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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Head Chef Stable

- The Head Chef wants her own virtual stable after I read her Jim L's comment and we both realized that Stunt Man, the upset winner of the More Than Ready stakes, was the horse that she spotted Pletcher checking out intently in the paddock at Saratoga. I barely even noticed anyone besides Tiz Wonderful and EZ Warrior when looking at the race, and didn't make the connection at all. $25.20, oh man. She was pretty disappointed with me. So I'm setting her up for email notification. She wants to know if she can name the stable (The Head Chef Stable?) and get colors. So far, it's a three horse barn - Stunt Man, Auto City, who she picked out at the paddock at Saratoga (even though she thought it was the next race), and Jade Queen, who she had up there last year at 9-1.

You might recall that after that race, Jade Queen ran a nice third in the Garden City and an even nice one against older horses in the Flower Bowl. She looked like another potential star for Pletcher, but she's been a disappointment at four in three very well-bet attempts.

The Toddster had a first-timer in a two-year NY-bred race that got beat at 7-10 on in the 2nd on Wednesday. This thing with him not doing well with his two-year olds has gone from a curiosity to a least in New York, anyway. He actually won with four out of his first six debuting juveniles at the spring meet at Belmont; it looked like it was business as usual. But since then, in a remarkable reversal, he's 1-for-34 here (he had two winners at Arlington). And the bettors, who saw three straight of these lose at 2-5 towards the beginning of the streak (The Leopard, Return to Paradise, and Moroccan Affair, who hasn't been seen since), seem to have adjusted. But not on Wednesday.

In the old days, In P.A.'s Honour would have blown by Giant Moon after stalking him on the lead. But right now, Richard Schosberg is the hot trainer, and Giant Moon wasn't getting caught; he scampered home in 11.94 in a decisive win at 8-1. He's by Giant's Causeway out of a NY-bred Capote mare who won a stakes at Finger Lakes. So owner/breeder Albert Fried, Jr. ponied up the big money for a prominent Kentucky stallion.

Back to the feature, E Z Warrior was 4-5 despite stretching out to a mile, and had no excuse at all this time, other than that he probably isn't suited for the distance. I really just don't understand what Zayat/Baffert had in mind with him this year from the moment I saw him entered in the Bing Crosby. E Z Warrior set a rather moderate pace to the half mile, and surrendered meekly to 8-5 Tiz Wonderful turning for home.

But while everyone was watching those two, anyone paying attention to Stunt Man must have felt pretty good. Castellano looked like he had a ton of horse, and it was with total ease with which he circled the other two rounding the turn. He was past Tiz Wonderful almost immediately after entering the stretch, and Durkin almost fell out of the booth, calling him "the most unlikeliest of winners!" Yes, he was trying open company, but he was in good form for Contessa. It's only because of his overhyped rivals that it would seem like such an upset. And I'd guess that the Toddster wasn't the least bit surprised.


Jim L said...

Tiz Wonderful was vanned off.

Looks like part of the Curlin Camp will be spending the Breeders' Cup in the pokey. The judge has ruled that the Midnight Cry Stable people remain in jail until they produce their financials. A very ironic story with the Curlin Camp.......Jess Jackson has spearheaded Sales Integrity, suing others for ill-gotten gains on his purchases. Satish Sanan dropped Lukas earlier this decade and wound up winning with Vindication. Both of those camps teamed with Midnight Cry when those people offered a part of Curlin.

Violette's stand in won her first race -- the first race on Wednesday's card. It's hard to stomach his gripes about the track conditions when he goes and serves 7 days for a positive.

It's interesting to note positives taken in early September. Mott served time earlier this decade for one. We now see Biancone on the bench, and Violette, too.

Barry K. Schwartz through Hushion sent a horse to Finger Lakes last year. It's name? Past Post. Nice to see the former head of NYRA using his integrity skills in naming his steeds.

Jim L said...

Bennett Liebman isn't too thrilled with Spitzer's decision.

Wouldn't he make for a terrific steward at Saratoga?

Anonymous said...

Of course EZ Warrior has an excuse. He was injured after the San Miguel, and he sucks now. It's a crying shame, too. The horse was a flat-out superstar. That's horseracing, though. They can go at any time...

PS - Tiz Wonderful ain't looking so hot since his injury either.

Alan Mann said...

Jim -

That's not how everyone saw Mr. Liebman's testimony. Here's a headline which reads:

Racing Expert Backs NYRA

Jim L said...

I agree with his comment about NYRA as it relates to the racing aspect of all this turmoil.

"The choice of NYRA to run racing is a reasonable recommendation," said Liebman, coordinator of the Racing and Wagering Law Program at Albany Law School and a former official in Republican and Democratic administrations.

NYRA is the logical choice. Stronach once promised to build an auto parts factory in upstate NY to aid the struggling economy as part of his plan to get the franchise. There has been no further talk on that for almost two years.....


Please, please, please, blog about the colored saddlecloths being needed for the Breeders' Cup as well as head on views of the start of the Sprint and both Mile races. And how about Trakus? Also, to excite some younger fans, have them be able to select the full order of finish for the Classic on the Breeders' Cup Web site and win something cool. Also, how about multiple screens showing horses warming up. For example, showing four different horses in four different squares. The announcers can do their voice over. There needs to be a reduction in the number of sappy "packages" on those associated with the sport during these shows. Kenny Rice is also too serious. Jerry Bailey once told him, "Man, you have to lighten up," during a winner's circle interview. This was when Bailey was still riding.

Alan Mann said...

Jim - I was planning to write in my next post there about utilizing simple website contests to get people to watch. Thanks for stealing my thunder, man! :)

And yes, Trakus is absolutely essential for the big fields there, if only to have the correct and complete running order posted during the race (especially if they're going to insist on the same saddlecloth colors. None of that chiclet crap though.

Anonymous said...

Trakus would be awesome, if done right! I think it works perfectly at Del Mar with the order of the entire field across the bottom of the screen.

Those in production should know, however, that nobody cares about MPH, watching chicklets, or anything else. Simply use Trakus so that we can see the order of the entire field.

Anonymous said...

heard this morning that the folks at Coolmore bought 50% of Majestic Warrior; wonder how much they had to fork over to Steinbrenner!