LOCAL PENNSYLVANIA STAKES SEASON STARTS WITH STALLION SERIES 3YO PACING FILLIES
The start of the 2017 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes / Pennsylvania Stallion Series competition here at Harrah's Philadelphia begins today with five $20,000 divisions of the Stallion Series event for three-year-old pacing fillies, to be conducted throughout almost the length of the card -- races 2, 5, 9, 11, and 13. Last year's divisional Stallion Series champion BRAZUCA is the program choice in the first of the five divisions ... Tomorrow, the Sire Stakes fillies go gateward: of last year's "Big Three" in the PaSS, national champion IDYLLIC BEACH meets BETTORS' UP in one of four divisions, with Sire Stakes champ AGENT Q in another section.
GENERAL: Atypically, we begin our ANALYSIS OF KEY RACES section with the statement that "there is a good likelihood there will be few 'key analysis races' today." With the stakes horses and other developing horses predominating, it might be a big day for well-bet horses, and sometimes you "just can't force longshots" when it's hard to guess value.
4th race:If MAJOR IMPACT can keep his act together today, without miscues, we think he can have a major impact on the outcome of this event. The Baggitt barn did not have the best start in 2017, but it won twice on Monday at Pocono, and maybe this horse can be part of its resurgence. Held tough after being parked throughout the Q.
8th race:On May 21 last year, in his 2016 bow, IRON MINE BUCKY came his last 3/4 in 1:25 over a sloppy track uncovered from last to win a Currier and Ives stake. That would be his only win of last year, though he was second or third in six other stakes, and was in the Hambletonian and Yonkers Trot final. Giant Q suggests he could overpower now.
12th race:This horse from the same stable as the above pick, named IRON MINE JOHNNY, may pay a bit better if he can mind his Ps and Qs. He had raced off to a big lead on April 12 here but ran and went to the infield; last time he made a mistake going first-over. The Q was good; shown just enough potential to remain tempting at a price.
WATCH OUT FOR: Handicapping the three-year-olds just starting out their campaign is even harder than handicapping two-year-olds at the beginning of their careers, it says here. With a two-year-old, you only have a line or two, but you can look for talent that surely will only develop with more racing experience, especially concerning horses who have very fast last quarters -- often it's better to follow up on a horse third by two lengths with a 28 kicker than a wire-to-wire winner with a 29.3 kicker. With three-year-olds, you have to balance what they accomplished at two with the form they have CURRENTLY shown -- you're betting in the NOW.