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Monday, June 18, 2007

Odds and Ends

- Patrick wrote to point out that it would be weird of me to go around randomly photographing young girls at Belmont, so I should point out that the photo in this post features my daughter Kayla on the left, and the Head Chef's daughter Chloe on the right. For a change, they didn't have anymore luck picking winners than I did.

We all needed Democrat in the 5th; Kayla said she liked the name (her proud father reports). Trainer Mike Hushion is another guy winning at a high percentage at Belmont - he has 11 winners from just 36 runners, for a percentage of 31%. In fact, the only trainer not named Pletcher that I see with a higher batting average is Jimmy Jerkens at 32% (seven for 22, and three winners in the last three days). Democrat hadn't been out since the Republicans still controlled both houses of Congress; but Hushion had scored just the day before with Leadwithyourchin at 14-1 in that one's first start since the White Sox were still the reigning World Champions. So I was all in on Democrat, but he couldn't quite catch favored Baby Rusch, the first of two winners on the day for Bruce Levine, no slouch himself at 11 for 42.

Pletcher continues to roll; he took the early double. The only reason he trails Contessa by three wins for the training title is because the latter has started a mere 117 more horses!! Oh man! The Toddster stands at a ridiculous 62-21-9-12, for 34% winners; 68% in the money. He took the first baby grass race of the year with first-timer Sea Chanter - and remember how well Pletcher did with first-time starters on the grass at Saratoga last year. This filly is by War Chant out of an Easy Goer mare who's a half-sister to the successful sire Mutakddim; and this is the family of Bluegrass Cat (the Phipps-bred Dance Number is the third dam of each).

It was a funny betting day with something for all the dads and fans that were there. Heavy favorites won the first five races (including Reverberate, finally getting his first win since May of 2005), but longshots dominated the balance of the card to the point that there's a $72,000 Pick Six carryover for Wednesday. The final straw was the 10th race winner Turning Leaves, a 24-1 first-timer for the aforementioned Bruce Levine, by the aforementioned sire Mutakddim, an excellent first-out stallion.

And I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt that said "Grandpa is my name / Spoiling is my game." Yeah, always easy for the grandparents, eh? I betcha that the parents won't find that very funny when the objects of grandpa's spoiling become teenagers.