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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Stuck on the Distaff

- I’m a bit stuck on the Distaff, so you may have to check back with me closer to post time - perhaps at around 4:17 PM on Saturday. I don’t really have a strong feeling either way on favorite Ashado. She doesn’t seem like a lock, but I’m not itching to go against her either. She had a perfect trip stalking an easy pace in the Beldame, her final prep for this, and my immediate reaction was that I’d be trying to beat her. If you look just at her Beyers, then she’s just one of several fillies or mares with a shot. But then again, she’s a champion; she overcame some trouble to win the race last year; and she has won 11 out of 19 consecutive starts in graded stakes. On the basis of class, she pretty much towers over the field.

Still, there are horses here that will present value that I may not be able to resist. Happy Ticket will likely not be amongst those given that she could be the second choice based on her second in the Beldame. She closed to miss by a half-length to Ashado, but the race didn’t seem that close to me, and I had the feeling that had there been more ground, Ashado would have done what she’d needed to to hold her off. So if I try to beat the favorite, it will be with someone else.

Stellar Jayne made a remarkable turnaround midway through her three-year-old season in 2004. After a series of middling finishes against the best in her division, including Ashado, she won the G3 Dogwood at Churchill last June 4, and whether it was confidence or just a case of a filly maturing, her record since then looks like a mini-version of Ashado’s – eight starts – seven of those graded stakes - four wins, three of them in Grade 1’s, two seconds in Grade 1’s (beating Ashado in the sloppy CCA Oaks), and two close thirds, including an extremely difficult trip in last year’s Distaff. Come to think of it, she may very well be the second betting choice at post time, and I'd rank her ahead of Happy Ticket.

Sweet Symphony faltered in the Beldame after winning her first four starts, and Bill Mott said “She ran a dull race, but did she have any huge excuse? No.” [NYRA] Well, you don’t always need an excuse for a filly – sometimes they just throw in a bad one. A smart guy at Belmont that day was anticipating a bounce off her fast first-time Lasix win in the Alabama (something that Mott mentioned after the race), in which she earned a 104 Beyer that is amongst the tops of any of these. Her prior two at Belmont were wins, and I won’t let her go off at too big a price on Saturday without being on board.

The other three year olds, In the Gold, Nothing But Fun, and Yolanda B. Too seem a bit outclassed to me.

Society Selection is likely sick of chasing both Ashado and Stellar Jayne, but needs a contested pace to set up her late kick. It’s hard to say if she’ll get it, as all the speedy types, including California shipper Healthy Addiction, cutting back to one turn here, have shown that they can sit off the pace as well. She’s also a bit of an in-and-outer throughout her career and needs everything to go her way, but is a possibility at the right price, especially if the track turns up sloppy.

Island Fashion is a longshot I might have given more consideration to if her two races at Belmont weren’t so poor. If you throw out her try against the boys in the Pacific Classic, she’s been fast and game in her two close seconds and a third in her last three against her own kind.

My super-duper longshot possibility here is Pleasant Home (Seeking the Gold). This four year-old has been brought along slowly by Shug McGaughey, and comes off what could be her best race, a wide closing second on the speed-favoring Keeneland course in the G1 Spinster. Prior to that, she closed to finish 5 1/2 behind Happy Ticket in the Saratoga mud at seven furlongs in the Ballerina. She has good form in these long one-turn routes, getting handy wins at a mile at Gulfstream and Aqueduct earlier this year, the latter a dominating Grade 3 stakes win. She has two wins and a green third in three starts at Belmont. This is an improving filly with nice bloodlines – her second dam is Maplejinsky, winner of the Alabama and a half to Dayjur, who almost won the Sprint here in 1991, and her third is champion sprinter Gold Beauty. Looks like she could get a piece at a big price, especially if a pace duel does materialize.

2 Comments:

Handride said...

Damn you mentioning pleasant home. I'm so on board that filly and I figured I'd be the only one. I don't think she'll make my pick-4 ticket, but i'll be playing her in the race for sure. good luck & get that thing so weirdos will stop posting ads on your blog.

Walter said...

...i stopped by The Wynn today to take one last look at the Breeders Cup futures...today is the last day they're available, as post positions are drawn tomorrow and all futures will be taken down...here are the odds that were available as of 1pm eastern on Tuesday, October 25th...

Juvenile Fillies

Adieu 2/1
Along The Sea 10/1
Ex Caelis 12/1
Folklore 8/5
Miss Norman 40/1
Sensation 8/1
She Says It Best 15/1
Wild Fit 6/1
Keeneland Cat 15/1
Original Spin 5/1
Diamond Omi 10/1
Knight's Templar 12/1
Ann Summers Gold 20/1
Dressed To Kill 20/1

Juvenile Colts

Brother Derek 15/1
Diabolical 40/1
First Samurai 8/5
Henny Hughes 7/2
Private Vow 3/1
Sorcerer's Stone 7/1
Stevie Wonderboy 5/1
Dr. Pleasure 15/1
Superfly 15/1
Jealous Profit 20/1
Stream Cat 15/1
Dawn Of War 15/1
Set Alight 15/1
Ivan Denisovich 15/1
Bear Character 40/1
Leo 18/1
Sharp Attack 35/1

F&M Turf

Angara 12/1
Film Maker 10/1
Intercontinental 6/1
Karen's Caper 10/1
Luas Line 12/1
Megahertz 7/2
Ouija Board 8/5
Riskaverse 8/1
Sundrop 20/1
Wend 10/1
Wonder Again 6/1
Favourable Terms 12/1
Mona Lisa 12/1
Flip Flop 15/1

Sprint

Battle Won 8/1
Gygistar 18/1
Lion Tamer 8/1
Lost In The Fog 4/5
Pomeroy 10/1
Taste Of Paradise 8/1
Wildcat Heir 10/1
Silver Train 12/1
Imperialism 10/1
Elusive Jazz 15/1
Attila's Storm 25/1
Lifestyle 30/1

Mile

Artie Schiller 5/1
Host 12/1
Leroidesanimaux 7/5
Sand Springs 20/1
Singletary 7/1
Valixir 7/1
Laura's Lucky Boy 40/1
Three Valleys 12/1
Whipper 15/1
Starcraft 7/2
Ad Valorem 12/1
Limehouse 20/1
Gorella 15/1
Majors Cast 18/1
Sir Shackleton 35/1

Distaff

Ashado 1/1
Capeside Lady 25/1
Hollywood Story 12/1
In The Gold 12/1
Island Fashion 12/1
Society Selection 7/1
Stellar Jayne 4/1
Sweet Symphony 8/1
Happy Ticket 5/1
Healthy Addiction 10/1
Yolanda B. Too 30/1
Pleasant Home 20/1
Nothing But Fun 20/1

Turf

Alkaased 12/1
Azamour 3/1
Bago 7/2
Better Talk Now 4/1
English Channel 6/1
Silverfoot 30/1
Gun Salute 15/1
Fourty Niners Son 10/1
Leprechaun Kid 30/1
Laura's Lucky Boy 25/1
Shakespeare 5/2
Ace 10/1
Shirocco 12/1
Shake The Bank 60/1

Classic

A Bit Of Gold 30/1
Borrego 3/1
Choctaw Nation 15/1
Flower Alley 7/1
Lord Of The Game 35/1
Perfect Drift 12/1
Rock Hard Ten 5/2
Saint Liam 9/5
Sir Shackleton 20/1
Sun King 18/1
Suave 15/1
Oratorio 10/1
Starcraft 8/1
Super Frolic 25/1
A.P. Arrow 30/1
Jack Sullivan 25/1