The Brock Talk

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Classic Opportunities

I'm not sure the robot from Lost In Space needs to be rolling around the Santa Anita barn area warning Breeders' Cup Classic trainers of danger, but the work by Mine That Bird on Monday morning should be of concern to those who have written him off.

The big smile and glowing comments after the work by trainer Chip Woolley were nice to hear, but we get that from just about all trainers after a good work. But there are two semi-hidden bits of information that are making me take a second look at the Derby winner in the Classic.

Woolley is just now revealing that Mine That Bird's throat surgery in August, while fully successful, came at a very inopportune time. Woolley said MTB was at the top of his game just before the Travers and the surgery was more detrimental to his training than originally thought. Mine That Bird just wasn't back in top form for the Goodwood, according to Woolley, hence the dissappointing sixth-place finish.

The other hidden nugget from the work is the time of the last eighth of a mile in 11 seconds flat. Is that an omen of the return of the startling late kick we saw in the Derby and the big late run we saw in Preakness from the little Birdstone colt?

Richard's Kid Classic Longshot
Zenyatta is my top choice in the Classic and one really doesn't have to look to far down the morningline to start hitting some pretty good prices on horses like Quality Road, Einstein and Gio Ponti.

But the Bob Baffert-trained Richard's Kid is my longshot choice and will be on the top line with Zenyatt on my trifecta.

He won the Pacific Classic (gr. 1) at this distance at Del Mar and was a closing third in the 1-1/8 mile Goodwood (gr. 1) over Pro-Ride in his last race. He also fits a number of profiles as outline in my Breeders' Cup handicapping bible Crushing the Cup.

According authors Jim Mazur and Peter Mallet, 56% percent of the winners in Breeders' Cup Classics on fast tracks were "rally" horses or "closers". He has a six furlong work in him from Oct. 27 and his half-mile in :47 1/5 Monday morning at Santa Anita was apparently much more impressive to watch than to read about. Of all Classic winners, 96% had a sharp last race and 86% have a grade 1 win.

I Like Gio
All throughout the year, I've thought the older turf horses have been a better lot than their counterparts running on main tracks. And for that reason Gio Ponti (photo) is another that I like an awful lot in the Classic. I would have him on top of my trifecta ticket along with Zenyatta and Richard's Kid, but it is against my betting philosophy. (If you need three tries to pick a winner, you shouldn't be betting trifectas.)

Gio Ponti went on a nationwide, grade 1 tour of turf terror this year winning the Frank Kilroe in California, the Manhattan and Man O War in New York and the Arlington Million in Chicago. If turf horses truly can transfer their turf form to Pro-Ride with no fall off, look out for Gio.

Breeders' Cup Or Bust Update
The Paulick Report and Breeders' Cup Charities are in the midst of a cross-crountry bus tour raising money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Their latest stop was in New Mexico at Zia Park. Click here to read the update from The Paulick Report.


Steve Munday said...

The Classic is shaping up to be a hell of a horse race with lots of betting angles. I've been chomping at the bit the play Regal Ransom but the field seems wide open to me. Whoever untangles this puzzle should make some money.

Brock said...

I know exactly what you mean. I'm going to leave out Summer Bird and Rip and at times feel insane about it.