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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Morning Notes - Sept 23

- I'll have to reserve most of my comments for the Breeders' Cup blog, but suffice to say that Any Given Saturday's win in the Brooklyn was not particularly impressive from a visual standpoint; nor was it very fast. I never thought that the result was in doubt, but Garrett Gomez, despite working pretty hard, was able to elicit only a 13 second closing furlong out of Pletcher's Classic hopeful. Of course, it's just a prep, and he had some trouble at the start according to Gomez. And he'll stretch out to what I think is his preferred two turns when he returns to the scene of his Haskell win.

Street Sense, who, it was announced, will prep for the Classic at Turfway, was not overly flattered by Grasshopper's second place finish, at 2-5, in the Super Derby.

Despite getting the G2 stakes win with Any Given Saturday, it was a mixed day for the Toddster, with Fairbanks and Octave going down as prohibitive favorites. Each of those may have still run well enough to go wherever they were going to go in the first place, but it's hard to be enthusiastic about either. Pletcher also had Quiet Royal win a stakes at Kentucky Downs, where he had two winners and a close second on the day. Most trainers wouldn't complain about any day in which he or she had two stakes winners I suppose.

Nice win by Brass Hat in the Mass Cap, but if the horse hated the track at Saratoga as much as his connections apparently told the TVG crew he did, why did they run him there a second time? Perhaps to get a better price, a suspicious mind might think? He was 5-2 in the morning line, and went off at 4-1. However, the Bradleys told Christina Olivares afterwards that they didn't have the money to supplement him to the Classic. Looked like a festive day at Suffolk Downs with over 19,000 on hand, including Jessica, who has some great reporting and photos from the day over at Railbird.

- The chart comment for that sixth at Belmont reads: Be Bullish...came out under left handed whipping in the stretch, knocking Pygmalion out of his way, which is literally what happened. Again, I know that the incident had nothing to do with the result of the race (at least in terms of who was the best horse). So not everyone disagrees with the decision - I see that Steve Crist, at his Cristblog, called it an inconsequential bump, and noted that the stewards properly left the winner up. But there's gotta be a limit to what a rider can do even if he's dealing with an obstacle in the form of a tiring horse as in this case. If Desormeaux had pulled out an AK-47 and blown Pygmalion away, I think we'd all agree that he had to come down. So somewhere between that rather extreme notion and incidental contact, there's a line at which it has to be a DQ, and my opinion is that the jockey crossed it in this case.

I'd mentioned Hammock when he won for Richard Schosberg at Saratoga. He went off at 3-2 that day, despite being 6-1 in the morning line off one disappointing prior effort last April at the Big A. In the finale on Saturday, Hammock was live on the board again, albeit far more subtly. It was his grass debut, and he was again 6-1 in the morning line. This time he was sent off at 5-1, but the result was the same as he drew away impressively, thus continuing an incredible streak for his trainer. After his fine showing at Saratoga, Schosberg has won with five of his first seven runners at Belmont.

Hammock is a son of the Phone Trick stallion Intidab, out of a mare by the grass champion Cozzene. His third dam, Adorable Micol, was a stakes winner in France, and is also the third dam of this year's Del Mar Oaks winner Rutherienne.

Smoke'n Coal won his debut in the second. This son of the $25,000 sire Smoke Glacken was purchased by Darley for $550,000 at Ocala in February. He's a full brother to the multiple graded winner Smoke'n Frolic, who won the Cotillion in 2002.


the chalk said...
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Unknown said...

You might be interestied in knowing that according to Thoro-Graph Octave was going into yesterdays race with the third fastest last race performance. With lower being better they had Octave running a 4 last race and Bear Now and Talkin About Now coming in off of 2s. It seems Octave hasn't improved very much all year 5 to a 4 while the other fillies have been.

the chalk said...

First and foremost, I truly enjoy your postings.

My thoughts regarding the stewards inquiry, Be Bullish and why he stayed up. The stewards decision process has a few folds regarding up/down taking. In this race:

1. Be Bullish (A little devil's advocate here. Kent D. went left handed twice, the horse switched leads one stride out which caused the reaction and his boring out. Therefore, I would personally give him a break here. And move the weight on Be Bullishs' running.

2. Inconsequential w/ Result (Pygmalion was back peddling as the incident occurred, and had no further forward progress during the race. Along with not being a factor in the outcome.)

3. Maidens (as I am sure everyone knows, maiden races have a different toleration level regarding DQ's by any Steward Crew.)

Alan Mann said...

chalk -

thanks for reading, I appreciate it! I would have been OK with that first bump when, as you observed, he changed leads. But I thought, and Carothers was saying the same thing on TVG, that instead of trying to straighten him out, he persisted in carrying the other horse out. Horses get boxed in, and riders sometimes have to wait for room - that's racing luck. I thought what Kent D. did was in violation of the spirit of the rules.

tom - Bear Now had three 99 Beyers, which is higher than anything Octave has ever run. I couldn't get past the Polytrack thing in her case.

ljk said...

Not only did Bear Now have a top figure, but he had the advantage of the Matt Carothers "Swami Factor" with Talkin About Now. Octave had no chance ;)