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Thursday, September 29, 2005


- Well, Highland Cat will NOT be making his debut on Saturday. We received this message today:

[Billy Turner] was not happy with the breeze the other day [he breezed a half in :51.16 on Wednesday]. He had the horse wormed a week ago and it probably had an effect on the breeze. Anyway, it doesn't really set him back too far. There are races on October 8, 12, and 15, that he will now get him ready for.
C'mon, I don't miss work when I get wormed. We thought the time was pokey because it was just a maintenance work, but perhaps that wasn't the case. Obviously, I’m hoping that’s all it is - because damn, you know how these things can go - in which case this is no big deal. And now I can actually concentrate on what will hopefully be a banner day of racing at Belmont.

- Henny Hughes was knocked off the top 2 year old perch when he was defeated by First Samurai in the Hopeful, but, according to a veteran clocker at Saratoga, you’d best not discount his chances in the Champagne or Juvenile.
Henny Hughes…worked five furlongs from the gate in 1:00.01 Wednesday morning over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. Freddie Bond, the clocker at Saratoga, called it "the most impressive gate work since I've been here, which has been since 1985.''

Bond timed Henny Hughes in fractions of 24.98 seconds, 37.15, 48.14, and galloped out in 1:13.40. He worked in company with Ball Four, who was timed in 1:01.61. [Daily Racing Form]
- Todd Pletcher had two winners at Belmont on Wednesday, and they were both 2 year-old second-time starters who were amongst his month-long streak of well-bet first-timer futility at Saratoga. He now has five second-out winners at this Belmont meeting. His winner in the ninth was particularly impressive. Wait A While (Maria’s Mon) was 2-1 when finishing a well-beaten 5th in her debut at Saratoga, but was sent off at 6-1 in this, her turf debut. She was steadied in traffic, hit the rail and dropped back suddenly, but circled the field 4 wide on the turn, and won going away by 5, wow.

There was another dead heat in Belmont’s second on Wednesday – that’s the 4th one since last Thursday. It was also a 2 year old race, and the winners were longshot first-timers trained by Bill Mott and Wayne Lukas, a couple of guys who don’t pop that many firsters. Now, if that sounds familiar regarding Mott, it’s because She’s Indy Money (11-1) is his second straight debut winner, and I wrote the same thing when his Sweet Fervor won the other day. When a guy is as hot as Mott, those stats can go out the window. Lukas’ winner, Gently, was an even longer shot at 19-1.

And these are two fillies with outstanding breeding. She’s Indy Money is by A.P Indy, out of Grade 1 winner (Santa Monica Hdcp) Nanys Sweep; and her second and third dams are stakes winners as well. Gently is by Storm Cat, out of Grade 1 winner (Hollywood Starlet) Cuddles; she’s a half to graded winner Katz Me If You Can. Cuddles is a half to the dam of Northern Afleet, the sire of Afleet Alex, and this is the family of multiple G1 winners Gorgeous, Fantastic Light, and Golden Attraction. Nice.

- Roman Ruler is staying in California to face Rock Hard Ten in the Goodwood on Saturday, leaving a field of eight (seven betting entries) for the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Bob Baffert cited NYRA’s six hour detention barn policy as one of the reasons for his decision.
"If I ship him and run him 1 1/4 miles against older horses, he'll have nothing left for the Breeders' Cup….He'll be cooked. I just got to thinking about it and decided it was better to leave him here. Plus, the six-hour quarantine at Belmont Park really takes a lot out of them. So it would be a lot to ask of him to run there because he'd have to come back here because of the weather and then ship all the way back again four weeks later. [Bloodhorse]

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