Showing posts with label Breeders Cup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Breeders Cup. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gio Ponti May Run in the Classic: More Evidence that a Breeder's Cup on Synthetic is Bad for Racing

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

As many know, a synthetic main track (i.e. the fake dirt track) runs more like a grass surface than a dirt surface. So? So, now Gio Ponti may run in the Breeder's Cup Classic, as Bloodhorse's Jason Shandler reported.

Would this turf savant try the dirt on an actual dirty surface? While it is possible, and similar things have happened in Breeder's Cups past, a synthetic surface certainly makes the switch more attractive to a turf horse. So not only will the Breeder's Cup Classic now be a crapshoot for dirt-only horses trying synthetic for the first time, but the Breeder's Cup Turf may now be cheapened in addition to the Classic being crapshoot-ified.

Thank you again, for awarding this to Santa Anita, Breeder's Cup.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Socratic Homage Regarding the Breeder's Cup

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

As many of you know, much of Plato's philosophy was written in the form of dialogue. In fact, a lot of Philisophy is written in that manor, Socrates himself never wrote anything, all we know of his philosophy is what Plato recorded in his dialogues. With that background, allow me to analogize the Breeders Cup Zenyatta/Rachel debate.

Breeder's Cup Tweeter: Rachel Alexandra's avoidance of the Breeder's Cup is clearly a sign that her handlers admit that she would be defeated by Zenyatta, and is therefor the inferior race horse.

TR Slyder: I see. And why are you convinced of this?

BCT: Well, the challege has been issued. One party has accepted and the other one has backed away. Surely that is a concession of inferiority.

TRS: I see what you mean.

BCT: Indeed, I can see of no other explanation for her avoiding such a challenge if not for fear of humiliation in defeat.

TRS: Surely. And a wise man you are. Afterall, you Tweet on behalf of the Breeder's Cup. I assume that you are confident that, in a debate between you and me about Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, you would emerge victorious.

BCT: I am confident of that, T.R., yes.

TRS: Being that your confidence is so high, I'd imagine that you feel you could defeat me in that debate regardless of circumstance- be it on an airplane, or at breakfast, or outside, or inside or on a paddle boat, standing up, sitting down, etc.

BCT: That is correct- very confident.

TRS: And being that your case for your horse is so strong, and your debate skills are so adept, surely you would have no fear or apprehension in debating me, would you?

BCT: That is absolutely correct.

TRS: Outstanding, my good friend. Well here is the thing, being that I had a late night out last night, I was groggy this morning, as can happen after late night bar crawls. When I awoke this afternoon all I had for breakfast was leftover chili, which I ate ravenously before having 3 espressos to counteract my grogginess from from my late night. If you'll excuse me, I need to use the restroom rather urgently.

BCT: That is rather disgusting, T.R.. But I won't stand in the way of your personal biological necessities. This discussion may continue when you are finished.

TRS: Well, Breeder's Cup Tweeter, it is funny that you mention that. I think that I am ready to have this Rachel Alexandra v. Zenyatta debate once and for all.

BCT: Oh you are? Surely, you know it's a debate you cannot win.

TRS: A worthy advesary you are indeed. I am nearly ready for the debate now in fact, however I must use the restroom this instant. Please meet in there in exactly 75 seconds and we can then begin our debate over which is the better race horse.

BCT: Um, TR... I really rather would not. That sounds a rather crude venue for any competition. Debating was not intended to be carried out in a restroom, afterall.

TRS: What do you mean?

BCT: Well, I hardly think that is a reasonable forum to settle any kind of competition. In fact, didn't you offer to debate me there last year in October?

TRS: But you claimed your arguments were far superior to mine, and you had no fear of debating me. Yet you now express fear.

BCT: Well, I think this is different. This isn't what I had in mind.

TRS: Earlier you stated that such concession necessarily states that your point inferior, yet you profess to have the better argument. This perplexes me, Breeder's Cup Tweeter. How can both be true? Surely as a sagacious man, you can resolve this incongruity.

BCT: Well it isn't that my argument is any less cogent in your restroom, it's that I find the venue unsuitable to my liking, and given the circumstances of location and what would be going on in that venue during our debate, I find it to be more suitable to you as a debater than to me. A more fair debate can be carried out in a venue that disadvantages no one, then and only then can this argument be resolved. Being that this debate is so important to us both, you should not be allowed to pick a venue that favors you, yet repulses me and any debating purist. The suggestion of that venue is disgusting to anyone who respects debating. And you have suggested it two years in a row now, T.R.!

