Sunday, May 24, 2020
A great day yesterday for handicapping at Churchill for the last five races. I outlined a All-Stakes Pick 5 for you yesterday and it cost $72. It "hit" and returned $414 on the .50 cent version.
Four out of the top five picks I gave you won and my second pick in Race 11 came in first, so, however you played the picks, you had some success. The Pick 4 returned $237 on a $18 investment and I was happy to see that also.
I listed 26 horses to watch in the five race sequence, and, out of those, we had five winners, two seconds and four thirds. That's a 42% "in the money" average. Out of the 15 possible "paying" slots, we had a even better 73% success rate,
Race 7 went to odds on favorite Dunbar Road. A payout of $3.40 to win
Race 8 was taken by Sharing and a win price of $6.60 for that one
Race 9 saw Owendale hit the wire first for a $9.00 win payout. I saw Owendale as my "best bet" of the sequence, was surprised I got 7/2 odds on him and "unbuckled". across the board. $5.20 to place and $4.00 to show was nice and unexpected. A $6 "across the board" investment brought back $18.20.
Race 10 produced Maxfield handling the field. $4.60 to win. Watch him in the Belmont Stakes if they send him ! I correctly picked the trifecta, a small return of only $20.90 on the .50 cent wager.
Race 11 featured Smooth Like Strait nosing out Pixelate for the highest win payout of the sequence at $12.20. I gave you the trifecta here also and it paid $226.85 on a .50 cent wager.
A $2 win wager on my top picks would have cost you $10 and you would have got back $23.60. Only Hieronymous disappointed -- in Race 11. -- finishing fourth.
I'll gladly take my self created "stimulus check" profit I handicapped on yesterday'd card and we'll try it again next Saturday. If you're trying today's card, remember it rained pretty hard last night during the final race and after it, so check those track conditions before you invest. I'm going to "take the day off" and enjoy the rest of Memorial Day weekend. I'm way ahead on Churchill in profit margin so far in the early part of this meet and plan on adding to it when we meet again on May 30th. .
Saturday, May 23, 2020
What a super Saturday for racing (and handicapping) today at Churchill Downs ! The whole cards looks really competitive and let's hop things remain "fast" and "firm" for track conditions.
I'm looking at the All-Stakes Pick 5 today (races 7-11) and full fields and talented horses are aplenty in these races. I'm listing my top four below in each race -- and THEN LISTING BELOW THEM who to insert after them, if there are scratches or if you want to go deep in a "leg" of the sequence.
RACE 7 -- SHAWNEE STAKES -- 100K -- 1-1/16TH MILE
4 -- DUNBAR ROAD
8 -- SHE'S A JULIE
5 -- ANOTHER BROAD
1 -- MOONLIT GARDEN
(6) -- VAULT
RACE 8 -- TEPIN STAKES -- 100K -- 1 MILE (TURF)
9 -- SHARING
10 -- PASS THE PLATE
7 -- OUTBURST
(14) -- ALMS
(15) -- EVE OF WAR
RACE 9 -- BLAME STAKES -- 100K -- 1 MILE
8 -- OWENDALE
9 -- EXTRODINARY JERRY
13 -- MR MONEY
3 -- GLOBAL CAMPAIGN
(14) -- DIAMOND KING
RACE 10 -- MATT WINN STAKES -- 150K -- G III -- 1-1/16TH MILE
10 -- MAXFIELD
2 -- PNEUMATIC
6 -- NY TRAFFIC
(11) -- ATTACHMENT RATE
(12) -- MAJOR FED
RACE 11 -- WAR CHANT STAKES -- 100K -- 1 MILE (TURF)
6 -- HIERONYMOUS
9 -- SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT
13 -- BILLY BATTS
(5) FIELD PASS
(12) -- PIXELATE
(1) SOUTH BEND
Good luck today with the card. Bet 'em anyway you like! I'm probably going to piece together a small Pick 5 and a couple of Pick 3's -- using Race 9 in each -- but, I'll see how they're running and what the track conditions look like.
