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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Maryland's Own GQ

HEY! Do you think Uncle Sigh is legit in the Withers, Jack?

Uncle Sigh and Uncle Si
Photo: NYRA / Adam Coglianese & AE Duck Dynasty

On Saturday (Feb. 1st) in the Big Apple, the Big A has a nice 10-race card which should attract a nice crowd thanks to the influx of sports fans in town for Super Bowl XLVIII. The feature race, the $250,000 Withers Stakes for 3-year-olds, is the only Kentucky Derby point system prep race this weekend, worth 10-4-2-1 points to the top 4 finishers.

Considering this 1 1/16 mile event only attracted 34 nominations in which just six (6) made it to the Entry Box, makes one wonder if these lower point system races carry much weight with connections of promising 3-year-olds. After all last year, the first using the point system to determine the pecking order into the Derby starting gate, saw the runner-up Golden Soul get in with just 14 points. 

A pair of NY-breds caught the eye of Aqueduct Morning Line odds-maker, Eric Donovan, as he believes #5 – Samraat (7-5) and #1 – Uncle Sigh (9-5) will take the lions’ share of the action at the windows. Both have won races exhibiting a front-running style, but without much competition, as did #2 – Street Gent (12-1) when breaking his maiden in his fourth career start. In here if their pilots, Jose Ortiz (Samraat), Pablo Morales (Uncle Sigh) and Irad Ortiz, Jr. (Street Gent) aren’t wise, they could easily set the race up for one of the other three… #3 – Scotland (8-1), #4 – Classic Giacnroll (5-1) or #6 – Honorable Judge (15-1).

HOW I SEE IT: Having the rail, Uncle Sigh will have to gun from the gate to the lead, joined by Samraat on the first turn. From there, the race is in the hands of Morales and Jose Ortiz, whether they both can harness their mounts speed early, then see who has enough left in the tank for the stretch drive. Street Gent will be joined by Scotland and Honorable Judge in the second flight as Cornelio Velasquez will hope for a pace meltdown when he asks Classic Giacnroll for his best strides in the late stages of this contest.

The pace meltdown will occur, Classic Giacnroll will benefit from it and having his 3rd start off layoff should find him in top form for his first graded stakes win, while Scotland remains a maiden with his 3rd runner-up effort in 4 career outings and Street Gent completes the Trifecta, leaving the two NY-breds to return to race against “their own kind” in the future.

THE PLAY: $10 WP #4 and $2 Exacta Box 4-3-2

On Thursday (Jan. 30th) at Laurel Park, apprentice Trevor McCarthy rode three (3) winners. The one which was quite amazing was in Race 3 aboard #3 – Chi Chi’s Pride. Shortly after leaving the starting gate, McCarthy lost the irons when the 4-year-old gelding broke right and then quickly left. Here’s the “wild ride”…

Recapping my previous blog posted selections at Laurel Park selections from Saturday, January 25th had 5 winners from 9 races (2 Top Selections; payoffs in BOLD) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $4.20 (1st race), $4.40 (2nd), $6.20 (3rd), $2.60 (4th). and $26.80 (5th).

The BEST BET of the Day (3: 0-0-2) Jessethemarine (6th race: 7-2 M/L; 9-2 PT) stalked the pace three to four wide while under a light hold, took closer aim past the 3/8 pole, came under pressure into the lane, but failed to kick on and faded to finish 5th.

The LONGSHOT PICK (3: 1-1-0) Javerre (7th race: 6-1 M/L; 9-2 PT) bobbled leaving the starting gate, was then rushed up to prompt the early pace-setter and had nothing left in upper stretch and gave way, finishing 6th.

FYI – the BEST BET of the Day selection will never be a M/L favorite and the LONGSHOT PICK will simply be the runner having the highest M/L odds among my top picks for an entire card.

PLEASE NOTE: Statistics provided for the BEST BET and LONGSHOT PICK in parentheses represent the Number of Picks: Wins-Places-Shows. For example, the BEST BET (10: 1-2-3) was picked 10 times resulting in 1 winner, 2 places and 3 shows. In the past, I would reset these numbers at the start of each meet. For 2014, I reset these numbers on Jan. 1st in order to chart results on a yearly basis.

