Stakes/Race analysis (multiple tracks)

Today I cover for you 8 stakes races, the only Graded stakes races in the country,
First we go to Del Mar for 3 of them:
The Del Mar Oaks is 9 furlongs on the turf course for leading 3YO fillies.  My top 3 here are Cheekaboo, Lynne’s Legacy and Decked Out.
Cheekaboo is 8 of 9 in the money lifetime, with a win in the Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita 2 races, and the Campanile at Golden Gate in May.  Shares in best distance and turf speed figure (Honeymoon was 98, her best lifetime effort). Bounced to a 90 in the Sandy Blue last time out at Del Mar on 7/17. Had some traffic trouble early in that race; I feel she can bounce back from that figure and have a better run here.  Best works of the field too, with 3 fast local ones.
Overlay pick: Lynne’s Legacy 6 of 9 in the money, took 8 tries to break maiden, did so 2 races back at Santa Anita on 5/29, going at today’s distance. Followed up with a 65k allowance race win on 7/21.  Forged new top in that race, tho leaves her as a bounce risk. Also ran much better at 2nd call than in previous.

Next is the Del Mar Handicap, 9.5 furlongs on the turf course for 3YOs+.  My top 3 are Ashleyluvssugar, Flamboyant and Metaboss…which are also the top 3 per morning-line as well. Can’t expect this race to be all profitable.
Ashleyluvssugar has 6 wins in 15 races, including the Charlie Wittingham and the San Luis Rey.  Best speed figure for distance (103 in last year’s United Nations) and turf (108 in last year’s San Luis Rey). 97 last time out in the Eddie Read, finishing with a 4-wide move.  Solid high 90s numbers last 3 races.

No overlays in this race, which seems wise to avoid.

Next is the TVG Pacific Classic as Del Mar welcomes back champion horse and home-bred California Chrome.   Top 3 are Dortmund, Hoppertunity and Imperative.

Media is really focusing on Beholder vs Chrome, but I have Dortmund as that other favorite to prevail.  8 wins in 11 races, 2nd start of 2016, winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity, RB Lewis, San Felipe, Santa Anita Derby, the Big Bear, and the Native Diver 2 races back here on 11/28. Forged and set up new speed figure record of 108. Made the most of a game effort last out in the San Diego as he drifted in the stretch, losing to Chrome in the San DIego.  Turn time looks good compared to others.  Pattern of triple digits in last 3 races.
Overlays:  Win The Space hasn’t won yet in Graded company but his race pace numbers should cause serious looks.  103 lifetime best in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, then 2nd here in the San Diego. Possibility of bounce from that number.  Turn time gain plus lower speed figure suggests he has more coming.
Imperative has poor 14 of 32 races in the money record, and no wins in the last 18 months.  I like that he gained 2.25 lengths on the leader last time out in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and also has the best works of the field, 6 works here, 2 bullets.
Now I shift to Monmouth for the Monmouth Oaks, Grade 3 100k event at 8.5 furlongs for top 3YO fillies.  Top 3 are pretty much the morning-line selections: Unbridled Mo, Mo d’Amour and Tejana.
Unbridled Mo broke maiden in 2nd start here on 5/29 (36k level), then won an 20k optional claimer race at same distance of 1 mile and 70 yards.  Waiting since early July to stretch out. Top AWD numbers in the field (sire Uncle Mo, dam Unbridled Waters, out of Unbridled).  Forged and matched lifetime best of 86 in both wins.  4 works at Monmouth since last, 3 of the 4 very fast.
Overlay: In a race with favorites up front, there’s a small chance that Hi Holiday might be overlooked. Best pace form of the field, setting small new top of 85 last time out in a 30k optional claimer on 7/23.
UPDATE: Hi Holiday a scratch, so no overlay in this race now, no change in the order. 
Up we go north of the 48 to Northlands and the Grade 3 Canadian Derby.  This race is for top 3YOs, 150k, 9.5 furlongs.  My top 3 are Hold That Giant, Access This, and Ruck.
Hold That Giant is one of 2 overlays I see here and a longshot pick for me.  Winner of the Edmonton Juvenile in 2nd start.  2016 campaign sees a positive change in speed figures, all in the 80s.   Might be fastest of these horses by run style if any of the also-eligibles don’t run.  Trainer Tim Rycroft (21 % winners here) has done the most of any trainer for his horse (class, distance change). Waiting since 7/16 to stretch from 8.5 furlongs.  Impresses with 1 second turn time gain between last 2 races. 2 bullet works since last race.
The other overlay here may be The Accuser. Set small new tops of 74, then 79, then big gain to 86 last time out in a 50k ungraded stakes event here 7/16. 3 works since then, all at NP, 1 very fast.
UPDATE: Scratches to two of the also-eligibles change my order a bit: Hold That Giant, Ruck, Access This my solid top 3, with an upset looming. 

