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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Return of the Cat

- Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford spoke to the UK's Guardian about Discreet Cat:

"Discreet Cat had a throat abscess in the World Cup which has wiped out a lot of his season. We know it wasn't there 48 hours before the race, and there is a strong suspicion that it actually burst in the race.

"He's in a six-furlong race at Belmont Park on Sunday, and he's also in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. We've knocked the Classic [over 10 furlongs] on the head, it's a shame that he never got a fair crack of the whip over that trip, but bearing in mind what's been wrong with him, we're just pleased to see him back."
Yes, it will be nice to see him back; and Crisford sounds pretty definitive on his choice of Breeders' Cup races. On Monday, the mercurial son of Forestry completed his preparation for the Vosburgh, one of four "Win and You're In" races at Belmont on Sunday, with five furlongs in 1:00.84 (4/23). Godolphin Guy Rick Mettee told Bloodhorse: "We will be sending out a sound and pretty fit horse.” Though he also admitted that the Vosburgh was not his first choice.
"I really wanted to make the Forego," said Rick Mettee, the assistant trainer who oversees Godolphin Racing's New York string. "If I was going to take on good horses, I'd rather do it at seven [furlongs] than in a souped-up three-quarter race the way this is with all the pace in it." [DRF]
With First Defence and Fabulous Strike slated to go, it's certainly not an easy spot. I'd think that the 1:07 4/5 he ran to six furlongs in last year's Cigar would be enough to get him close!

The Guardian article referenced above mainly concerns Godolphin's Ramonti, who will run on Saturday in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He'll face George Washington and the filly Darjina, who beat them both at Longchamps over there in the alternate universe where the top horses actually run against each other on a regular basis regardless of sex or age. George Washington seems pretty sure to come over for the BC Mile. But Irish Oaks winner Peeping Fawn is now out of the F&M Turf.

I have a new post up at the Breeders' Cup blog, in which I officially jump off the Any Given Saturday bandwagon. For now, anyway. His race in the Brooklyn, by itself, wouldn't be so bad; I don't think he's necessarily supposed to give weight to older horses and win easily at this stage of his career. But when I watch the race in comparison to his Dwyer, over the same track, and not only off a longer layoff, but one precipitated by a foot injury, it really pales in comparison. Nobiz Like Shobiz came to run that day, and Any Given Saturday just powered away from him; as he did from Curlin and Hard Spun in the Haskell.

So I just don't see betting him at like 7-2 with that as his one race in the three months before the Classic. Plus, at this point, he doesn't pass the 'stupid' test I admittedly use for the Derby, Classic, and maybe a couple of other races throughout the year - as in, will I feel stupid if I bet him and he doesn't run well? Given that I bet him in the Derby (even knowing he had no shot once Beyer and the other wise guys all picked him), the answer to that question is a resounding 'yes!'

- The great synthetic surface experiment continues today with the Oak Tree meeting opening at Santa Anita. Already, there was a fatality when the good two-year colt Drill Down shattered his left front cannon bone in a workout Monday. [Orange County Register] And Brad Free reported in the Form that the track superintendent continued to tinker with the surface just days in front of its opening.

- Lawyer Ron had some unexpected and unwelcome company on the racetrack Monday during his final drill for Sunday's Jockey Club Gold Cup. The Toddster was not looking for a fast workout, so exercise rider Eddie King had to take a strong hold when EZ Warrior came rolling by in the stretch! "He's an eager horse. If you let him, he'll work very fast. That wasn't what we were trying to do." Lawyer Ron, who I expect to be a decisive favorite over Curlin, got his five furlongs in 1:01.24, while EZ Warrior was timed in 59.27 seconds.


John said...

Thanks for the mention and the link on the Breeders Cup Blog (although the link doesn't work).

I can taste that beer already.

Sorry to hear that you and AGS broke up but I always thought you were too good for him !

Alan Mann said...

Yeah, I asked them to fix that link, damn. Will try again.

I like Todd more than you do, but I ain't going down with him in both of the biggest races of the season!

Nick said...

I can't understand why people (particularly anyone with a blog it seems) jump on and off the bandwagon over a single race. I've been reading William Nack's excellent book on Secretariat, and people jumped off of his bandwagon in droves after he lost the Wood. We all know how well that worked out for them.

He's certainly no Secretariat, but at least AGS won the race. And still people seem to be jumping off left and right. Good grief. Horses sometimes have off races for reasons we can't hope to know. It doesn't mean they're never going to reach that same level again.