested at 1 1/8 Miles over dirt, a version of which I'm not sure yet.  Keep your eye on the track conditions and scratches and changes as the day goes on.  It looks like duck weather until mid afternoon.  

It's a challenging three race series this Pick 3.  I'm saying way up front, I'm not sure how much betting capital I'll be wagering, as there are easier spots to pick than this.  What I think I'm going to do is assemble some prices in Race 8 and Race 10 and consider singling Gun Runner in Race 9. Alternatively, I'll cover several prices to beat Gun Runner and add a few covers in race 8 and 10. Both strategies have their merits.  Do I like Gun Runner?  I love how he is campaigned. Churchill Downs, Dubai, Oaklawn, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita, Parx, Saratoga, Monmouth.  7 tracks in last 8 starts.  8 wins in 15 starts.  $4.6 MM in earnings.  The four year old Candy Ride from Quiet Giant (Giant's Causeway) is classy, trains well for Asmussen, and Asmusen/Geroux seem to have his pulse.  Lot's to like.  Lots to Like here?  3 Wet Starts, 1 Place. and last off track was a sloppy and sealed Haskell Invitational in 2016 a well beaten 6 lengths.  

Let's get it on!

The Haskell
2016- Gun Runner no excuses, good trip, hated the surface and the dirt in his face when things tightened up.

The Charlestown Classic G2  CT 1 1/8 Sloppy/Sealed- Closer Favoring- Game effort for War Story;  Cautious Giant 22 beaten lengths. 

Stephen Foster Handicap   CD 1 1/8 Fast dirt - Gun Runner by 8, Breaking Lucky well beaten Show.

Alysheba G2 CD  1 1/16 Miles Sloppy/Sealed- Breaking Lucky 0/2 Wet Track, 0/8 distance

Flat Out Stakes $98K 13/8 Miles  Fast Dirt BEL  Tu Brutus in a romp

Excelsior Stakes G3 Aqu.  1 1/4 Miles Fast Dirt- Tu Brutus (Chi) good first US effort

Suburban Handicap G2 BEL 1 1/4 Fast Dirt   Paceless for a mile.  Keen Ice by 3 over chalk Shaman Ghost

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile 2016  SA- A Closer favoring pace form with Gun Runner gamely Place.

I'd love to woo you with some BS and sound like I know exactly how this is going to play out, but I'm sorry you'll have to buy a Pink or some other colored sheet to get that sort of "expert" analysis. The track conditions, the surface itself, the fields lack of sloppy and sealed success gives me no real insights.  That said, let's take stock of what we know.

  • Gun Runner is the best horse on the track
  • Keen Ice is the tiniest of notches below.  I also love how Donegal and Calumet are campaigning Curlin's five year old.  
  • War Story's past performances implies he does better in speed duels than closers, except on wet surfaces.  His lifetime high 106 Beyer was on a good surface and I liked his sloppy and sealed Charles Town Classic
  • Tu Brutus (Chi) has never run on an off track.  I'm thinking he will set the pace and be gobbled up. 
  • Breaking Lucky is winless in 8 starts at the distance, winless on off track, 3 wins in 20 career starts but is an Ontario bred millionaire.  I don't like the way he looked in the Alysheba on a sloppy and sealed.  
  • Cautious Giant and Discreet Lover will be the longest prices on the board.  Neither is much of a threat, a combined 56 starts and 8 wins. That said, if swinging for the fences, Cautious Giant is interesting on the right track .  
You could just press the easy button at pick Gun Runner, possibly single him.  I wouldn't criticize you for that.  I think it's as likely he fades to 4th as it is he wins and the wildcard is the track.  

I don't see much reason to overthink this one.  I'm going to watch the races before Race 8, get a feel for the surface, and cover 2 or 3 horses.  

Have fun friends, Turk Out!

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