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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Catching Up

- Time to try and get back up to speed at Saratoga. From what I've seen and read, the racing has just been fantastic, and a glimpse at Saturday's charts shows why. The ten race card contained only one field as small as eight runners; and in only three of the races was there a horse that started at odds of less than 2-1. One of those was Dream Rush, who proved to be impervious to the speed challengers that were thought to be.

Sunday's card is not quite as stellar, and features a string of four straight state-bred races, but I think I can manage OK.

Dave Litfin, writing in the paid DRF Plus section of the Form (but also in today's print edition), provided a nice recap of the profiles of the winners there thus far, for those of us who may have been out of town. One trend he discusses that I distinctly recall from last year, particularly during the early weeks of the meeting, is the success of horses shipping in from Churchill. Litfin singles out turf routes, juvenile races, and three-year old dirt races as areas at which those shippers have been successful.

And wouldn't you know it, Smart Bunny comes in from Churchill for Neil Howard and takes Sunday's opener, despite coming out of a couple of maiden specials there that have not proven to be strong heats based on their participants' subsequent races. This three year old daughter of Smart Strike is a neck removed from being unbeaten. (And wow, a nice $48 exacta on the second and third choices in order.)

And that curious string of failure for Todd Pletcher, "struggling" along at 39-6-0-5 coming into Sunday (still good for the second most wins, behind Mott), continued in the second when his first-time starter Lucky Copy (Unbridled's Song) ran a no-threat third. The Toddster is now 1 for his last 30 with first-time two-year olds on the dirt at Saratoga. Longshot winner Morakami, making her debut for Rusty Arnold, is by Fusaichi Pegasus, a pretty good debut sire at 11%, out of a stakes winning daughter of Concern who's a half-sister to the Pennsylvania Derby winner Love Of Money. Morakami was ridden by Rafael Bejarano, who I just saw, seemingly a few hours ago, winning the G1 Mabee with Precious Kitten at Del Mar! Perhaps he was on the same redeye flight as me! He certainly looks to be feeling fitter than I am at this point.

And damn, another Churchill winner in the third; this one from Wallace Dollase, his second winner of the meeting.

1 Comment:

jeff said...

I thought Smart Bunny's win was visually impressive, considering the way he started way wide into the 1st turn.

Glad to have you back on the right coast (no political inference intended, of course). My sense from your writings is that Del Mar was a real nice vacation, and a worthwhile experience, but that your heart remains back east, in your comfort zone, with the Spa just to your north, and Belmont and the Big A in your backyard.