Blinkers Off 038: Travers Recap and Closing Weekend at Saratoga Podcast Released

Blinkers Off Logo2Blinkers Off has released a new episode!

Blinkers Off provides weekly insights into the world of horse racing including race selections and previews, handicapping methods and exclusive stories.

You can view all episodes of Blinkers Off by visiting our podcast page or Blinkers Off | Blog Talk Radio Feed.

Blinkers Off 038: Travers Recap and Closing Weekend at Saratoga – August 29, 2013

The Thoroughbred Racing Dudes review the Travers Stakes, get some things off their chests and preview the notable stakes races for the final weekend at Saratoga.

TwinSpires Million Road to Derby Showdown

Racing Dudes Divisional Rankings

Will Take Charge Threw the 3 Year Old Division into Choas

Will Take Charge Threw the 3 Year Old Division into Chaos

Older Males

1. Game On Dude – After his Pacific Classic performance you can’t deny him the top spot anymore!

2. Wise Dan – Still the one of the best, but with Game On Dude running so well Wise Dan might have to go after him to win the HOY award.

3. Cross Traffic – He’s probable for the Woodward where he could strengthen his name with a big win.

4. Graydar – He has rejoined Pletcher’s Stable at Saratoga, will be looking for a big fall campaign.

5. Fort Larned – Workouts leading up to the Woodward have been strong.

Sleeper: Successful Dan – His Whitney second place effort was solid…now lets see if he can put back to back races together.

Older Females

1. Royal Delta – No questions now…Royal Delta still rules this division.

2. Tiz Miz Sue – Absolutely sickening that she had to be retired.  Was running better than ever.

3. Authenticity – She ran a solid race finishing second in the Personal Ensign, but it’s clear she’s not as good as Royal Delta.

4. Joyful Victory – Her stakes win at Monmouth proves she’s ready for a big second half.

5. On Fire Baby – I won’t give up on her yet.  Was put in a tough spot this weekend.

Sleeper: My Miss Aurelia – Has been transferred to Todd Pletcher.  Interesting move, will it pay off?

3 Year Old Males

1. Palace Malice – Even with a loss, I thought he may have proved he’s the best in this division.  Must win a race or two to keep this spot, which we project he will.

2. Orb – He’s not a “super horse” but he is very solid.  Nothing wrong with his Travers finish, but he probably should have won with the trip he got.

3. Will Take Charge – Here is the fast rising star in the division.  He’s finally put together back to back races, and his Travers win puts him in the thick of the race.

4. Oxbow – Done for the year which puts him out of the three year old of the year discussion, but still had a great season.

5. Verrazano – The poor performance will drop him some, but all is not lost.  This horse is a beast going shorter distances.

Sleeper: Moreno – It may be too late for him to win the Three Year Old Horse of the Year, but there is no doubt he’s becoming a star.

3 Year Old Females

1. Princess or Sylmar – The best without a single doubt.  This race is over.

2. Beholder – Wish she’d run again soon.  Really nice horse.

3. Fiftyshadesofhay – This horse is a fighter.  Pretty decent race to finish second in the Alabama.  Princess of Sylmar; Beholder just better.

4.  Midnight Lucky – Unfortunately she will miss the rest of the year, which will cause her to drop some.

5. Close Hatches – Easily defeated the now overrated Dreaming of Julia in the Mother Goose.

Sleeper: Unlimited Budget – Still have to mention her, but she needs to rebound from a poor effort in the CCA Oaks.

Sprinters

1. Fast Bullet – He’s pointing for the Forego this Saturday, and has been transferred to D Wayne Lukas

2. Justin Phillip – The old pro looks better than ever.  So great to see him win his first Grade 1 stakes.

3. Reneesgotzip – There is a new queen in town!  She set the track record at Del Mar last time out.

4. Gentleman’s Bet – He gets a new rider for the Forego: Mike Smith.

5. Sage Valley – Up and comer has really had a nice season.

Sleeper: Trinniberg – Defending sprint champion is still on our radar.

