Equidaily Racing Journal



Saturday, May 20, 2006
Picks and plays for some of the day's major stakes
by Seth Merrow

Clearly, all comments on the day are tempered by the unfortunate fate of Barbaro in the Preakness. His racing days are over -- but we join other racing fans in hoping that his surgery is successful and he can go on to live a long life.

Otherwise, we had another good day. But it could have been a great day if we had only been a little bolder. Live and learn.

Two weeks ago in the Derby we were willing to jump in five-deep into both the exacta and the tri pools. This week, in the Preakness, we were only willing to go that far in the exacta -- and it cost us. We liked Bernardini as our second pick -- and we mentioned that we felt Hemingway's Key was worth using. In the end, our handicapping was pretty good but our plays left money on the table. With the exacta box we were taking into account the possibility of an upset -- but we really didn't have anything in the mix to take advantage of the possibility of Hemingway's Key finishing third. Ouch! A replay of our wagering from the Derby would have had us grabbing the $3912.80/$2 tri. And, though we don't play super's often, in the Preakness it was our second, third, and fourth picks, along with value-play Hemingway's Key to box up for that $22,302.40/$2 gimmick! Live and learn indeed!

Still, we managed a decent profit on the day with a pretty good mix of scores. We collected at least a little something in ten of the twelve races. On top selections went 3-12 (Belmont, $4.50; Pimlico, $3.20, 5.60).

WAGERED: $520.00
COLLECTED: $682.35

Turf wagers are turf only

Best Bets

Belmont, Race 8, Sunriver... WON (4.50, 3.00, 2.30).
Pimlico, Race 7, My Typhoon... 4th at 8-5.
Pimlico, Race 11, Reckless Ways... Scratched.
Delaware, Race 7, Annika Lass... 2nd at 5-2 (xxx, 2.80, 2.20).

Pimlico: Preakness G1 $1 mil

Bernardini 12-1
Sweetnorthernsaint 8-1
Hemingway's Key 29-1

Wager: $5 WP on Barbaro.
DNF at 1-2*.
...$2 WPS on Hemingway's Key.
Collected $8.00 on the WPS (xxx, xxx, 8.00).
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 1-DNF.
...$1 exacta box top four -- plus Hemingway's Key [that's a 5-horse exacta box].
Collected $85.80 on the ex box ($171.60/$2).
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-2-4-DNF.

Barbaro...We didn't use him in the Derby but remarked that we would applaud his win as it would indicate he was something special. The manner in which he did it was even more impressive than we might have anticipated. Looks like the real deal. Critics certainly have something to hang their hat on with the short break off of a top career effort -- but a superior horse should overcome that. We're taking the stand this one will do it.
Bernardini...Beautifully bred and living up to that on the track. The knock is the light resume -- but the win in the G3 Withers was good-looking. That was a short field, but a couple that he beat that day are legit.
Brother Derek...He's gets his shot today -- no excuses. He ran well to be fourth in the Derby despite the wide trip. He's getting plenty of support going into this off of those trip notes. Can't really knock his record. It's now or never.
Sweetnorthernsaint...Similar scenario to Brother Derek Some trouble in the Derby. Another chance today.

Of the others, we're kind of out in left field here, but we'll be using Hemingway's Key in some manner. Comes in for Zito and that guy has upset Triple Crown events before with Louis Quatorze and Birdstone. Granted, their credentials were better than Hemingway but we just have a hunch this one might do something this afternoon. Had trouble in his last two. Brings in a nice work over the deep training track at Saratoga. Like Now is very scary from the rail. If they let him slip away early he might be tough to catch -- as proved the case in the G3 Gotham. Thing is, it's hard to believe he won't have some company up front today. Diabolical has show some flashes and we would consider him as a value play in the gimmicks -- but we've already made our pick in that department. Platinum Couple and Greeley's Legacy looks up against it in our eyes -- but both have shown some flashes and wouldn't be outrageous shockers, particularly in the gimmicks.

Belmont: Peter Pan G2 $200K

Sunriver 6-5*
Lewis Michael 13-1
Strong Contender 2-1

Wager: $5 WP on Sunriver.
Collected $18.75 on the WP (4.50, 3.00).
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 1-3.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 1-3-7-8.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-3-7-8.

Sunriver...It seemed like the connections were high on this guy's chances in the Ky Derby but he just missed being eligible on the earnings list. He's shown some flashes -- in his last three he has a win, bookended by two losses to Barbaro. Gets a chance to verify things today.
Strong Contender...His first two indicated plenty of talent. Waters might have been a bit too deep diving into G1 Blue Grass in only his thirds start -- but he finished third, in front of Bluegrass Cat, the Derby place-horse.
Really Indian...Drysdale shows immense confidence spotting this one here off of the debut maiden-breaker.

Pimlico: Baltimore BC Turf Sprint $100K

My Lord 7-1
Southern Missile 8-5*
Spring Kitten 32-1

Wager: $5 WP on Procreate.
Ran 7th at 7-2.
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 1-7.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Collected $26.30 on the ex box ($52.60/$2).
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-2-6-7.

Procreate...Speed from the inside should put him in a good position entering the turn.
My Lord...6-for-12 at the trip. Should be rolling late.
Southern Missile...his two grass races have been good.
All Hail Stormy.

Pimlico: Hirsch Jacobs G3 $100K

Songster 3-5*
Valid Brush 9-1
Urban Guy 5-1

My Dynomite scratched.

Wager: $5 WP on Songster.
Collected $14.50 on the WP (3.20, 2.60).
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 1-3-4.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-3-4.

