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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Matchmaker Update

VFTRG contributor Joe F provides us with a Blue Chip Matchmaker Series update.

After four legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker, the Burke barn has produced the winner of 8 (44%) of the 18 legs contested thus far. A Burke mare has been first or second in 72% of the splits. Of course, there has been an entry from that stable in 15 of those 18 legs so one would expect high numbers.
There’s one preliminary leg to go, but if the final were next week, four of Burke’s mares would qualify as top eight point getters—only two of them would be allowed to race in the final, however. Camille is tied for first with Anndrovette while Rocklamation is tied for second with Krispy Apple. Ginger And Fred, who was part of an entry with eventual winner Rocklamation in last year’s final, and Bettor B Lucky are the other two. Ramalama and Rock N Soul are already good bets to qualify for the consolation and Darena Hanover is right on the cusp, so you could conceivably have four Burke mares vying for two spots in the consolation pace.

A free breeding to a Blue Chip stallion for the first two finishers is an added bonus in this race. Ginger And Fred, who won in 2010, and Rocklamation already have one of those, so Camille would benefit most from that perk. There’s a time constraint on when the breeding must be used; this year’s winner must use it in 2014, 2015 or 2016. If the rules were the same in 2010, Ginger And Fred would forfeit hers if she doesn’t use it this year.
They want eight separate betting interests in the final, but PJ Fraley has Anndrovette and KA, both of whom are sure bets to make it, and Burke will have two in there. Last year Fraley’s Anndrovette and Chancey Lady raced uncoupled. Anndrovette and KA are owned by the same group while Camille and Rocklamation are not.

While Anndrovette and Camille are tied in points, the former proved herself the better mare last week and she did the same with Rocklamation on Friday. The final is an open draw and post position will mean everything. The two Burke mares are versatile, as is Anndrovette. Ka is locked into an overland trip, regardless of post position, and won’t be of much help to her stablemate. Thanks to the 25 appearance points doled out with each start and the overabundance of Burke entries, Warrawee Koine and Full Picture can leap into the final with good performances next week.
Trainer, Ettore Annunziata, would have Cannae Cammie in the consolation as of right now, and his mare, Frontierpan, would be a single point away from the consolation. They are under separate ownership. Again, because a couple of Burke mares are going to be squeezed out of the two finals, a mare like Frontierpan has a good chance of moving up. While the quality of competition is better than last year, the base numbers favor this year’s competitors: last year by the fourth round there were 27 mares left racing whereas only 21 started on Friday night. If you hang in there and bank those 125 appearance points for the five legs and perform in a half decent fashion, you’ll at least make the consolation pace. As Woody Allen said, half of life is showing up.

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