May 31, 2002

In This Issue...

Arlington Dope-Out

OK, sports fans. Thanks for your (mostly) kind remarks the past two weeks. True Thoroughbreds that they are, your hardworking, dedicated Short Line staff requires a breather every now and again before sourness and staleness set in (any more than usual, of course). So here we are, somewhat rested, ready as always.

Ready is what they're getting in Arlington Heights, Ill., home of Arlington Park (formerly Arlington International Racecourse, which prior to that was Arlington Park, in its two incarnations both after the fire and before it). But mostly, it's simply AP, and this year's five-month meet, which begins Wednesday, June 5, is particularly big, culminating in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 26. In all, it ought to be one doozy of a stand.

This track, running-style-wise, behaves more like hold-'em-up Hawthorne than super-speedy Sportsman's (while those two tracks remain separate entities, that is). That is to say, Arlington Park's dirt track is not prohibitively supportive of the frontrunning score. The major sprint distances of six, six and a half and seven furlongs all are relatively rally-friendly; come-from-behinders actually have a reasonable chance of prevailing, unlike their late-running brethren at such early-speed havens as Belmont, Hollywood and the aforementioned Sportsman's. There are no easy and obvious laggards to throw out at Arlington, if the 2001 stats are any indication. All running styles must be respected.

Same goes for the two-turn main-track distances of a mile and a sixteenth and a mile and an eighth. Early speed gets punished just as often as it does the punishing.

The lush Arlington Park turf course has to be one of the best rally strips around, with the notable exception of the five-furlong dash. Beyond that, and it's almost like you have to dismiss any horse who'll be up-close and toward the lead any time before the final two furlongs are contested. The decisive moves almost always occur after the first six furlongs, which are nothing more than a warm-up period prior to the staging of the real running. You know what to do.

Trainers, you say? Twenty-three conditioners were able to pull off a nice surprise during the first month or so of the 2001 meet, and seven of those were able to fool the public twice. Their names and telltale signs:

Charles Bettis: Look for a switch, such as first-off-the-claim or to a different surface.

Mark Cristel: Especially in turf routes.

David Hinsley: Cheap, dirt-sprint claimers

Roy Houghton: Versatile, hard to peg.

Tommy Tomillo: Class-dropping claimers (either in price or in classification) on dirt.

Charles Walker Jr.: Creates something from nothing, such as first-timers, first-turfers.

Jackie Wright: Dirt sprints, jockey E. T. Baird up.

And there you have it. See you in Chi-town sometime between now and the BC.

Checking in with Other Tracks

A random sampling of how some lower-profile tracks are behaving right now:

Bay Meadows: Just a couple of weeks left in the meet, and the main track has been incredibly fair all over. The late-runners, as usual, rate the edge on the turf course, even at the mini four-and-a-half-furlong trip.

Evangeline: Another remarkably balanced track at the five-and-a-half- and six-furlong trips. But the early speed starts to fade at the odd seven-and-a-half-furlong distance, while you're definitely much better off backing the closers at the flat-mile and the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance.

Hastings: Early in the meet, and one of the few tracks at which six furlongs is considered an oddball distance. Speaking of six furlongs, the lead has not been good, not yet, anyway. But the frontrunners have dominated at six and a half furlongs.

Thistledown: Split personality in sprints: five and a half furlongs is a rallier's paradise; conversely, six furlongs is go-go-go from the get-go. The routes have uniformly favored early-speed horses.

Yavapai: Very early in the meet, but five and a half furlongs has been much fairer than six; at the latter, early speed has done exceedingly well. The same situation has taken hold of the the two-turn flat-mile here.

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The switch to a non-MS-DOS platform allows an amazing new convenience in terms of both the output and making changes to the output. In tandem with the available Fast Capper 2002 racefiles available for download from HDW, Fast Capper 2002 lets you pick pacelines for each horse via a simple click of your mouse. No more manual data-entry via the keyboard, really, if that's what you want!

