The Road to Kentucky Week 6 Recap

RING WEEKEND BLOG

As we near the halfway point of Road to Kentucky 2014, so far a similar theme has played out in each of the first six weeks. Favorites and low-priced contenders are dominating the action, and achieving competitive weekly scores has meant conceding to the chalk on a regular basis. Those of us unwilling to do that have been relegated to back page material.

The maximum score this week was 3,072, which included a “must-have” longshot winner in one of the double-point bonus races. That horse was the Tampa Bay Derby winner Ring Weekend, who lit up the tote board at 14-1, generating a juicy double-point contest score of 976 points. Ring Weekend was mentioned as a price play by Canterbury Park race analyst Angela Hermann in her Tampa Bay Derby preview blog, and those who followed her advice were justly rewarded. Ring Weekend was worth 32% of the total points available this week, so selecting him was a necessity for a Top 6 finish.

My analysis of the race led me in a different direction. I was expecting a hot early pace, and Ring Weekend figured to be part of the heat from the inside post. Five of the ten runners showed a propensity to want the early lead, and it wasn’t on my radar that Ring Weekend would sprint clear of the pack in dominating fashion. For that reason I selected Hy Kodiak Warrior, who I thought would get a favorable race flow at the right price (10-1 ML). I got the worst of both worlds with Hy Kodiak Warrior not running well, and also being bet down to 9/2 odds. It can be a difficult, elusive game at times!

One other result worth mentioning was the performance of California Chrome in the San Felipe at Santa Anita. He won as the favorite, but took advantage of a speed favoring surface to record a giant speed figure, recording fast fractions and winning in dominating fashion. It reminded me of Sinister Minister’s big performance at Keeneland many years ago before they switched to the synthetic surface. Sinister Minister was never able to duplicate that effort, although indications are that California Chrome is a better quality horse. It will be interesting to see how he responds to that huge race in his next start.

With 3,072 available points, expect the winning score to be in the 2,000 point range. Those correctly identifying Ring Weekend as their Tampa Bay Derby selection will be vying for top prize.

Next week the contest track is Oaklawn Park and the featured Kentucky Derby prep is the Rebel Stakes. Win Willy won the 2009 edition of the Rebel Stakes at odds of 56-1 for trainer Mac Robertson and owner Jer-Mar Stables. Hope to see you here!

The Oracle

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