Tampa Bay Derby and San Felipe Stakes recap

A pair of Stakes for the Kentucky Derby Championship Series were run on both coasts this past Saturday, March 9 with both victors earning their first Graded Stakes wins. Verrazano remained undefeated after capturing the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs while Hear The Ghost rallied for the win in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. Tampa Bay Derby: Verrazano was dominant in his two wins in one-turn races at Gulfstream Park and he passed his first two-turn test with flying colors. He challenged for the lead early and received pressure from both sides until he entered the backstretch where he dueled with Falling Sky to his inside. Verrazano took over entering the far turn and raced straight in the stretch while never feeling the whip to win by three lengths. He is a big horse and he finished well despite the early fast fractions. Listed below are

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More Gulfstream Park Notes and Stats from the ECHR

  As we wind down the Gulfstream Meet, still lots going on!  The Rainbow Pick Six Carryover was hit a few weeks back, but don’t look now, as the carryover is now well over $300,000, and it’s very likely the carryover will continue to grow with more attention on this wager following the massive 3 million carryover which ended with one lucky winner taking the elusive pot of gold, and as a result, it’s unlikely another single ticket will take home the whole pot before closing day on April 5th, meaning, there could be a massive carryover on that final day, which would be split among all pick six winners!  In the meantime, it doesn’t mean there’s not profits to be made. On February 8th, the ECHR suggested a $2.40 Pick Six to our members – It returned $3,521.60!!……….RYDILLUC took a huge step towards getting a Derby opportunity with his

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Just How “Big” was the Big Cap? – Osterman Files

In an apples and oranges world, Santa Anita had a big day on Big Cap day. An on-track crowd of 26,000+ is pretty good by today’s standards, even if it’s just a shell of what they got back in the good old days when 76,000+ was hardly unusual for the track’s signature event. Of course, even with an attendance of that sort, the track didn’t handle anything close to $18 million for the day. Of course, they didn’t have 11 races back then and they sure as heck didn’t get 82% of the handle from outlets all over the state, not to mention the country. Of course, that was then and this is now. Apples and oranges. Blah, blah, blah. So, was it truly a “big” day or just another day at the office? Who’s to say that if racing and Santa Anita, in particular, was marketed better that they

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News of the Day

The big days at Santa Anita are yet to come but news is already starting to drift out of Hollywood Park, some of it good, some of it not-so-good. The track continues to be very much on life support while going on a year-to-year, meet-to-meet basis until the land management company that owns the place decides to pull the plug in order to put up condos, business complexes and strip malls. The economy will tell them just when to shut it all down in Inglewood and, barring a double-dip recession, that won’t be long now. For 2013, though, they’ll still be running at the track of the lakes and flowers, for better or worse. On the “better” side, they recently announced the end of Friday night racing. This is a good thing for serious handicappers. No longer will they have to deal with the quick turnaround from Friday night to

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The Gotham Stakes recap

There was only one race last weekend that qualified for the Kentucky Derby Championship Series and that was the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct Saturday, March 2. This was the 2013 debut for two-time Grade 2 winner Overanalyze for the Todd Pletcher stable and he went off as the favorite. However, it was the undefeated Vyjack who rallied for the win as the second choice for the Rudy Rodriguez barn. Gotham: Vyjack was on or near the lead throughout in his narrow win in his first route which was a Grade 2 Jan 5, but this time he raced near the back of the pack early and rallied wide for the impressive victory. Overanalyze tracked the leaders throughout, but basically ran evenly as he held his ground for 5th. He looked like he may have needed that one and we would not be surprised to see him move up

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Insider Handicapping Tips at Gulfstream Park

It’s been a fantastic Meet from South Florida, even better with Derby Fever in the air! It’s been interesting to watch the main track of late. For the first two months, we saw a listless track, very uncommon for this particular Meet, a bit on the slower side, with horses often times not switching leads due to the tiring nature of the strip. But then the rains came 2 weeks ago. The track was sealed creating the usual faster surface over the wet going, but since drying out, obviously the maintenance responded differently, or perhaps the composite following the rains have changed things, as this main track now has that familiar Gulfstream zip in the surface we’re accustomed to seeing, quick throughout, now favoring those on or near the front end………..On the Derby scene, it was sad to see a career ending injury to Pletcher’s promising Violence, who’s been turned

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Kentucky Derby Championship Series Kickoff

We kicked off the Kentucky Derby Championship Series on Feb 23 with a huge upset in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds along with the loss of Violence who was injured when 2nd in the Fountain Of Youth at Gulfstream Park.  These two races produced fast times and numbers for the level and it will be interesting to see if these runners can keep their form as the distances get longer. Risen Star:  Outsider I’ve Struck A Nerve rallied from the back to win at 135/1 in what was a blanket finish Feb 23.  The first eight runners in the field finished within 3 1/2 lengths of each other and that usually suggests it was a weak race.  However, the numbers were solid as was the pace for the top three finishers as you can see below: I’ve Struck A Nerve:    CPR=169          FIRE=112         Pace Rating=111         Final Time Rating=159

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AMBUSHED BY THE BIAS

Much like the old highwaymen who looted carriages and stagecoaches in the days of yore, a track bias can pop out of nowhere to pillage your bankroll.  When a bias emerges from the bushes without warning, all the prep work done beforehand becomes meaningless as a normally rational thought process becomes a one-way trip to oblivion. Gold Rush Day at Hollywood Park (oh, sorry, Betfair Hollywood Park) was just such a day.  The track had opened Thursday and raced at night on Friday and nothing that happened during either program could have prepared handicappers for the flurry of rally/wide winners that dominated over the weekend.   Suddenly, being in front early became folly and racing along the fence was a double dose of disaster.  No horse in first or second at the first call was able to succeed on Saturday and just one pulled it off on Sunday.  Traditional pace-and-trip handicapping

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A FLUKE OR FREE MONEY?

When a horse pays $91, it behooves all handicappers to revisit the animal to see if something was overlooked or if the victory was simply an unpredictable fluke. In the case of Pocket Prince in the Saturday lid lifter at Santa Anita, it seemed more the former than the latter. It’s not as if Pocket Prince should have been the 8/5 favorite or anything but his credentials were far better than the 44/1 odds blinking on the tote board at post time. The race itself, a straight-maiden affair for Cal-breds going a mile on the grass was a bit of an anomaly to start with.  After all, it’s rare that we see an 11-horse field that features eight horses that had competed against each other in a recent event under the same conditions.  That was the case here as seven of the colts and geldings had last started in Race

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