- Not bad, 4-1 on Fantastic Shirl, a half sister to Shakespeare by turf champion Fantastic Light making her career debut a winning one for Bill Mott on the turf on Sunday at Gulfstream, eh? Are the bettors there paying too much attention to the Horse Wizard machines?
Er no, I guess that’s not it. Maybe they were paying too much attention to Todd Pletcher. His first time starter, Babyifurgoodtogo (Elusive Quality) was the 4-1 second choice in the morning line behind Mott’s filly, but was sent off as the 2-1 favorite, despite an awful name and little in her pedigree to indicate she would love the grass. She didn’t, and ran 9th.
Of course, it wasn’t a lost day for Pletcher; his three-year old filly Dyna’s Destiny took the Gaily Gaily Stakes at the Gulf. It’s her second stakes win in as many attempts in 2006 for this full sister to Dynamist, who won the grassy Denise Rhudy Stakes last year.
- Well, being down in Florida, who would have thought that it’s actually cold elsewhere in the nation. The freezing cold that has cancelled Oaklawn’s holiday card and postponed the Southwest Stakes until Saturday should have no effect on that track’s Derby prep series, as it still leaves three weeks until the Rebel. Oaklawn hadn’t lost any live dates to winter weather since Feb. 27, 2003.
- Patience is paying off for Bruce Headley and his four-year old Surf Cat, who made a dynamic return off a four-month layoff to win the San Carlos at Santa Anita in dynamic style. He made up more than six lengths from the half-mile pole despite the final three furlongs going in :36 4/5, for a final seven furlong time of 1:22.09, and left the more experienced Congrats and Imperialism in his wake.
A couple of last year’s more highly touted three-year olds that have not shown good form at four are Buzzard’s Bay and Greeley’s Galaxy, who will square off Monday at Golden Gate in the G3 All American Handicap. Greeley’s Galaxy is listed as 8-1, and trainer Warren Stute was quite frank in talking about his prospects.
"Evidently, he's not as good as we thought .....We picked this race hoping it would be an easier field, and we're putting blinkers on him hoping that will sharpen him up and he'll show a little more zip. I was very disappointed in his race in the Strub, so I hope he bounces back."And Ron Ellis is similarly disappointed with Buzzard’s Bay.
"He has more ability than his performances recently.....I'd heard that he bled (in his trachea) really badly in the Affirmed and maybe he's still thinking about that. That last race was really disappointing to me. If he had been second to Lava Man (the Classic winner), I'd have been OK with that, but he didn't really battle it out.” [SFGate.com]Unfortunately, the pair will be running a trio trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who has a virtual monopoly on Northern California stakes races these days.
- John Ward’s Strong Contender (Maria’s Mon), who has been burning up the track in the A.M., most recently with a bullet five furlongs (out of 10) in :59.60 on Saturday, will finally make his three-year old debut at Gulfstream on Wednesday. Also making his 2006 debut in the race will be High Cotton, yet another of the 800 or so Triple Crown nominees from Pletcher, as if he doesn’t already have enough going for him these days. His Keyed Entry had his first work since the Hutcheson, a leisurely half in :49.26 (24/46).
Nick Zito had a couple of his prospects make nice moves on Friday – Superfly got a half in :47.20 (2/21); and Doc Cheney five furlongs in :59.80 (2/10).
- And hey, check this out! On Saturday, our filly Christening worked a half in :48.12 at Belmont, the third fastest of 47 at the distance, wow! Too bad she hasn’t been able to get her gate card, ugh. Her debut has therefore been pushed back to next month.