Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chrome's Crown Chances

 If California Chrome is to cross the wire first on June 7th he would be the first since Affirmed in 1978 to capture racing's seemingly impossible feat. There have been twelve others that have tried since 1978 and all twelve have failed by some way or another. Each horse was given the best opportunity to win and each horse came up short, whether it was the racing gods or whatever you want to call it they have kept the Triple Crown vacant for thirty six long years, and it's about time someone ends the drought. Whether it's California Chrome or not, well we will have to wait till June 7th to find out if he really is just as special as everyone thinks he is.

The twelve before him were all great horses that each had their own special qualities that made them the best of their generation; yet each horse crossed the wire a loser at Belmont. The Belmont really separates the men from the boys and with California Chrome looking to cross into the pantheon of greatness and immortality I am going to take a look back at each of those twelve that lost the crown.

First was Spectacular Bid in 1979 trying to cap a third straight year of Triple Crown champions, but it was not to be. Whether it was a loose safety pin or a bad ride we will never know.

  

Next in 1981 came Pleasant Colony a Virgina bred from humble beginnings trained by John Campo. His deep closing style wrangled him in wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but in the Belmont he simply ran into a horse who was feeling good on the day. Summing also benefited from a dream trip and was simply the best horse on the day. 



Next was Alysheba in 1987. Alysheba was a tired horse in the Belmont plain and simple he got beat by Bet Twice who had obviously got along through the Triple Crown better than Alysheba had, and it was evident by Alysheba's fourth place finish. 



Next is was Sunday Scilence's chance to sweep the crown in 1989. He fell short to Easy Goer who simply loved Belmont Park. No one would have beaten Easy Goer on that day. 




Next was Silver Charm in 1997. Silver Charm was a fiercely competitive colt and had loads of heart. He lost the Belmont due to the crafty ride of Chris McCarron on Touch Gold who knew Charm would fight back if he saw Touch Gold. McCarron took Touch Gold wide and in the end spoiled Charm's chances to be the twelfth Triple Crown champion.  


 

Bob Baffert was back again in 1998 with Real Quiet. Real Quiet was a bargin basement priced horse and proved he was very capable of achieving immortality in the Derby and the Preakness, but lost by a dirty nose in the Belmont. Real Quiet was the closest to sweeping the Triple Crown and if he had not lost focus during the homestretch he would've held off the late charge of Victory Gallop. 



The next chance at the Crown was a former claimer named Charismatic he was a lazy horse who was simply peaking at the right time. He unfortunately broke down and never ran again after the Belmont.  

 

Bob Baffert was back again for a chance at the crown in 2002 with a speed-ball named War Emblem who just so happened to be ridden by California Chrome's rider Victor Espinoza. War Emblem lost all chance at the start though and wound up never being a factor. 


 

New York had a hero to cheer for in 2003 and it was Funny Cide the gritty gelding didn't handle the sloppy track and wound up third to Empire Maker. 


 

Smarty Jones in 2004 was America's hero. Much like California Chrome people thought Smarty Jones couldn't get the distance in the Belmont, but he proved them wrong though he did wind up second to Birdstone he still ran a very game race. He showed his real heart that day, and though he was very difficult to rate in the Belmont which probably cost him his chance at the crown he still gave a pretty good finishing kick. 


 

Big Brown was the next to try and many thought he would be the horse to do it, but it simply was not to be he wasn't happy at all that day and wound up being pulled up. 


 

Then it was I'll Have Another's turn to turn the tables on history, but a tendon issue would prevent him from ever starting in the Belmont. That was one of the most dis-hearting ends to a Triple Crown I could've possibly witnessed of all the horses that have tried I'll Have Another seemed like the most for sure chance, but it was not to be. 

If California Chrome is to win the Belmont he is going to have to rate and rate kindly. The Belmont is a long way and if he doesn't rate well he won't win. Chrome also has to break well and be somewhat forwardly placed because he doesn't deal well with kickback. Overall Chrome is a very talented individual and I would love to see him take the Triple Crown. It's been a long thirty six years and the drought must come to an end why not have it end in a flash of shiny Chrome. Good Luck to California Chrome and all his connections moving forward! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Canterbury Selections/ Horses to Watch for 5/17/14

Race #1 
Starter Optional Claiming 
5 1/2 Furlongs 
Dirt 
Fillies and Mares 3 and up 