Even better, you can make changes to your contender-and-paceline selections in the blink of an eye. No more tedious scrolling through all the entries in a race to recompute the output. With Fast Capper 2002, simply click on the new paceline (or click on the "noncontender" or "scratched" button) and get an instant read on how the new paceline or the exclusion affects the output. Zoom right to any horse you want, then click twice and -- presto! -- you have a whole different outlook on the race.

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Of course, these outstanding developments have made the Fast Capper 2002 significantly more user-friendly. But you should see what we've done underneath the hood.

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And the betting line has improved dramatically. By making subtle, almost imperceptible fine-tuning to the betting-line calculations in certain types of races, we have signficantly sharpened Fast Capper 2002's "sense" for what constitutes fair value in numerous situations.

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Raising the Stakes with Fast Capper 2002

We don't normally update our Live Longshots (a.k.a. Pick of the Day) page on Mondays, except we did last Monday, Memorial Day, after trying to tiptoe past the faithful by taking the holiday Saturday and Sunday off.

It didn't work. Too many people noticed. So to make it up to them, we published not only the standard ALL-IN-ONE V5 longshot selections for Belmont, Calder and Hollywood, but longshot selections for nearly every other track in North America, using Fast Capper 2002's output.

We recommended four different horses for each racecard, and watched and waited. We were not disappointed, and we hope neither were the followers.

While the hit-rate was admittedly slender, the fatness of the winning mutuels more than made up for it. When the smoke from the barbecue cleared, the Fast Capper 2002 selections threw a nice profit, led by a couple of victorious 30-1s, a couple of other 11-1/12-1 types and then a few more in the 6-1, 7-1 and 8-1 neighborhood.

They say you should push your luck three times, but we've probably gone way past that figure. So without hesitation (though perhaps with a bit of recklessness or maybe even hubris), we will try to duplicate the Memorial Day craziness by posting here, for you, dear reader, Fast Capper 2002's outlook for the 22 stakes races being run on Saturday in North America. What the heck.

We will group the stakes races in order of increasing longshot potential, starting mildly and ending up wildly. Here goes. We ask you to please return your seatback to its full upright position, fasten your seatbelts, all that stuff...

Monmouth, ninth, Wolf Hill Stakes, five furlongs, turf: FC 2002 seems to agree with the track oddsmaker, settling on part of a coupled-entry, Manofglory, and not much else. One to watch, courtesy of the unlikelihood of a fair-enough price.

Hollywood, eighth, Will Rogers Stakes, one mile, turf: More agreement, with morning-line standouts Johar and Doc Holiday dominating the FC 2002 output, without much hope for a fair deal.

Stampede, seventh, Lilac Handicap, one mile, dirt: FC 2002's betting line is nearly a mirror image of the morning-linemaker's. The crucial three are Fancy Prancer, Sly Lady and Brass to Diamonds. Probably a pass.

Suffolk, 11th, James B. Moseley Breeders' Cup Handicap, six furlongs, dirt: It's getting to be like a broken record, almost. Esteemed Friend and Valiant Halory are strong and exclusive, according to FC 2002 and the track oddsmaker alike. (But don't worry, there are 18 more stakes races to come!)

Evangeline, ninth, Tellike Handicap, six furlongs, dirt: Raymond's Dream and Red Marie appear solid to FC 2002, and are likely to be that way for the betting public, too. Doubtful there'll be an edge.

Churchill, ninth, Louisville Handicap, mile and three-eighths, turf: FC 2002 says Sumati and not much else. There is a slim potential for a price, however, and a fair one at that. Given the sheer number of opportunities and races in this exercise, let's say demand 5-1 or better on him.

Woodbine, fifth, Alywow Stakes, six and a half furlongs, turf: Similar to the Churchill race in that one horse looks best: Platel, who looks good if he can be had at 8-1 or higher.

