Saturday, March 7, 2009

What Next, Mr. Pop?

Fizzy Pop came back just fine. The big question mark was the ankle and it appears to have bounced back nicely after four months of rest. I don't think we have a Breeder's Cup winner on our hands, but he came back safe and sound and with a second place check in a $25,000 claiming race. We claimed Fizzy on March 14, 2008 for $10,000 and in that year we have a running line of 9-2-3-2. I think that speaks well of the Rhone team, the relationship between Dean Butler and Fiz and our goal of trying to run our horses where they have a shot.

Now the question becomes what is his next best shot? In his last race Fizzy ran Fizzy's race. He settled early and kicked in the stretch. He finished a solid second behind a horse, Brady Baby, that had no business dropping down this far. So we look at the horses he beat:

Rare Ransom: a $25,000 Maiden Claiming winner. Probably didn't belong here. We didn't learn a lot beating him.

Diamond Steel: his most solid efforts has been against mid-teen claimers. Again, not a lot learned here.

Claxton: Another whose best efforts have been around $16,000.

Too Many Sins: Here it gets interesting. We beat this horse by a neck, overtaking him in the stretch. He just missed twice this summer at Arlington against $50,000 claimers. His last two efforts were second place finishes in allowance company. Even more encouraging, this start was his second off a layoff and he was dropping in from an allowance race (granted, a NW2, but still against winners). Beating this horse meant something.

Alarming Afleet: Since a win at Calder last spring in a $62,500 claiming race, he hadn't done much. Was laid off for a bit and only has managed a dull third in a $25,000 claiming race since being back. A horse in decline. No way to learn anything here.

Jed Greeley: The New York invader that broke his maiden in an MSW at Belmont in February, but after a last place effort in an allowance race follow up, he was laid off eight months and has show absolutely nothing.

Patrick's Tack: Finished second at this level after breaking his maiden in Delaware then followed up being outclassed in a couple of starter allowances.

Why does all this matter? Well, we're trying to find his next spot and ideally we'd like to get Fizzy back on turf where he has also had success. In the next book, there are exactly zero long grass races at $25,000. There are however, two $32,000 claiming races over the Tampa grass course in this book. The question we need to answer is, can he win that race? Looking at the list above, only Too Many Sins showed a whole lot of positive that we can point to as being a measuring stick for our boy. I wish there were more. Unfortunately there are not. All we know is that he can beat lesser horses and can't beat a classier higher level allowance horse.

We'll look over the $25,000 and $32,000 races this weekend and assess the possible entries in either case and then make a choice. Bernell will get him ready and then rely on Dean and Fizzy to get the job done.


G. Rarick said...

Oooo, I have a perfect race for Fizzy: 2,500 meters (just over a mile and a half) on the forgiving turf of St. Cloud racecourse on March 29, an 18,000 euro claimer. He has just enough time to make it over for it...

PEM said...

Ted-since this place was lousy with turf horses last year (meaning 4 on the AE list every time and a lot of races rained off with the weather) it seems a whole lot of trainers decided to leave their weeds specialists either on the bench or at Fairgrounds. Well this year has been as dry as a powderhouse and no one is missing any turf starts --I've seen several turf races here this winter with only 8-9 starters......guess I'm saying take a shot a the 32K race.