Another cold, busy Saturday for the Jersey Capper. The 60 degree spell this week was a tease after the arctic conditions the week prior... it was nice to roll down the windows on my way to work and listen to Sinatra sing "Summer Wind".
I do want to wish fellow NJ bloggers and NHC hopefuls (Redrockorbust and NJ Horseplayer) the best of luck in Saturday's Monmouth SSC#1. I am sure both will have a great insight and review of the day posted shortly afterwards... I'll be seeing you guys in March at either #2 or #3...
I actually took a bit of a break from handicapping this week, granted a stomach virus will do that to you, but needed to step back and take a look at what I am doing and if it is still working... the hood's open and the engine is half taken apart right now as I go back and try to correct some of the bad habits I have developed with late pace analysis and as I embark on my 'Quest to Find a Capper'. By 'capper', I am referring to a 'cap' horse in a contest (typically payouts are capped at $42 to win / $22 to place or some value near those totals). It is tough playing devil's advocate after the fact with comments like - the horse had beaten one foe in his last 10 starts and lost those 10 starts by 345 combined lengths, moves up in class today, and retains the worst jock on the circuit... This is going to be a work in progress that I will write about in the future...
Back to the matter at hand... my feature race of this weekend will be Tampa Bay Race 7 - 1-1/16mi over the turf Florida Oaks G3 for 3 year old fillies.
1 Cindy's Casino (20-1) - lackluster effort in minor stakes try over the Calder turf - PASS.
2 Rusty Slipper (8-1) - shows two solid closing efforts in two lifetime starts over the turf here, but will likely need to make up a ton of ground late with a quicker pace anticipated here. Not likely to get up for the win, but could be a factor late.
3 Wave Theory (7-2) - solid effort last out in an open stakes and was spotted at this level over a yielding course at Belmont. She shows a decent work pattern and moderate connections, but again the quicker early pace does work against her chances here.
4 Raven's Rockette (30-1) - not so fast to dismiss as she has shown some ability over the grass and her sire does produce a high percentage of turf winners, but still think she is outclassed here.
5 Caraquista (30-1) - PASS
6 Tapicat (3-1) - Strong back to back wins and showed a ton of speed in that last effort. Inclined to think that she does get bothered here by a weak blast early from a foe and may be used a little bit too early. Definite contender, but a beatable favorite.
7 Cotton Pickin (30-1) - PASS
8 Floral Sky (12-1) - Forwardly placed on the dirt but has shown nothing. Lone turf start was a solid effort and she does get Contreras back in the irons. Pedigree does fall a little short, but wouldn't be surprised to see her near the pace early.
9 Mariel n Kathy (9-2) - Open stakes winner over the Belmont turf in the fall, but has not shown much improvement since. She adds the hood today and expect Espinoza to push her early on the lead which may disrupt Tapicat and set up a late runner.
10 Kitten's Dumplings (5-1) - toss out her non-turf start and she looks like a contender if she can bounce back off of that last effort at Gulfstream. Stakes win two back wasn't exactly the toughest field though, looking elsewhere as the pace doesn't seem to fit her style.
11 Toasting (15-1) - had some trouble starting late last year and works don't show any gate work. Pedigree is a bit lacking. PASS.
12 Jadira (6-1) - Nice closing move last out to break maiden in her debut, decent work pattern suggest the other Casse entry may be improving with the big step up here. A weak quicker pace will work to her advantage here.
I see 6 Tapicat breaking to the lead with a blast from 9 Mariel n Kathy which will likely disrupt her pace since she will hang for a while before fading. 6 Tapicat will have been used a bit early which sets up late runs from 3 Wave Theory and 12 Jadira. I give 3 Wave Theory a slight edge late.
Probably bets: Ex 3,12 with 2,3,6,10,12
Confidence - 1 of 5 - Field is still developing and improving - tough to have a ton of confidence on exactly how this one shapes up.
Good luck all!