Category Archives: The Haiku Handicapper

The Haiku Handicapper: 2011 Belmont Stakes

#1 – Master Of Hounds
Derby trip got buzz
Transatlantic trips bring pause
Not buying the hype

#2 – Stay Thirsty
Sidekick did little
To kick Uncle Mo’s shadow
Best will come later

#3 – Ruler On Ice
Mid-tier near-misses
Give him ho-hum resume
Doesn’t inspire

#4 – Santiva
In Derby’s top half
Shows solid dirt form at three
Has wild card chops

#5 – Brilliant Speed
A turf, synth standout
Didn’t bomb in dirt return
Keep on your radar

#6 – Nehro
The Derby bridesmaid
Stricken with seconditis
Threat to hit the board

#7 – Monzon
Mid-Atlantic steed
Class jumps were a disaster
Stick to overnights

#8 – Prime Cut
Making breakthrough start
From decent second-tier tries
Deep gimmicks at best

#9 – Animal Kingdom
Crown campaign fell short
Has the tools for 12 panels
Two for three ain’t bad

#10 – Mucho Macho Man
Hard-luck campaigner
Preakness trip was traumatic
What does he have left?

#11 – Isn’t He Perfect
Preakness afterthought
Homecoming doesn’t mean much
Isn’t he a toss?

#12 – Shackleford
Held strong in Preakness
Blistering pace is rare here
Lots more ground to keep

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Who wins the Belmont?
Animal Kingdom’s a beast
Four and five follow

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The Haiku Handicapper: 2011 Preakness Stakes

I am on-site in Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes, so this site might get neglected for a bit, but until then, here is something to fill the gap. Enjoy the race!

#1 – Astrology
Runs in memory
Of late owner Jess Jackson
Could sneak on tickets

#2 – Norman Asbjornson
Penn-bred new shooter
Enters with field’s coolest name
And that’s about it

#3 – King Congie
Sentimental name
Faces same synth-to-dirt doubts
Derby winner quashed

#4 – Flashpoint
Quick starting’s the theme
Didn’t handle two turns great
Wait for summer sprints

#5 – Shackleford
Nearly wired ‘em
In a crawling-paced Derby
Hard to follow up

#6 – Sway Away
Derby’s last horse out
His best work came at one turn
Hold for state derbies

#7 – Midnight Interlude
A big Derby dud
Bouncing back’s his biggest test
Should take some money

#8 – Dance City
A fresh challenger
Sambaed up the class ladder
Poised for big effort

#9 – Mucho Macho Man
Third in the Derby
Yet to turn in a clunker
Is a bounce looming?

#10 – Dialed In
Added incentive
5.5 million bones is
A spicy meatball

#11 – Animal Kingdom
The Derby winner
Becomes even scarier
With dirt questions dashed

#12 – Isn’t He Perfect
New Yorker ships down
Non-factor against real foes
He’s an afterthought

#13 – Concealed Identity
Took the local prep
This isn’t an overnight
He’s up against it

#14 – Mr. Commons
Rising West Coaster
Takes class, distance jumps in stride
Live for exotics

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Which runner Preaks out?
Dialed In cashes the check
Eight and eleven

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The Haiku Handicapper: 2011 Kentucky Derby

First and foremost, if you would like a more detailed analysis of the Kentucky Derby field, I wrote 5,000 words on the race over on ThoroFan.com for its “Handicapper’s Corner”. If you can find a more detailed breakdown of the Kentucky Derby field, you read it.

Please note, the ThoroFan analysis was written prior to Friday’s scratch of Uncle Mo, who factored into my exotic tickets, thus my picks are a little outdated. For the sake of discussion, let’s replace him with another horse who might have an advantage in the second wave of front-runners, Pants on Fire.

If you prefer a short, punchy breakdown of the field in a 5-7-5-syllabled parameter, you have come to the right place. Best of luck on all of your wagers today.

