- Steve Haskin in Bloodhorse likes Reverberate and Andromeda’s Hero, at least from a betting standpoint, calling them the “value horses.” I disagree; I think they could be the two biggest underlays in the field. He has a favorite from a physical standpoint too:
The best-looking horse I've seen, based on coat and overall behavior is Southern Africa. His coat is resplendent and dappled out, and he is acting like a horse ready to run a big race. It's hard to get a gauge on him from his past performances and who he's been running against, but he ran big races last against Declan's Moon and Giacomo after coming here from England. He also has a distance-oriented pedigree, but, hey, you can't pick everyone. [Bloodhorse]His comment on the pedigree is quite different from the opinion I posted earlier today in the Belmont selections post.
- In Pennsylvania, not only are slots supposedly going to save existing racetracks, but they are actually creating new ones. Harrah’s broke ground on a new harness track, simulcast facility, a 2,500-slot casino, and a variety of food and beverage outlets. There are also plans for a buffet, 24-hour restaurant, lounge, and 300-seat clubhouse dining area. [US Trotting Association] A similar project in Maine has been scuttled for now by a veto by Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat. Again, the gambling issue seems to cut across party lines. With the Bangor racino in the works, there's a lot of opposition to a further expansion of gambling.
"My action today may not be popular with some people, but I must follow my conscience," Baldacci said. "I just don't believe . . . expanded casino gambling is a good future for Maine." [Portland Press Herald]Now there's a move to put the matter to a statewide vote, which makes for great material to write about, especially in the lively state of Maine, so I'm all for that.
- Fusaichi Samurai, the $4.5 million Calder 2 yo purchase and at one time one of the early futures favorites for the Derby, will return to action Saturday at Hollywood Park. He’s in an allowance race, and his competition looks like….oh, I don’t know…it’s another of those editions of the Form that doesn’t have Churchill or Hollywood, damn. But he’s 8-5 against 7 rivals.
- Yesterday and today saw the first 2 yo stakes races of the NY racing season. Today, Kinsman Stable’s Beacon Shine took the G3 Flash for colts and geldings by a desperate nose for red hot Billy Mott. He’s by top Florida sire Montbrook, out of a half sister to grade 1 winner Outofthebox, who is by the same sire. Beacon Shine has some funny breeding; he’s inbred 4x4 to a mare named Old Bess, who never won and whose foals were unremarkable; but if you look further you’ll find descendents such as stakes winner/sires Halo’s Image, Songandaprayer, and the aforementioned Montbrook. Yesterday, Monarchos got his first stakes winner as his daughter Fifth Avenue took the Fashion Stakes, also by a nose. She also has inbreeding to a broodmare, Lady Be Good, a stakes winner whose descendents include G1 winners Awe Inspiring and Goodbye Halo.