PUNTERS hunting quick-fire bankers on today’s 11-race card at Caymanas Park should be wary of the two obvious choices – FORTUNEONEHUNDRED in the 1000-metre round opening event and RAISING THE BAR in the nightcap at 1100 metres.FORTUNEONEHUNDRED has not trained on the track since turning for home with a two-length lead in the Diamond Mile on December 5. Tumbling to $550,000 claiming from grade one, where he campaigned most of last year, suggests something has gone amiss in the last 70 days since the talented United States-bred last raced.Even on an off day, FORTUNEONEHUNDRED should easily put away his six rivals, especially at the minimum distance. However, punters are advised to tread carefully in the opening event by backing up their bets with sound horses such as DWAYNE STAR, ITALIANO and speedy COME DANCE WITH ME.Similar to FORTUNEONEHUNDRED, RAISING THE BAR has taken a shocking drop in class from non-winners-of-four to the second-lowest claiming level, a $250,000 tag.It should be noted that RAISING THE BAR, a renowned speedster, has been slowly into stride in his two races this year. First, it was January 9 at 1500 metres, followed by January 31 at 1000 metres straight.In neither of those races did the four-year-old filly recover, even briefly, to show some speed. In addition, she has been sparingly trained, which makes her suspect against horses who she should easily put away.Options to RAISING THE BAR are consistent INFANTRY OFFICER and CLASSICAL TRAIN, who’s hunting a double, carrying 48.0 kilos, but up in class.HOWARD PHILLIPPS MEMORIALMeanwhile, ACTION MAN should prove too quick for his eight rivals in the 1100-metre Howard Phillipps Memorial.Omar Walker partners ACTION MAN, who heads the scale at 56.0 kilos. However, the four-year-old colt is not too heavy to take charge of the event coming off the final turn.Included in the nine-horse field are five fillies, none of whom can match ACTION MAN for speed. His other three rivals, two geldings and a colt, have neither the form nor speed to deny him following his strong third-place run behind DWAYNE STAR at 1000 metres straight on January 31.Partnered by apprentice Bebeto Harvey last time out, ACTION MAN disputed the lead with LEGAL ACCOUNT from the start before DWAYNE STAR closed in mid-track to overhaul both a half furlong out.DWAYNE STAR had reported for that race with solid runs under his girth, finishing no more than five lengths behind winners such as LONG RUNNING TRAIN, TARANIS, ROYAL ASSAULT and BRAWN in four consecutive races.The filly DINNER BY SEVEN has some speed, but was well beaten by ACTION MAN in their last three meetings.The two expected closers, COMMANDING AVIATOR and TURBO MACHINE CAT, are recent graduates to non-winners-of-three, having both beaten non-winners-of-two in the last two weeks.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventThe official summer movie season, which runs from the first weekend of May through Labor Day weekend, accounts for approximately 40 percent of a year’s box office receipts. Last year’s tally of $3.958 billion was an 8.5 percent drop in revenue from a record-setting 2004 and attendance was down an alarming 11 percent. But a further decline is not expected this time around, according to several box office analysts. “The summer of 2005 was pretty horrible but we are definitely not going to repeat that,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Co. “I think this crop of films looks much stronger.” Things will kick off next Friday with “Mission Impossible III,” starring Tom Cruise, the industry’s most reliable box-office performer, especially in an action film. The first two “MI” films grossed just shy of $400 million combined at the domestic box office. Just a week after “MI3” hits theaters will come the big-budget disaster movie “Poseidon,” expected to bring in big crowds before it is overshadowed by “Da Vinci,” which stars Tom Hanks and was directed by Ron Howard. “I think it’s a slam-dunk,” Gitesh Pandya, editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com, said of “Da Vinci.” “There’s a lot of interest, a lot of intrigue. Given the size of the audience that has read the book, I think they are all going to go out and see the movie, as will tons of people who have not read the book.” Pandya believes the first three major May releases are so different from each other in terms of genre that they should not cannibalize each other’s audience. “It’s best for the studios if they have enough time for their audience to come out,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense for the same kind of film come out a week later and have to fight for the same audience.” The month will wrap with the Memorial Day weekend release of “X-Men 3,” which might be after the same crowd as “MI3,” but with three weeks between them, neither should suffer