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Each article gets to the heart of the matter - finding horse racing winners. They are not just another recap of the day's news or events, but solid, thoroughly detailed information to help you find more winners and create more winning value bets. Expertise and guidance that you can take to the track, and then to the bank.

Topics include track biases, hot jockey-trainer combos, trends and angles guaranteed to put cash in your wallet, horses to watch, horses to avoid, and much more. It's coaching from the top racing minds on the web, all designed to help you pick more racing winners!

Jim Hurley

5/22/2007

From The Jim Hurley Racing Network
UNDER THE SHEDROW NEWSLETTER
"The Preakness Wrap"

By Jim Hurley & The Racing Staff

Tuesday, May 22

NO TRIPLE CROWN AS CURLIN EDGES STREET SENSE - MAYBE EVEN NO REMATCH - LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING AHEAD!

Speaking of looking ahead, why wasn't Calvin Borel?

Maybe I'm wrong about this, and maybe I'm alone in addressing it...but does anyone else think it's possible Street Sense lost the one foot that cost him the Preakness Stakes when his jockey took that brief look backward over his right shoulder at the crucial point in the race? I've watched the stretch run over and over again and it looks to me as though the Derby winner hesitated ever so slightly at that point in time.

Obviously that last paragraph was written tongue-in-cheek as more than a handful of commentators have jumped on Borel as the culprit in keeping Street Sense from his appointed date with Triple Crown destiny. Perhaps there is some legitimacy to the claim, but the fractions from the race (see below - Preakness wrap up) and the fact that the Derby winner was making his third start in five weeks after racing only once in the twenty three weeks between the BC Juvenile and the Blue Grass Stakes (The Tampa Bay Derby) might have also contributed to his late stretch struggles.

No, I'm not taking anything away from Curlin, who obviously dug in and ran as gamely as a young colt can run after appearing beaten with a sixteenth of a mile to go. And no, I am not about to contend that Borel cost his colt the race when he took his peek back. The reason I mention it is because it is impossible to focus on one point among many that decides any race. Indeed, there are always a number of such points in any given race, and that proves just how tough this game can be.

Anyway...that's what makes horse racing as exhilarating and as agonizing as it is. And now that the Preakness 132 is history its time to look ahead to the Belmont Stakes three weeks hence as well as make every effort to keep you as informed as possible regarding all the other opportunities until then.

In today's edition of UNDER THE SHEDROW I'll include a quick review of the Preakness, take a look at yesterday's Peter Pan, which traditionally sends one or more of its graduates on to the Belmont Stakes and speculate on which of the Preakness runners might or might not be pointed for the third leg of the 2007 Triple Crown. In addition, I'll take you to the Big Apple and Belmont Park, where the quality of racing we expect every late spring and early summer is finally beginning to emerge.

And speaking of Belmont Park, for those that had my Full Card of racing on Preakness day...congratulations! You not only had a banner day, you also have a serious bankroll that will come in handy as we move forward during the upcoming championship type racing that is now about to descend on the venerable Long Island venue. For those of you who didn't take advantage of Saturday's profits...not to worry...the best is yet to come!

 

(You Take It...No You...Alphonse, Or Was That Gaston, Wins Preakness Stakes.)

It wasn't quite Sunday Silence over Easy Goer (is it possible that was 18 years ago?), but the finish to Saturday's Preakness Stakes was just as stirring for the final fifty yards.

Take nothing away from either Curlin or Street Sense as each dug in gamely to run the race in the co-fastest time ever (more on that shortly), but during the final furlong of the race each colt at one point decided that the other should win, and unfortunately for the connections of Street Sense, and the NYRA (and more on that shortly), the Derby winner was more polite than Curlin.

Perhaps the playful Alphonse-Gaston allusion doesn't do justice to Curlin's race. Because no matter how much Calvin Borel says that Street Sense was "gawking" at the crowd once he got clear in the stretch, it was the winner who was much the best from start to finish, with the exception of the Derby winner's one solid quarter mile from the 7/16ths to the 3/16ths pole. In fact, if you use Andy Beyer as your guide you get a 111 speed figure for the winner, which is the best rating for any three-year old in 2007.

