Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays

Wanted to be sure to tell everyone to have a happy holiday season this week and also pass along a possible price horse to like at Sam Houston Race Park to maybe spice up the gift funds for you last-minute shoppers. In the 8th race on Saturday night, keep an eye out for #6 Indybuster at 8-1. His last two workouts have been bullet efforts.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Texas Champions Day

Tonight is one of this biggest days on the Sam Houston Race Park calendar, Texas Champions Day. This is a highlight day for Texas-bred Thoroughbreds and many of the year-end state championships will be decided tonight. Here are a few spot plays to look for tonight: Race 3 #5 Ms Classic Seneca 8-1, undefeated after 2 tries; Race 8 #2 Sandburr 3-1, defending champion in the Star Of Texas; Race 9 #7 Boundus 6-1, coming off a win in San Antonio on November 15. It promises to be a fun and exciting night of horse racing in the Bayou City. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Friday, November 23, 2007

They Are Off

A new season begins tonight at Sam Houston Race Park with a ten-race program and a concert following live racing from Miranda Lambert. The card does not seem to be offering to many longshot options for you price players, but there is one I like in the finale. Strawberry Season might be able to score in a competitive field at a morning-line of 10-1. Certainly, one to look for tonight at a value.

I will, of course, be returning during the course of the season with other spot plays and notes from Sam Houston Race Park. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Hollywood Gold Cup

The 68th running of the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup will take place on Saturday and I think that Lava Man is in line for a third straight win in this race to tie the old mark of Native Diver. It still remains to be seen, however, how he is shape-wise after the ill-fated trip to Dubai. A.P. Arrow won the Grade 3 Skip Away at Gulfstream two back and ran 3rd on Belmont Day. He is regally bred and gets David Flores aboard today. Molengao is a Brazilian-bred that won as the betting choice last time out in the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy over the Hollywood oval on May 5. Russell Baze rides the Northern California invader My Creed and he has won two of the last three. It might not be the best edition of the Hollywood Gold Cup ever, but if Lava Man comes through, it could be a history-making one.

Hollywood Gold Cup Selections- Lava Man, A.P. Arrow, Molengao, My Creed

Friday, June 08, 2007

The 139th Belmont Stakes

Preakness winner Curlin will be odds-on to follow in the footsteps of Point Given and Afleet Alex and win the Preakness and the Belmont after failing in the Kentucky Derby. I believe the support is well-warranted. The Steve Asmussen trainee is my pick to wrap up the Triple Crown season with his second win in the series and fifth lifetime win in six career starts. Tiago was a dismissed horse in this blog during the Kentucky Derby, but I think he could be the best of the rest in this field of seven and might actually be a decent value play. Hard Spun has done much better than I thought he would in the first two Triple Crown races and he (along with Slew's Tizzy) should be setting the pace in the Belmont. I'll slot him third. The Nick Zito-trained CP West ran 4th in the Preakness and I'll put him in the same spot in the Belmont. One note about the filly in the field, Rags To Riches. She is a splendid filly that convincingly won the Kentucky Oaks five weeks ago. However, no filly has won the Belmont since 1905 and her price will be way too short for me to consider betting her bucking 102 years of history.

Selections for the 139th Belmont Stakes- Curlin, Tiago, Hard Spun, CP West

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Californian Stakes

Hollywood Park is putting up a $300,000 guaranteed Pick 4 on their last four races on Saturday afternoon and the keynote race of the sequence is the Grade 2 $250,000 Californian Stakes. There are some famous names in this race, but I will go with the slightly unheralded Boboman as my winner. He adds blinkers today and posted a recent bullet workout over the Hollywood surface on May 30. Alex Solis gets the ride for trainer Richard Mandella. A.P. Xcellent is my second choice. The A.P. Indy offspring scored a win at Hollywood on April 28 and, in fact, all three of his wins have come at Hollywood Park. I may be going off the beaten path with my third choice, but I will consider Saint Stephen in this spot. Trainer Christophe Clement is more adept with turf runners, but this horse deserves a look with some decent speed figures on the record. I will finally put in a famous name in this field with Buzzards Bay in fourth. He won the 2005 Santa Anita Derby and the 2006 Oaklawn Handicap, so he has some healthy experience. He ran 3rd at Hollywood in the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy last time out.

