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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wednesday Racing

- Moudez (Xaar) was 6-5 in the Laurel Futurity, his North American debut, last November for Bill Mott. Prior to that, he had raced twice in England, and finished third in a Group 3 stakes. But on the yielding course, Moudez dropped back to dead last in the field of 14, and was never close, losing by 18 lengths. Ugh.

That was his last race until the 4th at Gulfstream on Wednesday. 12-1 morning line from the outside 12 post, he went off at 5-1, but was left at the gate, breaking a good five lengths behind the field. Cornelio Velasquez hustled him up to the back part of the pack, where he stayed until taking off like a rocket around the turn, sweeping the field four wide on the turn, and scooting away in the stretch. The last three eighths went in 35.37; final furlong in 11.34 on the lightning fast course. Still, pretty eye-catching times.

I speculated on Saturday that Shug McGaughey may be ready to break out, but he had a rough weekend. His two Derby hopefuls, Rescue Party and Sightseeing, had rough trips at short odds. On Wednesday, Shug got into the winner's circle with Criminologist, a three-quarters brother to Rescue Party.

And when Fan Time desperately held on to take the feature 8th race, a five furlong sprint, it marked the fifth winner in a row at Gulfstream for trainer Wesley Ward. The former jockey has an overall record of 25-10-5-2 for the meeting.

- At Santa Anita, Les Grands Trois (Officer), making his first start for Bobby Frankel since blowing away maidens at Belmont in July, unleashed a powerful late rally to collar Black Seventeen, who had been pretty impressive himself in his only prior effort, which came just a month after that of the winner. The win, the 869th of his career at Santa Anita, tied Frankel with Charlie Whittingham for the all-time training record at the track.