Here are the fractions (give or take a fifth)...

Curlin - :24 3/5...:23 3/5...:23...:23 4/5...:18 2/5

Street Sense - :24 4/5...23 4/5...:23 1/5...:22 4/5...:18 4/5

That means that Curlin ran faster for each of the first three quarters of the race, actually increasing his margin over Street Sense as he took aim at the leaders. He extended himself earlier in the race and for a longer distance of ground than the Preakness runner-up. Finally, Street Sense, who had a more relaxed trip than the winner, unleashed that huge quarter mile move he has shown in all his races since the BC Juvenile and swept by the somewhat spent Curlin.  At that point Street Sense should have been able to win even if he was gawking. That the winner found another gear that deep into the race speaks volumes as to his talent. That he did so while making his fifth start in such a relatively short (by these class standards) period of time when history says a bounce was more likely, has to go down as one of the best Preakness performances ever.

Keep in mind, I'm not considering it one of the best ever because Curlin equaled the Preakness Stakes record, I'm saying it because of the way he won the race. But using the rest of the races on the card as a barometer, while the track was a little quick, it wasn't blistering fast. With the exception of Diabolical, who equaled the six furlong track record of 1:09 in winning the Maryland BC Sprint Handicap and Talent Search who finished three-quarters of a length back, the rest of the dirt races on the day were run to a consistent par for distance and class given the relative track records. Take a look at the breakdown. I listed the distance of the race, the track record, in parentheses, followed by the actual time of the race winner and lengths off that track record.

Race 1 - 8.5 furlongs...(1:40 4/5)...1:43 4/5...15 lengths
Race 2 - 6 furlongs...(1:09)...1:11...10 lengths
Race 3 - 8.5 furlongs...(1:40 4/5)...1:43 2/5...13 lengths
Race 4 - 6 furlongs...(1:09)...1:10 4/5...9 lengths
Race 6 - 6 furlongs...(1:09)...1:10 4/5...9 lengths
Race 8 - 6 furlongs...(1:09)...1:09...equaled track record
Race 9 - 8.5 furlongs...(1:40 4/5)...1:43 2/5...13 lengths
Race 11 - 9 furlongs...(1:47 1/5)...1:47 4/5...3 lengths
Race 13 - 8.5 furlongs...(140 4/5...1:45 2/5...23 lengths

These numbers are always difficult to use as an absolute guide, but the fact that three of the four 8.5 furlong races were virtual mirror images (the final race of the day was a cheap starter handicap for 16K platers) and three of the four 6 furlong tests were also remarkably equal does give you a basis from which to judge Curlin and Street Sense.

It is noteworthy that the 9 furlong race, the Grade III William Donald Schaeffer Handicap was won in a time only three lengths off the track record, while the Preakness, despite having equaled its own fastest time was actually five lengths off the overall track record of 1:52 2/5. However, the time run by the winner of the Schaeffer, Flashy Bull and runner-up Hesanoldsalt, does flatter the Preakness time to some degree because those are classy horses (Hesanoldsalt finished just two lengths behind BC Classic winner and Horse of the Year Invasor in this year's Grade I Donn Handicap) and in the Schaeffer it was another 5 lengths back to third and ten lengths back to fourth.

All of this is important because it points out two very good three year olds...not only in 2007...but in the recent annals of the race.

It is more difficult to gauge the performance of third place finisher Hard Spun. The Larry Jones trainee was once again distanced by Street Sense, who he could not hold off in the latter stages of the Preakness any more than he could in the Derby. The most accurate appraisal probably falls along the lines of the colt having reached his zenith in the Derby and running more or less the same race in the Preakness while Curlin still had room to improve due to the fact that he gained his crucial experience in the Derby itself and moved forward.

Nonetheless, it is also fair to say that Mario Pino, who, given all those pre-race "home track" accolades probably should have known better than to move as soon as he did, may have hindered Hard Spun's chances with the premature move.