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#1 – Archarcharch
Arkansas leader
Snuck up on folks at Oaklawn
Must overcome post

#2 – Brilliant Speed
Turf, synth specialist
Dirt efforts not so brilliant
Nice horse, not his spot

#3 – Twice The Appeal
Has the Borel bump
Super ticket needs longshots
He fits the profile

#4 – Stay Thirsty
Mo’s tag-team partner
Has shown tendencies to wilt
When placed in big spots

#5 – Decisive Moment
Got in the gate with
Minor checks in rich races
Decide against him

#6 – Comma To The Top
Derby Fever strikes
Wobbles coming down the stretch
Not the spot for him

#7 – Pants On Fire
Rosie’s rose runner
Earns his keep out on the lead
That’s a tall task here

#8 – Dialed In
Mud-in-face closer
Lone big horse to deliver
In his last big prep

#9 – Derby Kitten
Late to the party
Distance, surface, class concerns
They’re asking a lot

#10 – Twinspired
Another synth horse
Improving, but still outmatched
Not inspiring

#11 – Master Of Hounds
Foreign invader
Prior form offers few hints
On how he’ll perform

#12 – Santiva
Light soph schedule
History does not bode well
For last-prep clunkers

#13 – Mucho Macho Man
Well-traveled and tough
Qualities you like to see
In a Derby horse

#14 – Shackleford
None saw him coming
In Florida Derby scrape
Won’t go unchallenged

#15 – Midnight Interlude
Raw, rising talent
First start out of comfort zone
Hard place to have it

#16 – Animal Kingdom
Won the Spiral Stakes
Even connections seem tense
About his dirt form

#17 – Soldat
Went from chalk to dust
After dull Gulfstream effort
Needs to prove his grit

#19 – Nehro
Standing room only
On deep closer’s bandwagon
Can he find the line?

#20 – Watch Me Go
Tampa Bay shocker
Barely sparked in Illinois
Hard to expect much

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Glory’s on the line
Can you hear Dialed In now?
One, seven and three

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The Haiku Handicapper: 2011 Dubai World Cup Card

Master of Hounds (#5) and Mantoba (#3) will each vie for their first graded stakes victories in the U.A.E. Derby at Meydan Racecourse.

The Haiku Handicapper is mixing it up for this year’s Dubai World Cup.

With solid fields in each of the eight races on the evening’s card, this year’s analysis of Meydan’s signature event will focus on the winners of each race, instead of the individual horses in select contests.

The betting options are robust for this year’s Dubai World Cup, and with so many horses coming from places not normally seen by American bettors, the intrigue level is sky high. If online wagering were legal in Michigan, I would be playing this card with both fists. Instead, I will be making my picks for pride alone, which still isn’t bad if they all come in.

Let’s have a look at the selections…

Race #1 – Dubai Kahayla Classic (Arabians)
Spotlight on Purebreds
No Risk Al Maury looks best
Watch for Dariya

Race #2 – Al Quoz Sprint
J J The Jet Plane
Continues globetrotting run
With a short-priced win

Race #3 – Godolphin Mile
A one-turn mile
Ripe with U.S. invaders
Zafeen Speed upsets

Race #4 – U.A.E. Derby
Field of wild cards
Looks like a g’day for Reem
Who outruns the Hounds

Race #5 – Dubai Golden Shaheen
A Shaheen rematch
Kinsale King and Rocket Man
Title changes hands

Race #6 – Dubai Duty Free
Plenty of options
Mendip’s nice if he likes turf
But Presvis takes it

Race #7 – Dubai Sheema Classic
The marquee turf race
Well-traveled and travels well
Redwood’s roots run deep

Race #8 – Dubai World Cup
A land seeks heroes
Buena Vista tops Transcend
The Rising Sun shines

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The Haiku Handicapper: 2011 Tampa Bay Derby

Ho-hum installment
Of Tampa’s signature race
Earnings up for grabs

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#1 – Striding Ahead
A Juddmonte prospect
Huge score off a rank debut
Worth spots on tickets

#2 – Economic Summit
A New York snowbird
Hasn’t shown graded stakes chops
Needs a big debut

#3 – Beamer
Finished behind three
That he will face Saturday
Doesn’t jump off page

#4 – Uncle Mo
Chose to face cupcakes
In lieu of graded debut
Cross his number out

#5 – Too Experience
A local fixture
Progressing nicely, hot jock
There’s plenty to like

