Equidaily Racing Journal



Saturday, June 17, 2006
Picks and plays for some of the day's major stakes
by Seth Merrow

There's no getting around it -- when you're in deep, playing fourteen races, you can't whiff too many times. We had four winners on top [Delaware, $2.60; Churchill, $3.80, 3.80, 6.80] -- but there just wasn't a whole lot clicking. We had six races where tow of our top three selections were among the top three finishers -- but yielded us no exactas. Ouch. When we did hit -- low-value.

WAGERED: $552.00
COLLECTED: $249.95

Turf wagers are turf only

Best Bets

It was just the kind of afternoon where you have to shrug and move on... A $2 win-bet on each Best Bet, plus $2 each way on the exacta box in the mix, would have cost $24 and would have returned $17.80. So there was a loss -- but the four second-place finishes were enough to cause us to pull out our hair.

Bright Abundance and AP Warrior both lost head-bobbers that could have gone either way. At 3-1 they each would have moved us into the black on their own -- much less if we had gotten both home! Naughty Is took the lead in the stretch but just didn't have enough -- losing by half a length at 7-2. And My Interpretation was beaten by almost four lengths -- so he wasn't close, but the frustration there was that the winner moved in off the AE list, and we would have liked him had we been able to predict that. Unfortunately scratches and AE listers moving into the body of the field are just part of the game when it comes to posting picks early...

Again, the selections were solid. A couple of head-bobs or breaks and we wind up making money. Just have to move on and stay the course after a day like this...

Belmont, Race 5, Watchtower... 3rd at 2-1* (xxx, xxx, 3.30).
Belmont, Race 8, Bright Abundance... 2nd at 3-1 (xxx, 5.00, 2.90).
Belmont, Race 10, My Interpretation... 2nd at 2-1* (xxx, 3.70, 3.20).
Delaware, Race 4, Norfield... 7th at 2-1*.
Delaware, Race 8, Amandatude... 3rd at 9-2 (xxx, xxx, 2.40).
Churchill, Race 1, Esther's Big Band... 4th at 9-5.
Churchill, Race 3, Naughty Is... 2nd at 7-2 (xxx, 4.60, 3.40).
Churchill, Race 6, Brilliant... WON (3.80, 2.40, 2.10).
Churchill, Race 8, exacta box Lady of Venice/Magnificent Song... WON $11.40/$2
Colonial Downs, Race 3, Sing to the Sky... Scratched.
Colonial Downs, Race 8, Union Avenue... WON (2.60, 2.10, 2.10).
Hollywood, Race 4, AP Warrior... 2nd at 3-1 (xxx, 3.60, 2.40).


Our Head-to-Head feature pits Coast-to-Coast's Seth Merrow against DRF's Weekend Warrior, Mike Watchmaker. Whenever the two columns make selections in the same race we'll tally the results for each.

This week's matchup races Seth Merrow/Equidaily.com's Coast-to-coast Mike Watchmaker/DRF's Weekend Warrior
Belmont: Phipps Hcp 4th at 1-1*/Spun Sugar 3rd at 6-1/Balletto
Churchill: Foster Hcp 8th at 4-1/Love of Money 8th at 4-1/Love of Money
Churchill: Mint Julep WON at 2-1*/My Typhoon [6.80] 4th at 6-1/Sky High Flyer
This Week 3-1-0-0 3-0-0-1
YTD/win mutuel 56-16-8-7, $103.70 56-7-9-10, $48.30
(Head-to-Head results above are only for those races which were common to both columns. Weekend Warrior might have tabbed other races not reflected in the results above.)

Belmont: Cozy Blues $65K

Thetactics Ofdance 20-1
Bright Abundance 3-1
Brunilda 3-1

Wager: $5 WP on Bright Abundance.
Collected $12.50 on the WP (xxx, 5.00).
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 2-3.
...$1 exacta box top four, sub next if scratch.
Ran 2-3-4-5.
...$1 tri box top four, sub next if scratch.
Ran 2-3-4-5.

Bright Abundance...Might find a little bit of value here. She's 3-3 at Belmont, including two stakes. Off since April start at Calder but trainer is OK with that type of break.
Brunilda...In top form late winter-early spring.
Stormina...Nice, improving form since arriving stateside. Dangerous.
Natalie Beach.

Belmont: Phipps Hcp G1 $300K

Take D'Tour 3-1
Nothing But Fun 5-1
Balletto 6-1

Wager: $5 WP on Spun Sugar.
Ran 4th at 1-1*.
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 1-4.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 1-3-4-5.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-3-4-5.

