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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Surf Cat Comes Up Short

- Surf Cat fell just short in his first race in nearly 14 months; his desperate late rally failed to catch Bilo in the Grade 1 Triple Bend. This seems to have been a very oddly bet race. For one thing, the winner was 30-1 in the morning line, but went off at only 9-1 (and he was 11-1 as they went past the quarter pole). Looking at his form, I don't think anyone would have been shocked if he went off at his morning line price. Bilo had a long layoff of his own; this was his third race after being gone for 18 months. And though his last was a nice allowance win, it didn't point him out as a Grade 1 winner. At least to me; I guess somebody got it. But I don't, do you?

Silent Name was also bet much lower than I would have expected; at 9-5, he was a close second choice to 8-5 Surf Cat. Perhaps the bettors thought that he would replicate his stakes winning form on the Poly at Keeneland on the Cushion Track. Or perhaps, as a Japan-bred, he got some support from the contingent in town with the Japanese horses who ran in the Cash Call and American Oaks. Silent Name finished dead last.

Surf Cat briefly had to check around the turn, but he saved all the ground, and had dead aim at the winner. The final furlong was run in 13.10 seconds. So Bruce Headley's horse had little excuse, other than the layoff. Which isn't always as big of an excuse these days as it used to be. Still, Alex Solis was pleased. "To run this kind of race after so long is a great tribute to Bruce. Even though he lost I think it's a big win." [Bloodhorse]

And how about Panty Raid giving Pletcher his second straight American Oaks win, and doing it in her first-ever try on the grass? (Though she did have two fine efforts on Polytrack, which has been a pretty reliable indicator of turf ability.) When the subject of whipping came up here recently, an anonymous reader wrote: The one jockey in new york who uses the whip properly, i.e. as little as possible, every time is Edgar Prado. watch him. If you watch him in this race, you'll see that despite facing a host of pursuers after entering the stretch with the lead in this $750,000 Grade 1 race, Prado mostly hand rode Panty Raid, going to a left-handed whip once in upper stretch, then again twice...maybe three times when Valbenny looked as if she might go by. Panty Raid promptly responded and was drawing away from the runner-up under a hand ride at the wire.

Panty Raid is by Include out of a Private Account mare, and she's the second Grade 1 winner for this sophomore sire, with Cash Included being the other.

Nice day for the Toddster, who also ran one-two with English Channel and Honey Ryder in the UN Stakes at Monmouth. The all-Todd exacta returned $9.40.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

River's Prayer: Perfectly appropriate that the only grey filly in the race would win the Princess Rooney, my favorite filly, grey or otherwise, of all time.

In other news, Bilo, Borat's troubled brother, holds off Surf Cat and Panty Raid returns in the pink (sorry).