Saturday, March 12, 2016

Handicapper's Corner - Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1)

Frank E. Kilroe Mile Attracts Ambitious Field

By: John Caro

This truly what racing is all about! Horses conditioned by three of the top turf trainers with jockeys who rate high in the money and win often. There are no slouches in this group. Hope there are no scratches for today’s race. Even those that do not have graded company experience show promise. And the prices will be slim for the favorites. But I believe “Chalk Eaters” should be wary.

Early and mid-pace will tell the story for this one. Last out the ML favorite, #4 Bolo (2-1) stalked a wicked fast pace through three quarters and got it done by a neck over the ever popular Obviously. Very impressive race and Ms. Gaines had Bolo ready for the challenge. Prat made a great move in the stretch to close the deal. So my question is “why is Prat (16% turf win & 44% ITM) off and Mike Smith (3% turf wins & 32% ITM) on board. No doubt Bolo is an excellent horse but can he come back with a different jockey? Brisnet boasts this guy has the highest speed figure at today’s distance (wrong).

A closer look at the Brisnet form shows #6 Midnight Storm (3-1) with better early and mid-pace (103/109) clocked a 101 for the mile at a similar time (1:33) in an 80K AOC here after an eight month break! By itself it would be impressive but the “WOW” here is to follow up into Grade I company and finish second by a half with an even faster early/mid-pace in the Shoemaker. Visually impressive on the video, too! The performance picture looked bleak as he ran often with little improvement. The one strong note is the early/mid-pace figures are consistent even in losses. Move forward to his last out; 60 day break, jockey change, good works and less pace to win against today’s second ML favorite, #3 Bal a Bali (7-2) by 1&3/4. Interesting that Midnight Storm is on another long rest with stellar works. D’Amato is 10 wins of 49 turf races and ITM 57% and top of the list for this meet. Does Midnight bulk up during the off time and for today’s race? He gets my vote as a contender and I use him top and middle in trifectas and supers.

Speaking of breaks. #3 Bal a Bali (7-2) and #7 De Treville (8-1) have both been on sabbaticals. Bal a Bali’s trainer has prepped this guy with some very nice works, including a buildup through 5, 6, 7 and 8 furlong outings at chop-chop speeds. Of course Prat aboard is a plus with his current meet 16% turf wins and 43% ITM stats. While the mid-pace is good at this distance it doesn’t appear to be as consistent as some and his early pace rating is not what I’d like to see for a mile. Prat has won on him once in three tries at this distance and well beaten by Midnight Storm in their last meeting.  I see him finishing 3rd today.

#7 De Treville has had a long break with continuous works since November, including a bullet 6 furlongs, to ready for this challenge. His class is consistent with the competition. Hard to find a lot of pace data. I have not gotten an opportunity to see all the races he’s been in but, he appears to like it on or near the lead in what appears to be fair times. His finishing times for 1600 meters is not on par with who’s running today. Shirreffs’ 90 day away stat is not high enough to concern me. Baze has his magic moments but I think he’s up against it here. They may do a one run close and we’ve all seen that move. Caution, place in the bottom half of exotics.

#1 OM (3-1) has the benefit of trying a second time since a layoff, 19% winning turf jockey and a conditioner who may only have had 8 turf events this meet but is winning at 37% and ITM 62% of the time. He has not been overworked and his consistent winning ways before his break may return. I like a very experienced jockey who can adjust to the pace. I want him in second or third. If the pace is soft he could be a winner.

#2 What a View (8-1) wants Desormeaux on his back. Kent has won 4 of six races, nosed out of one win and pushed 4 wide in a three length loss. This guys has never faced the level of competition but his numbers indicate he’s ready to give it a serious shot. His training regime is a steady diet of 5 furlongs with consistent times and a rested blow 8 days ago. His trainer, Ken Black, has only made 13 attempts at the turf this meet but is winning 23% of those and 54% ITM. Turf seems to be his specialty. I think What a View has the potential to contend this race and I’ll use him with Midnight Storm to win this one.

Last is the fifty to one shot #5 Kenjisstorm (50-1) Let’s be fair; Steve Knapp has only had this four year old since November. After two tries and an allowance win at Del Mar he takes a giant step to the Grade II San Gabriel against Obviously. Watching the video was pretty informative. Maldonado came flying out of hole 11 to track Obviously and I’m sure Edwin could not believe a horse could go that wide through the first turn. He did recover and was actually closing down the late back stretch while three wide and lost it after 7/8ths while going longer than ever at a mile and an eight. That wasn’t enough so we moved to a mile and a quarter with a rail trip, boxed in at a mile, squeezed through to poke in front to finish second against a fast closing older gelding, China Girl Lover. Then a win at a mile. And a very nice run, and the times were very close to the last outing for OM and Bolo with a middle pace equal to Bolo’s. Has the trainer who’s winning at 20% on turf and 40% ITM with a jockey who’s winning 16% and banking 42% ITM found this guy’s niche? I get why the odds makers put him at 50-1 given the poor showing in graded company but; this is a young colt who has only gone a mile or more twice and won both times at a mile and last time out speed was two digits slower than Bolo. I’ll check, but I’m sure he doesn’t know the other guys are big money winners. Maldonado likes this fella and is teaching him the ways of winning. 50 to 1. He may lose but not at that price. Don’t count him out.

Let spend some money based on $100. Feel free to use less. My prime bets are marked *
$2 Exacta – All with #5 Kenjisstorm    -    $24*
$1 Trifecta – 6 with 1,2,5 with All      -      $15*
$1 Trifecta – 2,6 with 2,6,5 with All       -     $20
$0.20 Superfecta  -  2,6 with 2,5,6 with All with All.  -  $16
$5 win #5*   $7 win #2*   $13 win 6*

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