Thursday, March 16, 2017

WEG Handicapping and Betting, Notes and Comments: March 16, 2017

As I go forward, any race I make picks in will only be done if I think I am beating the favorite. Will I beat them all? Of course not, and I do not expect to. But, I know the percentages. Favorites win about 40% at WEG, and less than even money favorites win about 55%. That leaves a lot of room to beat them, and as well, I can't just beat 60% of favorites and 45% of less than even money shots. I have to do better than what others can with those to derive a profit over time. That is what I attempt to do, and I will list on each blog, starting with this one, where I am at on that. 
If I think the favorite has a very legit shot to win, then I pass the race. If I think I can beat that favorite, but can't reasonably come up with value plays below him or her within the number of picks in that race I deem the right formula, I still pass the race. By my count, that leaves me somewhere between 5 and 6 races a night to make plays from. Some nights that might be 9 races, other nights it could be 2 races.


Alexas Hope looks solid in here. She was locked in last time and looked to be very live. These are soft, she will draw a fairly short price, and I wouldn't go against her. I wouldn't single her either, but its not easy to find one or two behind her to pick from. Pass on the race for me.


7 Ohello Blue Chip showed flashes of speed at 2, and was aimed at some better prospects at times. She comes off the shelf here, and with Drury. I will take a shot with her on top, but in reality, I could see any of my top 3 as the one to take down American Sara, if that plays out as I suspect it could. She has missed a month, and that is troubling, but I will take my chances she has been trained in the interim.

5 Stonebridge Honey has gone 3 qualifiers now for Hudon, each one better than the one before. Hudon is old school, and that is the way you like to see it done. She is a filly prepped and ready to race. I generally don't like to play first time starters at this track unless they look like top stakes colts that tower over a field. I don't see many other places to land in this race if you are going against the obvious chalk, which I intend to do. She could easily use that gate speed and be sitting on American Sara's back turning for home, and that makes her very dangerous. Not my top call, but she is possible and I'd use her in the exotic horizontals.

6 Two Sides of Love showed a decent progression to get her first win, and was first or second 5 out of 6 at 2, twice however not getting it done at very short odds. That is not her fault though, as its a reflection of bettors who expected more of her at that stage than she was ready to give. Now, after a short rest, she is back off one qualifier at Flamboro. She might need one, but a 57.2 back half at Flamboro suggests she could just be ready to go off that effort. Another to use if you are going against the chalk.

2 American Sara broke her maiden in her 2nd start. The 2nd and 3rd place finishers have both come back to break their maidens, both fairly impressively. In that race, Fillion looked like he wanted to sit a pocket trip, but she was very grabby and he had to pull her and cut it. She also bore in badly coming out of the last turn, being completely inside one pylon and hitting another. In any event, she dug in and fought off the pocket sitter. She seems to have some future upside, but she has young horse holes at this stage. She gets another shot at this class, but missing 3 weeks plus is a red flag to me. She still probably brings a short price, and I will take my shot against her.

4 Roselily has 2 under her belt now, and looks to me to be a filly with a bright future. She travels well and is willing when asked to pace faster. Last time she took a tuck, stayed in, took a shuffle and had to keep edging up, checking mildly, then angling to go forward. Either her driver is not able to drive at race speed with the pros at this track, or he is just teaching her and being safe, but in either case, it doesn't matter. It adds up to poor value at this stage when she is not a bombs away type. I keep watching, and I might latch on to her at some point, if some of the variables change.

1 Double Down Jo qualified over 3 weeks ago,  but then came up sick for her career debut. In that qualifier, she stopped badly in the lane. Perhaps it was a sign she was getting sick, and that played out right after that. In any event, she did come home poorly and the one that beat her has not really impressed to this point. I will watch her once to see what she brings to the table. It could be 2 or 3 starts before we see what that is.

3 Northern Lauren won a couple of times at the B tracks, but at this track she has trouble going the last quarter the way the better ones do, even off easy trips. She barely raced until this year, and appears to have multiple issues that cost her at the big track when she needs max performance to achieve. I will pass on her.


