a few stakes selections for today

No, I’m not gonna give you my top 4 for all of them. Life is interfering on this Saturday in good ways.  I do have time to give you my thoughts on the Jerome Handicap at Aqueduct and the stakes races at Keeneland.    For these I’ll tell you who to play and who to avoid.   Frankly I’m avoiding attempting to pick the Rainbow 6 at Gulstream. I’m not too good at those type of wagers. $3 million?? 

Jerome Handicap looks like 2 horses are strong contenders, and they’re not the ones you’d think.  #4 Isn’t He Perfect sports the best winning Brisnet # on the track, and won twice from a middle post.  He’s also run a good pair of numbers better than his previous races, a good sign. I can only fault this horse for not having any workouts since.  Most importantly, Isn’t He Perfect spots a horse who ‘recovered’ from layoff #s and is still in great form. 
#7 Justin Phillip is a strong one to consider with a big caveat; he’s an early-pace type who run a fairly larger Brisnet # last out than previous. Not a good sign. But…..he’s got a strong jockey-combo in Dominguez and Asmussen.  He also has the only win over the slop in this field.  Further he has good stretch-out statistics; his dam side has an AWD of 7.5, best of the field.    Hard to throw him out, especially if going off above his morning-line price but wouldn’t be surprised if he won. 
#3 Gallant Dreams, longshot, you can toss out…another bounce-down candidate despite his shipping from FL and working out well.
Among the rest: Cal Nation, #2 can be argued to be in best form…..lost a pace duel in last race, also shipping from FL and with good workouts…
Top 4 are
7-4-2-8…2 morning-line longshots upfront that I feel are the best of these. 
I won’t be wagering on this at post time but I strongly advise playing #4 to win plus underneath in exactas with whoever the top 2 favorites are. (probably Cal Nation and/or Astrology, #1)
Definitely take a stand against #3 and #7 in any other bets here. 

 As for Keeneland’s big races..I’ll skip the selections:
Grade 2 Ben Ali Stakes: The big favorite, #3, Exhi, appears to be best in form and impossible to ignore among the 5-horse field.  But, I do have one that may truly prove to be the upsetter. #1 Stay Put may well go off at a good price (4-1 or above); he ranks best among those stretching out in distance. Plus, he has the ‘explosive’ type of form that I like….running off a career best that was slightly better than his prior campaign at 3 years old. He’s a dead closer that certainly did improve a lot in speed from the layoff and last year’s Belmont Stakes, so I can ignore for the most part the possibility that he might bounce down.  
Definitely give #1 Stay Put your attention for a win bet and under #3 in an exacta.  

Giant’s Causeway Stakes: One horse stands ahead of the others here, and that’s Stormy Publisher, #11….classic ‘explosive’ horse at age 5, with 3 great wins in the US after a good campaign in South America.  Coming off lifetime best and a pair of races that are a slight improvement over his US debut.  She’s also worked out well and won before off a layoff. 
Horses to avoid in this race are #1, 4,6 and 7.  
The only horse I would suggest playing over him is #2, Lady’s Laughter.She’s the lone late-pace horse in the field, and also has done well straight off layoff. Her trainer, Charles Lopresti, has great ROI with horses switching from dirt to turf.
Outside of the above, try a value horse (4-1 or worse) to win and under #11.  

Grade 3  Lexington Stakes, last big Derby prep for the year looks this way: 
3 horses exude either the explosive or ‘recovery’ form type for strong consideration. Yes, that’s a lot for a 6 horse field. I can confidently throw out #3, Prime Cut, a sprinter who appears set to bounce.   #4 and 5 don’t look very appearling but not throwing them out.   
#1 Derby Kitten, may prove best. He might even go off at some value. Sire line Kitten’s Joy (El Prado) has AWD of 7.4, best of those stretching out here. Shows explosive form with a career best last time out, a slight improvement from his 2 year old best run.   #2 Silver Medallion may end up being the odds-on choice, and may certainly win.  Very similar progress in form to Derby Kitten. #6 Casper’s Touch forged a new career best after showing the explosive type in his first run at age 3. Only issue is that he has no workouts since his last race and might be conceding a good deal of experience going from allowance race to this stakes. 
I can’t figure how the public will bet here, but for the moment I would focus on #1, 2 and 6, and play whoever is going off at odds of 4-1 or worse to win, and under 2 favorites for exactas in either direction.   Avoid #3 for this one.

If I have time I’ll give a closer look to the run for all those roses. 

