Friday, November 17, 2017

Handicapper's Corner: Cardinal Handicap (G3)

Cardinal 'Cap Could be a Tricky Play

By: Dylan Jarmulowicz, ThoroFan Member 



The Saturday feature at Churchill Downs is the Grade III Cardinal Handicap. The race is interesting mix of fillies and mares. With a strong possibility of rain, who knows what kind of shape the turf course will be in or how it will play tomorrow. Let’s find some winners! 





Race 10 – 9 Furlongs (1 & ⅛ths Miles Turf) Post Time – 5:24pm (Eastern)
Advance Weather: Rain, 60s

Some of the runners in this field have run well on a moist or yielding turf course so I don’t think that the condition course itself should play as big of a role as it might usually. #12 DONA BRUJA (8/5) will most likely be the favorite and she has fared well since shipping in the US from Argentina. She has a classic turf running style coming from off the pace but she has the speed to put herself in the game right away and from the outside stall that is a plus. Other than a potential short price, there really are not too many negatives about her, you can question if the turf course is soaked maybe it would be less than ideal but I don’t think it’ll be a problem.

#7 BEAULY (5-1) and #9 LINDA (9/2) will the other two who take some money in this race and they’re both very similar to me on paper. They give an honest effort, come from off the pace and neither like to win very much, especially recently. LINDA has run in tougher races but twice recently has failed as a 90 cent on a dollar favorite. BEAULY you can make an excuse for running in races that are probably harder that where she should be placed but runs well every time. She also has gotten stuck out wide in her most recent starts which is never a positive. I’ll use both underneath in exotics. 

My top play is #2 TRICKY ESCAPE (8-1). The inside post should put her in the perfect spot from the settle in from the onset. The potential moist turf course should move her up and she has a nice six-furlong workout. The price is too good for me to turn down while all the other favorites have their share of question marks.  

My Plays:
WIN: 2
EX: 2/1,7,9,12
TRI: 2/1,7,9,12/1,7,9,12
Good Luck!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Handicapper's Corner: Commonwealth Turf (G3)

Mr Cub Can Steal Commonwealth From Mr. Misunderstood

By: Reinier Macatangay, Thoughts on Racing, Life and More


Most handicappers will admit Mr. Misunderstood looks tough to defeat in the $100,000 Commonwealth S. (GIII) on Saturday at Churchill Downs. The expected favorite sports a 6 for 6 grass record, and faces a somewhat soft field in his bid to keep the streak going. Yet, the ML odds of 4/5 are hard to swallow.

 


Therefore, it is time to search for value in this 1 1/16-mile affair. It is a common scenario in a lot of races, but the value in this race comes from the horse with the favorable pace setup – Mr Cub. 

The son of Artie Schiller is 7-2-1-0 on paper, but a closer inspection reveals an interesting pattern. When Mr Cub is sent for the lead, he fires a decent race. When he attempts a closing bid from behind, he flops.

For example, look at the Oct. 16, Aug. 4 and Sept. 6 efforts. Mr Cub dueled for the lead in all three races, winning twice and losing the other one by half a length. In the loss at Ellis Park, he endured grueling fractions where the leaders went in 46 flat for the half and 1:09 3/5 for six furlongs at also a 1 1/16-mile distance.

Glance at the July 16 Ellis Park loss, where Mr Cub tried to close from nine lengths off the pace. He finished 11th and seven lengths behind. Likewise, in the Nov. 17 race at Churchill, the gelding tried to close from five lengths off the pace in seventh and could do no better than fifth by a little more than four lengths.

This horse stinks with conservative tactics.

Observers might glance at Mr Cub’s disappointing Jefferson Cup effort though, where he faded to fifth after sparring through moderate fractions. The longer 1 1/8-mile distance possibly affected him in that one.

With this pattern in mind and a lack of true speed signed on to the Commonwealth, the connections must be thinking to let him roll again up front. He offers enough value at 6-1 and gets the top endorsement here.

As for Mr. Misunderstood, does anyone really need help from a public handicapper on this horse? Everyone understands 6 for 6. Furthermore, the horse is dominating his races by two or three lengths each time.

If there is any concern for Mr. Misunderstood, it is that his BRIS Speed Ratings (assuming speed figures for turf races are important), do not appear so dominant compared to the rest of the field. When a horse is 4-5 on paper like Mr. Misunderstood, every part of his form needs to be an overwhelming standout.