Spun Sugar...Not completely convinced that the big number thrown last time was legit. It was a lifetime best so we kind of need one more to validate it -- but wee just can't find anyone in here we like much better.
Take D'Tour...Solid, improving numbers, including big win in G2 Shuvee. But also not quite convinced in by the lifetime best Beyer last time. Should be the one to catch and beat -- but we'll know more about her after this one.
Balletto...Very promising as a 2YO and the placing in the Shuvee could signal the she's ready to hit top form in her third start back from the long layoff.
Bending Strings.

Monmouth: Dearly Precious $60K

Livermore Valley 8-5
Sensation 5-2
Gleaming Elegance 6-5*

Win McCool scratched.

Wager: $5 WP on Gleaming Elegance.
Ran 3rd.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 1-3-4.
...$1 tri key Gleaming Elegance over next three.
No tri wagering offered.

Gleaming Elegance...Triple digit Beyer thrown at Keeneland looks like an aberration -- but she still looks capable of getting it done here on her best effort.
Win McCool...Speaking of out-of-whack numbers -- the 96 Beyer this one fired last time is her lifetime best, and best by far of 2006... But in her case it could signal she's hitting her top 3YO form.
Love Locket...And here's a 3YO question mark. Nice 2YO season -- but has been away since November. However, these youngsters can often return much improved.
Livermore Valley.

Monmouth: W Long Branch $65K

Emerald Earrings 3-2
Gipsy Limits 24-1
Blissful Ignorance 14-1

Wager: $5 WP on Princess Pelona.
Ran 5th at 3-5*.
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 1-5.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 1-3-4-5.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-3-4-5.

Princess Pelona...Has been pretty consistent in minor stakes on the mid-Atlantic circuit.
Emerald Earrings...Graded-stakes place last year and put in a couple of nice runs earlier this year. Scratched from a Belmont stake yesterday.
Blissful Ignorance...Could be interesting stretching out.
JD Safari.

Delaware: Obeah Hcp $100K

Fleet Indian 1-5*
Friel's for Real 10-1
Take a Check/entry 9-2

In the Gold scratched.

Wager: $5 WP on Fleet Indian.
Collected $12.00 on the WP (2.60, 2.20).
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 1-3.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 1-3e-4e-6.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-3e-4e-6.

Fleet Indian...Weren't quite convinced about her -- but big win at Hawthorne tipped the scales. Looks like the real deal from Pletcher and has these at her mercy if she runs back to the Chicago race.
Sticky/Take a Check...Prefer Stickey -- hasn't missed the board in nine lifetime starts.
In the Gold...Showed some flashes last year. Decent third in latest could signal she's hitting her best stride.
Solitary Song.

Delaware: Susan's Girl BC $175K

Gasia 9-2
Wonder Lady Anne L 9-5*
Amandatude 9-2

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

Amandatude...Ran arguably her best yet when just nipped in a similar stake here last time. Was well clear of the third-place finisher in that race. Might benefit from that education.
Peak Maria's Way...Good, improving form this year.
Wonder Lady Anne L...Scratched from last week's G1 Acorn when next-door neighbor flipped in gate before the start, causing a ruckus. A little hard to gauge -- but she clearly fits here and can get it done on her best.
Regal Engagement.

Churchill: Jefferson Cup G2 $200K

Brilliant 4-5*
Tahoe Warrior 3-1
Storm Treasure 5-1

Yate's Black Cat scratched.

Wager: $5 WP on Brilliant.
Collected $15.50 on the WP (3.80, 2.40).
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 1-4-6.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-4-6.

Brilliant...Seems to have found a home on turf.
Yate's Black Cat...Also moved way up when switched to grass. Going well since late winter.
Obi Wan Kenobi...Improving numbers over last three.

Churchill: Northern Dancer BC G3 $200K

High Cotton 3-2*
Simon Pure 5-1
Sayhellotolarry 25-1

Circle the World scratched.

Wager: $5 WP on Admiral's Arch.
Ran 4th at 9-1.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 1-4-6.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-4-6.

Admiral's Arch...We liked him in the Northern Spur tow back, and then, off that win, in the Lone Star Derby last time -- but he had some trouble in that race. Let's look for a rebound today.
Circle the World...Blew through MSW and NW1 in first two starts -- last time against older. This is a big step -- but has the look of one capable of making it successfully.
Private Vow...Asmussen's unorthodox abbreviated pre-Derby schedule was a flop. Still can't be convinced this guy is ready to live up to 2YO promise.
High Cotton.

