Another week, more tough cookies.
Two of my horses raced last weekend. One of them looked, at least from my handicapping perspective, like he would bring some points. One I did not like given the field, but I sat back and hoped for the best.
Neither hit the board.
However, a once-familiar face did. Frosted, who I drafted first overall. Frosted, who went from “sure winner of the Fountain of Youth” to “surely off the Derby trail” in the matter of a moment. Frosted, who Kieran McLaughlin figured out how to get right and get to the winner’s circle in the Wood. The Derby remains a question, since his best efforts have come from the Big A so far. No matter what, his dominance of the Wood made me look a little silly, and my decision seem a bit questionable. I stand by it, since horse racing is a game of opinions; I disliked his Fountain of Youth enough that I decided he had to go. It may have been rash, but I can do nothing about it now.
Here is hoping none of my other decisions end up being as questionable as that one. To be fair, there is very little in the way of decision making that can happen in the short term; the next claiming day is just before the Derby. At this point, I wait to see which horses are pointing toward points races, be they Classics or others.
With that known, let’s check in with my stable.
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All season, I have had a problem with most of my horses actually getting into the gate for fantasy stable points races. Last week, I finally had something that qualified as a big week. Four of my eight horses saw the starter: Ami’s Flatter in the Florida Derby, Ekati’s Phaeton in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, and both Keen Ice and St. Joe Bay in the Louisiana Derby.
Out of those four, just one actually hit the board.
This week, two of my horses will be racing in points races. A third, who I had claimed because he was possible for the Wood or the Blue Grass, had been scheduled to race Friday at Keeneland: though not in a points race, and the race itself was cancelled due to inclement weather.
At this point, there is not another claiming day until April 27. I am set with who I have, and hopefully there will be a big claiming move to make before Derby day. Between now and then, though, it looks like slim pickings for my stable.
With that said, let’s visit with my horses.
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Last week was yet another claiming week in the Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League. Again, I had some thinking to do.
Instant Replay was quite an easy toss; as much as I liked his Oaklawn allowance win, his spotty presence on the worktab and his failure to turn up in either the Southwest or the Rebel meant I needed to move on and find someone else to take the spot he had occupied since the first claiming period.
Other decisions required a bit more thought. I had spent the biggest chunk of my claiming budget to date (a whole $37!) on Kentuckian, and he was back to burning up the worktab at Golden Gate, but his connections had made it quite clear that he was heading to an allowance next. That left precious little time for him to point to a stakes race during the term of the league; asking him to win an allowance race and then ship east for a points race seemed like more than The Dorf was likely to do with him between now and June. The 7.4% of my season’s budget I spent on Kentuckian was a sunk cost, and I was not going to gain anything by keeping him there instead of looking for a horse more likely to be in a points race. Where’s the Moon also found himself on the chopping block, albeit for different reasons. I claimed him specifically because he had won the Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland, and had a shot to hit the board in the Sunland Derby (GIII). He did as much as I could expect him to do; he won the race for second behind Firing Line. He is a solid Sunland horse, but his class is questionable to take him any further down the Derby trail. With some more class-proven horses still available, I had to do the same thing with Where’s the Moon as I had to with Kentuckian: turn an eye toward the future.
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The last two weeks of fantasy stable action have brought us back to a familiar refrain: a significant lack of on-track action by my horses.
Among the horses in my stable entering that claiming period, only three of my horses were clear keepers. Keen Ice has been actively training for the Louisiana Derby, and the longer races for which he is best suited still lie ahead. Ekati’s Phaeton has punched her ticket to the Kentucky Oaks, and though distance limitations remain a possibility, her gameness and her affinity for the Gulfstream track make her a must-keep. Ami’s Flatter improved with blinkers and Lasix in the Tampa Bay Derby last out, and could threaten in another prep down the road.
The rest of my stable was on the chopping block leading into the March 9 claim.
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