Pick 5 suggestion:
Monday, May 18, 2020
It was a rough and trying day for handicapping and wagering success at Churchill Downs second day of the Spring/Summer Meet for yours truly until the end of the card.
I caught a break at the end. We'll get to that. Here's how it went:
I tried an opening daily double wager. I took three horses in Race One and five horses in Race Two. A #1 Daily Double that cost $15. I had success, running first and second in Race One with Common Courtesy winning and Orb's Soul coming in second. $4.20 was the winning payout for Common Courtesy. Johnny Velazquez was the winning jockey. In Race Two, Hefty G crossed the line first, one of the five i picked. A payout of $8.80 to win, with Genardo Corrales on board. The Daily Double paid $15.50 on the $1 ticket.
I'm ahead .50 cents. I guess it's better than losing, right?
In a wide open affair, I thought I'd try a .50 cent trifecta box with five horses and a cost of $30. That didn't work so well. Just one of my runners "hit the board" -- #3 Deep Sea -- who ran second at a nice price ($15.20 & $10.00) The race went to #11 P.R Radio Star, who paid $11 to win. The trifecta paid $2015.00, with a running order of 11,3,4. David Cohen piloted the winner.
I'm now down -$29.50 on the day.
This race was an attempt to hit a simple $1 exacta box with four horses. I got the second place (Flabbergasted) and third place (Luck Money) finishers, but did not have the winner -- #10 Cat's Pajamas. A huge win payout of $57.00 on this horse and a nice exacta payout of $290.10 on the $1 exacta payout. Johnny V with his second win in three races.
I see my success rate drop to -$41.50 for the day.
My first attempt at a Pick 3 on the day. A .50 cent variety, with four horses in each race, for a total cost of $32. It started out well.
Dean Martini won the fifth race and I had him in the sequence. He won very easily at 4/5 odds and Joel Rosario was the winning jockey. Survive and advance !
Mississippi took the sixth race. He's been a favoeite of mine for some time and I included him. He went off at 6-1 odds and paid $14.20. A nice, pulling away win for trainer Ron Moquett (a great guy) and "Jockey Joe" Talamo. Two-for-two now in the Pick 3.
I stumbled in Race 7. Temple City Terror came flying down the stretch to pass them all and get the win. and paid $17.40. A nice stretch move by jockey Joel Rosario, he does those soooo...well, for trainer Brendan Walsh. I ran third, forth, fifth and tenth with my four selections. The .50 cent Pick 3 paid a nice $81.90. To use an old horseplayer's lament..."Why didn't I use that one?"
I now sit sullenly as a -$73.50 participant for the day.
I decided to go back to a $1 exacta box here, with four horses. It was ruined when #6 Compelling Style won. he knocked off my favorite in the race (Blinkers) and won at 8-1 odds. He paid $18.60 for the win. Tyler Baze was on board for the win and the exacta of 6-7 paid $38.10.
Another "swing and miss" for me and I look at a deficit on the day of $-85.50. It was looking to be "one of those days". Ar least I didn't go after a Pick 4 and early elimination from it.
Time for the final venture of the day for me. A .50 cent Pick 3. I originally look at it as going with four runners in Race 9, three runners in Race 10 and eight runners in Race 11. I changed that. I remebered an old horseplayers axiom:
" If you're going to use eight horses, why not use them all?"
The cost was just an additional $24 and I was assured of winning if I could get through the first two legs. It made sense to me so I made the 4x3x12 bet for $72.
Race 9 belonged to me. I finished first, second and third. The winner, #10 Art Collector, went off at 7-1 odds and got a well-timed ride from Brian Hernandez, Jr to hold off second place finisher Toledo by about two lengths. I really needed the next race...
Race 10 ! Ues, Race 10 !! One of my three choices -- #11 Chimney Rock -- laid off the early pace and pulled off the "head bob" at the wire. A magnificent ride from Jose Ortiz, to finally catch and pass (in the final jump) big long-shot #Jack and Noah. I didn't have Jack and Noah and sweated out the photo finish. A nice payout of $13.80, too -- as odds-on favorite Four Wheel Drive broke slowly, poorly and never was a factor.
