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Around the Backstretch

Some thoughts on the racing action taking place this past weekend:

  • Sidney's Candy rolled the field in the Grade 2 San Vicente (chart) at Santa Anita Park yesterday and in the process picked up some valuable graded earnings.  The three year old son of Candy Ride broke on top, clicked off opening splits of 22.77 and 45.50, and put away the field in the stretch to win by an easy four and a quarter lengths.  

    I didn't preview the San Vicente as a "Derby Prep" because I've always treated this race as a somewhat pseudo Derby prep.  The race is an important step on the path to the Santa Anita Derby but I have never found it useful for picking out a winner on Derby Day, other than the fact that a horse can pick up graded earnings.  The performance of Sidney's Candy was impressive but until I see him do something similar around two-turns it just doesn't tell me a whole lot about this colt's chances in Louisville.  That's just my take.

  • The cancellation of the G2-Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn yesterday results in the addition of yet another graded stakes event to the calendar this coming weekend.  The number of Derby preps will number at four this coming weekend and I'll have a preview of each later on in the week.
  • I've updated the North American Graded Stakes results through yesterday's racing action which you can find here: North American Graded Stakes.  The Beyer figure for the G2-San Vicente and the G2-Buena Vista have yet to be released.
  • Fair Grounds has already drawn the card for their huge 13-race card for this coming Saturday, including the field for the G2-Risen Star.  Personally, I love tracks that can get their entries for big weekend cards out early thereby giving players extra days to handicap all the action.  Makes it so much easier than trying to handicap everything on a Thursday or Friday night.   LeComte winner, Ron the Greek, returns in the Risen Star, along with eleven other entries.
  • Still time to join the the And Down The Stretch They Come Road to the Roses public league.  Check out this post for all the details.
  • This week's volume on the Road to Derby 136 will feature a comparison of the speed figures earned by all the horses in all of the prep races so far this spring.  If you like to compare figures across horses and tracks, this will be the post for you.
  • And, finally, what's with all the crazy winter weather at the track this year?  Horses are running in driving snow storms at Laurel, in frigid temperatures in Arkansas, along with the multitude of tracks that have had to cancel some or all of their cards recently due to extreme weather.  

    I've never been a huge fan of winter racing unless it's occurring in a location like Florida, California, or any place else that generally doesn't spend four months shoveling snow.  And I realize that this is probably sacrilegious to say this but do we really need to be running at Aqueduct in December, January, and February?  Or Hawthorne?  Or any place else where it's generally cold as hell this time of year?

    I generally play Pick 3 and Pick 4 sequences, that's where the bulk of my wagering action goes on a typical day, and I almost always play sequences that involve at least one, and hopefully two, turf races.  Unfortunately, winter racing pretty much eliminates racing on grass for several months and requires me to look elsewhere to find races to play.

    I don't write much about New York racing this time of year, or Illinois, or anything else taking place in cold weather areas because I rarely bet on races at those locations until the weather turns better; it's just too difficult to try an factor in the probable weather factors.  Of course, as we've seen lately, running in Southern California doesn't eliminate the problems that weather can cause...of course, that's a whole other ball of wax.