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Friday, October 27, 2006

Commentator Sneaks In

- Doug O'Neill is pissed that Areyoutalkintome was left out of the top 14 for the Sprint in favor of Commentator. And Crist made a more than fair point in his aforementioned column when he wrote that it seemed to be a double standard to judge Flower Alley on his 2006 form, and Commentator on that of his past. The latter's trainer Nick Zito said "He's a Grade 1 winner...He's one of the best and most exciting horses to have campaigned over the last two years. He's Commentator." [Daily Racing Form]

I think that what got him in is not the first part of Zito's statement, but the subsequent ones. His Grade 1 and gaudy figs took place in 2005, and thus presumably aren't part of the discussion. But he is a charismatic horse as Zito pointed out, and it seems as if the decision was based more on his flair and speed than what he's accomplished this year - a win against three NY-breds and up the track in the Forego. That as opposed to O'Neill's horse, who in all honesty hasn't really been all that hot himself this year either, but at least has run competitively in some graded stakes.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the Breeders Cup opting for the more theatrical decision in a case like this....and perhaps I should revisit my comments on Flower Alley being left out in favor of Super Frolic (but not Perfect Drift).

I wonder if they would have left George Washington and David Junior off had the race attracted more pre-entries with solid dirt form. If I thought that they were really, really smart, which, based on the lack of promotion we've seen for the big day, I don't, I would envision a scenario in which they would have pressured the connections of the two to run in the Turf or Mile, instead of braving the dirt. It's creating a lot of pre-race intrigue, but I get the feeling that in the end, the cause of better theater would have been served if the two invaders stayed on familiar footing. We'll see.

- The reader who provided this excellent insight on the NY franchise bidding was wondering just who Capital Play Pty Ltd. is. Wonder no longer, the Australian outfit is out of the running for the NY racing franchise after failing to post a required $1 million bond. Where the hell did NYRA get the money for that?

The state's latest racino opened on Thursday at Vernon Downs, a harness track in upstate Vernon. There are only 777 machines there, about half as many as at Saratoga, and a mere pittance compared to what we'll see at Yonkers if it doesn't burn down first. Hundreds lined up for the 10 AM opening, with some camping out since 6:30.

Facility officials had originally projected between 3,000 and 4,000 people would visit Thursday, but General Manager Eric Persson said Thursday night about 9,000 visited. [uticaOD.com]
Unbelievable.

- The quarantine at Monmouth, covering at least 1,000 horses, will last for at least three weeks. Four horses have been confirmed to have equine herpesvirus. And the brief and beleagured thoroughbred meeting at the Meadowlands has been severely affected by the outbreak, banning horses coming from anywhere but Monmouth to race there. Only eight races have been carded for Saturday night.

- TVG inks a deal to have content distributed in Ireland and the UK, and I'm sure that comes as great news to those who can't even get the network in this country on cable systems such as Time Warner.

- Please feel free to email me with questions, comments, suggestions, or whatever.

4 Comments:

Walter said...

I'm very glad to see Commentator get in, and i strongly disagree that he and Flower Aleey can be painted with the same brush. While Commentator has had a very abbreviated campaign, i think there's every chance that he can be competitive, and possibly win, the BC Sprint. In my opinion, his flame job in the Forego was the result of him having trouble at the break, and consequently being taken out of his running style. With a good draw and a clean break in the Sprint, i see him as a very viable win candidate. Flower Alley, on the other hand, has turned in more than one clunker, and as far as i know, lacks any kind of excuse. He's simply gone off form, and seeing how this coincides with a very extended absence earlier this year, i have to assume that something happened to him after last year's Breeders Cup, and he's simply not the same anymore. Incidentally, Crist's view that Flower Alley is somehow more deserving of a spot in the race than David Junior is flat-out moronic. THIS from the guy who publishes "The Racing Bible"??? George Washington i can maybe understand, because he's never been farther than a mile and this is obviously just a stunt to increase his stud value. But David Junior is a multiple Group One winner who also happens to be 5-for-6 at the Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles, and his connections have been pointing to the race since March. He's also beaten Ouija Board this year, who figures to go favored in another Breeders Cup race. Not to mention, he beat the subsequent Arlington Million winner like a drum. This is the horse Crist wants to keep out of the Classic, in favor of a horse who's been getting his ass kicked in every race outsoide of Monmouth? Someone should ask Crist/Pletcher if they would be willing to support Flower Alley at the windows with some cold hard cash.

Anonymous said...

Walter,

Re Commentator and Flower Alley, Do you have the future book odds on the horses in question. I will let the future book gamblers decide who should or should not be in the race.

Personally, I feel a 2006 multiple grade one winning horse on the turf deserves to get in the classic on the dirt before a horse that has failed repeatedly in graded company in 2006. The committee is mandated to pick the most deserving horses, not the biggest names.

Walter said...

Not that future book odds are necessarily relevant to a horse's actual chance of winning the race, here were the litsed prices as of October 12th:

Classic

Flower Alley 12/1
David Junior 7/1
George Washington 25/1

Sprint

Commentator 18/1
Areyoutalkintome 12/1

Anonymous said...

Thanks Walter, interesting. Agree all the future wagers really mean is that more people have heard of Flower Alley than the others. Funny Cide is probably short odds too.