7 Bustingattheseams went the mile you would expect last time, and one I expected to see. Leave a bit, get around, go forward at the end, take the time down and get experience. Back half in 59.1. Will she go forward? I have no idea. She could, and she will get some play. Shifting from post 1 to post 7 is a plus. I will add her to the mix of possible ones.

6 Travel Lightly stayed trotting last time and took his time down. Just another one of many who could step up...or blow up. Only one of them has to step up. The rest could blow up and you won't care. He shows consistent good back half speed in his last two. Post 2 has been horrendously bad for any horse to leave or win with the last 6 or 7 cards. In fact, its 1 for 73. This is a much better post. That is a consideration. That is good enough for me to add him among the other suspect ones.

2 Majestic Marvel raced with trotting hopples at 2, but made breaks anyway and was shut down. He qualified without them, but ran in the race and now has qualified again, with them back on. He shows flashes of fast quarters at times, and while he is extremely chancy, he is worth playing if you think the favorites in this one have enough issues to look behind them. I do, and this is one I would add with a shot if he pops into gear and figures it out. He could also easily be up in the air and distanced.

4 King of Magic has missed 5 weeks now and has a low percentage, infrequent WEG driver. He does have one thing in his favor: from a good post like this, he can leave fast and get the kind of trip that avoids the traffic and breakers that do many of these in. His performance overall is not good enough, and his finish is suspect. A couple of times, he has been near the money anyway in spite of that. He has also won a real race, and in pretty good time for Flamboro. He is another that is usable, but not reliable.

3 Forte drew the 8 hole last week and that cost him a bit. He did stay trotting this time and was in the mix. His last quarters are still consistently slow, and that is a concern. He might develop speed and steadiness as he goes, but getting that combo at the same time in the same race is Per's task. One he is up to I'm sure, but it's a process and that can take time. He is an Ontario bred, so I'm sure the goal is to have him sorted out when the Sire Stakes start, so he can earn against softer competition overall. At this stage, Per seems careful to not put him in a position to take a hard hold of him, and he might be one of those hot Angus Hall's you don't want getting any ideas that he can be the boss of you out there. I keep my eye on this one as he goes.

5 Dobee seems to be progressing. On the positive side of the ledger, she is finishing well and keeping her gait under control. Part of that is the way P Mac is driving her and managing her, and he is well known to be very good with young trotters, which is one reason why Bax goes to him with many of those. On the flip side, she needs to be floated away slow to keep her steady, and while she seems willing enough, she bears in sharply at times, even cranking her head, which is not a big deal if you are getting a price on her, but not something you want to accept if you get odds-on like last time, and a short enough price this time. The field was wafer thin last time, and although she passed those very easily she was no threat to the winner, not really gaining on him while the last quarter of the race was very slow. I like others for now. I will watch to see if her issues resolve. They seem to with Bax trainees and you can get the long price if you wait for that sweet spot.

8 Road Light at first glance, as I touched on yesterday in a blog, she appears to be a professional maiden in the works. However, last time she was mowed down by what appears a very legit green horse, who will be on to bigger and better things. It wasn't a bad effort, and she could once again get out on top and control things. I don't like her tonight, but she shows slight improvement, and I will keep my eyes and mind open on her. On the right night, with the right group and trip, she could be a value price play.

9 Blameitonthewhisky left out last time but was bearing in badly in the turn and blew up coming out of it. Post 9 tonight and there are some leavers inside of him. He appears to have some ability, but has not put it all together yet. When he leaves, he tries to go all he can go and stops like he did in the qualifier to get ready for another try. I will watch. There is something there, but the setup is not good tonight for him. Pass on him as an include.

1 Jayport Sport was tried early at 2, but was making breaks consistently and shut down. He has kept it together twice upon return, one in a qualifier where he had early interference but stayed to task, and then in a real race at Flamboro where he did again and bagged 2nd. He needs more speed now. I'm sure that will come, but post 1 for a green trotter who has issues with a driver who isn't a top guy would lead me to take a wait and see attitude.

