Friday, October 13, 2006

Young At Heart

The juvenile runners will make the headlines at Belmont Park today. The Breeders' Cup World Championships are just three weeks off and The Grade 1 Frizette and the Grade 1 Champagne could provide an insight into how the juvenile races on BC day will be run. To start, the Grade 1 Frizette is for Juvenile Fillies and I will go with the Todd Pletcher-trained Awesome Ashley, who broke the maiden at Belmont at today's distance in her most recent go. For second, I like Meadow Breeze, who scored in the Grade 1 Matron on September 23rd under the ride of Kent Desormeaux. To round out the top three, I'll take Allude, who was sired by 2002 BC Sprint winner, Orientate. The boys will run in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and I'll go with another Pletcher horse, Scat Daddy, who has two wins and a second in three lifetime performances. Nobiz Like Shobiz is my second pick who won by over 10 lengths at this distance in his only other start on September 9th over the Belmont oval. For third, I will go with 10-1 shot, I'm A Numbers Guy, who could upset the apple cart today at a nice price. He has a bullet workout on October 9th to admire. The best of luck to you all.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Super Derby XXVII

Louisiana Downs will host the 27th version of the Super Derby on Saturday and a field of eight has entered, but it seems that there are only three or four serious contenders in this field. I will pick the Bob Baffert trainee Point Determined as the winner here. He was Sired by Point Given, who SHOULD have won the Triple Crown, and returns to the dirt after a failed effort on the turf in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby. His only other really dull effort came in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished ninth after getting bumped around in the 20-horse traffic jam. Lawyer Ron, who spent the better part of the spring as my Derby winner, will be second-best today. He came back after a break following the 12th-place result in the Derby to win the St.Louis Derby at Fairmount Park under the lights. He also threw a bullet workout on the board on September 16th. The show spot goes to Strong Contender, who has never missed the money in six lifetime starts. He has not run since finishing 3rd in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth on August 6th. The fourth spot might go to local Louisiana horse, Costa Rising, who appears to be part of the speed in here and might hold off the rest to get a cut. The best of luck to you all.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Summertime Derby

The 137th running of the Travers Stakes takes place on Saturday at Saratoga in upstate New York. The best in this field is the best horse currently in training in North America, Bernardini. He devastated the field in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy over this racetrack and he and jockey Javier Castellano are now a perfect 3 for 3 when paired together. The two Todd Pletcher trainees come next and I'll put High Cotton in the place position. He and Garrett Gomez are 2 for 2 when running together and this colt's workout on August 19th was a blistering five-furlong bullet. Bluegrass Cat won the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on August 6th, but that came after almost two months off. I don't know if he will be as fresh as he needs to be to challenge the top pick. I'll round out the top four with Kip Deville, who is making the turf-to-dirt switch here and possesses plenty of early speed. He might get run into the ground by Bernardini, but if the pace is soft, he might hang in there for a piece of the action.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

One Million Dollars

The 24th running of the Arlington Million takes place in Chicago this Saturday. It is one of the better turf races in the world and always is instrumental leading into the fall season and the Breeders' Cup Would Thoroughbred Championships. We will go with English Channel to win even with the #11 post position. Trainer Todd Pletcher has been winning almost everything lately and this horse has been outstanding in every 2006 start, winning three of four. Cacique defeated the top pick at Belmont in the Manhattan Handicap on June 10th, but has lost twice to that colt as well. The Tin Man is an 8-year-old veteran that scored a win in a Grade 2 at Hollywood on July 2nd and gets Victor Espinoza aboard. He just might be in too tough here. The best of the Euro invaders appears to be Soldier Hollow. He has 6 wins at the distance and was Sired by former Breeders' Cup champ, In The Wings. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Haskell Happening

The Grade 1 Haskell Invitational is this Sunday at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. It is the highlight of the Jersey track's meet and since this is my old home state, let's take a good look at the Haskell. I will go with the John Ward-trained Strong Contender as the winner here. He posted a phenomenal Beyer speed figure of 109 in winning the Grade 2 Dwyer at Belmont Park on July 4th. While there is a bounce possibility, he will have Edgar Prado aboard and that should help with that factor. Bluegrass Cat was the runner-up in Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, but that is just the problem. He has finished 2nd in three of the last four races. His last win was an ungraded Stakes race at Tampa Bay Downs in February. Deputy Glitters might get the balance of the bucks here. He won the Grade 2 Ohio Derby at Thistledown last time out on July 15th and beat Bluegrass Cat in the Tampa Bay Derby in March. The longshot to like in here is Praying For Cash with Jersey Joe Bravo in the irons. This horse is 8-1 on the morning line and loves the Monmouth strip, winning three of four starts over this racetrack. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Dandy Jim Dandy

