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Wednesday, September 28, 2005


- A couple of addendums to posts from earlier today. In writing about this weekend’s stakes races for 3 year olds, I mentioned the Super Derby and the Pegasus, but neglected the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park; and a grievous omission it was. It’s by far the most interesting of the three. Scrappy T. finally makes his first start since the Preakness, and will be reunited with jockey Ramon Dominguez.

After all the false starts, trainer Robert Bailes picked what could be a treacherous spot. Don’t Get Mad, Thors Echo, Purim, Southern Africa are in the field, as well as Greater Good, the Rebel winner making his first start since the Arkansas Derby, where his mere fearsome presence scared Jeremy Rose into a whipping frenzy on Afleet Alex, thereby costing him the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown.

It's little wonder that the Meadowlands drew the short end of the stick as far as the weekend's 3 yo action goes. The $250,000 purse for the Pegasus looks puny compared to the Indiana Derby and the $750,000 Super Derby, which drew a field of ten.

- And thanks to Jessica at Railbird for bringing this column by Bill Finley to my attention. Finley must be a Left at the Gate reader; he did the research I suggested and came up with some much better examples of the weightgate jockeys riding out of town at weights far lower than they are being accused of.

One of the races involved was the 3rd race on July 11, 2004 at Belmont. Castillo rode Southack to a third-place finish and was listed at 118 pounds. Based on comments from the Attorney General's Office that the riders were anywhere from seven to 115 pounds overweight, Castillo supposedly weighed at least 125 pounds.

Isn't it curious then that he rode at 115 the day before at Delaware Park? That means he somehow gained 10 pounds over the course of a day or the clerk of scales at Delaware was also in on what had to have been a vast conspiracy. Both cases are highly unlikely.

On Aug. 30, Jose Santos rode at 116 pounds aboard horse named Ohbeegeewhyen in the sixth race at Saratoga, another example listed in the indictment. That means that Santos had to have weighed 123 pounds or more. Isn't it curious then that he rode two days earlier at Monmouth Park and made 116 in the fourth race. Santos must have eaten like a real pig over the course of the next 48 hours. Either that or the Monmouth clerk of scales was also part of the conspiracy. []
Finley adds that in his opinion, it's 1-10 that Sclafani and Baeza beat the charges.