Sunday, July 27, 2014

Luigi, in 1:52.4!

Horses improve. And they regress. That is, like life, just how it goes.
And in a lot of cases, they start out with high hopes, only to disappoint and eventually find their level.
I have a few memories of that from the late 1980's when I first started going to the races.
Concord Al was the first one I recall, although I'm sure there were many others that I don't before him. He was a good bred horse for the time, and when he first came out, he would get bet heavily and mostly fail. Eventually, after about 20 starts, he had broken his maiden and was floundering badly at nw2. That is usually the point that successful trainers and owners with aspirations to only have good horses give up on them.
I remember thinking, near the end of that run one night at Greeenwood Intertrack watching Mohawk that this horse was just a bad bet and to avoid him. As a bettor, I had given up on him as well. That night he was a heavy favorite and looked very beatable, which he did let happen that night. I couldn't see why people still were so high on him. But, there was something there. We found that out later. I think I bet him to show, and he hung on for that for dear life. I was prepared to not touch him again until he found whatever low suitable claiming level he was to drop down to. Most of them do that as a rule.
My memory is that Tony Kerwood was the trainer/driver and maybe part owner as well with the Simmonds, who were his big owners at the time. They had many pretty good horses, Just Bold and Portent being two and there were a few others. Concord Al seemed to be the one that clearly was not working out that likely should have and was expected to. 
Then he either got claimed or was sold privately ( I don't remember but I think claimed) and was in the middle of an unproductive 4yo year.
Then, for whatever reason, he snapped. He just started to win. And win. And win. The next thing you knew, the horse that couldn't beat horses who couldn't beat other horses won his way quickly up the ladder to the FFA. That was about 3 months. 
One summer night at Greenwood, he won the FFA in a track record time. It might have been on the same night as the North America Cup. I'm not sure, but that is my memory and I think John Campbell was on him. I do remember him getting a standing ovation, which is rare at the track as he came back into the winners circle. There was a very big crowd that night, for whatever the reason. 
He won for quite a while, and then one night, he backed through them while on the lead. Badly. Like the old Concord Al.
Eventually, he started to work his way back down, although he was a pretty good 60, then 40, then 20, then 15 claimer for a couple of years. Until he was cooked. 
The guy that took him, and got him to the top was Bill Budd, who was known for being able to liven up this type of horse. At least he was at that time. 
About 10 years later, I was stabled at a barn with an owner who had been with Budd for many years. He sent him a very old classy trotter named Contessa Blacky,  and he livened him up for a couple of months as well. He had some sort of magic. Not saying what that was. It is not for me to say. Lets just say many others don't have access to it. 
Concord Al ended up in the hands of David Smith, who did what he does best. He sent him to the front every week and he won many a 20 claimer for a while under those circumstances. Until he couldn't go anymore. About a year later, I saw him in a mixed sale at Mohawk, The Royal Blue I think, and his legs were horrific. White dots everywhere, and they were stovepipes. Clearly, he was never going to race again. But, from being a non performer, he rose to the top of the sport at his home track. That happens, from time to time.
Bag And Tie was a much different scenario, although pretty much the same result. From one of the first crops of Ralph Hanover, he was considered well bred at the time. In hindsight, if you view Ralph Hanover as a colossal failure as a sire (which almost everyone I know does) then he was a nickel bred. His dam was decent enough, but nothing great either. He probably cost decent money as a yearling and was one of many that Blair Burgess had each year. At that time, he had just come off some very good years in which he'd had Amity Chef and Frugal Gourmet, two horses that came out of nowhere and were among the best young horses of their crops.
Most trainers know that you will have a few like that, a few that are what they are, and then you have the Bag And Tie's. Horses that simply don't do any good, no matter what you do. Blair Burgess has a few of those every year, and at or near the end of their 3yo season, he sold pretty much all of them because he had to make room for the next crop. Many horses that were late bloomers, like Money Money Money, developed into very nice horses after they left his care. He has no problem with that. He is a colt guy, and you can only train so many.
Bag And Tie didn't look like he was ever going to be one of them that did much of anything other than become a 3 claimer at Belleville. If that.
Then somehow he was sold privately to someone who I had never heard of, and had never done much with any horse, and he exploded on a very nice run, although steadier than the rise Concord Al had, and ended up also being a decent FFA horse for some time. I think he also might have gotten the track record, or close to it. He did seem to fade off fast after that. I don't recall specifically. And that trainer, unlike Bill Budd, didn't have another one anywhere near as good as Bag And Tie, while Bill Budd went on to have some very good horses, one of them being Sir Luck, who won a big race like the Metro at 2.