TwinSpires Million Road to Derby Showdown

Cali Swag: Photo’s From Pacific Classic Day at Del Mar

The best horse photographer in the country, Mike Sekulic, was on hand at Del Mar Sunday to capture the Pacific Classic.  Here are some of his pictures of the big day, including Game On Dude, Obviously, Siliento, Fed Biz, and Richard’s Kid.  We hope you all enjoy!

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Saratoga Report #6

Will Take Charges Wins the Travers

Will Take Charges Wins the Travers

Three Stars of the Week

– 1st Star: Will Take Charge (KY) – Much to the delight of the Racing Dudes and Oaklawn fans everywhere, Will Take Charge waited to get on the big stage at Saratoga before finally breaking through with two big races in a row.  After struggling through the Triple Crown, the 17 hand chestnut was a solid second in the Jim Dandy, before running the race of his life and winning the Travers last Saturday.  He sat the perfect trip with rider Luis Saez aboard, and was able to make up three to four lengths in the stretch to nip Moreno right on the wire.  The win also made Will Take Charge a millionaire, and puts him into the mix for three-year old of the year.  The Pennsylvania  Derby or Jockey Club Gold Cup will be next for him, with the long-term goal being the Breeders Cup Classic.

– 2nd Star: Royal Delta (KY) – While Will Take Charge won the tracks biggest race, the biggest performance of the weekend may have come from two-time defending Breeders Cup Ladies champion Royal Delta.  After struggling a bit to start the year, Royal Delta has returned to her flawless form, winning the last two races with no trouble whatsoever.  It’s interesting to note that her last two races have been without Lasix, a move that must be credited to trainer Bill Mott.  She is without a doubt the number one older mare in the country, and should be heading into the Breeders Cup in perfect shape.

– 3rd Star: Capo Bastone (KY) – The OTHER Pletcher horse got the job done in the King’s Bishop!  The race came up as one of the stronger races of the year, and as expected the pace up front was very hot.  It was expected that Forty Tales or Declan’s Warrior would be the faster of the closing horses, but it was Capo Bastone that made the strongest of the late charges, and he easily passed Mentor Cane to win by two lengths.  Since shortening up to sprint races Capo Bastone has improved tremendously, but still he paid $58.50 for a $2 win bet on Saturday.  No plans are set in stone for him yet, but he may have tossed his hat into the Breeders Cup Sprint discussion with this solid effort. Continue reading

Del Mar Report #6

Game On Dude Dominated the Pacific Classic

Game On Dude Dominated the Pacific Classic

Three Stars of the Week

– 1st Star: Game On Dude (KY) – This was just brilliant!  Just when you think the old gelding can’t get any better, he raises the bar another notch.  Sunday’s 8 1/2 length win in the Pacific Classic was simply amazing, and keeps him undefeated on the year.  The race probably puts him in the number one spot for horse of the year honors, and also gives him his first Pacific Classic victory in three tries.  It’s obvious the Breeders Cup Classic will tell the story of his season, and the way he’s running now should be good enough to win it.  At this point, he’s the best horse in the country.

– 2nd Star: Fed Biz (KY) – Everybody was throwing their money towards Goldencents in the Pat O’Brien Stakes, but it was Fed Biz who ran HUGE as he set a track record in his one length victory.  The win was his first win since January, and only his second graded stakes win.  Jockey Martin Garcia sat about eight length off the pace setters in ninth, and was able to just catch Goldencents in the final sixteenth of a mile.  This race could mean that Fed Biz has found his game again, and should set him up nicely for a start in the Breeders Cup Mile or Sprint.