Next is the Spa, and the Fourstardave Handicap, a race rescheduled from last week.

My top 3 here are Grand Arch, Tourist and Ring Weekend. I’m reversing my top 2 in so doing, going with a value horse over 2 favorites.
Grand Arch has an impressive 21 of 26 in the money, with wins in last year’s version of this race as well as the Shadwell. Drops 6 lbs for this race. Won the last 2 times he’s dropped significant pounds. First race after reclaim by Bryan Lynch. Best workouts of the field, with 6 in all, 2 very fast.
King Kressa remains the overlay of the field.  108 Brisnet is lifetime best as well as best for the Spa, the distance and turf course.  Moved from 93 to 100 last time out wining the Forbidden Apple at Belmont, hanging on to win by a nose.
UPDATE: With scratches to 3 horses, my new top 3 are Tourist, then Grand Arch (back to my original top two then), and A Lot.   King Kressa still an overlay.   Tourist is an early-presser type, whose style has won 5 of 10 races during the meet at the mile, and 11% for the range of posts starting from the 4th out. Fastest overall speed figures and rather consistent ones too 
Also at the Spa is the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, 10 furlongs for top 3YOs, 600k.  Songbird is the big lone favorite, and I’m taking a firm stand against her. My top 3 are Go Maggie Go, Going For Broke, and Weep No More. It’s a logical 3 that might not be much value but plenty for sure between them.
Go Maggie Go comes off layoff for the first time…don’t expect any rust here; after all, she did win her first career start….then wins in the Gulfstream Park Oaks and the Black Eyed Susans. Ships from Belmont, following layoff and a 4th place finish in the Acorn. Best works in the field, 4 in all, 3 at Saratoga, 1 bullet. Turn time is easily the best of the field.
Overlays: Weep No More bounced to 87 last time out in the Coaching Club American Oaks here in July. Only deep closer threat in the field, generally on a somewhat quickening pace as the race takes shape. Did gain a bit on the leader and winner Songbird last out by the 2nd call. It was also her first race since layoff, and she improved slightly at the 2nd call as measured by speed figure.
Flora Dora recovers in pace, with a 93 last time out in the CCAO, setting slight new top in the process. Took a 3-wide path while finishing a distant 3rd. The recovery angle suggests she can improve even more from the 93. Just after layoff to start her 3YO campaign, she had an 88 but did not improve on that since then.
Finally we go back north to Woodbine and the Play the King Stakes, a Grade 2 event for 3YOs+ going 7 furlongs on the turf.  My top 3 are Tower of Texas, a longshot play, over 2 pre-favorites, Ami’s Flatter and Green Mask.
Tower Of Texas, in fact is my lone overlay.
13 of 17 in the money, with his last win in the King Edward Stakes (grade 2) here in June 2015. Was nosed out of a win in last year’s version of the Play The King.  99 speed figure is best for the distance and Woodbine of this field. 21.8 turn time from his last 2 races and .6 second gain is the best mark of the field.
UPDATE: Green Mask a morning scratch. I’m inserting Dimension as 3rd choice in a race with a fair amount of value attached. 