I had the Pick 3 with the "all" button in Race 11. The only question was who would win and how much would the sequence pay.
A big surprise when #6 Prince Jersey Town finished first. Honestly, I went back over the racing form after the race and couldn't have ever picked him. He wasn't even in my original eight for the race. He had been recently gelded, and horses sometimes run well after that event. His past perfomances were pitiful, but journeyman jockey John McKee got him there by a nose over #3 Toshio...who I had really liked in my first handicapping analysis. An exciting, close battle between those two in the stretch.
Prince Jersey Town went off at a huge price of 24-1 and paid $49.20 to win.
The .50 cent Pick Three returned $758.25 with the numbers 10-11-6.
I went from a $-85.00 hole to a profit of $ +673.00 for the day. Color me happy.
That, my friends, is horse racing. You jut never know. Photo finishes, odds-on favorites losing and the sudden turn of fortunes. I got lucky at the end. I'll accept the luck after a day of mot having much of it. This may sound cliche, but "don't give up, don't ever give up."
I'll see you Saturday.
Sunday, May 17, 2020
So, it's Sunday...let's have a little fun out at Churchill. The track looks fast and the turf firm. I've handicapped all 11 races and offering a variety of bets.
(Here I'm starting with a $1 Daily Double. I'll take three runners in the 1st race and five in the second. Cost is $15)
1 -- Common Courtesy
6 -- Orb's Soul
9 -- Tap n Sway
2 -- Traci's Greeley
5 -- Heart River
7 -- Mi Chachis Intenda
13 - A Wicked Wildcat
14 -- Hefty G
( I'll go with a .50 cent trifecta box here with five horses. Cost is $30)
1 -- Rockshaw
2 -- Deep Sea
6 -- State Treasurer
8 -- Code To Win
15 -- Fascilitator
(Let's go with a $1 exacta box here with four horses. Cost is $12)
7 -- Flabbergasted
8 -- Three Flamingos
11 -- Duopoly
12 -- Luck Money
RACE 5, 6, 7
(I'll try a .50 cent Pick Three in races 5,6,7. Four runners in each race. Cost is $32)
1 -- Elite Class
6 -- What A Perfect Day
7 -- Dean Martini
9 -- Bourbon Warrior
1 -- Witch Doctor
2 -- Never Even Close
3 -- Rocksack
7 -- Mississippi
1 -- Edge Angel
4 -- Devious Charm
6 -- Lost Ticket
11 -- Duchess Of Sussex
(Let's stick in a $1 exacta box before the final Pick 3. Cost is $12)
3 -- Between The Hedges
7 -- Blinkers
9 -- Raggedy Annie
11 -- Don't Mine Me
(Let's end our "Day at the Downs" with a late .50 cent Pick 3. We'll mix it up a bit in this sequence with four horses in race 9, three horses in Race 10 and a whopping "all" button in Race 11. (12 horses). Cost is $72)
3 -- My Man Flinstone
8 -- Wrecking Crew
9 -- Toledo
10 -- Art Collector
1 -- Four Wheel Drive
3 -- Guidesman
11 -- Chimney Rock
ALL -- If we make it through the first two legs, let's guarantee we win, right?
-- Total Cost of today's Wagers: $173
-- # of Wagers: Six (two Pick Threes, a Daily Double, two exactas and a trifecta)
-- (All scratches have been accounted for. Let's hop no late scratches occur like Saturday)
Opening day at Churchill. A sloppy mess early, but, track conditions did improve to "good" as the day wore on.. Scratches were huge in yesterday's success/failures, so let's look at them first.
I gave you 20 horses to consider yesterday. Out of those, a total of eight were scratched -- so 12 of my runners actually broke from the gate in races 8-11. The two turf races were moved to the dirt, which changed the handicapping angles and thoughts. But, I stayed with my picks, mostly done by considering all the changes in the surfaces and nature of the races. In race eight, three of my six picks were scratched. In race nine, three of my four picks "bit the dust". All four of my picks actually survived in race 10 and two of my six got removed in race 11.
