Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday recap

I think I saw a nice Grassrooter race at Grand River last night. Mislead Me Not made his lifetime debut a winning one for the low profile trainer/driver tandem of Tim Cherwaiko and Bert Fenech, leading from start to finish in 2:03.3. Fenech was motionless for the entire mile and yet the three year-old gelding's own last half was 1:00.2 with a :29.3 kicker. Fenech kept him to his task and he was trotting faster after the wire than he was at any point in the mile. It was encouraging to see a horse that was ready to go at first asking. Much of the talk being initiated by customers on the industry's message boards this weeked was (and continues to be) about horses that are given soft, "educational", "tightening" trips in their early starts, all while the track is taking bets on them (you can read the discussion for yourself at harnessdriver.com). Regardless, I've added Mislead Me Not to my Watch List and will be watching him with great interest in the weeks ahead.

Frederic "Freddie" Maine got 'er done with Get Er Done in the 6th in Elora last night, leading from start to finish and having a chance to display his seldom seen stretch moves in the process. I had to do a double take when I glanced away from the computer to the television because for a moment I though it was Tim Tetrick, not Freddie Maine! Felicitations, monsieur.

Add Coventry Seelster to the Watch List as well. He finished a flying, photoed-out 2nd to Modern Will in the 7th after being helplessly locked-in at crunch time. His trip was so compromising, in fact, that not even (his driver) Anthony MacDonald could find a way out sooner. Now that's locked-in! (To be added to the mailing list with those that already receive THE PETE SHEETS' Watch List, email such a request to thepetesheets@hotmail.com)

It seems like WEG's $40k Guaranteed Early Pick Four has been well received by multi-race wager lovers as last night's pool reached a meet-high $65,584! You have to love it when a plan comes together!

Touch The Rock won the opening leg of the sequence and was the first of a series of impressive winners on the Monday night card from Woodbine. The three year-old Rocknroll Hanover colt won in a new lifetime best clocking of 1:51.1 despite having a less than ideal trip. It's just too bad that THE PETE SHEETS' followers had to take 2-5 on him last night when he was just as good while being predicted to win at nearly 7-1 the previous week:

9-TOUCH THE ROCK offered an eye-catching performance
in his three year-old debut and he's obviously a horse
that has matured and improved substantially since last
year. He was first to front, got shuffled in the middle
stages but found late room in the stretch and literally
exploded when Waples found room for him very late in the
stretch. Had he gotten out sooner, his margin would've
been greater and his final winning time much faster.
Tonight's race will be the true test of his ability
(and my ability to judge horses) as he meets a much
deeper group than the one he toyed with last week.

Mark Austin trains and co-owns with Dan Smith, two guys that have invested their entire lives and a lot of money into the sport. It's hard not to be happy for them when they win. Good luck in The Burlington, lads!

The Ontario Spring Series Final was dominated by the robotic Windsong Grand Avenue. How in the world did she ever pay $27.90 to win? Theta Blue Chip at 3-5? I like Gord Irwin and especially Paul MacDonell and all of the feelgood stories that they've been a part of over the years, but I mean Theta Blue Chip at 3-5? She obviously has talent but she's been so bad-gaited and steppy in all of her starts that Paul hasn't even had a chance to turn her loose yet. Why would anyone expect last night to have been any different? If you bet one dollar on Theta Blue Chip in win-based bets last night, you need THE PETE SHEETS before you ever bet again.

Other Monday night monsters were Card Hustler, Royal Artist, Harlequin and Rock Me Please.

Keith Oliver came close to winning with the first starter he's sent to the gate as a trainer since 2003 when Boogie Woogie (clear throat, grunt, run hand through hair) finished a very good 2nd in the 7th. A lot of readers might not know this, but Keith was really the first guy to ever let me hang around his barn and actually do stuff! I'll never forget the early lessons in horsemanship that I learned while he yelled at me from the yard while I jogged his horses or while he yelled at me through the bars of the stalls while I cleaned them. I can remember paddocking his pride and joy, Anns Emerald, as a kid in 1997 and am especially clear in my recollection of the time that he actually shot me $20 for doing it! Good times. I figure Boogie Woogie'll win one of these weeks and I'd love to get my picture taken with my old friend but worry that a scraper and a sponge might follow the ceremony, so I'm resigned to just watching from home. Go get 'em, Red Man!

So it's Tuesday and that means Grand River and Georgian Downs! THE PETE SHEETS for Grand River are complete and I'm putting the finishing touches on the Georgian version. As always, you can request your own copy by sending an email to thepetesheets@hotmail.com. If you'd like to be added to the regular mailing list instead of having to send an individual email each day for each track just let me know. THE PETE SHEETS are available for every card of racing at Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Grand River, Western Fair and Woodbine. They are absolutely free and those that are already regular subscribers have been very pleased with the information that THE PETE SHEETS contain.

Have a good day everyone...

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