2016 PGA Championship outlook

Thinking on the very place name Baltusrol, my mind flashes back to 1994 or so, when I used to have an assortment of Game Boy cartridges, the originals with that green/grayscale look.  One such game was Jack Nicklaus Golf, a good game with a sand course, a tree course, a water course, and a best-18 featuring The Golden Bear’s favorite holes and shots.  You could play a PC player or Jack himself.  Baltusrol’s 16th, if memory serves correctly, was one of the more challenging holes. You have to play entirely over water, onto a narrow strip as judged by distance. Too little and your ball is wet. Too much, and you have a fair amount of sand to play. I usually opted long and hoped for par.     How do the real live players play 16? Remember Lee Janzen..

I’ve picked out my foursome, none of which are surnamed Janzen. Here’s their current stats and history with the course:


Qualified mainly for having a competitvely low score in last year’s PGA Championship.  World rank: 17th,
Among the best without a major, he has 12 pro wins since his debut in 2000. First Baltusrol appearance.
370 lifetime events, 84 top 10s, 263 cuts, 7 PGA wins.   Top 5 stats on the Tour currently in these categories: Par 4 scoring average.
CBS also thinks highly of Kuchar
Biorythms: Great cycles. Physical and emotional cycles are on the positive side and upward trending for the tournament. Mental cycle bottoming out.
Qualified mainly via being in the top 70 for money earned on the tour this year.
5 pro wins, 8th major championship appearance, tho has made the cut in those just 3 times.  First Baltusrol appearance. World rank: 26th.  On the PGA Tour, he’s been in 108 events, one win, 11 Top 10s, 75 cuts. Top 5’s: Distance from edge of fairway,
Biorhythms: Good cycles. Mental cycle is best, starting tourney at peak. Physical goes critical to positive on day 2. Emotional cycle approaching nadir.

RICKIE FOWLER is among the top money leaders on the tour.

Turned pro in 2009, with 6 pro wins.  Still aiming to get back to his outstanding 2014 campaign, with 4 Top 10s in the majors.  World rank: 7th.
170 events on the PGA Tour, with 3 wins, 47 top 10s, 131 cuts made.  Top 5s: Approaches 75-100 yards, scrambling from fringe (perfect in 19 opportunities), putting from 9’, longest putts, par 4 scoring average.
Biorhythms are rather mixed. Physical cycles just peaked, heading down. Emo cycles starts day 1 going critical to negative. Mental goes from critical to positive on day 2.  I can’t expect him to survive the cut.

WILLIAM MCGIRT also has strong showing on the money list.  A pro since 2004, 2 pro wins.  0-3 in majors.  World rank: 46th.

169 events, 1 win, 16 top 10s, 61 cuts.   Top 5s: Scrambling over 30 yards, putts per round in round 2 play.
Biorhythms are good. At peak physically, emotional cycle starts from critical point to positive too. Mental cycle very low this week.
One of my favorite bloggers, The Itinerant Golfer, reveals how to play the Lower Course  