The Picks 

Terice #6 

Nokomis #3 

La Torera #2 

Race #2 
Starter Optional Claiming 
1 Mile and 70 Yards 
For 3 year olds and up 

The Picks 

Oughterson #7 

Ivory Fudge #3 

Borealis Way #6  

Black Wing #1 

Race #3 
Claiming $6,250 
6 Furlongs 
Dirt  
For 3 and up
 
The Picks 

Maggie's Guy #1 

Bonita Rock #6 

Qahr #8 

Race #4  
Claiming $6,250 
6 Furlongs  
Dirt 
For Fillies and Mares 3 and up 

The Picks 

Bertslittlesister #5 

Chappy Chick #7 

Our Black Beauty #2 

Race #5 
Allowance Optional Claiming 
6 Furlongs 
Dirt 
For 3 and up 

The picks 

Breezy Point #1 

Dakota Mac #4 

Ifoundmy Mojo #5  

Race #6 
Maiden Special Weight 
5 1/2 Furlongs 
Dirt 
MN Bred 3 year old Fillies 

The picks 

Naomi Ridge Esq. #10 

Crimsonexpectation #2 

Mattie's Vow #1 

Race #7 
Allowance 
5 1/2 Furlongs 
Dirt 
Mn Bred three year olds

The picks 

Evert #1 

Orange Thunder #3 

You Be Gator Bait #5 

Race #8 
Lady Slipper Stakes 
6 Furlongs 
Dirt 
Mn Bred fillies and mares 3 and up 

The picks 

Polar Plunge #5 

Badge Of Glory #8 

Gypsy Melody #1 

Race #9 
Maiden Special Weight 
5 1/2 furlongs 
Dirt 
Mn Bred fillies 3 

The picks 

Baby Pickles #3 

Pounce #7 

Shadow Ridge #2 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Canterbury Opening Day Selections!

It's now the start of my favorite time of the year the Canterbury meet! The opening day card looks to be extra juicy and contentious, so here are my selections/ horses to watch for the opening day card at my favorite racetrack in America Canterbury Park!  

Race #1 
Claiming $12,500 
1 Mile and 70 Yards  
Dirt 
For 3 year olds and up 

The Picks 

Fist Full #3 

Al Musaddad #4 

Ella's Kitten #5 

Race #2 
Maiden Claiming $12,500 
5 1/2 Furlongs 
Dirt 
Maidens 3 year old fillies 

The Picks 

Swinging Moon #5 

Dthirteentheelement #7 

Sweet G #4 

Race #3 
Claiming $6,250 
5 1/2 Furlongs 
Dirt 
For fillies and mares 3 and up which have never won two races 

The Picks 

Sweet Stormy #4 

One Fine Lady #6 

Bring The Check #3 

Race #4 
Allowance 
5 1/2 Furlongs 
Dirt 
For MN-Bred Fillies and Mares 3 and up which have never won two 

The Picks 

Sky and Sea #6 

Rockin The Bleu's #4 

Blumin Sweetheart #2 

Race #5 
Maiden Special Weight 
5 1/2 Furlongs  
Dirt 
For MN-Bred Maidens 3 and up 

The Picks 

Sam's Silver Star #8 

Bet Your  Socks #7 

Holy Brass #5 

Race #6 
10,000 Lakes Stakes 
6 Furlongs 
Dirt 
For Colts and Geldings that are registered MN-Breds 

The Picks: 

Heliskier #7 

Coconino Slim #4

Bourbon County #2 

Race #7 
Maiden Special Weight 
5 1/2 Furlongs  
Dirt 
For MN-Bred Maidens 3 and up 

The Picks 

Gottcha Silver #3 

AP the MVP #4 

Demi Blue #10 

Race #8 
Claiming $4,000 
5 1/2 Furlongs 
Dirt 
For 3 and up which have not won since November 16th 

The Picks 

Our Family Affair #9 

Incisive #8  

Human Eraser #3 
 


Friday, May 9, 2014

Preakness Top Four Chances to Win



1. California Chrome  
Lucky Pulpit- Love the Chase by Not For Love

Plain and simple this horse is going to win the Preakness. The race is shorter than the Derby, and the speed looks to be a little bit weaker in talent than it was in the Derby. I'm not writing him off as a Triple Crown champion yet, but I have a feeling after the Preakness everyone will be writing him off as the best thing since sliced bread. Though he took the roses I won't write him off as a Triple Crown winner until he crosses the wire first at Belmont.

2. Kid Cruz 
Lemon Drop Kid- Layreebelle

He's improving and he's won a race over the surface. I have been known to love the Federico Tesio Stakes winners and this colt is no exception. He has some serious closing ability, and with a race over the surface he's got the needed Old Hilltop experience. He's the type of closer that California Chrome hasn't faced before, and I think this colt could be very hard to beat May 17th.

3. Ride On Curlin 
Curlin- Magical Ride

He didn't get a chance to run his race Derby day Calvin pretty much put him through the ringer. This colt would've had a serious chance at second if he had been giving a clear trip, but unfortunately there are no second chances in the Derby, and that's why they aim him here at a try in the Preakness. He's certainly got the ability to upset California Chrome if he gets a clean trip, and he could get first run at California Chrome, and weaken him up a bit for Kid Cruz to wear him down.

