- I'm pretty addicted right now, which is normal for me following a track trip. There once was a time when I would have found myself at the Meadowlands last night for Sunday night simulcasting, with a menu which included tracks like Fairmount Park and Detroit Race Course. Fortunately, that's no longer necessary.
I don't generally bet while I'm at work, trying to keep my professional and pari-mutuel lives separate. But I had that exacta in the second today, and then gave a little back in the sixth, in which Mister Fusaichi was another winning Churchill shipper, this one for Steve Asmussen, his 4th winner of the meeting from 24 runners. This horse set a slow pace of 50.19 and 1:15.07, but didn't exactly come home quickly to win by three in a lethargic 1:53.56.
I also bet the 7th at Del Mar. In handicapping the race, I ignored the evidence that was empirically evident in the result charts: after a day in which horses closed on the Poly out of nowhere, on Monday, speed was king. I ran second and third in the exacta (as Trevor Denman blew the call on the place horse, which you might have noticed if you had live exacta or triple bets) behind Johnny Eyes, who led every step of the way. He was the 4th horse on the day to win with all or mostly front-end speed in sprints; and the come home times were much better today than the 14's I was seeing last week. Wheaton Hall, a 20K claimer, came home in 12.67 in the 5th. So again, this track is changing every day, and it may pay to watch a couple before jumping in. Perhaps track management is making adjustments after all.
By contrast, in the 9th at Saratoga, a state-bred NW2X allowance, Brown Eyed Belle shot out to the lead in 22.70 and 44.83. She understandably tired and drifted out in a final furlong that was "run" in 14.37 seconds. 14.37! You could have read the entire Harvey Pack book and written a 750 word book report by the time they got home! And it actually took winner Western Sweep and runner-up Fighting Speedy the better part of the stretch to get by the collapsing front runner.
Reader ljk left a humorously critical comment about Edgar Prado's ride on Marcavelly in the feature race (won, in his turf debut, by Nobiz Like Shobiz), noting that it took three full lines in the results chart to describe it.
Marcavelly was taken in hand along the inside leaving the first turn, saved ground while just off the pace along the backstretch...[nothing wrong here as of yet]...waited patiently while saving ground on the turn....[still sounds OK to me]....took up while lacking room as he made his move at the three sixteenths pole, altered course between horses in midstretch, bobbled while gaining in deep stretch and finished strongly but could not get up.Jeez, who was the chart caller today, J. K. Rowling? I watched the race, and, at least from the pan shot, it doesn't look quite as eventful as described. Haven't seen the head-on yet, but no doubt he had some rough going in the stretch run, and he did finish very well. I'm not going to hang Prado though; he saved ground as I would want him to, and it just didn't work out this time. I think that the fast and sudden fade of Sahara Heat didn't help matters. Besides, Nobiz Like Shobiz was solidly three wide on both turns, and looked a bit lathered up as well.
So I think he was probably the best horse in the race in any event. But I don't think that Tagg will necessarily keep him on the grass; his second in the Dwyer, in which he earned a career best 103 Beyer, looks a bit better now after the Haskell.
And I wonder if Ahmed Zayat has any second thoughts about bothering to ship his horses out of Del Mar in a moment of anger when he sees speed hold on the Del Mar Poly like it did today. On Wednesday, we'll see the first of his Baffert-trained shippers at Saratoga when his $4.5 million Vindication colt Maimonides makes his debut. He was scratched from opening day at Del Mar, and I wrote about his stellar pedigree in this post.
- I'm told there was finally some rain up there today. Watching the grass races yesterday, they were kicking up a lot of dirt, so I'm sure that the showers were welcome. Steve Crist, writing in his Cristblog, concurs that the grass could use some rain, and adds:
..When it eventually gets some, it may be worthwhile later in the meeting to play against some of the front-runners who were helped by a rock-hard course the opening two weeks. [Daily Racing Form]