- The handicappers in the NY Post and the Daily News were not happy with the actions – or rather, the inaction – of the stewards in Wednesday’s 4th race at the Big A.
In the stretch, [Jodi’s Call] came out several paths under jockey Alan Garcia, clearly running into the path of favored Sister Laura, who was forced to go out even wider, losing momentum and more importantly the race, by just a length. The stewards said that it didn't affect the outcome as jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr., aboard Sister Laura, never stopped riding. Arroyo differed saying, "I'm a jockey. I'm supposed to ride. The reason why I didn't stop riding was because there was no one outside of me. If there was I would have checked." Arroyo did everything right and wasn't rewarded with the win while Garcia was rewarded for failing to keep a straight path, setting what could be a dangerous precedent if the stewards are to remain consistent. If Arroyo did a little acting in the saddle and stopped riding, he probably would have been put up. Instead, he did what he was supposed to do and was wrongly deprived of a win. [NY Daily News]- There’s a chance of rain in Southern California on Saturday – 90% according to weather.com, and that could affect Dan Hendricks’ plans for Brother Derek in the San Rafael on Saturday. "I don't want to run on an `off' track or a hard, sealed track…..I'm not pressed to run him. He doesn't need to run. I might look at the El Camino or I might just wait until February." [AP] The El Camino is at Bay Meadows on Jan 29, and I know of at least one reader who is hoping for rain on Saturday.
Bob Baffert is planning to start Wanna Runner in the San Rafael. Since finishing up the track in his first two races, he’s won two in a row since switching to two turns and – are you listening Highland Cat? – being gelded.
- Gaff (Maria’s Mon) earned a Beyer of 111 for his win in the Mr. Prospector on Saturday, the highest of the young year. He may follow the path of last year’s ill-fated Mr. Prospector winner, Saratoga County, and try the sprint at Dubai. [Houston Chronicle]
- Not only did Itsallboutthechase lose the Aventura by a nose, but he did so to a horse that his owners had sold – talk about rubbing it in! The colt’s owners have a business plan quite similar to the one of my pinhooking partnership, but have had a bit more success. They bought Aventura winner Doctor Decherd for $70,000 and sold him for $100,000; but have had bigger scores, particularly with Magna Graduate.
That $30,000 yearling was sold for $650,000 after finishing second in the 2004 Kentucky Cup Juvenile. [Trainer Garry] Simms also selected and resold Grade II winner Belle of Perintown and Grade III-placed Big Booster. [Louisville Courier-Journal]- You don’t hear me mention track bias here much. It’s not that I don’t believe that there are situations in which there is a strong advantage to speed-types or closers; I don’t dispute that. But I think it is often vastly overrated, and one of my real track pet peeves is hearing people, and even certain track analysts, talk about a track being biased one way or another after less than half the card. Sometimes, you'll even hear stuff like - 'the track favored speed for races 1-4, and then favored closers later in the day.' I often don't buy stuff like that.
Take this passage from BRIS’ Santa Anita Notebook regarding turf races at Santa Anita last week and weekend:
Speed runners fared on turf on Thursday and Friday. Closers fared over the weekend.First of all, I believe these sentences earn the [sic] designation for improper use of the English language. Secondly, there was only one turf race each day on Thursday and Friday, so how can you possibly draw any conclusions from that? Then on Saturday and Sunday, one of the races referred to was a downhill sprint with fractions of :21 1/5 and :43 2/5; and another was a mile and a quarter route with fractions of :21 4/5 and :45 3/5! Races run with more reasonable fractions produced winners that stalked closer to the pace.
There’s a lot of free information out there these days, and when it comes to, especially, notes such as this on supposed track bias, I prefer to look into matters far closer rather than just taking everything in print as gospel.
- Regular commenter Teaman has his own blog – Rockin’ and Racin’. Maybe now he’ll leave us alone! (He knows I’m kidding, right?) Check out his picks for this weekend’s NFL playoff action. I think the Giants are out, right? :-)