Finding an alternative to those two horses is difficult. Gorgeous Kitten might improve for the familiar team of trainer Michael Maker and the Ramseys if the colt reverts to more conservative tactics. If he tries to wing it on the lead like in his Ontario Derby (GIII) effort at Woodbine, he will cook both himself and Mr Cub.

The winner of the Ontario Derby, Tiz a Slam, could put in a decent run as well. Note how his fourth-place finish at Indiana Grand came in a one-mile race where the leaders went in 48 4/5 for the half. He had little chance from midpack. The son of Tiznow also managed a runner-up finish in the restricted Queen’s Plate.

Also, Giant Payday is not without a shot as well. He did defeat Mr Cub three races ago at Ellis Park, although the blistering fractions helped set up his run.

Parlor has been a disappointment, and My Bariley likes wet turf.

All of them will chase Mr Cub. Without Gorgeous Kitten to press or a change in tactics from the other contenders, Mr Cub can take the Commonwealth field all the way.

 

Handigambling ($100)

$30 Win – Mr Cub
$35 Exacta Box ($70 in all) – Mr Cub, Mr. Misunderstood 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Handicapper's Corner: 2017 Breeders' Cup Distaff & Classic

2017 Breeders' Cup Picks



The ThoroFan Handicappers pondered the past performances, diligently watched prep races, and counted the hairs on the tails of all contenders entered in this year's Breeders' Cup Distaff and Classic. Below are their top 3 picks and best longshot bombs.


Breeders’ Cup Distaff
The 1 1/8 mile contest over the Del Mar dirt oval is carded as Race 9. 
Handicapper
First
Second
Third
Longshot
Michael Amo
Forever Unbridled
Stellar Wind
Paradise Woods
Abel Tasman
Elate

Paradise Woods
Stellar Wind
Mopotism


Forever Unbridled
Stellar Wind
Elate

Romantic Vision
Michael Mills

Stellar Wind
Elate

Abel Tasman
Champagne Room

Paradise Woods
Forever Unbridled
Stellar Wind
Champagne Room
Elate
Stellar Wind
Abel Tasman
Champagne Room


Breeders’ Cup Classic
The 1 1/4 mile Classic may carry Horse of the Year implications. Ten horses, colts and a lone gelding make up the eleven horse field, which is the closing race on Breeders’ Cup Saturday.

Handicapper
First
Second
Third
Longshot
Michael Amo
Gun Runner
Collected
Mubtaahij
Gunnevera

Gun Runner
Arrogate
West Coast
Churchill

Arrogate
Gun Runner
West Coast
Gunnevera
Michael Mills

Arrogate
Collected
Gun Runner
Gunnevera

Arrogate
Gun Runner
West Coast
Win the Space
Collected
West Coast
Gun Runner
Mubtaahij
 



The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade I) 
By Robert Marks, They're in the Gate (and on Twitter @theyreinthegate)



The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is a Saturday 11/04/17 held at Del Mar Racetrack where the Surf meets the Turf.  

Here is who we like
Bolt d’Oro
Hard not to like an undefeated colt coming into a race (3-0). Plus 2 of these 3 wins come on the Del Mar surface. We never know how others who have not raced on at Del Mar will fare, so we have to weigh this heavily. On paper the fastest horse in the field.


Free Drop Billy
This Dale Romans trained colt has raced 4 times with 2 wins and 2 place finishes over 3 different tracks. We like his ability and his last race was a win at 1 1/16th mile, so we know he can get the distance. He has looked good all week in workouts- a definite exacta and trifecta use.


US Navy Flag   
This Kentucky bred has raced the most-10 times, all overseas. Now he ships back to the US. Love his experience but don’t quite like the post position and question his ability to get the route. But we are looking for value and if he can get out of the gate quickly he has a chance. Put him in your exotics, especially if his odds float above 10-1 by post time. light raced 4-year-old did run this same race last year, finishing 6th. Has only 1 win in 8 starts, but that one win did come at Woodbine in last year’s Breeders Stakes. He hasn’t raced since May, that being at 1 ¼ miles at Belmont Park. But he has looked good at workouts and could clunk up to grab a piece of the exotics.


Wagering/Betting Handigambling Bankroll: Here is our $100 worth of betting for the race

Exacta Box: $20 Exacta Box ($40)
5,11
Trifecta ($10 Box for $60 Total)
1,5,11

As always, watch the Board and if at the track watch how the horses look in the Paddock and adjust your bets accordingly. Good Luck!