Californian Stakes Selections- Boboman, A.P. Xcellent, Saint Stephen, Buzzards Bay

Friday, May 18, 2007

The 132nd Preakness

I see a huge day for Todd Pletcher Saturday. I think either of his runners in the Preakness, Circular Quay and King Of The Roxy, can win the Black-Eyed Susans. I will pick King Of The Roxy just because I think he will be closer to the pace than Circular Quay and might get first run at the pacesetters. The Kentucky Derby winner, Street Sense, will be my second choice. He got a garden run at Churchill Downs and might again with the smaller field here. He might also just be a horse for the Churchill Downs course and could struggle on the Pimlico dirt. Circular Quay will be my third pick. The Derby was actually the prep race he needed before the Derby (8-week layoff, please!!). I think he will be ready for a huge effort today. The Federico Tesio winner, Xchanger, is my fourth selection. He has a win over the Pimlico track and might be a big price in the Preakness.

132nd Preakness Selections- King Of The Roxy, Street Sense, Circular Quay, Xchanger

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The 133rd Kentucky Derby

Nobiz Like Shobiz is my top pick in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. He won the Wood Memorial impressively and the only two races he has NOT won were races in which he encountered trouble. That might happen in a 20-horse race on Saturday, but I still think he is the best one in the field. Any Given Saturday is one of FIVE Todd Pletcher trainees in the field and he could be the best of the bunch. He has never finished out of the top three in any of his six starts. Street Sense won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year and no winner of that race has ever won the Derby the following spring. He is certainly a candidate to do it, but he has only two preps this year. Of all the longshots, I think the most attractive are Dominican and Sam P. It would not surprise me if either wore the roses on the big day. Here is what I think the complete order of finish will be:

1) Nobiz Like Shobiz; 2) Any Given Saturday; 3) Street Sense; 4) Dominican; 5) Sam P.; 6) Scat Daddy; 7) Hard Spun; 8) Curlin; 9) Circular Quay; 10) Great Hunter; 11) Teufelsberg; 12) Sedgefield; 13) Liquidity; 14) Zanjero; 15) Stormello; 16) Cowtown Cat; 17) Bwana Bull; 18) Tiago; 19) Imawildandcrazyguy; 20) Storm In May

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Connally Breeders' Cup Turf

The highlight event of the Sam Houston Race Park (my home track) meeting is Saturday night with the Grade 3 $200,000 John Connally Breeders' Cup Turf. It is a field high on quality over quantity with only seven horses in the field, but the pick here for the win is the Bill Mott-trained Silver Tree, who won the Grade 3 Appleton at Gulfstream Park last time out on March 4. Steve Asmussen, of course, has to have a contender in a big Stakes at Sam Houston and his candidate is Storm Treasure. This colt ran 3rd in his last two efforts, including a Grade 3 at Fair Grounds on February 10. The horse that could steal the race on the front end is Mending Fences, who appears to have speed to spare and gets the excellent Quincy Hamilton in the saddle for this go. The defending champion of the Connally, Fort Prado, will be the fourth pick with a recent bullet workout on March 25. He has been off since February 10.

Connally BC Turf Selections- Silver Tree, Storm Treasure, Mending Fences, Fort Prado

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Florida Derby

The Grade 1 $1,000,000 Florida Derby will be Saturday at Gulfstream Park and it figures to be a contentious race with nine starters. This is the race that Barbaro won last year en route to his victory on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. I will take the winner of the Fountain Of Youth, Scat Daddy, to get the win here. He barely got up to beat a game Stormello on that day and he is also in this field. I think Stormello has more heart and guts than any other 3-year-old this year, but I am hoping he fires his biggest shot in five weeks. Adore The Gold is worth a look also with some devastating workouts in the days leading up to this try. The winner of the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds, Notional, is the fourth selection coming off a bit of a layoff here.

