By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com, AndyDisco on Twitter
I was thinking about monkeys again last night. But I also kept thinking about the Steve Haskin article on BloodHorse.com that I linked to in my previous Rachel Alexandra/Woodward post; he made some really good points that concerned me. So I thought I'd break his article down paragraph by paragraph and kinda translate it for my readers that maybe aren't as versed in horse racing jargon as they are other languages- like Monkey Language, for instance.
Here is Haskin's first paragraph:
Rachel Alexandra drew post 3 for Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I). No big deal, you say? By breaking close to the rail, and with a big bruiser in the aptly named Bullsbay drawing directly inside her in post 2 and a speedy Nick Zito-trained stalker, Cool Coal Man, directly outside her in post 4, a scenario is developing where Rachel could find herself in some heavy traffic at different stages of the race.
To monkeyify getting stuck betwixt Bullsbay and Cool Coal Man:
Haskin's next paragraph:
When you see Zito put in two tactical speed horses against a heavy favorite who has the same running style as his horses, you can bet he has an agenda, meaning Da' Tara, breaking from the rail and coming off a bullet :47 flat work on the Oklahoma training track, likely will bust out of the gate to assure Rachel will not get an easy lead in case that strategy was to enter Calvin Borel’s mind. If Rachel takes off the pace, she will have Cool Coal Man, It's a Bird, and Past the Point all in a position to pin her down on the rail behind Da’ Tara, meaning there is a decent chance she could wind up in a neat little box by the time they hit the backstretch.
Watch out for possible bunching, grouping, crowding, boxing, etc.:
Haskin's third paragraph:
Sitting back, waiting to see how the race unfolds, will be Asiatic Boy and Macho Again, both tough, battle-tested closers. Now, remember, this is merely a possible scenario based on how the race is shaping up. But it surely is one to be wary of.
Two combatants waiting until others put their cards on the table, then playing their own hands accordingly:
Haskin's 4th paragraph:
The bottom line, this is not a race or a field to be taken lightly. These older horses are more formidable than people think, at least on any given day. Each has shown they have a big race in them, including Past the Point, who gave Curlin quite a scare at 40-1 in last year’s Woodward. Bullsbay and Cool Coal Man each are coming off a 107 Beyer at Saratoga; It’s a Bird ran a 107 Beyer two races back; Macho Again is coming off a 105 Beyer; and Past the Point ran a 110 Beyer in last year’s Woodward.
Be wary of assassins:
Haskin's 5th paragraph:
Before anyone starts getting depressed over this unsettling scenario, the intention here is not to suggest Rachel is going to get beat, but it is Saratoga and it is a 3-year-old filly against older males, and Borel is going to have a bulls-eye on his back and must constantly be aware of everything going on around him and any plots developing during the running of the race, especially the first half-mile. Just remember how they ganged up on poor Stewart Elliott and Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Borel's in need of vigilance: It won't be a day at the beach for Calvin Borel, that's for sure. Heck, even if it were a day at the beach, he'd still want to stay vigilant.
But he'd probably want to be even more vigilant than that. Too bad he couldn't have another pair of eyes looking out for Rachel.
(Answer: I'm pretty sure you can't. It'd be tough to do that and stay within the weight requirement. But good thinking!)
Haskin's 6th paragraph:
Of course, we’re dealing with a filly who could prove to be as great as any who ever lived and who most likely will not be fazed in the slightest by any tactics the other riders might employ. But it is something to think about. If Rachel is able to escape any ambushes and booby traps early on and gets a clear run, then it will all be up to her to show what she can do against these big, tough ol’ boys.
Let's not forget that Rachel Alexandra knows how to kick hiney:
And finally, Haskin's final paragraph:
Asiatic Boy, for example, has won or placed in grade I stakes on three continents. If you’re looking for a horse who can’t bear the thought of getting beat by a 3-year-old filly it’s one named Macho. Bullsbay is a bull and he’s a bay and last weighed in at over 1,230 pounds. It’s a Bird possesses the magic name “Bird” that has been soaring all year in major stakes, and his name just happens to be the opening line to the introduction of Superman. Yep, this is a tough bunch.
