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Thursday, January 19, 2006

News and Notes - Jan 19

- Bob and John (Seeking the Gold), third in the Hollywood Futurity behind Brother Derek and Your Tent Or Mine, is entered in a mile and a sixteenth allowance race at Santa Anita on Friday. Baffert told the Form "He looks awesome right now. He's really changing." Among his opponents is Twisting Road, a $300,000 Giant’s Causeway yearling purchase with one win in four starts. His trainer Eoin Harty said "I really like this horse….If he runs bad, I'll be suicidal." Man, talk about putting a lot of pressure on a young horse!

- Oaklawn opens on Friday, and they’re anticipating a huge meet. Purses are up, thanks in part to the success of the electronic game of skill Instant Racing. Handle on the game was $150 million last year, and with more machines in place this year, the track is looking for $200-$250 million. It might be nice to see some other states try the game, since it’s actually related to horse racing and could conceivably inspire slots players to check out the live product. The problem is that the game actually requires them to use their brains, which could be a turnoff.

The feature on opening day is the Dixieland Stakes for three-year olds, and it's only 5 1/2 furlongs. John Servis sends out Fidrych, a 12 length winner of his last at the Meadowlands, albeit over an extremely weak field. He’s by Grand Slam out of a Storm Bird half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Judge Angelucci, as well as Blue Grass winner War. There are some fast colts in this race, including Asmussen’s Sugar Bowl Stakes winner Catonight (Katowice), Tim Ritchey’s Urban Guy (Marquetry), and Cole Norman’s Corredor de Plata (El Corredor).

- A couple of under-the-radar three year olds continue to work towards their returns. Noonmark is training in Florida for Steve Asmussen; he worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 yesterday. He won his second start by ten lengths at Belmont. Noonmark is by Unbridled’s Song out of a Storm Cat mare who is a half-sister to Woodward and Donn winner Formal Gold.

Strong Contender was an $800,000 two-year old in training purchase last year for the crafty John Ward, and he won his debut impressively at Arlington last summer. He’s also working out in Florida, and flew a half in :47.40 yesterday, the second fastest of 32 at the distance. He’s by Maria’s Mon, the sire of Ward’s Derby winner Monarchos, out of a Dynaformer mare, and is inbred 5x5x5 to Ribot. His female family is of Argentinian descent, thus there are few recognizable names in his distaff family's history, but he would seem to have the breeding to go long.

- Rockport Harbor is being pointed for the Grade 3, $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn on Feb. 11. [DRF]

- I checked out Merv’s website, and big surprise – no update on Stevie Wonderboy’s loss in the San Rafael, just a headline about how’s he expected to win the Eclipse next week. Doug O’Neill told the Form "Speed kills…..He was tired after the race, which we didn't see after his other races. He definitely got something out of that.” No doubt.…but I resist any efforts to paint the race as one in which Brother Derek loped along on a lazy lead. He was stalked by Baffert's speedy Wanna Runner through splits of :23.2, :23.2, :23.4, which ain't exactly a stroll in the park. You’d think that a presumptive Derby favorite could have made more headway into the final quarter of :25.3; but Gomez was working pretty hard on him just to keep up around the turn. We’ll know more after the March 4 rematch, which hopefully will attract a larger field.

- I like to see when racing terminology is utilized in other contexts – makes me believe that people really are aware that our game exists. Check out this passage from NY Newsday regarding the New York Jets’ hiring of their new coach.

Everyone knew the age question would come up at yesterday's introductory news conference for Eric Mangini, the Jets' new coach. But the way Jets general manager Terry Bradway and owner Woody Johnson responded by repeatedly mentioning the 34-year-old Mangini's coaching "pedigree," they sounded like a couple of dazzled horseracing moguls genially explaining their latest purchase at the Keeneland yearling sale: "Mangini, out of Parcells, by way of Belichick? We'll take him!"
Mangini actually turned 35 today, so he's not on the thoroughbred January 1 birthday schedule.

7 Comments:

Walter said...

...DISTURBING is entered @ Gulfstream tomorrow, in a 1-mile optional claimer...she was last seen turning in a horrible effort over the polytrack course @ Turfway, coming off an extremely impressive one-turn mile maiden win @ Churchill...isn't Gulfstrream a one-turn mile?...perhaps a bounce-back is in order?...

...today @ Santa Anita, an interesting South American prospect for Mandella named MUSICA SI is entered in Race 2...this 5yo Chilean mare hasn't raced in over a year, and yet she's 2/1 on the morning line???...now that's interesting, she must be no secret around the track...check out these reports...

MUSICA SI (Jan 5, 141.3)

Super drill over this deep surface, powerful strides late in 115.4, 141.3. Lots of run here. Grade A-

MUSICA SI (Dec 30, 126.0)

Good late with Glory Pass (126.0), full stride late while going the last 1/4 in 24.1, reaching out at the line for Mandella. Good prospect. Grade B+

...as for the "big" BROTHER DEREK vs. STEVIE WONDERBOY rematch, i can already envision a certain scenario...YOUR TENT OR MINE is supposed to return in March, right?...that must mean the Santa Catalina...wouldn't shock me if he turns up in the race vs. the other two, and all the pre-race hype centers around the "big rematch" between Derek and Stevie...how nice would Derek 6/5, Stevie 8/5, YTOM 4/1 look?...i certainly hope that's the case...on the flip side, i'm not sure that YTOM would be 100% cranked for his first start back since December...but no doubt the other two would be in the same boat...i just hope YTOM is healthy enough to make the race, that's my main concern...

