- Godolphin's Council Member, bet to even money against just three opponents in his U.S. debut, was out of the picture in Thursday's feature at Belmont as the other three passed the quarter pole. But once they turned for home, he came charging like a wild horse, looking a lot greener than a five-year old with 12 lifetime starts, ducking in and out a bit along the way. The son of Seattle Slew was group stakes placed at six furlongs as a two-year old, and showed a big burst of speed at that distance here.
Trainer Pat Kelly scored with his second bombshell in two days. On Wednesday, he saddled 13-1 Precise Lady; on Thursday it was Tuffy Gold, who at 17-1, actually was bet I think. He was 20-1 morning line going dirt to turf, and his grass form was just awful. He could have been 40-1, and no one would have blinked. Kelly had just four wins this year prior to this pair, and is due for some better fortune.
Mini Sermon won the third for Pletcher, and I think his $6.70 win price was a very fair one.
- Steven Crist reports in the Form on the New York franchise situation, and as I mentioned earlier, his information comes as no surprise, especially after the initial reports of the unliklihood of a decision before the legislature adjourns.
According to three different people involved in the current bidding, Gov. Eliot Spitzer's initial timetable for picking an operator by the end of May is off the table, and the most likely scenario is a virtual restart of the entire process while NYRA receives a short-term extension for a year or two past the current franchise expiration date of Dec. 31, 2007. [DRF]