Chicago Railbird: 8.28.16

This Sunday’s Arlington 4th is a contentious and classy affair: a wide-open two-year-old maiden special weight going a mile on the grass.

The race drew a field of eight, and, an argument can be made for most of the field.  However, there is one horse who looks to have an experience edge and a pace edge — and who looks to be a playable price, to boot.

Head over to ShapperDaCapper, read the latest Chicago Railbird, and get ready for an exciting race at Arlington!

Picks and Ponderings: 2016 Travers Stakes Preview

This Saturday’s feature at Saratoga is a deserving one, even amid the Breeders’ Cup quality card: the Grade I Travers Stakes.

The Classic-distance race for three-year-olds drew a capacity field of fourteen.  The field includes two of the three Triple Crown race winners, the winners of both local preps, and a lot of horses who have been coming close against such illustrious company all spring and summer.  The Travers deserves its Grade I status, easily.

Over at Picks and Ponderings, we have analysis whether you like written words, video, or both.  I have full written analysis of my reasoning.  On video, Paul Mazur and I go horse-by-horse, since so many of the runners have a shot.

Let us help you get ready for the race of the summer.

Chicago Railbird:8.26.16

In this week’s Chicago Railbird, I take a look at a pair of races on Friday’s card that are among my favourite races to play.

It’s no secret that I love to play extended sprints: six and a half furlongs, seven furlongs, one-turn miles.  They’re interstitial: not quite sprints, not quite routes, but in a category of their own.  Friday’s card features a pair of one-turn polytrack miles, which are perfect chances to find the course and distance mavens, and get some value.

Head over to ShapperDaCapper, read the latest Chicago Railbird, and get ready for a couple of one-turn miles at Arlington!

The Tournament Edge: Shifting Focus…For a Moment

In my latest blog at The Tournament Edge, I talk about changing focus.

No, I’m not changing focus for good.  I have no plans to make my major circuits anything other than my usuals, Chicago racing and large stakes races.  But, I needed to do something to clear my head and refresh me, just in time for Travers weekend and for the next weekend of Illinois racing.

I found it last night in an unlikely place.  Head over to The Tournament Edge, and see where.

for the love of career maidens

I love career maidens.

One of my favourite pieces I’ve ever written was an essay about Eight Gauge…no longer a maiden, though it took over fifty tries for that to become the case.  My weekly email newsletter is called “The Career Maiden”, and the #CuteNoseAlert in the first issue was none other than forty-eight start maiden (and total sweetheart) Orphanellie.  There’s just something I love about those horses who keep showing up and trying, even though they never quite get it right.  I can relate to them far more than I can relate to the stakes winners, the graded-calibre performers, the horses considered successful.

Today, I watched a short film about a career maiden I did not know before, a Japanese horse named Haru Urara.  Her blinkers were too cute for words, she came along at just the right time for Kochi Racecourse, and the makers of this film did a fantastic job of telling her story.

Sit back for twenty minutes, and see it for yourself.

When I say horse racing is a game of stories, this epitomizes what I mean.

The Tournament Edge: Grass is Getting Greener for American Stayers

I make no secret of my love for marathon-length races.  In my latest blog at The Tournament Edge, I take a look at the division.

Da Big Hoss, of course, has emerged as a star in the division.  But, it goes past him, and the division as a whole has more options, more prestigious races, and more money than it did five years before.  We may even be getting to the time when our long-distance runners can compete internationally!

Head over to The Tournament Edge, and see why things are looking better and better for American stayers.

Picks and Ponderings: 2016 Pacific Classic Day Stakes Preview

This Saturday’s card at Del Mar features three graded stakes races.  I preview all three at Picks and Ponderings.

One is the Grade I Del Mar Oaks, which drew a contentious field of eleven to go a mile and an eighth.  The Del Mar Handicap is the one Grade II of the day, but its spoils include something quite valuable — a berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf.  The day’s highlight is the Grade I Pacific Classic, featuring the long-awaited battle between Beholder, Dortmund, and California Chrome.  The winner — be it one of them, or any of their six rivals — not only gets the lion’s share of a million dollars, but also punches their ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  I preview all three stakes races in writing, and I also do a video preview of the Pacific Classic with Paul Mazur.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read (and watch!) our preview of Saturday’s stakes action at Del Mar, and get ready for an excellent day of racing!

Picks and Ponderings: MONDIALISTE Wins the Arlington Million, but the Rest of the Day Belongs to Florent Geroux

Yesterday was the biggest day on the local racing calendar: Arlington Million Day.  The card featured six stakes races, including three Grade I events.

And, it proved an electrifying homecoming for jockey Florent Geroux.  Geroux won four of the six stakes races, including three of the Arlington International Festival of Racing events.  He also won one of the undercard races, making it five trips to the winners’ circle on the day.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, and relive the Arlington Million Day action!

Arlington Million Day analysis!

Tomorrow is Arlington Million Day!  I have been on site at Arlington all week watching the horses in the morning, and handicapping and writing through the afternoons.

In addition, don’t forget to listen to the Arlington Million episode of BARN, on which Jason Beem, Paul Mazur, and I talk Million.  And, I also did a series of Periscope broadcasts from morning works, which are available on The Tournament Edge’s Twitter feed.

Good luck in the Arlington Million, and enjoy Arlington’s marquee race day!