- Highland Cat was back on the track this morning, getting a half in 49.14 (19/53). Our barn correspondent reported: Bill [Turner] was quite pleased with the breeze, as was Dominic Giglio [HC's exercise rider]. Dominic loves Highland Cat's real easy stride and thinks he has a lot of ability. We’re hoping that he’ll make his return in about a month or so. Christening has been schooling in the gate, and Turner feels she needs another time or two before she gets her gate card.
- John Sherriffs has been giving Giacomo with a series of seven furlong works, and the Derby winner cranked it up with a work in 1:25.40 this morning at Hollywood Park. I know everything this time of year is Derby, Derby, Derby, even 99 days before the event, but Giacomo’s return should be of great interest as well. He's one of the few (only?) older horses still in training whose name is recognizable to those beyond core fans, and a successful return is something we should all be rooting for. The last I read, Sherriffs said he wanted to find an allowance spot for his 4yo debut.
- With New York Governor Pataki a lame duck, State Senator Joseph Bruno may be the most powerful politician in the state at this time. Commenting on Magna’s proposal to make Saratoga Race Course a year-round entertainment center, Bruno told the Troy Record: “Really, these facilities (Saratoga Race Course) have to become family centers – destination centers. Magna's been extremely successful in expanding that concept.” I’d have a few things to say about that, but the Record’s fine racing correspondent Nick Kling put it perfectly:
Anyone who has read either racing's trade journals or South Florida newspapers since Gulfstream opened earlier this month may take issue with Bruno's second opinion. The new Gulfstream model has been roundly denounced by most racing fans. About the only thing Magna has successfully accomplished, according to a consensus of fans and the company's stockholders, is to lose a staggering $350 million over the past three years.- Jockey Victor Espinoza says we shouldn’t be too hard on Point of Impact for his less-than-ground saving 4th place finish on Friday.
To put that in perspective, Magna has needed less than six months to lose more than the red ink accumulated by the tarnished New York Racing Association (NYRA) during those same three years. The most worrisome part of Bruno's remarks is the notion that Saratoga "(has) to become" some thing different. The current facility attracts the largest live audience of any extended race meet in the nation. A major reason is because it is already a family center. One walk through the track's backyard picnic area on any sunny afternoon is all the evidence the Senator should need.
"Going a mile, the turn is right there, plus he's so big, he needed a little more time to get around the turn. After that, it was great. He settled down the backside and finished good, but it was too much for him to overcome." [LA Daily News]- A.P. Warrior was a disappointing 4th in the Hollywood Futurity, but trainer Eoin Harty is undaunted as he prepares the colt for the El Camino Real at Bay Meadows on Sunday. "The way he carries himself in the morning says he's Derby potential, and I'm going to treat him accordingly until he tells me differently." [Inside Bay Area] Or until owner Stan Fulton, who shelled out $1.3 million for the son of A.P. Indy, tells him differently.