Here is what I don't like: She is racing back a bit too early off a lifetime high speed figure. She is a filly coming off a great race. Her post is only going to hurt her. She will be chasing boys this time, though the boys are inferior to boys from years prior, she won't be chasing inferior girls this time out. In other words, she won't be superior enough to stalk from the chasing position....she'll be chasing, and that isn't the best position today as the race is full of chasers.
Big Drama, from the one hole, is who Rachel will be chasing. Big Drama is making his first start in 40 odd days, and I expect him to get an unchallenged lead for around 4 furlongs, but I think he'll be forced to exert himself too early from there, and he is expected to be short on fitness today for the full distance. Still, when he picks it up, it will take a toll on Rachel and the other lesser chasers, setting the race up for a sustained pace horse.
Mine That Bird has bounce written all over him. After destroying the field in the Derby, I don't expect the same peak effort today. Though he will be coming from the perfect position, I look for him to maybe be third or fourth today.
Musket Man has yet to be off the board in 7 lifetime starts. It is a bit concerning that he is making his 6th start this year already, but he just seems to show up every time he runs. His jockey knows him by now, and he looks like he can handle any distance.
Luv Gov is coming off a maiden win with the same type of great trip The Bird had on Derby day. He was a perennial maiden too, before that win. Speed numbers look inferior, and that usually does matter, though it didn't in the Derby.
Friesan Fire is making his second start off a bit of a layoff. He ran predictably (by me) disappointing in the Derby, and supposedly grabbed himself. How he is able to run back so quick after losing part of his foot in a major race is beyond me. I wouldn't be surprised if he is scratched today. If he runs, I'll just watch him. If he runs good, I'll just turn the page.
Terrain looks like he'll enjoy the distance, and he looks like he has a future, and the pace will favor him today. But the 35 days off means that he shouldn't be good enough to hit the board.
Papa Clem looks to have good tactical speed. If he can run back to the Arkansas Derby he has a fighting chance today. He will be compromised a bit if it is a deep closers track. His post could be the key to him being right there.
General Quarters is making his 13 lifetime start and 13th race in the same racing cycle. This is a work horse. You can take a black magic marker and eliminate his last running line, as his post and the trip killed his chances. His running style is perfect for today's race. I think his preferred distance would be a mile and a sixteenth or a mile and an eighth. But he does represent a value play if his odds are close or higher than his morning line.
Pioneer of the Isle ran better than I expected in the Derby. He can handle the dirt. But I still think he is a few lengths inferior to today's main contenders. He will probably wait for Rachel to make her move before he tries to fire today. I just see him bidding and hanging today.
Flying Private had no chance in the Derby thanks to his trip, but his best race to date was on the poly, and a repeat of that race wouldn't win today. Can't see here.
Take The Points is another layoff horse (42 days). Other than that, I thought he was an actual contender for the Derby this year at one time. Looks like he may force Rachel out an extra path in the first turn, but figures to chase and pack it in.
Tone It Down is the home team horse. I've seen these types do well against inferior type fields in the past at long odds. He doesn't have the speed to be on the lead, and it wouldn't surprise me if he is seventh or eighth around the backstretch. He is an improving sort, but when taking the post into consideration and a compromised running style, I'm not expecting much.
Rachel Alexandra will be a beaten favorite most probably. I've already explained why.
My top four:
Mine That Bird
Remember, I'm a value handicapper. I'm pretty much making a statement today that Rachel Alexandra does not represent value.
Chantal Sutherland has given Mike Smith some tips on how to ride The Bird:
"(Talk with Chantal Sutherland, girlfriend and former rider of MTBird) -- Actually, I have. She's given me a lot of insight about him. She told me he's really rider-friendly. He'll do anything you want him to do. One thing she did tell me which is kind of a key and I saw it in the Derby is when he first leaves there he might want to go with you but once you let him know that's not what you want, then he seems to settle really well. So I should have no problem with that."
I wonder if Chantal would rather have that first line read "rider of MTBird and former girlfriend."
Lots of talk on the blogosphere this week of the negative effect that slots have had on horse racing growth. My two cents:
People only have so much disposable cash, and the "dummy slot" bettor of today, was yesterdays dumb money at the race track. Sure, they lose more per capita on slots than they did on horse racing in the past, but racing hasn't been able to make up for the loss of the dumb money bettors. And more importantly, for today's player, armed with a racing form or computer generated selections, now for the most part, it is good handicappers versus real good handicappers, who compete against each other at a slightly higher takeout than what was out there 15-20 years ago. So it is much easier for good players now to be discouraged from betting, because it is so difficult to win, much more difficult than 20 years ago. This causes many to just leave. Because there aren't very many winners (especially who do so without rebate), there is no buzz from winners. This means there is no lure to newbie gamblers to try horse racing because the game can be beaten, like there is in sports betting, or poker or exchange betting.
One more thing. John Q Smith goes to the track with $200. On average it takes him $1000 worth of bets to go broke. The track winds up splitting the $200, with, depending on jurisdiction, about $90 going to the track, $90 going to purses, and $20 going to taxation etc.
When John Q Smith goes to the slots with $200. On average it takes $2000 worth of betting to go broke. The time it takes to lose on either horse racing and slots is probably around the same depending on how the individual bets. But in the end, the track winds up with $20, and the purses wind up with $20.
To a racetrack, it would have been more prudent to convert these potential slot players to horseplayers before slots came along. Even if they could convert 1 in three or four, they would wind up further ahead. But they didn't because they refused to compete by not making the game more affordable when they could have.
See also Slots Are Poison For Growing Demand In Racing and Slot Machines Spreading Disease