TRS: Ah, yes. All that have you just said is indeed correct and we agree most happily. Now you know what Rachel Alexandra thinks of Santa Anita's Synthetic surface, my dear friend.

See also: The Breeder's Cup Tweet that inspired this post

Cheering for Laundry with Socrates and Ron Santo

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Advice on how to Decrease Already Dwindling Revenue By Alienating Fans: Breeders Cup Twitter Edition

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

I follow two less people on Twitter now than when I woke up.

I follow a lot of horse racing Tweeters. One of them was a west coast handicapper whose Twitter ID is Pick4andWin. Today he posted the following Tweet aimed at owner of Rachel Alexandra, Jess Jackson:

Jess Jackson why don't you bring your superbowl horse to play on the artificial turf? A "NO-SHOW" in the B/C should be considered a forfeit

I don't blame a west coaster for feeling slighted that the best horse trainer doesn't want to run on their fake surface, especially after that fake surface swallowed up Horse of the Year Curlin last year. I disagreed, but didn't think much of it- he's entitled to his opinion.

Then I got a tweet from BreedersCup, which I can only assume is the official Twitter feed of the Breeder's Cup- it certainly looks convincing, and their tweets up until this point have all seemed in line with what I'd expect from their official Twitter mouthpiece. Until 3 hours ago. The (I assume) Official Breeder's Cup Twitter page re-tweeted the Pick4andWin tweet.

RT @pick4andwin Jess Jackson why don't u bring your SuperBowl horse to play on artificial turf? A "NO-SHOW" in BC shld be considered forfeit

For non-Twitter people, the "RT" means "Re-Tweet" which is like forwarding an email, and in essence is saying, "I echo this sentiment", or "Couldn't have said it better myself". So the (alleged) official Breeder's Cup Twitter page is now "callling out" Rachel Alexandra? For what? Being the best thing for this sport in several years?

Previously, I blogged about the inexcusable stupidity shown by the horse racing Powers that Be (very stupid) for scheduling TWO consecutive Breeder's Cups at a track with a synthetic main track- despite a reduced betting handle last year, and several disappointing performances by traditional dirt horses. I also defended Rachel's decision to sit out the Breeder's Cup on a surface that is alien not only to her, but to common sense as well.

Kudos to the head of the Moronic Department at the Breeder's Cup Twitter office for a job done all too well. Instead of drumming up enthusiasm and keeping your few followers (currently they are following 1,347 people and being followed by an anemic 1,383), you decided to draw a line in the sand and act provincial and tough. Simmer down there, tough guys- you're trying to attract the biggest number of fans you can, not draw sides. How about doing your job and being more PT Barnum and less Don King? This is horse racing, not West Coast versus East Coast rap feuds.

When the new kid in town hosts a party and invites everyone, and the popular kids sit the party out- who is the loser?

See my Socrates-inspired Follow up here.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rachel Alexandra to Skip the Breeder's Cup

By: T.R. Slyder,

The news is disappointing but I applaud her connections for skipping it. The Breeder's Cup shouldn't be held over a synthetic track in the first place, and this just reinforces that. It would be a shame for Rachel to run over a foreign surface and underachieve- it would tarnish her record (justifiably or not), and would alienate fans who dislike betting on races run over synthetic surfaces.

Of course it is possible that she would run over the surface and win. Sadly though, Rachel has too much to lose in a possible showdown with Zenyatta, and cannot risk it over a surface she has never tried. That would be like asking Usain Bolt to run an olympic race over a gravel surface- he would maybe consider it if he were less successful or if the stakes were not quite as high- but why should such an accomplished runner be forced to alter their style to conform to anyone else's?

In a related story- you'll be shocked to know that the Breeder's Cup has been stricken by financial trouble. Huh. Who could have predicted that?

It's almost like if the Super Bowl were played on sand instead of a football field. Imagine the shock you'd feel when you read reports that less people were interested in watching the game, and far less were interested in betting on the game. It would just be a huge shock because it's such an outstanding idea- messing with tradition.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blind Stupidity Yields Undesirable Results: The Breeder's Cup Story

By: T.R. Slyder,

The below headline and accompanying article (taken from here). Actually made me glad. As much as I love horse racing, I cannot imagine a sport, or any commodity for that reason, managed more poorly than the sport of horse racing. Last year's Breeders' Cup as well as this years, were/will be held at Santa Anita, a track with a synthetic racing surface, as opposed to traditional dirt. This befuddling decision left many (many of the few remaining, that is) to either drastically decrease their wagers, or abandon betting on the Breeders' Cup altogether. Just as you would feel less comfortable betting on a football game played on gravel, the betting contingent felt equally as hesitant to part with their hard-earned cash over a surface where many horses had never ran.