– 3rd Star: Obviously (IRE) – There are some low grumblings that Obviously just might be a horse that can challenge Wise Dan in the Breeders Cup Mile in November, and his win in the Del Mar Mile Handicap on Sunday will only add fuel to the fire.  It was his third straight graded stakes win, and as usual he did it in wire to wire fashion.  The presence of that early speed is such a valuable asset considering his ability to cut out fast fractions with relative ease without getting tired.  I’m sure he’ll run in one more prep race before he tries to tackle the current horse of the year at Santa Anita in the Breeders Cup. Continue reading

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TwinSpires Million Road to Derby Showdown

Blinkers Off 037: Travers and Pacific Classic Previews Podcast Released

Blinkers Off Logo2Blinkers Off has released a new episode!

Blinkers Off provides weekly insights into the world of horse racing including race selections and previews, handicapping methods and exclusive stories.

You can view all episodes of Blinkers Off by visiting our podcast page or Blinkers Off | Blog Talk Radio Feed.

Episode

Blinkers Off 037: Travers and Pacific Classic Previews – August 22, 2013

The Thoroughbred Racing Dudes breakdown the Travers Stakes and the Pacific Classic, as well as rapid fire the other notable stakes races for the weekend at Saratoga and Del Mar.

TwinSpires Million Road to Derby Showdown

The Travers (Grade 1) Preview

Free Past Performances

1. Romansh 12-1

Romansh_f_InsideRace Record: (4) 2-1-0

Earnings: $123,580

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Trainer: Tom Albertrani

Graded Stakes Victories: NONE

The Verdict: In a race loaded with stars, its tough to back a horse that has actually only gotten to the wire first one time.  He did officially “win” the Curlin Stakes last time out, but it was because of a disqualification.  His price will be intriguing and his connections are strong, but I think there are better long shots to play in this race.

2. Orb 4-1

imagesRace Record: (10) 5-0-2

Earnings: $2,505,850

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Shug McGaughey

Graded Stakes Victories: 3 – Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, Grade 1 Florida Derby, Grade 1 Kentucky Derby

The Verdict: The Kentucky Derby winner looks to be back to his best form leading up to this race.  After running in all three Triple Crown races you could tell he may have been a little tired by the end of it, as his third place Belmont effort was fairly average.  We’ve all seen that he can fire fresh, and his workouts have been perfect according to his connections.  One question remains…did the slop on Kentucky Derby day move this horse from very good to elite?  His fast dirt performances haven’t been quite as strong as the Derby day slop romp.  A must use horse in all exotics, but others appeal more to me on the win end of things.

3. Verrazano 2-1

imagesRace Record: (7) 6-0-0

Earnings: $1,511,300

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Graded Stakes Victories: 4 – Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, Grade 1 Wood Memorial, Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes, Grade 1 Haskell Invitational

The Verdict: This one is clearly a freak.  If you throw out his poor Kentucky Derby slop performance, this horse is six for six and hasn’t even been challenged in his races.  So with him, the question is very simple…was his poor Kentucky Derby performance because of the slop, or because of the distance?  If you think it was the slop, then you have to be all over him here.  If you think it was the distance, then you must be loving that he’s going to be taking a lot of money Saturday afternoon.  Personally I believe the slop did him no favors, but I also believe this mile and one-quarter distance is not his ideal spot.  Hes horse that should be used in exotics, but he’s a favorite that is worth trying to beat.

4. Golden Soul 20-1

untitledRace Record: (8) 1-3-0

Earnings: $527,400

Jockey: Robby Albarado

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Graded Stakes Victories: NONE

The Verdict: Take out his fluke performance in the Kentucky Derby and we probably wouldn’t know this horses name by now.  Since that race he’s done very little, and I just don’t think this race will be much different.  The price will be very good for a Kentucky Derby runner-up horse, but I think you have to draw a line through that race.