Churchill: Regret G3 $200K

Lady of Venice 4-5*
Magnificient Song 5-2
Precious Kitten 60-1

Wager: $5 WP on Lady of Venice.
Collected $15.50 on the WP (3.80, 2.40).
...$2 exacta box top two.
Collected $11.40 on the ex box ($11.40/$2).
...$1 exacta box top four.
Collected $5.70 on the ex box.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-2-5-9.

Lady of Venice...Started career in France last year and went well -- 3-2-1-0. Proved those races were no fluke with nice win in US debut.
Magnificent Song...Improving since the move to the lawn.
Fiery Dancer...Can't complain about her 3YO season with five exacta finishes in six starts.
May Night.

Churchill: Fleur De Lis Hcp G2 $300K

Happy Ticket 3-2
Oonagh Maccool 3-5*
Character Builder 30-1

Wager: $5 WP on Oonagh Maccool.
Collected $5.25 on the WP (xxx, 2.10).
...$4 exacta box top two.
Collected $17.20 on the ex box ($8.60/$2).
...$2 tri key Oonagh Maccool over next three.
Ran 2/1-3-4.

Oonagh Maccool...Lightly-raced and rounding into top form as a 4YO for Pletcher.
Happy Ticket...Finished second in a couple of the best races run this winter. Perhaps still a little suspect going to turns.
La Reason...Always in the hunt.
Character Builder.

Churchill: Stephen Foster Hcp G1 $750K

Seek Gold 91-1
Perfect Drift 10-1
West Virginia 7-1

Wager: $5 WP on Love of Money.
Ran 8th at 4-1.
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 5-8.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 2-4-5-8.
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 2-4-5-8.

Love of Money...Showed some real promise as a 3YO. Couldn't back it up in abbreviated 4YO season -- but 5YO debut hinted he might be ready for best. Outcome will likely hinge on how much he has to tussle early with Buzzards Bay.
Brass Hat...First back from Dubai is always a question mark -- but he's had plenty of time to recoup and he was at the top of this division early this year.
Buzzards Bay...He's clearly hit his best stride. Nice string of works since his last. Will be forwardly placed from the rail.
Perfect Drift.

Churchill: Mint Julep Hcp G3 $100K

My Typhoon 2-1*
Rich in Spirit 5-2
Louve Royale 6-1

Wager: $5 WP on My Typhoon.
Collected $27.50 on the WP (6.80, 4.20).
...$2 exacta box top two.
Collected $24.00 on the ex box ($24.00/$2).
...$1 exacta box top four.
Collected $12.00 on the ex box.
...$1 tri box top four.
Collected $38.60 on the tri box ($77.20/$2).

My Typhoon...Mott filly was competitive with best of the 3YO turf division last year. Has yet to prove herself against older but let's look for a good effort in her second start of 2006.
Rich in Spirit...Similar to top pick. Went well as a 3YO. Now making her third start of the season.
Louve Royale...Seems in the best form of her career.
More Than Promised.

Hollywood: Affirmed Hcp G3 $100K

Point Determined 3-2*
AP Warrior 3-1
Arson Squad 5-2

Wager: $5 WP on AP Warrior.
Collected $9.00 on the WP (xxx, 3.60).
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 2-4.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Ran 1-2-4-5.
...$2 tri key AP Warrior over next three.
Ran 2/1-4-5.

AP Warrior...Still feel he has more potential than he's shown. Disappointed us mightily in the Ky Derby, but should find this spot more to his liking.
Cause to Believe...Another that was just too bad to be true in the Ky Derby. Hasn't missed the board prior to that.
Point Determined...Same thing -- flopped in the Ky Derby but should go better today.

Hollywood: Californian G2 $250K

Dixie Meister 6-1
Super Frolic 9-2
That's an Outrage 35-1

Wager: $5 WP on Spellbinder.
Ran 6th at 2-1*.
...$2 exacta box top two.
Ran 1-6.
...$1 exacta box top four.
Collected $44.30 on the ex box ($88.60/$2).
...$1 tri box top four.
Ran 1-2-5-6.

Spellbinder...Looks to be in good form now. Second to Surf Cat in last -- but clear of the rest of the field. Has plenty of tactical speed.
Dixie Meister...Just behind top pick last time. Working well for this.
Super Frolic...Hard to gauge. Has tossed some big numbers -- but last two were duds.

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


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