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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sunday Night Odds and Ends

- I caught Steve Haskin being interviewed by phone on TVG today. He puts Bellamy Road third, but only because he doesn’t like to be on the bandwagon; and gives Afleet Alex a slight edge over Bandini. He said that Pletcher’s barn considers Bandini and Flower Alley to be equals, and that Afleet Alex’s performance should thus not be downgraded for him having not beaten anyone. Also discussed was the possibility that now, there won’t be a full field of 20 horses entered. That would make the connections of Greeley’s Galaxy happy, and also add another intriguing, improving face to the race.

- Bobby Frankel says High Limit is right on schedule. "He'd only been out once this ....He needed a hard race and he got one. I needed to put a little fitness in him for the Derby and this race accomplished that." [Bloodhorse] Indeed, this was the first time the horse had ever been challenged in any way, and he responded pretty well. He chased a pace that was fast compared to the rest of the card, and though he tired in the stretch, it could do him some good. I'm not counting this one out.

- Acey Deucey, who won the G2 Comely at Aqueduct yesterday, is the type of horse that makes people want to own New York breds. She was purchased by her owner Jeffrey Tucker for $35,000 at Ocala last April, and he earned that portion of his investment back with a 3rd, 2nd, and a win, all in NY-bred company in 2004. Now, this year, she’s won 3 of 4, including two open stakes, and has a second in a G3 in addition to her Comely win. From the inner track in the dead of winter to a Grade 2 stakes winner, not bad! I’m not quite sure why I let this one go at 7-2 and settled on last place finisher Toll Taker instead. She’s the model of consistency with a 4-2-1 record in 7 starts and over $200K in earnings. She needed room; jockey Diane Nelson was, like "I was, like, 'If I don't get out and I cross the wire with all this horse I'm going to be so mad.' " [Daily Racing Form]

I’m not sure what her worth as a broodmare will be, being by an unfashionable sire in Abaginone, a son of Devil’s Bag who stood in NY at one time but is now apparently in Mexico. She does come from a nice female family though. Her first dam, by Al Nasr, was unraced, but has produced several other winners. Her second dam is a multiple graded stakes winner, Cascapedia, and this is the family of millionaire Big Jag, as well as stakes winners Exotic Wood, Chase the Dream, Captive Miss, and 1993 Fountain of Youth winner Duc d'Sligovil; winner of one of two divisions, with Storm Tower, who also took the Wood, taking the other. Acey Deucey is inbred 4x4 to Northern Dancer and 5x4 to Bold Ruler.

- There was a horse named Flaming Forest (Forestry) in the 4th at Aqueduct today; he was making his turf debut and only his second lifetime start, coming just one week after his debut, in which he finished 9th by 13 lengths at 23-1. Now, he was 5-1 in the morning line in a weak field, not in the Form consensus top 3, and was getting pounded on the nose, hovering at 2-1 and 5-2 before drifting up to 3-1 at the end. When Norberto Arroyo, Jr steered him to the rail before the first turn and saved ground in second to the stretch, it looked like the sharpies had pulled one off, but from nowhere came longshot Crowd’s Delight, a 29-1 shot making his turf debut with a dismal record on maiden claiming races on the dirt. Even the most well-intentioned starters are always subject to the unpredictable.

- A couple of repeat stakes winners today. Intercontinental (Danehill) took the G3 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland for the second straight year, and Megahertz did it again, the little mare rallied from far behind and once again took the G2 Santa Barbara, for the third year in a row.

- Looking back at some of the theories that people had adopted in the last few weeks to see how they turned out:
- High Limit's win in the Louisiana Derby was aided by a speed-favoring track and a weak field. There's no doubt this was partially true, but it also seems certain that he's a quality colt.
- Consolidator freaked on a wet, hard, speed favoring track he loved in the San Felipe. I argued that one then, but it's hard to do so now.
- Sun King took a step back with his 91 Beyer in the Tampa Bay Derby. Also hard to argue with after his poor Blue Grass, despite the legitimate excuse of his losing ground on the turns.
- A horse needs to have at least three preps to win the Derby. To be determined..