Race of the Week 2017

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12th Crown

Top 10 things I learned from the Triple Crown series in 2013

Top 10 things I learned from the Triple Crown series in 2013:
1)      Look for key races to judge competition between horses, not highest Beyer speed figures. The Louisiana bunch produced 3 of top 4 Kentucky Derby placings and 6 of 9 money finishes this spring if you include Oxbow, who won the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds by 11 lengths and just missed the board after a wide trip in the Risen Star.
2)      Include the best horses in your bets rather than trying to guess pace factor and bet accordingly. In the Belmont, there was not much dispute that the most accomplished horses this year ran 1st through 3rd.  Many people (i.e. yours truly) discounted Oxbow and Palace Malice based on the fact they may not “stay” the 12 furlong distance after racing forwardly.
3)      Young sires (1st or 2nd crops) are the best way to get you a Derby horse without breaking the bank. Look at 4 of last 5 Derby winners and nearly half the Derby field this year (Into Mischief, War Pass, Lawyer Ron, Curlin).
4)      Do not overuse track condition in handicapping – look to the horse's times in workouts and pre-race paddock appearance. The talk Derby week was on the “mudders” in the group such as Vyjack, Itsmyluckyday and Revolutionary. The fact is at this point in their young careers, most horses have not even attempted an off-track so this exercise proves futile.
5)      Do not give extra credit to “local” connections; horse’s training base, jockey or trainer.Top 2 Belmont finishers jockeys seldom ride the big turns of Belmont. Orb was based at Belmont and had most of his exceptional post Florida workouts here but that didn’t help him this past Saturday.
6)      Do not hold grudges against a horse, trainer or jockey (unless it’s Julien Leparoux, who consistently puts his horses in terrible positions). I didn’t “trust” Palace Malice because of his Derby debacle even though I loved him all spring. Whether it was his own rank attitude or poor handling by Mike Smith that caused the Derby episode, who knows. But it sure cost me a bunch of money by turning away from him in the Belmont. Ditto for Mike Smith’s poor Derby ride.
7)      One bad race, give them another chance. But two strikes and leave ‘em out! Itsmyluckyday had only put forth one poor effort prior to Louisville and rewarded his backers by running second at nice odds in Baltimore. Same with Palace Malice, barring his horrendous trip in the La Derby. Will Take Charge and Frac Daddy are proof of the latter.
8)      Tend to favor closers in the Derby, speed in the Preakness and stalkers for the Belmont. Derby: Orb, Golden Soul and Revolutionary this year, Animal Kingdom, Mine That Bird, Street Sense from recent years past. Preakness: Oxbow, Shackleford, Bodemeister (nipped at wire), Rachel Alexandra, Big Brown. Belmont: Palace Malice, Union Rags, Ruler on Ice.
9)      Be sure to personally attend a Preakness Stakes before the Maryland Racing Commission moves it away from rickety old Pimlico Race Course. For my money, Baltimore is the most fun, easiest access (including public transport) and cheapest trips of all the TC races and you can spend a day at the inner harbor and catch an Orioles game the day before or after.
     10)     Keep the hopes and dreams alive for the elusive 12th Crown – think Miguel Cabrera! 


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Older Comments about Top 10 things I learned from the Triple Crown series in 2013...

AP INDY, a stamina colt, CLOSED on the late pace fractions 24.2, 24.6 and 25.0 There is your stamina example very different than the "survivor"
correction ORb made a very late tepid move on these so at least SOMEONE showed some stamina power
last two fractions (on which NO one closed) tell the tale of surviving 26.58, 26.67
no one "stayed" they just survived at already being close to the front ot the pace. Let ANY of these run against a real stayer and they are ALL going to be embarassed. There wasn't a stayer in the bunch!!
The Belmont stakes is the most accessible venue. I've attended over 20 Preakness stakes. Both as a youth in the infield and in the best seats in the grandstand. Access to the track is horrible as you navigate the worst and most lengthy traffic jam to get there and parking is horrible unless you buy a parking pass. Public transportation is only by bus and as a practical matter there is nowhere to catch a bus from the suburbs. I've gone to the last 2 Belmont stakes and loved going to New York by train and getting dropped off at the track entrance by subway. The cost of travel, tickets and hotels is far less expensive than the Preakness. I hope they do move the Preakness by building a new track hopefully in the city of Baltimore. It's in horrible run down condition and is located in the slums. If u park outside the track u are harassed by the locals for money, to park on their lawn or to transport your belongings for a fee in their stolen shopping cart. NICE!
I was fortunate enough to hit the win on P. Malice as well as the exacta and trifecta. It was my biggest payday ever. It didn't surprise me that P. Malice and Oxbow would "stay" at 1 1/2 in the Belmont. Both horses have good dosage numbers. P. Malice is by Curlin and Oxbow is by Awesome Again. Both stout pedigrees.
Great observations! I'll definitely have to remember #8 when the Triple Crown rolls around next year.
The Preakness is the easiest Classic to attend, lot less money than the Derby and hotels are a lot cheaper than New York. The race also is the best for determining the 3 year old champion and Baltimore is a great city. Every racing fan should try to attend a Preakness Stakes.
I am dying to go to the Preakness. Are they really moving it?
It was great for me to attend my first Preakness this year!

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Meet Eric Kords
Eric is a historian of thoroughbred racing at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas and across the country. He has witnessed in person nearly every significant race that has occurred at Oaklawn Park since the mid-1980’s including such recent Eclipse champions as Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, Lookin at Lucky, Summer Bird and Curlin, classic performers including Afleet Alex, Smarty Jones, Victory Gallop, Lil’ E Tee, Pine Bluff and Grindstone, top handicap champions Cigar, Lawyer Ron and Best Pal, and finally Distaff champions the likes of Azeri, Bayakoa, Paseana, Escena and Ginger Punch.  
Eric has also attended the most historically significant races across the country including the 2010 Breeders' Cup featuring Zenyatta’s epic finale, 2008 Breeders' Cup featuring Curlin’s final race, the Eclipse clinching victory by Rachel Alexandra against the boys in the 2009 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, 2010 Preakness Stakes won by Eclipse champion Lookin at Lucky, 2004 Belmont Stakes where Smarty Jones was denied the Triple Crown by Birdstone, 1996 Pacific Classic at Del Mar where Cigar’s 16 consecutive win streak ended at the hooves of Dare and Go, Jim Dandy Stakes and Travers Stakes at Saratoga, Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park and Summit of Speed Festival at Calder just to name the most memorable.  Eric now resides in Dallas, TX and counts Oaklawn Park, The Fair Grounds and Lone Star Park as his “home tracks.” He has recently entered the thoroughbred owner ranks with the launch of his Saturday Racing Syndicate.

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