- Reporting from Dubai, the Guardian's Greg Wood relates some scary first- and secondhand observations of Discreet Cat.
To date in his unbeaten six-race career, he has been discreet by name and nature, appearing only rarely to win with complete authority, and only once at Grade One level. Looking at him yesterday, though, it was clear that this could be the year when patience has its reward.Godolphin's Simon Crisford told Chris McGrath of The Independent:
The consensus among those who had seen Discreet Cat race in the flesh last season, when his five wins included the Grade One Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, was that he looks like a different horse. He is taller, stronger, a colt whose body has developed into an ideal match for his exceptional engine, and under the lights at Nad Al Sheba racecourse on Saturday night, Frankie Dettori will get a chance to work through his gears. [Guardian]
"The horse has definitely matured....As a two-year-old, he still had a lot of development to make.Regarding Discreet Cat breaking from the one post, note that Frankie Dettori rode the late Electrocutionist to victory in last year's World Cup from that same post; that was the first time in the 11-year history of the race that the rail horse had won.
"We needed to handle him carefully, let him grow into his frame. Over the past year he has become physically stronger. He's definitely more settled, while at the same time remaining an alert type. He's a horse on his game. Which is as it should be, because he's about to face the biggest test of his life." [Independent]
- Albany TV Channel 9 reported yesterday that NYRA and the state are close to hammering out an agreement on the Aqueduct racino, and where have we heard that before? The report says that a remaining sticking point is the distribution of VLT funds; NYRA is prohibited from doing so due to its bankruptcy, and a new arrangement would have the state distribute the funds back to NYRA and MGM. Huh? The report also says that NYRA will be back in bankruptcy court on April 11 to finalize the plan. However, April 10 and 11 are the dates that have been set by Gov Spitzer for the public circus that will be the new and improved (as in, more money) presentations by the franchise bidders. Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey will be at the Garden during that time, so maybe they can hold the hearings right there in the center ring.
Excelsior Racing insists that they remain in the running despite the news that Steve Swindal's wife (George Steinbrenner's daughter) is filing for divorce. According to the NY Times: When Swindal leaves the family, he will effectively leave the Yankees.
According to an individual with direct knowledge of the matter, Steinbrenner no longer plans to promote him, and he would seem to have no future with the team.I suppose that gets Bud Selig off the hook. But considering that Swindal was the public face of the group, and that he promoted his ties to the club's YES Network as part of Excelsior's appeal, it's fair to speculate as to what will happen to their bid. Perhaps another member of the Steinbrenner clan will step in. Who knows, maybe the Boss himself?
- The Daily Racing Form will break out statistics for synthetic surfaces starting on Thursday (though they don't seem to be in the Formulator pp's as of yet). The line, labeled 'synth' (which makes me recall looking at the credits on a Yes album) is squeezed in between 'Wet' and 'Turf,' looking uncomfortable and forlorn without a Tomlinson rating of its own.
- I guess this week is about it for Gulfstream. Though the meet drags on until April 22, expect to see the major trainers and jockeys split to head up north after this weekend, with a three week layover at Keeneland starting a week from Friday.
In Wednesday's third, English Colony, 12-1 morning line off a distant 10th place finish at a route on the turf, got bet to 7-1 in a five furlong dash, and rallied to run off by three for Angel Penna Jr. He's a three-year old from the first crop of the champion, or should I say, world champion Rock of Gibraltar, who is spending the 2007 breeding season in Japan.