Enlightened Trails update (selections for Fair Grounds Oaks, LA Derby)

The Enlightened Trails return after a sudden one-week hiatus, and appear in Lousiana for the Fair Grounds Oaks and Louisiana Derby. Both races take place in the South divisions where several more races take place before my mythical Derby and Oaks fields take final shape.
We’ll look at the Fair Grounds Oaks first, a Grade 2 event for top 3YO fillies, going 8.5 furlongs.  Top 3:
Northwest Tale has 3 races here, 1 win and 1 3rd. Won a 50k optional claimer last out with a sharp 93 Brisnet, way ahead of her prior efforts.  That 93 score is best FG performance of the field. Horses on the rail at the distance have won 24% of the time; twinned with 29% wins by early/pressers, makes her the top benefactor of track bias.  4 works since her last race, last 2 very fast.
Street Fancy won the Starlet Stakes 2 races back, was 3rd in the Desi Arnaz prior to that. Won the Starlet first off layoff. Took a big step back in the Las Virgiennes last time out, bouncing to 60 from lifetime best 94. I’m willing to play the bounceback, as she’s waiting longest to stretch out. Prior stretchout and shipping win as well.
Adore won a 62k optional claimer last time, prior to that her maiden-breaker at the 68k level, both were routes.  Top AWD numbers of the field (Big Brown/Cozhesaidso, out of Empire Maker). Small new top in pace form last time out with an 88. Lone early closer of the field.
Suggested odds: Adore 6-1; Dream Dance 44-1; Street Fancy 7-2; Land Over Sea 10-1; Northwest Tale 2-1; Stageplay 10-1; Midnight Of Oconee and Venus Valentine 22-1.   Overlay: Street Fancy,  Northwest Tale.
EOT points in this field: Land Over Sea 50 (Cali); Midnight On Oconee 10 (minor); Venus Valentine 10 (minor); Stageplay 100 (Heartland); Dream Dance 50 (Heartland);
The Louisiana Derby is for top 3YOs, 9 furlongs in length, Grade 2 event, $1 million at stake.
Mo Tom is the worthy favorite here. Winner of the LeComte and the Street Sense, 3rd in the Risen Star and the KY Jockey Club. Alternating wins and 3rd through 6 lifetime races.  Small new top set with 95 Brisnet last out toughing out some trouble late in the Risen Star, ahead of a pair of 94s.  Easily the true speed of the field tho will certainly require a solid early pace and subsequent collapse of same. 4th race since reclaim by Thomas Amoss.  Progressive growth in pace from first race to present.
Gun Runner likewise a logical 2nd favorite. 3 wins of 4, including the Risen Star last time out.   That race, a 97 Brisnet score for him, is best performance here of this field, along with proof positive of pace form.  Also progressive pace in each of his races. 4 works here, 2 fast ones, one a bullet.  Increased 2nd call speed in the Risen Star first after layoff.
Battery is my price play. 4th in his maiden debut, winning next at the 50k level, 2nd in a 75k optional claimer, winner of similar level after with strong 95 Brisnet at 9 furlongs. 95 is best for the distance of the field.
Suggested odds: Mo Tom 1-1, Conquest Windycity 29-1, Battery 22-1, Gun Runner 3-1, Greenpointcrusader 6-1.   Overlays: None.  Predicting a chalk finish.
EDT points extant in this field: Gun Runner 25, Mo Tom 50, Greenpointcrusader 250
Next post will reveal my picks for The Racing Biz’s monthly handicapping contest.

