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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thursday Night Notes - June 23

- Field sizes were a tad bigger at Belmont today, but that’s mostly because there were a lot of turf and state-bred races. The ill-humored Paul Moran, who hasn’t seemed happy since Giacomo won the Derby, pointedly noted that it was a matter of quantity over quality; and whined of the four full fields that none of these races are bettable. [Newsday] Harumph. Michael Hushion, who according to Russ Harris is batting .320 with firsters, had another one in the 4th with Quick One. She’s a state-bred 3 yo filly who took the money as the 2-1 favorite (7-2 ML), running off by 7 1/2 from firster Webmistress, a $230K yearling with bullet works and Todd Pletcher, who was the morning line favorite but was dull on the board as the 5-1 3rd choice. Quick One is by Afternoon Deelites out of a Pentelicus mare; her second dam is a half to the 2 yo stakes winning filly Over All.

For the most part, seemed like a pretty uninspiring day; only two of the races had favorites that were more than 7-5, and 5 out of those 7 choices won. Elbar Coa had another winner, a 3-5 shot, and Richard Migliore had 2. Shug McGauhey took the feature with his non-Phipps La Reina, a 4yo A.P. Indy filly out of multiple Grade 1 winner Queena, and a half-sister to graded winner Brahms. La Reina won the Grade 3 Tempted as a 2 yo and ran second in a Grade 2 last year.

- You know how people say that a basketball game doesn’t matter until the last five minutes? For me in recent years, the entire season doesn’t matter until the last five minutes of the last game, which is probably when I’ll start paying attention to Game 7 tonight. I miss hockey.

- Ken Warkentin was a disappointing third at the Meadowlands tonight, shaking up the picture for the Hambletonian for the time being anyway. On HRTV they showed his 2005 debut last week, and it was really awesome - he rallied in deep stretch from absolutely nowhere, though the time wasn’t great. Tonight he was far back again, which is pretty interesting because looking at his form as a 2 yo, he was usually either in front or well on the way there by the half mile pole. Tonight’s race was very fast on a warm night, but they absolutely walked home in :58 4/5 with a Derby-like :30 final quarter after an insane half mile, for trotters, of :54 4/5. But the 3-5 favorite could only rally mildly for third. New York Yank set the hot fractions and held on; he won the Peter Haughton Memorial last year. There was a horse named Franks and Beans, and I always wince at that phrase since Something About Mary. Ugh, why would anyone name their horse that?

- And speaking of horse names, the voting is well under way for the name for my partnership’s Tactical Cat colt (out of Highland Tide), and I’m not encourged at all. The more creative names, including a couple submitted by readers are not faring well, while two of the frontrunners are Highland Cat (yawn) and High Castle Cat (yuck! That’s like that Karakorum thing of using their name in every horse - this partnership is Castle Village Farm.) I’ll have to rally behind the other leader Scotch N Rocks as the lesser of the evils, even though it’s socially irresponsible, promoting the use of alcohol.

More importantly, lousy name notwithstanding, he seems to be faring fabulously on the track. He had his first timed work here on Monday, and here’s the report sent to the partners:

Went a half in 49-2/5 quite effortlessly. When he came back and cooled out he was still quite wound up as if he had wanted to do even more. He's a couple of weeks from a race, however, [trainer Billy Turner] will not run him 5F at Belmont. He feels that they start so close to the turn that's it's a bit too risky. He'll wait for a 5-1/2 F or longer race to be written. They do write these 6 F turf races for babies and perhaps that could be an option. The colt is in good hands with BT and I'm sure however he works it out, it's with the horse's best interest in mind.
I’ve been too lazy the past couple of weekends to get my butt out of bed and go to the barn, but now that I’m writing that I’m going to this weekend, I’ll feel obligated and do it, I hope.