On Track With Johnny D: Accosted by Hooligans

Each year, at about this time, I’m accosted by a band of hooligans. Originally, it used to happen once a year, perpetrated by a mob of seven. Over time, perhaps embolden by impunity and encouraged by plunder, they now attack on back-to-back days—always Friday and Saturday around the first weekend in November. Also, their legion has grown to over a dozen--14 to be exact--and they arrive in 5 the first day and 9 on the second.

These ruffians must ransack a great many because they’re always fat with cash even before they rob me. In fact, on rare occasions during these attacks, I’ve been able to secure handfuls of bills and stuff pockets, so that I actually emerged with more cash than I previously had! Those are extreme exceptions. Usually, when they’ve finished, I’m tired, penniless and drained of all adrenaline.

Each year authorities request descriptions of my molesters and each year I’m stumped for answers. It all happens so fast. Well, not this time. By way of preparation for this year’s impending annual onslaught, I’ve forced my brain to recall and to detail experiences I’d rather forget. This year, when they come, I’ll be ready. I’ve constructed meticulous profiles of my attackers, especially the ones that have returned year after year for over three and one-half decades. These aren’t exact matches, mind you, more like composite drawings by a police sketch artist, but they’ll help me to identify and, hopefully, conquer my foes.

I refuse to permit these hooligans to get away again! At least I hope I don’t.

Below are sketches for all 14 assailants based on information provided FREE of charge in Xpressbet’s Breeders’ Cup Wager Guide, available at Xpressbet.com beginning Friday, October 25.:

Friday
Juvenile Turf Sprint – A very recent addition to the lineup, European invaders are the most likely culprits. However, last year, I detected a distinctly American accent.

Juvenile Fillies Turf – A US-based filly member of the heralded Chad Brown-mob most likely is the villain in here, especially if she was last seen in Belmont’s Miss Grillo. Euros are 0-for-6 as favorites and no California-based filly ever has hit the exacta.

Juvenile Fillies – Look for someone you’d least expect. The last 3 perpetrators at Santa Anita left striking fingerprints--$66.60, $125.40 and $69.20--and 5 of the last 6 winners have returned double digits.

Juvenile Turf – Closely inspect European passports and, especially, recent Newmarket, UK visitors. Godfather Aidan O’ Brien likely holds the key—he’s been involved with 4 of the last 8 successful attacks and has been in the vicinity on 2 other occasions. Noted hitman Ryan Moore also has been intimately connected to 4 of these crimes in 9 years. Ignore any suspects from California. They never been in the vicinity of the crime.

Juvenile – One of the original 7 from way back in 1984, this group of perpetrators changes every year. It’s never the same face twice. In order to anticipate who might cause mayhem this year you’ve got to investigate beyond obvious suspects. While usually heavily involved in the incident, they often aren’t the actual ringleaders. Perps are most likely to emerge from ‘Anita’s American Pharoah or Belmont’s Champagne. Local California-based villains often are guilty, especially those aligned with the deadly west coast-based Bob Baffert family. Those first to arrive on the scene often aren’t around at the finish.

Saturday
Filly & Mare Sprint – Prime suspects in here usually arrive late on the scene and are not the most obvious. Look for a deep closer at around an 8-1 price who’s older than 3 and was last seen in the Thoroughbred Club of America at Keeneland.

Turf Sprint – Tough call. In the last 8 years, this perp has worn 8 different disguises. California-based runners have been best guarding home turf at Santa Anita, but that was while living in the old crib--the now shuttered downhill turf course. This year, over a different layout at five furlongs on turf there may be more of an east coast flavor. Then again, maybe not.

Dirt Mile – The most obvious choices haven’t done well, especially recently. Even though it’s a two-turn mile, previous winners are last seen in one-turn preps. Sophomores do well in here, especially in the Superfecta.

F&M Turf – Best to look for a mid-priced, foreign-bred who’s raced in the US, most recently in Belmont’s Flower Bowl or Keeneland’s First Lady. Forget those trained by the man behind the Foster Grants Aidan O’Brien and ignore anyone prepped in California. Combined such runners are 0 for 57 with 9 in the money finishes.

Sprint – Here’s an all-points bulletin to be on the lookout for a California-based runner at contender’s odds with enough speed to be on or near the early pace. Santa Anita Sprint Championship (formerly Ancient Title) and Belmont’s Vosburgh have produced the most winners of this race, although the latter hasn’t cashed since 2005. Sophomores do well in here, and so do those 6 or older.

Mile – Americans, male or female, are solid in here, and Canada’s Woodbine Mile has provided a logical and effective tune-up. Amazingly, Euro’s top trainer Aidan O’Brien is zero for 23 in this turf race! He’s saddled the runner-up 4 times.

Distaff – Look for a short-priced filly or mare that races off the pace from a Kentucky-based trainer’s barn. Most winners exit Keeneland’s Spinster, Belmont’s Beldame, or Santa Anita’s Zenyatta. Sophomores have consistently done well in the exacta.

Turf – Eyes on Euros in here, especially ones exiting France’s Arc. Females do well, favorites do not. Members of the Aidan O’Brien clan have won 4 of the last 8 of these. Shy away from California-prepped runners and those age 5 or older.

Classic – Recently, short prices have ruled and graduates of Belmont’s Jockey Club Gold Cup and Santa Anita’s Awesome Again often are strong. Bob Baffert’s crew has produced the winner at Santa Anita twice in a row. 12 Euros have finished in the money and geldings are zero-for-forever.

Race On!

On Track With Johnny D: Accosted by Hooligans

On Track with Johnny D |