10 Royal Intrigue is marginal to begin with, and draws another bad post, which she has shown not able to handle. I can't use her with all the strikes against her tonight.


8 Gillys Boy broke his maiden February 9th as a 13-1 longshot. He was on the move last time, and when I say on the move, he was flying, but made a wild speed break. It looks like he hit himself up front and almost went down. Fillion caught him and kept him going, but he was mostly in the road from there, and all over the track in the stretch. He appeared to bear in and hook wheels with the leader. In spite of all that, he still paced in 55. He comes right back on 10 days and hopefully, with some adjustment. I would keep my eye on the changes to see what Brethour tries. Shot in with this bunch if he can keep it together and use his speed to his advantage, not disadvantage. He is a big rangy type, and as Cams Card Sharks go, he reminds me a bit of Four Starrrz Shark, who had big ability as well but took time to come to it and be able to control it.

9 Lawrencetown Beach is a full brother to Melmerby Beach. If you recall that horse, the connections were very high on him as a colt, aiming him at the NA Cup and some other big dances. He did show that type of raw ability, but was prone to making breaks, as this sibling appears to be as well. I would think P Mac takes the careful, sensible approach tonight and keeps him pacing, only moving late on natural ability. Could that be enough to take this bunch? It looks like it could when you look them over, but I'd only add him to the exotics if you have extra room, and otherwise I'd roll the dice against it being tonight for him. He needs to be watched closely to try and time when he clicks in and delivers on his apparent potential.

6 Bettor Jin is a 3yo first time starter who comes in off one qualifier, where he did little but brush late. That is all he is required to do, and I'd be fairly certain there is lots more to work with. His half brother Jins Shark impressed me the first time I saw him at Mohawk, and their dam was a topnotch solid mare in her day. He came a back half in 57.2. I can use him and think he is very possible right out of the box. McNair sticks with Hermanus, and that is curious, but I still like the chances of this one.

3 Go Like a Pro has a license to have a shot. He drew the rail last time, and has 1's and 2's on almost all his lines. He knocked his time down to 55.4 last week, and while he didn't do much, he did that. Second off the shelf, better overall post, decent connections, suspect probable contenders, I can see where he is one to stick with on the chance he steps up and they step back.

2 Hermanus goes for his 3rd start back and McNair sticks to him when he appears to have had a viable option to go with. He has established he can pace a solid 55 mile, even slightly better the time before, but can he go forward and get near 54? I'm sure he can as he comes along, but he would need to tonight to probably win this race if the weather holds to what it looks like it will. I have enough options in this one that I will leave him off the exotics. Your call. If you think you have room, he is one to add. I'd certainly play him if my choice is Undrafted or him. I am leaving both off.

7 Undrafted was on top at the half last time, in soft overall speed, and turned for home with the lead. He had a first up horse all over the track, blocking traffic and hindering a live one who came right back this week and blitzed a similar group to this. All of that was not enough to get him to the wire. He was interfered with in the stretch, and that could be a reason to give him an excuse. J Mac has now given him two legit chances to win with very good steers and he has been outpaced by others. He could simply be developing, but I will go against him here and try others. He has to show me some grit and finish.

1 Mckinley can be terribly ugly gaited and even dangerous at times, but JJ got him around in the qualifier with a big, fast 3rd quarter move. Lets see how he stacks up for next time. Not tonight for me.

4 Secures Jetstream needed 3 practice runs to get back to the races. He doesn't show anywhere near the speed of most of these, and based on his breeding ( Jeremes Jet onto a The Panderosa dam) I am skeptical he is much stock. Lets see how that plays out. Adams has the gas, but you still need an engine to make a car go fast.

5 Southwind Savage will race for the 4th time in 14 days, and second time off very short rest. He didn't look sound at all parading on Monday, but raced okay. I like others and can't see him taking down a few of these. He will have to prove me wrong.