Florida Derby Selections- Scat Daddy, Stormello, Adore The Gold, Notional

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Louisiana Derby

The 94th edition of the Grade 2 $600,000 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds takes place on Saturday and it is a very contentious group of eight horses in this one. Trainers Todd Pletcher and Doug O'Neill have been hogging all the headlines on the Derby Trail this year and this race is no exception as that pair have three of the eight runners available. My top pick will be Liquidity, an O'Neill trainee that ran 2nd in his last two and was Sired by two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner, Tiznow. Circular Quay, one of the two Pletcher runners, is going to be the favorite and is almost assured to get a better trip on Saturday than he did in the Risen Star at FG back on February 10. The other Pletcher horse, Soaring By, gets the third spot here after a win and a second in his first two starts and he has Edgar Prado in the irons Saturday. We'll round out the top four with Delta Jackpot winner, Birdbirdistheword. His last two workouts have been bullets and he could provide a price in this race. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Louisiana Derby Selections- Liquidity, Circular Quay, Soaring By, Birdbirdistheword

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Big 'Cap

Lava Man should win the Santa Anita Handicap for fun on Saturday. The Big 'Cap is a Grade 1, $1,000,000 event with a rich and proud history. After all, this is the race that Seabiscuit and Red Pollard came back to win in 1940 and put a cherry on top of that outstanding movie. Back to business, though, Lava Man has won eight of the last nine and the only loss came in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. Arson Squad is the second choice after winning the Grade 2 Strub Stakes on February 3 and posting a bullet workout on March 1. The third choice is Sunshine Millions Classic winner, McCann's Mojave. He has won three straight entering the 'Cap and is 5 for 10 at Santa Anita. Awesome Gem rounds out the top four. He won the Grade 2 San Fernando Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita on January 13. His Sire is 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic winner, Awesome Again. All three of his wins have come at Santa Anita.

Santa Anita Handicap Selections- Lava Man, Arson Squad, McCann's Mojave, Awesome Gem

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Southwest Stakes

Oaklawn Park in Arkansas has rescheduled the $250,000 Southwest Stakes for Monday afternoon. The race had to be rescheduled following the cold weather which forced several cancellations in Hot Springs. I think this shapes up to be a two-horse race between Hard Spun and Going Ballistic. I think the top pick will be Going Ballistic simply because there appears to be a lot of early speed in this field and that could compromise the chances of Hard Spun, who needs to be in front based on the fact that he has done that in all four previous attempts. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee, Starbase, has the very capable Corey Lanerie in the saddle and comes off a win at Oaklawn on January 20. I am finding it difficult to see the fascination with Teuflesberg. He has a win and a third in two starts at Fair Grounds this winter, but he has not been a stand-out yet. He is racing without blinkers Monday.

Southwest Stakes Selections- Going Ballistic, Hard Spun, Starbase, Teuflesberg

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Risen Star Stakes

At the Fair Grounds tomorrow, one of the greatest horses ever to run in Louisiana is annually honored with the Grade 3 $300,000 Risen Star Stakes. This edition has drawn a full field of 14 and the favorite should be Circular Quay. However, we will take a price pick just to the inside of the post position draw with Izzie's Halo. This horse is a nice 8-1 shot and has a bullet workout on January 31st. Also, he was runner-up to Hard Spun in the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. We will put the favorite, Circular Quay, in the second spot with John Velazquez up after his disappointing 2nd in the BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs. The Steve Asmussen-trained Zanjero will be our show spotter. He is very well-bred and ran 2nd behind early Derby favorite, Nobiz Like Shobiz, in the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct. For the fourth spot, the California invader Notional is worth a look after a strong win in the San Rafael at Santa Anita on January 13. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Risen Star Stakes Selections- Izzie's Halo, Circular Quay, Zanjero, Notional

