Friday, July 1, 2016

Handicapper's Corner: Queens Plate

Speed Lines Up in Queen’s Plate

By: Reinier Macatangay, Lady and The Track
Canada is in the racing spotlight this Sunday when Woodbine Racetrack hosts the 157th Queen’s Plate, worth $1 million, for 3-year-old horses bred in the country. The race features talented colts, geldings and the filly Gamble’s Ghost, who will attempt to follow in Inglorious’ footsteps from 2011 when she defeated males en-route to victory.

To help with the analysis, this writer is bringing in someone who racing fans lurking around social media are undoubtedly familiar with. Casey Laughter not only writes for Lady and The Track as well, but the now well-known (thanks to Maria Borell) US Racing, in addition to her own personal blog A World Full of Furlongs.

The job of this writer is to completely disagree with every comment she makes.

Mike (Philanthropist – Uproar, by Hail the Ruckus)
Casey: This Ontario-bred colt won on debut but has yet to seal the deal outside of maiden special weight company, with only a seventh and a pair of third-place finishes to round out his record. The colt has never been further than 8.5 furlongs. His pedigree does not suggest that he will be well equipped for ten furlongs but his stalking running style could offer first jump as the frontrunners get leg weary.

Reinier: As Casey wrote, his form outside the maiden ranks has been disappointing. His pedigree does not even seem worth the time to research.

Narrow Escape (Sky Conqueror – Certainly Special, by Distorted Humor)
Casey: After breaking his maiden in his fourth start, he backed up that win with another score in allowance company, and even defeated Mike in that last start. He likes to be in front, and take the field on a game of catch me if you can. Narrow Escape certainly has a pedigree that screams class but is borderline for ten furlongs.

Reinier: While it is nice to see some local scores, his running style is troubling. Other speed, from horses who are either equal or better, is on the outside and will keep this runner pressured enough to expect a fade.

All On Red (Hard Spun – Wicked Diva, by Jump Start)
Casey: With a first glance at the pedigree, All On Red is bred well for the ten furlongs. He most recently finished second in a Woodbine allowance to get familiar with the all weather course after breaking his maiden at Aqueduct going a flat mile. He likes to be close to the lead, or on it if he can, and will keep Narrow Escape company.

Reinier: At first glance the pedigree does look good. Hard Spun lost the Kentucky Derby (GI), Preakness (GI) and Belmont Stakes (GI) due to circumstances such as pace and poor jockey strategy, not distance ability. Consider.

Leavem in Malibu (Malibu Moon – Leaveminthedust, by Danzig)
Casey: The colt is 2-for-3 at Woodbine on the all weather surface and is riding a two-race win streak. While he has never been further than 8.5 furlongs, he has a solid performance record behind him, as well as blue blood running through his veins. He could easily sit off the early pace and make first run right off the speed. Look for him to move coming into the stretch.

Reinier: His two wins look impressive on paper, and fans will instantly recognize the ill-fated sibling Danzig Moon if they research the siblings. Too much speed is in this race already, although this one can rate a little bit. Use him and pray for a good trip.

Sir Dudley Digges (Gio Ponti – My Pal Lana, by Kris S)
Casey: This colt only has one win in eight lifetime starts. He has a pedigree that suggests all weather surfaces should be well within his wheelhouse, but only managed third last time out in the Plate Trial Stakes at Woodbine. He broke his maiden at Keeneland on the turf, which makes sense if one looks at his pedigree. He likely needs to remain on turf, but should adjust okay here as well. He also tends to sit close, if not be on the lead. He will help press a pace and set the race up for closers, most likely.

Reinier: Yes, he won at Keeneland, but it sure took him long enough though with seven tries to break his maiden. This is yet another horse who wants to sit close or be on the lead. Not all of them will survive the pace.

Shakhimat (Lonhro – Reggae Rose, by Touch Gold)
Casey: Recently, Shakhimat finished runner-up in the Plate Trial Stakes going nine furlongs by 2 ½ lengths. Earlier in the year, Shakhimat won the Transylvania Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland on the turf. His pedigree suggests turf would likely be his calling, but he has won twice on this very same track as a two-year-old. He could easily return to from here and win this for fun. His pedigree suggests the distance should not be a problem. He is a stalker and should find comfort behind the speed horses.

Reinier: A stalker? In all six of his career starts, he has been first or second at the first call. The talent is there, as he did win a graded stakes at Keeneland. The same story keeps getting repeated though. This horse likes to be on or near the lead just like some others in this field, making a collapse look inevitable.

