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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Maryland's Own GQ

No Chalk Here in FOY and Risen Star

Youth springs eternal and stars are on the rise this weekend the national horse racing spotlight will be on Florida and Louisiana as Kentucky Derby prep graded stakes races are on tap Saturday at Gulfstream Park (Hallendale, FL) and Fairgrounds (New Orleans, LA). These two (2) races are the first two of the eight (8) Championship Season “First of Two Legs” of the Derby Point System races. Each of the eight (8) races, the last being the Sunland Derby on March 24th offers the following Derby points… 50 points to the winner, 20 to runner-up, 10 to third and 5 point to fourth place finishers. The second of the two legs have 7 races worth 100-50-20-10 points.


First up will be the $400k G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park (GP), race 11 (Post Time 5:35pm EST) on the card at 1 1/16 miles over the main dirt surface. In 70 runnings (first in 1945) the Fountain Of Youth has produced just four (4) Kentucky Derby winner s… Tim Tam (1958), Kauai King (1966), Spectacular Bid (1979), and Thunder Gulch (1995).

Saturday's 11th race (5:35pm EST) at Gulfstream Park is the $400k G2 Fountain Of Youth Stakes for 3-year-olds;going 1 1/16 miles. A field 11 is scheduled to go postward, but trainer Mark Casse plans on scratching #9 - Sky Captain in favor of an easier spot next weekend, but mainly due to the bad Post Position the son of Sky Mesa drew in the FOY.

The Morning Line prohibitive 9-5 favorite #3 - Violence (9-5) who is 3 for 3 lifetime and makes his much anticipated 3 y.o. debut for trainer Todd Pletcher. On paper, his main rivals are #10 - Falling Sky 
(6-1) who comes in after winning the G3 Sam F. Davis @ Tampa Downs and #4 - Majestic Hussar (6-1) who ruined Palace Malice's 3 y.o. debut in the slop last out.

Interesting stats at GP: Proportion of 8.5 furlong (i.e. 1 1/16 mile) dirt races since 2010 won gate-to-wire: 24% (104 races); At the current meet, 33% have won gate-to-wire going this distance (43 races) while that percentage this past week stands at 54% (13 races).

So with the speed bias of the Gulfstream Park dirt course this time of year (year after year), one should lean towards a speed horse in here. It should be noted that the heavy favorite (Violence) has never shown early speed in any of his 3 career races. 


HOW I SEE IT: GP 8.5f races have been very kind to early speed types (54% in the past week; 42% for the meet). This bodes well for Majestc Hussar, Falling Sky, #5 - Elmutahid (20-1) and #8 - Speak Logistics (12-1). This leaves #1 - Orb (12-1) and Violence to take up the chase from mid-pack. Now do you really think that TAP has Violence cranked-up for this one?! I think not!


The Fountain Of Youth Play: $2 Tri Part-Wheel 4, 5, 8 w/ 3 w/ 1, 4, 5, 8, 9

That's Majestic Hussar, Elmutahid and Speak Logistics w/ Violence w/ Orb, Majestic Hussar, Elmutahid, Speak Logistics and He's Had Enough


About 20 minutes later in NOLA, a field of 13 will break from the gate in the $400k G2 Risen Star Stakes at Fairgrounds Race Course, race 10 (Post Time 4:57pm CST) on the card at 1 1/16 miles over the main dirt surface. Fifteen (15) were entered but #12 – He’s Had Enough will run in the Fountain Of Youth at GP and #15 – Sunbean will instead run in race 3 at FG.    

Previously known as the Louisiana Derby Trial Stakes, in 1989 it was renamed to honor locally-owned Risen Star who won the race in 1988, ran 3rd in the Kentucky Derby, and went on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. In 42 runnings (1973-2012) of this race, the winner has never gone on to win the Kentucky Derby.


The Morning Line favorite is #9 - Normandy Invasion (5-2), last seen losing a head-bob decision to Overanalyze in the G2 Remsen at Aqueduct in November. Among the highly touted making their stakes debut are #1 – Proud Strike (8-1), #2 – Code West (6-1), #5 – Mylute (6-1) and #14 – Departing (12-1).

