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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Notes - Aug 12

- One of the criticisms of the Breeders Cup Challenge is that the distances of some of the qualifying races are not entirely relevant to the Championship race they are guaranteeing spots for. Some mentioned the disparity between the nine furlong Diana won by My Typhoon, and the mile and three-eighths F&M Turf, a distance which does seem a stretch for Bill Mott's mare (no disrespect intended to anything associated with that barn right now). But Royal Highness and Jambalaya, who qualified for the F&M Turf and the Turf respectively with their "win and you're in" wins at Arlington, are horses that actually seem more proficient at the longer BC races than the stakes they won on Saturday on what was apparently a course far soggier than the 'good' condition would indicate. Jim O'Donnell, reporting in the Chicago Tribune, wrote that green alligators and Salt Creek toads might have felt more at home on the course.

Royal Highness had never even attempted shorter than a mile and three eighths before the Beverly D. (at 1 3/16). But the pace, a second faster than Sunriver to the half; and a full two seconds quicker to the three-quarters, was fast enough to set up her late run that collared Irridescence in the final strides. This five-year old daughter of the German sire Monsun will feel right at home should she attempt the 11 furlongs of the F&M Turf. She was second in a Grade 1 against males in France last year, and seems to be a legit Breeders Cup horse.

For Christophe Clement, that's his second Grade 1 winner in a row, coming a couple of weeks after In Summation won the Crosby at Del Mar. This guy is really training lights out these days - he's 13-4-4-1 at Saratoga, and hitting a solid .250 for the year. He's won with 23% of his graded stakes runners over the last two years; Pletcher's average is 24% (albeit with like a million more runners).

Citronnade was a big disappointment as the 2-1 favorite. The race chart says she hit the gate, and it looked like the '2' horse knocked her a bit sideways shortly thereafter. So she wasn't even close to the lead, and other than a brief wide foray on the turn, she showed little. Frankel said he could tell after a sixteenth-mile that she was laboring over the wet turf. [Louisville Courier-Journal]

Jambalaya, I think, is another worthy qualifier who'd been more successful recently at longer distance. But designating the Secretariat, a race restricted to three-year olds, as a Challenge race seemed a bit off kilter, especially with it being on the same card as the Million. The Sword Dancer would have obviously been a more logical choice, and one with a result which I don't believe would have displeased the BC folks at ll. Grand Couturier has the looks of a legitimate dark horse who excels at the mile and a half distance; he finished a good third in the same race last year, and was just two lengths behind Arc winner Rail Link in a G1 in France last summer.

But having said that, Secretariat winner Shamdinan (whose 4th dam is the dam of the murdered Epsom/Irish Derby winner Shergar) is an intriguing colt himself; the Secretariat was only his sixth start (and first for Doug O'Neill); he was third in a French G1 in his 4th. And I think that the Breeders Cup is thrilled to see a European get the automatic berth given criticism regarding the foreign contingent being put at a disadvantage by the concept.

- Two more winners for Mott at Saratoga on Sunday, man! He's now 44-13-6-7; four ahead of Pletcher. Crystal Minuet graduated in her 4th start, never seeing the rail from the 10 post, and running down the leaders late after it looked she might stall at the sixteenth pole. This three-year old Kinsman-bred daughter of Theatrical is out of Crystal Symphony, a graded winner on the grass; and a half-sister to the likewise Classic Campaign.

Posted won easily again, following up successfully on his smashing maiden win which earned a 111 Beyer at Belmont. This gelded four-year old NY-bred drew away in hand to win by seven in a final time of 1:21.74; By comparison, Mott's three-year old filly Quota (another winning Churchill shipper) won her open allowance race in 1:23.21. And Posted accomplished this while repeatedly gazing out to the grandstand during the stretch run, obviously wondering why he didn't get one of those chairs.

This is one NY-bred with some fascinating bloodlines. He's by Gone West, out of the British champ Known Fact; and since the latter is actually a half-brother to Gone West's dam Secrettame, Posted is very closely inbred, 2x2, to that half-brother/sister combo; and 3x3 to their broodmare Tamerett.


Walter said...

I'm glad you mentioned the "Win and You're In!" program, because something occured to me over the weekend. I'm not sure if this has been addressed or not. What happens if the horse who wins is BC-ineligible? Would they still have to put up the supplemental fee in order to run?

Handride said...

Yeah, they have to post the money. it happened in the first weekend, one of those horses is not nominated i'm pretty sure.

Michael said...

Also, last year I think Gorella would have won a free spot in the F&M Turf but went in the Mile instead... I wonder what happens when a horse wins a spot in one division and wants in another?

Lawyer Ron looks more suited for the Dirt Mile, if you ask me...

30for60 said...

Jambayla was a $2500 purchase by Trainer Mark Casse at one of the kentucky yearling slaes. He was sold to now tranier Catherine Day Phillips who could not book him at a total syndicate tag of $40,000. I believe she bought in over and above her original investment for a higher % of ownership. Now he has bankrolled over $1.5 million and seems headed for better days. Good to see there is still value in this game.

Walter said...

The big problem i have with the "win and you're in" program is that it may cause the exclusion of legitmate contenders (notably Europeans, who aren't competing in these races). For instance, what happens if one of these automatic-berth horses sees their form take a nosedive in the months leading up to the Breeders Cup? Or what if there's simply a better horse who's on the bubble? I just don't understand why this program is necessary.