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The Road to Kentucky Week 3 Recap

steak knives

“As you know, first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado.  Second prize is a set of steak knives.  Third prize is you’re fired.” — Blake, Glengarry Glen Ross

The Road to Kentucky contest track this past Saturday was Tampa Bay Downs, which featured a 12-race card highlighted by the Sam F. Davis Stakes.  Fast and firm conditions at Tampa Bay this week with relatively few scratches!

Unlike the first two contest weeks, there were bigger point totals available for those willing to fish in the deeper waters of Tampa Bay.  Although 5 of the 12 races were won by horses at less than 2-1 odds, the perfect score of 3,284 points was nearly 1,000 points more than the previous week’s maximum at Gulfstream Park.  And while I normally use 55-60% of maximum to estimate a winning score, that isn’t necessary this week as the winning scores have already been posted.  Congratulations to Keith Blatzheim for winning Week 3 with a score of 1,580 points!  And Robert Schwerzler also deserves a mention for his 5th place finish, as he has taken over the top spot in the overall standings.  Robert is the only player to successfully post a 1,000+ score in each of the first three weeks.  Averaging 1,000 points per week is a good estimate of what the overall winner will have.

The winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes was the 8/5 favorite, Ocean Knight.  Ocean Knight is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and was ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.  He was making his second career start after breaking his maiden impressively in a sprint at Aqueduct back in December.  He is sired by Curlin and handled the route of ground with no problem.  He took dead aim on the longshot leader at the top of the stretch and prevailed in a long duel by a neck at the wire.  That longshot leader was Divining Rod, who, at 28-1 pressed the pace early and then opened a clear lead on the backstretch.  He gave his backers their money’s worth, “digging in gamely” as Richard Grunder would say, but he was only second best on the wire.  Those two finished 5 lengths clear of the rest of the field.  Divining Rod broke his maiden at 1 mile on the dirt at Laurel Park, and then finished 4th in an Allowance turf race at Tampa Bay Downs.  He is sired by Tapit.

I showed some signs of life this week with a score of 922.  I was one of the hopefuls watching Divining Rod and hoping for divine intervention at the 16th pole when he was still clinging to the lead.  A 28-1 double point winner would have erased two weeks of less than mediocre selections!  But instead of getting the Cadillac El Dorado as quoted above, I got the steak knives.  Leaderboards are turned upside down at the bob of a head, and that’s what makes the game either exhilarating or agonizing!

On Saturday the Road to Kentucky contest track is Santa Anita.  The featured race is the Robert B Lewis Stakes, and the Withers Stakes is an additional double-point bonus race from Aqueduct.  Also, California Chrome, Shared Belief and Hoppertunity are all entered in the San Antonio Stakes.  Hope to see you here!

The Oracle

(The author is the reigning Canterbury Park Handicapper of the Year and a regular contributor to )