What we learned: Dennis' Moment backs up hype, short price in Iroquois

September 15, 2019 01:14pm
Dennis' Moment's win in Saturday's Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs shows how some heavy favorites, even of the lightly raced variety, back up the hype.

Bet to 2/5 off a 19 1/2-length win at Ellis Park, Dennis' Moment won the Iroquois by an easy 1 3/4 lengths. A look at the replay shows the Tiznow colt was capable of more.

Granted, Dennis' Moment enjoyed a good trip by sitting in fourth and in the clear, about three lengths behind the pacesetter Juggernaut.

Approaching the far turn, Dennis' Moment moved outside of Lebda and the fading Juggernaut. From there, he only needed mild encouragement. 

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. shook the reigns a few times and used the stick, but toward the end he sat still, letting Dennis' Moment glide across the wire as Scabbard came late after some trouble to narrow the margin. 

Dennis' Moment earned a 115 TimeformUS Speed Figure. While that number is three points less than his maiden win, that is not a huge deal.

Consider that Dennis' Moment only made his second career start, and that Tiznow progeny are notoriously late developers (with some exceptions). The bottom side is neutral. But for the most part, it looks fine for long routes.

As for what bettors can learn, it is that sometimes short prices deliver. But the fact Dennis' Moment won is not a sign that playing 2/5 shots is a smart idea unless a longshot is attached underneath.

For example, the $2 exacta with Scabbard only paid 13.60, and that hardly is worth the trouble. But the 50-cent trifecta paid a healthier $36, or $72 for $1, because of Lebda.

A lot of casual bettors are content to bet a horse like Dennis' Moment to win though and take the 80-cent profit. For $20 bettors, however, what is the point?

Portrait and Morning Gold disappoint bettors in Pocahontas

In the case of the Pocahontas Stakes (G2), two over-bet fillies in Portrait and Morning Gold disappointed bettors. The latter filly struggled on dirt.

As for Portrait, she settled in a comfortable position early on, only a length or two behind His Glory and Lazy Daisy.

Once Blood Curdling began to lose position on the outside, Portrait took over her spot and began to wind up on the leaders approaching the far turn. 

At the top of the stretch, it looked like Portrait was going to secure the lead and make everyone who bet her to 6/5 happy. But she stalled, while His Glory rerallied inside and Lazy Daisy continued to fight.

Portrait's footwork then became sloppy, and she faded 4 ¾ lengths behind. 

Lasy Daizy gutted out the win by 1 ¼ lengths over His Glory. 

A lot of handicappers believe a rail bias helped His Glory. Yet, in the Iroquois, the two longshots Juggernaut and Zyramid ran up the track after riding the rail. Also, in the Locust Grove (G3) one race before, Go Google Yourself ran wide early on and only moved inside in the stretch run.

I took shot against Portrait with Blood Curdling, and it did not work out. But Lazy Daisy gave bettors skeptical of Portrait a reward.

Got Stormy not a superstar yet after Woodbine Mile

Any comparisons of Got Stormy to Tepin will need to wait, as Got Stormy failed to put away the 44-1 El Tormenta in the Woodbine Mile (G1).

In fairness, Got Stormy made the first move wide through a fast pace.

But El Tormenta ran alongside Got Stormy on the inside for most of the backside, which means he withstood those fractions as well. 

El Tormenta saved more ground on the turn, but eventually he tipped outside the fading pacesetters too, right alongside Got Stormy. 

Both Got Stormy and El Tormenta had clear shots to win and El Tormenta outran her. Got Stormy did not receive a terrible trip. She lost fairly. 

From an objective standpoint, it is hard to say Got Stormy ran an outstanding race. At most, she ran a good race for a Grade 1 horse.

Got Stormy's Breeders' Cup choices are limited because her best game is running one mile. But this runner-up finish to El Tormenta puts some doubt into her chances against an even tougher field in November.

Perhaps she improves on firm turf, though, as the Breeders' Cup is at Santa Anita this year, and Woodbine is known for its long stretch. As a 4-year-old filly, Got Stormy does still own upside.


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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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