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otb_lifer

**Road To The 2018 Kentucky Derby - 1/15: Trainerpalooza for Oaklawn's Smarty Jones **

19 posts in this topic

roughly four months away from the first Saturday in May - we've already had nine races run here in the States that factored into the points totals ... eight were of the 10-4-2-1 variety, while the BC Juvey awarded 20-8-4-2.  the bigger (50-20-10-5) races get underway in about six weeks, starting with the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds.

things are very wide open at the moment, as we've had nine different winners thus far, with some contenders still yet to make their three year old debut. 

the current top ten, featuring the race they won:

Good Magic  24 pts. - Breeder's Cup Juvey  11/4/17

Bolt d'Oro  14 pts. - Front Runner Stakes  9/30/17

Solomini  14 pts. - fourteen the hard way, finishing second in the Front Runner and Juvey, along with a show in the Cash Call Futurity.

Enticed  12 pts. - Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes  11/25/17

Firenze Fire  10 pts. - Champagne Stakes  10/7/17 (followed up by a very disappointing 7th in the Juvey).

Free Drop Billy  10 pts. - Claiborne Breeder's Futurity  10/7/17 

Greyvitos  10 pts. - Remington Sringboard Mile  12/17/17

Catholic Boy  10 pts. - Remsen Stakes  12/2/17

The Tabulator  10 pts. - Iroquois Stakes  9/16/17

McKinzie  10 pts. - Los Al Cash Call Futurity  12/9/17

 

still very early, and good chance most of these never see the Churchill starting gate - but as long as they're awarding points, the races matter.  gotta say that Good Magic jumps out at you, coming from Curlin, with a Hard Spun damsire - top notch pedigree with Chad Brown training. has improved his BSF from 92 (maiden 6f place at Saratoga), to 96 (Champagne), to a big 105 his last time out at Del Mar.  followed up his second place in the Champagne (upset by 11-1 shot Firenze Fire) by a four length win in the Juvey, taking down five of the current leaders, including FF - of note in that race: 3/5 favorite Bolt d'Oro had a very tough trip, but he dug in enough to rally for third - we're certainly going to be seeing much more of him going forward.

fwiw, here's what the first future's wager pool looked like (11/23-26/17), with PPs for all here.  next future's pool is 2/2.

we kick off the New Year with the Jerome (Formulator) at Aqueduct ... Firenze Fire is odds on to get a leg up as the crop's first two time winner in his sixth career start - that's a lot of seasoning in today's Thoroughbred climate. 

 

 

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Just bought 3 tickets (lower grandstand) for one of my wife's xmas presents.  The only other time I went to the Derby was in the early 90s when Go For Gin won and it was a freaking typhoon.  I'm hoping the weather is nicer this time, because I'm still not under cover, even though we're in the grandstand.  The cost was bad enough as it is, $1600 for 3 tickets, including all fees.  It would have been double for covered seating.  Also, all the hotels are already booked in Louisville, so I got one in Frankfort.  Only about 50 miles away, not too bad.  The best airline tickets were to fly into Cincinnati.  To fly into Louisville or Lexington was about $600+ per ticket.  

While we're there we plan on touring Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, the oldest one in the country and was the only one allowed to be open during prohibition ("for medicinal purposes").  I will also tour the Woodford Reserve Distillery near Versailles (suburb of Lexington).  We're also going to do the Claiborne Farm tour, which has the cemetery where Secretariat is buried.  On Friday before the Derby we will go to Louisville for the Derby Week festivities. 

 

Edited by JohnnyU
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pretty damn sweet @JohnnyU :thumbup: - may the weather gods be with you that weekend, sounds like an awesome time will be had by all. 

 

PS- still on my bucket list :kicksrock:

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39 minutes ago, otb_lifer said:

pretty damn sweet @JohnnyU :thumbup: - may the weather gods be with you that weekend, sounds like an awesome time will be had by all. 