5. Will Take Charge 10-1

BQgZPKPCAAMP65KRace Record: (11) 3-2-0

Earnings: $665,371

Jockey: Luis Saez

Trainer: D Wayne Lukas

Graded Stakes Victories: 1 – Grade 2 Rebel Stakes

The Verdict: Here he is again, a handicappers worst nightmare.  Will Take Charge has been as inconsistent as a horse could possibly be this year.  After winning the Rebel Stakes and looking as though he was going to run huge in the Kentucky Derby before being stopped, he then ran back to back poor races in the Preakness and Belmont.  D Wayne Lukas took the blinkers off for the Jim Dandy Stakes last time out, and the horse ran the best race of his career, finishing a solid second to Palace Malice.  So now the hype is back, but will he disappoint again?  I’ll say what I’ve been saying about him for months now…play him in a way to where he can’t beat you.  Sprinkle him lightly on your tickets, but don’t but him in a position where you have to rely on him.

6. Moreno 12-1

morenoRace Record: (12) 2-3-2

Earnings: $275,440

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Trainer: Eric Guillot

Graded Stakes Victories: 1 – Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes

The Verdict: Honestly, it’s very hard to know what to make of this horse.  It took him ten tries to finally break his maiden, but since then he’s won the Grade 2 Dwyer, and finished a solid third in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes.  His front end running style will always give him a chance at Saratoga, but can he actually be good enough to make an impact here.  Maybe a small play to pull the upset, but tread lightly.

7. War Dancer 15-1

War DancerRace Record: (7) 3-2-1

Earnings: $418,569

Jockey: Alan Garcia

Trainer: Ken McPeek

Graded Stakes Victories: 1 – Grade 2 Virginia Derby

The Verdict: Really tough spot to try to pick up your first dirt win.  War Dancer has run just once on the turf, and finished fourth beaten six lengths in a maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park.  On the turf it’s been a different story for him as he won the Virginia Derby last time out.  Looks to me they are just taking a shot with him in this one so he’s probably not worth much of a look.

8. Palace Malice 5-2

palacemalice7-27bmRace Record: (9) 3-3-1

Earnings: $1,231,135

Jockey: Mike Smith

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Graded Stakes Victories: 2 – Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes

The Verdict: I have to stick with what I saw on Belmont day…this is the horse of the summer.  After putting in superb workouts leading up to that race, he was the clear winner.  Since the Belmont he’s done everything right, and his Jim Dandy win was probably his best career race.  The horse has come into his own with age and experience, and just seems to be thriving right now.  I expect the biggest performance of his career on Saturday, and for him to become the leader in the three-year old division.

9. Transparent 10-1

TransparentRace Record: (9) 2-1-1

Earnings: $112,784

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Graded Stakes Victories: NONE

The Verdict: If you are thinking upset, this might be the horse to look into.  He actually finished ahead in the Curlin Stakes last time out by two lengths, but was disqualified and placed fifth.  However, it was very clear that he was the best horse in that race, and his slow and steady improvement is something you like to see.  Yes, the class test is very steep, but he may be the horse that jumps up and ruins your trifecta and superfecta wagers.  Dangerous…

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Racing Dudes Divisional Rankings

Palace Malice Headlines the Travers

Palace Malice Headlines the Travers

Older Males

1. Wise Dan – He’s simply a brilliant horse when going one mile on the turf.

2. Game on Dude – Pacific Classic looms large, Game On Dude said to be super sharp.

3. Cross Traffic – The new face in the division showed he’s for real in the Whitney.  Now he’s a prime time player.

4. Graydar – He has rejoined Pletcher’s Stable at Saratoga, will be looking for a big fall campaign.

5. Fort Larned – Workouts leading up to the Woodward have been strong.

Sleeper: Successful Dan – His Whitney second place effort was solid…now lets see if he can put back to back races together.

Older Females

1. Royal Delta – Major test this Sunday in the Personal Ensign.

2. Tiz Miz Sue – Will wait to run one prep race, and then it’s on to the Ladies Classic.

3. Authenticity – Gets a much anticipated match-up with Royal Delta this week in the Personal Ensign.

4. Joyful Victory – Her stakes win at Monmouth proves she’s ready for a big second half.

5. On Fire Baby – Also pointing to the Personal Ensign.  What a race this one is going to be!

Sleeper: My Miss Aurelia – Has been transferred to Todd Pletcher.  Interesting move, will it pay off?