Out of the 12 runners I had still "alive" -- I had (2) winners, a place and a show. That 25% "in the money" isn't great, but, given the circumstances...it was the result. I missed winning the final race by a "head bob", Race nine was the killer on the day, with just one horse surviving the scratches -- he didn't "hit the board" and effectively killed my pick four wager.
That wager was just a $24 attempt at a .50 cent bet. I used three horse in race eight, one in race nine, four in race 10 and four in race 11.
The Pick Four paid a whopping $2127.85 on a .50 cent wager. The numbers were:
The huge number of runners in race eight listd in the Pick 4 payout was because of the scratches in the race. I had the winner. #17 DINAR, a horse I mentioned you should consider if the race moved to dirt from the turf. Tyler Gaffalione guided the winner.
Race nine was a 9/2 shot winner in #6 SACRED OATH. My lone selection (#12 Admire) ran fourth. David Cohen was the jockey
Race 10 was a win for #8 FOUR GRACES. I had him and he won at 7/2 odds and paid $9.40. A nice ride by Julian Leparoux
Race 11 "blew up" -- so it seems the syndrome has followed the horses from Oaklawn to Churchill in the final race on Saturday. A 13-1 shot in #2 REAGAN'S EDGE won and paid $27.00. I chased him home with the second and third place finishers (#3 Call on Mischief and #4 Karek). And, as mentioned earlier, it was a "head bob" between Reagan's Edge and Call on Mischief. Call on Mischief made a strong stretch move, took the lead and looked like he was going to win, but, Reagan's Edge kept gaining from mid-pack, passed the others and basically caught the leader at the wire to win.
That's a bad beat. I can't blame Brian Hernandez, Jr for his ride on Call on Mischief. He just got beat by a slightly better horse at the wire and it was a perfectly timed ride on Reagan's Edge by Jose Lezcano.
We'll try again tomorrow. I don't normally do this, but, I'll post some picks for Sunday's card later today.
And, of course, I'll be back next Saturday, which looks lke it's going to be a HUGE day with multiple stakes races on the Churchill card.
Saturday, May 16, 2020
Racing returns to Churchill Downs today. It looks like it'll be a sloppy track early in the card and two of the last four races are scheduled for the turf -- so changes and scratches are quite possible. They might also move the turf racing to the main dirt track, so there are many variables possible.
No fans in the stands, of course. TV though, so, you can at least watch.
Since I'm doing these picks earlt Saturday morning, be prepared for changes. Opening days can always be a bit tricky and there are full fields with plenty of "also eligible" listed for the races -- so good luck! Here's what I have for the Late Pick 4 (races 8-11)
RACE 8 -- ALLOWANCE 81K -- I MILE (TURF)
12 -- CLEAR FOR ACTION
7 -- LIMMERY
6 -- LABEQ
1 -- BAMA BREEZE
(IF OFF THE TURF OR IF SCRATCHES OCCUR -- CONSIDER THESE TWO: #17 DINAR AND #5 DANNY CALIFORNIA)
RACE 9 -- CLAIMING 50K -- SEVEN FURLONGS
1 -- PATROL
12 -- ADMIRE
2 -- ADHAR
7 -- GOING WITH STYLE
RACE 10 -- OPTIONAL CLAIMING 75K -- SEVEN FURLONGS
2 -- PORTRAIT
4 -- JOYSOME
1 -- MO CITY
8 -- FOUR GRACES
RACE 11 -- ALLOWANCE 84K -- 5-1/2 FURLONGS -- (TURF)
4 -- KARAK
3 -- CALL ON MISCHIEF
9 -- BREDENBURY
10 -- FLY SO PRETTY
(IF OFF THE TURF OR IF SCRATCHES OCCUR -- CONSIDER THESE TWO: #11 CHILI PETIN AND #15 RISING SEA)
Best of luck today. A ton of great horses, trainers and jockeys are at Churchill, so the competition should be intense and, hopefully, the payoffs pretty decent !!
