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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Notes - March 4

- I didn't bet the Gulfstream Park Handicap, but it saved me some money. I was so anticipating seeing Corinthian (Pulpit) run, and the race was so exciting that I completely forgot about boxing Racketeer and Grand Point in the exacta, and leaving out Sinister Minister in the second at Santa Anita. I wasn't happy as they started through the stretch, but was surprised, impressed, and relieved to see Sin Min hang on gamely for second.

Corinthian's ability last year was as obvious as his volatile temperament and erratic behavior in the stretch. The way he left Jazil in his wake in his four-year old debut has definitely created a buzz, and gave him an air of potential greatness. I don't think he did anything to dispel that notion with his close, but nonetheless solid win over Hesandoldsalt. Hesanoldsalt saved all the ground both turns as Corinthian took the overland route, and he was blindswitched three wide turning for home when Hesanoldsalt crept up the rail. But he once again took command with an exciting burst on the turn. Castellano he "hesitated when he went inside" upon entering the stretch and that "he saw that horse coming at the sixteenth [pole], and he took off again." [Daily Racing Form]

Still, Hesanoldsalt pressed Corinthian until the end, with the last three-sixteenth run in 18.92, a pace of about 25 1/5 seconds. He'd run 24 second quarters throughout, and may have been tiring, but there was no way in my mind he was going to get passed.

- It was a disappointing day for Shug McGaughey; both of his Derby hopefuls figured to be hurt by their post positions, and they both were. Rescue Party was never in it after breaking poorly - again - from the rail as the 2-1 favorite. Deadly Dealer (Concerto), the first of Pletcher's five, is now yet another candidate for the Trail, winning by 7 in front running fashion.

"We weren't positive when we got him how far he'd go since his first two races were sprints on wet tracks."
"It's March 3 and it might be rushing him to get two more starts before May 5, so we might have to just take one shot with him somewhere on April 7 and see what happens," [Daily Racing Form]
Sightseeing, breaking from the almost impossible ten post in the contentious fifth race, lost the requisite amount of ground, but not too much, and certainly not the type of position and momentum lost by Chelokee (Cherokee Run), when he had to back up to last after shuffled back from being close to the pace. His remarkable recovery and easy win is the kind of move that gets people excited. Look for him to be a popular dark horse for Michael Matz if he's listed in the next futures pool.

I was alive in the Pick 3 in that race. I listened to myself in the 4th and threw out the Kimmel first-timer, taking money at 7-2, and the Steve Klesaris entry, at 2-1, yet another of his runners beaten at a short price (and the first of two on the day). I singled Pletcher's first-timer Takes My Song (Songandaprayer), and picked out three horses to lead me into victory with Corinthian. I liked the three coming out of the Hal's My Hope race - Silver Express, High Act, and Highest Degree - and they all ran dismally (Hal's My Hope was a decent 5th in the FOY). Highest Degree was dead on the board for MacPeek; and Silver Express was particularly disappointing for Zito, checking in dead last at 7-2.

I also had King of the Roxy in the Hutcheson, as the front end of a parlay with Drums of Thunder, who was very disappointing in the FOY. King of the Roxy, back to one turn, once again showed that athleticism on the turn that caught the attention of Team Valor, as he contested the lead widest of four in a line on that final turn, and emerged as the clear leader. It was actually refreshing to read Pletcher say: “Barry Irwin (Team Valor) and I talked at the beginning of the year and we decided to concentrate on one-turn races with him." [DRF] Here's one horse at least that will stick to more realistic goals.