Worse yet, can the horse racing decision makers even be surprised by that? So what did they do remedy that problem? Ran it at Santa Anita again. You deserve these problems, Horse Racing.

Breeders' Cup Faces, 'substantial deficit'

By Matt Hegarty

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Breeders' Cup is operating at a "substantial deficit," according to its top official, and it is becoming increasingly likely that purses for its top events and supplemental stakes program will need to be cut to return the organization to financial stability, according to several of its directors.

The question of how to address the deficit is the backdrop to an election Thursday to fill six of the board's 13 seats. Ten candidates are vying for the seats, including four members whose terms expire that day.

The Breeders' Cup weathered a near revolt among its nominators late last year when it attempted to suspend a $6 million supplemental purse program, but the sustained recession leaves purse cuts as one of the few options to control expenses without further dipping into its depressed reserves, board members said. The Breeders' Cup expects to distribute $30.5 million in purses this year. In 2005, purse distribution was $21.8 million.

"There's no way we can continue operating our company with the deficits we've had," said Terry Finley, the owner of West Point Thoroughbreds and a director of the company. "There's obviously going to be some changes to the business and tweaks to the model. We're all of the same opinion that everything is on the table. We wouldn't be doing our jobs if that wasn't the case."

According to the organization's financial statements for 2008, the Breeders' Cup had negative cash flow last year of $7.5 million, reducing its cash balance to $1.2 million by year end. In large part, that reduction was caused by a fall-off in the value of its investments, a change that reduced net assets to $28.2 million, down from $40.9 million at the end of 2007. In response, the Breeders' Cup tapped a $10 million line of credit for $5.9 million to operate this year.

Greg Avioli, the chief executive officer of the Breeders' Cup, declined to answer direct questions last week but said in a statement that the group was operating at a "substantial deficit." Previously, in a letter to nominators that accompanied the group's annual financial documents, Avioli projected a $5.6 million budget deficit this year. In the statement last week, Avioli said that Breeders' Cup officials "expect that our 2009 results will be consistent with the budget."

"We will be in a better position to comment on long-term financial matters after we have completed 2009 foal nominations, which we believe will be the most direct indicator of the effect the recession will have on finances in future years," Avioli said in the statement.

Approximately 40 percent of Breeders' Cup revenues are derived from fees paid by owners of foals and stallions. According to officials, revenues from those sources are expected to drop by at least 20 percent, largely because stallion nominations are tied to stud fees and book size, which have fallen significantly.

Satish Sanan, a board member whose term expires next year, said that the $6 million line of credit was not an indication that the Breeders' Cup position had become precarious. Instead, Sanan said, tapping the line of credit is a prudent strategy to cover expenses at a time of little revenue - between the year-end championship event and the collection of nomination fees in late summer.

Sanan, the owner of Padua Stables, has been an outspoken critic of the way the group has managed its investment funds. He said he was preparing a strategic plan that would allow the Breeders' Cup to realize additional revenues from sponsorships and the year-end event. He also said that purses appear to be destined for cuts.

"The logical place to start is the purses," Sanan said. "You don't have to have a $5 or $6 million Classic; horses will still come if it's worth $3 million or $4 million. But that is only short-term."

Sanan would not comment further on his strategic plan, which is to be presented to the board on Thursday.

The recession has had a crippling effect on sponsorship revenue in other sports, and some Breeders' Cup directors said that revenues from the year-end event will likely be less than last year, partly because of a compensation requirement to Santa Anita Park. The requirement is part of a two-year agreement to hold the year-end event at the track, which guarantees Santa Anita specific returns. The Breeders' Cup did not hit those returns last year and will need to compensate the track this year accordingly, one director said. In 2008, revenue from the year-end event was $21.2 million, down 9 percent compared with 2007. Since then, wagering on domestic horse races has declined just over 10 percent, including a 17 percent drop in June. The bulk of the event revenues are collected from wagering.

E. Duncan Taylor, a co-owner of Taylor Made Farms who is a candidate for one of the open seats, said that it was possible to increase revenues from the year-end event and possibly avoid purse cuts. He said it would take "foresight and brainstorming," and he also said that it would be nearly impossible to extract more revenue from nominators. The nominators provided $21.5 million in fees in 2008 compared with $29.5 million in purse expenses and awards. Fees are expected to be only approximately $16 million in 2009 compared with the $30.5 million purse distribution.