Sunday, May 10, 2020
I went in a little different direction on Saturday and extended the number of races handicapped at a track that I haven't been playing much lately -- Gulfstream.
The lure of the mandatory payout on the Rainbow Pick Six (races 7-12) was the draw an a lot of other people had the same idea. It was over $12 million dollars by the time the horses went to post in the seventh race.
I'm sad to say I didn't "hit it". Two longshots jumped in the winners circle, in Race 8 and Race 12, that knocked me out of it. It looks like the Saturday final race madness that symbolized Oaklawn transferred to Gulfstream -- a 28-1 longshot took race 12. Still, some syndicates had all six and the payout was $31,476.56 on the .20 cent wager. I think they're were around 250 or so winning tickets.
I saw where one "ticket" cost over $5,000. I sincerely hope it was a winner for the investor(s) who place that bet!
On the day, I did OK, though, on selections. I ended up having 23 of the 24 selections I outlined yesterday break from the gate --with one scratch in Race 8. Out of those 23 runners, I had (4) winners, (3) seconds and (4) thirds. That's a 48% "in the money" percentage. When you figure there were 18 "paying" positions up for grabs, my 11 successful ones break down to a 61% success rate.
I had two exactas that paid $23.30 and $16.40 on the $1 wager. I also had two trifectas -- paying $72.75 and $92.20.on the .50 cent wager. No Pick 3's or Pick 4's though.
On a $2 WPS wager on all 23 runners, the cost was $138. The return was $121.
My top pick in each race "hit the board" in five of the races. A $2 WPS on those six runners would have cost $36 and paid almost $50, so that was a bright spot.
Race 7 Winner: (5) Foolish Humor paid $9.20 to win
Race 8 Winner: (7) Assertiko paid $25.40 to win
Race 9 Winner: (6) Halliday paid $4.60 to win
Race 10 Winner: (6) Battle of Blenheim paid $4.40 to win
Race 11 Winner: (3) Tap It To Win paid $12.40 to win
Race 12 Winner: (4) Areyoutalkingtome paid $57.00 to win.
No horse higher than the #7 position won yesterday. Irad Oriz, Jr. had two winners in the six races we handicapped. I heard he had four winners on the total card, so he had a fine day.
So, a losing day in wagering but not a complete washout.
-- I tried the Pick 6 I outlined yesterday and that lost me $86.40.
-- I also did a .50 trifecta box on my four runners in each race. That cost a total of $72, (or $12 per race) but I got back $164.95, for a profit of $92.I substituted the #2 horse for the #8 horse in Race 8, because of the scratch -- but he didn't help the exacta or trifecta...he finished in third place. (Shoulda picked the #7, right?)
-- My final wager was a $1 exacta box on my top four horses in each race. That cost $72 (or $12 per race) also, but returned just $40, so I lost $32 there.
-- So, my total wagering outlay was $230 and I got back $205. A -$26.40 loss on the day
Next week, Churchill Downs will probably have a card to consider, and we'll try the Late Pick 4, if they do. Other tracks are still debating a spring-summer meet, but I originally started the site to cover Kentucky racing, so I'm back to the original intent.
See ya next Saturday.
Saturday, May 9, 2020
We move away from Oaklawn today (they're done with their meet) and head south to Gulfstream. A tantalizing MANDATORY payout Rainbow Pick 6 presents itself, so I'm changing it up and have handicapped Races 7-12.