My Name Is Jim (Society’s Chairman – Romanced, by Smoke Glacken)
Casey: This gelding for Reade Baker broke his maiden last out in his third start. His workouts alone prove that he is fast, as he most recently fired a bullet on June 26. He is another that likes to be on the lead, but was able to carry speed over nine furlongs last out in his maiden score. The fractions were insanely easy (the ½ went up in 50.39, the ¾ in 1:14.86) but if he can either relax off the more intense speed, or step it up, he could be a contender here.

Reinier: Speed, speed and more speed!

Rocket Plan (Plan – Gin N Ginger, by Go For Gin)
Casey: This gelded son of Plan has the perfect running style for the likely pace scenario we will get in the Queen’s Plate. He was just caught at the wire last out in a seven furlong allowance race. While this race is much longer than he is likely used to, he is bred to potentially get the distance with the right set up. He may even do better running longer. I like this horse here with his running style.

Reinier: Finally, here is a horse who can sit in midpack. Unfortunately, the class is in question. Look what happened in the Nov. 28 race when he faced Amis Gizmo. Young horses sometimes change though.

Cheburashka (Milwaukee Brew – Zoogdidi(GB), by Singspiel (IRE))
Casey: He broke his maiden in his fourth start as a two-year-old. Coming back at three in an allowance, he again won. Both his wins have come at 8.5 furlongs. In his latest start, he faded to fourth after leading the 8.5 furlong contest into the stretch, He is another frontrunner, so determining where he needs to be will be up to rider Rafael Hernandez and trainer Robert Tiller.

Reinier: In his last five starts, he has led or been second at the first call. Lower-class horses can only steal a race if there is not significant speed lined up against them, and there is in this spot. 

Amis Gizmo (Giant Gizmo – Galloping Ami, by Victory Gallop)
Casey: This colt broke his maiden first out in the OLG Simcoe Stakes at Woodbine, traveling 6.5 furlongs. He is the Plate Trial Stakes winner, along with three other stakes wins to his credit. He did finish fifth in the Wando Stakes, but otherwise, has never finished worse than first. He is a major contender here.

Reinier: It is agreed this one is a major contender, although he brings even more speed to a table rapidly losing space. If a few of the speed horses survive, Amis Gizmo seems probable to be one of those quality runners to fight until the finish. The price on him will not be so enticing though.

Esposito (Ghostzapper – Money My Honey, by Red Bullet)
Casey: Esposito has a good record going for him. He has never finished worse than third, and in doing so, he has faced horses like Discreetness and Suddenbreakingnews. He broke his maiden at Del Mar but now ships in from Remington to face this group. If he can be competitive against horses like those listed above, he could have a chance here. He did win an allowance race over the track and seemed fine with the footing. He is a pace presser but he could be held off a bit more with the amount of speed here.

Reinier: This Ghostzapper colt certainly brings class considering the horses he faced at Remington Park. Also, with only four starts there is upside, and trainer Thomas Proctor is a familiar name. Hopefully, jockey Alan Garcia holds him back at least four or five lengths, as there will be no breaks up front with all the speed lined up.

Scholar Athlete (Einstein (BRZ) – Creme Catalan, by El Prado (IRE))
Casey: Scholar Athlete ships back in after finally getting a second win in an allowance race at Belmont Park. He raced at Turfway in the Rushaway Stakes but only managed fifth. He has performed well at Woodbine, even breaking his maiden there, but seems over his head here. Distance will not be an issue, but his class might be.

Reinier: In terms of class, usually horses who can win on the New York circuit possess more class than the average Woodbine stakes horse, especially since so many Woodbine races are restricted to Canadian breds (including this one). But, it is hard not to notice Shakhimat drilled him by 11 lengths last fall at Woodbine.

Gamble’s Ghost (Ghostzapper – Gambling Girl, by Secret Claim)
Casey: This filly once again arrives in the Queen’s Plate to take on the boys. While she finished sixth in the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay, she has never been worse than second when competing at Woodbine. She most recently finished second in the Woodbine Oaks but won the Selene Stakes (GIII) in the start prior to that. She looks poised to be the main competition in this race.

Reinier: On running style alone, she has a wonderful advantage as a quality closer. The sixth-place finish in Tampa is forgivable, and the second in the Woodbine Oaks came after a troubled trip behind a collapsing pace. If the pace collapses in the Queen’s Plate, except her to be right up there making a charge.

Casey’s Picks: Amis Gizmo, Gamble’s Ghost, Rocket Plan, Mike

Reinier’s Picks: Gamble’s Ghost, Esposito, Leavem in Malibu, Shakhimat

Handigambling (Reinier)

$11 exactas ($99 in all)
Gamble’s Ghost, Esposito, Leavem in Malibu over Gamble’s Ghost, Esposito, Leavem in Malibu, Shakimat

$1 tip for the teller after the ticket hits.

No comments:

Post a Comment