- The other day I wrote about trainer George (Rusty) Arnold, and how his live horses usually are pointed out on the tote board. On opening day, he had a first time starter, League of Nations, who was 8-1 morning line. He went off at 29-1 and not surprisingly ran dead last. On Friday, he had Indy Trouble in the 2nd, a 2 yo turf maiden race, who was 6-1 ML but got bet down to the 3.05-1 favorite. She did figure to get bet off her debut in which she had a bad start, but she didn’t have much of an excuse Friday other than John Velasquez’ masterful rating of winner Ready to Talk on the lead. After slowing the half to 49.3 (Durkin, who seems to be doing more editorializing these days, noted that “this augers well” for the filly), he was able to then put in quarters of 24 and 23.4 and put her competition away.
Thus another turf winner for sire More Than Ready, whose Ready’s Gal took the G3 Lake George later in the day. According to the Form, he’s now 10-25 with first time turfers, pretty amazing. More Than Ready never ran on the turf; he’s by Southern Halo out of a mare by Woodman, a winner on the turf in Ireland, and beyond that, I’ll allow others to analyze his pedigree for an explanation. Chetten County (Giant’s Causeway) had a slow start and ducked out in upper stretch, but once he straightened out he closed very strongly for second; trainer George Weaver seems to have sharp horses.
He had a nice winner on Thursday with Maybry's Boy (Broad Brush) and three seconds with his other starters. Wrigley (Grand Slam) got caught in Wednesday's juvenile maiden race but has run well in both career starts. Drizzly (Summer Squall) was flying late only to miss by a neck in Thursday's finale and Chetten County was a good second in today's juvenile filly turfer.- In the Lake George, I was trying to figure out who would challenge Ready’s Gal on the lead and who could sit behind the contested pace; and instead Velasquez got a perfect trip sitting on the rail a couple of lengths behind the leaders, and coming up the inside in the stretch. The filly never left the hedge, a perfect ride. More Than Ready may be a fine turf sire, but in both cases Friday Velasquez showed why he’s Pletcher’s main man.
Weaver has many of his mentor's strengths, including his runners excelling on the turf. They always seem to be fit for their races and make a strong appearance on the track. [Brisnet]
Zippy Missy held well in her debut for 2nd in the 4th, a NY-bred 2yo filly race, at 7-1 for Dominick Galluscio, whose Real Knowsy ran a close 2nd at 5-1 to Webmistress on Thursday. In the 7th, Quick One was a shocking loser at 1-4. This 3yo NY-bred filly was a well-bet winner in her debut, but had no excuse when passed by 1 for 12 Royal Fudge, the first winner for trainer Roger Horgan.
Pletcher went down with the favorite in the 9th, a state-bred turf maiden race, with 3-2 Spin Factor, interestingly ridden by Jerry Bailey, which, given the keen compeititon between Mott/Bailey and Pletcher/Velasquez these days, seems kinda like the president appointing Hillary Clinton to replace Karl Rove. The Form stats show that the two have hooked up 49 times in 2004-05, with a 20% win percentage. As opposed to the fair prices we’ve been seeing on Pletcher’s winners, this one was decidedly overbet, and created an excellent price on winner One Good Man ($8), the logical favorite in my opinion. He’s by a $1000-fee unraced Storm Cat son named Storm of Angels, while the beaten favorite is a NY-bred only in name, being a $310,000 son of Indian Charlie.
- Here from the Daily News is the latest recap on the possible runners in the Haskell:
Those considered definite for the mile-and-an-eighth race are the Bob Baffert-trained Roman Ruler, Park Avenue Ball and Chekhov. Trainer Nick Zito may start either Sun King, Pinpoint or Indy Storm in the race. Devilment and Dover Dare are possible, along with the Richard Dutrow Jr.-trained Golden Man.The Form has the latest on the status of Surf Cat:
Others who have been mentioned as possible starters include Prince of Wales winner Ablo, Swaps Stakes winner Surf Cat and local horses Joey P. and Smokescreen. Recent maiden winner Papi Chullo also is under consideration.
"We're thinking very strongly of it," Headley said of the Haskell. "It lightened up the load when Alex came out."- Vic Zast on MSNBC.com writes about Woodbine’s ambitious plans for a $310 million (Canadian) hotel, entertainment and sports complex expansion to its racetrack and slots facility. If you wonder where they’re getting the money, consider this :
Headley said there are positive and negative factors of a trip to New Jersey.
"It's very interesting because it's a major race for 3-year-olds and I don't have to run against older horses," he said. "But it is a long way to travel. The bad part is you have to leave Del Mar." [DRF]
More than 20,000 people now pack the casino on a typical weekday night. The slots operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the exception of Christmas.That's astounding! I had no idea that their gambling operation was as huge as that, nor that they're open as often as Denny's. They’ve been mentioned as a possible dark horse suitor for NYRA, but it seems that they’re concentrating their efforts at home instead.
- Please feel free to email me with comments, questions, suggestions, or links.