Given how easily Curlin, Street Sense, and even the inexperienced C P West (fourth) inhaled pace-setters Xchanger and Flying First Class (finished next to last and last respectively), one has to wonder if Hard Spun would have been better served with a better rate job. In the Derby the son of Danzig was on a comfortable lead in :23 flat and :46 1/5 before getting a bit of a breather during his third quarter, which he navigated in :24 4/5. In the Preakness, however, the colt ran the first quarter three ticks slower in :23 3/5, went through his second quarter a tick faster than the Derby (23 flat), but geared it up to travel the Preakness third quarter in :23 1/5, which was eight lengths faster than the corresponding stretch in Louisville. That couldn't have helped. But neither can his final 7/16ths in :44 2/5 (remember, he got the final half mile of the Derby in :51 2/5 after having things a bit easier up front) lead to a whole lot of confidence traveling a mile and a half in New York in three weeks should, which appears likely, his connections decide to take one more shot.

Listening to trainer Carl Nafzger, one has to believe Street Sense will skip the Belmont Stakes. Had he won the Preakness he would have been compelled to go, but now that he has no chance at the Triple Crown the probability is that he will be judiciously pointed towards some of the later summer and fall Championship races.

As of Monday afternoon no definite plans had been announced, but I'll speculate that both the runner-up and third place finisher will head to Long Island. Given the structure, aims, goals and opportunities facing the barns of each of the first three Derby and Preakness finishers an absence by Street Sense and appearance by Curlin and Hard Spun seems about right. At the risk of being proven wrong and being accused of being a bit cynical (regardless of the level, this is horse racing isn't it?) lets look at it this way...

Street Sense - He is the Derby winner. Shortly after the Preakness trainer Nafzger said that he has nothing to prove. The conditioner has won two Derbies and now Asmussen has his Preakness. Translation - I'll check with the owner, but I've always picked the spots that were best for the horse and put that horse in the best possible light. After all, I'm a high class trainer that doesn't run for the sake of running.

Curlin - Trainer Cash...oops, Freudian slip...sorry about that...trainer Steve Asmussen has about seven thousand horses in his barn, and while he also is a bit judicious with his runners, he is more attuned to making the horse flesh pay for themselves. If Curlin is fit he'll run. You have to pay the freight, and that doesn't happen when they stay in the barn.

Hard Spun - I have a hunch that if Hard Spun can walk he'll be in the Belmont. After all, how many chances do you think Fox Hill Farms and trainer Larry Jones are going to have to get another runner to the Triple Crown. When it's now or never, it's now or never.

So now we await the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, to be run Saturday, June 9. There could be as many as twelve or fourteen or as few as seven or eight entered for the ultimate mile-and-a-half test. Few of the new challengers had a rooting interest in either of the head-bobbing Preakness finishers, although there was one outfit in New York that was very dismayed when Curlin beat Street Sense, and that outfit was the NYRA, the governing body of New York racing and Belmont Park. By nearest estimates, not having a Triple Crown possibility three Saturdays from now could mean about 40,000 less people through the turnstiles.

Fortunately, I don't have to worry about how many people attend Belmont Park that day. The only thing I have to worry about is keeping my Network eyes and ears open in order to gather all the information necessary to bring you another successful day.

 

(Jim Hurley May Own Belmont Because He's Headquartered In New York...But A String Of Longshots At Churchill Proves He's Networked Everywhere!)

While the casual player and amateur bettor has gotten geared up for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and will undoubtedly be back for more when the Belmont Stakes is run in a few weeks, there are some astute players who find being involved on an every day basis most rewarding.

You've probably come to expect me to have success on the New York circuit, which I most recently showcased with my Full Card Results at Belmont on Preakness Saturday...but many of my long time clients know just how wide-spun and tightly connected the Jim Hurley racing Network truly is. For example...

Since Friday, May 11 I have released fifteen Best Bet Plays at Churchill Downs. Before I tell you the results from those fifteen releases I want you to understand one very important point. The sources that contribute to the decision making process by which a Best Bet is determined are governed by one over-riding tenet. No matter how fast a horse is, or how much the best it is, if it doesn't present the possibility of true value, it doesn't make the cut. That is why I always say my clientele is select. They understand that percentage of winners is meaningless and Return On Investment is everything.

