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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

The Debt Ceiling angle in the Champagne


One of the wagering angles that has served me the best over the years is not dismissing a horse because of one poor race. In other words, after finding a horse that I like, I should not give up on them because of one poor performance, no matter how bad that performance happened to be. Often these types are dismissed at the windows, because bettors tend to jump ship quickly. I’ve found over the years that if you are willing to draw a line through it, the rewards can be substantial. This angle will be tested in Saturday’s Grade 1 Champagne Stakes with a dark bay colt named, Debt Ceiling.

I liked what I saw from day 1 out of this Tim O'Donohue owned son on Discreet Cat, as he easily handled maidens at Laurel. He impressed again with a much the best win in the Rollicking Stakes on the Preakness undercard at 5-1. Despite crazy high morning line odds in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes, Debt Ceiling actually opened as the favorite, before finally drifting up to 5-1 in his first real class test. After a storm delay, Debt Ceiling coasted home a decisive winner. Next came the Grade 2 Sanford, but by then, the secret was out.

What secret exactly was out became the question after Debt Ceiling jogged down the Saratoga stretch some 36 lengths behind the winner as the 9-5 favorite. Moving up well on the backstretch, the John Robb trainee steadied sharply on the rail, and dropped back quickly. He remained within shouting distance until the turn for home, but had no interest in coming back up the rail, and was not asked for anything in the stretch.

So, there was an excuse, but still, it was not a performance that can offer any sort of real confidence against good horses in the future. That is, unless you are willing to just throw the race out completely. Most bettors will not, and therefore, I am expecting double digit odds in the Champagne.

Debt Ceiling has continued to work very well, and in fact, came back to outclass his opponents in a minor stake at Delaware a few weeks ago. He raised his lifetime record to 4-of-5, and the time in the sprint was fast, but truthfully, the competition was weak.

As any good handicapper should be, I’m a realist. I understand that the competition topped by Strong Mandate, Honor Code, and Havana may simply be too much for Debt Ceiling. But on the other hand, at big odds, I believe he is worth including on the tickets. His trainer has been red-hot of late, and he gets the very capable Junior Alvarado in the irons for the first time. After all, if you are willing to draw a line right through the Sanford, his form looks very good.  


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Older Comments about The Debt Ceiling angle in the Champagne...

Know to damn well,just wanted to try and blame someone else than the idiot that deserves the blame.
TM, what you just stated became so habitual as to cause me to look deeper. The thing is you already knew it. You didn't need me to tell you. I would say that's not the first time a horse came back to bite you.
Icy, where were you when i needed you with that advice and logic.I was all over Ron the Greek in the Woodward at 9/2. Yet abandoned him at 21-1.
I always bet a horse back at least once, no matter the outcome. The logic behind it being that if you saw something in the race prior, it should still be there the the next outing, even if the horse had a poor showing in that prior race.
You know I'm right there with you in regards to Debt Ceiling, Brian.
Also the two favorites best races were in the slop, it is possible that they will not be as good on a fast track. This might be a good race for a longshot pick.
You will get a good price for sure.

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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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