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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Afleet Alex Loves NY

- Afleet Alex was also offended by Karl Rove’s remarks, giving a little snort after reading the text, but he’ll hang at Belmont for now according to managing partner Chuck Zacney.

He'll stay at Belmont until right before the Haskell….(Trainer Tim Ritchey) decided to leave him in New York because he is very happy with the track up there, and because the people at Belmont treated him so well. He'll probably ship to Monmouth the second or third week of July." [Newark Star Ledger]
Nothing like a little New York hospitality to make the equine set happy. Alex is apparently doing quite well after the Triple Crown grind, and Newsday’s resident sourpuss Paul Moran, who besides his constant bellyaching even looks grumpy in his picture, is thankful at least for that, especially with Ghostzapper gone.
After Afleet Alex's dismantling of the 3-year-old division in the Preakness and Belmont, little intrigue remains beyond the anticipated return of Wood Memorial winner Bellamy Road, who is recovering from a minor injury suffered in the Kentucky Derby. Bellamy Road…may in time prove to be the best in the division and will be a force when he returns to competition, but that may not be before fall. The sensational, undefeated Lost in the Fog, brilliant in the Riva Ridge on Belmont day, is easily the nation's best 3-year-old sprinter. He may be the best of any age, but though he is one of the more exciting horses competing, there is little glamour among sprinters.

No star has emerged in the 3-year-old filly division, which is especially thin this year with the Triple Tiara series set to begin with Saturday's Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont. The older female division, with defending champion Ashado back in good form, is led by the usual suspects.

In Ghostzapper's absence, this becomes the year of Afleet Alex; the year of the throwback, the horse who trains hard and races often, whose 2-year-old form holds up at 3, who is capable of overcoming adversity, of rising to the occasion. It is likely that we have yet to see the best of him. [Newsday]
Not so fast. Besides Bellamy Road, I for one am anticipating the return of undefeated Declan’s Moon and of Rockport Harbor. I'm intrigued by the recent performances by Oratory and Don't Get Mad, and thus I'm not ready to write this season off, nor concede all to Alex. Via Railbird, we learn from Rockport Harbor’s website that he will gallop again tomorrow and is doing great. Whatsmore, Rock Hard Ten is back galloping and is being pointed for the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
"He just started galloping," Mandella said. "I gave him a break after the Santa Anita Handicap, and when I started back up, he got stiff and sore all over. I had to deal with that for a month, and I just went ahead and took it real easy with him. Sometimes, when you let up on an older horse they'll stiffen up on you, and that's what he did. But with a little patience and backing off on him, he's come around real well.” [Bloodhorse]
His ultimate goal is the BC Classic, and a meeting between he, Alex, and Saint Liam don’t sound too shabby, does it?

- It’s kinda like the Afleet Alex-Giacomo Belmont showdown in that Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly will meet Black-Eyed Susan victor Spun Sugar in the G1 Mother Goose at Belmont Saturday. The Phipps stable’s Smuggler, second to Round Pond in the Acorn, will go too. Only six entered.

- Maine governor John Balducci is waffling on his promise to veto legislation calling for a voter referendum on a new harness track/racino unless it passed both houses with a 2/3rds majority. The House succeeded, but the Senate fell a bit short with a 21-11 vote. That’s only 65.6%, while the governor was calling for 66.7%. However, he’s wavering in public as to what to do, saying "I don't want to argue fractions." []

[Late word comes that Balducci has now announced that he is done arguing with the fractions and will indeed veto the referendum.
"I understand the desire for prosperity and a better economic future -- I am committed to that as well. However, I am not convinced that expanding an industry that has high societal costs is the best way for Maine to proceed. We know for certain that it will bring broken families, broken dreams, bankruptcy, increase substance abuse and addiction." []
He forgot to mention embezzlement and suicide.