Songster...3-1-2-0 lifetime record -- and the two seconds were behind Too Much Bling and Exclusive Quality. Talented and should like 6F.
My Dynomite...Undefeated and untested so far. Bullet work for this last Sunday.
Pagan Moon...Only blemish on his record was a 7F race.
Urban Guy.

Pimlico: Gallorette Hcp G3 $100K

Ozone Bere 7-1
Humoristic 6-1
Art Fan 8-1

Amorama scratched.

Wager: $5 WP on My Typhoon.
Ran 4th at 8-5*.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 4-5-11.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 4-5-11.

My Typhoon...Was a solid 3YO turf filly last year. Off since November but Mott is OK on the comeback and if she's ready she should prove tough.
Amorama...G1 winner last year hasn't gotten back to top form yet -- but is eligible to do so at any time.
Thetactics Ofdance...Seems to have moved forward since entering the Mott barn.
Smart N Classy.

Pimlico: Sir Barton $100K

High Cotton 4-1
Ultimate Goal 7-2
Little Cliff 5-1

Wager: $5 WP on Ah Day.
Ran 5th at 1-1*.
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 4-5.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Collected $23.40 on the ex box ($46.80/$2).
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-2-4-5.

Ah Day...Potential Preakness starter opted out for this spot. Last four races have been very good -- topped by the Tesio win last time.
Vegas Play...Improved effort to run second to Ah Day in the Tesio --but was that performance aided by the off-track? We'll know more today.
Ultimate Goal...Well-bred youngster from Pletcher gets first stakes test today but is meant to be a good one.
High Cotton.

Pimlico: Md BC Sprint Hcp G3 $200K

Friendly Island 9-5*
Celtic Innis 24-1
Gaff 2-1

Wager: $5 WP on Friendly Island.
Collected $24.50 on the ex box.
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 1-3.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 1-3-4-5.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-3-4-5.

Friendly Island...Lightly raced 5YO finally getting a chance to string a few together. Finished second to Bordonaro last time and he's probably the pro-tem leader of the division.
Gaff...Was rounding into top form before the Dubai excursion. Comebackers from that trip are always a question mark but he's had a couple months to recover.
Crafty Schemer...Expect he's better than he showed last time.

Pimlico: Dixie G2 $250K

Better Talk Now 7-2
Dreadnaught 12-1
Artie Schiller 1-2*

Wager: $5 WP on Artie Schiller.
Ran 3rd.
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 3-5.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Collected $35.20 on the ex box ($70.40/$2).
...$1 tri box top four.
Collected $54.10 on the tri box ($108.20/$2).

Artie Schiller...Just missed in 2006 debut. Should be primed to run well here. Missed by a nose in this race last year.
Rebel Rebel...Should be stalking with the second-flight -- all behind Shake the Bank. Will be coming late.
Better Talk Now...Ran fourth here last year. Might need a race.

Pimlico: Schaefer Hcp G3 $100K

Master Command 6-5*
Andromeda's Hero 7-2
Funny Cide 8-5

Reckless Ways scratched.

Wager: $5 WP on Reckless Ways.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 2-3-4.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 2-3-4.

Reckless Ways...5YO is at the top of his game right now. Came from eighteen back to win last.
Funny Cide...Gutsy win last time. Will be forwardly placed but a couple of others look capable of contending early. Tough if he can sneak away though.
Andromeda's Hero...Should appreciate this company.
Play Bingo.

Delaware: Sweet and Sassy $75K

Trickle of Gold 1-1*
Annika Lass 5-2
Miss Elsie 8-1

Wager: $5 WP on Annika Lass.
Collected $7.00 on the WP (xxx, 2.80).
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 2-7.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Collected $6.70 on the ex box ($13.40/$2).
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-2-5-7.

Annika Lass...Asmussen mare making third start off layoff might offer a little bit of value. With plenty of early speed in here she might be able to take advantage late.
Flame of Love...Had some trouble in a G2 two back, otherwise she's riding a nice streak into this.
Trickle of Gold...Set the track record here at 5.5F in her latest. That was just two weeks ago and trainer was voicing some concern about the quick turnaround.
Stormy Kiss.

Churchill: Matt Winn $100K

Changing Weather 5-1
Court Folly 6-1
He's Got Grit 7-5*

Wager: $5 WP on He's Got Grit.
Ran 3rd.
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 3-5.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Collected $29.70 on the ex box ($59.40/$2).
...$1 tri box top four.
Collected $98.80 on the tri box ($197.60/$2).

He's Got Grit...Undefeated in four starts including two stakes -- but they were all as a 2YO last year. Layoff like this are always a concern but if Asmussen has him ready he might have a slight edge on these.
Grand Survival...Broke maiden in Saratoga debut then was ambitiously placed -- and faltered -- in two stakes races. Big improvement in second 3YO could signal good things.
Changing Weather...We liked this guy last year but he just never lived up to those high hopes. Two 3YO starts were decent and this crowd in probably a little easier than the SoCal foes.
Court Folly.

Hollywood: Laz Barrera Mem G2 $150K

Northern Soldier 9-1
Remembering Star 6-1
Arson Squad 6-5*

Wager: $5 WP on Quietly Go.
Ran 7th at 2-1.
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 3-7.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Collected $59.80 on the ex box ($119.60/$2).
...$1 tri box top four.
Collected $189.80 on the tri box ($379.60/$2).

Quietly Go...Baffert runner has improving numbers and looks capable of stalking the early pace if it's too hot.
Arson Squad...Comes in off of a nice stakes win last time -- beating Da Stoops.
Remembering Star...Beat older horses while breaking maiden. Looks ready for this assignment.
Northern Soldier.

Coast-to-coast Archives...Picks, plays and results from previous weeks


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