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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Trying to be Special

- Please check out the latest at Racing Saratoga, including the Head Chef's first entry in the Eating Saratoga category. Also, don't miss the Quinella Queen's latest book review.

- Still trying to crack into the Saratoga Special lineup, and I sent off another maiden race preview this morning. Sean Clancy is a helluva nice guy and a talented writer. But he's way too busy here, and hasn't had the time to devote much time to nurturing me. In fact, he'd admitted that he himself never really got the chance to read my last piece that was posted on their website. He said he would but apparently never got to it.

So I decided to do another one, on Wednesday's second race; and to send it to him to do what they'd like with it, figuring that I could always just put it on one blog or another. I spoke to Kiaran McLaughlin about his horse, and his response was pretty humorous. I also wanted to speak to Scott Blasi. The only problem was that I not only didn't know where his barn is; I didn't even know what he looks like! Sean gave me the general directions, and I headed over to the Oklahoma area. Some trainers hang a sign on their barn; perhaps it's because Asmussen is suspended, but there was no designation to be found. Being a guy, I don't like to ask directions, y'know.

But then I saw Shaun Bridgmohan pull up in front of a barn with his kid in a golf cart, a popular form of transportation around here. Knowing that he rides for the stable, I asked him if this was the barn, and he said yes and pointed out Blasi to me. Around 20 minutes of lurking later, I moved in and asked what is a most stupid question to address to someone who is training God-knows how many horses throughout the country - "Hey, are you busy?" "I'm always busy." Nonetheless, he was nice enough to even tell a cellphone caller that he'd call him back in order to give me a minute of his time.

So, here's the piece below. I'll give my LATG readers a preview before it either goes up on the Special site, or on Racing Saratoga.

- Wednesday’s opener is a maiden special race going five furlongs, and only one of the nine colts entered has run.

Wollaston Bay showed good speed before fading to third in his debut at Belmont for Gary Sciacca, and gets a rider change to Kent Desormeaux. Kent’s brilliant rides on longshot winners Just In Fun (32-1) and Baxter (43-1) on Monday no doubt caused many chalk bettors to rip up their tickets in disgust. In fact, Kent may be personally responsible for Wednesday's Pick Six carryover. Wollaston Bay will receive more pari-mutuel consideration here, though. He earned a strong figure in his debut and was bested by a couple of well- regarded first-timers from Todd Pletcher and Darley.

De Lucia, the 3-1 morning line favorite, starts for the Scott Blasi barn. This son of Songandaprayer sold for $375,000 at the April Ocala two-year old in training sale after blazing a furlong in 10 1/5. Blasi said that horses will react to sales works in varying ways. “It depends on the individual. Some horses who come out of those sales are jammed up, and some you can just go on with. Depends on who they are.” De Lucia was back on the track just a month after the sale, and his morning workout times have progressed nicely. “He’s doing fabulous. But it’s a tough race. There are a lot of nice colts in there, so he’s going to have to run to win.”

Todd Pletcher, who swept the two-year old turf races on Sunday and Monday with debut runners, sends Reaffirm, a son of the 18% first-time sire Yes It’s True. Pletcher has won with an amazing 27% of the first-time juveniles he’s started on the NYRA circuit in the last year. Reaffirm, the 7-2 morning line second choice, is out of a mare by Unaccounted For, who won the Whitney and the Jim Dandy here (he was sold and shipped to Turkey in 2002 after standing for six years at Lane’s End). So maybe Reaffirm will have a genetic predisposition to the Spa Soil

Patrick Biancone is off to a slow start here at 1 for 14, with five of those runners going off at odds of 7-2 or lower. That includes What A Tale, loser by an agonizing nose to the aforementioned bombshell Baxter at 7-5 on Monday. Biancone starts Quasicobra in this dash. He’s a son of Wild Rush, 7% with debut two-year olds according to the Form, out of the cleverly named stakes winner Mutton Maniac (Wolf Power – Trace Fork).

Mike Hushion doesn’t race many two-year olds. He’s debuted just 13 over the last two years (three of those winners). But here, he unveils a pair for Barry K. Schwartz. Sixthirteen is by Dixie Union out of a Sky Classic half-sister to the Grade 1 winner and million dollar earner Mandy’s Gold. Sammarco is a son of the first-year sire Johannesburg, who has 12 winners, including the Sanford winner Scat Daddy, in his first crop.

Elusive Value debuts for Kiaran McLaughlin, not a big two-year old debut guy statistically; hitting at just 7% over the last five years. However, this colt sports the most interesting pedigree in the lot. He’s by Elusive Quality, hitting at 21% with debut juveniles, out of Silver Tornado, a stakes winning Maria’s Mon mare. Silver Tornado is a half-sister to El Corredor, currently third on the second-year sire list; and to the Haskell winner Roman Ruler, twice a Grade 2 winner at two and currently standing for a
$30,000 fee at Hill’n’Dale in Lexington.

So it would seem that Elusive Value is certainly eligible to be precocious. When asked about him, McLaughlin smiled and said, “Oh, I can’t tell you about him. We wanna bet him. What are you going to write?”

Oh, er....nothing. Just that he’s “doing well and training well.” That’s all.

2 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Alan~


Have you had a chance to drop in on the Green Monkey yet? Interested in your 1st hand impression.

Great 2yo write-ups. I can't wait to read them every posted day.


Bank Check

alan said...

Bank Check - Thanks. I've actually yet to discover where Pletcher is. Perhaps he has his own lot somewhere. He's the one guy I haven't seen around in the morning. I'll find it and let you know.