Enlightened Trails update: Stakes action at Gulfstream, Fair Grounds

Lots to cover today, so let’s jump into action first with the lower of the stakes races.
HONEY FOX Stakes at Gulfstream is a Grade 2 event for fillies/mares 4YO+, going a mile on the GP turf.  300k at stake.
Top 3: #6 Baffle Me, #7 Istanford, #8 Coffee Cliqure.
Baffle Me had finished off her 4YO campaign well with 3 straight wins in sprints. Has placed only once, her most recent race, a 2nd in the South Beach here on December 13.  6-2-2-1 record at GP in fact. Has proven to win off layoff. Best work tab of the field: 5 works at GP, 3 very fast, all at 4 furlongs. Has won before with middle post. Increased Brisnet speed rating from 81 to 89 last time.  Proven to win with increase in class, and is freshest of those stretching out here.  Looks like big value to succeed here.The ORCHID Stakes is also for filles/mares 4YO+, 150k for this Grade 3 race. 12 furlongs on the turf.
Top 3: #7 Riposte. #4 Kitten’s Point. #2 White Rose.
RIPOSTE is the morning-line fave. 12-4-4-1 record, with the first half of his career racing across Europe. Grade 2 wins include the Ribblesdale at Ascot, the Sheepshead Bay and New York Stakes at Belmont last year.  Runaway favorite for this stalking type. Best AWD numbers (Dansili/Rainbow Lake by Rainbow Quest). Best connections: Javier Castellano 25% wins, William Mott 16%. Went through a triple increase in pace before a bounce last time out in The Very One stakes here last month.  May want to hope for some value using my other picks underneath..
We’ll go from here to the 2 pairs of races in the South division as part of my Enlightened Trail series.   After today, one race will remain in this division, to determine which horses get to the Run for all those Roses.
As the Oaks Trail stands, 250 points is enough for the division, with 500 for any wild-card entrants.
The Fair Grounds Oaks is a Grade 2 event for the fillies, 8.5 furlongs. Each horse has failed to register to score in this division.  Point scheme: 1000-500-250-125.
Top 3: #3 Jugni. #4 Audrey’s Double, #7 Shook Up.  Value to shake things up in this event.
Jugni has raced all but one of her 6 lifetime at 6 furlongs, scoring a 50k maiden claiming win and a similar win last out.   2 races ago she was all but eased in her lone 5.5 furlong race, on a yielding turf course. It’s such an anomaly that I will throw out that effort.  James Graham aboard with 20% wins, and Bernard Flint with 22% training wins.  Nice progression in pace, just peaking past her 2YO best of 82 with an 87 last time out.  Best works too: 4 at Fair Grounds, all very fast, one a bullet. Did I mention she’s the lone sprinter of the field?  Having a win moving up in class and in distance, plus not running since 2/14, she’s my top fave, despite 20/1 M-L odds.
GULFSTREAM PARK OAKS is an 8.5 furlong race for 3YO fillies on the Trail.
Top 3:
#3 Ekati’s Phaeton. #8Birdatthewire, #5 Cristina’s Jouney.
Ekati’s Phaeton, best of the first crop  from one of my favorite stallions, Tale of Ekati.  Phaeton won the mile-long Davona Dale gate to wire with a sparkling 104 last time here, also won the Grade 3 Old Hat in January.  4 of 5 lifetime at GP in fact. This sprinter appears to be the speed of the field.
I love this horse, but the odds are not attractive with the top 3 factored in.


Onto the Enlightened Derby Trail now. 500 points is required at this time to advance to my mythical Derby field, while 250 may be enough to hang on.  Top 3 in either major stakes event for the boys will put those horses in the conversation.
LOUISIANA DERBY is a Grade 2 event, 9 furlongs, 750k at stake.
Top 3:
#5 A Day in Paradise
#6 War Story
#9 International Star
A Day In Paradise is in my Enlightened Derby field. Winner of the Texas Heritage Stakes, 5-2-1-1 lifetime, this sprinter has only run routes.  Best connections coming in: Kerwin Clark riding 14% winners, Larry Jones saddling 25%. New tops of 83 and 85 in last 2, the 85 his debut at 3. Prior winner moving up in class and stretchout, as well as winning as shipper.
FLORIDA DERBY is a major 9 furlong race, Grade 1, $1 million:
Top 3:
#9 Upstart, #8 Dekabrist, #6 My Point Exactly
Upstart is another of my overall favorites in action.  Winner of the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth and the Holy Bull at GP to begin his 3YO campaign. In the money all of his 6 starts. 2nd call pace numbers outrank the competiton. May have advantage with outside draw. 95 win in the FOY was down from 105 in the Holy Bull….sky is the limit.