The competition is strong:
Steve Haskin made some great points and painted a very believable picture of a scenario that a lot of people simply didn't envision. It wouldn't take a freak occurence for Rachel Alexandra to get beat on Saturday. Sometimes in horse racing the field teams up on the big favorite- maybe one horse (like maybe Da' Tara) sprints out faster than he ordinarily would, ostensibly sacrificing his own chances at victory just for the sake of bothering the favorite (Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey relished doing just that when he wasn't aboard the favorite). Then, the very instant after the sprinter is turned away by the favorite, a closer (like maybe Asiatic Boy or Macho Again) might start his run a bit earlier than he'd like, and take on the favorite- almost as though he and the faded sprinter are in a relay race against the favorite. As soon as one horse gets tired, he passes the baton off to the next horse. Now it's his turn to make sure that the favorite stays harried and never gets any chance to catch his (or her) breath. Maybe the big favorite digs in and heroically kicks away from the early closer with his (or her) last ounce of effort, only to be nipped at the wire from the VERY deep closer (like m aybe Asiatic Boy or Macho Again) who came from out of nowhere, and is the benefactor of the group effort.
Really, it's a lot like the last scene of Scarface, with all of those would-be assassins taking their shot at Tony Montana, and all of them getting killed one-by-one, at least at first. And when it appears the tide is starting to turn in favor of the assassins what happens? Tony says, "So you wanna play rough, huh? Ok. Say hello to my li'l Fr'en'!" and #@**POW**@#, that threat is over with a boom and a cloud of smoke. After that, Tony thinks he can let his guard down. That's when The Skull calmly creeps up behind Tony and gets his man without even breaking a sweat. You set 'em up, he'll knock 'em down. Sure, some people lost but the team won.
There is a pretty decent chance that a similar pack-mentality will develop on Saturday- it certainly wouldn't be the first time that has happened to the big favorite in a big race. But there's also a pretty decent chance Rachel Alexandra will win by open lengths and leave us all stupified with mouths agape. I'm not sure which it will be.
Either way, it will be a great....
I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Using my two Favorite Techniques to Analyze Rachel Alexandra's Chance in the Woodward- Plagiarism and Primates
By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com, AndyDisco on Twitter
Friday, May 1, 2009
By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com
Here's my final installment of Haskin plagarism. A few things to note: at the bottom of the article he mentions how the Derby betting began today (friday) at Churchill, and notes the shifting odds on a few notables.
Whoever Steve selects as having the best derby workout and who looks the most impressive visually is always worth noting.
He didn't give my homey Regal Ransom much of a shot, which I didn't mind because it will keep his odds nice and high. I also think that a sloppy track makes picking even more of a crapshoot, I think it favors horses on or near the lead. The slop takes a way a horse's turn of foot (i.e. acceleration) and it's hard for a closer to make a bold move. With all of the traffic in the Derby, a turn of foot is almost always required to win (it wasn't with Giacomo and Big Brown didn't have to use his). While Regal Ransom doesnt show any experience in the slop, I don't think it will hinder him more than it would any other horses, and it may even help.
Here's the article:
Haskin's Derby Report: The Picks
Posted: Friday, May 1, 2009 2:36 PM
To start, this is as tough a
I cannot remember a
But you don’t hear him name mentioned much, and very few handicappers and media members are picking him. As I mentioned in a previous column, I do not pick favorites in the
From a looks standpoint, no one is thriving here more than Pioneerof the
Going by their potential odds, I would bet Pioneerof the
The horse I’m really struggling with is
That pretty much is where I stand with the horses who likely will go off at lower single-digit odds.
Now, let’s get to the real business at hand. I admit to being a hopeless romantic who cannot resist the lure of a great story. But I never allow that cloud my judgment when it comes to observing a horse. In the case of this year’s Cinderella horse General Quarters, however, I am seeing a horse who is primed for a big effort, both physically and mentally. He is galloping out of his skin and is getting tough. He is bright and alert and appears to be in the zone. He just needs it all to come together on Saturday. I have no idea how good this horse is or if he’s fast enough; I’m just getting the signs he is sitting on a big race. And remember, he did turn in a sensational work over this track before the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (I can’t believe I’m liking another horse coming off the Blue Grass). There is no guarantee he’ll handle a sloppy track, but he has enough slop influences (A.P. Indy , Unbridled's Song ,
As shocked as I am about liking the winner of the Blue Grass, I am doubly shocked that I also like the runner-up Hold Me Back, who is another who has been tearing around the track in the mornings as if he means business, and I loved his most recent work in company. I normally wouldn’t like a big, long-striding horse like him in the slop, but I think he’s getting good right now and he’s coming off an excellent prep that should set him up for a big effort. If he doesn’t win I still think he’ll be flying late, as long as we don’t have a pronounced speed-biased track.
