Massive storms Gordon and Florence post major threats to Saturday's stakes action, especially at the all-turf Kentucky Downs venue, that was so good to us last weekend. We'll keep an eye on the storms and if we find any noteworthy plays, post them in this space.
Whitney (G1) Saturday's report provided a nifty afternoon for Pope Jude supporters kicking off with the Chad Brown-trained UNI - PRECIEUSE exacta at $19.80. That was followed by single SEPARATIONOFPOWERS score in the Test (G1) at $6.60 and the DIVERSIFY - MIND YOUR BISCUITS exacta in Whitney (G1) which returned $20.60.
Later, at Del Mar, single CONQUEST TYPHOON paid $10.00 and Del Mar "horse for course," CAMBODIA, took the Yellow Ribbon (G2) returning $5.40.
Some excellent results after the report was cut to seven races after the two turf race cancellations at the Spa.
It's the time of year we've all been waiting for. Summer racing at resort tracks is always enjoyable and we're ready to make a few scores. Saturday's report takes us from the "Spa" to "Where the turf meets the surf."
By popular demand, Saturday's Pope Jude features a full-card, 11-race report for Stephen Foster (G1) Night. There are five graded stakes on the card. First post is 6:00 PM.
Hopefully, we'll never have to relive that muddy chalk-fest ever again.
Five-horse fields with standouts is a tough way to make money even when there are legions of uninformed bettors populating the pools.
Looking forward to Belmont Day. The rain should have subsided by then. Maybe.
We're always tagging #GetHot #StayHot in our Twitter posts but it's not just for fun. Here's a list of double digit winners that were listed on our reports from Oaks and Derby days through Saturday, May 12:
KILLAY $13.20 DIVINE MISCHIEF $10.40 TOINETTE $12.80 LIMOUSINE LIBERAL $10.80
MARAUD $18.80 YOSHIDA $21.80 KIRBY'S PENNY $16.20 SPARKY $10.40
VOODOO SONG $11.20 BLENDED CITIZEN $11.40 BURMA ROAD $11.20
There were a lot more winners, paying less than 10 bucks, who keyed some excellent payoffs. We've heard from some of you about the big scores you made and we couldn't be more pleased. Let's keep it rolling into Pimlico for Black-Eyed Susan Day and Preakness Day!
Our popular Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) reports will be available next week. If you order early, a link will be sent directly to your inbox as soon as the reports return from the editor.
Pope Jude will be Keeneland's guest handicapper for charity on Saturday, April 14. There will be no report for that day. We will post any last minute info in this space and the Keeneland selections for charity will be posted at keeneland.com.
Friday's report listed winners TRUE SAINT, KIRBY'S PENNY, SISTER KAN, ALMITHMAAR, ANALYZE IT and UNDER AND OVER. The track seemed biased towards finishers, with many speed types run down in the last sixteenth.
ALMITHMAAR went wire-to-wire, so his win should be upgraded the next time he runs. ANALYZE IT ran like the good horse he is off the layoff from a bad post. He'll be an important grass horse in 2018. Trainer Tom Amoss is good at claiming, improving and finding excellent spots.
Saturday saw SMART REMARK, FINLEY'SLUCKYCHARM MONOMOY GIRL, and GOOD MAGIC at Keeneland all on the report. ARMY MULE, NATIONAL FLAG and VINO ROSSO graced the Aqueduct section with JUSTIFY and MIDNIGHT BISOU at Santa Anita.
It was a rare tough day for Pope Jude fans Saturday. THE PLAYER broke his sesamoids in the New Orleans Handicap (G2). Lucullan was off slowly in the Muniz Memorial (G2), probably costing us a nice trifecta. (At least the exacta paid $84.00.) and at Gulfstream, Rocketry had more problems than Stormy Daniels. Onward and upward! We'll see what the Sunland Derby (G3) brings today and then it's off to the Florida Derby (G1) for lots of solid stakes action!