3 Year Old Males

1. Palace Malice – Travers week is here, can he make it three in a row?

2. Verrazano – It’s the Travers for him as well, can he get a mile and one-quarter?

3. Orb – The Travers will be his first start since the Belmont, will he run huge off the short layoff?

4. Oxbow – Done for the year which puts him out of the three year old of the year discussion, but still had a great season.

5. Will Take Charge – Lukas says he’s “dead fit” for the Travers, can he finally put two in a row together?

Sleeper: Departing – Super talented horse, but they are taking their time with him.  Super Derby up next.

3 Year Old Females

1. Princess or Sylmar – The best without a single doubt.  This race is over.

2. Beholder – Wish she’d run again soon.  Really nice horse.

3. Fiftyshadesofhay – This horse is a fighter.  Pretty decent race to finish second in the Alabama.  Princess of Sylmar; Beholder just better.

4.  Midnight Lucky – Unfortunately she will miss the rest of the year, which will cause her to drop some.

5. Close Hatches – Easily defeated the now overrated Dreaming of Julia in the Mother Goose.

Sleeper: Unlimited Budget – Still have to mention her, but she needs to rebound from a poor effort in the CCA Oaks.

Sprinters

1. Fast Bullet – Finally got to see him do his thing on the big stage.  Exceptional race in the True North.

2. Justin Phillip – The old pro looks better than ever.  So great to see him win his first Grade 1 stakes.

3. Reneesgotzip – There is a new queen in town!  She set the track record at Del Mar last weekend.

4. Gentleman’s Bet – Valiant effort in the Vanderbilt, I don’t discount him at all for that race.

5. Sage Valley – Up and comer has really had a nice season.

Sleeper: Trinniberg – Defending sprint champion is still on our radar.

TwinSpires Million Road to Derby Showdown

Saratoga Report #5

Princess of Sylmar was Brilliant in Winning the Alabama

Princess of Sylmar was Brilliant in Winning the Alabama

Three Stars of the Week

– 1st Star: Princess of Sylmar (PA) – There is no questioning who the best three-year old filly is now…Princess of Sylmar is above and beyond them all!  Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama win was another dominating effort, as she won by almost three lengths, but it might as well have been twenty considering how she was seemingly geared down towards the end of the race.  What happens next for Princess of Sylmar is a bit touchy, as she is not Breeders Cup nominated.  There are talks of shutting her down for the year, or maybe running the Cotillion at Parx in September.  No matter what happens next, Princess of Sylmar has left little doubt that she is a super star.

– 2nd Star: Big Blue Kitten (KY) – This was the horse that kicked off the Ramsey Grade 1 hat trick on Saturday, and he did it in stylish fashion!  Using his normal come from behind tactics, Big Blue Kitten stormed from 10th around the far turn and was able to get up without much drama in the end as he won by a length on the wire.  It was a nifty ride by jockey Joe Bravo, considering the pace was much slower than expected.  He’s now won ten of seventeen lifetime starts, including back to back Grade 1 victories.  The Ramsey’s have plenty of options for the Breeders Cup, and Big Blue Kitten may have earned a chance to go there in November.

– 3rd Star: Caroline Thomas (KY) –  It was a roughly ran renewal of the Lack Placid Stakes on Sunday, and in the end it was Caroline Thomas that was declared the winner as Nellie Cashman was disqualified and placed third for interference in the stretch run.  The “win” was Caroline Thomas’ first win of the year, and also the first Graded stakes win of her career.  The fact the she was ran well was a surprise to many as she was coming off a very poor effort last time out in an ungraded stakes here at Saratoga.  She returned $25.20 for a two dollar win ticket, and was the third longest price on the board. Continue reading