Back to Tampa Bay Downs for Week 6 of the contest. We have 12 races from Tampa as well as two Derby preps from Santa Anita and Oaklawn Park. Good Luck.
Race 1: This was a clm6250 at 6f. I narrowed it down to two horses, Tricks of Glory and Little Paper Boat. I ended up selecting Tricks of Glory because I thought he had a little bit more early speed and he had really improved since being claimed by Ronald Allen, but I respected that first off the claim statistic that Kirk Ziadie had for Little Paper Boat.
The Result: Little Paper Boat broke very sharply from the outside post and wired the field at 9-1 odds. Ponche Line held second at 25-1 and my selection got up for third after breaking poorly and never getting near the lead. I didn’t think Little Paper Boat would be that high of a number with that trainer statistic just sitting there for everyone to see. I missed an opportunity there.
Maximum Points: Little Paper Boat 418Maximum Score: 418My Score: 38
Race 2: This was a clm16000 at 6.5f. I didn’t have a strong opinion in this race but chose Right Flanker off his recent second place finish at a higher level. He looks like he has improved since being claimed by Mary Bennett.
The Result: Supply Guy scored at 9-2 odds in his second start off the layoff for Anthony Granitz. He was exiting a nice second place finish at 13-1 in his last start. My selection raced wide through the turn, bid to the lead turning for home but was outfinished while second best. Disbelief finished third.
Maximum Points: Supply Guy 202Maximum Score: 620My Score: 112
Race 3: This was an msw at 6f. There were several first time starters in this race, and I selected Patrick’s Tack, a first-timer by Northern Afleet. I thought his workout pattern and breeding warranted a look at a bit of a price.
The Result: One of the experienced runners, Flatter Me Blue, dueled for command and scored at 4-1 odds. Bold Eagle finished second and A Unique Treasure finished third. My selection gained some ground late to finish fourth after not showing much early speed. Early speed has been very good early so far today. Maximum Points: Flatter Me Blue 182Maximum Score: 802My Score: 112
Race 4: This was an Alw28500NC at 1m1/16. It was originally scheduled for the turf but was moved to the main track. I took a shot with El Profeta who I’m hoping will be on the lead in this race. He has 3 wins on the main track and could benefit from the surface switch. The favorite, Fire Lookout, has only run on turf and synthetic surfaces so far.
The Result: Fire Lookout had no trouble with the surface switch as he scored as the favorite at odds of 9-5 over Unbridled Heat and Gibber’s Gold. My choice did make the lead at 8-1 odds but was finished on the turn.
Maximum Points: Fire Lookout 120Maximum Score: 922My Score: 112
Race 5: This was an Alw28500NC at 7f. I didn’t see any way around Miltos Express in this spot as she has become rather dominant since being claimed by Jamie Ness. She exits a close second place finish in a 5f turf sprint and now moves back to the main track where she has won her last two starts by 9 and 8 lengths, respectively.
The Result: Valley Loot shipped in from Great Lakes Downs and scored at 7-1, giving her a career record of 8 wins from 12 starts. She had been off for 5 months but was ready to roll today. Her speed figures were well below those of Miltos Express but she was clearly better today. Trainee finished second, and the heavy favorite Miltos Express ran a disappointing third.
Maximum Points: Valley Loot 272Maximum Score: 1194My Score: 133
Race 6: This was an Alw2520N1X at 7f. I selected Casino Gambler as a longshot possibility. I liked the quick turnaround off of his last start which was a very poor effort going two turns, but a solid rider Velez rides today. This horse ran some nice races as a 2 year old and if he can rebound to those races he can contend with these.
The Result: Rocklane dueled for command and drew clear to an impressive victory at 3-1. Alex Ingram rallied late to nip Casino Gambler for second. My longshot ran well, just got nipped for second by a nose. It’s all speed on the main track so far today.
Maximum Points: Rocklane 176Maximum Score: 1,370My Score: 195
Race 7: This was an Alw28500NC at 1m1/16 on the turf. The turf course is yielding today. I selected Stay Close, who has two dominant wins over the Tampa Bay turf course on his record and is making his second start off the layoff. An interesting horse here is Quantum Merit, who is making his first start in 3.5 years. He was quite a runner back in 2003-2004, but I could never select a horse with a layoff line like that.
The Result: Stay Close got the trip and scored easily at 2-1 odds. Longshot Chief Thief rallied late for second and Puppeteer finished third. Stay Close makes it 3 for 6 over the Tampa Bay turf course. Chief Thief was the high point getter in the race despite finishing second.
Maximum Points: Chief Thief 164Maximum Score: 1,534My score: 327
Race 8: This was an OC32K/N2X at 6.5f. There were several contenders here but I selected Hail to the Cat as it didn’t look like there was much early speed in the race and he should be forwardly placed. His last race was a much improved effort as he dueled throughout and scored at 6-1. Jamie Ness has Silver Peagus in sharp form, and Classic Moon was also on my short list of contenders.
