- Frank Lyons on TVG said before the G3 Sands Point at Belmont today that the "guys" in Frankel's barn think that Melhor Ainda (Pulpit) will be the next champ to emerge from the Frankel barn. She broke from the outside 8 hole, which can be a challenge at the 9 furlong distance on Belmont's inner turf, but John Velasquez showed why he gets the big bucks. He angled in to be only a couple wide going into the turn, and emerged with a spot on the rail going down the backstretch.
"I wanted to be covered up because I think she is better when she is covered up. I was sitting right behind Jerry (Bailey on Paddy's Daisy) the whole time," Velazquez said. "His filly gets out a little bit, and as soon as she drifted out a little bit, I punched it and she was there. Wow, she blew them away. " [Bloodhorse]She really did, slinking through the opening like Curtis Martin and ridden out to the wire. They came home the last 3 furlongs in 35.32 seconds, and she made up 2 1/2 lengths, getting the last eighth in 11.50.
Checking in 3rd was My Typhoon, who has two impressive wins, including a victory in the Hilltop on Preakness day, in the two races that she has not faced Melhor Ainda; and a well-beaten 3rd and 4th in the two that she has. She's a Giant's Causeway half sister to Epsom Derby winner Galileo, and would likely do better to avoid Frankel’s filly at all costs.
- I stared at TVG, an online tote board, and the Form for a couple of hours this afternoon and didn’t make a bet at all as nothing caught my eye, at least from a betting standpoint. Right before Melhor Ainda’s win, Frankel sent out 3-2 favorite Sanit Anddan (A.P. Indy) in an entry-level allowance off a maiden win at Gulfstream. He’s a 3 yo out of a mare by Danzig Connection, who we were just discussing the other day. This time, however, Frankel had to settle for second, as the improved 3 yo gelding Mr. Congeniality contested a lively pace with a second quarter of 22.45, and drew away to win by 5 1/2. He’s trained by Michael Hushion, who is sizzling at Belmont, with 7 wins and 5 seconds in 22 starts going into the weekend. I’m putting him on my watch list; if you draw lines through his two turf tries and his 7th in the Gotham his form looks very impressive, and he beat what looks like a nice field today. He’s by Chester House, out of a stakes-placed Wild Again mare. His second dam is a half-sister to Darn That Alarm, a popular handicap horse in the 80’s who was often close but won only 9 out of 42 starts, one of which was the Fountain of Youth. According to Pedigree Query, he died in a barn fire at Meadowbrook Farm in Ocala, Florida, on May 6, 2003, along with Traitor, Faygo, Star of Valor, and Reality Road. I’m checking to see if he’s on the list. Yup, they’re all accounted for.
- Yet another nice 3 yo filly seen winning a stakes this weekend was Three Degrees, who took the G2 Honeymoon BC Handicap on the turf at Hollywood as the 2-1 favorite. She got an assist when the second choice Berbatim was eliminated after the start after stumbling and causing Alex Solis to lose his irons. She came from 6 lengths back at the 3/4’s, and won by a length as they came home in 36.40. She lost the G3 Senorita by a nose and is otherwise unbeaten in 4 U.S. tries. Three Degrees is by the globetrotting Singspiel, winner of the Dubai World Cup amongst other international affairs, and a son of the great champion mare Glorious Song (who died of intestinal problems in 2003. I have to get off this dead horses thing.)