Mares/Santa Cruz featherweight title fight analysis

Sometimes Wiki can really be your best friend when you need it.  I was confused about the big fight coming up at the Staples Center in Los Angeles,  for a WBC Diamond featherweight title. Diamond?I think I heard of it,and some reference to Silver too, but why these extra belt? Is this just so history has to show that a magic belt had to be won for any old fight? Seems that’s how the World Boxing Council wants it.   Good old Wikipedia says that the Diamond belt is to recognize winning a fight of great significance, one awarded per weight class. The fight on Saturday would grant the first such belt in the class. And, on paper, it does shape up well.  Abner Mares, former WBC World featherweight title, goes for the glory against undefeated multiple super bantamweight champ Leo Santo Cruz.   Not sure if I like all these belts.   I so long for simpler times.
Mares is 29-1-1, 15 wins and 1 loss by KO.  This will be his 4th fight vs an undefeated opponent.  The one blemish came vs Jhohnny Gonzalez 2 years ago this week.  Since then he’s gone to 2 decision, and caused one retirement, each fight at 10 rounds. Steps up again to 12 rounds, maybe even lifetime highweight. He was 128 vs Jose Ramirez on 12/13/14.  In 12-round fights, he’s gone 9-1-1, with one early and 1 late KO in his wins.   He’s been on the greater radar since 2009 and held his first title (IBF World bantamweight) in 2010, acquired at the Staples Center.   He kept some sort of title aloft until his loss to Gonzalez.    This will be his 4th fight in this venue, just 8 miles from home in Montebello.
Triple high cycles without counting his growing intuitive expression.  Physically he’s weaker than previous days but his attitude is very good and he’s at peak mentally.   Strong athletic abilitly in general and a willingness to finish a fight.  Very good outlook here.

Santa Cruz, ‘El Terremoto” is based in Rosemead,10 miles from Staples Center. 30-0-1, 17 KOs.   Held the WBC World super bantamweight title snice 8/13 until 1/15  It will be his 6th fight vs an opponent with 0 or 1 loss. In 12-round fights, he’s won all 10, with 2 KOs each early, mid and late stages.
As much as Mares has a strong outlook, it’s most difficult for Santa Cruz.  Intuition is in a temporary critical phase, and he’s rather weak physically and emotionally.  Seems most likely to quit the fight at some point.

One common opponent:
Eric Morel lost to Santa Cruz, who won the vacant WBC world super bantamweight title, 4/21/12, decision in 12.
Then in September 2012, Mares would score a 5th round TKO vs Morel, retaining his IBF World bantamweight title.
I predict this to be a mid-fight KO by Mares and owner of the vacant title.

Kovalev/Mohammedi fight analysis (7/25/15)

Sergey Kovalev defends his WBA, IBF and WBO light-heavyweight titles vs Nadjib Mohammedi, 7/25/15 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.   It’s the first big fight at the resort in 15 months.   Kovalev owns a 6 inch height advantage, and 2 inches more in reach.   The Ring Magazine ranks Kovalev as the top contender for the title in the class, and Mohammedi 9th.
Common opponent:
Kovalev dispatched Nathan Cleverly 8/13,TKO in 4th round of 12. Nathan’s record coming in was 26-0-0. You can watch that here:
Mohammedi lost to Cleverly, 12/10,decision in 12. It was his 2nd lifetime loss, and first via decision.  Here’s coverage of this one in 2 parts:
Krusher Kovalev has owned the WBO  since 11/2013 and added the other two in a decision over Bernard Hopkins a year later.  27-0-1, 24 wins by KO, for a strong 86% KO rate. ranks him best in the class worldwide.   Just 9 12-round fights in his career, he’s won each, with 4 KOs in early rounds, 3 middle.  It will be his 2nd fight in NV.
Good looking cycles here, the only negative being his mental state, tho it is on the rise. Power is at its peak, and passion is quite strong as well, good overall outlook for a KO I’d say.
Mohammedi has 13 straight wins since his last loss in 2011.   It’s his first title fight in 2011, and his first time attempting to win the IBF and WBA belts (2nd time for the
WBO belt).  In 10 fights scheduled for 12, he is 8-2, with 3 early KOs, 3 middle KOs.  Ranked as best in class in his native France, 12th worldwide.    Lost last 2 fights going against fighters with 0 or 1 loss.   This will be his 3rd fight in the US, 1st on the West Coast.
As good as Krusher’s is, Mohammedi’s is even better.  3 main cycles are very strong, with his intuition not nearly where it should be.   Athletic ability, his motivation to continue into the fight and decision-making process are all rather strong.  Kovalev can hope to match him in heart.

