- Well, I told you Folklore wasn’t all that great. Of course, I’m one race, specifically the BC Juvenile Fillies, too late. But just maybe I had the right idea when I denigrated her 14 length victory in the Matron at Belmont, attributing it more to the futility of her opponents than to her being any kind of super filly, and making her my prime bet-against of Breeders Cup day. And if Wild Fit had had a cleaner trip that day, I very well may have gotten that day off to a rollicking start.
It’s a good thing for the presumptive juvenile Eclipse winners that voting was based only on their 2005 seasons, as Folklore joins Stevie Wonderboy as a beaten champ in her 2006 debut. This one, however, was far more shocking than that of the colt, who was facing a tough challenger in Brother Derek and already had a built-in excuse facing a sharp speedster in a short field. Folklore set the pace in the Santa Ynez at 1-5 through comfortable splits of :23 and :46 (the slowest sprint fractions of the day), but couldn’t hang on after three quarters in 1:10.2, succumbing to her stablemate Dance Daily in a final eighth of :12 4/5, and talk about getting bailed out by the ‘other’ horse in an entry, man! As usual, Wayne Lukas chose to focus on the positive, though the LA Daily News reported that he looked a little stunned by the result of the race.
"In Folklore's defense, she was coming off a long layoff on three works and I think she got a little late right there at the end, but she'll be back. We'll build off this. I'm not too concerned."Nonetheless, Lukas won his fifth Santa Ynez with a filly that he supplemented to the race for $3000, and who could have been upwards of 20-1 had she not been coupled in the betting.
The win by Dance Daily represents a bit of retribution for her sire Five Star Day, whose three-year old daughter Sabatini was trounced at 2-5 by Itty Bitty Pretty in last week’s Santa Ysebel. I wrote a bit about that stallion in this post; Dance Daily becomes his second stakes winner. As I’d noted, he was strictly a sprinter, and check out the way he dashed away from his challengers in the stretch, including the highly regarded young sire Delaware Township, in the two sprint stakes on this page. That's no surprise for a son of Carson City; but his dam is by champion Vanlandingham (Cox’s Ridge) and is a half to Marquetry, so there’s stamina influence on his distaff side, and he's proven to be a popular stallion thus far, one to keep an eye on.
- I was alive in the Pick 3 at Aqueduct going into the ninth yesterday. I’d singled Fast Laner in the 7th, the Dixie Flag stakes, and what a claim this one is for Richard Schosberg; in three starts after being haltered for $40,000 from the red-hot Gary Contessa, he now has a stakes win and a second in the Interborough Handicap here a few weeks ago. Comacina won that stakes, and was accordingly the 3-1 morning line favorite for the Dixie Flag. However, she was as dead a piece on the board as you’ll ever see – 8-1 throughout most of the betting before being bet slightly to 6.90 to 1 at post time; and she beat one horse. Perhaps they were telling you that she prefers the mud she got in the Interborough. In any event, that’s why you have to be there….or at least somewhere with a tote board.
I spread a bit in the 8th race, the Jimmy Wakefield stakes for three-year olds, and got my wish as the 1-2 choice One Way Flight got a bad start, and Strummer rolled to an easy front-running win; he was able to set a dawdling pace of :47.1 and zip the last quarter in :23.4 for his third straight win. I guess it’s just a coincidence that the Clash’s Guns of Brixton comes up in my MP3 shuffle as I write this.
I had only two horses in the ninth, a wide-open race that in retrospect clearly demanded a bigger spread. Races can sometimes look very different to me when I focus on one in particular as opposed to picking out contenders for a Pick 3 ticket in advance without doing the full due diligence that I should. I was alive with the 5-2 favorite Zumbafizz and 7-1 The Midnight Skier. So why, may I ask, was the will-pay with the favorite $286 and the one with the 7-1 shot only $314? I guess I wasn’t the only one who was seeing the race in a different light at that point! Yet I wouldn’t have complained if Mister Hennessy, dead last in the field of ten, hadn’t swept by to defeat runner-up The Midnight Skier. OK, maybe I would have complained a little.
- Another winner for Pletcher on Monday at Gulfstream, and how many is that, I think I’ve lost count? His horses are really starting to get overbet after returning some fair prices earlier in the meet, and I’m looking to take stands against him, as I did with his 4-5 favorite Master Command in the 9th. Didn’t seem much reason other than the Pletcher name that he should be decisively favored over Premium Tap, and I would have had the triple with a 40-1 shot third had that one been able to pass the favorite in the stretch. When the crowd starts jumping on the bandwagon like this, it’s time to look for value, and I don't feel too bad if it doesn't work out. With each winner, the crowd is likely to overbet his horses further, and persistence pays off in the long run (sometimes). His Bootsey was clearly way overbet as the 5-2 favorite in the 10th, creating some nice prices on others, including winner Robyns Anthem. Nope, didn't have that one either, the race was too wide-open to bet in my opinion, but there's always next time.
- Pletcher won on Sunday with Ready to Please, graduating in her third attempt. In her previous race last spring, she was 4-5 against Folklore but ran 5th. She’s by More Than Ready, who is up to $30,000 for his 2006 stud fee; and is out of a Pine Bluff half-sister to Pletcher’s turf stakes winner Ready’s Gal, one of More Than Ready’s 18 stakes winners in his first two crops to race.
- Andy Beyer thinks that the new Gulfstream sucks too. In a place where tourists come to enjoy the matchless climate, Gulfstream has not a single comfortable, functional place outdoors from which to watch the race. [Washington Post]