Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Stakes Musings

Happy Memorial Day!!! Thank you to all the men and women serving in our armed forces for the freedoms they help us enjoy. Also, to the families of servicemen and servicewomen who've lost their lives for America...I remember and thank you.

Churchill Downs
There's a class standout, SASSY IMAGE, in the Winning Colors but she's back quick for horses these days (23 days), at a trip shorter than she's run since '09, off a career-best effort. I think she's beatable. STARLITE STARBRITE holds a tactical advantage and speed always moves a horse up against seemingly classier competition. Ignore her last two, on synthetic and turf. Those were failed experiments which helped enhance her stamina. She's back at her best game, short on fast dirt.

Belmont Park
The Met Mile is wide open and I couldn't talk anyone off any horse. I settled on TIZWAY, tossing the Charles Town Classic that was contested on a sloppy bullring that's far from his best trip/footing. He's back where he's done the most good in his career, one turn on a fast dirt at Belmont Park. Finishing 3rd last year to QUALITY ROAD in the Met Mile, and following that up with a win in the G.II Kelso at this trip, qualifies him as a legitimate win contender in a field lacking a superstar. He probably wasn't fully cranked in the GP Handicap in his '11 debut vs. TACKLEBERRY and SOARING EMPIRE who had race fitness edges.

I guess WINTER MEMORIES is as close to a superstar we'll anticipate today. She can move forward off that Appalachian win, is as conisistent as she can be after just 4 career starts. The Belmont Park Widener course was made to order for her style. Bred in the purple, she is the type that could develop into a legitimate BC Filly & Mare Turf contender. There are two others, MYSTICAL STAR and NAPLES BAY, who I believe we'll hear from in stakes company today and as they mature. However, with a legitimate favorite who's run well on any course and has a right to move forward, I believe they'll have to settle for minor awards today.

Lone Star Park
This is a brilliant day of racing for the Texas track. Headlining the festivities is the signature race, the G.III Lone Star Park H. where G.I Santa Anita H. winner GAME ON DUDE lands. He's coming off a bid/fade run in the sloppy Charles Town Classic (G.III) run on a bullring around three turns. The son of AWESEOME AGAIN will appreciate the small field, fast track, and tactical advantage over main foe/G.III Texas Mile winner THISKYHASNOLIMIT.

WASTED TEARS may be the most prohibitive, likely winner of the day nationwide. She lays over the G.III Ouija Board field on class and speed. The only question is what shape she's in after the layoff, but from what I've heard and read she's gonna fire huge.

There are many more non-graded events I encourage you to chew on. You're sure to find value on the Lone Star undercard.

Hollywood Park
The Gamely is wide open, comprised of a majority of fillies and mares taking turns beating each other. I'll take a shot with a new face at this class level, DUBAWI HEIGHTS, who's got a tremendous stretch kick that Rosario can time to perfection...even better than the one that stablemate TURNING TOP has shown. TURNING TOP slipped inexplicably two back handing the Santa Ana to MALIBU PIER. She was subpar last out, absent of her usual stretch kick. Something seems awry to me. MALIBU PIER runs her best every time out but I believe it's been good enough vs. a competive bunch lacking a superstar. COZI ROSI rounds out the three "usual suspects" with credentials to win.

The supporting feature is the Los Angeles H. and it appears to set up for a closer. I'd prefer AMAZOMBIE, but I feel he'll get caught in a box if he sits behind speed that'll tire or he'll get weary if trying to go gate-to-wire against a speedy field. I'll take a shot w/ SUPREME SUMMIT whose return run was solid after a dull '11 debut. Puype is training as good as any conditioner in the nation and Bejarano's a great commodity in the saddle. Honorable mention to M ONE RIFLE, former G.I Malibu S. winner, who returned to Hollywood Park with a sizzling win in an overnight event after a speed/fade 4th in AMAZOMBIE's G.II Potrero Grande win. If Chantal Sutherland can use her soft hands to coax him along just off the contested pace I envision, she can wait to unleash him like she did last out at the head of the lane before the deep closers make contact.

Enjoy the rest of your day!!!


Brian Appleton said...

Great picks Rob, I hope you made out on some of them! I had Sassy Image, Winter Memories, Dubawi Heights and Awesome Gem but had Tizway in my third spot...he ran a great race!

Amateurcapper said...

Thanks Brian, and yes, I did.

Congrats on your picks...particularly AWESOME GEM who really was impressive, winning a graded stakes at age 8, 43 career starts!!! Gotta love his sturdiness and class after all this time.

I still remember his early career which included wins on the old dirt course at Santa Anita. Really a great story, one I hope HRTV chooses to do a special on. Kudos to Craig Dollase for keeping him sound and happy, congrats to Terry Finley and the West Point crew for doing things with the horse's best interests always in mind.

Brian Appleton said...

Absolutely, Dollase has done a terrific job, much like Motion with Better Talk Now, that horse was an excellent example of soundness and longevity in a top level racing career.

I love your new header photo btw, is it Bench Points by any chance?

Amateurcapper said...


Spot on, it is BENCH POINTS winning his allowance in February @ SA. That is a pretty hickory Cal-bred sprinter and he could develop into quite a tough dude in any company up to a one turn mile.

Brian Appleton said...

Nice! I agree, he's been running really classy around one-turn races especially. I thought he would stretch out nicely when he was a Triple Crown potential earlier in the year but he's turning into a nice sprinter.

Amateurcapper said...

In time, I agree with you...BENCH POINTS could absolutely get a middle distance around two turns. His breeding says there should be no limitations regarding distance. Grandsire is ALYDAR, damsire is FREE HOUSE.

Right now, he's still learning the game and we know he's ultra-game around one turn.

It may be that he'll need blinkers to allow the jock to place him in a forward position where he can pounce with his devastating turn of foot.

In the San Felipe he placed himself where he's most the rear of the field. They should have stopped with him right there.

His connections are lucky he seems to be a resilient sort. He's quite the looker in person as you can tell.

Thanks as always for being a good racing friend.

Brian Appleton said...

Nice, I guessed correctly finally!
Yes, he's beautiful.

I hadn't thought of the blinkers but that sounds like a good idea. His pedigree is great and it would be nice to see him run up to par with it.

You're welcome, and ditto! :)

craigcal56 said...