This will be one exciting fight. Both fighters have the ability to KO but it will be Kovalev who will duck the wrong way and walk into Mohammedi’s punches sometime late.

Stieglitz/Abraham 4 analysis

Halle Germany is the site of the latest big boxing match, involving super middleweights Arthur Abraham and Robert Stieglitz, for Abraham’s WBO World Super Middleweight title. Either fighter has held the title consecutively since January of 2010 and it’s their 4th time squaring off.
Fight 1 : Abraham won by decision for the title in August 2012, this after Stieglitz successfully defended 6times.  Abraham would one fight in defense.
Fight 2:
 Stieglitz won the title back with a 4th round TKO, March 2013
Stieglitz would defend 2 more times, and then…
Fight 3:  Abraham wins the title back in a split decision, March 2014. He’s defended the title 3 times since.
King Arthur has won 6 times since their 2nd matchup. The Berlin resident is ranked #3 in the world by for the class, and best out of Germany.  42-4-0, 28 wins and 1 loss by KO. 26-4 in 12-round contests, with 2 KOs early, and 10 more after the 4th round.    Involved in title fights ever since 2011, coming out of a period in which he lost 3 of 4 fights. He fights primarily in the home country.
Challenging cycles at work.  No doubting his punching power but he’s feeling real down, and is quite lacking in making proper decisions in the ring. He’s going to walk right into some punches. Even tho his intuition is rather strong, it won’t translate well in making the right punch, no matter the power.
Stieglitz is ranked as the #4 super middleweight in the world by, and #2 in Germany.  47-4-1, 27 wins and 2 losses by KO.   in 12-round contests he is 19-4-1, with 1 early KO, 3 mid-fight, 4 late.  Also fights primarily in Germany.   win-loss-draw in his last 3 with 1 KO win.
Good cycles but a questionable emotional outlook, not quite feeling like himself emotionally, not very much attuned to the atmosphere. His intuition is also rather suspect. He’d have to rely on his power punches as well as any thoughtful decisions to be made. He has to have enough time to set up punches.  His pure athletic ability is absolutely at its peak.
This could certainly go as a late KO for Stieglitz.
2 fighters in common: Stieglitz defeated Khoren Gevor, April 2011, upon a DQ in round 10 of 12.  Stieglitz defeated Nader Hamdan May 2012, unanimous decision in 12.
Abraham defeated Hamdan in 2004 for the vacant WBA Intercontinental middleweight title, TKO in 12th.  He would defeated Gevor in defense of his IBF world middleweight title, KO in 3rd of 12. provides the charts, with stats culled from

Miguel Cotto vs Daniel Geale analysis

Huge fight in store coming up on Saturday, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn NY, with the WBC world middleweight title on the line. Champion Miguel “Junito” Cotto meets Daniel “Real Deal”Geale, 12 rounds, both fighters agreeing to 157 lb limit.
The title makes its first appearance in Brooklyn, after being contested and won by Gennady Golovkin the last 3 occasions, in both California and in Monaco. Cotto last held the title in  his win over Marco Antonio Rubio in NYC nearly a year to the day.
Geale is Boxrec’s #7 middleweight and #1 out of Australia.  It is just his 3rd fight outside of his home continent.  Cotto is his 2nd opponent who has over 40 fights lifetime.  This will be his 14th consecutive title fight of any sort. He took the vacant PABA and interim WBO Asia Pacific titles within the division upon his defeat of Jarrod Fletcher last December.  Alternating wins and losses in last 5. Lifetime 31-3-0, 16 wins and 1 loss by KO.  12-round record of 16-3, including 1 early KO, and 2 late KO wins.
Excellent cycles in general,scoring high in physical, mental, intuitive, aesthetic, mastery, passion, wisdom. In the midst of triple high regarding main cycles.
Cotto makes his first title defense since reclaiming this belt.  It’s his first appearance in Brooklyn as well.   39-4-0, with 32 wins and 4 losses via KO.  12-round record: 25-4, with 3 early KOs, 8 middle round KOs, 6 late KOs.  2 wins in last 4.
Tough one for Cotto as he’s failing physically and plummeting toward a physical critical day, where he’s not going to feel his own punches and could bleed more here.  Mentally he’s improving but fuzzy still. Emotional outlook is still positive. a Overall, Cotto’s awareness in the ring is as strong as it can be,but it cannot translate to a win.

