- Jerry, my faithful Philly connection, calls it Leftatthegate-gate. At Philadelphia Park on Monday, they were off in the Pennsylvania Oaks without 7-5 second choice Private Gift. Oops.
Longtime starter Rusty Downes, who has sent thousands of fields on their way without incident, lost track of 7-5 second-choice Private Gift as the horses were being loaded. Even though one of his assistants yelled out the classic "one out" as Private Gift moved toward the gate, Downes pushed the button, opened the starting gate and the rest of the field was on their way.Hey, that’s some pretty good material by Albarado.
"They didn't put me in," Private Gift's jockey Robbie Albarado said. "I didn't know whether to send her through the starting gate after the field. I thought I'd be sitting third and pounce on them at the quarter pole." [Philly Daily News]
Philadelphia Park chief executive officer Hal Handel said he planned to talk with Downes last evening and again this morning and "decide what we are going to do, if anything."Yeah, way to kiss ass! Sun King took the Pennsylvania Derby in simple fashion; this is one horse I never would have had, from the 14 post or from any post at his odds of 7-5. Promising colts such as Quadrant didn’t fire, and the race doesn’t say much for the 3 yo second string; it took Sun King nearly 39 seconds to get home and nobody made a move. Unless Zito wants to move him up against the big boys at Belmont, the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs seems like a logical next stop. Some people down in Louisiana are hoping for even bigger and better things.
Private Gift is co-owned by Will Farish, the former Ambassador to England and one of President Bush's closest friends.
"I am going to write [Farish] a letter, apologizing" Handel said.
Local fans who have been wondering whether Bellamy Road will find his way to the Super Derby can take some solace in the fact that the Travers' runner-up will probably run in one of two spots. Either he will go in the Jockey Club Gold Cup against older horses or he will come here. Both races are on the same day.- The Monmouth meet lingers on until the end of the month, but there will be no more turf racing. With an eye towards next year’s Breeders Cup, the course is getting an extreme makeover.
One logical argument favors Louisiana Downs, in that the Super Derby is probably the easier spot because it is restricted to 3-year-olds. On the other hand, Belmont Park is Bellamy Road's home track as well as the venue for the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 29. And, too, the Jockey Club Gold Cup carries a $1 million purse.
Let's be optimistic and call it "pick'um." And then hope for the best. [Shreveport Times]
"They can use technology that wasn't available a quarter of a century ago. The turns on the course now are almost flat, but the new course will have turns that are banked 5 percent, and the straightaway will be banked about 2 percent. That's better for racing and better for drainage. We will also use a slightly different blend of grasses, which will make it more durable and more drainage-friendly, and we will have a new sprinkler system." [NJ Star Ledger]- Turfway Park also has a makeover – its dirt track has been converted to Polytrack, a synthetic surface popular in England that doesn’t hold water. Over its winter meet this year, Turfway lost more than $30 million in wagering because it had to close 11 times because of the weather.
The makeup of the track, combined with a drainage system, lets the water sift through, eliminating rain puddles. Because water drains through, the track can be level, as opposed to crowned.However, the track has had to leave its entry box open late, as Kentucky horsemen unhappy with the state's new medication rules show hesitation. [Bloodhorse]
"You'll never see a sloppy, frozen or muddy track at Turfway again," [track president Bob] Elliston predicted.
Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen, a Northern Kentucky native who operates a thoroughbred breeding and training farm in Verona, has seen Polytrack in action in England.
"It works fantastic," Cauthen said. "It's supposed to be much better on a horse's legs and won't cause as many injuries. With the winters we have here, you couldn't find a better testing ground.
"Now if there's no sand in your face, you're going to run to the best of your ability," he said. [Cincinnati Enquirer]