"You can't ask the nominators to put up more money," Taylor said. "They've already primed the pump. And they are going through tough times."

Robert T. Manfuso, a director who is up for re-election, said that he does not anticipate that the bloodstock market will rebound anytime soon, citing the persistence of the economic doldrums affecting markets worldwide. As a result, he said, the Breeders' Cup has little to no chance to grow its revenue, and purse cuts have to be considered, no matter how much resistance nominators may offer.

"There are constituents out there whose concerns we will have to address," Manfuso said. "How we address those, and how we maintain our focus on our mission, is the big question. But sometimes people forget that the mission of the Breeders' Cup is to raise awareness of Thoroughbred racing. It's not just purses. That's our job, and when we do our job right, everyone benefits."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Breeders' Cup Sprint

By: T.R. Slyder,

Sorry, I'm picking the favorites here again. I know, I know. But with the Turf, a Euro IS going to win it, and all the Euros were favored. It was unavoidable. The problem with picking longshots in the Sprint is that, with the exception of Cajun Beat in 2003, they never win. The Sprint is unique in that it's such a short, frenetic, well, sprint that it never falls apart and there's no margin for error. You can't be off your game and win. So in order to win you need to be both very talented AND finely tuned. Being that is relatively simple to pinpoint before the race who is talented and who is in great shape, it's easy to install them as favorites, where they often thrive in this race.

The only horse in this field that I would consider to be a good value play is Black Seventeen. His last race was a doozie in the slop where he won the Grade 1 Vosburgh at 24-1 in his fourth race off a layoff. The last time he raced in his 4th off the layoff he ran an equally impressive race, which he then followed with an even more impressive race. If his best races are his fifth race off the layoff, he will be sitting on a huge race on Saturday. Furthering his cause is his post position. With all of the real speed to his inside (except for the hit-or-miss Fatal Bullet) he is at an advantage of his more-favored fellow entrants. If he's at 15-1 or better, he's worth a play. The Daily Racing Form's Jim Kachulis said he's his best bet of the Breeders' Cup.

The big X-Factor of this race is Midnight Lute. Much like Red Rocks in the Turf, this is a previous winner in this race with unquestionably talent who has been lightly raced this year. And by "lightly" I mean "ran once and got humiliated for some unknown reason". If he runs his best race he can certainly win, but the question is whether or not he's capable of running his best. It's kinda like when in Fletch when Fletch says something like "There's a 50/50 chance it will. But there's only a 10% chance of that happening". Being that he is relatively uncertain AND he's the favorite, I'm going to look elsewhere for my winner.

The two I'm looking at are Street Boss and Cost of Freedom. Cost of Freedom drew the rail and is at the biggest post disadvantage of them all. It's something you don't like to see, but it's not a deal-breaker, either. His last race was over this track and distance where he won a Grade 1 race over Street Boss and In Summation, and earning a 110 Beyer while doing so. The race before that also saw him earn a 110 Beyer. While playing with DRF's Formulator I discovered that he and Street Boss appear to have the two best closing kicks in this race, a factor which I think could come into play in such a contested race.

Street Boss while likely go off as the favorite. Before losing his last race by a half-length to Cost of Freedom, where he came 5-wide off the turn, he had won his previous 5 races. He is certainly the most consistent sprinter in this field, possess a dangerous closing kick, and appears to be in tip-top shape. Similarly to Cost of Freedom, the biggest strike against him will be his post position, where he is in the second position.

The last horse I will mention is Fabulous Strike. He's in the third position right outside of these two and appears to be every bit as talented as his foes, but hasn't really freaked since last June. You can be assured that whoever wins this race will run a freakishly good race, and I feel that his days of freaking are behind him. He still warrants consideration, but I think when this race finishes, he may be looking at another horses buttocks. Just to break my personal record of saying "freak" the most times in a sentence, I will say it one more time to establish a new record. Freak.

With Midnight Lute's condition being questionable, this race shapes up as a nice race to execute a few intra-race exotics, like the Trifecta. Boxing these three horses for that is something I will be considering on Saturday.

1. Cost of Freedom- Not crazy about his post, but it should get him the shortest route to the wire and may not affect him all that much since he isn't much of a closer, and you don't want to rely on coming from behind in a crowded sprint, anyway.

2. Street Boss- I can't put much distance between him and Cost of Freedom here, and would not be surprised whatsoever to see him win this race.