From the fifteen horses released at Churchill Downs between May 11 and May 20 there were five winners. They were as follows...

5/20 - Cu Roi - $23.40
5/18 - Promise Me A Prize - $11.40
5/17 - Indy Fun - $16.00
5/13 - Red Alert - $23.60
5/11 - Olympic City - $19.80

Could I have released better than 33% winners at Churchill Downs? Of course I could have. I could have easily released a steady list of $5.60, $6.00 and even $6.40 winners and perhaps hit 67%. But I don't have to do that at Churchill Downs, where a lower than national standards percentage of favorites wins and solid returns are available. At some tracks the percentage of favorites is high and those $5.60, $6.00 and $6.40 prices are the true value. Obviously I would accept that in those instances. But since my experts understand where and when to hold out for better returns, I do!

Look at it this way. Ten winners at an average mutuel of $6.00 would have returned $60.00 for your $30 investment (fifteen times $2.00). That is in fact a very nice R.O.I. of $4.00 per wager...you doubled your money.

But look what happened with only the five winners out of fifteen listed above. At $2 per play you invested the same $30 and got a return of $94.20 for an R.O.I. of $6.28. As a matter of fact, even if I'd only won four of the fifteen and eliminated the $23.60 for Red Alert, you would still have gotten back $70.60 and a higher R.O.I.

The bottom line is this...the Jim Hurley Racing Network has the knowledge and confidence to advise you to play an 8-1 shot with a 4-1 chance of winning rather than a 5-2 shot with a 2-1 chance of winning that might also provide value even if the latter appears a length or so faster based on abstract numbers. That knowledge and confidence comes from twenty plus years on the job...a period in which we have seen and digested all the scenarios and established all the connections that make the Network the success it is.

Considering that all you have to do to take advantage is call me Toll Free at 1-800-323-4453 or log on to www.JimHurley.com, I can't imagine any reason you wouldn't.

Call today and let one of my representatives set you up with a program that fits your needs. Whether it is the Value Based Best Bets such as those recently released at Churchill Downs and elsewhere or even Full Card Action such as my highly successful releases of this past Saturday, I'm ready when you are.

Hurley Racing Network Loots Belmont Park!

Here is the Full Card of racing from Belmont Park that was released to enrolled clients on Saturday, May 19...along with the winning results. (Remember, the clients that received these plays are reading this, so you know it is accurate.)

Race 1
#5 The Village Vicar - out
#1 King Of Jazz - scratched
#10 Megatrend - out
#2 Charming Image - scratched
(by the way - King Of Jazz and Charming Image came back to run 1-2 on Sunday)

Race 2
#4 The Duke Of Stanko - 2nd - Exacta Pd. $54.00
#1 Bishops's Back - W $22.00
#8 William Tell - out
#7 Charlie Caliente - out

Race 3
#4 Americanus - W - $8.30
#1 Pacific Sun - out
#5 Wannabourbonorme - out

Race 4
#7 Our Brave Hobbit - third - Trifecta Pd. $97.50
#2 Seittam - 2nd - Exacta Pd. $39.00
#5 Winaway - W $5.30
#6 Noosa Cat - scratched
Pick Three Pd. $281.00

Race 5
#6 Appealing Spring - 2nd - Exacta Pd. $13.20
#7 Dontess - W $6.10
#2 Baltic - 4th
#3 Devilshire - out
Pick Three Pd. $124.00
Pick Four Pd. $1,328.00

Race 6
#5 Extra Zip - out
#2 Defrereoftheheart - W $4.10
#3 Gentle Touch - 3rd - Trifecta Pd. $56.00
#7 Black Adonis - 2nd - Exacta Pd. $22.00
Pick Three Pd. $55.00

Race 7
#8 Bayou Timber - 2nd - Exacta Pd. $38.00
#9 Fairway Drive - out
#11 Mr. Sam I Am - W $7.50
#3 Gold And Blue Box - out
Pick Three Pd. $84.50