#6 – Crimson Knight
Wins came in claimers
The air starts to get thinner
Climbing the mountain

#7 – Free Entry
Moving up the ranks
Lone loss is to Uncle Mo
Overlay hazard

#8 – Moonhanger
Big maiden winner
Other efforts are shaky
Hopes are not sky high

#9 – Watch Me Go
Sunshine stakes mainstay
Best efforts came a class down
Nice allowance horse

#10 – Brethren
Derby pedigree
Plowed through shaky opponents
Still seeking first test

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Predictable tilt
No one touches number ten
Five, one and seven

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The Haiku Handicapper: 2010 Eclipse Award Predictions

Two-Year-Old Male
Eclipse voters will
Say “Mo money, Mo problems”
For the ’08 crop

Two-Year-Old Female
A well-rounded group
Cup win makes eclipse Awesome
Calder celebrates

Three-Year-Old Male
Uninspired crop
Lucky was the best last year
The title stays his

Three-Year-Old Female
Division runs deep
Blind Luck wins races by heads
Wins award by lengths

Older Male
Top two going in
Are the top two at the end
Blame swept the series

Older Female
One choice – Zenyatta
Nary a filly or mare
Could dent her armor

Turf Male
Two hit the wire
Cup effort gives Gio nose
Over Winchester

Turf Female
Her lone U.S. start
Is the tip of the iceberg
Goldi is solid

Male Sprinter
All worthy options
Majestic’s campaign cut short
Big Drama gets it

Female Sprinter
Champagne tailed off late
Rightly So checked out early
Dubai Majesty

Steeplechase
Each has a Grade One
Hard to top 25 lengths
Slip Away’s the champ

Jockey
Go-Go’s gutsy Cup
Earns honorable mention
But it’s Ramon’s year

Apprentice Jockey
The leader by wins
Also leader by earnings
Omar Moreno

Owner
Two classic winners
Three others on Derby trail
Winstar was loaded

Trainer
Derby demons quashed
Along with everyone else
The world is Pletcher’s

Breeder
If Stronach ran tracks
Like he runs Adena Springs
We’d be better off

Horse of the Year
Zenyatta or Blame?
Winning head-to-head won’t trump
Winning hearts and minds

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The Haiku Handicapper: 2010 Malibu Stakes

It’s the last hurrah
For the class of ’07
A loaded sprint field

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#1 – Paris Vegas
Life imitates name
Big spots haven’t been his best
Wouldn’t have high hopes

#2 – Alcindor
Late-blooming prospect
He’s going for the gusto
Off two career starts

#3 – Thiskyhasnolimit
Second-tier circuit
Well-traveled colt tries west coast
Should like shorter task

#4 – Caracortado
Ex-claimer’s comeback
Dirt, top-tier form is shaky
Look for him next year

#5 – Noble’s Promise
Reborn in sprint ranks
Came back strong from Euro trip
Very dangerous

#6 – Setsuko
Back from eight-month rest
Needs some time to get rolling
Not feeling this spot

#7 – Don Tito
Calder vibes are hot
Nice surprise in first stakes try
Worth note for supers

#8 – Thomas Baines
Tried Cal Derby trail
Then sank back to claiming ranks
Nothing’s changed since spring

#9 – Twirling Candy
High upside speedball
Brings it at one turn or two
Won’t melt on the pace

#10 – Our Minesweeper
No-Cal-er tries dirt
Didn’t light up overnights
Sweep him to the curb

#11 – Smiling Tiger
West coast’s top sprinter
Beat older foes all summer
Solid as a rock

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Who’s best in the ‘Bu?
The five horse looks promising
Nine and eleven

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The Haiku Handicapper: 2010 Clark Handicap & Cigar Mile

Clark Handicap

Clark, sales, leftovers
Post-Thanksgiving traditions
The fall meet’s feature

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#1 – Dubious Miss
Gelding with girl’s name
Dirt looks like his third surface
Steps up at Churchill

#2 – Apart
Stablemate of Blame’s
Could be deja vu for Stall
Hot at the right time

#3 – Successful Dan
Rolls on the fake stuff
But he can ball at Churchill
Could collar leaders

