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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday Morning News and Notes - Oct 14

- Another graded stakes win for Todd Pletcher as his Master Command took the Grade 2 Meadowlands Breeders Cup - his record tying 92nd stakes win of the year. Er, that's for the trainer, not the horse.

What ever happened to the idea of the race being run at halftime of Monday Night Football? The air on that idea went out faster than the Titans' season. I suppose it was way too innovative for our game. As Steve Crist points out in the Form this week, the sport goes on spending its marketing dollars on the same failed attempts to attract novices by telling them that horses and jockeys are colorful and exciting and everyone should come on out to the old horse park.

The track tried to promote the race as the last prep for the Breeders Cup Classic, but, c'mon, really. With familiar second-stringers (at best) like Park Avenue Ball, Wild Desert, and Awesome Twist, the race was a ho-hum affair that is unlikely to produce any Classic starters despite a crackling final time of 1:46.21. This son of AP Indy is inbred 3x3 to Secretariat, and is a 3/4 brother to the current two-year old filly X Star. He has some tremendous turf influence in his pedigree - out of a half-sister to turf stars Al Mamoon, La Gueriere; second dam is a half to Arc winner Allez France - so I'm a bit surprised that he hasn't yet been tried on that surface.

- Speaking of the Classic, Kevin Modesti makes a complex mathematical case in the LA Daily News that seeks to debunk the idea that Lava Man should be discounted because he's faced weaker competition out west than has Bernardini.

- High Finance and Latent Heat floundered over the Polytrack in the Perryville at Keeneland on Friday, as Bob Baffert sprung a mild upset with 7-1 Midnight Lute (Real Quiet). Here's a late-developing three-year old who raced just once at two before a one year layoff. He's now two-for-three with a close second since returning. The colt underwent two surgeries for a "paralyzed flap" in his throat, and still, according to Baffert, has only 70% of his wind. When speculating where Midnight Lute might have gone if his breathing were 100 percent, the trainer said, "Oh man." [Lexington Herald-Reader]

It's the fifth stakes winner of the year for Real Quiet, who stands in Pennsylvania for $6,500. Midnight Lute is the sire's 4th graded winner of 2006, and he has two Grade 1 winners - Pussycat Doll and Wonder Lady Anne L amongst them.

- The Mets were failed by their strength last night, as the bullpen failed to hold a 6-4 lead going into the 7th. Willie Randolph has been depending more and more on Guillermo Mota, a journeyman reliever who was acquired late in the year with fantastic results. But he's been living a bit on the edge throughout these playoffs, and was burned for the first time last night when Scott Spiezio delivered a dramatic two-out, two-strike game-tying double in the 7th inning, wow. It was kinda funny listening to Joe Buck and company telling us how cold Albert Pujols is, even as he was gamely fighting off Mota by fouling off several pitches before singling to start the two-out rally. For some reason and despite his lofty stats, I've always thought that Mets' closer Billy Wagner sucks. He throws hard, but without much movement on his fastball, and man, did So Taguchi ever tee off on one for his game-winning and series-tying HR in the ninth last night.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

I think Lava Man has been facing better competition than Bernardini (i don't think you can count Dylan Thomas). Not to mention, Lava Man has been doing it a good bit longer. To me, the only question that remains about Lava Man is his ability to handle a non-California surface (though i might point out however that he's trained well over the Cushion Track). Btw, doesn't it seem like there's a case of "Classic fever" going around? You know, similar to "Derby fever," when trainers and owners can't wait to run their horse in the big race despite the fact that he's been getting drubbed repeatedly. I think it's funny that Bernardini can only find 3 or 4 opponents to run against on a normal day, but come Breeders Cup Day there'll be 15 horses lining up against him.

P.S. - Can't wait to see Nobiz Like Shobiz run today. Really looking forward to that one.