The 19th Running--October 26, 2002
Inside Information 1995 (1 1/8) @ Belmont 1:46
Lady's Secret 1986 (1 1/4) @ Santa Anita 2:01:1
The BIG Angles: Look for a winner at 1 1/8 during the year. Good Early and tactical speed is important here.
Take Charge Lady ran one of the most visually impressive preps in the Spinster. She's been handled well, has learned to rate, and looks to be coming back to a career top in here. She's my top choice in a tough, tough race. She'll sit right behind the early leaders and make the last 1/16 a thrilling ride for us all.
Azeri has done nothing wrong and figures to be sitting in her favorite position right on the rail entering first turn. Yes, the post position gods were kind to her. Figures to be the favorite so beating her won't be a sin.
Farda Amiga will come flying late and she figures to have a ton of pace to run at. Wouldn't surprise me to see her winning this.
The Bet: $2 tri key: 8/2,3,4 $10 exacta: 8/3 $5 exacta: 3/8 = $27
The Juvenile Fillies
Tempera 2001 (1 1/16) @ Belmont 1:41:3
Twilight Ridge 1985 (1 mile) @ Aqueduct 1:35:4
The BIG Angles: Turn time is key here. Also, a prep within the last 4 weeks. Winner will be within 2 lengths at the 1/2 mile call.
Storm Flag Flying should be to tough for these. She looks very special, just like her mother. I'm a little leery of last race preps at Belmont when the BC is held at a different track, but it shouldn't matter here. On the down side, she figures to be one of, if not the shortest price of the day.
Composure comes in looking like she's sitting on a career best. The Oak Leaf set her up perfectly and she's blazing in the morning as well.
Ruby's Reception will be a nice price and can handle any type of surface. A breakthrough would put her in the circle. A strong exotics play anyway.
The bet: $5 straight tris: 4/3/6, 4/6/3 $10 exacta: 4/3 $5 exacta: 4/6 =$25
Val Royal 2001 @ Belmont 1:32
BIG Angles: This is a distance specialist race. Look for those with plenty of experience at 1 mile. Good tactical speed and mid-post positions are helpful.
Is there any doubt about "The Rock"? Rock Of Gibraltar is probably one of the top 5 thoroughbreds in the world and should handle this crowd with ease. Timeform rating of 146 towers over this field. A chance to see a legend in the making.
A Euro sweep of the exacta? Could be, and Domedriver figures prominently. Timeform rates him at 139. 2nd best. Traffic not an issue.
Good Journey will be shooting for 5th straight here. A tall order against the Rock, but should still put in a respectable showing.
The bet: $2 tri key: 10/1,4,5,12 =$24
Kona Gold 2000 @ Churchill 1:07:3
The BIG Angles: The betting favorite is only 5 for 18 here. A 6 furlong specialist race. Graded wins at 6f are even better.
Every year this race seems like it gets tougher. It did it again!
Let's go out on a limb with a bit of a price play. Disturbingthepeace looks very live here, and with potential traffic problems for some faves, he could be a nice score. He could get burnt up on the front, but he's shooting for 7 in a row here and has won both times this year when turning back from 7 furlongs, as he is today. Didn't handle the track all that well for his work reportedly though, which is cause for concern.
Bonapaw will be a short price due to his 6f stake win at Arlington in August where he was turning back from a mile stake win, also at Arlington. Went on to win the Vosburgh, and now he too turns back from 7 to 6 furlongs. Could be sitting on a career top, and the win as well. You have to like the experience.
Crafty CT was closing stoutly in the Ancient Title. This pace should be just as hot and he's moving back to a top effort. May not win, but odds are he'll be close.
Swept Overboard won the Ancient Title last year, then finished a disappointing 4th in the Sprint. This year, off of a substantial layoff, he finished 4th in the AT, which brings us here. Timing looks good, and it's within his reach.
Does the old warrior Kona Gold have one more bullet in the holster? I'd hate to dismiss him only to have him fire it in my ass!
The bet: $1 tri key: 8/3,9,11,12 $1 tri p-w 3,9,11,12/8/3,9,11,12 $10 win 3 $5 ex box 3,8 =$44
The Filly and Mare Turf
Perfect Sting 2000 (1 3/8) @ Churchill 2:13
Banks Hill 2001 (1 1/4) @ Belmont 2:00:2
The BIG Angles: Inside posts do fairly well here. A strong late kick is key.
The weather in Chicago can, and it appears will play a BIG part in this race. Also, reports of some skittishness from the one that I am playing on top. Islington looked to set up perfectly for this. She ran well in the Arc, while not winning. She was facing the very best, males and females, on the planet. Then the reports came out that she is not handling Arlington well, and perhaps the trip has done her in. Nervousness and fractiousness are not traits that winning BC horse display just before the BIG day. (http://www.drf.com/bc/2002/clocker.html) Now I'm not so sure.
In another twist, Dublino appears to be relishing the surroundings, and quite possibly is poised for a career best, while dropping weight from her last. She is impeccably bred, fresh, and should be quite a healthy price.