River, sixth, Green Carpet Stakes, mile and a sixteenth, turf: FC 2002 likes the morning-line favorite, All Out Springs, but it likes another horse, Count On My Word, even more. There should be a fair price on 'Count at 4-1 and up.

Prairie, eighth, Precisionist Handicap, mile and a sixteenth, dirt: This race shapes up as pretty evenly matched and contentious among four horses: Mc Mahon, I Dancer, Deferred Comp and It's Roo. Good form in this type of situation dictates playing any member of the quartet at 12-1, minimum.

Woodbine, eighth, Plate Trial Stakes, mile and an eighth, dirt: This prep for the prestigious Queen's Plate offers a play if either Streakin Rob or Wolverine or both go off at at least 8-1. It is unlikely that Anglian Prince, third choice, will get away as high as the recommended 9-1.

Each of the remaining 12 stakes races offer at least one solid FC 2002 contender at what are attractive morning-line odds. At those forecast prices or higher, the horses represent lucrative win bets:

Belmont, eighth, Sheepshead Bay Handicap, mile and three-eighths, turf: Golden Corona (8-1 on the morning line).

Bay Meadows, eighth, Saratoga Handicap, six furlongs, dirt: Tannersmyman (12-1)

Calder, first, Linear Handicap, five furlongs, turf: With Magic (15-1), Silver Jet (10-1).

Calder, sixth, Simply Majestic Stakes, mile and a sixteenth, turf: Island Skipper (12-1), I'mabuffalosoldier (20-1).

Delaware, seventh, Nastique Stakes, mile and a sixteenth, dirt: Border Fire (12-1).

Hawthorne, eighth, Glassy Dip Stakes, five furlongs, turf: Red Lightning (10-1).

Lincoln, eighth, Bluegrass Handicap, six furlongs, durt: Spectacular Caper (8-1).

Philadelphia, ninth, Peppy Addy Stakes, seven furlongs, dirt: Midnite Coach (10-1).

Pimlico, ninth, Skipat Stakes, six furlongs, dirt: Skip the Print (8-1).

Suffolk, 10th, Old Ironsides Stakes, "about" mile and 70 yards, turf: Northwest Hill (10-1), Soes Bandit (15-1).

Suffolk, 12th, Keith Brodkin Memorial Stakes, "about" five furlongs, turf: Baby Trend (20-1).

Suffolk, 13th, Massachusetts Handicap, mile and an eighth, dirt: Evening Attire (8-1), Griffinite (20-1), Soes Bandit (20-1).

And there you have it. IMPORTANT NOTE: If the turf races are washed off by inclement weather or conditions, no play. In the event of nonfast conditions for the dirt races, please temper your enthuasiasm accordingly. Thank you, and we now return you to your regularly scheduled e-newsletter.

Promoting Things That Need Promoting

Don't forget: Now in stock is Mike Helm's outstanding, comprehensive and authoritative pedigree guide, Sire Ratings 2002-2003. Loads of wonderfully researched and best of all different breeding-information to use in opposition to most of the rest of the crowd. Thirty-five bucks seems like nothing when you consider how much work went into this bad agent. Pick up your copy in the Cynthia Publishing Company Handicapping Store.

Contest heads into second month: You can still participate in and even win the current "May-June Triple Crown Trifecta" edition of our ongoing Big-Prize Handicapping Contest. If you like competition, if you like money and especially if you like that tempting combination, please check out the procuedures on our Contest Page.. After all, if Senegal can topple defending World Cup football champion France in the opening game of the 2002 tournament...

And in the most important thing that needs promoting, best of luck to War Emblem a week from now. Racing needs all the exposure it can get, and nothing would deliver it more than a Triple Crown winner. With more exposure comes, hopefully, a generation of new fans to come and try their hand at the Sport of Kings. More fans means more time for racing to survive, not to mention more money for us alleged sharpies to chase after in the mutuel pools. The reason it's a cliche is that it's true: Money makes the mare go. Money makes War Emblem go. Go, baby, go!

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