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Friday, May 26, 2006

Finally, The Moment of Truth

- Well, here it is; finally, after being rained out twice, the long awaited turf debut of Highland Cat. And I won’t be on hand; instead, I’ll be watching the simulcast at Saratoga Harness, as the Head Chef and I are going up in the morning to scout it out for the upcoming meeting. We’ve had this planned, and the horse hasn’t exactly shown much indication that he’s worth radically changing plans for. Nonetheless, it’s a WHOLE NEW BALLGAME, BABY, and maybe it will bring good luck, and I’ll drive up there every time he runs.

To me, there are only three horses in the field that have turf form worth worrying about. One of those, Oracle of Omaha (Louis Quatorze) has been out for almost 14 months, and returns for a tag for the first time. On the outside, are three horses similarly dropping into claimers. Really Reilly (Pine Bluff) goes for the hot Hushion barn, and is 4-1 in the morning line, but I Really Reilly don’t like him. King Hoss (El Prado) hasn’t been out since September; John Kimmel has not been winning off layoffs of late (though he has three recent seconds).

Morning line favorite Lunenburg is the one that scares me the most. He came off a seven month layoff; at 7-1, he was live on the board considering his long odds and dismal efforts in his two prior races, and closed six wide to close for 4th, missing the win by just a half length. This five year old gelding has some nice turf influences; by Lear Fan, out of a Seattle Slew mare, and this is the female family of Twilight Agenda and Go and Go, both of whom won grass stakes in Europe before winning major stakes here, as well as the multiple Grade 1 Irish-bred Refuse to Bend.

But it’s a fresh start for Highland Cat; it’s his maiden start for all intents and purposes. Hope spring eternal, indeed. Tactical Cat sires 11% first-out grass winners, according to the Form; and his broodmare sire, Highland Blade (Damascus), loved grass, dirt, and distance. We know that Highland Cat doesn’t like at least one of those; hopefully he’ll like the other two here.

[UPDATE: Oh man, there's a chance of "strong storms" in the forecast...]


Anonymous said...

Highland Cat charging on the rail. 2nd place-congrats- probable paid for a month of food and youhave hope for the future-Byaose

Nick said...

GOOD SECOND! I missed the tri, but had him in there.....congrats Alan. Glad to see him get a nice check for you.

Ruben Bailey said...

Woo Hoo!!

Congrats...looked like a completely different animal.

Great start and a really professional ride by Fragoso - good start, fifth and he takes him right to the rail, nice job moving forward around the turn and responding to urging down the back stretch through some tight openings.

You know what this means, Alan?
-You cannot be at the track anymore when he runs
-I cannot bet on him ever again (0-3 when I bet and today, no money down and he is underneath a $200 ex).


Handride said...

12.60 to Place, i think you've found his surface, nice job, you've gotta be thrilled.

Mike said...

I had him on top of an exacta that clearly didn't pay, but the place and show money I had in savers covered my bets and thens some.

Adding into Equibase stable now.

Good tip.

Walter said...

...congrats on the big second-place effort by Highland Cat!'s been a long time coming...another fine effort or two on the grass, and there'll be some nice spots at Saratoga for him... 8^)

Walter said...

...Discreet Cat hit the worktab @ Belmont today, breezing 3 furlongs in 39.69 seconds, 10th-best out of 10, is he slow... 8^)

Anonymous said...

Alan...your friends are right...Highland RAT is No more...he shed the Mouse ears and tail today. Too bad the race was for $20,000, not the usual 46,000 purse. But we'll take it!

davidrex said...

It warms the heart...

alan said...

Thanks everyone! It was really exciting and quite an effort.

Anonymous said...

As I touted yesterday....I had him axcross the board, the exacta and the triple. Parlaying my ill-gotten gains betting the Phillies yesterday.

I'd hol him back for a 1 3/8 @ Saratoga.

Bank Check

Anonymous said...

Alan (and other regulars)~

Drinks (and then some) on me next time your down @ Del. I have a claimer going 6/6 (if it goes) and a couple of 2yo's waiting for mAugust.

Bank Check