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Friday, January 20, 2006

Contessa Knox On Door

- Trainer Gary Contessa has been on a roll at the current Aqueduct meeting, and he’s the leading trainer there amongst those conditioners who weren’t handed suspensions for illegal medication in 2005 (though Pletcher has yet to serve his). Contessa, who has a past record of suspensions himself, toils largely in the claiming ranks, and in fact, according to Formulator he hasn’t won a graded stakes race in at least the last five years.

Perhaps that could change on Saturday when he sends out Knox in the Grade 3 Aqueduct Handicap. He claimed this five year old son of Menifee three races back for $45,000 from Christophe Clement, and he’s shown nice improvement in his two efforts since then in against optional claiming NW3x company. Two races back he was boxed in on the inside before rallying late to get third, just 2 ¼ lengths back of Happy Hunting, who starts from the rail here. In his last effort, he once again found himself boxed in during the stretch run, but once Ramon Dominguez extricated him from trouble, he exploded with a bold rush for an easy and impressive win. Colita and Mr. Whitestone, running for leading Big A trainers Pletcher and Dutrow respectively, are both coming out of a higher class race in which they ran one-two and earned triple digit Beyers; but that race was on a wet track that they both seem to prefer. Knox will need to step it up a notch or two, but if he continues his improvement for his new barn, he could get Contessa off the graded stakes schneid at a fair price.

- Wanderin Boy, who made a splash last winter with an allowance win at Gulfstream and another triumph in the G3 Mineshaft at Fair Grounds before going to the sidelines after an off-the-board finish in the New Orleans Handicap, made his return at the Gulf on Thursday and ran second at 6-5 to Istan, an intriguing French import making his second US start. Istan (Gone West) is inbred 4x5 to the 1958 Derby/Preakness winner Tim Tam, and was ridden by Jerry Bailey for Bill Mott in the soon-to-retire jockey's only mount of the day.

Jessica at Railbird posed this question about Bailey: Who will ride trainer Frank Brothers' talented Derby prospect First Samurai this spring? That question begs another: Would Bailey still have retired at this time if he really thought that First Samurai had a good shot on the first Saturday in May?

5 Comments:

Walter said...

...good point regarding Jerry Bailey & First Samurai...i hadn't even thought about that...on the other hand, i know the guy has been looking at retirement for a while, and well, you've gotta retire sometime...it seems like every year he has the ride on a top prospect or two, so eventually he'd have to take a pass on SOMEBODY...maybe it just worked out that it's First Samurai...

...incidentally, there's an $850,000 carryover @ Santa Anita today...i'm generally not interested in carryovers, because betting the Pick 6 is not too far removed from lighting your money on fire, or flushing it down the toilet...but this one seems pretty large, gotta think there'll be $2 million in the pool today...i still don't think i'll participate, but i'm gonna at least take a look...

...btw, the closest i ever came to hitting the Pick 6 was on a single $2 ticket @ Hollywood Park several years ago...i missed in the first leg (ran second) and thought nothing of it...but then i hit the next 5 in a row, the last of whom was a 15/1 first time starter who won by ten lengths...6-outta-6 paid $40,000...uggghhhhh...

alan said...

Good point there yerself. I mean, he is Jerry Bailey, so I suppose he has the opportunity to be on a top contender every year. On the other hand, I would think that if he thought he was sitting on Secretariat II, he would want to stick around for a few more months. I guess only he knows. One thing about Bailey is that he seemed to be extremely candid about what he thought about his horses - you didn't have to read too much between the lines last year to understand that he was skeptical that High Fly could go much further - so it will be interesting to hear what he says about Samurai in his commentator role.

As far as your ill-fated Pick 6, don't you hate when that happens??

Walter said...

...i put together a tiny little Pick 6 ticket, $8 total...couple interesting points on the card though...first off, this should interest you, Alan...LOTTERY PICK is a first-time gelding today in Race 5...this is the horse that had himself pretty well in a 3-horse team drill with next-out winners Meetmeinthewoods and Starlet of Seattle...i bet him in his debut and he showed good speed for 6 furlongs, but couldn't hang on...now he's gotten the Highland Cat treatment, and he drops into a maiden-claimer at a shorter distance...nice workout report also, should run well today...the other thing i found interesting is that everyone seems to be conceding this allowance race to BOB AND JOHN...no doubt he'll be tough, but i actually have him ranked even with OLD THUNDER...Bob and John only beat that one by 2 lengths in the Futurity, and Old Thunder was doing the dirty work up front vs. Brother Derek...plus, that was Old Thunder's two-turn debut, so he figures to move forward off that effort...nice report too, take a look...

OLD THUNDER (Jan 8, 100.4)

Like this move quite a bit finishing in hand then took off on the gallop out going 37.0, 101.0 out in 113.2 out again in 127.0. Have to like this. Grade B+

BOB AND JOHN (Jan 8, 59.2)

Kept clear from Distorted (112.4, Gallagher) who was working in a seperate drill rider down in the saddle late, finishing willingly in 34.3, 59.1. Holds Hollypark form. Grade B

...ps...i'm headed over to bet DISTURBING now...gonna throw pout the two-turn Polytrack effort and give her another chance, now that she's back in a one-turn mile...wish me luck...

thecalicocat said...

Alan, good headline today,
Kudos.
I saw the Istan race. Very impressive, with a good time, too.
Take a look at close in FRD.
(I always did like to play on the AMEX. It's almost at my target, which isn't much more than 7.)
Servis a winner with J&J in the fifth at Oak. Slow race.

Walter said...

...Disturbing showed nothing AGAIN...another unit down the tubes...

...as for the Pick 6, it looks like the pool approached $3 million troday, and the first leg was won by 24/1 shot Swiss Ladybug...there could be a massive carryover on the Saturday card...