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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:40 pm 
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Amazingly (in the same category as a the blind pig who finds an acorn now and then) I picked two finishers in the correct position and earned a 'whopping' 90 points for my overall incorrect ideas on how the Travers would play out...

HOWEVER, in the category of TRULY AMAZING >> I checked the BC Fantasy site and a player by the handle of 'iron liege' got 10 of 10 positions correctly picked in today's race!!!

Top 10 for Travers Stakes
RANK ENTRY CORRECT PICKS PTS
Yours: Jellac 2 90
1 iron leige 10 550


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:33 am 
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Hi Jellac,
I didn't have one correct....dropped way down. Iron Leige, who picked all 10 had zero in the race before....so i guess we still have a chance....even if it is slim to none:>) Without a doubt this is a very tough contest. TJ


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:29 pm 
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Here's the replay:
http://www1.drf.com/displayVideo.do?tra ... ountry=USA


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:42 pm 
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TJ > Thanks - I find it very encouraging to learn that iron liege went from '0' to '10' (100%!!) in this handicapping contest....maybe there's hope for a mere "plodder-mudder" at the fantasy wagering windows like me :D.

I strongly suspect your, or Geowarrior's or Cree's handicapping ship to come in way before my sails even tip the horizon....it is a tough contest for sure!

It was an amazing (and agonizing) race to watch...I think I groaned so loud and with such distress when Frosted stuck his nose/head in front at the top of the stretch that I set my dog (I call her my 'sidearm' as she goes from sweet/submissive to rapid protector when it's just the two of us) off on furious barking/snarl fest at the 'unseen/unknown' enemy that was obviously causing her human such distress! Moments later I'm leaping in the air shouting 'YESS!' at the top of my lungs when I catch sight of Keen Ice coming on strong on the outside. In my handicapping I feared AP in the 2 gate might gun it at the start to avoid being covered up/trapped....but I did not anticipate Frosted's steady and speedy pressure from gate to top of the stretch. When AP fought back I was sure he was mounting his trade mark turn of foot down the stretch but saw that he was instead flat - still fast, but flat. Then, at first I thought it was Texas Red making the stretch move I expected him to make - the horse I thought he was most vulnerable to if he took the lead early and was challenged early on. Keen Ice was expertly ridden my the 'maestro' of the Travers...and obviously in tip top form so kudos to his trainer/team as well as to Castellano. It was a well earned/deserved win - even if disappointing to fans and his team that it brought American Pharoah's unbeaten 3YO campaign to an end. He did not cave or give in - he was just caught all in when he needed to have more in reserve. I for one hope that it does not end his racing career (unless an underlying injury is found, of course)...he was exciting to watch in defeat as he has been in victory! A lot has been asked of this amazing horse and he has always answered as he did yesterday...but when he had to answer yet again in the same race after finally putting Frosted away he just couldn't muster that extra "oomph" that we've been treated to seeing over and over in more decisive victories this year. Not sure I concur with your view that he is definitely not a mile and a quarter horse at this level but do feel whether he is or isn't he would like/perhaps needs a bit more time between races/efforts, time to settle in a bit after "unpacking" before he is asked to go all out in a new/strange surroundings...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:47 pm 
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Hi jellac,
First off let me say, your handicapping is as good as anyone posting here. You go about it logically and have good basis for your decision....but it's horse racing and handicapping, so we're all going to be wrong many more times then we are right....it's the nature of the game.
Just like handicapping we look at things in a way we've seen them happen before. I was always afraid of AP's ability at a mile and a quarter due to his breeding. He was able to overcome his breeding in the Derby, but think back....if the 2nd horse switched leads, he may very well have been beaten there. Just a length to the good is not what we expect from this Triple Crown champion. He came into the Travers in great shape and there was no reason to expect him to get beat....yet the race looked like a replay of the Derby with AP laboring through the lane. We all know that's not him....in my opinion it is that particular distance that has hampered him.
Add the fact Espinoza sat in the jocks room all day and came out to ride this horse cold. Then has the nerve to try to make excuses with the quick turn around....after his trainer was certain the horse was ready to run in the Travers. Every time Espinoza gets beat, he comes up with a story like that...it goes back to California Chrome. He should have sent the Champ from the gate and let the chips fall where they may....AP proved he likes to run that way. The guy couldn't catch his breath when they interviewed him while on AP's back....he gave AP no help the last 1/8th of a mile and when he put Frosted away....he had little left for the 2nd challenge from Keen Ice, who was winning his 2nd lifetime race. Because of my opinion of his ability to go the BC Classic distance, I doubt he will run in it....I'm sure the Baffert camp is aware of his two less then stellar 1 1/4 mile races and although they will never say it publicly....I expect they won't run him back at that distance again.....I certainly could be wrong as opinions, like handicapping are usually wrong more then they are right:>) Here's a post I made Aug. 4th on this forum about AP, I was worried then he could lose the race, but hoped I was wrong. TJ

Post subject: Re: American Pharoah Update, PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:55 pm


