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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Notes - April 27

- Afleet Alex’s jockey Jeremy Rose says that his mount is “the fastest and the coolest.” [Bloodhorse] The coolest? I can’t imagine Laffit Pincay, Jr describing his mounts that way. Rose just turned 26 on April 1, and he will spot a whole lot of experience to his rivals, but Alex’s owners are sticking with him. It’s not like he hasn’t enjoyed success – he won the riding title at the just concluded Oaklawn meet, and Alex only accounted for 2 of those. He’s been riding since 2000, won the Eclipse Award in 2001 for top apprentice, and has been in the top ten at Delaware Park the last four years. For the Philly guys who own him, I suppose they’re just going along for the ride by sticking with him, but I hope nothing happens during the race to make them regret it, we’ll see.

As the Derby approaches, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of quotes like this from the Afleet Alex crew: "We all grew up in Philly," Joe Lerro said. "We feel like we are the guys in the infield, drinking beers and shots, while George [Steinbrenner] is up there drinking champagne." [] Link via Albany Law School Racing and Wagering Page.

Meanwhile, George has gone back to the well…specifically to the April Ocala sale where he purchased the Derby favorite for $87,000. Kinsman paid $115,000 for a colt by sophomore sire Sweetsouthernsaint. Bellamy Road’s full brother sells there tomorrow.

- Bob Baffert said that he’s "really leaning towards running" Sort It Out in the Derby. [Courier-Journal] And I’m still reading that name Spanish Chestnut being bandied about as a possible starter. When Michael Tabor reads this blog and realizes that there isn't as much early speed to challenge Bellamy Road as he thought, that may increase the chances of seeing him as a rabbit for Bandini.

- Bill Finley has an interview with Stephen Bernard, the lawyer representing the guy suing over his lousy bet on Sweet Catomine.

"The betting public is a consumer," Bernard said. "It should have the same rights and opportunities to have proper information conveyed to it as any consumer would on the products they purchase.” []
Wrong. The betting public is a gambler. I don’t think they should be lied to, and I’ve been critical of Wygod from the beginning. But as someone who bets on horses, I accept the fact that I’m not privy to every bit of information. To compensate, I look at things like intervals between workouts, equipment and medication changes, the tote board, for big races I try and read between the lines of trainers’ comments in the Form, and sometimes, I inspect the horse before the race, though I sometimes have problems distinguishing cheap claimers from stakes horses. I also don’t make horrible bets on 4-5 shots that have done nothing in their recent form to warrant that, no matter how much their brash connections are touting them. It’s a tough game; there's much to consider. I understand that to novices, this incident is horrible PR, and that’s why I think the Hollywood stewards had to issue at least some kind of reprimand. But for an experienced bettor like this guy who’s suing, it’s just too freaking bad.

As Hank Wesch of the San Diego Tribune points out, full disclosure, even if it were practical, could work both ways.
A rumor on the Churchill Downs backstretch during Kentucky Derby week of 1997 was that Silver Charm had bled in a workout. The lid that trainer Bob Baffert put on it came off only in the book Baffert wrote a couple of years later – in the chapter chronicling Silver Charm's victory.

Two days before the 1990 Preakness, Kentucky Derby runner-up Summer Squall was observed bleeding from the nostrils while being grazed in the grassy area adjacent to the Pimlico stakes barn. Come race day, the little colt performed superbly and turned the tables on Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled.

In such instances, disclosure would have meant many bettors going to other horses and coming away with the feeling they'd fallen prey to a disinformation campaign designed to boost the odds on the winner they failed to have.

And from an owner/trainer standpoint, there is a nightmare scenario: A horse with a disclosed minor problem is cleared by vets to race only to suffer a tragic breakdown. The fact that the two things were provably unrelated wouldn't dim the resultant outcry. [SignonSanDiego]

- According to Haskin in his daily report for today, The morning action will pick up again on Thursday with Sun King, Andromeda's Hero, Greater Good, and Greeley's Galaxy all scheduled to work. He also says, of Bandini, that I hope to watch him graze this afternoon. Is that part of full disclosure?

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