Welcome, racing fans! As they say in that beer commercial, "Howyadoin'?" Lots to talk about this time, including...
And away we go...
Here's your chance to take control of your handicapping software. Be a part of the Cynthia Publishing Company Software Development Board. It's the next best thing to being able to shout out to our programmer just what it is you want your race-analysis program to do. You're the customer, and your voice deserves to be heard. What's your opinion? We want to know! For instance:
Should our software emphasize track profile or track bias more? Not at all?
Are the routines it uses to gauge probabilities too silly? Not silly enough?
Final-time speed, or pace? Class, or form? A little of everything? Or only the best of the best?
It's your software too, and that's why we want you to take an active part in it. We want to hear what you have to say about the direction you feel your favorite Cynthia Publishing Company software -- Fast Capper, Easy Capper, ALL-IN-ONE -- should take.
It's open forum time for that express purpose. We are seeking active participants, so if you want to see your dream software get developed, speak up! To contribute, please do the following:
We will get back to you with a confirmation of your membership and instructions for accessing this private area of the forum.
Thank you for your input and your continued support. We appreciate them.
Mike Helm's Debut Trainer Guide 2002 is now available. It goes beyond the unthinking monotony of the fat numbers-crunchers by providing specific situations behind a trainer's debut wins. It adds texture to the numbing stats provided by everyone else. For a better understanding of the hows and whys behind debut-trainer patterns, definitely check out Helm's work. Click on this link to the Cynthia Publishing Company Handicapping Store.
Of course, don't forget about the newest offering from the illustrious Mark Cramer: the authoritatively titled Hidden Probabilities: Hard-Core Research for X-Rated Horseplayers.
In inimitable Cramer style and packed with unique research, Galileo-inspired thinking and writing (with high-level concepts made easy to grasp, thanks to Cramer's renowned facility with the English language), this new booklet is an ambitious blend of the nearly mechanical, the almost-magical and the fully inspired. That's because our friend Cramer takes 10 time-honored and simple handicapping concepts and pulses them through the kink-o-master machine, coming up with a stunning creation of staggering beauty and elegance that's good enough to eat.
Whoa. That's just plain silly. But you get the idea. Hidden Probabilities: Hard-Core Research for X-Rated Horseplayers is going to be another valuable addition to the handicapping literature, courtesy of someone who knows how to do just that.
And thanks to DRF's Dave Litfin for the mention in tomorrow's editions.
In honor of the NCAA basketball tournament later this month, we're throwing the big March Madness Edition of the Big-Prize Handicapping Contest. For details -- hey, start playing now, because it's a whole new contest and you can still qualify for the Sweet 16 -- please click on our current contest page.
The races themselves were not big, but some of the performances certainly were.
No Derbies a week ago, or even top-notch preps. Nonetheless, several three-year-old Thoroughbreds distinguished themselves last Saturday with efforts that were as good as they could possibly be, given the time of year, the places they raced and the company they faced.
How 'bout that Magic Weisner? He wasn't favored in any of his last three races. And he wasn't beaten in any of them, either. What does a horse have to do to get some respect around Laurel? On Dec. 8, 2001, Magic Weisner gutted out game neck victory in the slop as the 8-5 favorite, and the public hasn't been back since.
And since then, all Magic Weisner has done is just win, win, win, baby. At 12-1, 7-2 and, in last Saturday's Deputed Testamony, 2-1.
His most recent overhyped victim wasn't even a colt or gelding, amazingly enough. Rather, it was the graded stakes-winning filly Touch Love, speed demoness extraordinaire, sent off at odds-on. She tried to take 'em all the way but couldn't even make the lead and got bodily consumed in deep stretch, with Magic Weisner doing the most consuming of all, drawing clear at the end by nearly two lengths.
Magic Weisner probably isn't going to make it to the starting gate at Churchill Downs, let alone be your Kentucky Derby winner (after all, he debuted in a maiden-claimer), but he's been fun to watch lately, always getting up in time even when it seems like there's not enough of a pace setup ahead of him. You can't fault a horse for doing what he's supposed to -- win -- even if he's been doing it against suspect foes. For now, Magic Weisner merits our admiration.
Then there's Request for Parole. After being unable to win outside of Ellis Park, Request for Parole won the Feb. 2 WEBN Frog Stakes (great name, huh?) at Turfway. That also was his first two-turn win. He closed determinedly in that one, but it remained to be seen if he could stretch his modest streak to 2.
He did, and he did it the hard way. It took a stretchlong, hammer-and-tong duel with the second choice and his main tormentor from the Frog, Perfect Drift, for Request for Parole's bid to be granted. The end of the race was agonizingly slow, but, as in the case of Magic Weisner, Request for Parole did what he had to do. Perhaps the sloppy track was the reason for the late sluggishness. Or maybe it was the very good pace Request for Parole sat just off of before pouncing. Whatever, Request for Parole probably should be given one more appraisal before his Derby chances are fully understood. And even then, it might not be enough.
But for now, Request for Parole has done something not many Triple Crown hopefuls have done -- namely, win a pair of two-turn preps. His Spiral Stakes effort will tell us a lot.
Finally, there was more slop at Oaklawn, where last Saturday's Southwest Stakes was split into two divisions. The first division, the faster of the two, found hotshot favorite Clergy not doing well in the late stages of his first route try. Private Emblem, 4-1, wore down 28-1 outsider Dusty Spike, who was rushed to the lead in the middle of the race and couldn't hang on, though he gave Clergy the slip in upper stretch and managed to finish ahead of that one in second.