Whether I'll play the pick 6 or not remains to be seen, but, what I've done is go through the six races and given my top four picks in each race. I do have a solid try at hitting it after the picks and, since I'm "playing on their money" -- in terms of profitability -- I may take a chance. The late Pick 4 is races 9-12, and that's a possibility. So is two Pick 3's (races 7-9 and races 10-12)
Here we go:
RACE 7 -- ALLOWANCE -- 55K -- FIVE FURLONGS -- TURF
3 -- FAST SCENE
1 -- AMERICAN TAP
10 -- COMPENSATE
5 -- FOOLISH HUMOR
RACE 8 -- CLAIMING -- 10K -- SIX FURLONGS -- DIRT
5 --LOUIE'S KINGDOM
8 -- RESERVENOTATTAINED
3 -- CAT GONE QUICK
4 -- WAR ACT
RACE 9 -- SUNSHINE FOREVER STAKES -- 75K -- 1-1/16TH MILE -- TURF
9 -- SOCIAL PARANOIA
11 -- ADMISSION OFFICE
6 -- HALLIDAY
7 -- HAWKISH
RACE 10 -- OPTIONAL CLAIMING -- 25K -- 1 MILE -- TURF
6 -- BATTLE OF BLENHEIM
8 -- GRAY'S FABLE
3 -- SUBLIME APPEAL
5 -- HARBOR MASTER
RACE 11 -- OPTIONAL CLAIMING -- 16K -- SIX FURLONGS -- DIRT
3 -- TAP IT TO WIN
4 -- I'LL FIGHT DEMPSEY
7 -- HAUNTED BY THE MUSIC
1 -- SEPTEMBERTON
RACE 12 -- OPTIONAL CLAIMING -- 18K -- ONE MILE -- DIRT
3 -- PEPPI THE HUNTER
2 -- TRAPPEZOID
9 -- DEXTER ROAD
10 -- STARSHIP APOLLO
A FAIRLY INEXPENSIVE PICK 6 ticket I have considered:is below. Remember, since it is a mandatory payout, syndicates and multi-player pools will be firing heavily at this one, since it does not rollover -- it ALL goes out today. I've seen these pay 5 out of 6 in the past and who knows how high the payout total will get -- it's the track to play today, so it'll get a lot of attention. You can bet the six-race sequence for .20 cents...so here's a suggestion.
Race 7 -- 1,3,5,10
Race 8 -- 5,8
Race 9 -- 6,9,11
Race 10 -- 6,8
Race 11 -- 3,4,7
Race 12 -- 2,3,9
I'll also probably start out with a .50 cent Pick 3 also, that starts in race 7 and see how that does, in terms of my picks doing well, before I decide on a Pick 4 that starts in race 9.
Good luck today and don't bet the mortgage on a mudder!
Sunday, May 3, 2020
The meet at Oaklawn ends for the spring and we jumped headlong into races 11-14 (the Late Pick 4). Oops, there wasn't any water in the pool. It was a typical final race on Saturday at the Arkansas track, but we found a way around it, as I'll explain later.
On the day, we gave you 20 horses to consider. One of them scratched (Improbable in Race 12).
Out of the 19 that remained, we had (3) winners, (4) seconds and (3) thirds. That's a very good 53% "in the money" percentage. When you look at the 12 possible "payout" positions for four races, we filled 10 of them for an outstanding 83.3%. Not bad at all.
I watched most of the Saturday card on television and pondered how I would attack the last four races. Yesterday, I outlined a possible late Pick 4, but -- as the day drew on, and I investigated the final race more and more -- it became clear to me that there were actually more than the six potential horses I gave out yesterday that could legitimately win.
So, I did this:...for my only wager of the day:
Charlatan and Gouvernor Morris looked like the two "to beat" in Race 11, so I started the late Pick 4 with them. And, they finished first and second, which was a good way to start.
Charlatan looked so very impressive and Baffert has a monster on his hands with that one.
Race 12 presented a bit of a challenge, so I used the six horses I outlined in yesterday's picks. We "swept the board" there...By My Standards getting the win, Warrior's Charge took second and Mr Freeze, who was my top pick in the race, faded to third. We were still alive, though.
Race 13, the second division of the Arkansas Derby, look like a three horse race. I put Nadal, King Guillermo and Wells Bayou in the ticket. Nadal looked as good as advertised and "the King" followed him home for second, so -- we were alive going into the final leg.
