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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Belmont Day Looking Glorious

- Revitalized by the entry of Rags to Riches, the Belmont will have seven go to the post; Patrick Biancone, who had intended to run Timed Squared, backed away from the filly like a GOP presidential candidate from George Bush; and Larry Roman did not enter Digger. The weather forecast is glorious for the rest of the week, and it should be a spectacular day of racing. I'd expect a crowd of around 60,000 or so. As intriguing as the entry of the filly makes the race, I don't really think it will make much of a difference in the attendance.

Curlin is the 6-5 favorite, while Rags to Riches is listed at 3-1. I think a lot of people would be quite happy to see her go off at that price. Pletcher said: "Aside from having testicles, she has it all."

“One of the things I wanted to make sure was that running her was not going to compromise anything we were going to do with her in the future or harm her value. What we are giving up by running a 3-1 shot in the Belmont is running a 1-5 shot in the Mother Goose (gr. I). The Mother Goose is not necessarily going to make history for her or change her value. I think this was more exciting.” [Bloodhorse]
So I'm inclined to give the Toddster, who says it was strictly his decision, credit for showing some of the sportsmanship that Mr. Tafel was accused of lacking. I know some commenters criticized Pletcher for not intending to run any of his colts in the race, but I just don't know who he would run. His quintet from the Derby were soundly beaten, and Scat Daddy and Any Given Saturday came out of the race with minor injuries.

Here's the history on fillies in the Belmont:
The only fillies who won the Belmont were Ruthless, who in 1867 won the first running, and Tanya, who won in 1905. Since 1980, four fillies ran in the Belmont: Genuine Risk finished second in 1980, Winning Colors finished sixth in 1988, My Flag finished third in 1996, and Silverbulletday finished seventh in 1999. [New Orleans Times Picayune]
- Old Friends, the thoroughbred retirement home to which the TBA makes a donation in the name of our point standings winner each year, will be featured on the CBS Evening News.

- Handle continues to plummet at Philadelphia Park.
Betting on horses at the racetrack is down $6 million — 15 percent — in the first four months of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006, state statistics indicate.
A spokesman for the National Thoroughbred Horse Racing Association called the numbers “startling.” Nationwide, the association noted a 1 percent decrease in betting between 2005 and 2006, from $3.58 billion to $3.54 billion. []
Noting that all the racing fans are being herded into the fifth floor of the grandstand, Michael Ballezzi, executive director of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, said: “The current track facility is terrible for horseracing fans and people are staying away in record numbers." The state's Gaming Board has agreed to allow the horsemen to “intervene” in future hearings on the track's recently-stated intention to abandon its promise to build a standalone slots facility and to keep the machines where they are now.

- Hunch bets of the day:

Begone 9th at Indiana Downs
Cold War - 3rd at Woodbine
Guitars N Cadilacs - 4th at Stampede Park

- And to the reader who emailed me privately regarding the clubhouse seats at Saratoga, my replies have been blocked by your firewall (which I unfortunately do not have in place to block spam comments from TVG). Yes, you can wear dress shorts, or any other kind of shorts as long as you're not being fresh.


Steven said...

I am pumped for the Belmont now. This filly could make it a historic event. Street Sense or Rags ? I would rather have Rags running. Only one loss and that was her first start and she was "leftathegate". Pletcher gets his first Triple Crown event.

alan said...

I have to say that I'm rather surprised that she is listed as the third choice in the morning line. We don't yet know how good Curlin is; but I think she'll bury Hard Spun. Gomez will be waving bye bye and getting a view of her rear end this time. I'd like to see some head-to-head odds on that one.

ljk said...

I'm assuming your confidential emailer is talking about Spa clubhouse seats and not tables or boxes. While he probably wouldn't get tossed in shorts, he might not feel too comfortable.

I congratulate him on getting clubhouse seats. I've been attending every year for 18 years and am still at the mercy of the lottery, while other "season ticket holders" simply renew. Other "favored" guests get preferred seats for major stakes at NYRA's whimsy. Let a Maitre'd take a tip though, and he'll get fired.

Among many more important things, I'm hoping for a new operator that allocates Saratoga tickets fairly,(a possibility)and pledges fewer horrible NY-bred restricted races(an impossibility - but please no state-bred maiden claiming races at the Spa this year).

There, I feel better...

Hawken said...

I visited Old Friends a couple months ago when I was down for the Bluegrass. Everyone there was ultra friendly, and they really love the horses. I was lucky enough to spend a few moments with the owner while on the tour and this guy is a real character. They have a miniature (shetland I guess) on the farm that is more of a house pet to him and (as I witnessed) he loves to give the little guy kisses when he comes back to the farm from errands etc. I also like the fact that they aren't just trying to save famous horses - they have just as many 50start claimers as they do stakes winners. This is a great operation, and I look forward to the news piece.

Hawken said...

I also want to comment about something else that looks glorious on Belmont Day - the Woody Stephens! This is a pretty stout race, and I am looking forward to seeing Tberg and Stormello get back to the sprints. I'm also very interested to see what Street Magician looks like, as he was really impressive last out.

Valerie said...

Damn, Alan, in the third at Woodbine, Cold War paid $38.40 for the win! You're too good :)