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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Panty Raid, Pletcher Come Up Empty

- Well, I gotta pack for our departure for Saratoga early tomorrow morning; the weather is perfect and it should be a glorious trip up the Taconic. Need to do a little more handicapping for tomorrow too. I'm not complaining mind you, but the card for Sunday again leaves something to be desired. Even the early baby races are not as interesting as they often can be. And the featured John's Call, at a mile and five-eighths, is beyond this handicapper's distance capabilities. But again, I'm not whining, and thrilled to finally be headed up. (Though the card could be a bit better!)

So a few notes and then I gotta go. Panty Raid didn't look nearly as good to me as the 2-1 favorite as she did as the 4-1 third choice in the morning line. And, coming after J'Ray completely flopped in the preceding race, the Toddster vibes were not good. I really should have just gone off her, but man, imagine all the explaining I'd have had to do. But nevertheless, I wagered on her less enthusiastically, and used Lear's Princess on top as well. The latter's 10-1 morning line was simply a bad one.

What happened to Moon Catcher, who immediately took back to last, I can't say; but Tough Tiz's Sis played the speed role I expected the former to, and, after she engaged in a backstretch speed duel with Folk, they both faded badly and set the race up for closers the way I expected anyway. But Panty Raid was just empty with no excuse other than his slumping trainer on this day, and Lady Joanne, who inherited the lead from the fading front-runners, showed grim determination to hold off Lear's Princess as they labored home in a final quarter of 26.75 seconds.

The inquiry on the winner was properly dismissed I think, as the replays clearly showed that Johnny V never stopped riding on Octave when Lady Joanne bore in. Borel said Lady Joanne switched leads at the point in question, prompted by a challenge to her outside from Lear's Princess. [Daily Racing Form] And that's probably because she just didn't have enough to drive through that opening on the rail anyway before it disappeared. Lady Joanne is the first Grade 1 winner for the second year sire Orientate, currently 4th on the second crop sire list.

Pletcher had no winners with his five runners at the Spa, and watched as his 6-5 favorite Master Command fizzled in the G3 Iselin at Monmouth. The winner, Gottcha Gold, was 6-1 in the morning line, but was allowed to go off at 15-1 despite his last running line showing him holding off Lawyer Ron in the Salvatore Mile. I'm sure many bettors are aware of the latter's subsequent record-shattering performance. But Gottcha Gold's win was perceived as being merely the result of a horse left loose on the lead. Perhaps we need to take a closer look, though his final 3/8ths in 38.46 won't earn him much more support should he decide to move up to Grade 1 company. (Wasn't the Iselin a Grade 1 not too long ago?)

- I heard Ken Rudolph, on TVG, say that he joked on the air yesterday about the gate crew having a bet on the Pick Six, and he apologized for doing so. He explained that he was just making a joke but, referring obliquely to the Tim Donaghy scandal, asserted that such remarks about integrity of officials in sporting events is inappropriate these days. Rudolph's remarks particularly resonate here in New York, where the gate crew at Saratoga has experienced well-publicized problems over the last two season. Rudolph asserted that the gate crews in California are not allowed to bet on the races, and we can only assume that's the case in New York, though I personally don't know for sure.


Anonymous said...

Very important question, why is Lady Joanne pronounced Lady Joani?

Todd is sooooooo... cold. Bet against Jray yesterday based on his frigidity but used the wrong long shot. Still felt good about making the right call.

Rousing Victory's last was pure prep for this spot, should handle old man Revved Up.

Playing in Late DD with Sacred City.

Will take a big effort for Dubliner to manage his usual placing from very unfavorable post.

ljk said...

I saw yesterday's post about a possible inside bias on the main track. I'm not seeing it. The two turn races on the turf are definitely favoring speed though. When J'Ray dropped to last in the Yaddo, he had absolutely no chance.

Oh, and stalking speed is good in 2 mile races on the main track.

Is it just me, or in the past would we expect to see some kind of graded stakes on a Sunday? Four state-bred races and a restricted stakes. The weather is even turning cloudy ;)