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Monday, November 28, 2005

Japan Cup

- If you missed the Japan Cup, you can check it out here if you have the right media player to do so; it’s well worth the effort, what a race! As the leader Tap Dance City tired in the stretch, and the pack moved in, the filly Ouija Board looked like the strong horse at first. Then Alkaased came flying on the outside, but they came at him from both sides. The son of Kingmambo was dead game in repelling favorite Zenno Rob Roy on his outside and then just holding off Heart’s Cry, rallying to his inside, for the win. A crowd of 95,000 was screaming and what a great race call from the gentleman whose name I do not know.

If you can see this replay, which comes via the Hong Kong Jockey Club site, you see another example of TV coverage of racing abroad willing to deviate from the continuous cut from the main camera focused on the leaders that is standard at U.S. tracks. As they went down the backstretch, the camera panned slowly through the field, so one could get a close-up of how the trailers were faring. Then, after cutting to one of those great shots from a close-up camera tracking the field, they again panned through the field, stopping for a moment to linger on the favorite Zenno Rob Roy as he started his rally. I didn't feel I was missing anything from not seeing every step of the unchallenged front-runner. After the finish, they showed a slow motion overhead view of the finish with the finish line superimposed on the screen, and you can hear the crowd gasp as the horses hit the wire. This angle leaves no doubt whatsoever as to who won the race, as close as it was, and man, it was close. Dettori joked that the stewards "left me suffering and sweating for 20 minutes’’ before the final result was announced. [Thoroughbred Times] The photo for the show spot looked like a virtual dead heat, with Zenno Rob Roy getting the nod.

If that view of the finish were to be adopted here, it would eliminate any little doubt still remaining as to the result of a race before the numbers are posted on the board. When I first started out, there were no replays of the finish at all until after the race was declared official. So you got one look with the naked eye, at regular speed (in black and white if you were watching on TV) and that was it! Talk about sweating out a photo; those were the days. It wasn’t at all unusual to see people betting on the photo result – some people were quite consistent and made a steady income from the practice. I did it once and lost five bucks, and never tried again.

You may recall that Alkaased was here for the BC Turf, though his trainer Luca Cumani never seemed to have his heart in it, at first unhappy about the soft ground, then scratching him due to an illness. Ouija Board was impeded a bit when Heart’s Cry brushed past, and finished a gallant 5th. Turf winner Bago threw a shoe and finished 8th. The Americans Better Talk Now and King’s Drama were no match for their foreign counterparts.

Alkaased is one of 57 stakes winners (9% of foals) for sire Kingmambo (Mr. Prospector), whose stud fee remains at $300,000 for 2006.

- Balance (Thunder Gulch) was just the kind of horse we were talking about the other day; the kind that gets bet in a dirt race on the basis of Beyers earned on the turf, making him an apparent underlay. First under the wire in two races on the grass (dq’d in one), Balance was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the Sharp Cat Stakes at Hollywood, but in this case the chalk players were right on. She won handily, kicking home the final sixteenth in :6 1/5. She’ll stay on the dirt now, and head for the G1 Starlet on 12/18.

Balance is out of a Kris S mare, and is a half to stakes winner Where’s Bailey. Her sire, the 1995 Derby and Belmont winner Thunder Gulch, is taking a hit in his stud fee for 2006, going from $40,000 to $25,000. His 48 career stakes winners is just 4% of foals (10% is considered the benchmark, though with sires having such large books these days, that number is becoming more difficult to achieve). Balance is his second California two-year old filly stakes winner in a week, as his Private World took the Moccasin Stakes last Sunday. He had a decent book of 84 mares in 2005, and at $40,000 per, that added up to $3,360,000. He’ll have to work some overtime to achieve that amount in 2006.


Walter said... mentioned Balance, and rightly so, she ran an excellent race yesterday, and looks like a 2yo filly with a big future...but damn, you should've seen the 2yo filly in Race 6 for Doug O'Neill named Meetmeinthewoods...a first-time starter, check out this work she had going into the race...

MEETMEINTHEWOODS, Nov. 20, 100.3hg:

Really looked sharp here tracking outside barnmates Lottery Pick (101.0hg) and Starlet of Seattle (101.0hg), in hand early, moving well clear then galloping out like a good thing in 25.0, 48.3, 100.2, out in 113.4. Athletic mover. Grade B+ you can see, she handled Starlet of Seattle very easily in this work, and guess what, Starlet of Seattle won yesterday's 4th race in 109.4...sent off @ 9/2 odds in the 6th, Meetmeinthewoods went immediately to the front and was just coasting down the backstretch, only a neck in front, but being asked for no run whatsoever...coming off the turn, the jock shook the reins a little and she immediately opened up 3 lengths...then he stopped asking her again and she waltzed home by 6 lengths or so lengths under ZERO fact, she was being geared down the last 50 yards or so...the time??? i mentioned, the earlier 2yo filly race had gone in 109.4, and those horses were being fully extended...further, among those left in Meetmeinthewoods' wake was a nice filly named Political Web, who had run True Xena to a close decision in her debut (True Xena came out of that race to barely miss in the Moccasin Stakes last weekend, plus the third-place finisher had also returned to win)...i'm telling you guys, i know talent when i see it, and this may be the best 2yo filly in the country...who knows how she'll stretch out, but she's certainly bred to go long, being by General Meeting out of a Woodman mare...and Doug O'Neill is a very, very good trainer...this filly is going places, the replay if you can...

Dave said...

Thanks for sharing the link! What a fantastic race and the race coverage was outstanding except perhaps for the shot taken from ground level as they raced towards the camera and around the bend.

alan said...

Walter -

Wow, that's one impressive chart line on Meetmeinthewoods; thanks for pointing that out! She cruised home in :12 3/5, and "won clear under a long hold," according to the chart.

Hey, she would make a good stablemate for Your Tent Or Mine!

I'd be interested in hearing your take on the DQ of Bob and John, if you saw the race. I'm hoping to be able to check it out later tonight.

Walter said...

...i missed the Bob and John race, but i know the DQ was VERY controversial...i read quotes after the race indicating that Bob and John was much the best, with his jockey (Espinoza?) even saying that he "could've won by a pole if i wanted to," or something to that effect...they have a few replay machines here in town, but it generally takes about a week before the replays are accessable...and the picture quality isn't the best, either...but whatcha gonna do...