Another type of horse you see from time to time at the track is the old class horse who is down on his luck for quite a while and then suddenly he finds his way again and shoots up the class ladder.
I'll Be There was just such a horse. Dr. John Hayes had him then. He had been a good horse for a while in the States, but when I first encountered him he was racing 2500 claimers at Orangeville, and at that point had start to beat them fairly handily. Still, that was a long way from even being a bottom claimer again at the OJC, which was what we called WEG before it became corporate and less about racing and more about gaming. He was a very well bred American horse who had won some decent stakes as a young horse and competed for a while in the top aged ranks.That was ancient history by the time he got to Orangeville.
Eventually, over a couple of months, he made it back to WEG, and held his own. After a few months, he had worked his way up the condition ladder and over time, made it back to the Jr FFA and won it a few times. I'm sure he went back lame and worked his way back down to a 2 claimer somewhere. I don't recall. But most of those do. 
Which brings me to last Friday. I was watching Mohawk, as I usually do on a Friday night, but also keeping my eye on Grand River for any good plays. I don't keep stats or data on Grand River, so it is simply intuitive old school handicapping when I play anything there. 
I happened to notice Luigi in the 10th race. As I looked over the program and then watched him score out, I thought he looked solid. I did know a bit about the backstory of Luigi.
Luigi has always been a very cheap horse. Raced in 3 claimers at the Western Ontario B tracks for years. He is fairly well bred, being a son of Camluck, out of a good bred mare who has produced a few good, yet unspectacular racehorses. He was probably meant to be better than he ended up turning out. Much like Concord Al and Bag And Tie. Most horses fall into this category. 
Back in early winter, Luigi got claimed from a guy who had had him for a very long time, Dominico Diccico. I know him a bit from when I used to race against him. I would say he is a competent trainer, but certainly not top shelf, even for the B tracks. Dean Nixon, who is top shelf, both at the B tracks and the big show tracks like WEG, also realizes that. So, he figured Luigi was worth a shot and claimed him out of a 5 claimer in early winter. He does that a lot, and has decent overall success with that strategy. Which he did with Luigi, and he won a few races at WEG, and then lost him in an 8 claimer. The next people that had him couldn't get him to go, and he was clearly struggling. I happened to be on the SC website and saw that Luigi was for sale. I didn't pay much attention to that, but then I saw he was racing at Grand River this night. No qualifiers. Just off those bad racelines he was bought off of by Carmen Auciello and his owners. 
He was in for $6500, which seemed reasonable enough, and his odds were very low. He was being played. He was a definite go.
I certainly wasn't born yesterday, and I have seen first time Carmen Auciello work magic before. Mego Moss and BWT Taj, Macho Chick, Barocky and many others come to mind. I caught All Chrome mid winter at 20-1 off this very angle.
In this case, it was a relatively soft bunch, and the odds were 5-2. So, I jumped in. I was just hoping he was good enough.
Good enough? That was an understatement. 

A horse who was non performing for at least a couple of months paced a front end mission, coast to coast, in 1:52.4 over Grand River. I don't know that the track record is there, but it isn't far off that. I think he had at least 2 seconds in the tank, and if he had used those, think about what that mile would be. That is simply insane. 
55.3 to the half, and then widening out with every step after than under a hard hold. 3/4 in 1:23.4 and he got one very light whip tap to I suppose keep him interested, which didn't seem to be a problem as he was on fire.I will be very interested to see where Luigi goes from here and how he does. He might level off right away. But he strikes me as the type of horse that could pull off a Concord Al or Bag And Tie run. The next start will be a big tell. If he were to even repeat that mile from last Friday, he certainly would whip 20 claimers at WEG. That is likely a 1:49 mile and he was completely by himself the whole way. 
You simply don't see horses win like that at any track, let alone the B tracks, unless they are very high caliber stakes horses who outclass their competition and are allowed to keep doing that because the stake isn't restricted. 
This was a 6500 claimer. I will say that again, in case you missed it. A 6500 claimer. At a B track.
As Gary Guy is fond of saying..giddy up!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jimmy Takter fixed a race. That is what he did.