I foresee  a late KO by Geale for him to become the new champion.

2015 US Open (golf) analysis

Well look at this! Golf’s US Open is practically in my backyard, just north of my locale of Tacoma WA.  Being specific, it’s Chambers Bay, which has the look of a links course, and is Golf Magazine’s #64 ranked course in the USA.  I suggest  you read up on coverage of this course from one who’s played it,
For this spot here, as with all major events, I look at just 2 sets of data, scrambling and ball striking, and set out to find the best available foursome who ranks in both, and see which of them will do well. Bonus points go to those who’ve actually played on the course before.  Here’s that foursome in order of preference:

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: is world #14, and makes his first appearance at Chambers Bay, and his 3rd US Open (peaked at 10th in 2013). This year he’s missed 1 cut in 15 tourneys and has 12 placings in the top 25. Lifetime 42 of 50 cuts, 13 top 10s and one win, last year’s Memorial.

Notable top 10 ranks: Greens in regulation, strokes gained, holes per eagle, total driving, all-around, approaches 100-125 and 175-200 out, scrambling from fringe (leader), front 9 scoring (leader),par 4s, final round.
Awful cycles for Hideki here as they are low and getting lower. Do not expect him to make the cut.
WEBB SIMPSON is world #40, with 11 of 12 cuts made, 4 top 10s. Lifetime he has 130 out of 178 cuts, with 43 top 10s, 4 wins, including the 2012 US Open, his lone major score.
Top 10s: Strokes gained, total driving, all-around, going for green birdie or better, approaches 125-175, proximity to hole from sand, scoring average, round 1 scoring (leader), early scoring, par 3, par 5, bounce back.
Chart is pretty decent…Wisdom and aesthetic cycles plus the general mental cycles are in good positive motion. The mental game will have to be strong as he cannot rely on long drives.
JORDAN SPIETH is the world #2 and this year’s Masters champion, his lone major title.  13 of 15 cuts made in 2015, 8 top 10s, 2 wins.  Lifetime:60 of 73 cuts, 25 top 10s, 3 wins. 3rd US Open, best finish was 17th last year.
Top 10s: Strokes gained,birdie average, scoring average (leader), all-around, rough proximity (leader), approaches over 100 yards (leader), approaches inside 100,150-175, 50-125,100-125,75-100,putting average (leader), putts per round, putting 20’-25’,round 2 and late scoring average, par 4 birdie or better (leader)

Strongest cycles:Physical,emotional,intuition, awareness, passion. Lacking in mental and aesthetic cycle strength.

Very good lines for Spieth….expect him to survive and compete well. I say, grip and rip.
BUBBA WATSON   enters as world #3..This year, 8 for 8 in cuts, 4 top 10s, 1 win. Lifetime 156 of 216 cuts made, 42 top 10s, 7 wins, and owns 2 wins in the Masters.Best US Open:  tied for 5th in 2007.
Top 10s: Driving distance,strokes gained, holes per eagle, scoring average, clubhead speed, going for green, approaches over 275 yards and 225-250 and 50-75.  overall putting, especially within 5 feet, par breakers, front 9 scoring, par 3s, par 5s (leader), bounce back.
Cycles: Emotional, awareness cycles are strongly positive.   Decent outlook, should survive the cut but physical cycle is lacking and in fact may be his undoing as he must contend with a critical phase for round 4.