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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gomez Strikes Back

- Garrett Gomez responds to the criticism of his ride in the Belmont:

"If [Hard Spun] breaks a length in front, sure, I'm going to let him go ahead. But that isn't the way it worked. When I got outbroke by a length and a half by Prado [riding C P West], pretty much my hands were tied, unless I sent him, and the whole idea was to get him to settle. Once you get him going, you're not going to get him slowed down. If I wanted to go any faster, the pace was just going to wind up hurting me in the end.

"So I took back a little, dropped in for a second because [Prado] was going to take [Hard Spun] out to the parking lot, and once he started to drop back in, I moved back to the outside. I didn't want to be down inside, and I had Curlin trapped down inside. It was an ideal situation.

"I was in a great stalking position. The race was in my hands from that point on. At the half-mile pole, we're head and head for the lead, and I'm waiting to press the 'go' button. But when it came time to race for the money, there was nothing there." [NY Post]
We're of course hoping to see the big two (Street Sense and Curlin) plus one (Hard Spun) in the Haskell, where the distance may be more suitable for the latter. Curlin seems set for the race, and Monmouth VP Dennis Dowd is being cautious when he says: "..We'll probably get one of the other two -- either Street Sense or (Kentucky Derby runner-up) Hard Spun. Maybe both." However, on a more ominous note:
[GM Bob] Kulina said he recently spoke to Carl Nafzger, the trainer of Street Sense, and came away encouraged by what he heard -- despite industry rumors that the first-ever Juvenile and Derby winner, recently sold to Darley Stud for a reported $50 million, might not race again. [Newark Star Ledger]
That's an industry rumor that I haven't heard, but one that is based on reality and recent history. As a Derby winner, Darley probably doesn't need anything more from Street Sense, whereas I'm sure they would like to see Hard Spun repair his slightly tarnished reputation. The skeptic in me says that a win in the Haskell could prove to be the latter's last race, at least against this crew. I don't believe that Darley is anxious to see him run beyond eight or nine furlongs ever again, no matter who rides him. The Star-Ledger also reports that Scat Daddy, Any Given Saturday, Delightful Kris, and Cobalt Blue are possibilities for the race.

A reader asked whether there are any reports about the demand for Breeders Cup tickets, and the Form quotes a Monmouth spokesperson as saying: "It looks like we are oversubscribed for the tickets allotted."
More than 4,600 online orders were received. Approximately 1,100 more arrived by mail for the 15,000 seats available for public sale. Each order application was limited to four tickets.
Also be advised that:
When allocating seats, preference will be given to those ordering seats for both Friday and Saturday, although that was not a requirement for Saturday seats.
As Eminem once said: "That's pretty shitty, man." I don't recall anything on the application indicating that those who ordered for both days would get preference, do you? Not that most of us would be in position to go both days anyway. The crowd on Saturday will be limited to around 45,000.

- And reader ljk inquired about Tiz Wonderful, and asked if we think that Asmussen would consider running him in the Travers with Curlin if he was ready. But Marty McGee indicates in the Form that he would try and keep them separated; keep in mind that Stonerside, one of the Curlin partners, is the owner of Tiz Wonderful.
"He's been back to loping pretty strongly for a while now," Asmussen said, adding that he'd like to run Tiz Wonderful in the Jim Dandy on July 29 at Saratoga.


Anonymous said...

In re: the Gomez ride - C P West was well off the rail right from the start, seemingly begging Gomez to take the lead and the rail...he could have easily just sauntered up there and saved ground, but went wide instead. Seems like a bad decision to me. And he had 'em right where he wanted when on even turns w/the eventual 1-2 finishers??? He really thought he'd outkick those 2 home? His only chance was to use his natural speed to open up a good sized lead and try to hold them off. I still don't think he would have won, but that doesn't mean Gomez didn't butcher the ride. He did.
In re: Haskell, Travers, etc. - I have attended every Travers since 1986 and barring serious misfortune between now and 8/25, I will be there, sitting in Sec. J as always, so, when it comes to which race I want to see snag the best field, obviously I'm hoping for the Travers. I've never really believed that we'll see SS run again, but I am holding out hope that we'll get SS, Curlin, and RTR in late August...along w/new and improved versions of NoBiz, Any Given, maybe Sightseeing...not likely, but I'll keep hoping.

Patrick J Patten said...

Yeah I did know about the preference so it had to be on there somewhere. Sorry, you gotta read the fine details. There was an option that if you wanted Fri & Sat but didn't get Sat, then you wouldn't get Fri, so that was nice of them. either way with only 15k tickets you knew it was going to oversell no matter what the price, and the small allotment is probably the reason for the high price.

Unknown said...

Chelokee's name was mentioned in a comment a few posts back. He is entered in a Grade 3 at Churchil Saturday. Zanjero and Sam P. are also entries.

I don't think the most hardened cynics are those who believe Street Sense will never race again. They are the ones who think he'll have one more next year's Dubai World Cup vs. Invasor.

Michael said...

If you ask me, Darley is better off with Street Sense running at 4, since they'd probably like one more year to get as much out of Street Cry as they can without Street Sense being next door.

But then again, I know I'm just dreaming.

Superfecta said...

I'm curious to hear whether I got BC tickets as well; I knew about the 'preference' but I am not planning to go on Friday unless they really do make it an event.

I'm glad Gomez got his side across and although I had not heard the SS rumors either, I can't say I'm surprised. He may run once next year, but I guarantee he ducks Rags to Riches.

Anonymous said...

Totally disagree with Papachach. Gomez had Hard Spun in an absolute perfect spot. Problem wasn't the ride, it was that he had no horse turning for home. Wouldn't have made an ounce of difference if he was on the rail or three wide. R2R was widest of them all the whole way around, difference was Johnny V had horse, simple as that. Hard Spun will never beat these horses in races over a mile.