In the other division, Paloma Parilla made the most of his first route try, tracking a slow pace en route to lasting through the final two furlongs by a desperate neck. Runner-up Cope With an Image, 29-1, just could not get past. And 9-2 second choice Windward Passage made the fatal mistake of lagging far back behind the dawdling splits, closing a little bit to get third.
Perhaps the best performance in the race was well-concealed. Interminable Gold went off at 9-1, well above his 9-2 morning line, and was nowhere to be found for the first seven furlongs. Typically, that's not a good thing in a race with only eight furlongs. Nonetheless, Interminable Gold made a complete gang-charge in deep, deep stretch (hard to do in the "short stretch" of the mile race at Oaklawn), an impressive move, made even more so since it came against such soft fractions. Wait. It was even more impressive than that, since it was Interminable Gold's first route try. Leave it to trainer Steve Asmussen to see what he really has on his hands, though it might prove a cut below the best of the best. (Like Magic Weisner, Interminable Gold has humble maiden-claiming beginnings.)
Ah, the best of the best. Starting this weekend, there's no turning back. There's a big prep pretty much each weekend from here on out.
Too bad the big one on this weekend, the Louisiana Derby, is on Sunday. Still, tomorrow brings a nice California prep (the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields) and two definitive Oaks (at Fair Grounds and Santa Anita).
At Golden Gate Fields, 11 line up in a wide-open race. Your top two choices are 2-1 Danthebluegrassman for Bob Baffert and the Cappuchino half of a Hollendorfer-trained entry. (By the way, Jerry also has Yougottawanna in here.)
These are the three-year-olds no one really knows what to do with, more looking for options than following a set schedule to Louisville. Captain Squire, for instance, debuted in a lowly $32,000 maiden-claimer at Hollywood but last out won the Turf Paradise Derby. Is he ready for bigger and better? Same with Lusty Latin, who finished just behind the 'Captain in the desert last time.
We'll bypass all those story lines -- as well as the obvious -- and go with a new face, Night Passion, first time on the dirt! Amazing. Seriously, Night Passion figures to be well behind in the early going, and that might not be a bad way to go in a field full of on-the-pace types. Trainer Darrell Vienna isn't one to screw around, and talented-but-at-times-misguided jockey Corey Nakatani makes the trip with him. Night Passion should pick off more than a few of these, and his price will be square. The forecast 8-1 morning line would be a good start.
The rest of the three-year-old action is devoted to the fillies. At Fair Grounds, they run their Oaks race, and the deserving 3-5 morning-line choice is Take Charge Lady, romping winner last out of a prep for this. Still, seven elect to take her on this time.
And it looks like they'll have the same problem as last time. It's hard to see anyone keeping company with Take Charge Lady in the early stages without slitting their own throat. And since a loose-on-the-lead Take Charge Lady has been rumored as a serious Kentucky Derby candidate, the rest of the Fair Grounds Oaks field is in trouble.
The only alternatives are two horses she vanquished last time. Lake Lady actually was favored over Take Charge Lady in that one, and if Lake Lady gets any help up front, she might close better this time. Ditto Charmed Gift, who was second to Take Charge Lady. But they'll both need a regression on Take Charge Lady's part. Demand a good, premium price on the upsetters, at least 7-1.
On the West Coast at Santa Anita, it's You-Habibti III (their initial meeting in the BC Juvenile Fillies doesn't count). The score is tied at 1-1.
Two back, Habibti wore down a game You in the Hollywood Starlet. Last time, You persevered against a rushing Habibti. And this time?
Sure, those two make all the sense in the world. The wildcard is Respectful, breaking from the far outside. Last time, she tucked into a contested duel for the lead while breaking from post 2. This time, there will be no option for her but to go diagonally to the rail, and perhaps that will give her a lengthier lead at the start. The duel may be averted!
We'd love to see Laffit try for the theft, or close to it. You isn't the most inspiring beast in the world and Habibti could be all ground-out. We'll try Respectful at very good odds up top, with a pair of exacta savers of the obvious horses on top.
Short shots: Sarah Jade over favored Bedanken in the Honeybee at Oaklawn; Truly Sunlit to run 'em all down at the end of the Sam Houston Oaks.
Nine are entered in the seven-furlong Gulfstream Park BC Sprint Championship Handicap (even more of a mouthful when you don't abbreviate).
Outside of Snow Ridge, Xtra Heat and Squirtle Squirt, these are some of the fastest one-turn horses on the planet, and the pace behaves accordingly -- blazing -- at least from a fractional-time standpoint.
The race looks like Hook and Ladder's to lose. However, the layoff might be a little problem, especially at unappetizingly low odds. If so, another low price on the morning line, Burning Roma, figures to rally well enough.
At Turf Paradise, 11 go in the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup at six furlongs. Another outstandingly fast pace, which means anything is possible.
The contention reflects that. It won't be a walk in the park for Freespool, unless that walk is Central Park after dark. Sure, he's escaped Snow Ridge, but he was all-out to win this last time at 3-5 and this won't be any different.
Plenty of longshot hopes in this one, Comebacking closers Komax and Majorbigtimesheet are solid, as is fellow late-runner Nancy's Joker. Quinton's Gold might fall into the coveted perfect trip.
Those four all promise to be live issues at large prices. Play any of 'em at 10-1 or better. Have fun!
We appreciate your comments about this newsletter. Please send them to our staff. Thank you!
Cynthia Publishing 11314 Ventura Boulevard,
Suite 524 Studio City CA 91604
Voice (323) 876-7325 Fax (323) 874-1591