Race 8
#1 Swap Fliperoo - out
#3 Sugar Shake - 2nd - Exacta Pd. $21.20
#2 Rahy's Appeal - 3rd - Trifecta Pd. $56.50
#5 Teammate - W $9.70

Race 9
#5 What A Tale - W $4.90
#6 Premium Wine - 2nd - Exacta Pd. 11.00
#2 Call Me Larry - out
#9 Bird Of Play - scratched

8 out of 9 Winners - (4 On Top)
7 Exactas
3 Trifectas
4 Pick Three's
1 Pick Four

Because we make a commitment to winning we do. If you make a phone call and a commitment to winning so will you. Once again, the number is 1-800-323-4453. Give me a call! Or log on to www.JimHurley.com for an explanation of all my services.

 

(Sightseeing In Right Place At Right Time - Wins Exciting Peter Pan!)

For the first one minute, forty-eight and three fifths of a second of Sunday's Grade II Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park, the acute majority in the crowd, those who made the son of Pulpit the overwhelming 3-5 favorite, had their hearts in their throats as he loped along behind the leaders through a very leisurely pace in the early going, one that foreshadowed a mad dash for the wire, and then dug in to join the number of the front runners that had plenty left. Fortunately the race took a minute forty-eight and four fifths of a second to complete so Sightseeing was able to arrive at his destination in the nick of time and claim a nose and neck decision in an exciting three-horse blanket finish. 

If the goal is to get a horse fit for its most important race then the early stages of yesterday's Peter Pan were just what trainer Shug McGaughey wanted out of his colt in this traditional local Belmont Stales prep. The long striding dark bay or brown colt was loping along fifth of six past the three-eighths marker just two lengths behind the leaders in 1:12 3/5. The fractions were not demanding and the colt was sharp in his first start since rallying for second behind Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Grade I Wood Memorial on April 7. But some rather talented competitors had also negotiated that moderate pace and when they hit the furlong marker the winner joined the battle with the leader Prom Shoes and Fearless Vision who was moving up about a length and a half in front of him. The colt made up about two and a half lengths from the sixteenth pole home and Edgar Prado just got his nose in front at the wire. The first eight furlongs were picture perfect preparation. How much the extended effort in the final panel took out of him will be answered over the course of the next few days as McGaughey continues to get him ready for June 9. 

For the record, McGaughey isn't that concerned with how much his colt got out of the race or, for that matter, had taken out of him. He just isn't sure his charge is ready to face the type of competition he is likely to see on June 9. According to the conditioner, "Watching this race on TV [Sightseeing] was just galloping along behind those horses. Turning for home, I said ‘hey, he never even asked him.' Then when [jockey Edgar Prado] asked him, he [Sightseeing] still didn't know what to do. He needed to get two or three jumps before he needed to get leveled off and going. When he steps it up, he isn't going to have those two or three jumps. He'll learn. This will be good for him."

Prom Shoes, who established his lead just before they hit the three-eights pole dug in gamely to hold onto the place while it was a neck back to Fearless Vision, who looked to be rallying strongest of all once they straightened away in the lane, but leveled off in the final strides. The runner-up was making his first try beyond the 7 ½ furlongs he ran in the Derby Trial in his prior, and it is worth noting that the Peter Pan is, even at 9 furlongs, a one turn race, so the Belmont Stakes would be yet another first for the son of Include.

While the runner-up and third place finisher would definitely help fill out the Belmont field it is more likely that Prom Shoes will head to the Ohio Derby on June 2 instead of the Belmont. His running style of tracking and closing quickly is much more suited to the same 9 furlong distance at Thistledown (even if around two turns) than it is to a grueling twelve panels he'd have to negotiate on June 9.

As for Fearless Vision, who really did step up in his first stakes try, he has at least had two turn experience when he ran second three back in a nine panel allowance race at Gulfstream. Trainer Patrick Reynolds said he will wait a few days to make his decision regarding the Belmont, but at least the fact that he turned the tables on Soaring By, who beat him in that Florida allowance but was 13 1/2 lengths behind him on Sunday, indicates that the son of Vision And Verse is moving forward.

