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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The AGSC Should Do Something...Anything

- Indian Hawke got beat by a neck at Saratoga at 7-2, when he couldn't hold off Pay Attention through a laboring final eighth of nearly 14 seconds. He was claimed by Anthony Dutrow, freshened a bit, and moved to the always popular Alw---s condition for NY breds (Which Have Started For A Claiming Price). A. Dutrow is 29% in both the off-the-claim and 31-60 day layoff categories; and, in the last year, he's nine-for-27 off-the-claim-And-31-60 days of category. So, Indian Hawke, 5-1 in the morning line, was bet down to 9-5, and won by 12 3/4 lengths (with Durkin again pretty much nailing the margin of victory with 12). Woo-hoo! His final time was 1:34.83, and on the harness side, the track announcer would be saying "And that's a new career mark for Indian Hawke!"

The second was also a rout as Bujagali made his turf debut for McLaughlin and won off by 6; at 1:20.37 for seven furlongs, he missed the course mark by 2/5ths. He came home in 11.65, and that's moving no matter how hard the grass courses may be. Bujagali is a three-year old by Johannesburg, out of a Riverman mare who's a half-sister to the Irish Derby winner Zagreb. Johannesburg is currently second on the second crop sire list. And he has a shot to add to his progeny's earnings with La Traviata. Patrick Biancone explained to Watchmaker in the Form why he's considering the Sprint against males over the new F&M Sprint.

"The fact that this race [the inaugural F&M Sprint] is not graded is pushing my clients toward thinking of facing colts in the Sprint. It's that, and also that Grade 1 races mean more to fillies. When it comes to breeding, it would be better for her to have finished third in a Grade 1 race than to win a non-graded Breeders' Cup race."
Well, there's been a lot of chatter about the graded stakes system of late, so there you go; need I say more? The owners of course are the Tabor-Smith crew, and this time, it's not out of sportsmanship as with Rags to Riches supposedly was. It would be one thing if she was one of those seasoned hard-hitting mares that we've seen have some success in the Sprint. But man, this is a three-year old with three lifetime races who would be in an extremely tough spot even if there isn't a Henny Hughes Lost in the Fog Housebuster ...y'know, a dominant favorite in the field. I think you get an idea of how much of a shot Biancone thinks she has to win when he says it would be better to be third in a Grade 1. She's an exciting young horse, and would make the F&M Sprint that much more intriguing with her presence.

Biancone, of course, remains under investigation for the three vials of cobra venom found in his barn, and there's a hearing occurring some time in the past or future, we don't know when because of Kentucky racing rules that require confidentiality in ongoing investigations. [Bloodhorse] The substances were found on June 22, so by the time Breeders' Cup day rolls around, the clouds of suspicion will have been hanging around for over three months. Wouldn't it be special if the KHRA announces their decision some time in the next three weeks? A headline making announcement would certainly get the sport in the papers anyway.


Handride said...

thanks for the link. I'd like to see a ban for Biancone a week before the BC, screw him and the owners who leave their charges with him.

ljk said...

Usually I think all a trainer suspension around here does is make household names out of guys like Seth Benzel and Scott Blasi. Hopefully Biancone will be different.

Regarding LaTraviata; I think there's a chance she'd lay over the F&M sprint and may actually add an intriguing overlay to the BC sprint. Her race at the Spa was something to see.

Regarding graded stakes, I'll try some heresy. These guys from the UofL have a blog (where the post about once every 60 days) where they suggest the biggest issue with the Breeders Cup and it's effect on championships is its place on the calendar. If it were in late summer, a horse could still use late season races like the JCGC, the Champagne or Hollywood Futurity to make a case for an Eclipse even if they didn't win a BC race. It'll never happen, but it's worth a read.

Late Scratch said...

Sorry to go off topic, but here are two quotes from NYRA's Charlie Hayward from today's Saratogian that cry out for further publication:

"Why exactly would I want to do that?" In response to whether NYRA would continue racing after 12/31 with no deal in place.

"We would have to defend our rights."

What altruism. In certainly makes me feel good that he'll fight for the right of a non-profit association to continue to lose taxpayer money while the folks depending on the race track for their livlihood be damned.

Teresa said...

Re: Biancone/timing of announcement: feeling particularly prescient these days? Maybe you can help me out with some Belmont picks this weekend.