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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Final Week in Motion

- It's the final week at Saratoga, and I'd been alternating between planning a full attack mode and just chilling and enjoying the expected fine weather coming up for the holiday weekend. Then I nailed the 8th race exacta cold at Del Mar on Monday, and my NYRA Rewards account is replenished..

For a guy who I feel I've mentioned a lot during the meet, Graham Motion only had two winners going into Travers weekend. But he's doubled that total since then, most recently stealing Monday's finale with Chief Running Bear. He has three live looking runners and a first-timer scheduled to run in the next two days (Wed and Thurs), and I believe I picked each one of them on top for my Saratoga Special picks. Gotta be a winner in there somewhere. On Wednesday, he has the morning line favorite in two races. Adriano, who closed very well for second, at 8-1, in his debut here on 8/3, goes in Race 4. He'll be ridden by Ramon Dominguez, who piloted both of the trainer's aforementioned recent winners. By AP Indy, this juvenile is closely related to the Haskell/Belmont winner Bet Twice (whose dam is the third dam of Adriano). And in the 6th, we have Going Day, also with Dominguez, second here on 8/6 despite being very wide from the 11 post every step of the way at the same 1 3/16 distance. This daughter of the Irish stud Daylami was an expensive yearling purchase who may be starting to pay dividends here in the U.S. She's out of a half-sister to the Super Derby winner Arch.

One more horse I like today; something a bit more subtle, at 10-1 morning line. In the 7th, He's a Pioneer steps up in class after being claimed by trainer Enrique Arroyo (who earlier in the meet popped River Mountain Rd at 14-1). This gelding tired to a distant 4th at 8-5 when haltered in his last. But note that the race was a mile and an eighth around two turns, his only such effort. Around one, this is an ultra-consistent sort who has otherwise won four races with two seconds and a third in ten tries. Two races back, he won in allowance company at Belmont, and that has turned into one of those "hidden" key races - each horse that he beat came back to run in the money in their next start. Cornelio Velasquez, who rode the trainer's longshot winner here, hops aboard for the ride. So this one looks like some potential value in a very competitive race....if you're looking for others for exotics, you may have to take....a wide stance.

- Santa Anita will unveil its new Cushion Track surface for training on Sept 4. Golden Gate is ahead of schedule with their new Tapeta Footing, which will open for training on Oct 6.

And it's the latter surface on which horses will compete for big money - some $520,000 per day - at the new Presque Isle Downs track in Erie, PA which opens on Sept 1. Scott Lake is one of many who will be shipping there to take advantage. "I have horses at seven different tracks....and I'm shipping from everywhere." [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review] Lake will be stabling 24 horses there; Steve Asmussen will have 30, and John Servis and Graham Motion are amongst the others who will be there.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...


Graham Motion sat in his seat before and during the running of the last on Monday as if he were bored.

When the gates opened, he watched the monitor. As they came around the first time, he took a quick look with his binoculars, then rubbed his temples, and then watched the rest of the race on the monitor.

He looked like a poker player holding a royal flush, but a guy with a heartbeat in the lower 20's. Let's say he was very relaxed.

After the horse came across the wire, he took out his Blackberry, typed a message or two, and then walked down the aisle, of course, headed to the winner's circle.