It was another 6 ¼ lengths back to Hal's My Hope in fourth, and 7 ¼ more to Sir Whimsey, who finished a neck in front of the disappointing trailer Soaring By It is doubtful any of that trio go anywhere but back to the drawing board.

(Street Sense Is Probably The Key To The Size Of The Belmont Field.)

As of right now there are anywhere from twelve to fourteen horses under consideration for the Belmont Stakes. That is a very large number by recent standards, and in all likelihood that number will lessen the closer we get to June 6 when post positions are drawn.

When Curlin, Street Sense and Hard Spun finished 1-2-3 in the Preakness that became the first time since 1997, when Silver Charm, Free House and Captain Bodgit turned the trick, that the same trio were in the top three in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Prior to that, it was Affirmed, Alydar and Believe It in 1978 who repeated, so this year's trio has definitely separated themselves from the pack.

If you listen to the talk coming out of the barns of those top three finishers you have to consider Curlin and Hard Spun as definite for the Belmont while Street Sense is a possibility. And if the Derby winner does join the other two, history will be made. It will be the first time ever that the top three from each of the first two legs have returned to face each other in leg three.

As of now there are all sorts of possibilities to fill out the field, but if Street Sense joins the other two runners that field will be considerably shorter.

Peter Pan winner Sightseeing is wait and see following what trainer Shug McGaughey considers a less than professional performance regardless of the victory.

Chelokee, who was the easiest of odds-on winners in the Barbaro Stakes on the Preakness under-card is also a possibility, but comparatively speaking his time or Beyer figure (95) wasn't close to the big boys, so trainer Michael Matz may look elsewhere. Again, should Street Sense decide to skip the race those plans could change.

It is probably safe to say that Kentucky Derby fourth place finisher Imawildandcrazyguy, seventh place finisher Tiago and recent back-to-back Lexington Stakes and Lone Star Derby winner Slew's Tizzy are going to run.

Imawildandcrazyguy's race in the Derby was actually pretty decent. His even fraction style of run throughout and late rally, if repeated, could serve him well at Belmont. Slew's Tizzy has improved dramatically (albeit vs lesser competition) since adding blinkers and Tiago might also like the added distance and wide turns in New York.

The most intriguing addition to the race could be the awesome filly Rags To Riches, who absolutely destroyed her peers in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks the day before the Derby. The Todd Pletcher trainee is a powerful filly and continues to work well. How ironic would it be if Pletcher finally gets a win in a Triple Crown race with a filly? The conditioner is also considering running Circular Quay again following that one's significantly disappointing run in the Preakness.

A couple of other "forgotten" Derby runners, Nobiz Like Shobiz and Great Hunter, who at last check still had four legs, are also being considered. We do know that the former loves Belmont Park and the latter, who turned in a Derby performance that was just too bad to be understood, has shown he can step up against the best.

The suspicion, while admittedly spurred by hope, is that once the connections of the group of potential challengers evaluate just how much (regardless of the time and top speed figures they garnered) running in both the Derby and Preakness might have taken out of any of the top three, they will decide to take their shot. We'll know more in the next week or so and we'll be right here to let you know about it.

(In The Meantime...Keep Winning...)

Of course the Jim Hurley Racing Network will be back with analysis and wagering recommendations for the Belmont Stakes as well as Full Card action in New York and/or your favorite track on June 9. But in the meantime the winning isn't going to be put on hold.

In fact, I've spotted a number of additional longshots running the week of May 23 - May 28 (Memorial Day Weekend) at Churchill Downs and am sitting on a number of exotic possibilities at Belmont, Monmouth, Arlington, Hollywood and other major tracks around the country.

Make sure you check back here on Friday as we'll preview the Big Holiday Weekend of Stakes and other Huge Opportunities from around the country!

To start winning today, Call 1-800-323-4453 or log on to www.JimHurley.com to get your Best Bets.



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