Pope Jude fans had a nice day Saturday, kicking it all off with the Columbia Stakes trifecta of Gidu – Captivating Moon – Smart Remark at Tampa Bay Downs for $68.80. That was followed up by the Hillsborough (G2) exacta at $62.80, trifecta at $164.70 and even the dime super which returned $58.75 for the Fourstar Crook – Proctor’s Ledge – La Coronel – Daddys Lil Darling combos.
The prices were short at Aqueduct but Harlan Punch, Divine Miss Grey, and Enticed all got the job done.
Local horse, Bowies Hero, upset heavily favored champion World Approval at Santa Anita returning a whopping $18.60. There was no way he should have been 8-1.
One of our favorite plays of the day, Treasuring, ran second after a so-so trip, but the exacta with heavily favored Ms Bad Behavior came back $41.80.
“Horse to Watch” lister, Cosmic Burst, put in a powerful run to take the Honeybee (G3) at Oaklawn to put a big bow on the day at $10.80!
(6:09) GP 14th Race - The Fountain of Youth (G2) seems to boil down to the comebacking Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner, #6 GOOD MAGIC, #2 FREE DROP BILLY, who has had the benefit of a recent race and the talented sprinter, #4 STRIKE POWER. 'MAGIC ran huge Brisnet speed figures as a two-year-old and makes his sophomore debut here. The son of Curlin has been training notably for Chad Brown and seeks to prove he's still the leader of the division. 'BILLY ran well in the Holy Bull (G2) after his winter break. That race was very fast late - a good sign - and the Dale Romans trainee should be fitter, wiser and a much better price than the chalk. 'STRIKE has been impressive in his first two starts, but will need to call upon all the distance features of his pedigree to get this distance against top company.
The Pontiff will be in Barbados this week for the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup. He will post his analysis of the Fountain of Youth (G2) and possibly any other races in this space. Check back Friday or Saturday morning.
The Pontiff is heading to England and France this week for a short working vacation. There won't be any Pope Jude report for Saturday, February 17 or Monday, February 19. There will be a report for Saturday, February 24. Thanks for your loyal support!
Pope Jude fans have been cashing tickets with regularity that couple of weekends. Horses like Texting at $16.80, Thewayiam at $11.40 and Slick Trick at $9.40 go a long way to keep you in the game. The exacta prices have been surprising too. Gun Runner and West Coast combined for a $17.20 payoff. Insane! But even better, Thewayiam and Salsa Bella came back $59.40 for two with Speed Franco and Gidu hitting for $40.00.
Saturday's Tampa Bay Downs card is excellent and the Pope Jude report will also cover selected races from Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita and Aqueduct.
It was fantastic to kickoff 2018 with a successful Pope Jude report.
Winners Alternative Route, Fascilitator, Tower of Texas, Instilled Regard, Cedartown, Ultra Brat, Shining Copper and Mopotism were all on the report. Thanks to the Pope Jude fans who sent messages about their scores and successful wagers. It's always fun to hear about them.
It's an eclectic group of races this week, so we put a special $5.00 price tag on it.
Next week, we'll have a big report out for the Pegasus World Cup card! We'll be heading down to Gulfstream Wednesday.
With good weather predicted at Saturday's tracks featuring solid stakes action, we decided to kick off the 2018 report season. Owners, trainers and jockeys with talented three-year-olds have begun the quest for Derby points and many older horses are beginning their winter campaigns. Racing gets better and better from here on in and we are looking forward to a huge day of sport for the Pegasus World Cup in a couple of weeks. As Dick Riley would sign off his radio show, "Here's hoping the next ticket you buy is a winning one."
Pope Jude fans enjoyed Breeders' Cup with 13 winners listed on our reports over the two-day event. Ritzy A.P. ($7.80), Dabster ($11.40), Rushing Fall ($8.00), Mendelssohn ($11.60), Forever Unbridled ($9.40), Belvoir Bay ($8.80), Kitten's Roar ($8.20), Bookies Luck ($5.20), Declarationofpeace ($30.40), Caledonia Road ($30.60), Roy H. ($11.80), World Approval ($7.40) and Gun Runner ($6.80). Friday was good, but Saturday was great. The day was made after hitting the third race exacta and when Caledonia Road romped home in the fourth, fuggetaboutit!