I will pass on these. Got to pick your spots and this one doesn't look like a good spot to try and get value. I do have my eye on Weslynn Dancer and  Zorgwijk Rocket, so I will be watching them closely.


Another race I will pass on. Mixed bag that can go many ways. Take your shot if you think you can find something. I don't see it.


7 Weatherly is an angle play for me tonight. Sure, he is the ML choice, at 3-1, and I'd hope to get close to that. 5-2 would be the lowest I'm willing to go, and even that is pushing it. I am of the opinion that the night he raced, post 1 and post 2 for any leaver was a big disadvantage, and few from those even tried it. Of the ones that did, he was one, and the energy he expended to leave, and then retake, cost him late, as he collapsed near the tote board. He has never been the grittiest type, but that was flat out a poor result and poor effort. I can give him a pass and give him a potentially valid excuse to bounce right back up from. He isn't meeting Cam Fella here. I won't take a penny less than 5-2 to find out though.

3 Counter Strike was shrewdly taken to Flamboro last time by Cullen, who took the 3k first money, put it in his pocket and comes back here to face the same bunch he was a "one of many" type before that. He beat the usual also ran types we see in this class here, being Dredyl Hanover and Blue Chip Sunshine, and whoever was behind them. These are tougher, but Cullen has showed me he can turn a mediocre form horse and get them going again within reasonable time. If my top choice bombs again, he is a viable option with his confidence restored. The winner of his race 2 back daylighted and bottomed out the field in crazy time, so the amount of lengths he got beat that night is deceptive. He did give up ticket money, but that was partly because he was chasing that one in vain. We often see those types come back better when they don't work so hard in the middle of a race. Like he did last time.

4 Hidden Potential is 1 for his last 42, and if I looked up his 2015 performance, I recall it wasn't any prettier. Lets be frank: he shows no grit, and any reason to give it up late, he will do that. Luckily for him, he is among friends here. These are so bad, I could make a case this is his night to have a shot if my top 2 both decide they don't feel like working for it tonight either when others come to them. J Mac seems to win with this kind every now and then. He is possible, but needs others to hand it to him. If you go back far enough, he has won this class at boxcar odds at least once, and possibly twice. Every dog has his day, and so does every rat.

5 Shoe Shine clearly was missing something last time on the move to Heard from Johnson. He was all done at the quarter and JJ eased up on him wisely. He came right back on 7 days and paced a decent 56 mile, behind an old class horse who qualifies great when he is forced to do that and a FFA bearcat from earlier in the winter. Another option if you don't like my top 2. I'd only be willing to go 3 deep here, so I'd use the 4 over him. His trainer is 0 for 24 this year and has never been high percentage. That is the tie breaker for me.

6 Koultons Rocket comes back to this track at the lower level he won at when last he won a race. He also draws the right post for the style he likes. He is also 4 for 50, or an 8% winner. I have to make choices here. I will go against him. He has competition for the front, and he isn't the type that works for it and wins many doing it. His 55 mile at Flamboro 2 back certainly stacks up here, so he isn't a toss if you want to go deep here.

1 Big Bang Boom for a while at 2, he looked like a decent prospect. He even dominated a few times, but he did show troubling signs, and when those surfaced, he was NFG. He never even won at 3 in 18 tries, and now he appears as an aged horse looking for a resurrection and spot where he can find a level and get his confidence back. He did pace in 52 in a Sire Stakes at KD, and that has to be respected. He isn't a slug, but he has to perform. I will watch tonight, and see if he gives me reason to back him going forward.

2 Sierra Madre is 2 for 42 the last two seasons, and shows that by hanging most nights in the lane. He hangs not because he doesn't try, but mostly, because he isn't the soundest thing and drifts out badly. He did close at Flamboro last time to bag 3rd, but, most of those are much softer than these, albeit these aren't world beaters either. He did come a very fast back half last week, and thus, he can make the bottom of the ticket picking up the bad trippers and non triers. I don't view him as a logical win candidate.

