• Weekend Preview: Eblouissante Returns & the 14th Annual Brisnet.com Online Handicapping Challenge

    POSTED Dec 15, 2012
    Although this weekend’s races may not raise the pulse in the same way that the Kentucky Derby or Breeders’ Cup races do, there are some interesting events on tap.

    To begin with, Saturday marks the 14th Annual Brisnet.com Online Handicapping Challenge. Participants simply need to select one horse in each of the 10 contest races to earn the mythical proceeds of a $2 win and place bet (payoffs capped at $50 on win wagers, $20 on place bets). The player with the highest accumulated bankroll secures a spot in the 2013 Horse Player World Series at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas as well as $1,000 in cash and a $300 Brisnet.com credit. There are additional prizes for the top 15 finishers as well.

    Saturday also features the return of Zenyatta’s half-sister, Eblouissante, in an allowance race at Hollywood Park and BC Juvenile runner-up He’s Had Enough in the CashCall Futurity.

    Here’s a sneak peek at some of the more interesting weekend races:

    SATURDAY (12/15)

    There is no question that 3-Eblouissante’s debut effort was impressive. Not only did the three-year-old filly win by 4 ¼ lengths in that Nov. 16 maiden affair, she recorded a 92 Brisnet speed figure (today’s par is 91) and -5 late speed ration (LSR) in the process. Hence, I think she’s worth considering at even odds or better today and I would definitely play her at anything over her morning line price (6/5).

    However, there’s a rub: Simply put, this race has no pace — and at least one trainer seems to be aware of this fact. Julio Canani just claimed 4-Include the Cat and is putting blinkers on the five-year-old daughter of Include after a three-furlong drill timed in 36-4/5 seconds. Include the Cat recorded a -6 early speed ration (ESR) last time and only Glowing Spirit, who is dropping off a 10-furlong try on the grass, has ever gone faster early. If any horse beats the big favorite, I suspect Canani’s mare will be the one; I make her fair odds 7-2.

    The ninth race  at Hollywood Park, the CashCall Futurity, is just the opposite of the fourth event in that there is an abundance of early speed. 4-Carving, 5-Fury Kapcori, 8-Really Mr Greely, 9-Title Contender and 11-Oxbow have all shown the desire to leave the gate running. Thus, I think there might be value on 2-Den’s Legacy (9-2 fair odds), who has recorded some solid LSRs while coming from off the pace in both AWS and turf races.

    I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss the frontrunners either. Title Contender (8-1 fair odds) may be the quickest of the quick and Fury Kapcori (6-1 fair odds) is improving and doesn’t need the lead to win.

    This is one of the Brisnet contest races and I think there are four horses with a decent shot of winning:

    4-Shelbys Star (7-2 fair odds) has got the lowest (fastest) overall ESRs, is improving, and could get brave on the lead.

    If she runs back to her debut, 5-Brick House Road (3-1 fair odds) will be long gone against the likes of these. Not only was the competition she faced arguably tougher, but the daughter of Road Ruler showed both early (-10 ESR) and late (-14 LSR) speed that day. The problem is “that day” was more than four months ago.

    9-Jewelia Anne (4-1 fair odds) has been facing considerably tougher but comes off a 53-length butt-kicking as the 9-5 favorite in her local bow.

    Although he showed nothing in his first — and only — lifetime start, I suspect 10-Doggone Wild (8-1 fair odds) is properly placed today and will give a good account of himself.

    At 5-2 or greater, 1-Denham is my play. He likes to win (17-of-44 lifetime), is in good form and has a versatile running style.

    DED1: 12-In Step Dancer (5/2 morning line)
    FG11: 12-Palmer Tour (7/2)
    HAW8: 2-Most Distinct (3/1)
    PEN9: 3-Juicy Lucy (7/2)
    TP8: 12-Yesterday (3/1)

    (Click on image to enlarge)

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