from the competition. Also in the mix is DreamWorks’ animated offering “Over the Hedge,” also expected to be a major draw. “May is like the perfect storm in terms of box office,” Dergarabedian said. “It will be interesting to see what happens.” June is expected to be highlighted by the release of Pixar’s latest film, “Cars,” which appears to be a shoo-in to add to the studio’s unbroken string of hits, including “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters Inc.,” among others. Later in the month will come “Superman Returns,” which Warner Bros. hopes will do as well or better than last summer’s “Batman Begins,” which successfully relaunched a popular DC Comics franchise. Opinions over how well the film will fare are mixed. “I wouldn’t say `Superman’ is a slam-dunk any more than `Batman Begins’ was last year,” Gray said. “It’s Warner Bros. trying to resurrect a superhero once again and one that arguably has more baggage than `Batman,’ given the TV show recently (`Smallville’) and that Christopher Reeve was so indelible in the role. It will come down to what story they are telling with `Superman Returns.”‘ But Pandya thinks “Superman” could reach the box office stratosphere. “`Superman’ is definitely the man of steel at the box office, bigger than last year’s `Batman,”‘ he said. “The fan base of Superman is the biggest of DC Comic properties. Whether it is as big as `Spider-Man,’ that is a whole other question.” But of all the big-budget blockbusters and sequels, one of the most eagerly anticipated titles doesn’t come until July with the release of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” with Johnny Depp returning in his Oscar-nominated role. “The movie to beat is `Pirates,”‘ said Gray. “It could very well be the top-grossing picture of the season.” The experts are also looking at several comedies to perform well throughout the summer, starting with “The Break-Up,” starring real-life couple Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, and the new Adam Sandler comedy, “Click.” Comedies headlined by Will Ferrell (“Talladega Nights”) and Owen Wilson and Matt Dillon (“You, Me and Dupree”) could also attract crowds. Family audiences could be drawn to the sequel “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties” and the animated offerings “Ant Bully,” “Monster House” and “The Barnyard.” Director M. Night Shayamalan’s latest offering, “Lady in the Water,” could continue a chain of success for the director of “Signs” and “The Sixth Sense” but his last release, “The Village,” was not really embraced by audiences, despite grossing more. “Most people didn’t like `The Village,’ so it will be interesting to see if he can still draw a crowd,” Gray said. “But what he has done so far is remarkable with him being one of the few star directors.” One of the more intriguing question marks is the thriller “Snakes on a Plane,” which is slated to open in mid-August. The film has generated massive Internet buzz in recent months. “If they can keep the momentum up for four more months, which can be an eternity, I think they’ve got a late summer sleeper on their hands,” Pandya said. John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners, is upbeat about the summer slate after weathering a yearlong period during which the movie industry was under siege because of last year’s slump.But 2006 is currently riding a four-weekend streak, as ticket sales have outpaced last year. “We feel very confident about our schedule in the next few months,” Fithian said. “The schedule in May looks to be the strongest we’ve ever had and there is good product sprinkled throughout the summer as well.” email@example.com (818) 713-3758160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! With the return of such bulletproof franchises as “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “X-Men” and “Mission Impossible,” the movie industry appears poised to rebound this year from 2005’s dismal summer of moviegoer discontent. Likely to boost business further is the return of the “Superman” franchise, a new release from hit-maker Pixar Animation Studios, and the highly anticipated movie adaptation of the controversial best seller “The Da Vinci Code.” “May to early June certainly looks better than last year,” said Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo. “Instead of waiting until mid-May to release a tent pole, Hollywood is releasing one out of the gate every week. One of the problems last year was that all the hopes were on `Star Wars.”‘ While “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” certainly turned out to be one of the all-time blockbusters ($380.3 million domestically), far too many other high-profile titles belly-flopped at the multiplex, including last year’s first two summer offerings, “Kingdom of Heaven” and “XXX: State of the Union.”