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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Rough Start for Highland Cat

- Another awkward looking start by Highland Cat was compounded when he was given a sound bump sideways by Uncle Festor as the latter was stumbling out of the adjacent stall and dumping jockey Kyle Kaenal. From there it was a familiar story – a brief move forward approaching the far turn, but then flattening out and finishing with a modicum of interest, this time for 6th, good for a purse share of $294. The Head Chef was very excited that at least he didn’t finish last.

Bill Turner held court in the paddock before the race with several of the partners, and told us that the colt was still immature, and that sometimes you “don’t see the horse you got.” He feels that he will improve slowly but surely as the year goes on, and that he’ll turn out to be a “useful” horse. I asked him about the turf, and he said that he has a lot of turf on his female side, which of course I already knew. After the race, he said that Highland Cat will “never” race well on the inner track, and that he’ll improve on the main; I think I’ve heard something along those lines before about trying the inner. Turner feels that the horse has a good turn of foot that he’s not showing in his races. If he really does have that ability, I think he’s more likely to show it on the grass.

(I’d sent an email about Highland Cat to TVG’s Trackside Live in a shameless attempt to promote this blog, and although they read my name on the air, passed on the information about the unpublished information about the horse having been gelded, and thanked me for watching, they didn’t fall for the bait and give me a plug.)

I stuck around for the third to see what Jennifer Pederson and owner Ernie Paragallo were touting as the second coming of Achilles of Troy. There was an aura around Scanlon’s Song that contributed to his being the 4-5 favorite; shows what a little hype will do. That was to a large extent created by his owner and trainer comparing him favorably to his better known stablemate and announcing plans to ship to Turfway for the Battaglia and Lane’s End as if a smashing win here was a foregone conclusion. So when he started moving up around the turn, I expected to see him replicate his winning move from his maiden race, in which he was 29-1. But when the eventual winner Greeley’s Legacy blew by outside of him like he was standing still, it was obvious that Scanlon’s Song is not quite as good as Achilles of Troy. I wouldn’t be shocked if owner Paragallo comes up with an excuse and sends him to Turfway anyway.

- Just watched the Southwest. Lawyer Ron would have no part of the early challenges that were expected to materialized and dragged John McKee to the front; they’re saying on TVG that the saddle may have slipped a bit. And he once again was able to kick away from the field once he turned for home, though this time he had to show some moxie to hold off a tough and improving Steppenwolfer, who moves forward in stature with the performance. The time was 1:40 for the mile; but as you know, the track has been slow; and he came home in :12 3/5. More on the race later.

2 Comments:

Tote Board Brad said...

yeah, rough outting for HC. I was tuned in, though, and did enjoy the shout out you got. They never plug any sites, that I've noticed....other than betwithles.com, of course. I bet they have some kind of policy. One time I wrote in about some big story going on and mentioned how the LATG analysis was better than anything on blood-horse.com, thoroughbredtimes.com, & drf.com. Rich Perloff pluggedeach of those industry websites, referring emailers looking for news, but didn't mention LATG. I found his casual dismissal of the proletariat rather offensive.

alan said...

Well, the proletariat appreciates your efforts on our behalf. We'll keep Rich Perloff in mind when we take over the racing world.