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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

News and Notes - Oct 4

- Trainer Richard Violette is off to a rousing start at Belmont, and with two more winners in as many starters on Wednesday, he now has a scary nine winners out of 19 starters. He had a two-year old filly, A Wonder She Is, graduate on the grass in her first try on the surface. She's by the relatively obscure Storm Cat sire, Three Wonders, who stands for $5,000 in Florida. This stallion won just 4 times in 30 starts, however one of those coming in the G3 Kent, and, well, he's a son of Storm Cat.

But Three Wonders has already has 12 winners from 74 in his first crop, including a stakes winner in Gal Wonder, who took the recent Brave Raj at Calder.

A Wonder She Is is out of a winless Devil's Bag mare who is a half-sister to the wonderful race mare Videogenic, a multiple-multiple stakes winner on the grass who won 20 times in 73 career starts.

Violette has been particularly effective of late at Belmont. While his overall winning percentage over the last year is 18%, at Belmont, he's won 24 of 99, or nearly a quarter of his races.

- While I was under the impression that the expected short field for the Jockey Club Gold Cup would be considered a detriment to the late running Dylan Thomas, his trainer Aiden O'Brien told the Form that he considers it an advantage.

"We're running on the dirt for the first time and obviously there might be a chance to keep him out of the kickback a little bit. Maybe he'll be too slow away and never get into the position that he'll want, but maybe he'll break and he might be able to keep in touch somewhere and might have some kind of a shot in this race." [Daily Racing Form]
Man, you can just taste how much Coolmore would like to beat the Sheikh's Bernardini. The rivalry is playing out at the Tattersalls auction in Ireland, as related by the UK's Times Online:
Predictably, neither concern raised a bid for the progeny of each other’s stallions. It seems the sport’s two superpowers are locked on a collision course that can only undermine a relationship disintegrating by the day.
And via the Pedigree Guru, Bill Oppenheim of the Thoroughbred Daily News notes the below average prices for Coolmore or Darley-sired yearlings purchased by their respective stallion owner and writes:
Considering the price of a good colt yesterday was plus-or-minus 200,000gns, breeders could be forgiven for wondering whether they should be breeding to either camp's stallions. If you had a nice colt by one of them, and the camp bought the colt, there was a distinct shortage of competition for it; for good colts by "neutral" stallions, everybody was in. It's pretty wacky.
Sean Heffernan was cleared of charges of engaging in"team tactics" against Godolphin's Librettist while riding Ivan Desinovich in the QE II. But he received a six day suspension for careless riding nonetheless.


Stalusk said...

Who are some of the better runners that Richard Violette has trained over the years?

Walter said...

I was just browsing through Dan Illman's blog, and someone had asked him who he likes in the BC races. I was shocked when Illman, who's supposedly an expert on 2yo's, said that he "kinda likes CP West for the Juvenile". CP West? He's gotta be joking, right? The horse had every chance to get by King of the Roxy in a dawdling 1:24 and change, and still couldn't do it. But next time out he's gonna beat Circular Quay, Nobiz Like Shobiz, Principle Secret, Horse Greeley, etc? I don't think so. I mean, i respect Illman, and he's certainly entitled to his opinion, but i couldn't believe my eyes when i read that.

Walter said...

Speaking of juveniles, here's something that caught my eye. Doug O'Neill's nice 2yo colt Great Hunter has been entered in the Breeders Futurity @ Keeneland this weekend (vs. Circular Quay, among others). Great Hunter is pretty nice, having run bang-up 2nd's behind EZ Warrior in the Hollwood Juvenile and Principle Secret in the Best Pal, before running 2nd once again behind Horse Greeley in the Del Mar Futurity. What i find interesting is that his only work since his last race came over the new Hollywood Park cushion track, 113.40 on Sep 30. Perhaps O'Neill saw something in that Polytrack drill that prompted him to send Great Hunter to Keeneland, rather than hang out in SoCal for the Norfolk (where he likely would've been 3rd or 4th choice). It may have something to do with the fact that he'd be running against two horses that have already beaten him, but who knows, maybe it's a polytrack thing. Just something to consider. Incidentally, O'Neill has been on record for quite a while as saying that he expects Great Hunter to improve as the distances get longer, and of course this will be his first attempt at a route. Haven't seen the morning line yet, but you know Circular Quay will be a big favorite, and i would expect Great Hunter will run a pretty good race. He might have to settle for second again, but at the right price he may be worth a shot. I'd love to get some quotes from O'Neill (and/or the jockey) regarding the decision to send him polytrack-way.

Anonymous said...

I was part of a syndicate that was the underbidder on hip 309 at the FTMay06 sale. Looking for a turf horse $20-25K. Went for a King Cugat colt instead. He'll debut in one month going long.

All of the Three Wonders are compact horses like their sire. Turf milers to a "T". Hip 309's full sister sold for $55K in Fla this year.

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