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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sunday Night Notes - June 26

- The Queen’s Plate by far highlighted this pre-July 4th Sunday, and it was the American connections coming in to take the top two spots. I couldn’t get a bet in at Woodbine so contented myself with rooting for my blog selection King of Jazz. He certainly looked like a winner top of the stretch, but was outkicked by Wild Desert, who I thought was overbet at 3-1, but what do I know? I really don’t know what to make of the race, with the final quarter run in :26.2, and a s-l-o-w final time of 2:07.37. They said on HRTV that the track was tiring and slow; there was a mile and a sixteenth race that went in 1:47 1/5 that I thought was slow until I noticed there was one prior that was three seconds slower! Wild Desert is another stakes winner with connections from Philadelphia, the current horse racing capital of the world. The filly Gold Strike was running with seeming ease on the lead, and held on for third; the top three finishers from the Plate Trial brought up the rear in very disappointing performances.

Otherwise, a pretty slow Sunday in advance of a big July 4 weekend. At Belmont, there was a state-bred stakes won by Naughty New Yorker at nearly 9-1! Otherwise, four more state-bred races, and another wide open maiden race on the turf. And of course, another grassy winner for Bill Mott. There finally was a shipper, Remuneration, for the claiming race in the 6th, perhaps attracted from Delaware by the $41,000 purse, and he won. It was another winner for sire High Yield, whose High Yield Hunter took the 9th yesterday in his debut on the turf. Perhaps the bettors had that in mind when, in the 9th, they bet down Higher Approval, a High Yield filly making her first try on the grass. She was 6-1 morning line, but 3-1 at post time. But like in the finale on Saturday, it was a well-bred first timer overlooked in the betting. On the Catwalk took the prize at 12-1 for trainer Carlos Martin, having a nice meet so far with 6 winners.with limited starters. On the Catwalk is by Honour and Glory out of a Theatrical mare who’s a half sister to turf stakes winner Incurable Optimist.

More Than Ready is a second crop sire who’s offspring have been doing well on the turf. At Monmouth, his 3 yo daughter Ready’s Gal took the Little Silver stakes for Pletcher. It’s at least the third turf stakes winner of the month for More Than Ready, including a Grade 3 win by a 2 yo filly named La Chunga in England. It was Ready's Gal's turf debut, and she was bet down to 5-2 second choice. This filly has burned a lot of money prior to this race, including a 20 length loss at 6-5 in her last, so had I been handicapping this race, I likely would have unsuccessfully disregarded the board action in this case.

I took the day off from racing - for the most part anyway. The Head Chef and I ended up at a most unlikely place - the entrance to the Billy Graham Crusade at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens. We had gone to see an exhibit at the Queens Museum, which is located in the park, nearby, and strolled over to check out the scene. And what a scene it was, an endless stream of people diverging from every direction; there were reportedly 90,000 people in attendance for what is supposed to be his final revival. The fountains were on at the old World’s Fair unisphere, and I wonder if Rev. Graham paid for that; I don’t remember the last time I saw the water on, and to stand in the spray downwind was a welcome relief from the heat. The police were out in big numbers, and they had their wonderful “protest pens” set up. Those gained popularity, along with the orange netting that scooped up innocent bystanders, at the Republican Convention, which I still can’t believe was held in New York City. Here, there were two pens and two cops and a grand total of one protester, a lonely guy holding a sign that said “Graham Hates God.” Some people on the way to see Graham stopped to take his picture. I presume and hope that Rev. Graham's message is a positive one, without the hatred others dispense in the name of religion these days.

I did make one bet today, in an attempt to get out from what was a bad betting weekend, with my losing ways of Friday extending into Saturday. It was the 5th at Hollywood, and I loved the 3 horse, Right Proof, at 7-1. He was making a very big class jump from 40K to 62.5K claimers. It’s just recently that I’ve become comfortable with betting horses jumping in class like that. I’ve always been told that it’s a good sign, and a better bet than a horse dropping, but it’s taken me this long to be able to anticipate the drastic improvement it would take to make a jump like this one. In his last race, Right Proof changed jockeys and tactics, the latter drastically so as he came from dead last to win after his prior races were on the lead. Now his move up the ladder while keeping his rider Garrett Gomez seemed like a confident placement by his trainer Bill Spawr, who has good numbers at this meet and with last-race-winners. Right Proof sat in good position behind the leaders, but was beaten to a hole in the stretch by Alex Solis on the eventual winner, had to alter course sharply, and closed quickly for third just a head and a neck away from the triple for me. A frustrating end to the weekend to be sure.