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Sunday, March 18, 2007


- Curlin had shown speed in his seven furlong debut, but in the Rebel, as related by the somewhat more descriptive than usual chartcaller at Oaklawn, he did not break all that well. So he found himself in the second tier, some 5 1/2 lengths behind front running Xchanger (who hadn't shown any early speed since his debut last August). Funny that I wrote that Teuflesberg wouldn't be able to lope along on the lead in 1:12 in change considering the way I thought that the pace would set up, but had he not been unprepared for the start, he very well could have been the leader. Jamie Sanders said:

"The start really hurt him. He hopped pretty badly at the break, and that cost him position. Considering that, he ran a good race. He made a good run along with the winner, and finished well. I'm proud of him." [BRIS]
She said that he'll next start in the Lexington Stakes on April 21, just two weeks before the Derby.

When Teuflesberg tried to move up on the turn, he forced Curlin four wide, but that wasn't stopping the son of the stakes-winner producing machine Smart Strike from easily sweeping by Xchanger and Flying First Class, the latter the 9-5 favorite for Lukas, ending up 8th, ouch. He bounded to the lead, and ran straight down the stretch until bearing out a bit when I believe I saw, on the small screen on my laptop, Albarado hitting him left handed a couple of times. (I must admit that I didn't even know that the race was on ESPN as I watched the Rangers' touchdown win over the Bruins.) He got the final sixteenth in 6.55 seconds; and gained a length in a final 2 1/2 furlongs of 32.19, which is a rate of about 25.75 seconds, on a track that produced sluggish times throughout the day.

It was quite a display by a colt making only his second career start. The Arkansas Derby is to be his next race. And despite the fact that we all know that horses who make their debut in Febraury don't win Derbies, you can be sure that Jess Jackson and company didn't shell out the big bucks with any other race in mind.
“No, I never felt I was rushing the colt,” said Asmussen, who also won the Rebel in 2000 with Snuck In and 2002 with Windward Passage. “I know what he is capable of doing. So much was different for him today. This was his first time to go two turns. I needed to just see where we are with him.”

Asked if Curlin represents his best chance to win the Kentucky Derby, Asmussen said, “absolutely.” [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]
Curlin was a $57,000 bargain as a yearling, so the owners who reportedly sold a majority interest to Jackson for $3 million after his debut win made out pretty well themselves. Curlin is out of a Deputy Minister mare and this is the distaff family of the ill-fated Grade 1 winner Exogenous, and the champion juvenile filly Countess Diana (they all share the same third dam).

- Lively discussion about the Tampa Bay race, and the consensus seems to be that Street Sense may have had too hard of a race in his first try in 4 1/2 months. I had written that Frank Lyons on TVG was more concerned about the effect of the race on Any Given Saturday, and I agreed with him, but most of those who have commented seem to disagree. Interesting that Pletcher acknowledged that Street Sense was actually not in the preferred path this time, despite his saving ground.
"We got the trip we wanted...Just watching the races today I didn't think the inside was necessarily a great place to be. So we got in the position we wanted, and what can you say? We got beat by a nose to a very good horse.

"You can't take anything away from either horse's effort. I was very pleased with him. Sometimes you lose a battle, and you win the war. We'll see what happens." [Tampa Tribune]
We may not have to wait long to see what happens, as the two are both supposed to run next in the Blue Grass.

- Curlin was actually only the third stakes winner of the year for Smart Strike. Twilight Meteor and Super Freaky are the other two.


Jim L said...


Here's some news on Finger Lakes Racetrack. Thought you might be interested in this. From the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle:

Some racetracks in America are hurting, but the outlook for Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track appears bright.

The slot machines are generating revenue and some of the profits are being spent to upgrade the quality of racing and the presentation of the product to fans on-track and off-track.

The 2007 Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track live thoroughbred racing season is less than one month away, and fans figure to enjoy the most sweeping improvements in many years.

Here are some of the changes you can expect to see when the live season opens on Saturday, April 14:

Better horses running for more money in larger fields.

"We produced a brochure pointing out the advantages of racing at Finger Lakes and members of our staff went on the road to attract new trainers and horses," FLGRT president-general manager Chris Riegle said this week.

"We have one of the longest racing seasons in America and a high quality of life in a beautiful region with lots of things to do."

Riegle said purses will be up around 10 percent compared to last year, plus another 10 percent for the first 30 or so racing dates in order to lure more horses and create larger fields for the start of the season.

"For the first time in four years, we have a waiting list for stalls," he said. "We have new trainers and new horses coming in, mostly from Canada and Florida."

Improved presentation of the simulcasting product.

"We hope to be one of the first racetracks to offer high-definition TV," Riegle said. "We also spent $75,000 to upgrade our graphics package.

"It should be one of the best out there. And we'll have new satellite dishes to send clearer images."

Improvements for on-track racing fans:

There will be an upgraded grille on the upper clubhouse side. The first floor on the clubhouse side was gutted and will have free individual seating and walls covered with state-of-the-art TVs.

There will be 20 more TVs in the upstairs Paddock Room. Most of the restrooms are being renovated.

Of particular interest to racing fans, Riegle said there are long-range plans for a turf track. ("I expect that we'll have a turf course within five years.")

Night racing has been discussed again but is less likely: "Our live handle probably would increase racing weeknights instead of weekdays, but we have to study the possibility of hurting simulcasting revenues, and we'd have to have our horsemen go along with any changes.

"That could be a tough sell, and understandably so. Daytime racing and night racing are different worlds."

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see they FINALLY are putting some money into the racing product. Don't get me wrong, happy they are moving in the right direction, but do not see any mention of improving the very below average backstretch conditions.

Think a little more than a 10% purse was projected when they installed the VLTs, they are still only paying 20k per allowance race.
At that time they were hyping the eventual installation of a turf course, why do they have to wait ANOTHER FIVE YEARS???

Come on.

Anonymous said...

I admire Teuf in the sense that he is a throw back and wish him well in the Lexington. Good to see them pointing him to a race he can win. He is a grade 3 type animal, but a sound G3 type of 3yo can make a lot of dough if managed properly.

Street Sense is a major bounce candidate, but the two prep race route may work perfectly if he bounces back in the Derby.