"The facts are that the horse driven by J Takter #3 Scream And Shout (102-1) Had just won a race at the Poconos on the front end with a 27.2 first 1/4 and 56 first half from the 7 hole yet was unable to advance in this race with a 27.2 first 1/4 and a pedestrian 57.4 half from the 3 hole. Calculations show that the Takter driven horse went the first 1/4 in 28.1 and hit the half in 58.1 which is a long way from where it could go. After reviewing the replay of the race several times it is obvious by the positioning of the horses head that she was restrained from advancing and certainly NOT urged on. Add to the fact that the other Takter horse was also parked behind the #3 eliminating any chance of another horse challenging for the lead which lead to an unheard of 30.1 2nd 1/4 . Horse racing is a sport that you bet on unlike bike racing which compete and help other team mates throughout the race or even car racing. Betters digest the information from the program and it is a given that ALL participants will abide by the rules of horse racing and NOT collude with other drivers to influence the outcome of a race. I have no doubt that the winner from Takter's barn Shake It Cerry was given an unfair advantage with the help of other stable mates."

-that was from Norm Brunet, in the comments section this morning on the SC website. 

Lets start this with two overriding principles of the roots of horse racing and the modern realities that current exist.

Originally when horses raced against each other--(and in most cases it was two horses racing many times with the owners putting up money against each other,  winner take all) it was to see who had the better and faster horse. That IS still the basis for all racing. Who is the best horse? The best horse should win the race and get the bulk of the purse money, however that is created. That is what most bettors bet on. Who is the best horse on that day, in that particular race and therefore, most likely to win based on the presumption that all are trying first and foremost to win.
The current reality is that horse racing is a business, where the purse money for the most part is created from betting from the public at large. In stakes races, part of the purse is created from payments that various owners make, the starting fees of the current entrants, a portion of the betting public's wagers, and of course, in the true modern reality, from subsidies from governments and casino profits. 
In any case, the overriding principle still exists. You race because you think you are the best, believe you should win, and the only goal you should have in a race is to win the race, based on your best estimate of how to race your horse to do that. People bet on that race because they make a tacit assumption that you are going to do that. Whenever that isn't the case, the whole foundation of the industry crumbles to the ground like Jimmy Takter's great reputation just did on Saturday night.
In my view, and many others, that is not even close to what happened Saturday night in the Del Miller.

So, what does this really mean? Well, the facts are, that if you accept Norm's assessment, which I do and most who watched the race and understand even a bit about harness racing do, then what Jimmy Takter did was race fixing. Pure and simple. I doubt he did it for the purposes of cashing a ticket, but that doesn't really matter. He fixed a pari-mutuel race, and in so doing, is in clear violation of the most serious of rule infractions.
Some have said that he wasn't alone in his tactics. That Yannick Gingras, a highly respected and successful driver who was driving another of Takter's entries in this race, colluded with him. I don't see it that way, but I can see where others might.
Did Gingras do something wrong? Maybe he did. But that is debatable. At least he wasn't the one locking in the favorite and moved forward and tried to win when he could. Did he sit back too long and block the outer flow? Maybe. But he wasn't sitting 3 wide the whole way. Any of those could have tried to loop him if they wanted to. He was on cover, and that is good enough for me. He used the clear lane he had in the stretch to advance, which is his right and he shouldn't allow the favorite out if he can pin him in...while he is going forward. That is just good driving. It is not like he was sitting on a very live horse, or one of the two favorites. He was on dead cover, and the reason why that cover was dead isn't his fault. Should he have moved 3 wide a lot earlier around that cover? Probably. But in any event, he wasn't the one blocking the favorite in on the rail...on purpose...and nobody from the backfield was moving at all. So, he seems to be a non factor to me. Unless, of course, it can be proved that he was told to race in a manner that furthered the cause of the actual winner,  and not the horse he was driving. That simply isn't going to happen, so pursuing anything publicly with Gingras is a dead end. Privately, the judges and or racing commission will call him in and warn him that he might have gotten away with one this time, but they will be watching him and there won't be any leniency next time if he is caught racing and not trying to win but impede others on purpose. 

 "this is ridiculous its a bloody horse race anything can happen. Mr Gural, he doesn't like the way a driver drives so he bans him and now hes going after Takter??? watch the race - the horse had no go! you know how many times I have been parked out or locked in and couldn't go anywhere and should have finished better then I did? lots of them!! its harness racing things happen! move on and see you next week! and further more if the favourite was the one to beat then he should have been going right from the get go! not to mention he got out in lots of time to win that!!"

-that from Christopher Long in the same comments section.

