Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Donn Handicap

At opening-line odds of 5-2 Einstein seems enticing. However, I don’t believe he’ll go off there. I think he will end up at 9-5, perhaps 2-1, because of his post. And at those odds I wouldn’t take him to win. I’d have to get at least 3-1 and probably 7-2 to be coerced. My reasoning is simple, Einstein drew the outside post (10) that has yet (through Thurs.) to produce a winner at this distance at this meet. Dirt is not his best surface and his worst effort on dirt was at GP in last year’s Donn, where he also drew outside, albeit the 8 hole.

Arson Squad has really perked up since joining Dutrow’s barn. He won the Meadowlands Cup (G2) and in spite of encountering trouble at the ¼ pole ran 4th, only a tick behind Harlem Rocker, in the Cigar Mile (G1). He obviously relishes the switch back to real dirt. He’s collected 9 checks in 12 attempts on dirt with 6 of them winning efforts. He’s training great and I’d say all systems are a go. At 3-1 he is a definite overlay. Unfortunately, I don’t think he will stay there. I expect him to go off as the favorite or co-favorite with Einstein at 9-5 or 2-1. He’s pointed toward the Dubai World Cup in March and I believe a big effort is expected of him if he is to punch his ticket to Nad Al Sheba. He’s my pick to win.

So where’s the value in the race? I think it is in two horses: A.P. Arrow and On Board Again. A.P. Arrow has not been the same horse since returning from Dubai last year. He finished well back in four Grade 1 appearances. His last race was The Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 27th. (Curlin’s record setting race). Since then he has been switched to Kenny McPeek’s barn. I have a lot of faith in McPeek’s ability and training methods. I also think the change in scenery will have helped A.P. Arrow. He runs his best at GP and usually runs very well first time back. He shows four steady, professional works. He’s a classy horse and I’m not ready to give up on him. He’s well rested and should be past whatever ailed him after his Dubai trip. I also take it as a good sign that Desormeaux took the mount. I’m figuring him for a check.

As for On Board Again I will reiterate what I wrote last week before the Sunshine Millions Classic, in which I picked him to win providing he scratched in. On Board Again will keep the race honest and may end up controlling the speed. His works since his October 29th race have been nothing short of superior. He’s improving, he’s fresh, he’s fast, and Frankel’s training him. I like him to press Finallymadeit from the start, take command at about the half and hold on for a piece, perhaps the biggest piece. I think he’s sitting on a big race.

The Picks:
Win: Arson Squad
Place: A.P. Arrow
Show: On Board Again
Hunch bet: On Board Again across the board.

The Field.
1 Finallymadeit--------E.Nunez ---------J.Negrete-------117-----12-1
2 Albertus Maximus -A.Garcia--------- K.McLaughlin-120----4-1
3 Anak Nakal-----------J.Bravo-----------N.Zito-----------117-----10-1
4 Bullsbay--------------J.Valazquez------G.Motion-------114-----8-1
5 A. P. Arrow-----------K.Desormeaux--K.McPeek-------115-----10-1
6 On Board Again-----E.Coa-------------R.Frankel-------112----20-1
7 Arson Squad---------E.Prado-----------R.Dutrow-------119-----3-1
8 Sir Whimsey---------R.Albarado------ S.Asmussen----116-----12-1
9 Great Hunter--------J.Castellano------D.O'Neill-------116-----15-1
10 Einstein (BRZ)-----J.Leparoux-------H.Pitts----------122-----5-2

1 comment:

Amateurcapper said...

What was your take on the track?
IMO, ARSON SQUAD was snake-bit by a biased track.
If you have a chance, check out my posts this weekend and let me know what you think.