- I fell in love with Black Minnaloushe as a sire just by watching the stretch runs of the two races on this page. His powerful late stretch kick got me all excited, and I’ve been interested in seeing the first crop of this multiple Grade 1 winning (in England and Ireland) son of Storm Cat in action, especially on the grass. So at Saratoga on Saturday, I was keeping an eye on his son Stream Cat, entered in the With Anticipation stakes for 2 yo’s on the grass for Patrick Biancone. He was 2-1 in his debut, a 6 furlong dirt race, and he faded to 5th, 11 lengths behind, after showing early speed.
Now, in his turf debut, he was one of 4 maidens entered in the inaugural running of this stakes, and the money was pouring in again. He was 6-1 morning line, but opened around 5-2, second only to Lisa Lewis’ Church Service, who was coming off a maiden win on the grass with a field high Beyer. It’s funny how you sometimes see a race that figures to be wide open turn into a one or two horse betting race. This race featured a host of promising colts with varying experience on dirt and turf and looked to be wide open. But the betting came down to Stream Cat, who drifted up to 4-1 before getting slammed again late to 3-1 – you gotta love that kind of action – and 8-5 Church Service.
Gary Stevens had Stream Cat in the most ideal of spots, on the hedge behind two dueling longshots. As they straightened away in the stretch, I thought of his daddy’s late run, and this son did not disappoint; the chart comment notes that he accelerated quickly when set down. He flew home the last sixteenth in 5.79 seconds.
I was also excited because I had singled him leading off some Pick 3s that were based on the strategy of beating Forest Danger in the Grade 1 Forego. Good idea, as it turned out, as the even money favorite, who was pummeled from 3-2 to 1.10 to 1 in the final two minutes, finished 4th. Only problem was that there was no way I could make the winner Mass Media, and wouldn’t come up with him if they ran the race 100 times. I had overbet Keep the Faith, second place finisher Battle Won, and, in particular, Silver Wagon, who I liked a lot at 4-1 and bet separately. He was too far back as he hit the gate and was bumped after the start, according to the chart, and rallied pretty well for third. But it was pretty frustrating to see Mass Media fight off Battle Won for the win. As it turned out, it cost me the Pick 3.
Bobby Frankel added blinkers on Mass Media, and that’s a 28% win category for him. It was the 4th of 5 wins on the day for Javier Castellano, who explained that “[Mass Media] doesn’t want to pass horses so I hit him a few times and yelled a little.” [Thoroughbred Times]
Castellano was also aboard the impressive NY-bred Mayo Post (Dixieland Band), who got his third straight win for Jimmy Jerkins. It was the trainer’s 11th win in just 28 starts here. He had to work for the win this time, but was all the more impressive in showing heart and determination in holding off Precise Motion.
You may remember the 2 yo filly Performing Diva (Storm Cat) head butting Jerry Bailey and running off when entered for her debut; she was heavily bet that day. She was back a couple of days later, and was up the track at 7-2 after hitting the gate. On Saturday, she was 5-1, and won off easily from 3-5 Rainbow Pond, who made it 3 seconds in 3 starts. Performing Diva is a full sister to Vision and Verve and her second dam is a half to Stop the Music and Hatchet Man. Also, her dam, Bunting, ran second in the Ashland and Black Eyed Susan, so it would seem she should have no problem getting a distance.
The 5th race, a state-bred maiden sprint, featured 9-5 favorite Harry the Rock, who had raced 20 times with 7 seconds and 4 thirds. He absolutely laid over this field in every way, except for that 0-20 blot on his record. But sometimes a horse like this encounters a field in which he is simply faster than everyone else, and he almost can’t help but win. That was the case here, and the bettors, in looking for a horse without Harry’s record of futilitly, was really stretching with 5-2 Peppers Delgany and 3-1 Incorporatetime – really stretching. In fact, 9-5 was a fantastic price for those who are inclined to bet that way, and he won like the odds-on choice he should have been.
No, I didn’t have him either; I passed that race and several others as well. Everyone was surprised to see the two races scheduled for the inner turf course taken off the grass, while the Mellon turf course was labeled firm. Dick Powell of Brisnet reports that the inner turf course has been beaten up from heavy use during the meet and some of the jockeys have been complaining about its condition. I was actually surprised that they ran all the turf races (2 on the inner course) on Friday, just two days after all the rain from Katrina; it was labeled as 'yielding' that day. NYRA hopes to run the remaining two days on the course as scheduled, but we’ll see. Little has been going right for NYRA of late.
I skipped races for various reasons – the second was too hard, the fourth was off the turf, and others just didn’t interest me. I also got shut out on the 4th from Monmouth, on which I would have been split in the exacta. I was way into Monmouth's sixth and keyed some triples with 5-1 Beknown to Me on top. It couldn’t have been going better, as the 9 yo gelding sat behind the two pacesetters, who I both had for the triple. As they rounded the turn, Beknown to Me made a wide move and looked set to overtake 6-1 Vancouver, as those two pulled away from the field. That worked for me, as long as 6-1 Gibbons Terrace was coming from somewhere for third. I thought I was home free when I saw that that was precisely the case, but when I looked back ahead, I saw that Beknown to Me hadn’t quite passed Vancouver. It soon became apparent that he would not, and he settled for second a half length back. Ouch. It's like your own private drama when you're the only one standing in front of the simulcast monitor involved in a close call like that. It was a $371.40 triple that way.
I didn’t bet a live race until the 7th (loser), tried Monmouth again for the 8th (another loser, and I got involved in something else and forgot to even watch the race), and then the late Pick 3 and the Forego. I had at least knocked on the door and will go into Sunday with some confidence.
- Lost in the Fog’s trainer Greg Gilchrist spoke to Ron Indrisano of the Boston Globe about the colt’s future plans.
''Next year you'll see him go a route. We haven't been afraid to go a route. It's just that the sprint races came along at a good time. We weren't real serious about running in the Kentucky Derby. We didn't feel the Derby was our best chance to win. He would have been right up on the pace, and it would have been suicide for us. I'm sure there's going to be a day we'll all meet and answer the question of who's best."
- Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo set two world records in one day. [US Trotting Association] He took the Du Quoin Trotting Derby, in which a horse has to win two heats in order to be declared the winner. He took the first heat in 1:51.3, a world record for 3 yo trotting geldings; and then took the Derby with a second heat in 1:51.2. Not a bad day’s work.