JC / Railbird

Handicapping Archive

Fast Track

What to look for when Santa Anita opens with its new dirt surface:

… welcome back front-runners to a surface that track project manager Ted Malloy expects will reward fast horses.

“A fast track, if it’s not tiring, is always speed-favoring,” Malloy said.

See also:

“I must have worked 20-something horses that first week and 20-something the second, and the track was fast,” she said. “Like holy guacamole fast.”


“This track is going to be very good. It will probably be a little speed biased. I think dirt handicappers are going to love it.”

New York Turf Tip

From Dick Powell:

Cornelio Velasquez has been winning 16 percent of his turf starts but because he attracts little wagering attention, he shows a flat-bet profit of +0.52.

One of my favorite jockey plays: Cornelio, longshot, turf.

Today’s Longshot Flyer

BEL, R4: I haven’t done one of these in a while, but while handicapping the $1 million Pick 6 carryover at Belmont this afternoon, a longshot caught my eye in the very first leg. In a field stocked with well-bred and well-meant babies, Cellar Dweller (20-1 ML) hardly stands out coming from a low-percentage barn and possessing an insubstantial auction price, but the first-time starter does have a super workout pattern, with his last move a bullet three furlongs out of the gate, and a decent turf pedigree. A son of Rahy (15% with turf starters), Cellar Dweller is also half to three winners over the turf, including stakes placed filly Savage Beauty. And while this little detail may end up not too relevant today, it is certainly interesting and merits some attention that Cellar Dweller’s pedigree includes full siblings Glorious Song (dam of Rahy) and Devil’s Bag (via dam side). Glorious Song was 1980 champion older female, winner of multiple graded stakes, and also the dam of turf champion Singspiel; Devil’s Bag was 1983 champion juvenile and the early favorite for the 1984 Kentucky Derby before he was retired due to injury and sent to stud with a record syndication deal. [2:15 pm update: Should have checked the scratches earlier … Cellar Dweller is out.]
For the Pick 6, a $240 $192 caveman special: R4 #4/6/3/12/8; R5 #1(A)/3/4; R6 #1(A)/6; R7 #6 (the sole single); R8 #7/6; R9 #7/10. [Results: 1/1/1/2/1/3, or 4-of-6, or nothing (this time). Considering that I have not been handicapping or playing much recently, though, not bad.]

Today’s Longshot Flyer

SAR, R4: Special Detail (ML 12-1). Starts off a dismal debut in which the Johar filly was beaten by more than 33 lengths, but I’m intrigued by the distance and surface switch.
Results: Bet down to 6-1, which totally killed my interest in this filly, and good thing, since she tracked the pace early, then dropped like a rock to last in the stretch. The winner was 2-1 favorite High Cry, a Street Cry filly debuting for trainer Todd Pletcher, now 4-for-12 with 2-year-old first-time starters at the Spa (and all four of those wins with rider John Velazquez up). I did get to feel smart in the second at least, sticking with Digger off his odd claim last out in a race with conditions (“For three year olds and upward which have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2006-08”) that seemed beautifully suited. He went to post as the fourth choice, willingly waited for the dueling leaders to tire, and paid $9.20 to win by two lengths.
Thanks to 6-1 Raffie’s Treasure in the feature, trainer Dominic Galluscio avoided “getting the duck” this meet, scoring his first win after four seconds and two thirds over the past couple weeks. If I Lost My Choo hadn’t scratched, it’s possible Galluscio would have added another second to his record, but with the overwhelming likely favorite out, the homebred filly was free to race clear on the outside, avoiding the flying mud, then draw away to a visually impressive 9 3/4 length win over the sloppy track (final time for the 1 1/8 miles, 1:53.48). “We were very fortunate that [the race] came off the turf,” said Galluscio (Daily Gazette).
Raffie's Treasure returns to the winner's circle
Raffie’s Treasure entering the winner’s circle after the ninth.

← Before