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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Taken By Stormello

- Principle Secret was dead on the board again for the Hollywood Futurity, and Gary Stevens, on TVG, noted in the post parade that the colt's coat looked dull and that he seemed to have lost weight from the summer. So the fact that he didn't go for the lead may be more due to him just not having it rather than Victor Espinoza trying to rate him this time as we expected him to do in the Juvenile. That left Kent Desormeaux, on Stormello, on the lead contrary to specific instructions from trainer Bill Currin.

"He wanted to go play on the lead today....I just dropped the lines and let him find a comfortable place where he would be happy and the happy horse was the fast horse today." [LA Times]
Currin, in an extremely animated interview with TVG's Christina Olivares immediately after the race, said:
"No, I did not want him on the lead, but it's hard to keep this horse from being on the lead. Kent's strong, and Kent knows this horse. I even gave him a photograph instead of giving him instructions, I said here's where I want you."
He then told Ms. Olivares "You're pretty," and tried to plant one square on her lips, settling instead for an awkward peck on the cheek.

But with Principle Secret taken back, Stormello was lone speed. After a first quarter of 23.57, he basically ran 24-second quarters the rest of the way. Still, Liquidity looked set to go right on by in midstretch, and Walter, checking in from his winter hiatus, was right on top of that one, who went postward at 15-1. But Stormello "re-broke," as Currin put it, and they came home in racehorse time - 30.53 for the last 2 1/2 furlongs, and the final time of 1:42.19 was a few ticks quicker than older entry-level allowance horses in the prior race.

Belgravia looked really nice on the track right before the race; Stevens noted that he carried himself with "a lot of authority." He was way wide on the first turn and man, that's a short run into the turn at that distance there. He finished pretty well for 4th and definitely warrants another shot.

The G1 Hollywood Starlet for the fillies is later today, and maybe I can catch Quick Little Miss (Freud) this time. I liked her in the Juvenile Fillies based on my belief that she likes two turns, but she had little shot from the 13 post. I passed on her in the subsequent Moccasin because it was a seven furlong race. And though she won at 7-1 (ouch), her Beyer wasn't great, and she took advantage of a pace that collapsed and a final furlong of 13.4. I still think she wants two turns and that she can better that last effort, and she signaled that she holds her form with a bullet half mile work.

Frankel has the maiden Down (Mr. Greeley), making just her second start. She was left at the gate in her debut, and rallied very well to lose by a nose in a six furlong race at Belmont. That has proved to be a pretty good race, as three of the horses have come back to run close seconds. Still, it's a big step up in class and distance here. Down is out of a dam by the versatile Waqouit, who won stakes up to a mile and a half; and this is the female family of Personal Hope, the Santa Anita Derby winner in 1993, remember him? He ran 4th in the Derby behind Sea Hero, favorite Prairie Bayou, and Wild Gale.