I gave you six horses, originally, for Race 14. Upon further reflection, I added three more. So, I had nine entries in that leg. I'm glad I did, because one of the late additions, Take Charge D'Oro, ended up winning. He's out of Take Charge Indy, a horse I loved back in his running days, and was usable at 19-1 odds. Two of my original picks, River Echo and Dangerfield tried to get to him down the stretch in the 1-3/4 mile affair, but, he hung on.
So, the investment was a hefty $162 for the late Pick 4, based on a 50 cent bet, but it returned $232.25 -- so I made $70 on the wager.
I followed my thinking that the last race is always a mess at Oaklawn on Saturday -- so go deep into tthe pool -- and, for once, it paid off. I had originally laid out a $144 investment on Saturday article, so it was just an $18 addition.
I guess the adage here is "never be afraid to spend a little more, if the return has big possibilities".
When will I post another Paulie's Picks column?
That depends on when Churchill starts running. I've head that they could start as early as May 14th. It will be, of course, racing with no spectators/fans allowed in -- but, at least it's something.
Some payouts from the sequence yesterday:
Race 11 -- Charlatan paid $2.80 to win, as a prohibitive "odds on" favorite.
Race 12 -- By My Standards went off at 9/2 and got you $11 on a $2 dollar win wager.
Race 13 -- Nadal won at 4/5 odds - a $3.80 win payout. The Pick 3 was worth $9.30.
Race 14 -- Take Charge D'Oro returned $39.60 to win. The Pick 3 got you $159.40.
It was a good day, mostly.
After a morning of handicapping, I mixed the first of several "bourbon 'n rocks" and decided to enjoy the racing. Little did I know that my laptop would crash shortly before I was scheduled to join our weekly CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR PODCAST. I had to troubleshoot it, shut it down and go through a restart. I joined the show late. I still don't know what happened. I have trouble, at times, connecting with Skype -- which is where we emanate from. Maybe that caused it.
The Jim Beam Black tasted just fine and I treated the wife and I to a little grilled barbecued chicken and roasted corn from the "Green Egg" later in the day. It was a beautiful day outside here in Louisville. The last couple of Derby Days have involved rain, so ...it figures yesterdday would be great, right?
I reflected on how I spent previous Derby Days. A fun-filled day that involves going to a long-standing, traditional Derby Day party, sipping "beverages" and "accepting attendee prognostications" on the Derby Day card. Watching and flirting with all the pretty women in attendance (under the surveillance of my wife, naturally) and "shooting the bull" with old and new friends.
I hope Derby Day returns to May next year. We'll see how the "first Saturday in Sept." turns out and if the annual party I attend takes place. We'll see what society and the Coronavirus restrictions are then. Until then, remember....we ARE all in this together. Do the right thing.
We'll see you down the road.
Saturday, May 2, 2020
Ah...the first Saturday in May. We know what it means, and, even in today's world -- where the Kentucky Derby won't run today, I'll still pour a bourbon, sing "My Old Kentucky Home" and watch racing.
Oaklawn has a wonderful card today. We'll look at the Late Pick Four (races 11-14) which offers both of the Arkansas Derby split division handicap races, the Oaklawn Handicap and the traditional closing race for the Oaklawn meet, a 1-3/4th Mile 50K stakes race.
RACE 11 -- ARKANSAS DERBY -- $500K -- GRADE I -- 1-1/8TH MILE
1 -- CHARLATAN
4 -- GOUVERNOR MORRIS
8 -- ANNEAU D' ORO
#1 Charlatan comes into this race with two impressive wins at Santa Anita. It's Bob Baffert and Martin Garcia remaining together. He's my top pick, despite never going over a mile and never running in anything higher than a optional claiming race. How will he like Oaklawn? How will he handle the longer distance? Works have been good and those two 100 + Beyers figures indicate he'll go for the lead and play "come catch me". #11 Basin finally gets a fast track after three good showings in the slop. Nadal and Farmington, who have beat him, are in the other division and Steve Asmussen and Ricardo Santana are dangerous . #4 Gouvernor Morris faltered last time out in the Florida Derby, but, has shown he runs well at longer distances in the past and the combo of John Velasquez and Todd Pletcher look tough, #8 Anneau D' Oro wass second in the Breeders Cup and lost all chance in his last start when he got bumped badly at the Fairgrounds in the Risen Star. He could bounce back at a price today.