3. Black Seventeen-Despite some word that he hasn't been training particularly well as of late, his October 12th work over this track leads me to believe he can't hate it, and I have a feeling he's sitting on a big race in this spot at a juicy price.

Breeders' Cup Turf

(Pictured is Red Rocks in 2006 after winning this race)

By: T.R. Slyder,

If anyone tries to tell you that the winner of this race will be any horse other than Red Rocks or Soldier of Fortune, you should kick them in them face. Had I any degree of fame, I'd be willing to do something publicly embarrassing should neither of these two horses win. It's a very solid field with plenty of quality horses, but these two tower over the field. Well, they're slightly better than Conduit, then tower over everyone else.

1. Soldier of Fortune- In his last race he beat Duke of Marmalade and Henry the Navigator, who figure to be about the 3rd and 4th favorites in the Classic. He's always in the money in Europe's most prestigious grace races and hasn't had a race with a timeform rating under 124 in his last 6 races. If Red Rocks doesn't run his absolute best race, I don't think this race will be contested for a single step down the stretch.

2. Red Rocks- The only horse to beat Curlin since June of '07. He came in third in this race last year and he won it the year before that. All kinds of talent. His talent isn't the issue, but his health is. Since suffering a staph infection earlier this year, it's not clear if Red Rocks is at 100%, or closer to 90% or so. If Soldier of Fortune doesn't fire, it will be his race to lose.

3. Conduit- You Conduit! Conduit has been garnering a lot of attention after his impressive performance last race. What was so impressive about it was that his timeform rating # came close to numbers that Soldier of Fortune has been running for nearly a year and half now. If this is a new trend for Conduit, it certainly means he will be a major factor in this race. What makes me think that is unlikely is that the aforementioned race was at a 1 1/16 miles, and not Saturday's 1.5 mile distance. His previous two races were at a mile and half, so I don't know why his connections would shorten him up as a prep for a mile and a half race.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

By: T.R. Slyder,

I like my BC Miles like I like my women. Dirty. With further ado lets get down to it. AJAJEOKAOMOEKOAKEOKE. That was the ado, now we're good to go.

I'm getting a little tired of doing this, quite honestly, so I'll be brief with this one as I was the last. All of the BC races that have only a $1 million purse are races for glorified also-rans. No one starts the year intent on winning the BC Marathon, or Dirt Mile. What happens is you try for the other, cooler divisions, shit the bed, and wind up here, figuring you at least got a horse to the Breeder's Cup. It's like being in a dorky fraternity. No one set out to be in the them, they all aspire to accept a bid from a cool one, then settle for crap-ass fraternity and feign excitement regarding that fraternity for the rest of their lives. Think of these races as dorko frats.

If First Defense is in this race, he'll win. Think of him as one of the "cool kids" who turned up his nose at the bid from the cool fraternity, because he didn't want all the pretense, and instead sided with a loser frat. If he races in this race, that's just what he will have done. He's an extremely accomplished sprinter, who may pass up the sprint for this busted-ass race. His specialty is 6 or 7F, and a mile is a bit of a stretch, but given the class discrepancy between him and the rest of the field, I think he'd be fine.

Another analogy would be if you were an awesome sprinter, you could either sprint against Usain Bolt and probably lose, or you could run the 400 in the Special Olympics and probably win. The sprint is loaded with talent, and the mile is the dorky fraternity.

Assuming he joins the cool kids at the BC Sprint, I see it like this.

1. Lewis Michael- No need to adjust your computer screen or assume a typo, I actually picked a non-favorite (assuming FD defects). This race had no clear cut dirt mile beast, so that opened things up. It's clear that no one was pointing toward this race, so nearly all of the horses are trying a new distance and/or surface. That's not the case for Lewis Michael. He's a synthetic specialist, and the mile is his best distance. He may not be as talented as others in this race, but he knows how to run this exact race. He's guaranteed to handle the surface well and the distance, and do so with very good talent. I'm taking that over exceptional talents maybe liking the distance and surface.

2. Well Armed- If the BC offered a race at 1 1/4 Well Armed would probably do very well in that. They do in fact over a race at that distance- the Classic, and that's for only for the elite of the elite. Well Armed, being merely elite, wussed out of that race. Probably a good idea. Instead he entered the Special Olympics at a new distance, hoping for the best. He'll take his formidable talent and shorten it up for this motley assortment. If First Defence is out, he'll tower over the field in terms of talent, but I'd just prefer a horse that had been waiting for this race all along instead of a horse I presume was training for the 1 1/4. To make one more analogy, picking Lewis Michael is like picking an average looking, loyal, caring woman to be your wife, instead of the hot bitch who might totally screw you over.

