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Zipse At The Track

Shocking the Goose: House Rules over Untapable


What do Kelso, Cicada, Buckpasser, Riva Ridge, Secretariat, and Forego have in common? Well yes, they are all members of racing’s Hall of Fame, but they also were major upset victims of one Hall of Fame trainer. Allen Jerkens didn’t earn the nickname Giant Killer for nothing. For more than 50 years, Jerkens has been able to get his charges ready to run their best on big race days. Saturday at Belmont Park, he will have the opportunity to shock the world once again, this time with House Rules taking on the prohibitive favorite Untapable in the Grade 1 Mother Goose. You know what? I really like the Chief’s chances to do it again.


There is no denying that Untapable has been excellent in three starts this year. In all three races she sat a perfect stalking trip under Rosie Napravnik, before blowing the doors off her competition, including in the prestigious Kentucky Oaks. Does this make Untapable unbeatable? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no, the filly who lost her last two starts of 2013, has a forced rider change, hasn’t raced in two months, and is cutting back to one turn, is some measure less than unbeatable.


On the other end of the odds spectrum, House Rules is sitting on a big one, In fact, I think the three-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor is sitting on a powder keg. I’ve been waiting for the right spot for the improving filly for some time, and Saturday looks to be the day.


After romping in a maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park, she was moved right into graded stakes racing. Her two second place finishes, in the Davona Dale, and Gulfstream Park Oaks, were both solid. In each effort she faced a talented speed filly with little pace pressure on a speed favoring racetrack. I was convinced that given the right circumstances, Jerkens had a filly that could win something big. He freshened her, and brought her to his home base of New York.


Admittedly, House Rules was not my top pick in the Acorn. She was one of the ones that I used underneath, but saw the cutback in distance and the freshening as a “look out for her next time” situation. Sure enough, she finished off the board, but I loved what I saw.


Breaking a beat slow, she was shuffled back to last in the field of 13, a position she had never dealt with before. Still last heading into the far turn, she began to roll, but on the rail, she was not going to find the room she would need. Alex Solis yanked her six, seven, eight paths out, and the filly in yellow silks lost all kinds of ground as she sling-shotted into the stretch run. House Rules finished well, despite the trip she had received. I’m hoping that new rider, Joel Rosario, finds her a good trip on Saturday, and I’m also hoping that few handicappers see what I saw in her sixth place finish in the Acorn.


Since the Acorn three weeks ago, House Rules has thrown down an excellent six furlong work for her legendary trainer. The six furlong breeze at Belmont in 1:13 flat tells me that Jerkens has this one ready to fire her best. Still, the best of House Rules may not be quite good enough.


Maybe Untapable will back up the hype. Maybe she will prove to be too good for House Rules and the rest of the Mother Goose field, but at odds of 1-9, I’m willing to take a shot against her. In fact, I’m willing to take a big shot against her. It’s not often that I feel this good about a 10-1 shot. The last time was Sweet Reason in the Acorn.


You heard it here first … House Rules over Untapable in the Mother Goose.



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Older Comments about Shocking the Goose: House Rules over Untapable...

Mr. Zipse, you'll get 'em next time, no worries. You are still one of the best handicappers on this site. Best of luck in the future.
Brian Z: You forgot to mention two more champions Allen Jerkens the same race....Wagon Limit beating both Skip Away and Gentlemen in the 1998 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Big Sandy.
I was wrong ... Untapable was unbeatable.
too bad about Stopchargingmaria... I like Untapable w Princess Violet w ALL
money talks and bullshit walks!!!! just saying
No everyone is entitled to their opinion. I have friends who do not gamble,their opinion is stronger than mny of my friends that do Gamble. That is not the point,the point is that at the end of the day.Anything one does in any facet of life,needs to be accompanied with accountability. If you for example say that House Rules will win and she loses. You turn the page and go to the next race. If someone makes a large wager,they are putting something up. Has nothing to do with being a gambler or not. I appreciate that you are not a gambler,but just once to get the real feel of handicapping a race. Bet $500 of your own money on a horse and see how your opinion changes. One won't be so eager to take shots out of left field. Easy like many do to pick longshots that make no sense,or wager "X" amount of monopoly money. If you want to get the real feel and dificulty of selecting winners and making money. Try iy,you will see it is far from the same.
Captain Obvious showed up. she is not facing much.
All of you who think you are going to beat Untapable, GOOD LUCK! It ain't gonna happen! She's worked 5 times since her win in the KY Oaks. She's won going 1 turn twice at Churchill...sit back and watch a champion and how it's done!
All of you who think you are going to beat Untapable, GOOD LUCK! It ain't gonna happen!
I don't like that Untapable has been off since May 2
Did you pay attention to Brian's picks on Belmont Day?
I might take a shot with Princess Violet and America.
This is what I would say about House Rules in the Mother Goose if I were a writer :) Also, that I think she will do better at a faster pace than Untapable, this time.
I had a feeling this filly was your bomb before entries were even taken...unless this is your backup bomb??
Eventer don't be in such a rush. Not all it is made up to be. You will have the time and opportunity.
I will be looking for an upset and House Rules is one I would use. just wish I was old enough to put my money where my mouth is.
Putting money down is only for those that gamble. For those that don't believe in gambling like myself- we still deserve the same opportunities to pick horses we want to or think will win mallios
I read the article,i for one can't see where Brian is hedging any opinion. He is putting something much more than the idle chatter many do by selecting a winner. I do not know what a big shot interpets to. That is not relevant to me. But it is to me. When i hear that somebody is taking a Big Shot at the windows,that is the only time i will listen to an opinion. You see when one puts their money down to back up their opinion,they are now held Accountable. Different than many that opine with no accountability.
First you say house rules will demolish Untapable. Then you say maybe house rules best isn't enough and maybe Untapable will live up to the hype. Then you day house rules wins again. I think in order to say 'you've heard it here first' you need to pick a winner and stick to it. No it's and or buts. That just means you're trying to give yourself a way out if house rules loses. It's okay to say 'I was wrong' every once in awhile. For some reason this culture teaches us we can't. Just my opinion Brian, if you're confident in house rules then say she's going to win ten times over don't second guess it in the second to last paragraph!
Man, Brian, ya really gotta cut out the you heard it here first. That's twice I gotcha

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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