HOW I SEE IT: This is a tough race because of the way FG is playing (Speed bias) and fact it will be OFF (Sloppy). I typically love Closers (Proud Strike and Normandy Invasion), but it ain't happening here. Since there is plenty of early speed, it's a crap shoot as to who gets a clean break and first run into the clubhouse turn. Jockey Rosie Napravnik takes off #5 – Mylute to ride #6 – Palace Malice (8-1) for Todd Pletcher. Palace Malice he should get a nice Stalking trip, and love the stretch out and OFF track, just as his Daddy (Curlin) did, getting first jump on the leg weary early speed in mid-stretch while holding off a furious late charge by Normandy Invasion..


The Risen Star PLAY: #6 - $10 WIN, $20 PLACE; $1 Tri Part-Wheel 2, 6 w/ 9 w/ 1, 2, 6, 10


That's WP on Palace Malice then for the TRI Code West, Palace Malice w/ Normandy Invasion w/ Proud Strike, Code West, Palace Malice, Oxbow 


Recapping the previously posted selections at Laurel Park from Saturday, Feb. 16th had 7 winners from 9 races (4 Top Selection; pay-offs shown in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $3.20 (1st race), $3.80 (2nd), $5.20 (3rd), $7.60 (4th), $17.00 (6th), $3.00 (7th), $2.80 (9th).


The BEST BET of the Day (7 1-0-0) Adirondack King (2-1 PT; 5-2 M/L) broke inward bumping the eventual winner. Though he raced forwardly in the early stages, he could not keep pace with the top 3 finishers, settling for 4th as the second-choice at Post Time. 


The LONGSHOT PICK (7 0-0-1) Tyler’s Smile (9-1 PT; 6-1 M/L) received a cold reception at the betting windows and proved the betting public correct, as he was wide throughout the race and offered no threat to his rivals, finishing a distant 7th.


For Saturday races the weather forecast calls for a 80% chance of rain, meaning there’s strong possibility the track will be OFF (i.e SLOPPY or MUDDY) at Laurel Park on Saturday Feb. 23rd . Selections for all races 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 – $12,000 Maiden Claiming for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 5½ furlongs     

#3 – Scipion’s Girl  (8-5)

#2 – Gracious Gracie  (2-1)

#1 – Sacred Hope  (6-1)  


2nd race – $5,000 Claiming for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 7 furlongs     

#5 – Sweet Yulianna (5-2)     *** BEST BET ***

#4 – Social Statement (2-1)

#6 – Cambria Queen (10-1)


3rd race – $16,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o.– 6 furlongs

#7 – Rainbowappears (3-1)

#1 – Southern Partner (5-2)   

#2 – True Compass (3-1) 


4th race – $7,500 Claiming for 4 y.o. OR 5 & up N3L – One mile

#4 – Self Destruct (3-1)  

#5 – Last Laugh Now (7-2) 

#1 – Dinos Romance  (9-5)      


5th race – $38,000 Maidens for F&M 4 y.o. & up – 5½ furlongs     

#6 – Libertytown Lass (10-1)    $$$ LONGSHOT $$$

#10 – Northern Curlew (4-1)

#5 – Magic Fire (6-1)   


6th race – $7,500 Claimng.for 4 y.o. & up – 5½ furlongs     

#5 – City Genius (9-2) 

#1 – Peaceadaaction (5-1)

#6 – Dancing Roman (10-1)     


7th race – $25,000 Optional Claiming N2X for 4 y.o.& up – 6 furlongs

#1 – Itsnottheright (5-2)

#8 – Manito (2-1)

#7 – Pryce’s Posse (8-1)


8th race – $125,000 Maryland Racing Media Stakes for F&M 3 y.o.& up – 1 1/8 miles     

#7–  Moon Philly (8-5) 

#8 – Blessed Soul (30-1) 

#6 – Touch the Birds (6-1) 


9th race – $8,000 Maiden Claiming for 4 y.o. & up – 7 furlongs     

#8 – Spicer Cub (8-1)

#4 – Someones Lion  (4-1)

#7 – Roccamo (2-1) 





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Older Comments about No Chalk Here in FOY and Risen Star...

Super 99 looked pretty good last time out. So Code West is my pick here with Departing giving a good account.
Pletcher always has them ready to fir every year in Florida. Violence should take this. He's Had Enough I expect to wake up some in this spot.

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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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