JC / Railbird

Handicapping Archive

Today’s Longshot Flyer

SAR, R8: Halo Najib (ML 10-1). The one-mile turf Majestic Light comes up tough with Prussian (second to Virginia Derby winner Gio Ponti in the Hill Prince) and Luck Money (good enough as a 2-year-old to run third to Henrythenavigator in G2 company) entered, but Halo Najib gets some class relief regardless and maybe even some pace at which to run.
Results: Halo Najib showed zip and was an underlay at 8-1, finishing seventh, many lengths behind Luck Money and Prussian. Since this was a flyer, I was unperturbed at the loss, which was more than made up for by 6-1 Any Limit (with Zada Belle underneath) in the Honorable Miss (true, I told this person while in the paddock). “Wire to wire, that was nice,” said trainer Allen Jerkens, who did not go to the winner’s circle. The mare will point to the Ballerina.
Any Limit returns to the Saratoga winner's circle
Any Limit returning to the winner’s circle after the ninth.

Today’s Longshot Flyer

BEL, R8: So It Goes (ML 20-1). Lightly raced, gets blinkers, class test in the French Colonial, a delightfully competitive Thursday afternoon stakes with a ho-hum 3-1 morning line favorite in El Sultry Sun, coming off a seventh-place finish in the rain-soaked G3 Colonial Turf Cup. Also of much interest as a live longshot is Dynhocracy (ML 10-1), who had a troubled trip and finished fifth in the June G3 Hill Prince, his first start in nearly four months. Willsboro Point (ML 6-1), a smart claim for trainer Scott Schwartz three back, looks the most likely pacesetter, and I wouldn’t put it past him, with Eibar Coa up, to steal the race with soft fractions.
[Results: So It Goes, sent off as the longest shot in the field at 14-1, finished fourth. No early speed, that one, despite the first-time blinkers. Fourth choice Willsboro Point won by 1 1/2 lengths at 5-1 and did so by rating kindly, settling in behind an eager Run Sully Run and waiting through fractions of :48.88 and 1:12.87 before drawing away and running the final eighth in a stellar :11.78. The Point Given gelding (out of G3-winning mare Petrouchka) claimed for $35,000 by Schwartz on May 24 now boasts a record of 8-4-0-2.]

Baughs of Hollywood

The card today (July 5) at Hollywood is among the best I’ve seen this year, and the $1.2-million carryover certainly adds some excitement. Here are some thoughts:
Race 3, $100,000 HolJuvCh-G3
Should a Lightnin N Thunder two-year-old ever cost $400,000? I guess we won’t find out today since Nochangenweather scratched, but that is a hefty price for a colt by a $4,000 stallion.
This seems like a race where you either love the morning line favorite, #4 Azul Leon, or you have go really deep.
Race 5, $300,000 VanityH-G1
I can’t remember the last time I thought a horse was as unbeatable in a spot as Zenyatta looks in this race. Still, I think there could be some value in beating Tough Tiz’s Sis underneath.
How great was last year’s Kentucky Oaks? Rags to Riches won with Octave, TTS, Sealy Hill, and Dreaming of Anna all in the mix as well. Wow!

Race 7, $750,000 CshCllMl-G2
I love the way Lady of Venice is coming into this race and the way Kiaran has talked about this mare in preparing to ship west. Ventura will be a quarter the price she was last out and is an underlay.
Race 8, $66,000 AlwN1X
#11 Tizsweetdreams will take too much money here and is a nice horse to beat while starting a pick four. I’ll use #s 3, 5, 10.
Race 9, $750,000 AmrcnOks-G1
Another vulnerable favorite (morning line, at least) in #1 Pure Clan, who despite the undefeated record on turf, just doesn’t strike me as a Grade 1 horse going 1 1/4 miles on the weeds.
I’m looking Eurovision here with #9 Carribean Sunset and #3 Satan’s Circus, both of which are win bets at their morning line prices. These are just legitimate Grade 1 horses whereas the American entrants have not proved themselves at that level yet.
Race 10, $300,000 TrplBndH-G1
Street Boss is boss. There’s speed in the race, and he will be rolling late.
Race 11, $65,000 Md Sp Wt
If #9 Surprises Welcome moves up on turf, then she’s an easy winner here. If she doesn’t, then #1s Alley Theater or #5 Cheryl’s Surprise look to offer the most value.
I was at Santa Anita Park on Sunday in which there was a double carryover, and the atmosphere was electric. I can’t imagine what Hollywood Park will be like going into that sixth race today.
It’s easy to pick apart what’s wrong with horse racing, but this Hollywood card shows you what’s right: Full fields, a chance for a big score, Grade 1 racing … enjoy!

Neither Salty nor Sour

Play of the day: Bitterbutsweet (#3) in the Flawlessly Stakes (Race 8) on Friday at Hollywood Park.
I’ve had this one on my watch list since before her debut because she is kin to For Always, a horse who impressed me as a two-year-old on the Kentucky circuit.
Obviously, Bitterbutsweet is a long way from Turf Paradise (where she was a stakes winner) and Northern California (where she finished second behind a next out Grade 2 winner), but Tarabilla Farms saw something it liked when it bought this Lemon Drop Kid filly and shipped her south to the barn of David Hofmans.
Yeah, said trainer is winless at the meet, and Aaron Gryder isn’t my favorite turf jockey, but if Hofmans gets any improvement out of this one following the seven-week layoff then she’s in the mix at 15-to-1 ML.

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