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Monday, January 15, 2007

Notes - Jan 16

- So yeah, I was at the Big A on Sunday; what else would I do after returning from a tropical paradise the night before? But I didn't do much betting, and the little I did was poor. I was distracted by the jarring change of scenery and the riveting Bears-Seahawks game. It's funny watching those games at the track. People are into the game, yelling one way or another on every big play. But they have their priorities too. It was during the stretch run of the 9th race that Rex Grossman connected on his dramatic 30 yard completion that set up Robbie Golds' winning kick. I was waiting for the reaction from those who were rooting for had bet on the Bears, but there was none. They were all riveted on the race, and I guess that's the way it should be.

I was there briefly on Monday as well, after the live racing was over. I've been keeping an eye on the rail placement on the grass course at Gulfstream in conjunction with Dick Powell's column that I posted about recently. It was set at 84 feet for the first three days, and has been set at 60 ever since. There have been winners of all types, but it seems that closers have done better of late. Powell contends that the speed does better if the rail is moved closer in, so we'll watch out for that.

The 8th was a maiden special on the grass, and in this case, 28-1 Happiness Is nearly held on wire to wire, despite moving right along on the front end in 47.41 and 1:11 flat. This is one of those horses making his career debut on the grass that you look at the pedigree and think, "Whoa," but he just doesn't get bet. He's by Dynaformer, out of a mare by the versatile Ends Well, who won the G1 United Nations on the grass. Whatsmore, his dam Mackaymackenna, was a graded stakes winner on the turf. His trainer Philip Gleaves hits at 21% with debut runners. He nearly held on but fell just short to Double Dinghy Day for Frank Alexander, his second winner of the meet. This son of Forestry out of a graded turf stakes placed Unbridled mare did extremely well to get up for the win through a swiftly run final 5/16ths of 30.29 seconds; both horses seem worth following.

The ninth race is worth checking out if you have the chance. Frankel had Welcome Again, 6-1 in the morning line shipping in from Woodbine. He went off as the 2-1 second choice, got involved three-wide in a duel around the turn, and looked dead to rights when favored Dry Martini, set up perfectly for his late run, surged to the lead in midstretch. Track announcer Larry Collmus seemed to concede the race to that one, but Frankel's horse was incredibly game in battling back to get the nod. Horses coming from Woodbine continue to do well at the Gulf, and I've noticed a few winners shipping in from the Meadowlands as well.

Two winners for Mott, giving him six for the meet, tying the Pletcher barn for the early lead.

Over on the other coast, it was a banner day for trainer John Sadler at Santa Anita. He has a nice looking three-year old colt in Exhale, a son of Millennium Wind (a $5,000 sire) who brought $800,000 as a juvenile last February, and was making his second start. In his October debut, he ran second to Notional, and that one's victory in the San Rafael on Saturday helped make Exhale the 3-10 favorite here. He didn't disappoint, rolling to a five length win at 6 1/2 furlongs. He's a half-brother to the sprinting stakes winner Private Horde.

Then Sadler took the G2 Santa Ynez with Jump On In, a three length winner over Quick Little Miss, who I still think prefers two turns. The winner got the seven furlongs 1:23.45, getting her final furlong in a nice 12.36 seconds. She's the first graded winner for her sire, the AP Indy stallion Jump Start.

1 Comment:

Walter said...

Exhale is a horse who needs to be watched. The reports indicate he wasn't anywhere near 100% today. Take a look:

EXHALE (Jan 9, Hol, 111.0)

Fast drill but got tired late while clear of a barnmate in 34.4, 58.2 drifting out 4 paths late in 110.4. May need another drill or two. Grade C+

Also of note is that he's trained by John Sadler, who does well with horses coming off extended layoffs, but generally races his good young horses into shape. I think we can expect dramatic improvememnt from this one, and he's certainly bred to go long.