Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nates Mineshaft Takes On Foodies

Lone Star Million Day!

WinStar Win [Up to] a Million Day featuring the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. 3), Food Truck Festival, and WinStar Million Man!

Okay, I didn't see the creepy WinStar Million Weirdo but I was privileged to watch Nates Mineshaft easily win the Lone Star Park Handicap by over 7 lengths.

After his last race - a disastrous 20-length trouncing in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs - Nates Mineshaft returned to his winning tactic: being on the lead.  Jockey Jesse Campbell sent him to the lead early, setting fractions of :25.11 for the opening quarter-mile, :49.20 at the half-mile, 1:11.97 for six furlongs; winning in hand in 1:42.91.

Nates Mineshaft in the paddock prior to Lone Star Handicap

Nates Mineshaft and jockey Jesse Campbell win Lone Star Park Handicap

Now I know what many of you are thinking: "Wow! Impressive!  I have no idea what the heck those numbers mean! But what about the Food Truck Festival?!?"

Food Truck Festival indeed!  The top food trucks in DFW were featured in this foodie extravaganza.  Who knew that food trucks were so popular?  It was like walking through some kind of reality show on the Food Network.

For years Memorial Day was billed as the richest day in Texas racing, Lone Star Million Day, with $1 million in stakes races.  The once spectacular race card is gone this year. But on the bright side, I heard that the sliders from Easy Slider were pretty tasty.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Vote YES! to Dollar Day

Okay, my Lone Star Park brethren.  You have griped and whined and complained long enough about Lone Star Park carelessly discarding your favorite promotion:  Dollar Day.  Well, this is your chance to let your voice of discontent be heard and make it happen!  They are currently running a brief campaign over the weekend to hear your voice about the subject.  And if you are loud and persistent, you could mark June 16th as Dollar Day!

Vote on-line at Lone Star Park's facebook page and/or be sure to stuff the ballot box at the track.  Voting ends at 3 p.m. today.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Derby Coverage in the Newspaper Suffers from a Bad Hangover

2012 Kentucky Derby Winner: I'll Have Another

 Fort Worth Star-Telegram Copy Editors: We Had Too Many

There's nothing quite like opening up your Sunday morning newspaper to read of all the Derby news and excitement from the previous day.  The Kentucky Derby is known as The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports:  The thunderous charge of horses as the gates spring open, the roar of the crowds, the cheers, the tears, the exultation and glory of crowning a new Derby Winner.

A sports event of this magnitude ended up relegated to page 10C of the Star-Telegram (motto:  "If it's happening in Fort Worth, it's news to us!") - behind the Mavs losing, the Rangers winning, and Yankees' Mariano Rivera tearing some ligament in some knee.  Regardless, the Derby feature article was by Beth Harris (AP).

However, when I went to review the chart I was stunned!  The Star-Telegram published last year's chart! (Click to enlarge)


Saturday, May 05, 2012

2012 Kentucky Derby Selections

Today we're passing up mint juleps in favor of frozen margaritas because, in addition to the running of the 138th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, it's Cinco de Mayo! And frankly, frozen margaritas are a whole lot tastier than anything made with bourbon. Regardless of your Derby and/or Fiesta libation of choice, it's time to post Derby selections.

 Last year I looked like a handicapping genius; Animal Kingdom et. al. were right on the money.  And there was money!

Bodemeister, installed as the morning line favorite at 4-1, is appealing and promising, especially after his impressive Arkansas Derby win last month. But no matter what I do, I just can't get past that one miserable statistic:  Horses that do not race at age two are 0 for 129 years.  Curlin couldn't even do it and Bodemeister is no Curlin. But I'll definitely put him in the mix.

I love Hansen!  Okay, maybe I'm not the biggest fan of front runners at 1 1/4 miles but in this case I don't care.  I love how he's raced.  I love how he looks.  I love how his owner is somewhat eccentric and just wants to make horse racing fun.  And Hansen's sooo beautiful!  He would make the perfect Poster Child for horse racing, looking regal and immaculate, accessorized with roses.  I was surprised to find bestowed on him a morning line of 10-1, however I should think the odds will not be that generous at post time.

From a purely handicapping standpoint, I like Gemologist.  Truthfully, I haven't even watched him race, but he displays every positive angle that I use:  successful  trainer (Pletcher), regular rider (Castellano), increasing speed figures, success at Churchill Downs.  Most notably, he's undefeated.  And undefeated is undefeated, a statistic that should never be overlooked nor ignored.

And finally, it's "déjà vu all over again":  Went The Day Well has me giddy as a longshot.  He's been a little of a world traveler in his brief career but he's exclusively run routes and, from the appearance of his past performances, has run them well. His speed figures are on the rise - a trend that appeals to me as a handicapper. I watched his Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes victory last night and he really fired up in the stretch. Graham Motion isn't sure if lightning can really strike twice or if Went The Day Well is as good as Animal Kingdom, but if Went The Day Well goes forward from the Spiral, he could very well hit the board at a fat price.

Have a great Derby Day!  Good luck!