Thursday, March 30, 2006

Today's Blog is Brought to You by the Compound Words WinStar and Sunland

Before I begin to compose my intuitive horse racing prose, I feel it necessary to share with you an oddity that occurred this evening.

I took my daughters out to dinner at Macaroni Grill. Always a pleasure with excellent cuisine and palatable chianti. However, as usual, we order one piece of chocolate cake for dessert with three forks. That, in itself, is not unusual. What proved to be an aberrancy of behavior, was that we were unable to consume the entire dessert. Technically, 3 female gender individuals and one piece of chocolate cake should be ... well, a piece of cake. Go figure.

The good news is that it is almost April. Okay, that has really nothing to do with Macaroni Grill's chocolate cake other than it pleases me. April means that soon it will be April 13th and Lone Star Park will begin it's spring meet. You will no longer find me in the Post Time Pavilion with the simulcast crowd, but outside, leaning against the rail at the walking ring, dashing through the fine, air-conditioned grandstand, watching the post parade, shouting out an occasional word of encouragement to Roman Chapa or Jamie Theriot, sauntering up to the Courtyard to find my friendly and outgoing pari-mutuel clerk, Barbara, smile at me as I wager my 10-cent superfectas on every race that has more than seven betting interests. Then, my favorite sounds of them all ... bell-sounding, gates opening, hooves pounding, and "They're off!"

In the meantime, I'll write about the WinStar Derby. Something that I know absolutely nothing about.

The WinStar Derby is raced at Sunland Park. I'm somewhat unfamiliar with Sunland Park, although I'm pretty sure that it is on this side of the Rio Grande. My husband, who can be a somewhat reliable source when he is paying attention, told me that it's "somewhere near El Paso." El Paso, it should be noted, is in Texas. Sunland Park is across the border in New Mexico, thus they also have a casino, and thus they have the ability to offer a $600,000 purse for the WinStar Derby, and thus, some pretty good horses show up. Thor's Echo scored last year. Truth be told, I never heard of Thor's Echo until he won the WinStar Derby, but he keeps popping up here and there, and I keep tossing him into exactas and trifectas here and there, and he has proved to be rather reliable as well as profitable. As a matter of fact, he just recently popped up in Dubai and added to his handsome little bankroll. Winning the WinStar Derby proved to be a solid foundation.

So, I'm thinking that there is a potential for some other I-never-heard-of-him 3-year-old to show up in Sunland Park on Saturday. Wanna Runner, one of the two Baffert horses, looks like a no-brainer. Ol' Bob slaps on some blinkers and his horses win one-third of the time. Smart-guy, Dan Illman of DRF, likes Wanna Runner, Sky Diving (another Baffert delight), and Keagan. However, the more I look at the past performances, the more I keep looking at Wait in Line. Never heard of him, but the name is strongly suggestive of our local post office, where I was earlier in the day. His speed figures are a little on the light side, but there appears to be some upside. His trainer, Chris Hartman, who may or may not be related to Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, is winning at 21% at Sunland, and the jockey, which if you are part of the Bug Boys Market-the-Jockey program, is Ken Tohill, who is winning at a remarkable 24% at Sunland. And that's with over 300 mounts. Those are pretty nice statistics. Toss in that he has raced over the strip, and in his loss by one flimsy hand in the Borderland Derby the notation is Lost whip deep stretch. He also boasts the biggest resume of all the entrants, with 13 races; 10 of those races as a 2-year-old. He has a couple of bullets. His morning line is 9-2. I'll be watching tote action.

My 7-year-old daughter likes Sky Diving, Doctor Dechard, and Wait in Line. Sounds like a good trifecta to me.


alan said...

It's a pretty dismal race IMO. Of course, this time, ESPN has nothing but some sports news show scheduled beforehand.

Tote Board Brad said...

I enjoy the Winstar every yeah because it's a good betting race, and there's often longshots you can make a case for. Remember Hi Tek Man?

I'm a little surprised A.P. Warrior isn't in it for Stan Fulton, owner of Sunland Park. His presence would help the race get graded status more quickly. At 600k, it's only a matter of time. Graded Stakes for 3yo's before the derby are self perpetuating, though, as everyone needs graded stakes earnings to make it to the dance.

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