 

PS- still on my bucket list :kicksrock:

This will probably be my last opportunity to go to the derby because it is so damn expensive.  I hope to make up for that May day in 1994.  Not only was that derby a slop fest, I was in the infield bleachers, which is better than infield and no bleachers, but it sure was muddy going to and from the portapoties.. In addition to not cashing a ticket all day at that miserable derby, the bus I went over to Churchill Downs in hit another car and we had to walk a long ways in a pouring rain to get to the track.  Darn it, it's not supposed to be that way at the derby!!!   I was much younger then and could deal with that, but now that I'm much older and taking my wife and granddaughter, I thought I would pay up and get better seats (not in the infield).  It truly is a bucket list item for us as well, I just hope the weather cooperates this time and the bus shuttle to the track doesn't wreck like it did in 1994.  I think we will also enjoy the tours of Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve distillery and Claiborne Farm.  I lived in Louisville in 1994 and I used to go down by the river during derby week to the food and beer booths.  I really enjoyed that.  My boss would allow us to leave work at noon one day during derby week and enjoy the festivities  as long as we don't come back to work.  Back then I could get free beer tickets from the Tandem Vendors because of their association with the company I worked for.  While in Louisville this time I think I'll go to the Brown Hotel and enjoy a Ky Hot Brown (google it if you don't know what that is ;) ) and perhaps go to Indie's to enjoy some of their great spicy fried chicken.

Edited by JohnnyU
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Posted (edited)

*** Jerome postponed due to frigid conditions ***

just got back from my maiden 2018 run, and it's ridiculously brutal out there. Wow :shock:

Aqueduct cancelled a couple cards last week, along with yesterday's - that track is situated as such that the open end serves as a wind tunnel, and the blasts whipping in off Jamaica Bay are lethal, it's one of the more inhospitable venues in the country in that respect.  i've always said that the live crowd at The Big A (especially when they switch to the inner dirt) are some of the more intrepid (insane?) players in the country ... it always had a ramshackle ambiance to it, even in it's heyday - now it's a dilapidated dinosaur that barely registers a pulse, mostly sustained by the VLT crowd (the lot is dotted with buses from Chinatown).  would've been razed years ago if that Slots carrot wasn't dangled. 

 

oh, did i mention that i love the jernt? :D  opening day in October is always a must attend event on my calendar - if the terlits aren't backed up by the third race, it's a definite win ... but, yeah - nothing compares to the sagacity and elbows and dedication of the Big A's railbirds.

 

ETA: Happy New Year to all!

Edited by otb_lifer

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Black f'n dot. OTBLifer always doing the Lord's work in this thread. Happy New Year, GB! 

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57 minutes ago, Evilgrin 72 said:

Black f'n dot. OTBLifer always doing the Lord's work in this thread. Happy New Year, GB! 

:goodposting:

 

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3 hours ago, otb_lifer said:

 

Aqueduct cancelled a couple cards last week, along with yesterday's - that track is situated as such that the open end serves as a wind tunnel, and the blasts whipping in off Jamaica Bay are lethal, it's one of the more inhospitable venues in the country in that respect.  i've always said that the live crowd at The Big A (especially when they switch to the inner dirt) are some of the more intrepid (insane?) players in the country ... it always had a ramshackle ambiance to it, even in it's heyday - now it's a dilapidated dinosaur that barely registers a pulse, mostly sustained by the VLT crowd (the lot is dotted with buses from Chinatown).  would've been razed years ago if that Slots carrot wasn't dangled. 

 

Aaaah - the A Train to the Big A to freeze my big A off. Wasnt even a transfer for me when i lived on Thompson St. Sometimes you just had to do the clubhouse - tho it was never my choice - cuz it was soooo frikkin cold. I remember always looking at the Wise Guys tables, cuz you knew if they were excited that a cement path had opened somewhere on the inner. Otherwise, it was 8000 guys who all needed lung donors....

