- Got my mug in the winner’s circle today, courtesy of Castle Village Farm’s Raf and Ready in the 9th. I’m not in that particular partnership, but non-partners were welcome to join the fun at Aqueduct. I felt a little self-conscious and stayed in back and out of the real owners’ way, but I stuck my head into a large seam in front of me and should be featured prominently. The winning filly is a 3 yo NY-bred purchased as a yearling for $14,000; she broke her maiden in her 7th start, with 3 seconds and two thirds, and close to $60,000 in earnings. She was beautifully rated on the lead by Jean-Luc Samyn, who laughed off being loudly called a "f**king bitch" in the paddock by a classy fan, and drew away in the stretch at 6-5.
Her trainer Billy Turner is enjoying a revival in 2005; it was his 6th win this year after totalling 8 all of last year; and furthermore he’s 21 out of 37 in the money. He has also indirectly made a mark on this year’s Derby prep season. Last week, Afleet Alex’s trainer Tim Ritchey cited a conversation with Turner when discussing his decision to run him last week.
"I was talking to him and he actually did the same thing with Seattle Slew. He ran him short, then he ran two long races before the Derby, so that kind of pushed me a little bit to do what we're going to do, too, because I have total respect for him. I think he's one of the finest horsemen I've ever met." [Daily Racing Form]
- At the same time the Canada Turf Handicap was being run at Gulfstream, I was involved in an ultimately laughable attempt to hit the triple in the 6th at Oaklawn, so I was only half paying attention, and as they ran through the stretch, a guy startled me by screaming, “Go Elbar [Coa, riding Old Forester] go!! You don’t KNOW how good bankruptcy court is! You have no idea!” At first I thought perhaps he was a drunken credit card company executive taunting the more unfortunate amongst us over the passage in the Senate of the bill overhauling bankruptcy laws in favor of big credit companies over individual debtors, a big legislative victory for the president. Old Forester and Elbar Coa showed a lot more resistance than some Senate Democrats demonstrated towards the legislation, and hung on to win. As it turns out, Bankruptcy Court is a horse that beat Old Forester in a NW3 allowance on 1/23 at GP, and the man went on to declare loudly and definitively that he’d be a grade 1 winner at a mile and a quarter on the turf, as well as the winner of this year's Breeders Cup Turf. DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD LEARN THIS STUFF AT HOME, MR. I-CAN-JUST-PLAY-THE-RACES-AT
Bankruptcy Court certainly has the breeding to be a champ; he’s A 4 yo by Dixieland Band out of Lassie Connection, a Seattle Slew half sister to Weekend Surprise. He’s never finished out of the money in nine starts, and has run his last five races on the turf, with 3 wins and two seconds, each by a neck, one of them in the G3 Hawthorne Derby. He’s trained by Richard Violette and has’t run since beating Old Forester in that N3X allowance at Gulfstream, but is obviously destined for greatness, and we’ll be sure to follow his progress toward Breeders Cup glory.
- I ended up losing 70 cents on the day - the 5th exacta at Gulfstream was not quite enough to carry the day - but that inflated to a dollar when the mutuel clerk casually informed me “I have no change.” You never know when you’ll hear something you've never heard before at the track. He had already processed my ticket and given me the bills, so what was I supposed to do? Baffled, I just walked away. Think I’ll give Eliot Spitzer a call.