- I got to the Big A for the 5th on Saturday, and thus I missed the spill in the first race that resulted in the death of Mountain General and jockey Jose Santos carried off on a stretcher. I haven't watched it; don't even wanna see. But I did want to see Santos take the opening race the next day with Cadillac Cruiser, booting home a winner almost exactly 24 hours after the accident. Nice job by Tom Durkin making note of that as they cruised under the wire (the final furlong in 11.72 for this 35K claimer!).
And the winning trainer, Rene Araya, was also enjoying a reversal of fortunes; he was the trainer of the stricken horse the day before. He'd told the NY Post afterwards, "He was the soundest horse in my barn."
"A friend of mine told me everything happens in threes," Santos said. "First, my filly (Fleet Indian) gets pulled up in the Breeders' Cup. Then my father (Manuel) passed away on Nov. 10. Then (Saturday's) fall. With that all behind me, I should have good luck now for the next 10 years." [NY Daily News]Hopefully, he'll start by having more luck just picking up some mounts, which have been difficult to come by lately. He'll have a new agent; Drew Mollica will switch to Shaun Bridgemohan, who will check in for the winter, a time when the top riders go down to Florida.
- Araya flies under the radar here, but has had a good year with limited stock - 21 winners out of 101 starters. While Cadillac Cruiser was his first winner of the Big A meeting, he'd had three seconds and third in his previous nine starters.
Mike Miceli is another trainer who doesn't get much attention, but he's a capable guy who does a solid job with the stock he has. He's had two double-digit winners in the last two days - Drop-down Worthy Lover took Sunday's closer at 11-1, and in a race worthy of a trip to Cal Racing, his Sir Whimsey surrendered a small but clear lead at the eighth pole, and battled back to, as the race chart put it, get the job done.
- Tom Albertrani is on fire at the Big A; remember when he couldn't buy a winner that wasn't named Bernardini at Saratoga. He's six for 13 at Aqueduct, and without the Travers winner; he's taken four of his last five.
He has a Darley three-year old Kentucky homebred filly making her debut at the Big A on Wednesday, when they're scheduled to be back on the main track. (The weather looks a bit shaky for the weekend, and who knows what they'll do about Discreet Cat, who worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.10 on Sunday.)
Prussia is a daughter of Holy Bull, out of Grafin (Miswaki), a G3 stakes winner in France. She's a half-sister to Zosima, the 2003 Arl-Wash Lassie winner. She goes first time Lasix, and this looks like a strong move for Albertrani; he's 4 for 10 during the last year; 6 for 18 over two. And they don't always get bet. Those six winners include one at 8-1 (Songster) and another at 9-1; and none below 2-1.