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22 hours ago, Evilgrin 72 said:

Black f'n dot. OTBLifer always doing the Lord's work in this thread. Happy New Year, GB! 

back 'atcha, EG - think you cashed a Lookin' at Lee tri last year, no?  :hifive:

 

20 hours ago, wikkidpissah said:

Aaaah - the A Train to the Big A to freeze my big A off. Wasnt even a transfer for me when i lived on Thompson St. Sometimes you just had to do the clubhouse - tho it was never my choice - cuz it was soooo frikkin cold. I remember always looking at the Wise Guys tables, cuz you knew if they were excited that a cement path had opened somewhere on the inner. Otherwise, it was 8000 guys who all needed lung donors....

Conduit Ave. stop is currently a half mile stretch of some choppy ### ice - more apt for pucks than ponies :deadhorse:

the wiseguys now camp in the "Racino" section of the sprawl  :moneybag:

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Sham Stakes (10-4-2-1) out at Santa Anita today - with the Jerome postponed 'til next Saturday, this becomes the first prep of the year.

Baffert trained McKinzie is 3/5 ml favorite, in a race that features plenty of early speed, which should play right into his liking. My Boy Jack (Desormeaux bros.) and Shiver Me Timbers (Hollendorfer) are two with speed/route cred, with the latter posing a very legit threat ... rest are stretching out for the first time (City Plan has previously stretched, but seems outclassed here).

another Baffert trainee, Mourinho, comes in off of a second place (90 BSF) finish behind Greyvitos in the Gr. III Bob Hope.

one i'm keeping my eye on is All Out Blitz - his speed is increasing with every race, and his last work was fantastic, coming in here with momentum, would love to see him crash this baby.   

Formulator PPs Here

 

 

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poor ####in Sham.......:kicksrock:.......

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2 hours ago, wikkidpissah said:

poor ####in Sham.......:kicksrock:.......

we oughtta have an Onion Stakes ... at least he beat Big Red :D

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McKinzie sheds the blinkers for a paid workout in The Sham - my boy All Out Blitz (14/1, hung on for second)) set the pace, with the 1/5 favorite rating nicely through some tepid fractions .... this one was really never in doubt, though - ya just knew that extra gear was waiting to be popped.  the victory makes McKinzie the first two time winner of this year's crop - though his win in the Los Al Cash Call was granted after Solomini was DQed to third after some rough stuff in the stretch.

hang on to the end of the vid, very cool to see Laffit handing out the trophy in the winner's circle :thumbup:

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catching up to last Saturday's Mucho Macho Man down at Gulfstream - though no Derby points were at stake, the race is noted for the presence of two Churchill hopefuls in Mask (out of Tapit - the 7/5 favorite) and Dak Attack (Ghostzapper - 2/1).

the favorite had his way from the start, through some 'meh' fractions - Dak hung for a bit, pinned at the half, faded in the stretch - Mask gets the hand ride home from Javi, looking fresh as all hell while crossing the line comfortably - the Chad Brown trainee now looks to jump into the points game as the trail heats up with the Lecomte (Fair Grounds) and Jerome (Aqueduct) coming up this weekend. 

Edited by otb_lifer
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today features two Gr.III races doling out 10/4/2/1 on the trail - The Lecomte at the Fair Grounds, and The Jerome at Aqueduct.

they're going a mile in the Jerome, and Firenze Fire is the 3/5 ml favorite in this field of seven.  great spot for this one to bounce back from a horrendous seventh in the Juvey, after getting on the map with his score in the Champagne (races linked up in first post).  been some lean times for our coast lately as far as the Derby's concerned ... perhaps this colt can start building a foundation today that will lead to more Eastern money being lit on fire come the first Saturday in May.   we are expecting some balmier weather up here (race was postponed due to an Arctic spell we endured earlier this month), but some wind and rain may be present come post time ... a couple here do have chops in the slop (most notable the Pletcher trained #1 horse Coltandmississippi) , but nothing noteworthy enough to warrant a jump off the chalk, imo.  looks like the Paco Lopez/Romans #2 Seven Trumpets will be the main threat, but this is his first time stretching out.  

