- Here's some interesting stuff from the Guardian Unlimited's Greg Wood on what to expect for the on-track betting in Sunday's Arc.
The Japanese Racing Association estimates about 200 members of the Japanese media will be at Longchamp tomorrow, along with possibly 3,000 travelling racing fans. The French are used to being outnumbered by the British at their showpiece but this year they may also be swamped by a contingent from Asia.- Trainer Stanley Hough was 0-for-Saratoga, and in fact, had not won on the NY circuit for 35 races going back to July 7 at Belmont. So on Friday, he won not once, but twice! Hough had suffered some tough luck upstate, particularly with his two-year old Giant Chieftain, the most physically impressive two-year old I saw at Saratoga.
This could also have implications for the on-course betting, since the Japanese like to back their hero with serious cash. Like France, Japan operates a pari-mutuel monopoly, with no bookmakers allowed, and Deep Impact always starts at ridiculously short odds. Indeed, he once started at no odds at all - there was so much money for Deep Impact in the pari-mutuel pool when he won the Japanese St Leger that the dividend to a 100 (yen) stake was ... 100. The punters risked everything to win nothing, but no one seemed to care.
The Japanese racegoers will not believe their eyes when they arrive at Longchamp and, more than likely, discover that Deep Impact is odds-against. The rush of money for Deep Impact could be immense, not least because backers in Japan are not allowed to bet into foreign pools. The travellers, therefore, are likely to be carrying not simply their own betting money but that of their friends and families too. [Guardian Unlimited]
Another of Hough's tough luck losers at Saratoga was Hometown Boy, who was nosed by repeat winner Successful Ways after a slow start in his debut at 10-1; I wrote about the race in this post. This two-year old son of Came Home is listed as the 5-2 favorite in the second at Belmont on Saturday. Todd Pletcher has first-timer Gruffles (4-1); Pletcher has won with just one of his last 18 two-year old first-timers in dirt races. Gruffles (Mr. Greeley) worked a furlong in 10.3 at the Ocala sale in February, where he was purchased for $250,000. He's out of the graded stakes winner Darby Shuffle, who is the third dam of the Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly.
Zito has a first-timer with some nice workouts in Eurotango (Silver Deputy), a half-brother to Eurosilver, who was starting to look like a really nice four-year old when he was retired with a fracture last July. He stands in Lexington for $12,500. He's coupled with Southernconference, and this was a hype horse I fell for at Saratoga. The hype was that Zito was sending out first-timers to win, and this one got bet down to 2-1. He ran into Tiz Wonderful that day, so he deserves another shot, and gets Jara while Eurotango will be ridden by Espinoza.