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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Belmont's Big Father's Day

- So I was a good boy, got up early to do my assigned tasks for our Father’s Day dinner, and played the Father’s Day card expertly enough to be granted a couple hours release. I don’t think I was out of the house since I got home from Belmont on Friday except to chauffer kids around, so I was a bit stir crazy when I set out for the first four races. When I made it to Belmont not too long before first race post, I witnessed an amazing sight. Traffic! Cars lined up to get into the track. A slow go inside the parking lot too. I’d seen that a section of the parking lot was closed off for a Mercedes-Benz show, so I figured people were being redirected around, but when I pulled into the owners’ lot and asked “What the hell is going on?” the attendant replied “It’s Father’s Day; it’s like this every year.”

I then realized that I never go to the track on Father’s day, because I’m always doing some family function. I know I’m not the only father who complains that he doesn’t get to do the things he wants to on what’s supposed to be his day. But apparently a lot of fathers do, because when I walked into the backyard, I was totally stunned by the size of the crowd there. It’s no exaggeration for me to say that other than Belmont day and the Breeders Cup, I haven’t seen the backyard area that crowded in ten years. The crowd was nearly 15,000, about twice the size of Saturday’s crowd, and there was nothing given away other than a beautiful day, and the chance for the whole family to have some fun while Dad gets to do his thing. However, I must admit that as much as it's great to see a spark of life in the game, on this particular day I was more in the mood for some quiet time!

Oh well. I was planning to play the pick 3 for races 2 through 4, but I was a bit disoriented and stunned by the unexpected crowd, arrived later than expected and missed the first, and had to pull myself together. I was going to bet the first two choices in the 2nd, but eliminated the heavy favorite, Bredwinner, when he reared and very nearly flipped over backwards during the post parade; fortunately, John Velasquez had jumped off just beforehand. So I instead singled the eventual winner, Spanish Mission. I hit the ‘all’ button for the 2yo race in the 3rd, and got the break I needed when Moon’s Halo scored at 10-1, leaving Pletcher’s 3-5 favorite Winning Minister in the dust. The winner is by Halo’s Image, out of a Skip Trial mare. His second dam is grade 1 stakes winner Single Blade, the dam of graded winner Comeonmom, and the granddam of one Nolan’s Cat. I was pretty stunned when I saw the generous will-pays for my two selections in the 4th, and when Bestowed found room on the inside in the stretch to make it 3 turf wins in 3 starts for trainer Michael Dickinson, it was good for a payoff of $459.....Happy Father’s day indeed!!

Bestowed was bet squarely on the nose, and Dickinson is definitely one to watch when his horses are live on the board like that. He’s by a Rahy stallion named Repeal who won less than $7000 in his career; he died in 2001. Bestowed is out of a half-sister to Allez Milord, a Group 1 winner in England and Germany.

- Our Tactical Cat colt is really going to get a name one of these days, I promise; the voting is under way. He continues do well, and we’re told that Billy Turner “is hoping to have the colt ready to rock and roll the end of the Belmont meet. He hasn't been to the gate yet so that will be worked on in upcoming weeks. Stay tuned.”