Today in Racing, Jan 17, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 11.19.57 AMThe weekend is upon us, so another not-so-gentle reminder that if you haven’t yet tried our past performances, then….HEY, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Try TFUS all weekend with our Trial Plan for just $2.99. Click on the box to the right for more details.

Todd Pletcher’s latest ‘fastest horse in the world’ is Hartford, unveiled at Gulfstream on Thursday, and bet down to 1-2 from the 5-2 morning line.  He was actually 1-5 with “one minute to post,” but post times at Gulfstream are as tacky and phony as the rest of the slots parlor masquerading as a racetrack. Hartford looked a winner every step of the way, and drew off to win the seven furlong contest by nearly six, with a solid final furlong of 12.12 seconds while under some mild hand urging.

So, when a Toddster first-time three-year old wins its debut in this manner at this time of year, everyone wants to know “But can he stretch out?”  The breeding would suggest that he can run from Gulfstream straight to his namesake city in Connecticut.  By Tapit, Hartford is out of a mare by the Belmont winner Editor’s Note; and he’s a full-brother to the Grade 1 winner Dance Card (the Gazelle at a mile and an eighth).

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 10.20.27 AMNow, for those of you who love these three-year old maiden races this time of year – perhaps to be the first on the block to pick out a hot prospect for greater glory later in the year – our Race Finder can quickly direct you to any and all such races each day.  If you click on the arrow next to ‘Type,’ you’ll get a dropdown of race classifications, and just click on Maiden.

Then set the ‘Age’ slider for three-year olds, make any other adjustments for time of day, field size, etc., and you’re off to the maiden races.

Here is what Race Finder returns for today.

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Taking a look at a couple of these, the 8th at Gulfstream is the kind of race that just a quick glance at the Preview page serves as an invitation for a closer look.

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Jumps out immediately that the morning line favorite has one of the weaker Spotlight Ratings in the field.  Looking closer at Lucky For You however, we see that she’s trained by Pletcher.  Can’t blame anyone for getting queasy at the thought of opposing her!  However, note that she was 4-5 in her debut, tracked a pace that was consistently slow (noted in blue), and faded to third, at 6 1/2 furlongs.

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A look at the race chart (click on the 1-2-3’s as indicated above) shows that she finished behind two fillies that were lightly regarded.

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 10.44.36 AMOf course, she might have just needed a race, and the Toddster has a 100 rating for second time starters (big surprise).  However, stretching out to a mile, and this time facing the prospect of the fast pace predicted by Pace Projector, you may want to delve deeper in search of some value.

The 6th at Santa Anita features no less than three starters from the Bob Baffert barn, including the highly regarded The Admiral, the 9-5 morning line favorite. This Coolmore son of Giant’s Causeway, a half-brother to Grade 1 winners Madcap Escapade and Dubai Escapade (a combined record of 13 wins from 17 starts) was second best in his dirt and two-turn debut.  Considering that pedigree, it’s little surprise that The Admiral has a pedigree rating, for dirt routes, of 100.

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Blinkers come off here, and the barn has a rating of 100 with that move.

Baffert has the second choice in the morning line with first-time starter Day of Fury (5-2).

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This son of Street Sense has the usual sparkling workout tab one has come to expect from this barn, and the services of Mike Smith, with whom the trainer has a trainer/jockey rating of 100 (as opposed to the 63 with The Admiral’s rider Joe Talamo).  On the downside, Day of Fury has a moderate pedigree rating of 71 for dirt routes.  And it’s interesting and somewhat surprising to this east coast guy to note that Baffert’s ratings with first-time starters in routes, and with three-year olds, lag behind his other numbers (though no doubt those numbers are influenced by ROI considering the way his debut runners generally get bet).

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– The three-year old stakes scene shifts to New Orleans this weekend, with the running of the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes, on what is being billed as the Road to the Derby Kickoff Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.  Doug Salvatore has the preview here.  (And you can also find it at our friends at Bloodhorse.)

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