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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Meetmeatthewindows

- Sunday’s Grade 1 Starlet at Hollywood for two-year old fillies is a bit of a handicapping puzzle, as most of the contenders are stretching out in distance and/or stepping up sharply in class. The likely favorite is Balance (Thunder Gulch), winner of the inaugural Sharp Cat stakes at the same mile and a sixteenth route. Her trainer David Hofmans feels that "If she runs that race again, it should be enough." [Thoroughbred Time] Perhaps. We just don’t know if one of the others can step up, but if Balance is indeed the betting choice, it could be worth a shot to go against her. No doubt she was visually impressive in the Sharp Cat, pulling Victor Espinoza to the lead and holding sway without too much urging. But it wasn’t the greatest field in the world, and the fact that she was the 9-5 favorite despite it being her first dirt race after two turf efforts attests to that.

The two fillies that ran one-two in the seven furlong Moccasin stakes, Private World (Thunder Gulch) and True Xena (Yes It’s True), return here for their first efforts around two turns. Private World’s trainer Bob Hess, Jr., said "If she's within range of doing it, I think she'll have the heart. In terms of her heart and desire, I don't think she'll be outdone." [Daily Racing Form] That’s apparent to anyone who watched her gritty win in the Moccasin; she looked beaten by True Xena in deep stretch, but battled back on the inside to win by an imperceptible head-bobbing nose. The presence of distance influences like Temperance Hill and Storm Bird close up in her breeding suggests she may go on. For True Xena, the Moccasin was just her second race, coming off her maiden win, and she gave no ground despite suffering the heartbreaking defeat. Being out of an Unbridled mare should add some stamina to her speedy sire line breeding.

But hey, I’m just filling some space before getting to Meetmeinthewoods (General Meeting). She’s stepping up to Grade 1 company from a six furlong maiden win, but that race was so spectacular that it needs no further explanation. Please check it out on the Cal Racing site if you haven’t yet seen it. Meetmeinthewoods was wedged between horses down the backstretch, which could present a problem for an ordinary first-time starter, but she was unfazed as she effortlessly, and I mean effortlessly, edged to the lead around the turn and drew away in the stretch. Jockey Corey Nakatani expended far more energy looking behind him throughout the race than he did riding this filly, yet she threw in an eighth of :11 4/5 leaving the quarter pole, and then cruised home in :12 3/5 under a long hold, according to the chart. And this was after an opening quarter of :21 3/5! This all added up to a final time of 1:08 3/5.

As far as trying this distance, trainer Doug O’Neill concedes that it’s “a mystery".

"The only blessing is the General Meeting angle," he said, referring to her sire. "She's built like a router and covers a lot of ground. We've been high on her since the first time we breezed her." [Daily Racing Form]
General Meeting is by Seattle Slew, and she has plenty of distance influence close up in her pedigree (Alydar, Nijinsky, Nureyev, Buckpasser), and a tidy dosage index of 2.06. Having seen that debut, I can’t help but be all over her on Sunday if she's not too short of a price.

3 Comments:

Walter said...

...the problem with Meetmeinthewoods tomorrow is the same problem with Your Tent Or Mine today...despite a big class jump, and no two-turn experience, they have the triple-digit Beyer showing so they're gonna get pounded at the windows...just look at YTOM, he's the 2/1 ml favorite for crying out loud...now, i do believe that YTOM and Meetmeinthewoods are totally legit, and the best horses in their respective races...so for me, yeah, they probably deserve to be favored...but as for value???...well, i'm not optimistic...i sure hope i'm wrong...

Walter said...

...great race...i thought YTOM and Brother Derek each ran extremely well, i was very impressed with both of them...especially YTOM, who took all the worst of it by getting body-slammed leaving the gate, causing him to lose valuable position to a good horse in Brother Derek...not the way you want to start your two-turn debut...i'm not 100% certain it cost him the race, but it very well might have...like i said, great effort from both horses...myself, i didn't bet the race, though i did take YTOM in a head-to-head matchup laying 7-5 odds...who was he matched against?...Brother Derek, of course...man, i am ice-cold...i was a bit surprised they didn't take Brother Derek down after the inquiry, he definitely impeded YTOM leaving the gate, no question about it...i wonder if the steward's reluctance to take down Brother Derek had anything to do with P-Val, who was riding YTOM...as you guys may or may not know, P-Val and the SoCal stewards aren't exactly on friendly terms...but anyway, great race, and i'm sure these two colts will have a lot to say in the 3yo division next year...throw Stevie Wonderboy into the mix, and the SoCal contingent is looking pretty solid...

Walter said...

...i was a tad disappointed in Meetmeinthewoods...i knew she was being thrown to the wolves, but i figured she was top-wolf...i don't doubt she was the best horse in the race, i still feel that she is...but i'm not sure whether the whole thing was just too much for here, or whether she just doesn't appreciate the added distance...hard to say, really...i thought she ran pretty well, and in fact i thought she was in the perfect spot down the backstretch...the main problem i saw was when Balance came up along her outside, and when Corey pushed the button on her, i think Diplomat Lady came in a bit and Meetmeinthewoods kind of lost her position, ending up behind Diplomat Lady and inside of Balance with not much room to operate...you could argue that perhaps she wasn't able to match strides with Balance at that point, and that's why she lost her position, and that might be true...bottom line, she wasn't gonna win the race regardless...you certainly can't say she was going too fast, because Diplomat Lady took them wire-to-wire...huge effort from her, btw...she was very highly regarded this summer, i even read that her trainer was making Breeders Cup plans before her DEBUT...she did win that debut, but only by a nostril, and in slow time...she subsequently lost a couple, seemingly confirming her not-so-hot debut win...then she disappeared for a while, and she's been lights-out since her return...i guess her trainer was right all along, she does have big-time talent...she obviously was having some type of problem earlier this year, and whatever it was, they certainly seem to have it straightened out...as for Balance, wow, another big effort from her...she just doesn't ever run a bad one...i'm very interested to see where Meetmeinthewoods turns up next, whether she'll turn back to seven furlongs or take another shot at a route...myself, i'd probably try an allowance route, to see whether she's got the distance in her, and hopefully get here confidence level back up...if it doesn't work out, then well, O'Neill has a helluva sprinter on his hands...we'll see...