Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weekend Handicapping: Brigand and Night Tides Best Pals? Only Baffert knows ...

Before we start on Sundays feature race, would like to do a quick recap of the West Virginia Derby (G2).  Prayer for Relief had a beautiful trip and Bejarano placed him perfectly and took control at the right time.  I was impressed with Rush Now, like I said I gave him a long look, he showed a lot going on the lead and never folded trying to hold off Prayer for Relief. Dreamy Kid was a disappointment, not that he finished poorly but he never fired.  The concern was a regression off that big Swaps effort and today it happened.  Awesome Bet, my value play, seemed set nicely by Garcia but when he swung wide he checked up and then it was too late.  He did rush up but Pray for Relief had closed it out by then.

Race for Sunday,  August 7, 2011:  8th Race at Del Mar, Best Pal Stakes ($150K) for 2YO’s going 6 1/2f on Synthetic.  I was taught a long time ago when handicapping 2YO’s its Pedigree, Trainer and workouts.   The good news is Pletcher is not here, the bad news is Baffert has two entries and Hollendorfer has one.  Pedigrees look solid and all have good workouts and seem fit and ready to go.  There appears to be one solid choice and several upsetter’s, but like all lightly raced 2 YO’s  you just never know.

1.       #7 Brigand (Baffert/G.Gomez):  2 races under his belt and finished 2nd in the Hollywood Juvenile (G3) to Majestic City.  I watched the video and he looked strong making his move down the rail to take 2nd from Night Tide, but by then Majestic City was long gone.  His connections paid $925,000 at the OBS 2YO sale, so you can imagine they have big plans for him.  Good Beyer's. Not sure of his pedigree but his G3 performance warrants him to be the favorite.

2.       #2 Creative Cause (Harrington/Bejarano): Broke his maiden in July by 4 1/2 lengths.  His sire is Giant Causeway, who is highly ranked for producing 2YO winners.   He brought $135,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling sale.  Some 2YO handicappers look for a horse that was sold for more than the published stud fee.  Giant Causeway fee is $85,000.  His speed numbers say he can stay with Brigand.  Two good workouts since winning.  Likes to go to the front and fits here, and could wire this field.

3.       #5 Galex (Hollendorfer/Talamo):  Has the same sire as Brigand, Flatter.   He sold at FTK October Yearling sale for $31,000 against stud fee of $7500.  He is shipping in from GG/PLN and last out finished 2nd in a state bred stakes race.  He has two workouts at Del Mar and both were excellent.  I spotted him for several reasons:  Hollendorfer is one of the top 2YO trainers, consistent speed and a liberal “come and go” angle last out.  First call: 5th 1 ¼  Second Call: 2nd 1 ½ Third call: 4th  4 ½ and finished 2nd by 2 ¼.   

Dark Horses:  #4 Night Tides (Baffert/Garcia):  Finished 3rd to Majestic City and Brigand in the Hollywood Park Juvenile (G3).  He set the pace and clipped nice fractions, but when challenged by Brigand and Majestic City, he let them go, didn’t see him dig in nor looked tired. It might have been a bounce from his maiden win, if so, he could surprise.  He is out of an excellent sire, Malibu Moon.   #1 I’ll Have Another (O’Neill/Rosario):  This is an intriguing horse, his dam is out of Arch, who is a top 2YO sire.  Doug O’Neill brings his 2YO’s in ready to go, won his maiden with super Beyer’s, working well at Del Mar.  If I had to look for angle with this colt, it’s that Rosario is staying with him.  Rosario had ridden Brigand in the (G3) Juvenile and now passes up riding the favorite, with an almost certain payday for a second time starter.  Maybe something or maybe nothing but it’s interesting.  I didn’t have the ML for this race at the time of this writing, but if the price is right, #1 I’ll Have Another will be my value pick.

“Bombs Away”:  #3 Mighty Monsoon (Bonde/V. Espinoza):  This 2YO is out of Forestry and has 3 races to its resume and shipping in from GG/PLN.  Pedestrian speed figures and Galex finished ahead of him last out.  This is a trainer play, Bonde is known to bring in solid 2 YO’s to Del Mar, a bullet 4f workout and Espinoza is having a nice season.  

Final Selections:  7- 2 - 5 - 1

My blog is at and will be participating in the NHC/HorseTourney tomorrow. So everybody good luck and may all your tickets be cashed.

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