I know of Chris Long from watching Saratoga and Plainridge. Quite frankly, he is a horrific and dangerous driver who would make a stupid comment like that. I watched two weeks ago, where a horse he had been beating on and overdriving for several weeks finally fell when he gunned her out and beat on her. He is also a guy who was given a stiff fine for driving in a non competitive manner a few months ago at Saratoga. Of all people, he really should keep his mouth shut.
If he actually thinks that Designed to Be could have made the lead, or then could have come on and won that race after that 2nd quarter and total loss of momentum until very late, he is a bigger fool than he appears to be. One thing you can say though is this: Brian Sears was trying to win the race, and not impede others, and he never stopped trying to do that all the way to the wire. If not for Takter's tactics, he certainly wins the race. He only got beat a length as it is. The back half in 55.1. Which means he would have had to go in 54.1 to win it, and that is with no shot to make a move for all of the 3rd quarter and most of the stretch. Even a novice fan and the average handicapper knows that when you are pinned in, you rarely get a chance to win unless you are very close to the pace. 

Some have said that Designed To Be, the favorite, should have left out hard and been out and going. That just ignores the facts of the race. She got outleft by Coooler Schooner, who is a blistering leaver, then was behind that one when she ran in front of her, at which time Sears had to take hold, and then was locked in the rest of the way when it all shook out. Anybody who watches the race and understands driving horses can see that clearly.
No, the only true conclusion that any right thinking person could make is that Jimmy Takter fixed that race. That is what he did. He is a cheater. He cheated the betting public and he cheated the owner of Designed To Be of a fair chance to win purse money. It is no different than if he had gotten caught cashing tickets on some longshot he bet while driving another horse badly to achieve that. To view it any other way goes against the roots and current reality of horse racing. If he is allowed to get away with it, he is basically telling the betting public, the people that ultimately pay his salary, that they shouldn't even bother showing up and supporting him and others. If other horsemen don't speak up about this...which they wont because there is an unwritten code not to....then they shouldn't be surprised one day when they are working at Walmart as greeters because the slot money is gone and the bettors have long left as well.
The bottom line? Jimmy Takter is a bullying, classless cheater who is flaunting his transgressions right in front of the public and the judges. If ever there was a time for Gural to enforce his property rights and ban Takter for life for "misconduct that isn't in the best interests of racing" this is the instance
Nothing short of a 5 year complete suspension is in order. He is a cheater, of the worst kind. He should be banished from the sport.
If he is allowed to be the trainer of record in the Hambo, then the sport is a mockery. 

Will the racing commission do any of that? Nope. They wont. Jimmy Takter makes a lot of money, and has both very powerful friends and many of those have very deep pockets. Nobody would want to take him on and incur the kind of legal fees that would be necessary. 
Jimmy Takter fixed a race. That is what he did. I don't think many would dispute that. What will the powers that be do about that? I don't think many know for sure. But they are watching.  Watching to see if racing is going to take a stand against the very thing that has been driving fans towards the poker tables and slot machines for more than a generation.
I for one will be very interested to see if Gural is forced to and does take a stand,  how many tracks,  like WEG, support him and do the same. If not, they are making a statement that cheating in races is okay with them. I don't think that is something you ever want the public thinking. Right now, many are thinking that.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

We are athletes. Mental athletes. We aren't robots.

Bettors are athletes. Mental athletes. We aren't robots. Neither are horses. We all need a break to stay at our best. It is something we need to remember as bettors and consider about the horses we bet.

BWT Taj was one of the horses I bet on Tuesday. I did that because he made a lot of sense on the data points I had, and the price was also good value. On paper that is.
But in my notes on his previous races, I had noted that he looked like a tired, warn out horse to me. I rarely bet those types, because I know that horses are like people. They are good when they are good, but they get run down and tired just like anybody, and when you have to compete at the level many of them do, you can't get away with so-so performance most nights. Not at the better tracks anyway.
I only bet him big to show, and made a small win bet. I thought he might turn it around and win, and the price made it worth that, but as I looked at the field, I couldn't find 3 horses he couldn't outlast off the very soft trip I expected him to get. Coming to the top of the stretch, after sitting in the pocket the whole way on a leader who was going forward, I thought he was the winner. At the very least, he appeared to have 2nd locked up and 3rd at the worst if one horse came flying from behind. Even past the tote board, he still looked good enough to get 3rd. And then............he gave it up and lost 3rd to a horse who had recently been a non performer. 
So, I knew he was tired and you shouldn't bet tired horses. But I did anyway. Why did I do that?
Mostly, I thought he could hang on. But, I know better than that. But in addition, the trainer made a comment on twitter that suggested the horse was tired, or sore, or a combo of both, and that he had taken care of that.