The third horse at a price I like is Chocolate Candy, even though I wasn’t crazy about his getting hot and bothered when Jerry Hollendorfer changed his schedule and brought him later in the morning when there was more acitvity. This is one of the most easy-going horses in the field, so that was surprising. He’s done well since, so you just have to hope whatever was bugging him won’t be an issue on Derby Day. What I really like about this colt is the way he has improved physically since he arrived here. And one of his best mornings was when he galloped over a sloppy track and was loving it, according to his exercise rider Lindsey Molina. Also, if you like Pioneerof the
The other horse I am struggling with is Desert Party, who I was all set to pick as my best bet at a price. I still will bet this horse to win, because he’s had a number of terrific mornings, including an eventful, but overly impressive work. He is all class with an air of nobility about him, and he will be Godolphin’s best chance to win the
For a 50-1 shot who could hit the board, Flying Private has been looking and training super.
So, in a nutshell, my main win bet will be General Quarters, woth possible savers on Desert Party, Chocolate Candy, and Hold Me Back, depending on their odds.
My exotics would be to box General Quarters and Desert Party in exactas and trifectas with the favorite or favorites of your choice (I Want Revenge, Friesan Fire, Pioneerof the Nile or Dunkirk); General Quarters and Hold Me Back with one or more of the four favorites, and General Quarters and Chocolate Candy with one or more of the four favorites.
If you want to try for a monster score and toss the favorites altogether, how about a four-horse exacta or trifecta box of General Quarters, Desert Party, Hold Me Back, and Chocolate Candy?
There are some surprises in the odds as of 2 o’clock Friday, as this is being completed, such as Chocolate Candy at an unappealing 8-1 and Hold Me Back at a so-so 11-1. I am hoping those odds go up.
Watch tomorrow for any updates in the column, as we get a better idea who the best bargains will be. But right now I’m still sticking with General Quarters, despite his sentiment-driven odds, and Desert Party as the best overlay at 26-1, despite his post.
Whether or not you pay any attention to these ramblings, don't forget about the best work/overall appearance (PIoneerof the Nile) and the slop and fitness factor (Friesan Fire) to include in any exotics.
Monday, April 20, 2009
By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com
This is Steve doing what he does when he isn't snubbing TR Slyder.
Anyway, this article is proof of why he's an indispensable read come Derby time. Next week he'll be trackside at Churchill giving us masterful reports of the Derby workouts.
Taken from here
Ky. Derby Trail: Derby Dynamics
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2009 4:53 PM
This final Derby Trail column before departing for
Before the major works start up, let’s take a preliminary look at the different aspects of this year’s
It is ironic that the three-career-start whammy has been broken, but four career starts still exists, with Exterminator in 1918 being the last to accomplish that. Quality Road will try to break that one.
As for Apollo, the last favorite to attempt to win the
In 2006, Barbaro took care of the theory that you couldn’t win the
Remember when you couldn’t win the
Let’s also remember that Funny Cide single-handedly destroyed two other so-called curses – being a gelding (Clyde Van Dusen in 1929) and a New York-bred (first-time in history).
So, even if you’re a believer in historic trends, as I have always been, remember that times are changing, and quickly. Who knows what a horse can accomplish nowadays.
There have been several comments recently, claiming that the
The big question at this point is, who will be the pace factors? We know Papa Clem has early lick if they want to use it, but he came from fifth to win the Arkansas Derby. Will Godolphin run Regal Ransom, the front-running winner of the UAE Derby? If they do, he likely will be the pacesetter. And will the speedy Join in the Dance make the starting field? He currently is at No. 22, and his owners have said they will run if he gets in. And you can bet that his trainer, Todd Pletcher, would love to see him in there to cut out a good pace for
If Godolphin wanted to use a little sly strategy, they could enter Regal Ransom to possibly keep Join in the Dance out. If they succeed, they could have the only true speed in the race with a legitimate shot to wire the field or help set it up for Desert Party. If Join in the Dance makes it into the race anyway, then they can scratch Regal Ransom if they want and save him for the Preakness.
For those jockeys who would tend to pay little attention to Regal Ransom on the lead, remember War Emblem. Regal Ransom is a horse who earned a spectacular “2” Thoro-Graph number in his career debut last year, so he has a strong foundation to fall back on.
