I have otherwise spotted an even more egregious long-shot in the $100k Louisiana Cup Turf Classic at Louisiana Downs, but more on that thesis later.
|NJ Horseplayer taking aim at big
prices on the Public Handicapper
There are others that look appealing to me, such as Up In Time at 8-to-1 with Rafael Bejarano aboard and Star Billing, coming off a head loss in the Grade 1 American Oaks.
However, Celestial Kitten, at a whopping 20-to-1 morning line, is my choice on Public Handicapper, for a few reasons.
First, Mizdirection is an excellent horse, in my opinion, and took Friday's Sandy Blue Handicap ($85k stakes) against a few decent horses. The rider change to the aggressive Patrick Valenzuela suggests to me that Celestial Kitten will sit closer to the early pace than in the San Clemente, when Joel Rosario put the horse nearly eight lengths off the lead. Otherwise, second- and third-place finishes in two Grade 2 events suggests the price is far too long in a deep field where one can state a case for nine horses to win, and I think that Celestial Kitten still has room to improve and could fare well if the pace is around 22.5-sub 47. My backup selections (players pick 3 horses on Public Handicapper, in the event of a scratch of top choice) are Up In Time and Cambina.
Turning to the Louisiana Cup Turf Classic, run at a mile-and-a-sixteenth over turf, I am stating a case for 30-to-1 Henry's Teddybear. The editor's notes on DRF suggest this horse "doesn't seem near good enough to win this race" but I beg to differ.
Having paid some attention to the Louisiana circuit (Evangeline Downs) this season, I am a fan of jockey Diego Saenz and am not really impressed by any of the horses to take a stand elsewhere in this 12-horse field, where Wildrally is the lukewarm favorite at 5-to-1. If there is ANY race to hit with a long-shot, this is it. The field is an OK bunch of Louisiana breds, but there's nothing spectacular here. I anticipate my backup selection, Heavenville, going well below his 8-to-1 morning line and my third choice, Up and Out of Site, doing much the same at 6-to-1, and will use them merely if my bomber scratches.
Henry's Teddybear Beyer progression (70-70-76) in his last three turf races (on a tight Evangeline Downs) tells me he at least likes the surface. Also, the horse has won against decent state-bred allowance company and, on paper, may appear over-matched against the likes of state-bred stakes winners Tensas Cat (15-to-1), Ide Like a Double (15-to-1), Wildrally and Idefromthebayou (8-to-1). However, the winner of the $20k open claimer two back (Simple Kind of Man) is a solid turf horse (3-for-6 on turf) and I think the jockey change, ground-saving trip (Teddybear's past performance lines shows a host of 4- and 5-wide trips) and improving speed figures indicate this one is worth a flyer.
In the other two Public Handicapper races, I sided with St. John's River (5-to-1) over It's Tricky in the 6-horse, Grade 1 TVG Alabama at Saratoga, and chalkier 3-to-1 morning line favorite Where's Sterling over Alma D'oro in the Grade 3 Iselin at Monmouth. Best of luck with your handicapping this weekend.