Formulator PPs  Here

 

a very robust field of fourteen will be going 1m70 down in Louisiana, with the Hollendorfer shipper #10 Instilled Regard as the horse i'm looking at here - last time out he dueled in the stretch with Sham winner McKinzie and hard luck Solomini in the Los Al Cash Call - already has a two turn route win to his credit, and bagged a 92 BSF in the Cash Call.  second choice 4/1 on the ml, and a horse i think makes a big step forward today.

in lieu of PPs i couldn't track, here's a look from Brisnet, and in depth vid analysis from DRF's Illman & Bernier

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Firenze Fire digs deep to take down a very sloppy Jerome

watching a few races prior to this it was quite clear that the track was in as #### a shape as i've seen in awhile - the rain up here stopped roughly 12 hours prior to Jerome post time, but the surface had the consistency of pudding - winners were coming down the middle of the track, with harness like fractions being set - and the Jerome followed suit.

an off the pace runner like FF was put to a very tough task, having to rally from last on a surface that was unforgiving to closers for the great majority of the day.  wasn't much here for the favorite to beat (his class won out), but the work and effort turned out to be muchmuch more than the connections bargained for.  credit for the moxy to get up, but this race is the type that can take an awful lot out of a horse. 

factor in also that he is currently two weeks behind schedule due to this race being postponed - logical progression would be Withers/Gotham/Wood going forward - but that Withers race is now only three weeks away (2/3), instead of the five week layoff had the Jerome been run on sched.  now, if he goes in that one i'll bang my bet against him against 'til my knuckles bleed, but seems more likely we don't see him again 'til March with the Gotham. 

 

meanwhile, down in Louisiana, Instilled Regard ran the race i fully expected him to - winning the Lecomte handily.  note that he was carrying six (116 to 122) lb. lighter than most of the field ... had himself a dream trip -rated beautifully off some tepid fractions, made a move at the 1/2, inhaled them at 3/4, and came home with authority - this is a big boy out there, and he lugged just a bit in the stretch, but otherwise looked as smooth and fresh as a morning work, in hand from Javi as he crossed clear by three.  coupled with his showing in Los Al, this is beginning to look like a serious contender going forward.  will be very interesting to see where Hollendorfer places him next ... he's got a real nice one here. 

 

up next is tomorrow's Smarty Jones down at Oaklawn - Baffert trained Mourinho was yanked from last week's Sham and pointed here ... we all know how Baffert loves him some Oaklawn, and this one is the 3/2 ml favorite going in.   will get PPs as soon as i can scrounge 'em.

Edited by otb_lifer
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4 hours ago, otb_lifer said:

Firenze Fire digs deep to take down a very sloppy Jerome

 

wOw - 1:16.72 6f break (and they're still on the outer track?) - those are Suffolk bottom claimer @ low tide #s. i'd expect some bounce from that, but a strong run indeed

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field of seven down in Oaklawn today for the (10/4/2/1) Smarty Jones - heavy hitters in town with some promising colts, as Baffert/Asmussen/Pletcher saddle up more than half the field (SA has two entries).  looking at the top three coming in:  #6 Navistar - he's been working the best of the lot, but is jumping up in class -  #1 Combatant was last seen in the Remington Springboard Mile chasing Greyvitos ... same for #4 Mourinho in the Bob Hope.  Mourinho will put the blinkers back on for today's stretch out - speediest of this bunch - dunno if he wants the distance, but we know Baffert doesn't ship to Arkansas just to wind his watch ... of note is his victory over Instilled Regard back in their maiden (6f) at Santa Anita in September.  

currently leaning to #6 Navistar

Formulator PPs - Here 

Edited by otb_lifer

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