The other distinct possibility is that if the pace is soft,
If Regal Ransom and Join in the Dance both run there should be an honest pace. If the fractions are testing or start to pick up noticeably after five-eighths of a mile, remember that I Want Revenge, Quality Road, Friesan Fire, General Quarters, Musket Man, and Desert Party (although he could take farther back) all should be fairly close together and will be making their moves at around the same time. Most of those horses have registered triple-digit Beyers, including highs of 113 by I Want Revenge and
But, keep in mind the 2005 Derby, when the slower horses were supposedly no match for Wood Memorial winner Bellamy Road (120 Beyer), Arkansas Derby winner Afleet Alex (108 Beyer), Blue Grass winner Bandini (103 Beyer), Louisiana Derby winner High Limit (105 Beyer), Illinois Derby winner Greeley's Galaxy (106 Beyer), and Florida Derby winner High Fly (102 Beyer). All, with the exception of Afleet Alex, had similar running styles to the 2009 horses mentioned above. They all made their moves at the same time after a wicked pace and all were cooked by the three-sixteenths pole, setting it up one of the so-called slow closers, Giacomo , at 50-1. No one knows what kind of pace we’ll have this year. It likely will not be as fast as in 2005, but you can be sure all those aforementioned horses will be moving together, making for a contentious cavalry charge approaching the quarter pole.
On the move behind them should be Pioneerof the Nile,
If Regal Ransom doesn’t run, then you can look next to Musket Man, who was born on May 10, followed by Pioneerof the
Do you remember the Fighting Sullivans? Well, meet the Scrapping Smart Strikes. When was the last time you saw four tougher, grittier sons from the same stallion than Papa Clem,
Now that WinStar Farm’s Advice has won the Lexington Stakes and could be headed to
On the lighter side, I must admit I have not been to the windows to collect on a
As an example of my inability to turn these observations into cash, instead of going with the 6-1 Barbaro, I selected and bet on A.P. Warrior, despite his having no works at Churchill, and he wound up going off at only 14-1. Even worse was taking a pass on Smarty Jones (way too low for me at 4-1) and betting on Castledale, again with no works at Churchill, only because I loved the way he looked physically. I can’t even believe I am confessing to such stupidity after five years. To demonstrate what a “big-time” bettor I am, my $2 exacta of Monarchos and Invisible Ink ($1,229) in 2001 was the biggest ticket I have ever cashed.
Have I learned from my blunders? Probably not. I still cannot bet or pick short-priced horses in a 20-horse
(This has been a public service announcement. Bet responsibly).
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com
Wow. Talk about feeling low! That's like having Mr. Rogers tell you that you're queer or something. Check this out. Steve Haskin, my favorite KY Derby Reporter is having a live chat today on www.TheBloodhorse.com. It was funny timing because I visited the website randomly, and noticed the chat was to begin in like 1 minute. (This is eerily reminiscent of Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber when he sees the sign in the bathroom stall to be there at a certain time for Hot, Manly Love, and as he checks his watch, he realizes it's exactly that time, then he almost gets BF'd against his will in the restroom.)
So I log on and ask the first question, which I thought was clear and legit.
Seabass Mr. Haskin viewed it differently.
|BH Staff: Steve welcomes everyone to this live chat. He will be responding to your questions and comments shortly.|
|[Comment From Willliam Coyle]|
|[Comment From Jeannie]|
|[Comment From T.R. Slyder]|
Steve, where do you draw the line in your Derby Dozen separating the top tier from the second tier? Thanks, and keep up the great work! -TR in Chicago
|SteveHaskin: T.R. Not sure what you mean. I draw the line at No. 12, unless I do a baker's dozen on that particular week|
And there you have it. Thanks for coming out, Steve. Now I know how Dr. Kevin felt when his uncle hilariously snubbed him at Thanksgiving.
So I learned that, though you rank 12 and oftentimes 13 horses in your "Dozen" the talent discrepency separating each is precisely uniform, even if you can't separate 12 from 13. Got it.
Friday, April 3, 2009
By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com
One of the best parts about the weeks leading up to the KY Derby is reading what Steve Haskins has to say about it. He is back in the habit again, I am glad to say. All you really need to know about him is that he's like the Bob Ross of horse racing. As knowledgeable as he is gentle.
Another thing I admire about Steve is that while most horse racing writers tend to grow bald as they age, Steve still has a thick, full head of hair. As you can plainly tell from the picture, you can see continuous strands of hair from one side of his head to the other, therefore, it is impossible that he is bald, otherwise you'd just see bare head.