And thanks, as always, for stopping by!
- Stellar Jayne makes her final appearance in Friday’s Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap after a disappointing run in the Distaff. "We were a little disappointed we finished fourth in the Distaff," said Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. "I don't think being in the second flight of horses was the best spot for her. I thought she'd be closer up than she was or even on the lead." [Bloodhorse] Frankie Dettori rode her that day, and Jerry Bailey will make the trip to New York to ride her; she’s two for two with him on board. Godolphin paid $3.6 million for her last year, and she’s only made it to the gate three times for them. She was pointed all year specifically for the Distaff, and as John Kimmel, trainer of Seeking the Ante, pointed out, "A lot of horses don't run the races you think they will after the Breeders' Cup."
So while I have no hesitation in trying to beat her, with whom? Pletcher has Bohemian Lady breaking from the rail; she looks to have some speed, and may challenge Stellar Jayne on the lead, but she comes up short in this kind of company. Seeking the Ante trounced NY breds in the slop in her last. Areek has run well pretty well in graded sprint stakes in her last two, but a mile may not suit her. Ender’s Sister won her last by 19, but it was in the slop at Keeneland, and if we can throw out any bad races we want from the fall meeting there, can’t we throw out good ones too? So while I think the Top Flight is screaming for an upset, no one inspires me. Maybe hit the “all-but-Stellar Jayne” button?
- The other big stakes on the day is the G2 Clark at Churchill, and here too we have a horse coming off a loss on Breeders’ Cup day. But in this case, the third place finish by Perfect Drift in the Classic was a big positive for the tough six year-old gelding, as noted by his trainer Murray Johnson. "Our horse came out of the Breeders' Cup in perfect shape...He's sitting on a big race, I believe." [Daily Racing Form] However, we’re always willing to go against a horse that has won a single race on the dirt in his last 15 tries, especially when he’s the favorite, which he likely will be.
I like Magna Graduate, and that’s something I wouldn’t think I’d ever write a few months ago when I considered him to be a second-stringer, and a mediocre one that always got bet at that. Well, for one thing, we’re down to all second stringers, really. But since Todd Pletcher took over, Magna Graduate has shown much improvement, with two close seconds and, most recently, two wins. I was still skeptical even after he won the Pegasus at the Meadowlands based on the competition he’d been facing, but his win in the Discovery at Belmont on Breeders Cup day, in which he closed strongly and quickly, getting the last 2 ½ furlongs in :29.4, to defeat Scrappy T and Buzzards Bay has me thinking that he’s ready in his first test against older horses.
A.P. Arrow is another horse that I’m grudgingly coming around to. I’d chalked up his close second and win in allowance company at Saratoga to weak competition and/or slow final fractions. But he did well jumping up to Grade 2 company in the Super Derby, closing quickly to miss The Daddy by a neck. That was an extra furlong though, and I think he’s good for a part of the purse at best here.
It’s time for Suave to put up or shut up. His connections have touted this one mightily prior to his last two, a second to Borrego in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and a thoroughly decent 5th in the Classic, just a half length behind Perfect Drift. And his trainer Paul McGee is exuding confidence once again. "No doubt it's going to be a tough race, but I see my horse as the horse to beat." [Bloodhorse] He should find the competition easier here and has no excuses left. Alumni Hall is a consistent sort, and M B Sea is sharp now, and either could sneak into the triple. If Andromeda’s Hero wins, I’ll eat the paper this is written on.
I like Magna Graduate, with Perfect Drift and Suave to complete the exacta.
- Henny Hughes is off to Dubai where he will prepare for a Triple Crown campaign in 2006. Gee, that strategy has always worked SO well in the past.
- First year sire Forest Camp has had his stud fee raised to $25,000 from his 2005 fee of $15,000, and from his previously announced 2006 fee of 20K. His son Your Tent Or Mine took the Hollywood Prevue last weekend in pretty sensational fashion, completing the seven furlongs in 1:21.
- Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving day. Peace.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
And thanks, as always, for stopping by!
Posted by Alan Mann at 9:45 AM