I think we have a new favorite for Horse Of The Year, racing fans. Bernardini was absolutely magnificent in winning the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga yesterday. The Preakness champion continues to improve with each successive start and in the Jim Dandy, he was simply awesome. Jockey Javier Castellano held the horse back through the first stages of the race and then barely had to move coming through the stretch. That was a perfect prep race for the "Summertime Derby", The Travers Stakes, and Bernardini will be an overwhelming favorite for that one and for almost every other start he will make this year. I know Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby on cruise control, but Bernardini might very well be the better horse.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It Is Now Summer

I know it has been hotter than Hades lately around the entire country, but there is no better sign of summer in the horse racing world than tomorrow afternoon when SARATOGA kicks off its annual summer ritual in upstate New York. The great races at the "Graveyard of Champions" will this year include the Woodward Stakes, which was moved over from Belmont Park for this year. Of course, the "Summertime Derby", the Travers Stakes is the highlight of the meeting.

As an easterner originally, Saratoga would be my summer spot over Del Mar in a photo finish, but how about Giacomo coming back last weekend at Del Mar and winning the San Diego Handicap? That is his first win since the Kentucky Derby he won at 50-1 in 2005. Next up for Giacomo is the Pacific Classic later this Del Mar meet against the likes of Lava Man.

Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Oh, Susanna!!!

Churchill Downs runs the big race this weekend, the Grade 1 $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap, named for the man who penned the Kentucky Derby theme, My Old Kentucky Home. A very intriguing field of ten will go postward on Saturday in the Foster and I will top the tensome with West Virginia. Well, I know that is a ways from Kentucky, but this Todd Pletcher trainee has a win and a third in two starts since April Fool's Day and has won thrice at this distance in his career. Oaklawn Handicap winner, Buzzards Bay, is my second choice in the Foster. He has won two straight, but has been away from the races since April 8th. He does show a strong workout at Hollywood Park on June 10th. Love Of Money posted a 110 Beyer in running 2nd in the Westchester Handicap at Belmont Park on May 3rd. This horse should be toward the front almost all the way on Saturday and gets Edgar Prado aboard. Brass Hat will likely go off as the betting favorite in this race, but be careful with him since he is returning from Dubai and horses coming back from there rarely do as well as they did before the trip. The best of luck to you all.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sidewalks of New York

I know they sing New York, New York before the Belmont Stakes nowadays, but not too long ago the traditional song of the race was "Sidewalks of New York". With that out of the way, I will go with Bob And John to win the 138th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. Toss the Derby right out of consideration. He got a miserable trip and never really had a chance after the early problems. Also, if the track comes up sloppy, he won the Wood Memorial over a sloppy strip. For second, I lean toward morning-line choice and Derby runner-up, Bluegrass Cat. He is at best a weak morning-line favorite. He got the best trip of all in the Derby and was expertly ridden that day by Ramon Dominguez. So, the connections go back to John Velazquez to ride. He is no slouch and has won four times aboard this horse, but Dominguez deserved another shot. The price pick in the Belmont is High Finance because he has the best Beyer speed figure in this field ( a 103 last time out) and he has been quite impressive in winning his last two, including the last at Belmont Park. Sunriver, the winner of the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on May 20th, gets fourth placement with Rafael Bejarano aboard. The best of luck to you all.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Maryland, My Maryland

I am not trying to be the Grinch that stole the Triple Crown, but Barbaro is certainly not a lock in the 131st Preakness Stakes Saturday. He wil be a heavy, heavy favorite in Baltimore. Probably too much of a favorite to have any value on him. Therefore, I will go against the popular wisdom and go with Sweetnorthernsaint for the second straight race. He never really had a chance in the Derby after getting creamed at the start of the race and STILL managed to be right there at the top of the stretch before coming up empty. Barbaro comes next in second, right where I picked him two weeks ago. My third choice in here could represent the lone speed in the field. Like Now won the Gotham Stakes in New York and ran 2nd in the Coolmore Lexington four weeks ago. He drew the rail and more than likely will try to steal this race on the front end. If the early fractions are dawdling, he could win. Brother Derek overcame his miserable post position in Kentucky and dead-heated for fourth in the Derby despite being wide every step of the way. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Friday, May 05, 2006

