Sunday, 21 April 2013

Weekend Recap

Woodbine meet kicks off
Thoroughbred action returned to Ontario on Saturday with the 1st day of the Woodbine meet. Opening day was a success, with a large crowd on track, an average field size of 7.9, and a total handle of $3,380,720. Saturday's feature race was the $150,000 Star Shoot Stakes, a 6 furlong sprint for 3 year old fillies. The race was won by Sam Di Pasquale-trainee Rootham Triple E's ($20.10), an Ontario Sired filly owned by Murray Stroud. Justin Stein was the winning jockey. Sunday's card featured the $150,000 Woodstock Stakes, the boys version of the Star Shoot. Dan the Tin Man ($13.60) and jockey Patrick Husbands came out victorious for trainer Ricky Griffith and owner Debmar Stables. The 133-day meet will continue until December 15th. Racing will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, with Wednesday night cards starting on June 5th.

Charles Town & other T-Bred Stakes
Game On Dude wins the Charles Town Classic
I stayed up on Saturday to watch the Charles Town Classic. I wasn't watching for Game On Dude, I was cheering for Caixa Eletronica. Needless to say I was disappointed, Caixa had nothing to offer. Game On Dude got a great trip and won. However, I don't think he ran the best in the field. I was impressed by Ron the Greek, he got a rough break and was last early, rallied very well and finished 3rd. He was beaten a nose for 2nd by Clubhouse Ride, and the two of them were only a 1/2 length from Game On Dude, who was really saved by the wire. Mike Smith said after the race that GoD 'hated the track.'
     The Illinois Derby at Hawthorne was run this weekend. Back when the Kentucky Derby points system was announced last year there was a bit of an uproar when people saw that the Illinois Derby wasn't included. It seems like most people forgot about that yesterday, but whatever. Departing was a very easy winner. He's actually tied for 20th with a few others in the Kentucky Derby points standings, so there's a possibility he could go be going to Churchill. I haven't heard what the plans for him are.
      The other big Thoroughbred Stakes race I tuned in for was the San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita on Sunday afternoon. I love marathon racing, so 1 3/4 miles on the downhill turf was a must watch for me. Bettors made Sky Kingdom the favorite after his win in the Tokyo City going 1 1/2 miles on the dirt. I kind of understood why he was the favorite, he was impressive last time, but he was way overbet for a horse who never touched turf before. He ended up last. Not good for Bob Baffert, who's very cold in SoCal right now. Argentina-bred Interaction won the race by a nose over All Squared Away. It's never surprising to see a South American horse win a marathon race.

Remington & Houston Quarter Horse Stakes
There were a bunch of big races for Quarter Horses on Saturday night. Remington's card held 5 Stakes events, most notably the $253,000 Remington Park Derby and the $720,000 Remington Park Futurity, both for Oklahoma-breds. In the Derby, heavy favorite Brace for Bernal broke from post 1 and wasn't the quickest away, but rallied strongly to win by a length under jockey Paul Nieto. I was very impressed by the performance, and the final time was strong as well, 400 yards in 19.602. The Futurity turned into a two-horse race between heavily favored Coronado Cartel and longshot Houdini. The two dueled all the way down the stretch with Coronado Cartel prevailing by a nose in one of the tightest photo's I've seen in a while.  To point out how close it was, Coronado Cartel's final time for the 330 yards was 16.755, Houdini's was 17.760. The difference was 0.005 seconds. Jimmy Brooks rode Coronado Cartel for trainer Eddie Willis and owner Reliance Ranches LLC.
      Sam Houston held a pair of Stakes events as well, the Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge and the Grade I Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship. Heavy-favorite Kite Flyer broke quickly, dueled with Dashers Midnight down the stretch, and prevailed to win the 870 yard event by a length in a time of 46.500. A couple races later, in the Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship, defending champion Kool Country Man broke alertly and crushed the field by 1 1/2 lengths, covering the 440 yards in 21.756. I'm going to follow him throughout the rest of the year, because if he keeps running as well as he did, he'll be tough in the Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos in November.

My Sunland Record
So, with the Sunland meet done, here's a quick look at my record at the meet. Of the 540 races I handicapped on this blog, I picked 129 winners, hitting at 24%. Had you bet $2 to win on every horse I picked throughout the meet, you'd have ended $146 poorer. I'm satisfied with my handicapping seeing as I've never handicapped Sunland before. My best division was the Thoroughbred 2 year olds foaled in 2011. There were 9 2 year old Thoroughbred races in the Spring part of the meet. I picked 5 of the winners, and no horse I picked to win finished worse than 2nd. Had you bet $2 to win on every 2 year old Thoroughbred I picked in the Spring you'd have profited $31.80. That's a pretty good stat for my handicapping. If you haven't noticed, I'll be blogging my Woodbine selections on here until the Ruidoso meet starts on May 25th.

Have a good week, and good luck.

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