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American Pharoah came out of the Haskell in great shape and returned home to his Del Mar barn yesterday. Baffert wants to keep him running against 3YO's and implied that California will entice him to stay there for his next start. Though the only possible race for him would be the Pacific Classic against older, so that makes no sense? If Baffert takes the high road and comes to Saratoga for the Travers, the New York Racing Association will offer an additional $600,000 to the all ready million dollar purse. The Travers is going to be one of the best races of the season....they don't call it the Mid-Summer Derby for nothing. With Frosted, Texas Red and a much fitter Upstart all confirmed to run....it could be American Pharoah's opportunity to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, he is the best 3YO in the country. Let's face it, that group he was in against in the Haskell was pretty bad.....most of them needed a van to go a mile and an eight and the one that could go the distance (Upstart) wasn't tight enough off the layoff. If Baffert and Zayat decide to go elsewhere, it would look like they're ducking the only 3YO's who have any chance of beating him. I don't think Baffert would duck them, especially since his record in the Travers could use the bump. Bottom line, if Baffert accepts the challenge and enters the Travers field, it will be no slam dunk like the Haskell was. At the mile and a quarter distance, the only time American Pharoah tried it in the Derby, he was under pressure to hold sway. It is a race that puts American Pharoah's win streak on the line because of the distance and the tough competition, but it is a challenge Baffert should accept. TJ


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:33 am 
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I don't find it incredibly sporting by Zayat or Espinoza to come up with the excuses they have been quoted in saying. AP ran a gutsy race dogged by Frosted at a distance neither are really best at that set up perfectly for a horse like Keen Ice - who has been knocking on the door and literally was destined to win a race like the Travers. He ran 2nd for chrissakes!!!
We now know a weakness for AP, and his chances in the BC Classic look shaky. No way Coolmore wants him ending on a bad note.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:03 am 
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I got 230 points on this race in the competition. I know I had Frosted and Upstart in the correct positions, and I guess the rest must be those mystery points you get just for trying. Edit - Oh I just figured it out, I had Smart Transition and Tale of Verve in the correct spots also.

In any case I moved up to 760th place, but still no BC tickets. I can't believe Iron Liege got the whole order of finish correct - wow!

I thought American Pharoah turned in a commendable performance in fending off Frosted. He was crowded on the rail and headed and he still came back. The race will add to his legacy because he showed he could battle even when he wasn't having it all his own way (compare with Bayern).

I get that Victor didn't have a race over the surface that day, but I wonder firstly was he offered one, and secondly would he have done anything differently? I'm sure he was instructed to send American Pharoah, he seemed to be slowing down the pace as much as possible once he got the lead, and he didn't go for the finish too early. Perhaps the rail wasn't the best ground but Frosted was in close quarters so I don't see how he could have got out unless he dropped back.

I also found it interesting that Kiaran McLaughlin did not seem to be enthused about the ride Frosted was given.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:01 am 
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Hi Geo, Cree and Jellac,
Good work Geo in the contest....that 760th place is very impressive, I'm closer to 4,000th:>) Cree, I never really heard anything Zayat or Espinoza had to say....other then Victor after the Travers being interviewed on horse back. Jellac, just 4 more days and we get another shot at perfection in the contest:>)
After the stunning defeat of AP in the Travers, I guess we're all a little shell shocked. If you look at the history of the 6 Triple Crown winners who came to run in the Travers (and the reason why Saratoga was proclaimed the 'Graveyard of Champions'....not favorites as many have said, true a champion will usually be the favorite in the race, but the distinction of being a Champion of the Division, is why the name stuck at Saratoga because it was such a hard to take, improbable and unexpected loss from these Champions.
Getting back to those 6 Triple Crown Champions who came to Saratoga with the Travers as their goal. Man O' War, Gallant Fox, Whirlaway, Secretariat, Affirmed and American Pharoah. Of that group 5 made the Travers with only one winning the race, that being Whirlaway. Affirmed won the race but was DQ'd for good reason and Alydar was declared the winner. Secretariat was prepping for the Travers against older in the Whitney Stakes when Onion made everyone cry by defeating Secretariat. It was later discovered Secretariat was sick, yet they still tried to make the Travers....but come Travers day Secretariat was unable to run because of his illness. So we have seen 5 out of 6 TC Champions defeated at Saratoga. Baffert was well aware of this and made a joke he didn't want to find any onion's at Saratoga. Bafferts record was only one win in five tries...so there was a lot against American Pharoah and Baffert going in. Yet they did accept the challenge and a lot has to be said of that. After the race I guess these guys have license to 2nd guess and come up with excuses....no doubt they are stunned at the loss....though I doubt Baffert was as stunned. he saw AP's race in the Derby and it was a replay of the Travers. Identical....never disengaging himself from the field as we have come to expect of AP. That distance will take the punch away from a horse's finishing power and after seeing the same thing happen at that distance against the same horses AP repeatedly handled before, makes me certain it was the distance and nothing else that caused AP's defeat.
From a trainers perspective, you should never ask a jock to throttled down a horse at the finish line as was done with AP in the Haskell.....unless the distance will be the same in his next start. It does nothing for the horses fitness level going into his next race, if the next race is at a longer distance as was the Travers. While Victor was pulling up AP at the wire of the Haskell. Keen Ice looked like he was gobbling up ground, he wasn't, but what he got out of that run to the wire, was a lot more going forward into the 1 1/4 mile Travers then AP got fitness wise. Easing AP to the Haskell wire did nothing to prepare him to go the distance in the Travers. TJ


