Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

The Gemologist decision looms large

Win Star Farm's Gemologist is doing extremely well in his preparation for his first race since coming out of the Kentucky Derby with a minor injury. So much so, that the strapping son of Tiznow must be considered a major player in whichever race he enters. The problem is, we don’t know whether that race will be the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday or the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday.
As far as the decision, trainer Todd Pletcher would only say, ““We haven’t decided yet. It’s the same thing that goes into every racing decision; where you think you have the best chance to win. We are considering entering both spots, but we might make a decision prior to that.”
If Gemologist stays at home and runs in the $600,000 Jim Dandy it could serve as a perfect prep for next month’s Travers Stakes, which is still considered the biggest prize of the summer, despite having an equal purse to the Haskell. The Saratoga might be a marginally easier field than at Monmouth, and would offer a race over the track before the Travers, but for less purse money than offered in New Jersey. In the Jim Dandy, Gemologist would likely be the betting favorite. Here is how I project the favorites in the race with Gemologist in it:
Gemologist  3-1
Teeth of the Dog  4-1
Alpha  5-1
Neck ‘N Neck  6-1
Fast Falcon 8-1
Liaison  8-1
Meanwhile, if Team Gemologist decides to ship out of town to go after the elusive Haskell-Travers double, he would only merit the second spot on my early odds for favoritism in the million dollar race. Here is what a Gemologist in the Haskell morning line might look like:
Paynter  2-1
Gemologist  5-2
Dullahan  5-1
Nonios  8-1
Le Bernardin  10-1
These odds are of course assuming that Hansen will use the West Virginia Derby as his Travers prep, rather than a late audible that would send the two-year-old champion to the Haskell, where he would likely be a slight favorite over Paynter and Gemologist.
As for Gemologist, he flashed his talented chops yesterday morning with his second straight bullet work at the Spa. Working in company with the four-year-old grade 2 winner Dominus, Gemologist breezed five furlongs in a sparkling 58.40 on the main track. The move was the fastest of 43 horses at the distance, and clearly left his conditioner pleased.
“He worked super. It was a very impressive work,” Pletcher said of the WinStar colt. “He finished up great, galloped out well, and recovered quickly afterward. I think his conditioning is very, very good. I thought he breezed as well this morning as he’s ever breezed. He’s always been a good work horse, but he was exceptionally good this morning.”

The Gemologist decision could well go a long way in deciding the winner of not just one big race this weekend, but two. What’s it going to be, the Haskell or the Jim Dandy?


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Older Comments about The Gemologist decision looms large...

I think everyone assumes that for Gem because he didn't do well in the Derby. IMO, I think it was too long of a distance and needs to stick around 1 1/8 mile
  • CraigBradshaw · he has 10f in his pedigree. just a matter of developing a little more. he should be in the money in the haskell behind paynter. · 2004 days ago
Gem is a cut below the best 3yr olds and needs to run in the Jim Dandy where the competition is more to his liking as for the Haskell Paytner is a complete stand out and is tearing down the barn ready to roll, the lightly raced son of EM is still improving and that thought alone is scary, cuold we be seeing another Ghostzapper in the making.
it was meant for jmac, Brian. And jmac, it all depends of the pace. That will be the deciding factor here.
I said Hansen would win the Iowa Derby easily, Dresage3295 ... or was that comment meant for someone else?
I see Paynter dominating this race.
You also said Hansen wouldn't win the Iowa Derby and that he would be badly beaten. Paynter will be the biggest problem. Dullahan may have trouble closing fast enough, but if he's not to far back and the pace isn't slow, watch out!
I really think Gemologist has a lot of upside in the Haskell, and I'm happy with the decision. If he presses Paynter, I see a favorable outcome for Gem. Nonios is another one that interests me a lot, and I really hope he continues to improve. I'll continue to bet against Dullahan on dirt until I learn the lesson the hard way.
Doubt he will.
Good, I was hoping he was. I think he should at least hit the board
WinStar Farm has confirmed that Gemologist will run in the Haskell.
Didn't Pletcher train Majestic City? That horse had his confidence stripped.
Teeth of the Dog will win the Jim Dandy. Alphas injury problems will keep bugging him and I think Gemologist is another Pletcher let down.
Well now he will with Bode, UR and IHA all out. Hansen is good, but he seems to me more of a speed horse, and with Paynter out front he would tire
No matter what Paynter will win the Haskell.
Agreed Mr. Thirsty, the Jim Dandy is in the same state where he won the Wood Memorial and traveling seems to be pointless if he's is going to the Travers at Saratoga anyway.
I think that Gemologist has a better chance to win the Jim Dandy than the Haskell.
if he was as good as they say he is he should run in both, that would be impressive!-)
Sorry, I meant four Stakes.
Ghostzapper won five graded stakes from July thru Oct., including the BC Classic to knock Smarty out of HOY honors.
No way, the Derby and Preakness were far more impressive than a Haskell and Travers win.

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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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