Saturday, September 30 was a very good day for Pope Jude fans,but it was the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa that drew the most comments. This is what we wrote:
(8:00) SA 10th Race – Due to tremendous management by Bob Baffert, most people think #8 CUPID is a fantastic racehorse. He is not. The son of Tapit has won some of the weakest races imaginable. He is all smoke and mirrors. Baffert’s other charge in the Awesome Again (G1) is #6 MUBTAAHIJ. A son of the great sire Dubawi, he has been managed like he’s a cheap claimer, running all over the place, often overmatched and sometimes out of form, at different surfaces and distances and still, he has managed to earn over $4 million in his 17-race career. #8 CUPID couldn’t fasten his bridle. Maybe #6 MUBTAAHIJ has been ruined. But if he hasn’t, we expect a huge performance this evening. We didn’t care much for the chances of #2 DORTMUND in this spot and evidently trainer Art Sherman didn’t either. He’ll be scratched in favor of an easier race down the road.
You are not going to find an assessment like that anywhere else.
With lots of chalk and some pretty dubious races on tap, there wasn't enough to sink your teeth into to put out a report. Here are the races we are looking at on Saturday. It only takes one to make your day:
(2:32) BEL 3rd Race – Figure-wise, #5 OFF LIMITS stands out in the Noble Damsel (G3). She is also the best finisher in a field full of early speed types. A decent ride from Joel Rosario is all she needs to get the chrome.
(5:45) BEL 9th Race – Coming off a big win in the Monmouth Cup (G3) #5 SHARP AZTECA has a distinct pace and speed advantage in the Kelso Handicap (G2). His trainer, Jorge Navarro, is currently racing under a black cloud, with suspensions levied against him on almost a daily basis. At this writing, it is sketchy as to whether the son of Freud will be allowed to participate.
(4:14) PRX 9th Race – #1 PETROV and #1A COAL FRONT are a potent entry in the Gallant Bob (G3). The former should get a great trip right behind the latter and their pace and speed figures are among the best in the field. #4 RUNNING MATE has always been highly regarded by his connections. He’s run well in his first two starts after a spring respite and a sharp breeze on Monday at Delaware Park suggests he can move forward again. #5 AMERICAN PASTIME looked sharp winning his last start at Del Mar. California speed is always dangerous when shipped east.
(5:45) PRX 11th Race – Opening at 8/5 on the morning line #4 WEST COAST runs back quickly after his overwhelming Travers (G1) victory and a pair of cross-country trips. There is no doubt that Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert thinks the son of Flatter is up to the task, but the question is how short of a price do you want to take in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1)? We like the way trainer Doug O’Neill kept #5 IRAP on the East Coast and prepped him over the Parx surface. The son of Tiznow has developed into one of America’s best sophomores and he certainly has a big shot at the top prize. #8 IRISH WAR CRY is capable of tremendous races on occasion. He’ll have to assume a stalker’s role to have success in this speed-laden field and quite possibly jockey Feargal Lynch was hired to that end. #7 GAME OVER is improving with racing and could sneak in a trifecta spot to bolster the payoffs. He’s had more trainers than Zsa Zsa Gabor had husbands and now is in the care of the infamous Jorge Navarro.
(9:15) CT 10th Race – There is nobody to go with #8 UNRIDEABLE in the Frank Gall Memorial Stakes. The son of Bullsbay served notice that seven furlongs was well within his scope when he won the R.G. Leavitt Stakes in his last start. A good break is all he needs.
(10:11) CD 9th Race – #1 PINCH HIT had a ton of trouble in the Groupie Doll (G3) and gets reunited with jockey Jon Court in the Dogwood Stakes. If the Brad Cox trainee can overcome her rail draw she could surprise a few people. #13 COVENANT ran second to Salty in her debut, was given a vacation and then returned to break her maiden by nearly seven lengths in the slop. The daughter of Speightstown has a high ceiling and should get a great trip from her outside draw.