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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Thursday Morning Musings - Sept 15

- When I saw the name Patriot Act in the Belmont entries Wednesday, it caught my attention, and not just because I’ve been watching the John Roberts confirmation hearings, and the judge’s “thread the needle” responses make me nervous about the future of our right to privacy, on top of the concerns already in place due to the law that the horse was presumably named after. The name just seemed familiar, so I figured that I’d lost money on him some time in the recent past.

Then, on the Triple Crown Racing blog, I read that Patriot Act was touted as the best maiden in the country after he finished second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity last October. Brian, the proprietor of this blog, claims in his profile to be 15, and if that’s true, I hope his parents aren’t counting on him going to law school.

That was it; I’d seen his name in the past performance lines of others in that stakes race. The winner was Consolidator (Storm Cat), who, after winning the San Felipe in impressive fashion by 6 ½ over Giacomo, was pretty high up on my Derby list, Um, actually, I had him number two. Behind High Limit. Oh man. (Remember how Frankel was at first being so cautious with High Limit, and then he just went nuts with him. Now he’s one of the most reliable money burners in the sport; he most recently ran 7th at an incredible 4-1 in the Del Mar Derby.) I think the only thing I was right about on that list was Michael Jackson getting acquitted.

Because of his win in that Breeders Futurity, Darley Stud can write “$1.25 yearling who became a Grade One-winning juvenile” on their website, and after the select portion of the Keeneland yearling sale, they might want to emphasize "son of Storm Cat." Consolidator will start stud duty at their Kentucky-based Jonabell Farms next year; he fractured a sesamoid bone a few days before the Derby after disappointing in the Blue Grass. They haven’t yet set a fee. What do you think they can get for a son of Storm Cat who won three times in ten starts, out of the money five times?

Patriot Act was actually the 3.30 – 1 second choice in that Grade 1 despite still being a maiden. The favorite was Bellamy Road, who faded to 7th and was hurt after being challenged on the lead by Consolidator. Come to think of it, not only has Bellamy Road lost each time he hasn’t had his own way in a race, he’s been injured too.

Bellamy Road was a nose in front of Scipion (A.P. Indy), who made a little noise when he won the Risen Star at Oaklawn. He was reported to be back in training in late July. When he fired, he had an exciting late burst, is extremely well-bred (3/4 brother to Vindication), and could be an interesting one if he makes it back. He suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture after his disappointing Louisiana Derby, and if I recall correctly, it was suffered during a workout on the turf, as trainer Patrick Biancone was trying to avoid the wet California tracks of last spring.

Also in the Breeders Futurity were Straight Man and Three Hour Nap, both of whom won minor stakes at Arlington over the summer. While Patriot Act was no match for Consolidator, he was 3 ½ in front of the rest of the field after closing from 8th after a half mile. He followed up the Futurity with a 5th place finish to Rush Bay in a maiden special at 1-5, and then was gone until Saratoga, where he closed well for second at 3-1 on 8/20. I was there that day, but must have either been spacing out or betting races from Ellis or Arlington, because I honestly don't recall. On Wednesday, he was 1-2, and this time broke alertly, dropped back to last, and rallied for the win by 1 ¼, with the final eighth going 12.63. He’s already shown distance ability and class, and with his closing style, could also be an exciting one to keep an eye on. He has inbreeding 5x5 to Tom Fool and he’s a half brother to graded turf stakes winner Class Kris and to the dams of Gulch Approval and Don’t Get Mad.

- Via the Albany Law School Racing and Wagering page (which also has tons of information on the news on NYRA), comes this great read from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, about a notorious, and now retired local horseplayer named Off-Track Eddie. He got his nickname from his specialty (and my nemesis) – betting horses on off tracks.

So determined to know the track condition of out-of-town tracks on days he was stuck in the office - we're talking before cell phones and the Internet - Eddie once called the Louisville weather bureau when he had a mud-lover at Churchill Downs.

"This is Mr. Kelly of Kelly Amusements," he said. "I'm going to be moving several truck loads of rides through Louisville this afternoon between 4 and 5 p.m. I was wondering if you could tell me if there is rain in the forecast so I can pull the canvas tarpaulins over them."

"For sure," said a meteorologist. "It's raining cats and dogs."

Off-Track Eddie called his bookmaker and made a sizeable wager on the pony that was half-thoroughbred, half-porpoise. It splashed home an easy winner.
Now we can always get the latest Doppler Radar on the internet, but getting the track condition and the status of the turf races in a timely manner can still be as maddening as watching Senators Kennedy, Biden, Schumer and Feinstein trying every possible approach to try and get Judge Roberts to actually answer their questions! I mean, what would be the problem with answering the question, “Would you say there's a general right to privacy?” with ‘Yes, senator, of course.’ instead of “I don't know what general means.


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