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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday Morning Notes - Oct 16

- Frank Mitchell’s column in the Form on breeder John Gunther illustrates the mixed bag of emotions when someone sells off one of his/her products and sees the horse achieive success on the racetrack. Gunther is the breeder of First Samurai, and he says "I don't know whether I should jump out this window." But he adds “I have to be happy being the breeder” and it doesn’t hurt that he still owns the dam, a yearling half-brother by Menifee, and a weanling half-sister by Cherokee Run, not bad. He has the dam, Freddie Frisson (Dixieland Band), booked to Giant’s Causeway for next year. It’s interesting to hear the story of his sale of the probable Juvenile favorite.

Gunther said, "I thought he was one of the best-looking yearlings I ever raised."

But because First Samurai was bred on a six-figure stud fee, the fiscally prudent thing to do was to offer him at auction. So, Gunther said he put him in the September 2004 Keeneland yearling sale, "thinking that he'd bring a big price," but the breeder bought the colt back for $380,000.

That sum was not small but was so much less than Gunther expected that he was stunned. He said, "One of the auctioneers walked up to me just after I'd bought back the colt and said, 'We missed a guy out back if you'd like to sell him.' "

Describing himself as "shocked" that the colt had not met his reserve price, Gunther said that "at that moment, with the auctioneer coming up to him, I went ahead and sold him." [Daily Racing Form]
Sounds as if his emotions at the time prodded him into a decision that he must now regret.

- In Summation (Put it Back) may have suffered his first defeat in his sixth start in Saturday’s Florida Stallion In Reality at a sloppy Calder (it always seems to rain on the track’s big days), but I thought he was a revelation in defeat in his first start around two turns. He was pressed throughout by Steve Asmussen’s promising Cab, and as they rounded the turn into the stretch, it looked like he was a dead duck with Blazing Rate and Lucky Chief ranging up on either side. But he fought back, went head and head with Blazing Rate, and I have no idea how he lost. "Galloping out I really thought we won the race," said [jockey] Manuel Cruz [Sun-Sentinal] In Summation seemed to be ahead as they went under the wire, but the camera must have been in the wrong spot for him.

For Blazing Rate (Exchange Rate), it was his second win around two turns in as many tries, showing a nice closing kick in both. He’s out of a winless Mr. Prospector mare who is a half-sister to stakes winners Darn That Alarm, Jiggs Alarm, and Strong Performer; and he is inbred 4x2 to his broodmare sire. It was Blazing Rate’s second stakes win, and he’s the only stakes winner amongst ten winners in just 22 starters (just 44 in the first crop) thus far for sire Exchange Rate (Danzig), who stands in Florida for $7500. He had ranked number eight in earnings on the first-year sire list, but the $240,000 earned by Blazing Rate should move him up to the top five.

- Dan Lauletta of the NY Daily News notes:
With the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park now less than two weeks away, there is a decided lack of buzz on the grounds. Perhaps a week of sunshine and Wednesday's preentries will help kick start the event.
I’m going for awhile today, I’ll let you know.

- Melhor Ainda is out of the Filly and Mare turf. Megahertz worked a strong half mile in :48.60 over the main track at Hollywood Park. [Daily News] Jerry Bailey will ride Ouija Board.
According to jockey agent Ron Anderson, Bailey also is scheduled for mounts aboard Sweet Symphony in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), Original Spin in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), High Fly in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), First Samurai in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), Shakespeare in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, and Saint Liam in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) [Thoroughbred Times]
- Bob Neumeier of takes a look ahead at the Breeders Cup Pick Six possibilities(we don’t yet know exactly which races it will consist of), and identifies Ashado, Lost in the Fog, First Samurai, Leroidesanimaux, and Ouija Board as potential singles. Really, you think? I would agree with two out of those five at this point. An anonymous commenter chided me for leaving Ouija Board off my Top Ten list, and the point is well-taken. Keep in mind, however, that she has really had only one real race this year, losing by 30 lengths in June, and winning at Newmarket in September, and she'll be facing some tough seasoned mares including some who are familiar with and like the Belmont turf.