RACE 12 -- THE OAKLAWN HANDICAP -- $600K -- GRADE I -- 1-1/8TH MILE
4 -- MR. FREEZE
6 -- WARRIOR'S CHARGE
7 -- COMBATANT
9 -- TACITUS
(also consider -- #12 BY MY STANDARDS AND #14 IMPROBABLE)
No shortage of quality competition here and I'll definitely go "deep" in any wagering pursuits. #4 Mr. Freeze was much the best in the Gulfstream Park Mile, he like to stalk and pounce in the stretch and he's my top pick today. #6 Warrior's Charge loves Oaklawn with three wins here, looked very good in the Grade III Razorback Handicap here and gets Florent Geroux again on board. The question is, he likes the lead...can he sustain it here at the longer distance? #7 Combatant closed with a rush to win the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, he shoild love the extra distance today and Joel Rosario returns on board for Brad Cox. #9 Tacitus was all the rage on the Derby Trail last year, comes back to the states after the Saudi Cup, where he ran into Maximum Security and Midnight Bisou. Can he return to that 2019 form? Works have been OK. I'm also look at #12 By My Standards and #14 Improbable as runners who have a chance here. By My Standards owned Fair Grounds this spring and Improbable closed well in the Oaklawn Mile and just missed, behind Tom's D'Etat. Tough race here.
RACE 13 -- ARKANSAS DERBY -- $500K -- GRADE 1 -- 1-1/8TH MILE
5 -- NADAL
4 -- KING GUILLERMO
10 -- FARMINGTON ROAD
11 -- WELLS BAYOU
(also consider #7 Silver Prospector)
#5 Nadal is 3-3 lifetime, won the Rebel at Oaklawn last time out and will try to take today's division wire-to-wire. I like his chances and he's my top pick. #4 King Guillermo won the Tampa Bay Derby pulling away in the stretch and should like today's extra distance. #10 Farmington Road is a closer and the added distance today suits his running style. Adding Javier Castellano in the saddle doesn't hurt for Todd Pletcher. #11 Wells Bayou owned the Louisiana Derby at Fairgrounds, Florent Geroux knows how to ride him and could contest for the early pace. #7 Silver Prospector isa classic "bounce" horse and could be the winner today if you suscribe to that theory. I'll use him. Asmussen and Santana.
RACE 14 -- STAKES ALLOWANCE -- 50K -- 1-3/4TH MILE
1 -- DANGERFIELD
5 -- CARLOS SIXES
11 -- THE ROGUE DIESEL
14 -- RIVER ECHO
(also consider #12 She Might Fell and #7 Wickets Way)
#1 Dangerfield is a stalker and closer and could relish this unusually long distance. He's my top pick. #5 Carlos Sixes is 3 for 4 at Oaklawn, another stalker and closer and has beat Dangerfield twice recently. Don't ignore him. #11 The Rogue Diesel is one who has been this distance, did well at it and deserves a look, despite his 15-1 morning line. #14 River Echo won at Oaklawn last time out, the distance could be a challenge and the outside post hurts. #12 She Might Fell deserves a look. She's won at Oaklawn, and hasn't been more than a length off the winner in her last three. #7 Wickets Way is a deep closer, that might work at today's distance and was gaining on Dangerfield in his last in the stretch to finish third. A very challenging final race !
Good luck today!
I haven't decided how I'll play the card. I could try a couple of Pick 3's or just settle on some exactas...tough to say. A Pick 4 is also a possibility with:
Race 11: 1-4-8-11
Race 12: 4-6-9-12
Race 13: 4-5-10-11
Race 14: 1-5 11-12