Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekend Handicapping: Menlo Castle in the Woodstock @Woodbine

What can we say about Caixa Eletronica, our darkhorse selection for the Charles Town Classic. It wasa great race for him and Pletcher prepped him perfectly for it. I tip my hat to Duke of Mischief, I didn't think he would hold his own against this field and proved me wrong!  Today we head over to Woodbine and will look at the 114th running of the Woodstock for 3YO going 6 panels for $150,000 purse.  This will be interesting race for seven of the nine entries are making their 3YO debut, so that means big improvements and a price horse could surprise us.  


#4 Menlo Castle ML 5/2

He had an active 2YO campaign racing seven times and winning two, one of them a $201K Simcoe here at Woodbine. They stretched him out in his last two, where his speed fig's improved but just missed on both occasions.  Today, he cuts back to six furlongs which will help his running style of racing near the front if not on it.  His workouts have been strong, with three consecutive bullets.  Biamonte has an excellent record in stakes races winning 26% and 23% on synthetic.  The connections add the hot Luis Contreras which only makes him tougher. 

#2 Hogy ML 3/1

He will probably go off as the favorite after that win in the Hansel($50K) at Turfway Park.  It was an impressive 3YO debut winning by six and half lengths and posting a 92 Beyer.  Hard to find anything wrong with him, winning four of five, his only bad race was a G3 event at Arlington, and we know he likes the synthetic winning three of four.  Berndt does well with horses coming off a win (32%) and brings Riggs with him for this one.  The only challenge I see for him is if Menlo Castle and Town Prize take off, he might not have enough to catch them if they too improve in their first 3YO outing.

#7 Town Prize ML 7/2

Won his first outing here at Woodbine and finished his 2YO with a two out of four record.  He showed a big improvement in his last at Gulfstream Park where ran some hot splits and gave way at the end.  His Beyer popped to an 85 and expect him to improve off of that today.  His workouts have been sharp, not worried about his layoff since he won here at first asking and DaSilva is back in the irons.  If that last race was any indication of his potential, then look out for he likes to go out fast and he could run away from all of them. 

Dark Horses:

#8 Making Amends ML 6/1

He opened his 2YO season winning the $150K Clarendon here at Woodbine, followed up by a nice third in another $150K stakes race.  After that his connections tried him routes without much success and then finished off the season with a third in a sprint allowance were he showed improvement.  Casse put him in a sprint race at Ocala and he promptly came to life and looks ready to return home and make his mark.  The big issue for him today, is that there is a bit more pace in this race, and being a late charger he will need it to to fall apart.  We know Casse is tough in these situations and has his gunner, Husbands riding (28% winning record together).

#3 Oro Vero ML 8/1

Making only his third start but you have to be impressed by his 2YO results. Won at second asking with improving speed and likes to get out on the front end.  His workouts have been razor sharp, Campbell stays in the irons and Attard hits for 27% win he shows up in stakes races.  Might be asking a lot of him first out as a 3YO, but we don't know his ceiling but his breeding says he could bust this one wide open.  I'll make him my dangerous play in this one.

Bombs Away:

#9 Ocala Son ML 15/1

Won first out in a maiden claiming at Woodbine, showed a respectable effort coming in third in the Swynford Stakes ($152K).  He finished his 2YO season with two Allowance races, a second and a tiring fourth.  What I notice his two best finishes and best speed fig's came at six furlongs.  Squires takes the blinkers off today which is a nice angle, and we know the connections do well with layoffs.  Considering he won at first asking I see no issue with the five month layoff.  We know there can be a big improvement from 2YO to 3YO, look at Hogy going from a 66 to 92 and Making Amends (70 to 78).  He will challenge the pace and will be interesting to see how much improvement we get today.


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