Walter said...

...just got done handicapping the card, and i like a couple of longshots today...in Race 3, a downhill turf sprint, i think CHASETHEGOLD is an obvious contender @ 6/1 on the morning line...she's damn close to being 3-for-3 over this layout, and the downhill course is notorious for favoring course specialists...as for her record (she's actually 1-for-3), allow me to explain...she won her first try down the hill (an allowance race), then was unlucky to run into Elusive Diva in her two stakes tries over this layout...Elusive Diva is the #1 downhill sprint filly on the circuit, and would be an overwhelming favorite in here...Chasethegold ran second (by 3 lengths) to Elusive Diva in her most recent downhill try, then the time before that she ran 4th to her, by 4 1/2 lengths...however, Elusive Diva won that race by 4, so Chasethegold was within a half-length of beating all the others (it was a 9-horse field)...so toss Elusive Diva from the mix, and Chasethegold is a half-length from being 3-for-3 and a multiple stakes winner over the layout...the horse to beat in here (and probable favorite) appears to be the European Frankel import MIRABLIS, who has a nice overseas record and ran reasonably close to world-beater Divine Proportions and BC Mile third Gorella in a Group 1 last July...she also fared pretty well in a recent workout vs. Latent Heat, who ran Cindago to a very close decision on Opening Day...the afore-mentioned Group 1 came on soft ground, though from her record she appaers to handle any surface...no doubt she'll be tough to handle, but Chasethegold will no doubt run very well today and i've gotta take 4/1 or better if it's available...may even be a spot for an exacta box at the right price...

...the other longshot i like today is BLUE PRINCE in the 7th, at 8/1 on the morning line...he hasn't run since his American debut March, but i remember this horse very well becaiuse i was backing him that day and he showed a scintillating turn of foot to run down odds-on favorite SURF CAT at the wire...Surf Cat crushed the field in his following start, and went on to be one of the best 3yo's in the country last year...Blue Prince was coming off a similar layoff that day, so i know he can fire fresh, plus he's been working like clockwork (every 6 or 7 days) for at least a month now, so i've gotta believe he's ready to go...throw in the nice report from my trusty clocker, and he looks set for a fine effort...plus, there appears to be lots of speed in the race to set up his late run...Blue Prince should be motoring late, and may be very tough to hold off...just ask Surf Cat...

BLUE PRINCE (Jan 12, 113.1)

Nice late rush here in 36.3, 100.3, 112.4 finishing with turfy, sprinty action late. Returns well, should like grass even more. Grade B

BLUE PRINCE

alan said...

You don't think that BLUE PRINCE is just prepping for the grass here?

Walter said...

...it's certainly possible Alan, but i think with his main track win over Surf Cat (at thisa same distance) coming off a similar layoff, Dollase has reason to try and strike right away...and i think the long series of drills is indicative of that...in any case, at 8/1 or thereabouts, i'm willing to find out....if he doesn't get there, he doesn't get there, but i'm expecting a fine effort today...i'd like to see Nakatani back on board, but apparently he's not available, because he isn't named anywhere on the card...also note that Gryder takes the mount today, and according to the stats in the Form, Dollase has only used him once, and they struck for a win...i sure hope they strike again, because today has been a debacle for me so far...i'm already down 3.7 units, and i haven't even bet Blue Prince yet...i was trying to get alive to Chasethegold in the Pick 3 and Double, and i also bet Musica Si in Rcae 2...after she blew it, i had to bet Chasethegold again, and she flamed as well...i definitely over-extended myself on her, but i thought perhaps i could make a nice score...to be quite honest, i probably shouldn't have bet ANYTHING as of yet...Musica Si was no bargain @ 3/1 off the year layoff, taking on the Breeders Cup entrant with proven form over the surface...and Chasethegold was bet to second choice @ 3/1, half her morning line...i'm a pretty sharp guy, but i can also be very stupid at times...let's just hope Blue Prince can justify my confidence, i'm in need of a win right now...

Walter said...

...incidentally, with the scratches of Bushwacker and Only in Reno, it's gonna make the pace a little easier on legfitimate favorite King of LA...there's still a good bit of speed lined up, but really none with KOLA's kind of gas...i just hope they can make him run fast enough in the early going that his tank won't be full turning for home...realistically, i'm expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 4/1 or 9/2 on Blue Prince, and i'd be happy with that...King of LA seemed to have some trouble in his debut (which i liken to his current layoff situation), although that may have been due to the off track...also perhaps pointing to Blue Prince are the slow fractions in the early dirt races today, it seems the going is rather deep today...should help Blue Prince in running down the speed, as they don't really seem to be skipping over the surface, as best i can tell...

alan said...

He seemed to be in good position and just stopped dead on the turn. Too bad, I was set up for the exacta with the winner and/or second place finisher. I checked out Mulhall's stats on layoff horses and they were pretty miserable so I threw KOLA out. Nice overlay on the winner. Sorry Walter, guess you didn't have a great day. :-(

Walter said...

...didn't have a great day?...that may be the understatement of the year...i over-extended myself AGAIN when i saw that Blue Prince was going off @ 7/1, betting 2 units to win and place, plus a small exacta...maybe i was being greedy, maybe i was on tilt, but probably it was a little of both...i dropped 4.2 units on the race, and a whopping 7.9 units on the day...my confidence is officially shattered...i think i'm gonna lay low until the 2-furlong baby races crank up in March...been nice talking with you guys, i'll cya round...