Full card selections for Saturday, Feb. 1st at Laurel Park posted below are based on a FAST dirt track as the forecast calls for sunny skies with temps in the low 40's. Selections posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg.

1st race – $8,000 Maiden Claiming for 4 y.o. and up – 5½ furlongs
#6 – Giant’s Fantasy (2-1)
#1 – Vanna’s Go Point (4-1)
#7 – Irish Beau (3-1)

2nd race – $6,250 Claiming for 4 y.o. & up – 6 furlongs
#7 – Cherokee Empire (3-1) *** BEST BET ***
#3 – August Osage (2-1)
#2 – Brady (20-1)

3rd race – $25,000 Claiming N2L for F&M 4 y.o. and up – One mile
#8 – Curly W (6-1)
#1 – Breezy Girl (7-2)
#3 – I’m Smokin Hot (5-2)

4th race – $25,000 Maiden Claiming for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 7 furlongs
#5 – Royal Sparkle (5-2)
#4 – Mindfulness (6-1)
#2 – Kevin’s Kool Kat (7-2)

5th race – $5,000 Waiver Claiming for 4 y.o. and up – About 1 1/16 mile
#9 – Harmonizer (8-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PLAY $$$
 #7 - Pretty Mr. D --- SCRATCHED ---
#5 – Sky Maggy (7-2)
#3 – Cattail Creek (5-2)

6th race – $50,000 Optional Claiming for 3 y.o. fillies – One mile
#5 – Tupancy Links (6-5)
#4 – Star Omega (10-1)
#1 – Fleet Sixteen (9-2)

7th race – $5,000 Starter Alllowance for 4 y.o. and up – About 1 1/16 miles
#3 – Secret Jackpot (5-1)
#2 – Plymouth Square (4-1)
#1 – Shamroge (5-2)

8th race – $25,000 Optional Claiming for F&M 4 y.o. and up – 6 furlongs
#3 – Frivolity (7-2)
#1 – Mountain Echo (5-1)
#7 – Henny’s Hurricane (6-1)

9th race – $5,000 Claiming N2L for 4 y.o. and up – About 1 1/16 miles
#5 – Dry Run (3-1)
#7 – Snappy (15-1)
#3 – Bear’s Accountant (7-5)

Good Luck!


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Older Comments about HEY! Do you think Uncle Sigh is legit in the Withers, Jack?...

Selections at LAUREL PARK updated to reflect Early Scratches. GL today!
Classic Giacnroll and Scotland are both logical plays in my eyes, as both are dropping in from the G2 Jerome. I really like the NY Breds (Hey, jack!), but at their ML prices, I'll pass.
In my eyes Classic Giacnroll is the logical play at what could be a decent price.

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                Meet Gary Quill

  I am the most passionate person on the planet when it comes to thoroughbred horse racing! One sunny summer day in 1964 at Timonium Race Track is where my Dad and mentor introduced me to “The Sport of Kings”. Since that day, I have had the pleasure to visit over 40 different tracks across North America. Though an IT professional by trade, I’ve had a part-time gig with the Maryland Jockey Club since 1988.

here are thousands of rail-birds who claim to be great handicappers. Well, I don’t claim to be the best… just the most passionate and one that won’t tout “chalk”. Like a savvy stock broker, I look for value and often find it. Unlike the talking heads on horse racing television networks and the dozens of websites featuring handicapper’s opinions, I’m ACCOUNTABLE. That is, good or bad, you’ll always know how my previously posted picks performed along with a running record of my BEST BET and LONGSHOT Play of the Day selections for Maryland tracks (Laurel and Pimlico) at TheRacingBiz, see "The GQ Approach".

   In addition to focusing on the Maryland thoroughbred racing circuit, each year I follow the Derby Trail and post “GQ’s Derby Double Dozen” in early February. 

   My personal mission is to rejuvenate interest in thoroughbred horse racing. Being able to share my energy, thoughts and opinions on this sport via HRN will certainly help the cause.


"I lost $2 at Santa Anita and I've spent $3 million trying to get it back." - Mickey Rooney

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