- Well, it was Mark Messier night and my birthday, so I hope no one was looking for detailed guidance on Saturday’s stakes races here. But briefly, so I can get some Friday night TVG action in after a work day busy enough to compound the lack of posting, the weather forecast for LA has greatly improved, and it now seems to this amateur meteorologist that we will indeed see Stevie Wonderboy tangle with Brother Derek in the San Rafael. The latter’s trainer Dan Hendricks seems blasé about when or where the horse will race, and seems to be spotting him here just because it’s here, and he's confident his colt is ready. If he does run, you may not see him again until March.
For Stevie Wonderboy, it’s an important test of his ability to handle two turns. Trainer Doug O’Neill pronounced him "90 to 100 percent" fit as he begins a prep campaign that is scheduled to continue with the March 4 Santa Catalina Stakes and April 8 Santa Anita Derby. [LA Daily News] There’s no real reason why he shouldn’t get the distance based on his pedigree and performance thus far, and I suppose I should be rooting for him. If he turns out to be the goods, he could score a lot of attention for the Triple Crown series with his celebrity owner. I’m not a big Merv guy though; I never liked his variety show and that 50K he gave to the president’s campaign is reason enough to root against Stevie Wonderboy, as unfair as that may be to the horse. (This is from a guy who rooted for a horse owned by George Steinbrenner last year.) The best thing I ever saw Merv do was when Rick Moranis played him on SCTV.
But no reason to try and bet against him here; they’ll be no value on Brother Derek anyhoo. Less likely to produce a Derby winner but better from a wagering standpoint is the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds meeting. This is the race that Scipion used to vault into the picture last year, at least until the next time he ran. Pletcher will probably have the favorite with Saint Augustine (Saint Ballado), though Lawyer Ron is listed as the 5-2 morning line choice. Lawyer Ron (Langfuhr) has two dominating front-end wins since switching to two-turn dirt races; in his last he sprinted home in :23.4 after being rated down to :25.3 the prior quarter. Hyte Regency ran third, only four lengths behind Private Vow in the Kentucky Jockey Club.
Mark of Success is an interesting one for Dallas Stewart. He won his debut against 30K maiden claimers, and then jumped up to wire allowance company in his first race around two turns. He won his first race off the pace and that tactic would serve him well against Lawyer Ron. Mark of Success is by Mt. Livermore, out of Silk N’Sapphire, a half to Sapphire N’Silk, a stakes winner (Prioress) and the dam of Pletcher’s graded winner Shaniko. This is also the family of Saint Daimon, so we can segue into Saturday’s 4th at Gulfstream.
It’s an entry level allowance for three year-olds, and Allan Jerkins wheels Saint Daimon right back a week after the Aventura at a 6 ½ furlong distance he may prefer. He finished sixth, in front of Catcominatcha; both of those were dead on the board and ran that way. Express News is a son of Storm Cat cutting back to a sprint for Graham Motion. His third dam is the foundation mare Courtly Dee. Nick Zito sends out Fabled, two-for-two, both sprints including a Scipion-type debut at Saratoga that caught my attention enough to post about him here. Horses that subsequently won ran 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, including stakes placed High Cotton, and G3 Grey BC winner Unification. In Fabled's allowance win at Churchill, he finished ten lengths in front of Aventura winner Doctor Decherd. He could be an exciting prospect for Zito.
OK, have a few races left at Sam Houston; time to warm up a bit for the weekend..
Friday, January 13, 2006
Posted by alan at 10:06 PM