My Old Kentucky Home

The first Saturday in May has arrived and that means that it is time for the 132nd Kentucky Derby. A full field of 20 will face the starter and it appears to be a most talented bunch. There is quite a bit of speed in this race and my four top picks all appear to be horses that could be in the pace fight or lay just off of the pace. I will put Sweetnorthernsaint as the winner here. His Beyer figures have been outstanding in recent races and his win in the Illinois Derby was quite impressive. Next comes the undefeated Barbaro. He stormed through Florida on his way to the commonwealth and seems to be among the versatile runners in this Derby. The livest longshot in the Run For The Roses just might be Keyed Entry, who is 30-1 on the morning line despite having never been worse than 3rd in five lifetime starts. Lawyer Ron has been in my spotlight since February and might very well do it today, so I definitely make him a factor. However, he has not faced the toughest competition in Arkansas and his speed figures just don't measure up to the top pick here. Have a mint julep for me and I truly wish the best of luck to you all on Derby Day.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Coolmore Lexington

The last best chance to get graded stakes earnings to get qualified for the Kentucky Derby is Saturday with the Grade 2 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in Kentucky. The top horse in here appears to be Like Now. He has rolled off a three-race winning streak and won the Gotham Stakes on March 18th at Aqueduct. In that race, Like Now knocked off Sweetnorthernsaint, who I can guarantee will be in my mix for the Kentucky Derby on May 6th.
The other top contender in the Coolmore Lexington should be Showing Up. Showing Up is undefeated after two starts and is trained by former Kentucky Derby winning trainer, Barclay Tagg (Funny Cide, 2003). The longshot to like in here is 8-1 shot, Greeley's Legacy. This colt ran a disappointing 7th in the Wood Memorial on April 8th and is trying to right himself on the Derby trail with this effort.
Don't forget that these observations are for fun and entertainment and what you do with them is your responsibility alone. The best of luck to you all.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

You're Out!!!

Sad to see that First Samurai is off the Derby trail. He was clearly the best 2-year-old throughout much of last year, but he has not developed to the extent his connections hoped for. It was a little more surprising to see that Discreet Cat was pulled out of the Triple Crown races by Godolphin Racing. He was impressive in winning the UAE Derby in Dubai last month and those in control at Godolphin have made it quite clear that they want to win the roses. With that said, I must agree with this move. It is going to take a herculean effort for any horse to win the Kentucky Derby going by way of Dubai and while Discreet Cat might have some Hercules in him, I think the thing to do is get him ready for what should be a long year of racing here. The Haskell, the Travers, the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and the Breeders' Cup Classic are all on the horizon and making what could be an unsuccessful push in the spring could eliminate him from these possible bonanzas in the future.

Coming Friday, a look at the Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland, also know as the last best chance to get into the Kentucky Derby for those on the outside looking in.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Blue Grass And Arkansas

There are two major prep races for the 132nd Kentucky Derby on Saturday and here is some quick analysis of those two races: The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and The Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. Remember, these are just my opinions and I accept no responsibility for the accuracy or results of these races.

As far as Keeneland is concerned, this is primarily a speed-favoring racetrack. If your horse can get to the lead entering the final 1/4 mile, you will more than likely be in contention at the end. In the Blue Grass, there are two horses that stand above the rest, Bluegrass Cat and First Samurai. Both have excellent speed and both have been mentioned as possible Derby winners at one time or another by many "experts". I tend to side with First Samurai because I think he will be faster earlier and get the lead and be tough to overtake. Bluegrass Cat will more than likely be a solid second all the way around the racetrack. The longshot to like here should be Sinister Minister (15-1), who ran 2nd to Cause To Believe last time out and that is a horse I might like the first Saturday in May.

At Oaklawn, Lawyer Ron has been my Kentucky Derby horse since the end of January and has done nothing in Arkansas to change that opinion. He has won five straight and has already beaten many of the horses he will be facing here. The price horse to check out here is With A City (15-1), who was a 48-1 winner of the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway. He has won 3 of 4 and is certainly worth a look.

The best of luck to you all.


I will accept no responsibility for the accuracy or results of these opinions and selections. I am only listing them on this blog for fun and for entertainment. What you do with them is up to you and you alone. The best of luck to you all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Let Me Introduce Myself

My name is Michael Chamberlain. For those of you who are familiar with the horse racing game, you might have some idea who I am. I am the track announcer at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, Texas and have been for the past nine years. I have made two appearances at All-Star Announcers Day at the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. I hope to able to use this spot to impart some wisdom and information about the game of horse racing. It is an exciting game and one that I am proud to be a part of. I also hope that you will enjoy the thoughts and opinions expressed here in the coming days. The best of luck to you all.