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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday Night Notes - Sept 2

- Mission Approved apparently created a pick six carryover single-handedly in winning the 1 3/16 mile Saranac at 34-1; the rest of the sequence included winners at 6-5, 7-5, 9-5, 2-1, and 5-1. This Gary Contessa trainee deserved his long odds with two disappointing prior races, including a 22 length trouncing by Distorted Reality, the 9-5 Saranac favorite, in the Lexington at Belmont.

But a look at the fractions of the Saranac shows how Eibar Coa and Mission Approved pulled this off. Coa found himself alone on the lead, and after an opening quarter of 24.30, was able to really slow things down, getting to the half in 49.23, a second quarter of nearly 25 seconds. From that point, they quickened the pace, and considerably. 23.44 to the three quarters, 23.56 to the mile, and the last furlong and a half in 17.56 seconds, a pace of 23.44 for a quarter. So give the jockey credit for slowing down the race, but Mission Approved sustained his winning move for a good five and a half furlongs. So it was a nice effort by the horse too.

It was quite possibly, however, a better effort by second place Distorted Reality. He was three wide on both turns for Johnny V staying in close attendance to the leader throughout; but his last gasp effort fell 3/4 length short, denying the Toddster a second consecutive stakes win. He won his sixth stakes of the meeting the race prior when Jesse's Justice took the state-bred Irish Actress.

Mission Approved is a three-year old son of With Approval, winner of the Bowling Green and second in the Turf, out of a mare by Fortunate Prospect. His second dam is a half-sister to the fine turf warrior El Senor, who also won the Bowling Green, as well as the Sword Dancer twice. So Mission Approved has some grass and stamina in his blood.

I saw Contessa's name in the news the other day in a different context - Charlie Hayward cited him as one trainer that told him that the track conditions are just fine. Contessa is a guy who certainly isn't afraid to stake out his own position separate from the NYTHA, as he did when he broke with the group to endorse Excelsior last year.

Irish Smoke won the Spinaway at 6-5 for Patrick Biancone, taking advantage of a suicidal pace set by Baffert's More Happy. After going 22.02 and 44.82, More Happy was done. The next quarter was "run" in nearly 26 seconds, allowing the favorite to easily collar the early leader by mid-stretch and go on to a three-length win in a final time of 1:24.24. It took nearly 40 seconds to run the last 3/8ths, and 13.51 for the winner to get the last eighth.

A to the Croft rallied nicely for second despite having her head turned toward the crowd for most of the stretch run. Her trainer Ken McPeek had told the Albany Times Union the day before: "I think she'll be even better at a mile or a mile and an eighth." He also indicated that he'd be happy if she finished third, which those who bet her at 7-2 might have wanted to read before doing so. This filly has raced extremely well now in all three of her career starts, two of those graded stakes, and has now already earned twice her $55,000 purchase price. She's by Menifee, out of a Devil's Bag mare, and is inbred 4x3 to distance influence Halo. Definitely one to keep an eye on as they stretch out.

Linda Rice's consecutive race streak ended when her first-timer Influential ran dead last in the 11th. And amazingly, three more winners for Mott, giving him 26 for the meeting. He took the sixth with first-timer Moon de French, his sixth debuting juvenile to win at this meeting, after he had won with just two of the previous 50 going back to 2003. And in the third, his Queen Joanne got a dream trip and just held off Graham Motion's Cat Charmer, who was fractious before race, stumbled horribly at the start, and circled the field from last. The margin was a diminishing nose, and it caused your normally mild-mannered blogger, who had singled him to start off some Pick Threes, to uncharacteristically unleash an F-bomb and scatter his past performance printouts around the room. That became a lot of negative energy generated for no reason at all when Mott took the next race with dropdown Minister's Appeal, a loser by a combined 48 lengths in his last three, who I didn't have on any of my already-busted Pick Three tickets at all.


Anonymous said...

Why only 4 entries in the Hopeful?

Anonymous said...

I was rooting for one tap of the whip left handed from the jock on A To The Croft, that was all he needed but alas it never came.

Not catching the winner at 7f anyway, but could have been closer.

Anonymous said...

With the way Mott is going do not overlook Majestic Warrior in the Hopeful. Too slow on figs alone, but has the right style and would add some serious value to the multi race exotics if Mott can steal one more.

Anonymous said...

Biancone's usual smug self after victory, from NY Daily News:

Trainer Patrick Biancone begins a 15-day suspension Wednesday for a medication violation in Kentucky. He can amuse himself by watching the seven furlongs of yesterday's $250,000 Spinaway over and over.

"We're not going through a great period these days," he said after Irish Smoke ($4.50) dominated the field of 10 2-year-old fillies. "Put it this way: It's the right way to go on 'holiday.'"

El Angelo said...

I wholly agree on Majestic Warrior; if Ready's Image doesn't love that 7th furlong (and there's no bigger difference in racing than the one between 6 and 7 furlongs), he and not Maimonedes is the one I like to win at a fair price.

Alan Mann said...

Majestic Warrior would certainly seem to have the running style to win this if you figure that Maimonides and Ready's Image will be mixing it up early.