The Result: The two favorites, Silver Peagus and Brush On By hit the wire together and Silver Peagus won it by a nose. Seneca Summer finished third. My selection, Hail to the Cat, couldn’t keep pace early and ran an even fourth.
Maximum Points: Silver Peagus 106Maximum Score: 1,640My Score: 327
Race 9: This was the Grade III Hillsborough at 1m1/8 on the turf. It’s the rematch between Dreaming of Anna and Lear’s Princess, who finished a nose apart in their race together. Today, they travel an extra 16th of a mile and run on the yielding turf course. I stuck with Dreaming of Anna to take this group wire to wire, just like last time. It’s tough to split these two classy fillies.
The Result: Dreaming of Anna ran a big one, cruising to an easy victory as Lear’s Princess didn’t fire today. Lady Digby finished second and Mary Louhana (GB) ran third. Dreaming of Anna continues to impress with her devastating turn of early foot on the turf. She liked the yielding turf today. There was a bridge jumper in the show pool for Lear’s Princess so the show prices were huge! Lady Digby was the top point getter in the race.
Maximum Points: Lady Digby 340Maximum Score: 1,980My Score: 463
Race 10: This was the Grade III Florida Oaks at 1m1/16 on the dirt. I settled on Calico Bay off her impressive victory at the OBS Championship in Ocala. She needs some pace to run at today. There are three sprinters entered so I’m hoping the pace will be pretty honest.
The Result: Awesome Chic exploded with a dominating performance at 13-1. This filly by Awesome Again out of an A.P. Indy mare loved the route of ground today. Elusive Lady finished second and the favorite, My Baby Baby, ran third. Calico Bay ran a non-threatening fourth.
Maximum Points: Awesome Chic 428Maximum Score: 2,408My Score: 463
Race 11: This was The Turf Dash at 5f. Several hard knocking turf sprinters are entered, including Lookinforthesecret and Fort Prado. My selection, Blue Pepsi Lodge, was a late scratch so I will be receiving the post-time favorite.
The Result: Lookinforthesecret sprinted clear from the outside and prevailed as the 8-5 favorite. Prosico chased in second, and Fort Prado rallied for third. I lucked out as the public was right this time. Lookinforthesecret has now won 5 consecutive races for Jamie Ness.
Maximum Points: Lookinforthesecret 116Maximum Score: 2,524My Score: 579
Race 12: This was the double-point feature Grade III Tampa Bay Derby. War Pass is the obvious choice here, but the question from a contest perspective is whether or not you choose somebody else and hope to run second, perhaps getting more points than the winner in the process. I looked at some alternatives for quite a while but decided to take the “free” 130 points with War Pass.
The Result: Ha! War Pass ran dead last as he got pinched at the break and never looked comfortable. Big Truck wore down Atoned for the win and Dynamic Wayne ran third. There was a huge show bet on War Pass, so the show prices are going to be gigantic. This will have a huge impact on the Kentucky Derby picture. War Pass ran so poorly today that I still can’t take any of these horses seriously that finished 1-2-3. The show prices will be “capped” at 400 points.
Maximum Points: Big Truck 844Maximum Score: 3,368My Score: 579
Bonus Race: This was the Grade II Rebel at Oaklawn Park. I looked for an alternative to Z Fortune but couldn’t find one. He hasn’t done anything wrong, wining 3 of 4 while losing only to Pyro in the process. Of course, all bets are off after witnessing the Tampa Bay Derby today.
The Result: Sierra Sunset ran a very nice race as the 4-1 second choice and scored over King’s Silver Son. Isabull was up for third. Another strong 3-5 favorite on paper, Z Fortune, was up the track. I didn’t see any excuse for Z Fortune, he just didn’t run. Serra Sunset was exiting his career best effort last time out and continues in sharp form.
Maximum Points: Sierra Sunset 380Maximum Score: 3,748My Score: 579
Bonus Race: This was the Grade II San Felipe at Santa Anita. There were several stretchout types in this field and also a European horse. I ended up choosing the European shipper Shediak as the unknown quantity for trainer Doug O’Neill. The favorite is Georgie Boy, trained by Kathy Walsh.
The Result: Georgie Boy wore down the pacesetters late and scored over Gayego and Bob Black Jack in a very formful finish. A nice, professional effort from Georgie Boy today. My selection, Shediak, lost several lengths at the start and looked overmatched throughout against this level. Not a good pick!
Maximum Points: Georgie Boy 212Maximum Score: 3,960My Score: 579
Summary: War Pass will be the talk of racing for a few days. I couldn’t possibly see betting against him with real money, but for contest purposes it was absolutely the correct move to try to beat him. That was my big error today, taking the two favorites in the double-point races. The better strategy would have been to play against them and hope for the chaotic result. That’s what I will be doing for the remainder of the contest. I can see somebody perhaps surpassing 2,500 points this week with some of these crazy payoffs.
As for War Pass, I hate to see something like that happen. I don’t think it’s good for the game when our Champion horses go out on the track and run like that. But congratulations to those of you that took advantage of that unlikely outcome.