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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Monday Morning Notes - Oct 1

- I don't believe that either of the two horses generally considered to be the leading Classic contenders lost too much appeal in getting beat this weekend. Street Sense, in particular, was taken out of his game on a track he may not care for. He finished well, and remember he used non-winning efforts on Polytrack to prepare for the two biggest wins of his career.

It looked like Lawyer Ron reverted to some of his old bad habits, as Johnny V seemed hard-pressed to back him off from the longshot leader Brother Bobby. That could have taken its toll when he failed to hold off Curlin....and man, he looked like a winner at the eighth pole, didn't he? Despite losing, I think he dispelled doubts for most about his ability to get the distance, and he may prefer the more conventional two turns of Saratoga and Monmouth.

Of course, while neither of the above horses enhanced their standing, Tiago and Curlin established some serious momentum....OK, and Hard Spun too. But I guess I gotta save some of this for the Breeders' Cup blog, so here's a couple of random thoughts on the weekend's races:

- Velazquez again did a great rating job on the grass when he stole the Pilgrim Stakes with The Leopard for Pletcher on Saturday. Made the 4-5 favorite making his first start on the grass, The Leopard got to the half in a lazy 49.17, and then went the next quarter in 24.72. But from there, he flew in 22.09 seconds to the sixteenth pole, and another 5.63 seconds home!

This $2.5 million son of Storm Cat, out of a Mr. Prospector mare, may be headed for the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf. Pletcher said: "The Leopard had things his own way the first part of it, but I like the way he finished and galloped out." His second dam is a full sister to the French champion Caerleon, and to the Pilgrim and Secretariat winner Vision.

The Toddster just...and I mean just missed another stakes winner in the Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway. Base Commander came flying at the end but missed catching favored Piratesonthelake by a jump. Then, in the next race, Pletcher's Chitoz could not get past Texas Fever in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile, losing by a neck. The winner is by Victory Gallop out of Fortyniner Fever, a three-quarter sister to the Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.

At Hawthorne, did they really make AP Arrow the 4-5 favorite in their Gold Cup? Student Council was the morning line favorite off his win in the much-derided G1 Pacific Classic. This time, he went 2:05 flat, some two seconds faster than at Del Mar, though still nothing to write home about. However, the track at Hawthorne has been slow, and he came home in a snappy 24 seconds off a slow pace. His owner Ro Parra said he will "wait a couple weeks" before deciding about the Classic.

Miss Grillo Stakes winner Namaste's Wish is a full-sister to Purge. Pletcher was again a runner-up in that race, but it's not like it was all bad for the Toddster. He had three winners at Belmont on Sunday, including his exacta sweep of the Beldame, and man, that division is wide open, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Looks like Lawyer & Curlin race along with Hard Spun & Street race could be races of the year.

Do you think a mile and an eighth are the limits for the Lawyer?

Santa Barbara

ljk said...

I agree about the distaff. It seems like every year it's a wide open division. My guess is that it probably averages the highest prices for favorites.

I'll take a hard look at Indian Vale who like Lawyer Ron will like two turns and a speed favoring surface. And of course you can bet Octave to place, she loves finishing 2nd.

While I think a 3yo has a big chance to win the classic, this division should go to an older horse?

Jim L said...

Was this past weekend a reflection of the questionable practices in the sport or a sign of the cream coming to the top?

Biancone, a recent suspension server, Asmussen, a 6 month server, and Pletcher, a 45 day server, all won major preps for the Breeders' Cup.

How will it look if Asmussen wins the Classic with Curlin, Pletcher wins with Indian Vale, The Leopard, and Wait a While; and Biancone wins with La Traviata and Irish Smoke? And......what happens if the Kentucky stewards eventually determine Biancone was actively involved in doping with cobra venom?

Alan Mann said...

Will -

I actually feel more confident than before about Lawyer Ron's ability to get a mile and a quarter. But having said that, I'm still going to be looking for value in that race. I'd love to see the Euros come over with an interesting runner or two.

ljk - I think Bear Now is an interesting Distaff prospect now that she's proven she can run on dirt. Monmouth may agree with her running style too. And I'd even consider Octave herself at 10-1 or so. And while I don't disagree with the idea of going for an older horse in the Classic, Tiago and Curlin certainly pointed themselves out as prime contenders who seem to have more upside to me at this point than SS, HS, or AGS.

Jim l - I think that this industry would be very wise to take a look at the scenario you suggest with Biancone, and decide if they really want someone under such a dark cloud to be winning BC races. Pletcher and Asmussen I can live with.

Anonymous said...

3 GI winners yesterday were sired by Smart Strike; Curlin, English Channel and Fabulous Strike.

The Green Monkey had a bullet work of 5f in 1:00.80 yesterday on the Belmont main track (1/47). Look out Maiden ranks.

I played around with the 10 cent supers yesterday. I hit the last race super which paid $250 for ten cents. I played around 560 ($56)combos to hit it. No tax forms for me since it was under $600. $1 players were stuck with a w-2.

Anonymous said...

I loved Street Sense losing this weekend mainly because more value in the Classic. Also I think a lot of people are forgetting about your favorite Alan, AGS.


Anonymous said...

Hate to rain on your Breeders Cup Parade, Alan, but check out the Vic Zast piece on He hits the nail right on the head- only leaving out the obvious remedy that NYRA needs to assume it's role as primus inter pares in the racing world. Zast says only three stakes races seem to count these days: The Derby, Preakness, and BC Classic, all of the other Grade I's playing mere prep race roles. First step is to change Eclipse voting to a point system such that a horse can lose the BC Classic and still be HOY. They can add a new BC category called "Most Likely To Receive The Highest Stud Fees" to be awarded to the play-it-safe owners and trainers who continue to dance to the tune played by the KY breeders and their fat cat clients who use the Breeders Cup as a springboard to exorbitant breeding fees and yearling sales prices. It's time to return racing championships to the horses who win them on the track over the course of a season with the big NY Grade I's as major determinants. That is what the new NYRA must do right out of the gate- no more BC Challenge Series at NYRA tracks; NYRA needs to position itself such that the owners need to win NYRA Grade I's more than NYRA needs the BC Challenge to serve as prep races for the BC Series. /S/ Green Mtn Punter