Santa Anita race selections 4/17/11

Not going to wager $ for this day but a day to experiment with different wagering strategies, on this, the closing day at Santa Anita.  

race 1: 6*-4-1-8
I like 6, a rank longshot, very strongly over the 1, who has the ‘exploding’ type of form. 4 is a favorite thus far. 8 is a middle price horse with good workouts. No other horses appear likely. 

race 2: 5*-4*-6*-1*
I had very little knowledge to go on for this race, so choosing a winner only with one angle: jockey/trainer win%. Leading rider Joe Talamo is on #5 who already is a favorite at the morning-line. Play the 4,6, or 1 instead or use under in exacta. 

race 3: 3*-2*-1*-5*
4 horses I like equally; any of these can win. On top of that, they are all at middle-prices (between 4-1 and 9-1 at morning line). Great value all the way through to try something.  #4 is likely to finish out of the top 4 but is the best after all these.  #1 or 2 (best form) would be good for 2nd, and I might use 1 or 5 for show. 

race 4: 7*-1-6-8
7 dominates as a favorite…therefore I would focus on #s 1, 6, 8. 1 and 8 in particular return some good value. In fact, #8 has the ‘exploding’ form cycle going on and is a longshot.  Maybe a nice exacta play here with the 7 over the 8.  Or 7-1. No other horses have a shot at the money. 

race 5: 8*-2*-10*-5
#2 is best in form. Hard to separate top 3 but 8 ranks best with the leading jockey/trainer combo. All 4 are starting with middle-prices. #9 might have a chance to sneak in, another longshot. So, 5, 9, or 10 up for 3rd, while 10 or 2 are 2nd best. 

race 6:   6*-10*-8*-2*
 Can’t single out any one of these except that #6 appears best of them all and will go off at a low price.  #9 might factor in the 3rd spot as well.  Feel free to play 10, 8, 2 or 9 underneath.   Best in form is #10 but watch for #1 who also has the exploding form cycle in place.  8 or 10 for 2nd, 8, 6, or 10 for 3rd 

race 7:  6*-7*-10-8
I like either 6 or 7 to win, but would key #7 and his value ahead. #s #8 looks like a beaten favorite. #10 might well be used under others.

race 8: 9*-5*-4-2
I strongly like #9 here at a good price. $s 5 and 4 are solid 2nd and 3rd here.  Might want to try #11 or #2 to get sneak in at a nice price.  #4 is best in form and is forging a new speed figure best.

race 9: 1*-3-4-6
Clear favorite, great form and will be at a low price, which might depress value of the others  Still maybe worth trying the longshot #6 underneath. 

race 10: 10*-1*-2-9
2 horse race between 10 and 1. 10 is in an improving form cycle, and #2, already at a low price, threatens with even better form overall. I’d play #9 under these.  Also might want to take a flyer on #6 or 8, who are both improving in form as well.

Hopefully some of this made sense. I’m still sorting out wagering ideas but this is the best I can offer for now.


Keeneland race selections 4/16/11

 Here’s the full card for Keeneland
Every race except 3 and 10 have very good value to choose from, especially in race 4, which is wide open: 

race 1: 3*-5-2-6  
form: 3, 4 

race 2: 1*-5-10-12
form: 1
ROI: 12

race 3: 1*-6-7-8
form: 3
ROI: 7

race 4: 4*-3*-7*-8*
form: 3

race 5: 10*-9*-2-8
form: 10
ROI: 12

race 6: 6*-4-5-9
ROI: 5
form: 6

race 7: 4*-2-3-1
ROI: 2
form: 1, 4

race 8: 8*-11-12-6
form: 4, 11
ROI: 8

race 9, the Blue Grass Stakes:
Yes, Sensational Slam to upset in this one. Leading horse in this field on the poly track, and 3 lifetime wins from middle posts.
form: 5
race 10:   6*-10-9-12 
form: 2, 5, 8, 9, 11
ROI: 2

Back later for the Arkansas Derby selections.

Looking at form in today’s Blue Grass Stakes & Arkansas Derby

Giving you an overview of how I see both races based strictly on form.  I’ll provide my selections for the full card at Keeneland’s other 10 races later before 1st post. 

