• Not Sold On Soldat

    POSTED Mar 3, 2011
    In light of his impressive win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes on Saturday, many are now crowning Soldat the 137th winner of the Kentucky Derby. Personally, I think the hype is a bit premature, but one of the things I love about this time of year is that opinions run as rampant as lies at a political convention.

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    Look, Soldat is clearly talented — but I knew that prior to Saturday’s feature race at Gulfstream Park. What I did not know was whether or not Soldat could finish with the same resolve that he showed in capturing an allowance race on Jan. 21 if he was forced to extend himself in the early stages. And, unfortunately, that question was not answered in the Fountain of Youth. Instead, the son of War Front once again loafed on an easy lead and finished strongly, which he’s been doing since he broke his maiden in the Grade 3 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga in September.

    Thus, the question remains: can Soldat win after carving out racehorse fractions or, barring that, can he close from 5-10 lengths back?

    For me, the jury’s still out.

    Love is Bind

    On horse that did impress me recently was Bind. Owned by the same folks — Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider — that brought us the equally creatively named champion Blame, Bind looked fantastic in capturing his career debut at Fair Grounds on Feb. 19.

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    Not only did the son of Pulpit earn a 107 Brisnet speed figure, which matches the Kentucky Derby par, but he also recorded a -7 ESR and a -8 LSR in that event. Although those numbers fail to match the digits that Uncle Mo earned in his lifetime bow, they are still very, very impressive.

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    However, don’t expect a match-up against “Mo” anytime soon. According to Daily Racing Form reports, just as it did with Blame, the ownership group of Bind is taking a wait-and-see approach and is not presently entertaining thoughts of a Triple Crown run.

    “It was only a maiden race,” Claiborne Farm’s Seth Hancock reminded everybody following his colt’s impressive score.

    Professional Gambler Barry Meadow on ‘SimonSays’

    Professional gambler and author Barry Meadow joins me on this week’s “SimonSays Racing Podcast.” Barry will talk about the trials and tribulations of being a pro player, value betting, important handicapping factors and overall changes in the game. Listen live at 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern) or check out the archives on Blogtalk Radio.

    Friday Freebies

    Aqueduct (03/04/11)
    Race 4 * 6.0 Furlongs * Dirt

    3-Fiery Footwork (4/1)
    Fair Odds: 3-1
    7-Pete’s Parley (7/2)
    Fair Odds: 7-2
    1/1A-Digger Karakorum/Prix de Karakorum entry (10/1)
    Fair Odds: 9-2

    COMMENTS: FIERY FOOTWORK has been steadily improving and recorded a 96 Brisnet speed figure (Friday’s par is a 92) and -8 LSR in his latest start, which took place just five days ago. The quick turnaround is a positive show of confidence by trainer Gary Contessa, as he has accumulated a 23% ROI on such maneuvers over the past five years. PETE’S PARLEY may be the quickest of the quick and must be respected. I’m not thrilled with the way either half of the entry has been handled, so it’s tough to say what the connections will do. DIGGER KARAKORUM has won two of his last three starts rating on easy leads, which doesn’t appear to be in the cards on Friday; however, he’s come off the pace effectively in the past. Likewise, PRIX DE KARAKORUM has also run well from off the pace, yet trainer Jeff Odintz wins just 5% of the time with horses coming off of a victory… tough call.

    BET(S): WIN on 3 at odds of 3-1 or greater.

    Aqueduct (03/04/11)
    Race 5 * 8.3 Furlongs * Dirt

    5-No Imagination (5/2)
    Fair Odds: 2-1
    3-Holdme Kaz (4/1)
    Fair Odds: 3-1
    1-Simple Western (7/2)
    Fair Odds: 6-1

    COMMENTS: In a race filled with more losers than the green room of the “Jerry Springer Show,” NO IMAGINATION is one of the few that looks like an actual racehorse. In fact, if you subtract her turf tries, the Mark Hennig trainee has a 6-1-2-1 record on dirt. HOLDME KAZ could get clear early, which is usually an advantage in races of this “quality.” Despite her 7-2 morning line odds, I think SIMPLE WESTERN could get overlooked in this spot.

    BET(S): WIN/PLACE on 5 at odds of 2-1 or greater.

    Aqueduct (03/04/11)
    Race 6 * 8.0 Furlongs * Dirt

    6-She’s Fired Up (8/5)
    Fair Odds: 7-5
    7-Real Charmer (2/1)
    Fair Odds: 2-1
    1-Western Thriller (6/1)
    Fair Odds: 6-1

    COMMENTS: SHE’S FIRED UP shows improving speed and pace figures and should get a beautiful, stalking trip behind REAL CHARMER, who’s a threat to go wire-to-wire on the class drop. WESTERN THRILLER ran a sneaky-good race last time and should offer a great price.

    BET(S): WIN/PLACE on 6 at odds of 7-5 or greater.

    Derek Simon’s Free Selection Statistics

    Races (Selections): 20 (22)
    Wins: 7
    Rate: 35.0%
    Return: $66.30
    ROI: +50.68%

    (This year's published selections through 03/03/11.)

    Note: Play is restricted to any horse(s) that meet my fair odds requirements (when listed). Multiple qualifying contenders will be bet separately, however, multiple bets will be adjusted to equal a single wager and the payoffs averaged. For example a winning WIN/PLACE wager paying $6.20 on top and $4.30 underneath would count as a single bet paying $5.25 (the average of $6.20 and $4.30).

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