4. Ria Antonia 
Rockport Harbor- Beer Baroness

She may not be able to beat her own sex, but that's perfectly okay. The fillies are way better than the colts this year and with her closing ability, and all the speed in this years Preakness she may be able to come flying late. She's a big filly, and definitely has the body type to compete against the boys. Though it's hard to be a filly this year something tells me she will prove it's better to be a filly this year than a colt.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Derby 140 Recap and Looking Forward to the Preakness


Derby 140 Recap 

When the dust settled Saturday May 3rd, a Derby hero was crowned one that had four white socks and a flashy blaze. California Chrome seems to be a Derby hero we can all believe in, but unlike everyone else who thinks this horse is the next coming of Secretariat I have my serious doubts still about his ability. Sure he handed this Derby field quite the spanking, but there is serious concern that this horse will not get a mile and a half. Yes Victor Espinoza eased up on him, but that was close to fifty yards before the wire does that really have an impact on how the horse was running? He was obviously getting tired about halfway down the stretch, and if the race had been maybe a 100 yards longer Commanding Curve would've caught California Chrome. 

Don't get me wrong I think California Chrome is a very nice racehorse, but his sub-par Derby time is a fine indication that this crop of three year olds was far weakened by the dropping out of Shared Belief, Honor Code, and Top Billing. California Chrome had everything his way and due to the rough trips of several others I think he got lucky that some of the better closers didn't have a clear run, because he was dog tired that last quarter mile and Victor Espinoza's constant smacking of the horse is fine example of just how tired he was. 

Look California Chrome's got some ability, but looking forward something tells me that when he faces older horses like Palace Malice, and Game On Dude he will show his true colors; he's simply a good horse in a weak and depleted crop.  

Looking Forward to the Preakness 

Saying this right now California Chrome is going to win the Preakness, no horse heading in that direction has a serious chance to defeat him. Social Inclusion has some talent, but his recent foot troubles could hinder his ability on the third Saturday in May. Ria Antonia can't even beat her own sex, but that being said I think she's got one of the better chances to beat California Chrome there is no doubt the fillies are better than the boys this year; made obvious by Untapable's second fastest Kentucky Oaks time in history. Another interesting long-shot you cannot leave off your tickets is Kid Cruz his come from behind triumphs have really impressed me, and you cannot underestimate a local horse at Pimlico. 

Tune In next time when I give you my Preakness Top Four!





Friday, May 2, 2014

The Final Picks!

Kentucky Oaks Plays  

The Kentucky Oaks seems to be a lot more transparent this year than the Kentucky Derby, and handicapping this race should be a breeze. With speedy fillies like Sugar Shock and Fashion Plate the pace should set up for a closer or a stalker. They may all be running for second money here as Untapable seems to be unbeatable coming into this Oaks. 

Win Play: Untapable- I don't think anyone in this field is capable of beating this filly even if she doesn't exactly handle the distance. 

Place Play: Rosalind- Her strong closing kick could very well carry her to at least a second in the Run For The Lillies. 

Show Play: Ria Antonia- The longer the distances get the better it's going to be for her and with a decently fast pace expected here she should get the pace scenario she needs to at least run third. 

Longshot Plays: Unbridled Forever- Needed the race last out and could fill out the bottom end of the exotics. 
Fashion Plate- She could very well take over this race in a big way if allowed. Even if she doesn't get control she may still hang on to fill the bottom of the exotics at a nice price. 

Kentucky Derby Plays 

This year's Kentucky Derby is a bit of a crap-shot it's anybodies guess. A lot of the really nice one's dropped out early on, and what we are left with is a Derby filled with equally talented horses. One thing's for sure here that this may be one of the most exciting Derby's in awhile. 

Win Plays: California Chrome- With my main derby pick dropping out I don't see anyone in here beating California Chrome if he gets the distance. Though a fast pace could soften him up enough that some deep closers can beat him.  

Ride On Curlin- When he reverted back to his closing style in the Arkansas Derby I saw major improvement and with Calvin Borel handling the reins this one may just give Calvin his fourth Derby win.  

Place Plays: Wildcat Red- Simply put this horse has major heart and I don't think he will go down without a fight. He's never been worse than second in his career and I don't think that's going to change on Derby day. 

Show Plays: Candy Boy- I think he needed the race last out and it should set him up well here. He's bred to get the mile and a quarter, and I think with his mid race move he could very well get the jump on the closers. 

Danza- Still don't know quite what to think of this colt. If he can achieve a good stalking position and pounce early and show the same explosive kick he could win, but with Pletcher's Derby luck I think he will end up third. 

Longshot Plays: Commanding Curve- Can't ignore how well he was moving at the end of the Louisiana Derby and with added distance he may just get even better. 

Medal Count- Worried he won't handle the dirt, but if he does he could very well take the roses. Besides it's about time Dale Romans got his Derby victory.