Last week was a quiet one for my stable. Curlin’s Fox had been entered in the Santa Ysabel (GIII), but she scratched. Instead, she is staying on the grass, and appearing this coming Saturday in the China Doll. That race is a strong spot for her, since she should love the added distance, but a suboptimal placement as far as the fantasy league is concerned.
This week is full of Derby and Oaks preps, with a total of four points races slated for Saturday. Unfortunately, out of all of those races, my stable has a grand total of one horse drawn into any of those. With that, this weekend should end up being more about watching and identifying promising runners to draft this coming Monday than it likely will be about making much headway on the leaderboard. Fortunately, I have $497 of my $500 claiming budget remaining, but I will likely have to make some more aggressive moves soon if I want to improve the prognosis for my stable.
Without further ado, let’s check in with my stable. Very little happened this week, so this update will be a short one.
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This weekend featured some exciting races, some disappointment, and a bumper crop of draft anxiety.
Three of my horses raced over the course of the weekend. One of them, Ekati’s Phaeton, sprung a wire-to-wire surprise that netted my stable a healthy injection of points. Another, Keen Ice, bolstered the cause. A third, Frosted, looked like an easy eight points turning for home in the Fountain of Youth…but sputtered and finished fourth.
Going into the last claim, I was left with some tough decisions.
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With as many Derby and Oaks preps as are on the horizon for this weekend, there is some action on the horizon. Unfortunately, there is a bit less action than I hoped there would be: with six points races on the schedule, I have a grand total of three horses drawn into a race this weekend.
Once I see what happens this weekend, big decisions await. The second claiming date is February 23. My stable has had a slow start so far, and if most or all of my runners over the weekend fail to fire, this will be a particularly critical draft. It is still early enough in the prep season that it is feasible to get in on the ground floor with a runner without blowing my entire claiming budget…though it will require some luck both in spotting such runners and in not getting outbid for them. With several horses looking questionable at best after disappointing performances, there may be some changes afoot after this week’s preps conclude.
Without further ado, let’s check in with my stable.
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After the claims, this week was a mostly quiet week for my fantasy stable. It was quiet in the sense that most of my horses did not race…and also quiet in the sense that the one horse who did run crossed the wire not with a bang, but with a whimper. Most of the horses who did not race at least returned to the worktab. This week contains a bit more watching worktabs and nomination lists than bracing for races, but with another claiming day on February 23, I remain on the lookout for the upside in my current horses…as well as potential additions to make.
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The second week of the Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League has come to an end, and the first claiming deadline has passed. It has been a busy few days.
The only points races this week were the Las Virgenes and the Martha Washington, neither of which featured any of my horses. Ami’s Flatter raced in the Sam F. Davis (GIII), which was not a points race. It was not an earth-shattering performance, but it also was not the sort of disaster that would get me to turn on him, especially given that it was only his third start.
From the perspective of who to keep versus who to release, I had to figure out who had a chance in Triple Crown or Oaks Prep races going forward, versus who would not likely score me points. Read More »
Week 1 of this year’s Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League is in the books, and there have been a few more downs than ups so far.
Five of my horses ran this week, four in points races. The week started with Lucky Player in the Smarty Jones: a race with no fantasy points at stake, but which served as the beginning of the Oaklawn series of Kentucky Derby preps. Then, four of my horses raced in points races at Gulfstream over the weekend: Frosted and Keen Ice in the Holy Bull (GII), and By the Moon and Ekati’s Phaeton in the Forward Gal.
Among those five runners, just one of them even hit the board.
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This week, the Kentucky Oaks trail goes to Gulfstream Park for the Forward Gal Stakes (GII). A seven-furlong sprint over the Gulfstream dirt, this race is the first of three Oaks points races through the winter and spring at the South Florida track. The series continues with the 1 1/16 mile Davona Dale Stakes (GII), and concludes with the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII). Given its short distance, it inevitably draws a mixture of Kentucky Oaks contenders who can stretch out, as well as sprinters whose connections believe they can carry the distance seven furlongs.
The road to the Kentucky Oaks does not typically lead through the Forward Gal, but twice the Oaks winner has hit the board here. In 1989, Open Mind kicked off her three-year-old campaign in the Forward Gal en route to winning the Kentucky Oaks, and later the Eclipse Award for Champion Three Year Old Filly. The only other Oaks winner to finish in the money in the Forward Gal was 1981 Oaks winner Heavenly Cause, who finished second behind Dame Mystereuse in the inaugural running of the Forward Gal.
Selections: By the Moon (10), Lassofthemohicans (8), Enchantress (6)
Longshot: Birdatthewire (4)
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The Derby and Oaks Trails fly south for the weekend, as the first of Gulfstream’s official prep races are run this Saturday. Kentucky Derby points are at stake in the Holy Bull Stakes (GII); the fillies vie for Oaks points in the Forward Gal (GII). Three other stakes races, all restricted to three-year-olds, appear on the card as well. Sprinting colts take the spotlight in the Hutcheson (GIII), grass fillies run the Sweetest Chant (GIII), and the turf males have a counterpart in the Kitten’s Joy to round out the card. All in all, Gulfstream’s Saturday card promises a competitive day of racing.
Picks and Ponderings is there with selections and analysis for all five of those races. I looked at the three colts’ races: the Holy Bull, the Hutcheson, and the Kitten’s Joy. Paul Mazur analysed the fillies’ races: the Forward Gal and the Sweetest Chant.
For those who follow a couple of particular spots of interest, the card holds a few points of interest. For fans of the Curlin babies, the Holy Bull features one of his most promising three-year-old sons: Keen Ice, who starts for the first time since his late-running third in the Remsen (GII). For followers of Illinois-bred runners, two-time Hawthorne stakes winner Dom the Bomb tries open stakes company for the first time this weekend. He is currently cross-entered in the Holy Bull and the Hutcheson, though the Hutcheson looks more likely at this point.
The Holy Bull and the Forward Gal are next weekend, and this can only mean one thing: the beginning of the Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League! Last year I played, and wrote regular updates here; this year, the same plan is in the cards.
The draft was tonight, and overall I’m happy with how it went. Last year my stable contained a couple of superstars who either only raced at the end of the league period, or did not race during the league at all. (I’m looking at you two, Shared Belief and She’s a Tiger!) This year, I put a bit more emphasis on horses who are active early in the season, but have some possible upside stretching out to Classic distances.
Introducing: my stable!
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