3. Either My Pal Charlie or Two Step Salsa- Why didn't I pick a clear third choice? I'll have Peter from Office Space provide my answer for me: "It's not that I'm lazy, Bob. It's just that, well, I don't care".

Breeders' Cup Stuff

By: T.R. Slyder,

This link will take you to the Breeders' Cup homepage and show you a recap of the workouts on Friday.

This link is a pretty good synopsis of the Eurotrash horses at the Breeders' Cup. In fact, I should probably refrain from calling them "Eurotrash" as their quality is anything but trashy, even if their trainers probably do smoke while strapping their sandals over their socks and beginning their sentences with "How you say.....". Nothing trashy about their horse racing. So do yourself and your wallet a favor and read up on them, because at least 4 will win on Friday and Saturday. Oh, plus their owner's teeth are most likely stained from red wine too. I forgot to get that one in earlier.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Third Installment of Breeders' Cup Analysis: The Breeder's Cup Ladies Classic (formerly The Distaff)

(pictured is 2004 Distaff Champion, Ashado. Did I win the exacta when she won? Well, yes, but who's counting? Oh yeah. Me.)

By: T.R. Slyder,

The Ladies Classic

The last 6 winning Beyer Speed Figures for this bad boy (or girl, I guess) are: 104, 100,107,102,101, and 111. This race begins and ends with the undefeated Zenyatta. As you may recall, while I wrote for another website, I said on August 4th that Zenyatta Aint Nothing to Eff With. That is still the case. Exhibit A: This is the AppleBlossom from April 5th of this year at Oaklawn Park, the only race were Zenyatta was not the favorite. Why wasn't she the favorite? Because she was going up against the winner of last year's BC Ladies Classic/Distaff, and all-around badass Ginger Punch. So this was the ballyhooed matchup between the old guard and the up-and-comer. Zenyatta humiliated her. Watch the race and her happy feet at the end.

Told ya. As I mentioned yesterday, the come-from-behind style she displayed in the above clip is the ideal running style for Santa Anita's surface. So dominant is Zenyatta, that only 7 horses elected to compete against her on Friday. That's the ultimate sign of respect.

So that's Zenyatta. I like Ginger Punch to finish second. She's an outstanding Mare with over $3 million in lifetime earnings and is one of the most talented female horses in the world, and has absolutely everything going for her, except for opposing Zenyatta. She was however, beaten last time out by another talented horse in Friday's field, Cocoa Beach (Chi).

While Ginger Punch didn't get an ideal trip and didn't much care for Belmont's sloppy track that day, Cocoa Beach has impressively won both of her American races, and boasts an impressive 8 wins in 10 lifetime starts (with a second and a third). She always seems to fire and should expected to do so again on Friday.

Another major player in this race is Hystericalady. Perhaps no other horse in the Breeder's Cup will be more adversely affected by the synthetic surface than her. If this race were being held on any other track, she would be a major factor, but this surface gives her fits. She is 11-for-18 away from Santa Anita and 0-for-4 at Santa Anita. She figures to go off as the third favorite, and take plenty of money from the bettor's, but will be a sucker-bet to me. She may be able to clunk up for third if she catches a break or two, but I can't endorse her to win.

The picks:

1. Zenyatta- I'm no modern-day male version of Catherine the Great, but I really love this horse. She's the best bet of the Breeder's Cup, and may be remembered as the best chick horse since Ruffian.

2. Ginger Punch- I'm willing to forgive her last race, and expect her to finish second here. If Zenyatta is at only 85 or 90%, Ginger Punch is the horse with the best chance to beat her. I am very excited to see these two going head to head again.

3. Cocoa Beach (Chi)- Another talented Godolphin horse with a deep well of talent. I gave her the nod over Hystericalady due to the great work she had on Saturday at Santa Anita.

For the latest information on this race click here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Commentator Kicks a Lot of Hiney in the Massachusetts Handicap

By: T.R. Slyder,

When your odds 1-9 (which returns $2.10 for a $2.00 bet), you are supposed to win big and that's just what Commentator did. With Curlin likely to skip the Breeder's Cup and Big Brown's connections being complete spazzes, Commentator looks like the logical favorite for the Breeder's Cup Classic next month. Commentator toyed with an inferior field for 3/4 of a mile, then becomes fed up with them and dispenses of the field in short order. Check it out for yourself.