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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Soft Spot for Limehouse?

- Todd Pletcher may have found a good spot to get Limehouse a Grade 1 win; he’s entered in the Hollywood Gold Cup at a mile and a quarter Saturday, and the only other names I’ve seen mentioned are Congrats and Lava Man. I wonder where Going Wild is these days. The only time Limehouse has tried the distance was last year’s Kentucky Derby, in which he ran 4th to Smarty Jones. Hollywood also has the American Oaks, which despite its wholly inappropriate name for a race designed to attract international entrants and attention, has drawn 6 runners from Europe and Japan, making it a handicapping nightmare.

The Oaks is the top race on a Sunday program that has five graded stakes. Three Degrees and Melhor Ainda, the unbeaten winner of three stakes, lead the Oaks, which is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf. The Japanese invader Cesario, a winner of 4 of 5 starts, is considered the top foreign threat.

On Tuesday, Memorette, second in the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks on June 12, worked five furlongs on turf in 59.80 seconds. She will be making her turf debut in the Oaks. [Daily Racing Form]
- Great news for Louisiana horsemen, and for simulcast bettors that appreciate full fields. Evangeline Downs reopens tonight, and the reviews for the resurfaced track are raves. "I love it," said quarter horse jockey Darrell Darbonne on Tuesday. "I like it better than the old Evangeline Downs and I just finished working some thoroughbreds on it today."
On the night of May 12, jockeys refused to mount for the seventh race after two horses fell in earlier races. There has not been a single race since.

Variances in elevation between four and 12 inches along the soil cement base were later found, and since then, track owners have spent $2.7 million rebuilding the then three-month-old racing surface that now has a new covering of clay, river silt and sifted sand. The entire track also was laser leveled. [Opelousas Daily World]
- Scrappy T’s connections continue to be ultra-conservative with their colt, withdrawing him from consideration for Saturday’s Ohio Derby after a 6 furlong workout.
"He worked real good, but the schedule just didn’t work out the way we wanted it to with the Ohio Derby," [trainer Robert] Bailes said on Monday. "We were really trying to point toward the Colonial Cup here, but he threw our plans out of whack when he didn’t take to the turf and things just didn’t come up right for making this one.” [Thoroughbred Times]
The Travers is their major objective.

- Got an interesting comment the other day from an anonymous poster regarding the Princequillo sire line, which was represented by Queen’s Plate runnerup King of Jazz.
K One King (from the Apalachee branch of Princequillo), the sire of King of Jazz, now represents the only hope of keeping the Princequillo (and back through Prince Palatine, etc. to St. Simon) alive. Too bad King of Jazz is a gelding. But there could be a really good one from K One King in the future if he stays healthy, fertile, and is given some good mares.

Meadowlake from the Prince John branch is old and his only son of racing prominance in recent years was Greenwood Lake. Success Express in Australia was doing well a few years back.

Greenwood Lake is getting small crops and of uncertain quality in his mares. He started in Florida, is now in Kentucky and I would guess he would do alot better under better management.

Since there is no money in preserving the line, I expect it will die. A real shame.
Beaten Queen’s Plate favorite Dance With Ravens is out for the year with a bone chip. Winner Wild Desert was trained at one time by Ken McPeek, who has saddled his last horse to become a full-time bloodstock agent. And now Elliot Walden has announced his retirement from the training game. He’ll become vice president in charge of racing and bloodstock services for WinStar Farm. [Bloodhorse]

- Mr. Happy, Paul Moran of Newsday, weighs in on NYRA’s announced price increases for the Travers.
Shameless price gauging worked so well on Belmont day that the crowd was 15,000 or so less than front-office estimates and half what it was a year ago when Smarty Jones was in position to win the Triple Crown. Yes, many of those $110 seats were empty. President Charlie Hayward actually had the nerve to say this: "We are always reluctant to raise our prices" Question: Can NYRA completely mess up Saratoga, too? Tough assignment, but not out of the realm of possibility. [Newsday]
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