Depending on what the weather holds, Banks Hill may or may not run. It is raining in Chicago as I write this, and connections have stated she'll scratch if ground comes up soft. Why, I don't know as she appears to have handled herself well over softer going in the past. Of course, our soft is not the same as Euro-soft. She seems not quite to be at the level she was last year when she won this.
Golden Apples comes in 2nd off the layoff after capturing the oddly run Yellow Ribbon. She generally performs poorer on the softer ground.
I loved Kazzia last time but the foot abscess and the threat of the dreaded Euro-bounce will probably do her in.
The bet: $1 tri key 4/1,2,5,6,8,11 $1 tri part wheel 2,5,6/4/1,2,5,6,8,11 =$45
Favorite Trick 1997 (1 1/16) @ Hollywood 1:41:2
Success Express 1987 (1 mile) @ Hollywood 1:35:1
The BIG Angles: The winner will have raced within 4 weeks. Early speed is helpful. Dosage could be a factor this year.
While Euros have generally not fared well here, there have been some successes. Arazi's move in 91 was one that will be talked about for a long time. Last out Hold That Tiger made an Arazi type move in the 7 furlong Grand Criterium(G1) at Longchamp. He was in last place in a field of 14, several lengths back with just 1 furlong to go. He got into the open, turned on the afterburners, and won by a 1/2 length. Now he drops weight and moves to dirt. The son of Storm Cat is bred well for this surface and if that last race is any indication, he may well be better than Johannesburg and Arazi combined. Oh by the way, he is conditioned by one Aidan O'Brien.
Listen Indy is bred very nicely for this and has been making quite an impression in the mornings. He'll need to step up but that is not out of the question as his last found him 1 length off the win in the Norfolk just a race after breaking his maiden. He was gaining ground in that 1 1/16 affair.
Whywhywhy looks to be the fastest of the field--until you get past a mile. He won last out going a mile, but the distance was diminishing. He hasn't worked particularly well here either. I might end up tossing, but for now I'll leave underneath. Dosage is 5.00
It looks as though Sky Mesa will be one of the favorites, but I'm not fully convinced on him just yet. He hasn't really taken to the track here in the mornings, and I can't view that as anything but negative.
Vindication may mean just that for Baffert, who has failed to win this race in spite of sending out some truly talented runners. Point Given comes to mind.
The bet: $1 tri key 3/1,4,6,9,14 $1 tri p-w 1,4,6,9,14/3/1,4,6,9,14 $5 ex bx 3/4 =$50
Chief Bearhart 1997 @ Hollywood 2:23:4
BIG Angle: A grade 1 winner and 1 1/2 winner during the year have the edge. If both, all the better. Inside posts have an advantage here.
The shortest field of the day should produce the shortest prices. High Chaparral will be a short price, and his useful 3rd place finish in the Arc off the layoff should work like magic here. He can run firm or soft which will be a toss-up depending on the severity of the rains. But it shouldn't matter. With the American contingent weakening, it won't be a surprise if he opens up daylight on them.
But not Golan whose only knock is that he's coming in off of a 67 day layoff. He's only raced twice this year but his intial outing was a smashing performance at Ascot in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth(G1) at Ascot where he won at 12 panels off of an 8 month layoff. Must be respected for the win here as well.
The Americans are led at this point by Denon who is just a head and neck from 4 straight Grade 1's.
The Tin Man will be all alone on the lead. Not necessarily the way to win here, but he could make it interesting. He'll be a nice price for sure.
Let's not overlook Falcon Flight. He's got some nice efforts over the course, including 1/2 length loss in the Arlington Million.
The bet: $1 tri key 5/1,3,4,8 $1 tri p-w 1,3,4,8/5/1,3,4,8 $5ex bx 4/8 $1 tri box 4/5/8 =$40
Skip Away 1997 @ Hollywood 1:59
BIG Angles: Grade 1 winner, and dosage under 4.0 please.
Medaglia D'oro has been handled masterfully. Frankel knew when he needed rest and gave it to him. Now by all reports he looks super and ready to make the next step. I fully expect a career best effort.
The Euros have come close to this prize 2 years in a row. Hawk Wing provides an excellent chance for them to break through and get the gold. Rated at 141 by Timeform for this race, only War Emblem is rated higher with a 143.
Geldings don't normally perform well here, but I made the mistake of leaving Evening Attire's father out of my wagers in 1991. I don't plan to screw that up again. He could very well put strong pressure on the top choice and it would surprise no one if he won this.
I've never been a BIG fan of Came Home. Sure, he performed admirably in those California stakes and the baby races. But in 2 instances (the derby and last year's BC) he failed miserably both times. I'd love to see him win, I just have this nagging feeling...
The bet: $1 tri box 7/8/10/11 $5 ex bx 7/10 =$34
There you have it. A total of $289 wagered not including pick 3's, 4's, or 6's. Remember to bet with your head, and not over it!
Best of luck and enjoy the day!!!