#4 – Giant Oak
Illinois’ finest
Lacked killer instinct this year
Would love a class drop

#5 – Redding Colliery
A lead-grabbing colt
Solid in mid-level stakes
Live if he can last

#6 – Brass Hat
Popular geezer
Better efforts were on turf
Should take bettors’ cash

#7 – Stately Victor
A second-tier soph
Built resume on poly
Outlook’s not rosy

#8 – Win Willy
Gray Oaklawn hero
Faces his toughest challenge
Worth a ticket slot

#9 – Regal Ransom
Break on top or bust
Taking a chance with young jock
Won’t run off with it

#10 – Demarcation
Ack Ack runner-up
Big player in overnight stakes
Graded gets dicey

#11 – Duke of Mischief
Handicap stalwart
Capable of stealing one
In between cold snaps

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Who’s the Clark winner?
Apart separates from foes
Five, three behind him

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Look behind the jump for the Haiku Handicapper’s selections for Saturday’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct.

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The Haiku Handicapper: 2010 Indiana Derby

I am going to be attending Saturday’s Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park so it seemed like an opportune time to bring the Haiku Handicapper out of his summer hiatus and get him back to work. Whatever races you decide to watch this weekend (and there are a lot of big ones), and wherever you decide to watch them, may you enjoy one of the better weekends of racing on the calendar.

Now let’s get to work.

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Hoosier’s marquee race
Champ overshadows rivals
Let’s look at the field

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#1 – Dabossman
Mid-country claimer
Last won for $15k tag
Not gonna happen

#2 – Thiskyhasnolimit
Smarty Jones winner
Kicked around the state derbies
He might prefer sprints

#3 – Worldly
Comes off two tough beats
Might need longer than he’ll get
Should be in the hunt

#4 – Uareoutlaw (Brz)
Brazilian import
Grade one champ in native land
How will it translate?

#5 – Indy Bull
Local graduate
Breakout in first Hoosier start
Is he this good? Doubts…

#6 – Lookin At Lucky
Once and future champ
Back on track after rough spring
The class of the field

#7 – Litigation Risk
Lightly raced front speed
Got creamed in other stakes tries
Not much to excite

#8 – Nacho Friend
Summered in Jersey
Solid in mid-level stakes
Exotic tickets

#9 – St. Maximus Gato
Two huge Calder wins
Raw gelding makes first stakes try
Front runner intrigues

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Picking the winner
Hoosier daddy? ┬áIt’s Lucky.
Followed by three, nine

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The Haiku Handicapper: 2010 Belmont Stakes

Can Stately Victor bounce back from a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby to win the Belmont Stakes? The world will find out on Saturday.

Test of champions/
Classic champs took the day off/
The Crown’s finale

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#1 – Dave In Dixie
A Derby trail dud/
Trounced in a weak Ill. Derby/
Toss with no remorse

#2 – Spangled Star
Mid-Atlantic based
Well handled by weaker foes
Seems pretty outclassed

#3 – Uptowncharlybrown
New McLaughlin charge
Traffic often derails him
Live in the gimmicks

#4 – Make Music For Me
A lights-out closer
Derby try wins most races
Hard one to pin down

#5 – Fly Down
Dwyer Stakes winner
Owns two wins over First Dude
Live, but not likely

#6 – Ice Box
Became this field’s chalk
When he crossed Churchill’s wire
Shouldn’t disappoint

#7 – Drosselmeyer
Used to have some hype
Has yet to turn the corner
Doubt he’ll do it here

#8 – Game On Dude
Stomped in legit stakes
Blew away a weak Lone Star
Dude looks like a toss

#9 – Stately Victor
Wiseguys love upside
Hard to glean much from Derby
Could go either way

#10 – Stay Put
Comes off a class drop
Stakes tries close, but no cigar
Could break some tickets

#11 – First Dude
Better of the “dudes”
Comes off the race of his life
Not keen on this spot

#12 – Interactif
A Derby dropout
Dirt is his third best surface
Nice horse, but I’ll pass

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How does it shake out?
Ice Box proves everyone right
Ten, three for the tri

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