8 Southwind Razor has been with his current connections for as long as I can remember but now goes to Waxman off the claim and picks up Roy. I will stay away, as I suspect he will be wildly overbet on that angle and I'm not sure a class jump like this wont equalize that, even assuming the chemical potion he gets tonight will wake him up. If he was back in for 6500, and drew the rail at Flambingo, I'd probably take a shot.

9 Big John Houn is an Ohio purchase that has not worked out so far. He made consecutive breaks and had to requalify, which he did well. He will need a lot more speed here to take down Weatherly and a few others, and post 9 certainly dooms him to coming from behind, which is not something he has shown he can do at this track to this point. He does get a class drop, but he was outclassed before, so he is not dropping, he is searching.


Girl Drama is out. I will pass on the rest.


Terrible bunch to sort. Not for me. Cundalini finally draws a post that helps him not hurts him, if you are inclined to search for an angle here.


8 Queen Ideal according to Brealey, he thought she would need a start off the long layoff last time, and she was raced that way, closing late for a share. These are there to be taken and she has stakes experience and success to lean on, which most of these do not. She only has 1 lifetime win though, so, buyer beware. I could see her and use her here. One of a few who need the trip.

3 Itsallabouthebass has longshot upside potential. She has post 10 last time, post 2 the time before that as her current form off the shelf. She doesn't appear to be much stock, but if she can get away 4th to 6th, pick up decent flow cover and use the speed she showed last time for the back half, she is possible at a big price. Usable.

4 Tearful of Happy has the look of a beatable favorite, if she holds the ML assessment of that. For starters she has missed about 3 weeks, and she won by a nose last time. That was her 2nd win, the other being a maiden score. That means she is a nose away from being a 1 time winner in 14 starts. She is always around, but not the kind you can rely on at a short price. These types go down all the time. Last time, McNair tattooed her a couple of times to get off the wings, and was lucky to get the 2 hole, then came out and went back in, forcing another who was moving to back off and then come out later when she didn't want to. Deep in the lane, she was done, hopelessly locked in but the leader both caved and went right just in time to allow her to slip up the rail. A lot of luck went her way that night. I will bank on that evening up a bit tonight. She seems to need all of that to take these.

5 Greystone Ladyluck goes to Weller from Oliver, who claimed her from Belore, who had her probably since she first saw a harness. Its a potent angle, but I find with Weller it takes a start to figure these out, while he can do it faster with older more experienced types like 15 claimers. I will roll the dice against her and watch to see. I don't get any inside info otherwise, so I have to call it based on how he has performed in the past with this type.

9 Strike a Chord is the unknown here, on the trainer change to Boyd, new track, sparse racing as of late, and a tough post. Pompano is cheap speed, so her 54 mile there is meaningless. If I had a 3rd one to add, it would be her on the off chance she has more ability than she shows and Boyd turns her. Its a monster longshot type of angle.

7 Windsongmagnifique had nothing last time at Flamboro. I will give her a pass and suspect she couldn't get around, as she comes here. That's not a move you make unless you think that was the only reason she bombed out. She has had trouble lasting with these, so the win is hard to list, but she could make the bottom of the ticket.

6 On the Minute Mark is 1 for 27 life, and isn't getting it done with these. Trevor goes to Weller as you would expect. I will pass. She has to do a lot more to get my interest back.

1 Ok Jewel got a free spin with maidens last week and did well with it, coming late for 2nd, no match for the winner, and beating a kamikaze front ender and another who looked bad sitting a loose pocket the entire way. She meets tougher again, and doesn't look viable when she meets others who have done more than she has before. I could see her sneaking on the ticket if they battle and come back to her late.

2 Alliwannadoisplay is 2 for 41 life. Not good. Win number 2 came last time at Flamboro in a conditioned claimer. I don't see anywhere near the speed of many of the others in here. Can't back her on a lot of variables.

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