The Road to Kentucky passed through Fair Grounds last week. There was plenty of chalk for sure but two winners jumped up at huge prices. Race 2 featured a $99 winner and the double-point Risen Star saw the 135 to 1 Ive Struck a Nerve get up by a nose…. a cap horse worth 2400 points.
Only five players tabbed the unlikely bomb including weekly winner Ray Hassan who totaled 3770 points and won the $500 wagering account for the week. Hassan also hit Orb in the Gulfstream Fountain of Youth for another 396. Solid ‘capping.
“This horse was working out really well and needed one race to put it all together,” Hassan said. “I like to call this handicapping angle ‘A Coming into Form Race.’ I knew if this horse ran as Presser or a Closer he would run the other speed horses down. And he had enough speed to run with them. Switching to the jockey James Graham was beneficial. The odds were too generous on this horse.”
This week the R2K venue is Aqueduct. Eleven races in all including the double-point Gotham. The Battaglia Memorial from Turfway Park is tossed in for a little extra bonus action. Arrive by 11:30 and get your selections in. As always, entry to Road to Kentucky is free. We’re giving money away!
Let’s go to Angela Hermann for a look at the NY prep race:
The Gotham – She Said by Angela Hermann
It doesn’t seem a prep goes by anymore without mention of Todd Pletcher’s overwhelming favorite. His favorite in the Gotham, Overanalyze, drew the far outside post with a short run to the first turn. Of course I’ll try to beat him! I’m interested to see how Cohen decides to ride Escapefromreality, who had shown speed in all his lifetime starts but learned to harness it in the Withers. Only a huge effort from Revolutionary stopped the New-York bred from getting his picture taken, but his affinity for the inner track and cozy post should both help him in this spot.
Surprisingly no one in this field appears all that comfortable rallying from far off the pace, so the field may bunch coming around the first turn and cost outside runners valuable ground. In search of a closer one must look at Sky Captain, who ships in from Florida after deciding against the Fountain of Youth. Orb ran a big race, so this may have been the right move. Sky Captain got a pretty perfect trip last time, but it was his first try around two turns and he did not exactly give up.
Given the rounds most of these have gone against each other, he may be ready to swoop in and get a big piece from the outside. Overanalyze may just outclass the whole crew, but let’s give the tactical advantage to Escapefromreality. The barn had its best year to date in 2012 and is due to hit some luck this year.
Derby Future Wager
Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager is offered this weekend. Bet it at Canterbury Park.
Live from Hawthorne
Perhaps a trip to Chicago for a winter getaway would not be the best of plans for the weather conscious as this weekend’s forecast rivals MN for low temps. But this isn’t about sitting on a beach. It is three days of live racing at historic Hawthorne Race Course. Real horses and jockeys in ski masks.
The first race meet at the Cicero track was held in 1891. The grandstand reeks of history – a structure that could not be built today and probably wouldn’t even if possible. This is a testament to the days when people actually went to the racetrack… in droves. The pre-OTB days. Racing was the king of sports.
The new Kentucky Derby points system left the G3 Illinois Derby out in the cold. Yes Churchill Downs Incorporated, the Derby is your race and can determine qualifiers as you wish but that was an act of pure spite and not in the best interest of racing. Arlington is a Churchill property and constantly at odds with Hawthorne. Instead of standing up for the industry and going to bat for Illinois, Arlington officials carried the water for the boys in Louisville. Tell me having a Derby prep in Chicago is not in the best interest of racing in the state. Many have written more elegantly than this blogger about the underhanded move but to summarize: it was a screw job. But I’m an outsider, what do I know?
Chicago Dining Tip
Johnnie’s Beef in Elmwood Park about eight miles from Hawthorne. Italian Beef Sandwich: Beef, Dipped , Hot. You’ll have it in your hands in a minute and can turn and eat it at a narrow counter immediately.
This blog was written by Canterbury Media Relations Manager Jeff Maday. Maday has filled multiple positions including Media Relations and Player Relations Manager since the track reopened in 1995.