 #1 Newsdad has slightly positive form, seeing that he is being shipped from the hot weather of Gulfstream Park into KY. 
#2 King Congie has very strong positive form. In his favor are 2 lifetime bests recorded past his 2YO best at age 3, both handicap and stakes races in FL. He’s had repeated works of 5 furlongs. He is coming off a layoff, and has won a race directly off a layoff once before. Only knock on him is that his last 2 speed figures are much higher than the 3rd last, while running as a maiden at 2. He might be suspect at sustaining current speed. Otherwise a strong contender in this category.
#3 Santiva is very strong. He’s a classic ‘exploding’ horse, running a small gain at his 3YO best past his 2YO best; that race was a 2nd place finish in the G2 Risen Star. He definitely is within his form cycle to sustain pace and stamina. Also his last 2 races are a small gain from his 3rd most recent race. He is coming off a layoff, and has won once in that fashion. No blemish to be found. 
#4 Joes Blazing Aaron has had repeated works of 5 furlongs, and is also shipping from Gulfstream.  On the negative side, he’s one of those whose last 2 speed figures are too high of a pair to suggest he will sustain speed for this one.
#5  Brilliant Speed is in top form here. His last 2 starts are a small gain from his 3rd most recent (in the money at the Hallandale Beach and Dania Beach Stakes). He returns from a layoff, a situation he has won prior with.  Also shipping from Gulfstream.  Further he is stretching out from 1-1/16 to 1-1/8 and whose pedigree has the best AWD margin. This margin is 8.6 lengths through his sire Dynaformer, a son of chef-de-race Roberto. 
#6 Sensational Slam is another exploding horse…improving on his 2YO best last time out at 3.  Also has repeated works of 5 furlongs.  His gain in pace between his last 2 starts is of concern, tho, and his run style (early-pressing) suggests he is a bounce-down candidate.
#7 Twinspired is in good form…a pair of races slightly better than his 3rd most recent.  Also shipping from a hot-weather track
#8 Willcox Inn: I have no reliable info pro or con to direct you for him.  
#9 Wilkinson is one to throw out. His last 2 races at the graded-stakes level are superior to anything he’s ran prior.
#10 Praetareo has a lot going on both pro and con. He is an exploding horse, based on his next-to last maiden effort. He’s also shipping from Gulfstream, and has repeated works of 4 furlongs. However his last 2 races seem to reveal him at his peak and will probably not repeat.  Also he’s never run anything besides a maiden race. 
#11 Crimson China is unlikely to factor. He is shipping from a hot-weather track. His pair of races, both in the US apart from his UK runs, are good. But having looked at his 3rd race prior in the UK, he ran that race 5 seconds slower than his next-to-last at the same distance. I can’t imagine he’ll have enough for this race.  Also has no recorded works since last race. 
#12 Queen’splatekitten should be considered strong also: He is ‘exploding’ in speed as well, improving a bit at 3 surpassing his best at 2. Further, he’s shipping from Gulfstream and has repeated works of 4 furlongs. 

Putting it together:
#5 is the horse I’d say is best in form, with #3 and #12 close behind. 
#2 is just behind these. 
I’d take a flyer on any of these 4 horses going off at odds 4-1 or worse. Per the morning-line, each except #3 are at this level, with #12 a longshot at 12-1.  


#1 Caleb’s Posse has decent form, with repeated works of 5 furlongs. 
#1A Alternation is interesting…..running 2 straight lifetime tops at age 3.  However the last 2 races were too strong comparet to all prior ones. Also going from an allowance to this. 
#2 Nehro I have no compelling evidence for or against re form.
#3 Elite Alex also lacks credible evidence. 
#4 The Factor has had repeated works of 6 furlongs, and has paired up speed figures in his last 2, a slight improvement from his career high, a positive factor.
#5 Brethren may be best in the category. In his last race, the Tampa Bay Derby, he last a speed duel to the winner, Watch Me Go. He has repeated works of 5 furlongs. He’s an exploding-type horse, and slight improvement in speed figures from his last 2 compared to his 3rd.  
#6 is an exploding horse, running a new lifetime best 2 months ago at the San Vincente at Santa Anita. Should be assumed in good enough form. 
#7 Truman’s Commander is a throw-out. He’s had repeated works of 4 furlongs, yet he goes from a maiden race to this graded event. Plus his increase in pace beween his last 2 (along with him being an early-pressing type of runner) suggest a bounce-down, 
#8 Dance City is a throw-out….he jumps from an allowance race to this, and also coming off a pair of big speed figures that is too much compared to his 3rd race back, his maiden effort. 
#9 Archarcharch shows mixed results…an exploding horse whose pair of efforts in graded efforts too far beyond his prior runs. 
#10 JP’s Gusto has repeated works of 5 furlongs. Otherwise, no other evidence.
#11 JW Blue should be considered.  He’s got repeated works of 4 furlongs, and he carries the best AWD margin of those stretching out. His dam’s sire’s AWD margin is 8.6, by…..guess who!..Dynaformer, through JW Blue’s dam Kentucky Groom.  JW Blue has the ‘exploding’ form going on as well and should improve.
#12 Saratoga Red I have no evidence, for or against.

Summing up:
Best in form here is #5, with #11 and #4 ones to watch.  I might avoid #4, The Factor, for he’s the odds-on choice to win per the morning line.. The other two horses are middle to longshot choices. 

Back later this morning with all the selections for today’s card at Keeneland, and bonus selection for the Arkansas Derby.