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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Belmont Day Stakes

- The Grade 2 Just A Game BC Handicap at a mile on the turf for the distaff set goes as the 7th on the Belmont card, and Frankel has the 8-5 morning line favorite, Intercontinental (Danehill). She is a full sister to champion grass filly Banks Hill, and has 9 wins in 16 starts. It’s been around two months since her last start, which is the norm for her, and she won this race last year. She’s had a couple of lightning works of late, and Frankel said “I don't know if that's good or not....She seems fine." [DRF] There are a couple of mares coming off long layoffs, and they both may be overbet. Riskaverse has been gone since running 8th in the BC F&M Turf. She’s a Grade 1 winner and certainly can give the favorite a run for her money on her best form; but she was short returning from a similar layoff in this race last year and may need one. Wonder Again ran third in that BC race in her last. She romped in a G2 and in the G1 Diana on soft courses last summer and was 6th in this race off a similar layoff on a firm course last year. In fact, her trainer Jimmy Toner told the Form: "I don't see us beating Intercontinental going a mile. The main thing is we get started on the right track." [DRF]

Oh, OK. Well, there’s disclosure for you.

Take a look at Sand Springs. She’s 8-1 ML but has got to be lower I would think. She switched to Billy Mott over the winter and scored a nose win in the G3 Honey Fox in blazing fractions over a lightning course. Then, after a freshening, she was wide pressing a slow pace in the G3 Distaff Turf Mile, and held second in a final quarter of :23 1/5, a length back of Miss Terrible. She’s worked brilliantly since then, loses Bailey to Frankel, but picks up John Velasquez. Mott has 9 wins and 22 in the money in 31 starts this meet. I’ll look at the exacta prices with he and Intercontinental.

- Funny Cide worked on the turf the other day and it didn’t go well. "He just plain doesn't like the turf," said Robin Smullen. [DRF] OK, let’s see... He doesn’t like the turf. He doesn’t like the slop. He doesn’t like the heat. ("If it was completely up to me," [Barclay] Tagg said. "I'd never run him on a hot day. He doesn't like heat, he doesn't like mud." [DRF]) He doesn’t like the Breeders Cup Classic either. And he doesn’t like the new Coldplay album. But he does like a fast track at Belmont, where he has 4 wins and a third in races other than the Belmont Stakes, and he’s the 5-2 ML favorite in the G2 Brooklyn Handicap at 9 furlongs. He’ll meet his buddy Evening Attire, returning for his first race this year, and should have his hands full with Gygistar, who comes off a monstrous 115 Beyer in his victorioius Westchester Handicap. Limestone goes for Pletcher.

Smullen left no question as to why they tried the gelding on the turf. "Ghostzapper is probably the best horse anyone's seen in a very long time according to his numbers - according to his performances - and you try to avoid him as long as you can." [DRF]

- Russell Baze is really banged up after his accident at Golden Gate.

"Russell Baze suffered a complete fracture of the left collarbone and associated rib fractures," said Dr. David Seftel, Golden Gate Fields's track physician. "He had a bruise over his right forehead, a left hip bruise, and a right hip contusion with associated bruising. [Thoroughbred Times]
He fractured his other collarbone in 2003. Life goes on as Edgar Prado picks up the mount on Lost in the Fog in Saturday's Riva Ridge. Trainer Greg Gilchrist said
"We're not being second-guessed quite so much now about passing the Derby ....Actually, we had more people applaud the decision we made rather than criticize it. It has paid off. I'm happy we took this trail." [Daily Racing Form]
No, I don’t imagine he would have fared very well in the Derby given that pace.