- Scipion (A.P. Indy) won – kind of – at Churchill on Friday, as he ran second to Funk, who was running for purse money only. He was way wide coming out of the turn, and rallied pretty well, out gaming Patriot Act for the win spot. Scipion’s three quarter brother Vindication (Seattle Slew) stands at Hill’n’Dale Farm in Kentucky for $60,000. The first peek at his offspring recently took place at the November sales, and he acquitted himself quite well at Keeneland; he had seven offspring sell for an average of over $213,000, second only to Mineshaft (who only had two sold).
- Allan Jerkins is considering taking on the males in the G1 Cigar Mile for his filly Society Selection, and maybe it’s not such a bad idea. Jerkens said that Society Selection is a "good miler and she comes from behind.....If they mix it up a lot on the front.....she could come strong at the finish." [Daily Racing Form] She can’t seem to find her pace scenario against her own kind, so why not give it a shot? One of the front runners that Jerkins would hope will contribute to a quick pace is Scrappy T, making his first start against older horses, and his third start off the layoff from the "pulled muscle in the back” suffered in the Preakness according to trainer Robert Bailes. And you thought Afleet Alex took the worst of that. Bailes added: “Right now, I think he's as good as he's ever been." [DRF]
Richard Dutrow has a few possibilities for the Cigar, including Silver Wagon, who will be making his debut for the barn. Dave Litfin of the Form points out that several Buckram Oak horses from either Florida or Kentucky have improved leaps and bounds after shipping to Dutrow's barn at Aqueduct this year, notably Silver Train, winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
The improvement pattern has already been exhibited by Tiger Heart, who had an out-of-town Beyer peak of 91 before rattling off figures of 108-102-105 in his first three local starts. And the first-time Dutrow angle will be in play with Silver Wagon, who is already talented enough to have run a Beyer of 110 finishing second in the Met Mile.- Bob Baffert is in a streak of hard luck that just won’t quit. He recently had to retire Roman Ruler, and his early two-year old sensation What A Song died earlier this year. Now his two year old filly Diamond Omi (Giant’s Causeway), winner of the G2 Oak Leaf over BC Juv Fillies runner-up Wild Fit, has died from complications of pneumonia.
If Las Vegas had an over/under line for predicting Silver Wagon's Beyer first-time Dutrow, what do you suppose it might be? It's hard to say, but since he was capable of reaching 110 with another trainer, the new-and-improved number would probably be something around 120 - 1 point below the best figure that Cigar himself ever ran.
- It seems that there’s an endless stream of horses going into stud duty these days. A Grade 1 win is certainly not a requirement. Just today on Bloodhorse.com, comes the headline: Grade II Stakes-Placed Strive [Deputy Minister] to Pepper Oaks. A third place finish to Mineshaft was the best he could do. (He is however a half brother to G1 winner Pirate’s Bounty, and to the dam of Sweet Catomine.)
Also, there's Congressionalhonor (Forestry), whose sex life will be greatly enhanced by virtue of his being Saint Liam's brother. Good break for this one, who may not have gotten to third base on his win in the Bay Meadows Derby alone. Grade 2 winner Blazonry (Hennessy) has just two wins from eight starts and earnings of $105,454.
Freeforinternet is a more obvious candidate, having won graded stakes here and abroad. So is Wildcat Heir, who will stand for $8000 in Florida. It seems like I read a steady stream of these items, and I wonder if the attrition rate of deceased and retired stallions warrants such a large number of replacements each year.
I wish we could get some of these guys in the Administration to retire to stud. Karl Rove could stand for $25,000, payable when the child reveals government secrets. The president could stand for $15,000 on his own farm, payable when the child serves a complete stint in the National Guard. Dick Cheney, not really suitable for stud duty, could stand for 99 cents, payable when Mohammed Atta actually does meet with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague.