- There’s been a lot of action the last few days, so let’s check some of it out.
- On Saturday, Henny Hughes (Hennessy) made his long-awaited return to the races at Monmouth, where they’re still in action through Tuesday anyway despite the ongoing government shutdown. And what a return it was – a spectacular ten length victory in which he not only ran very fast – 1:08.26 with a final furlong in 12:04 - but he affirmed what he indicated in the Juvenile – that his speed can be harnassed. He broke last and stalked front-running He’s Got Grit until taking over around the quarter pole. Jockey Joe Bravo certainly noticed the difference from last year.
“This is what I wake up in the morning for…..He was spectacular today.How well is McLaughlin going now? He also took the Suburban on the same day with Invasor. “What a day. I’m going to play the lottery.” [Boston Herald] He won in similar fashion to Henny, sitting just behind the leaders Noble Causeway and Wilko (neither of whom likely felt comfortable on the lead in what was a paceless race), and blowing them away in the stretch at what seems to me like a very generous 6-5 for the Uruguayan Triple Crown champ.
"(Trainer) Kiaran (McLaughlin) had this one ready to roll. Last year when I rode him, he was just a boy, but he’s filled out and is a man now.” [Carnival Blog]
McLaughlin said he would like to keep Invasor in races of 1 1/4 miles or farther, but said he would consider running him in the $750,000 Whitney Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race at Saratoga on Aug. 5. [Daily Racing Form]In the Mother Goose, morning line favorite Joint Effort came up dead as a doornail on the board at 5.80 – 1, and ran last as Bushfire (Louis Quatorze) followed up her Acorn win with her second Grade 1 in a row. That’s two-thirds of the old Filly Triple Crown, but trainer Eddie Kennealy indicated that it’s time to back off.
Kenneally said Bushfire would be pointed toward the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs, with possible preps in the Alabama (G1) and Gazelle (G1) Stakes.Favored Lemons Forever, the Oaks winner, could only manage to rally for 4th in this one-turn race, despite a slow final three furlongs of 38.75 seconds. Pine Island got bet to 5-1 and ran a solid second in only her third start, and first on a fast main track. She’s obviously one to watch from Shug McGaughey.
"The Triple Tiara is very prestigious … I just wish the races were spread further apart," he said. [Thoroughbred Times]
Turning to Sunday's stakes at Belmont, the one thing I was right about in the Astoria was that every filly in this race has a shot. Desire to Excel (Mt. Livermore) was the rank outsider in the field, but she easily handled 4-5 Octave in the stretch for a five length win for trainer Kelly Breen. She’s by Mt. Livermore, and she’s a half-sister to Sky Diving, second in this year’s WinStar Derby. Her dam, Ayrial Delight, is a stakes-winner on the grass, and is by Quick Dip, a sire from the Vigors/Grey Dawn/Herbager line, so perhaps there’s a little green in Desire to Excel's future.
And Rebel Rebel (Revoque) is the horse I really wanted to pick in the Poker, though he did benefit from some racing luck to get the win over Remarkable News, who was, surprisingly, only a slight favorite. Remarkable News was pretty much boxed in until the stretch (make a note of that….the chart doesn’t note any trouble). The winner's jockey was apparently studying the Form the night before. "Prado called me last night and said he wanted to take this horse off the pace," [Richard] Dutrow said. "I told him to go ahead and do it. I thought it was a great idea." [NY Post]
Funny Cide won in Canada, a couple more Grade 1’s in Hollywood, and I’ll try to get to all the good stuff soon. Some of us have to