- Bellamy Road recorded a three furlong work in a reported 40 seconds at George Steinbrenner’s Kinsman Farm; that's the first reported work I've seen for him.
Discreet Cat zipped a half in 48.01 (2/35) at Belmont.
Declan's Moon continues his comeback with a five furlong work in 59.80 (3/20) at Santa Anita. "He looks awesome," [trainer Ron] Ellis said. "He might be a better horse now than before."
Though many of us are still suffering from the Barbaro Blues, hey, there's plenty of potential for a fabulous fall. Imagine a Breeders Cup Classic with Bernardini, Discreet Cat, Declan's Moon, Bellamy Road, Brother Derek, Lava Man, Buzzards Bay, Eloctrocutionist, Commentator, Surf Cat, Flower Alley..... The possibilities seem endless. Unfortunately, so is the list of things that can go wrong.
- Mike Trombetta told the NY Post that Sweetnorthernsaint is still “pretty tender” after grabbing a quarter in the Preakness. “The Travers is a definite possibility."
Oh So Awesome worked seven furlongs in 1:27.4 at Belmont, and Hemingway’s Key went five in 1:01.29 on the Saratoga training track. Zito likes to train his horses up there, as does John Ward, who sent Minister’s Bid out to work the same distance in the day’s fastest 1:00.35.
- NYRA met with the horsemen at Belmont yesterday, and highlighted the fact that daily average handle on NYRA's races has increased by 4.7 percent, and daily average ontrack handle has increased by 7.7 percent in 2006. The increase was partly attributed to the new Rewards rebate program, which has returned around $60,000 to bettors since Belmont opened.
Another reason given for the increase is bigger fields, and that actually is a cause for concern for some of the horsemen. The larger fields are partly due to the increase in NY-bred races, and that doesn’t work for trainers such as Todd Pletcher or Bobby Frankel, who have been frustrated this summer by races failing to fill.
While both men attended Thursday's meeting, neither spoke. Pletcher did talk privately with Hayward and Duncker afterward.The construction of the Aqueduct casino, amazingly, STILL has not begun, and NYRA VP Bill Nader said that the State Lottery is still two weeks away from issuing final approval, and that "that construction will start at Aqueduct before the racing shifts to Saratoga on July 26." [NY Daily News] Assuming that the construction will take at least a year, the revenue will barely be starting to flow before NYRA’s franchise expires at the end of next year. And how NYRA will make it financially that long remains to be seen, as their bailout loan was only intended to help them make it through the end of this year.
"I wanted to make sure they're aware that Belmont and Saratoga need to be treated differently than winter racing at Aqueduct," Pletcher said.
Hayward admitted that racing secretary P.J. Campo has been instructed to use races with bigger fields, but added that he needs to be flexible.
"P.J.'s instructions are to maximize field size and to run competitive racing," Hayward said. "But he's got to feel empowered that when he has a five-horse field, to let that race go rather than go with a claimer with 10 or 12 horses." [Daily Racing Form]
- Brad Free warns us to not overemphasize the Beyer figures of first time two-year old starters.
It is an easy trap with 2-year-olds, who often make quantum leaps on the Beyer scale in their second start.
Regardless of workouts, pedigree, or trainer, there is nothing like initial race experience to wake up a 2-year-old. It happens every spring, and has already begun with these second-time starters at Hollywood:
* Swiss Rose ($12) won May 24. Her Beyer jumped from 46 to 73.
* Herb's Girl Kelsey ($6.20) won May 25. Her Beyer jumped from 35 to 54.
* Little City ($12.20) won May 25. Her Beyer jumped from 59 to 87.
* Doubloon City ($5.20) won May 25. Her Beyer jumped from 48 to 79.
* Diamond Dave ($4.40) won May 29; his Beyer jumped from 56 to 85.
None ran fast in their debut. But a soft figure is not the end of the world for a 2-year-old first-time starter. [Daily Racing Form]