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Making decisions in handicapping and betting is what it’s all about in this game. Having opinions, making the right play. Winning streaks almost always happen under two circumstances: the horse player is seeing the ball well and making proper bets; and he is winning the close finishes, when a nose photo can mean the difference in hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Right and Wrong over the past couple of days:


1st race) Wrong about FLETCHERS COVE in the opener. Hated her last race. 2nd) Had to decide between a number of contenders and went with UP THE LIMIT, picking long layoff runner FIVE STAR CHARM second. Wrong again. 3rd) A two-horse race on paper and I flip-flopped the top pair as TURNBOLT beat JACK’S KID. 4th) Had morning line favorite GET FUNKY picked last. He floated way up in price but got the money as my top pick SOUL CITY SLEW got hammered in the wagering and ran third. 5th) LADY LE BELLE looked like a standout, was bet like a standout and narrowly got there. Right on this one, barely. 6th) Had to decide between sharp VALIANT EFFORT, who was unproven on turf but by excellent grass sire Bertrando and LAINIES LION, who hated the dirt last time but had a terrible trip on turf one back (I put him on my Ready-to-Win List after that one). Went the wrong way as ‘LION won easily. 7th) Competitive maiden claimer in which my top pick LARRY’S GIRL was badly overbet and ran second to trial maiden MIMITHEMIDGET. Okay effort but wrong. 8th) Didn’t like FOURTY NINERS SON’s comeback race and wasn’t convinced he would run 12 furlongs. I liked sharp ONE OFF and pace play A. P. XCELLENT, who was the gamble after the scratch of PHAR TO WIN. Wrong and double wrong. 9th) Hated FORGIVABLE BOB after he had walked out of the gate in about six or seven straight races. I even suggested he should be put on the stewards’ list after his last. My pick GOLDEN WAGER ran well but was second best to, you guessed it, appropriately named FORGIVABLE BOB. 10th) MR. LOGAN on top but second best behind front-running HURRY HOME WARREN. Saturday scoreboard: one right, nine wrong. And if you factor in my dislike for HARD SPUN in the Lane’s End at Turfway, make my record 1-10 on the day.


1st) WHERE’S MY HALO or sharp MESA MAGIC in the opener? Right when ‘HALO charged from behind to win going away. 2nd) No clue in a wide-open maiden claimer. KITTEN EXCHANGE won the race but I had no opinion, so I’m going to call this one a draw. 3rd) EPIC POWER, who was returning in seven days after a brutal trip or win machine PHAR TO WIN, who was scratched out of Saturday’s San Luis Rey to run here? Wrong when ‘WIN left ‘POWER in the dust in mid-stretch. 4th) One-horse race after the scratch of One Prized M. D., AWAY DOWN SOUTH romped home at $2.80. 5th) Thought four horses could win this downhill event but never could have come with up longshot winner NO LULLABY. Wrong. 6th race) Spread race in the first leg of the Pick 4. I picked PEACE ACCORD but knew he was badly overbet. I used half a dozen on my ticket and caught MY MAN MURF at $19.60. Call this one a draw. 7th) Loved CITRONNADE as did the rest of the public, who hammered her down to 4/5, and watched her dominate the Santa Ana in front-running style. She is a very good filly for Frankel. “Single” in the Pick 4 means I was right in here. 8th) Loved Bay Area shipper LEMON KISS. She stumbled badly at the start but I was saved when entrymate FOREST HUNTRESS won easily at $6.60. I’m not a fan of coupled entries but I was for this one race. Sometimes its better to be lucky than good. Wrong but right. 9th) Picked winner DRY YOUR EYES ($5.00) but thought she was overbet and used four on my winning Pick 4 ticket. Unfortunately, I got the lowest payoff ($350) when ‘EYES held off STORMING SLEW. Sunday scoreboard: four right, three wrong and a couple of pushes.

Notes: RAGS TO RICHES will not run in the Santa Anita Derby but will be trained up to the Kentucky Oaks, according to Todd Pletcher…Danny Sorenson underwent hip surgery after suffering a training mishap at Hollywood Park on Saturday morning. He has had nothing but bad luck over the past four years with untimely injury after untimely injury…Jon Court was his usual classy self in accepting the Woolf Award on Sunday…good party thrown by Santa Anita at The Derby Restaurant after the races. A bunch of us got to do some fun stuff with HRTV’s Peter Lurie during the party. If I don’t end up on the cutting room floor I might be ready for my SAG card.

And finally, under the category of Where Have You Heard this Before? In a note from my Mar. 18 blog: The flop in the race (not too surprisingly) was Wayne Lukas trained FLYING FIRST CLASS. Like the winner, he was stretching out for the first time but came up emtpy in the lane. The Cal-bred son of Perfect Mandate (who, to my knowledge, has never produced a route winner of note–please correct me if I’m wrong), wants no part of 1 1/4 miles but expect Lukas to push full speed ahead along the Derby trail. I haven’t read any post-race quotes yet but I’m guessing Lukas, despite proclaiming how great the horse was coming into the race, said something like this: He came up short…I didn’t have him cranked up enough…he will improve a ton out of the race…we’ll go ahead and look at the Arkansas Derby (or pick any other prep).

Compare to this note taken from Saturday’s DRF: Trainer D. Wayne Lukas blamed himself for the eighth-place finish of favored Flying First Class in the Rebel, and said he would bring the colt back in the Arkansas Derby. “In hindsight, he was short, very short,” Lukas said. “I did a bad job. I was just asking some people if they thought I could make a living selling used cars. I didn’t do enough with him.” Lukas added, “I’m not wrong on the horse, just wrong on how I handled him.”

Wayne, don’t worry about making a living selling used cars. You could make a living selling ice to the eskimos.

Good night now.

To view Free Samples of Saturday and Sunday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for Mar. 24Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for Mar. 25


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