"R5-BWT taj-kinda needed that week off, now he's fresh for his second crack at older horses.Wasn't disgraced last time!"

And now we get to the portion of the blog where I tie that all in.

I had a good day on Tuesday. Good, but tiring. I bet most of the day, and handicapped much of the time I wasn't betting. By 10pm, I stopped. I was just tired. People who don't do it have no idea how tiring that can be.
When you bet horses seriously, you are an athlete.
We are athletes. Mental athletes. Fatigue is a very big factor.
I don't think people really understand how sharp you have to be, how you have to see everything there is to see, to cash decent tickets. The margin of error between winning 10 bucks and losing whatever it is you bet is very small. You are going to lose enough anyway, no matter what you do. You simply can't afford to lose the ones you should have won. Or, bet the ones you will lose that you should have avoided. BWT Taj falls into that category. I did have that nagging gut feeling I should avoid him, but I took my shot anyway. I made mostly good bets on Tuesday, even a few that lost, but if I had to pinpoint one I would not make again in hindsight, that would be the one. He was tired. I knew he was tired, and you shouldn't bet tired horses. They race like tired horses, and tired horses get passed at the end by fresher horses. All that makes perfect sense.
When you are handicapping, an afternoon nap is really important. It refreshes you. Yesterday, I took one, and when I awoke, I was alert, but still a bit tired and certainly not fresh. If I began to bet, I probably would have lost because I would be making mistakes. And all that would mean is that I had to make those losses up, losses I shouldn't incur in the first place.
So, I have learned to simply not bet some days, or for some stretches. I would rather miss a few wins than incur a whole whack of losses because I really wasn't up to doing my best.
As mentioned yesterday, I did catch Nirvana Seelster, and I did that mainly due to my data study, but also due to watching him and seeing that he was a tired horse, but would likely rebound and come back to form at a price because others wouldn't take that into consideration. That is where the value is..and it was this time. I got 8-1 on a horse that likely was really a 3-1 horse. That can make up for a lot of mistakes like the one on BWT Taj.

 "NIRVANA SEELSTER is one I was all over 2 starts back when he showed consistent and explosive closing speed. He got a horrible trip that night, partly because Hudon drove a poor race and partly because the horse isn't right. I thought he might be better this time, but he was cranking his head sideways into the first turn and only bested the balance of a weak bunch. He is going backwards now. Hopefully Budd can get him right, and he has a history of being able to do that. I would watch him very closely in the post parade in the next few starts, and play him if he looks good and avoid him if he doesn't."

This was my comment a week before. I thought he looked better, and fresher on this night, and that was the difference for him this time. Horses and people aren't robots. You have to assess how they are this week. And not pigeonhole them based on a bad week or stretch.

A couple of years ago, I was watching the Don Cherry documentary bio movie about his life, and they went over the big incident when he went off on Brian Williams about the big hockey fight at the World Juniors about 20 years ago. In the movie, Cherry's wife, Rose, explained to others that Don Cherry still thinks he is a hockey player, and as such, he needs his afternoon nap. When he was called out of the blue for that TV gig, he was napping, and because he didn't have that, he might have said things and done things he otherwise wouldn't have. That has stuck with me for a while. I respect that you must be who you are and maintain your sharpness, if you want to bet, or be the successful racehorse you are bred to be. I think many trainers would do well to start respecting that. Since they mostly don't, and just keep sending out tired horses, I have to just take advantage of that fact. Which is a fact.

With that, I will handicap a race tonight where I see that factor coming into play. It won't guarantee me a winner, but at least it gives me a starting point to look for value.

