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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Race of the Day

- There were some nice races at Gulfstream on Wednesday, as the winter racing season moves into its peak season. As unappealing as the new Gulfstream sounds to me, the racing remains a lure. As much as Andy Beyer complained a couple of weeks ago about how it is the most dysfunctional racetrack in America, he's still there (and still complaining).

The fifth race, the Race of the Day, was a maiden special for four year olds on the grass. And it was the first of three heavy favorites to go down for Pletcher, on a rough day for Team Todd. Mantle (here it comes...) slipped his backers a mickey (sorry) as the 7-10 favorite. He couldn't quite shake The Cuban Hawke up front though, so as they turned for home, the race seemed primed for a closer.

But not for Rising Moon, you wouldn't think. He was close up in 4th early, but at this point, he looked as if he was being left behind, losing ground instead of gaining. Track announcer Larry Collmus noted that "One True Thing circles the field into 5th, going by Rising Moon." I wouldn't have given much for a ticket on him at 8-1 at that moment, and even less so when With Honour drifted out in front of him in upper stretch. But with Edgar Prado aboard, he found his stride around the eighth pole, and came flying home in a frantic finish to nip With Honour and hold off the fast closing Dynaski on the outside in a blanket three horse photo. (And as always, go to Cal Racing, sign up one time, and check out the replays.)

Rising Sun is trained by one Roberto Calvo, Richard Dutrow's Man Near Havana during his latest suspension. Calvo now has three winners, two seconds and a third from nine runners. Life goes on indeed. This colt had been out of action for almost 14 months, and was making his first start for the Dutrow barn, and third lifetime. He's a son of the newly pensioned Runaway Groom, who I saw win the Travers in 1982, and with whom I posed for a photo when I went on a breeding farm tour in Lexington several years ago. I'll have to try and scan that and post it one of these days. He's 28 years old, gosh.

The sixth was the filly race I posted about last night. And while I thought that Extra Classy would be bet lower than Silverinyourpocket (Silver Deputy), I didn't imagine the latter would be 9-2. But it would be an extreme case of redboarding if I said I'd have had her at that overlaid price. The fact is that I probably would have figured she was dead on the board. Magical Ride did get cooked on the lead; not by Jerkens' horse, but by 50-1 Miss Willow. Neither Magical Ride nor Pletcher's 8-5 favorite, closer to the lead than I thought she'd be, could keep up, and the winner ran off by six. She's now two-for-two, with both of those on sealed tracks.

Justa Streak checked in 4th at 7-5 in the 8th, completing another hat trick for Pletcher, though this one of the dismal variety. Barbican was livelier on the board this time as the 5-2 second choice, but not so much on the track. He suffered a wide trip around the turn, and came up empty when it mattered. Political Force slipped up the inside for his second win of the meet, and the 11th for Allen Jerkens out of 34 starters.