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Dandy Donn

The Grade 1 $500,000 Donn Handicap will be run at Gulfstream Park and features the first 2007 start of 2006 Horse Of The Year, Invasor. I really don't think that Invasor gets beat. The only race he has lost in ten career starts was the trip to Dubai last year. His last two workouts are outstanding and he drew the rail, which can only help his trip out. I think Magna Graduate could be a possible threat in this spot. He is also making his 2007 debut here and posted a 110 Beyer in his last start, the Grade 3 Queens County. Chatain is the third pick in the Donn off his win in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope at Gulfstream on January 6. He also has a bullet workout on January 29 on his resume'. Hesanoldsalt can be a throw-in for a possible price underneath as well. He was DQ'd from a win in his last go at Gulfstream under Rafael Bejarano. Also, on the card Saturday at Gulfstream is the Grade 3 $150,000 Holy Bull, which features the kick-0ff of the 2007 Derby campaign for Nobiz Like Shobiz. Be sure to watch him through the early months of 2007 as he should be the Derby favorite on the first Saturday of May, if he can get that far. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Donn Handicap Selections- Invasor, Magna Graduate, Chatain, Hesanoldsalt

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, was euthanized on Monday. Barbaro suffered a devastating injury during the 2006 Preakness while trying to keep the dream of the Triple Crown alive and the complications resulting from that injury were just too much for him to overcome. I think it is a testament to the heart of a champion that Barbaro had that he survived for 8 months following the injury. He never lost on the racetrack and he only lost the ultimate race after giving his all trying to win it. Many sports fans don't necessarily agree with the idea of horse as athlete and while they may have a minor technical point there, I would certainly hope that no one would be able to argue with the fact that Barbaro was a champion in not only ability, but also heart and soul.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

MAXXAM and The Millions

Sam Houston Race Park hosts one of its spotlight races on Saturday night with the $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup. A field of ten has entered and the top pick on this front is the Steve Asmussen-trained More Than Regal. He won the Zia Park Derby last time out on December 9 and should be ready to rock and roll in his return go. Saturday is also the Sunshine Millions at Gulfstream and Santa Anita Parks. The highlight race in Florida is the $1,000,000 Classic and the pick there is Sweetnorthernsaint over Silver Wagon. Silver Wagon has never been this far before and the extra furlong could get him in the end. The prime California race is the $500,000 Turf featuring the best horse on the West Coast, Lava Man. However, I will look for a bit of an upset with the Neil Drysdale trainee, Sherwood Park, who is 3 for 4 over the grass at Santa Anita. Enjoy the first great racing weekend of 2007 and here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Welcome to 2007

The calendar has now clicked over to 2007 and we are back to some important racing events happening again. The Breeders' Cup announced the addition of three more races to be run on Friday, the day before the traditional BC program. The Dirt Mile, Filly and Mare Sprint, and Juvenile Turf will be run on Friday at Monmouth Park, when the BC visits the Garden State for the first time. I think this is a tremendous addition (although I would also like to see them add a turf sprint). The only negative for us race-callers might be the end of All-Star Announcers Day (which I have been fortunate enough to be a part of three times, including this past year at Churchill Downs). That is traditionally the Friday preceding the BC card, so we'll have to see how that all shakes out in the coming year, but BRAVO!!! to the BC for expanding the opportunites of horses and horsemen to win these prestigious races.

I also wanted to alert everyone that we are racing at Sam Houston Race Park as well. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday programs are available and you can link to the SHRP website through the menu on the right of this page. Our MAXXAM Gold Cup is coming up on January 27th and I will have picks up for that race right here the day before. There will also be a look at the Sunshine Millions that day as well. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all in 2007.