- Defrizz won at Belmont on Thursday - he was, in my opinion, the hottest horse of the entire Saratoga meeting. He had made his only start at Belmont in June, and on a muddy track, he finished a distant 5th as the 5-2 favorite after stumbling at the start of the state-bred maiden special.
He didn't race again until August 17th at Saratoga, where he turned up in an entry allowance race on the turf. He was 8-1 morning line, but I had to check and re-check to see if I was looking at the right race when I saw him on the board at 8-5. Against winners! On the turf for the first time. By the $3500 sire Rizzi. And this was not for Dutrow or Pletcher, but for Willard Freeman, a veteran horsemen who enjoyed success here in the past. But he rarely has runners now, and is certainly not the type to take money on the trainer angle. True, he was facing a dismal field, but it still seemed rather astonishing.
Defrizz drifted up to 3-1, but was still the post-time favorite. As in his debut, he stumbled at the start, rushed up towards the lead and faded. He was back on Aug 30, this time rained off the turf and back against maidens. Sent off at 8-5 this time, he broke better and held for a game second.
Horseplayers can be a very forgiving lot. Back at Belmont and on the grass in Thursday's sixth, he was 8-5 this time, and finally got to the winner's circle for his beleagured backers, who didn't really get much back in return for their loyal support.
- It's been a tough last couple of months for trainer Alan Klafner and Paraneck Stable, but they've shown some signs of breaking out after enduring 42 consecutive winless races at NYRA tracks. On Sept 2 at Saratoga, the barn scored with first-timer Kong's Revenge at 11-1; and on Wednesday, Bonus Size dropped in class and scored at 18-1. On Thursday, Jackie K displayed an unlikely form reversal to run second at 19-1. In typical Paraneck fashion, Kong's Revenge comes back in the Grade 2 Futurity on Saturday.
- We've been just half-kidding talking about the Jerome being a walkover for Discreet Cat. Today, the Form reports that only Noonmark is considered definite to face him on October 1.
"The most intriguing thing about Noonmark is the races that he's run at Belmont Park have been very impressive," his trainer, Scott Blasi, said from Kentucky. "He broke his maiden in impressive fashion, and he ran....[blah blah blah]"C'mon man, save your breath. You're running for second money, you can tell us.