Tonight's 11th race at Charlottetown would be considered the feature race on the card. Fillies and Mares Open. The top purse. Most of the races at Charlottetown can be hard to handicap, because so many of the horses are poor, or sore, or even lame, or just hard to separate. 
But with this class, the form is somewhat easier to follow. Which means if you can find a slight edge, then you will get a very good price on a horse you can have some confidence.
So, I will handicap this whole field on that principle, because as I see it, this is a race about trip and form. In reality, most races are. Very few races have a horse that so outclasses the field that none of that matters. It pretty well always matters. 
And in this race, you have multiple horses that appear to be at various stages of the form and energy cycle, but for reasons that I understand well, will be overbet or underbet because of their apparent on paper form, which most bettors love to rely on when they bet. It is a lazy way to handicap, but as long as they are willing to do that,  I am more than happy to take advantage of it. As long as I am sharp enough to put that effort in. Today, I am.
Lets begin. One by one.
1) For All We Know 

Back in the early winter, she was the sharp one. The one taking all the money. The one winning or just getting beat week in, week out.  She got claimed out of a 12 claimer at Yonkers,  and immediately her form went off. At some point,  she was sold and arrived in the Maratimes and has now been freshened up and qualified. Her qualifier was excellent, her post is very good this time, and she looks like she might get the trip to take advantage of a speed battle of many others. The only question is whether or not she is race fit to go the speed this race requires. I think she might be a second short of that, but I'm not sure. I would want a decent price, say 5-1, and that might be there. She does appear to have a class edge on most in here. But class isn't always enough.

2) J K Special

Was very sharp for a while, moved up the class ladder and even took these down at huge odds once.  But generally, although she used to be a pretty good mare, she isn't as good as most of these anymore.  In a real  competitive field like this,  I can't see her being anything but a mare trying to hang on to 4th or 5th money. I will play against her,  and her likely big price.

 3) Andro Madi

 Is the wildcard in this race, and in my mind, everything hinges on her. I know her better than most of these because she raced at Mohawk and London for a long time before coming East. I knew, and know that she is a very fast leaver who loves the front and will go a long way to get it. Also, her driver is one who seems to insist on having it, and will drive hard to get it even when he shouldn't. He has done that for weeks, and she has appeared to wear down as that takes a toll on her. I bet her two starts back, to show, and figuring she was a cinch, she almost lost 3rd at a very short price. She sort of rebounded last time for a decent 2nd, but the hard trips are piling up on her. She certainly goes to the top again, and I see her collapsing earlier this time, probably down the backside. I will play against her. She looks like a tired horse in reality who maybe doesn't show the extent of that on paper.
She has had 6 very hard trips in 5 weeks.  Not many would even have anything left at this point. Others can take advantage of that on her, but I'm certain the bettors will hammer her again. She is a very hard trier, and game, but like I have pointed out in this blog, when you are tired, you simply can't give what you don't have.

 4) General LuckyPercy

 Has been the benefactor of some very good trips on Andro Madi's back and got the job done the last two times. Mostly though, she is an also ran who finishes 2nd and 3rd a lot against these types. I see her taking a lot of money,  possibly even going off as the favorite, and she might not even get the pocket this time. I will avoid her. She can win, but it is very unlikely. If I was playing the triactor, I would use her for that, but otherwise she doesn't strike me as a major threat.

 5) Stayoutofmyaffair

Has been an also ran with these types for a while. She requalified with the hopples on raced better and finished closer last time with these,but she still doesn't show enough for me to play her. Eventually, her turn might come. She was good enough in the past. As Jason Hughes has two in this race and has chosen his other to drive, for tonight, I will pass on her.

 6) Brodys Leona

Simply doesn't look at all competitive with lesser horses,not to mention some sharp ones in here. So, I pass on her right off the bat, until she shows me something that suggests she isn't just in this class to drop some money to drop down for a score.

 7) Bunny Mach

She is the razor sharp, former very classy mare who looks to very contentious. She has jogged in her last two, whipping these. However, post 7 in this type of field means she is going to get a tough trip. 
She generally takes back from the outside, and appears a lot more brave on the lead, which she is highly unlikely to get tonight.  She is possible, but not probable. And again, two hard trips to win. She is not likely to be able to keep that up at her age. I could see her missing the board entirely,  or getting up for second from an overland trip. But not winning.

 8) Veronicavermillion

Is capable enough, but post 8 really hurts her. It wouldn't shock me if she won it, but I can't see her getting it done. Triactor play though. She finds a way to be involved and capitalize when others fail,which a few might do in here. She seems fresh enough and good enough to consider.

Here is my picks, in order,  top to bottom. I went with the fresh, class horse, and hope she is tight enough to follow Andro Madi and get out in time to win it. If not, Bunny Mach or General Lucky Percy are the next two to get it done.

1) For All We Know
 7) Bunny Mach
 4) General LuckyPercy
 8) Veronicavermillion
 2) J K Special
 3) Andro Madi
 5) Stayoutofmyaffair
 6) Brodys Leona