2014 Florida/Louisiana Derby analysis

Looks like no scratches or changes for the big races today..so here’s my look at the top 3 for the Louisiana Derby first:

To win: RISE UP: Racing since June 2013, winner of the Delta Downs Jackpot (Grade 3), has the best jockey/trainer combo of the field (Melancon 9% with Amoss 28%), 3 works at Fair Grouds since her 7th place finish in the G2 Risen Star, all very fast and breezing, one a bullet. Fastest runs have come from an outside post, where he is today in post 9. I am predicting a bounce back to form as suggested by the works despite the addition of a half-furlong.

2nd: IN TROUBLE won maiden debut, won the Futurity at Belmont, 3rd in the Gothem, scoring at each NY track. This is one of two horses to win at Grade 2. Paired 98 and 99 in the stake races above the maiden debut, and there’s every reason he can equal this mark. I’ve measured this stalker as the fastest of the field. Very good trip in the Gotham too which boosts his chances.

3rd: INTENSE HOLIDAY won the Risen Star that Rise Up couldn’t, preceded by competitive runs in 4 other Graded events, only in the money in the Holy Bull. Only horse in field to run at 9 furlongs prior. The 99 Brisnet last out is just past his 2YO best, and a sharp gain, so it could be a bounce here or a matching quick run.

8-9-1 my predicted order of finish.

Now for the Florida Derby:

to win: WILDCAT RED: Undefeated save a loss by a head in the Gulfstream Park Derby in January. Won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, a true horse for course at Gulfstream, working and racing exclusively there. In 10 races over the last 2 years, trainer Jose Garoffalo has ROI of +12.80 in Graded races, winning and placing at 30%. Ideal pace progression with his 100 Brisnet in the FOY just ahead of his maiden debut, a sterling 99. Fastest of the field for certain and on the rail. Liked the dueling effort last out as well and seems very strong with the rail post.

2nd: CAIRO PRINCE has the best performance at 9 furlongs of these, 2nd in the Remsen (Grade 2). In the Holy Bull he registered a 98, just ahead of his 95 while winning the Nashua. 3 wins and a 2nd lifetime. Possibly best with the middle post.
3rd: GENERAL a ROD 1st or 2nd in 4 lifetime, winning the GP Derby (ungraded). Like the pedigree a lot, dam being Dynamite Eyes, out of Dynaforfmer. Grandsire is Fusaichi Pegasus. Here’s the other horse to match success at Gulfstream, with a 100 Brisnet figure, and 2nd place finish in the FOY. 3 works at GP, last 2 quite fast. Also should benefit from middle post
1-3-6 the predicted order of finish.


PS: Scored in the Dubai World Cup with the win bet on African Story!  Did not cash in the UAE Derby tho.

Gulfstream Park/Fair Grounds handicapping contest selections

Busy day already, not a profiting one tho as I’m wagering the Dubai World Cup racecard. Just did score a win in the Dubai Golden Shaheen with Sajjhaa. Again, I wish I had proper pace numbers to make it easier.  I feel that my selections all ran early in most races, not so much later. 

There is a free handicapping contest by Equibase up now, closing at 144pm ET. They’re having me select one horse per.  Here are my selections from 10 races:
Rampart Stakes: Ciao Bella
Gulfstream Oaks: Live Lively
Orchid Stakes: Starformer
Skip Away Stakes: Cigar Street
Appleton Stakes: Omayad (Chile), longshot
Florida Derby: Itsmyluckyday

Fair Grounds:
Fair Grounds Oaks: Unlimited Budget (one of my KY Derby future wager picks)
New Orleans Handicap: Cool Street
Louisiana Derby: Very close between Code West, Titletown Five, and Proud Strike. Going with Titletown Five, a bit of a price.
Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap: Amira’s Prince (Ireland)

Note that I’m not wagering on these races. That would be a bit much. Many of my overall selections are morning-line faves