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:20 am 
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Zayat was acting like the horse had finished up the track. He ran a gutsy race, and lost nothing in defeat. In Zayat's rose-coloured glasses (and perhaps because he sees this horse as an extension of his manhood), AP is unbeatable, therefore there might be something amiss. I think the horse just got beat by a horse that had been knocking on the door, flourished by the race set up, and that AP is truly not a mile and quarter horse. AND, Saratoga is a tough track. :-)

Jay Privman ‏@DRFPrivman Aug 29
Zayat says "very good chance" regarding retirement. Might be heat of moment but...

Jay Privman ‏@DRFPrivman Aug 29
Zayat: "I feel I let the fans down." And "I have to protect him."

Jay Privman ‏@DRFPrivman Aug 29
Zayat: "My gut not the Pharoah we know. Doesn't owe anyone anything." Sounds like leaning to retirement but wants to talk to Baffert, etc

Jay Privman ‏@DRFPrivman Aug 29
At press conference, @jazz3162 bringing up consideration of retirement of Pharoah. Not a decision, but says responsible if he is tailing off


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:37 am 
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I would suggest reading Byron Rogers very interesting assessment of AP's performance on his Performance Genetics page. Very insightful.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:49 am 
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Hi Cree,
Thanks for those quotes....I agree Keen Ice was coming to hand and I'm starting to believe he is the true 1 1/4 mile horse in the 3YO division. Yet, I had a problem with his one win resume going in. No doubt his ability to get the distance trumped all else in the race. I do wish Victor rode AP out in the Haskell and think that could have allowed him the addition 3/4's he needed to gut out another win at the distance that has been his Achilles heel.
It will be interesting to see if Baffert and Zayat attempt a run in the BC Classic? It's tough right now for them to impartially examine the defeat. Especially after beating Keen Ice being eased up in the Haskell, he had to be one they least expected to beat him. I'm sure they will seriously consider that the distance was the culprit. They are between a rock and a hard place right now....time is against them with less than 2 months before BC Day. If they give him time off and decide to run in the Classic, they will have a hard time figuring out how to get a prep into him and also run in the Classic. It's not wise to go straight to another 1 1/4 race without a race in between....but then they might have to forego (no pun intended) the rest period.
The best option I see, if they are to run him again and give him a well deserved breather would be to give him a couple weeks off at Del Mar on track. Taking such a break into consideration, that should take the BC Classic out of consideration because there wouldn't be time enough for a prep. What I would consider is to run him in the BC Dirt Mile....with a two month break between the Travers and BC Dirt Mile Baffert could hone the Champ to razor sharpness and he could win his 'swan song' at a distance he will easily be fit and ready for after 2 months away. TJ


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:51 am 
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jagger wrote:
I would suggest reading Byron Rogers very interesting assessment of AP's performance on his Performance Genetics page. Very insightful.

Hi Jagger,
I'd like to read it...Got a link? TJ


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:18 pm 
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The BC Dirt Mile seems a better fit (at this point) for Pharoah, and now the Coolmore gang have announced they are pointing Gleneagles (a turf miler) to the BC Classic. Seems a bit weird since Pharoah will be retired to Coolmore.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:14 am 
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I found these articles (and a Bloodhorse podcast interview about AP):
http://performancegenetics.com/the-stri ... cretariat/
https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing ... stud-value

So, at the risk of sounding dumb, but want to ask... how would a horse be worse at an in-between distance of a mile and a 1/4, yet do well at a mile and an 1/8, and a mile and a 1/2? When I watched, I knew he was in trouble when Victor let him go around the last bend, and the explosive acceleration I was expecting didn't happen. But I wouldn't have attributed his difficulty with this race, to the race distance.

After the fact, I wondered how he would have fared, had the Zayats shipped him directly to Saratoga and he had three weeks to acclimate. Would it have made any difference, do you think? I have to believe his late arrival didn't do him any favors.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:05 am 
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skeenan wrote:
I found these articles (and a Bloodhorse podcast interview about AP):
http://performancegenetics.com/the-stri ... cretariat/
https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing ... stud-value

So, at the risk of sounding dumb, but want to ask... how would a horse be worse at an in-between distance of a mile and a 1/4, yet do well at a mile and an 1/8, and a mile and a 1/2? When I watched, I knew he was in trouble when Victor let him go around the last bend, and the explosive acceleration I was expecting didn't happen. But I wouldn't have attributed his difficulty with this race, to the race distance.

After the fact, I wondered how he would have fared, had the Zayats shipped him directly to Saratoga and he had three weeks to acclimate. Would it have made any difference, do you think? I have to believe his late arrival didn't do him any favors.


Thanks Skeenan, I was wondering all of that myself.


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