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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ready, Set, Go

- I'm leaving early Wednesday morning for Monmouth, intending to arrive well in time for a Media Luncheon at noon at the track, and more importantly (other than the free food), the ten race card, including a turf stakes for three-year olds. I have no idea what kind of setup I'm going to have there; I presume I'll have some spot in an auxiliary press area in front of some TVs. I'm thinking it would be fun to try some live blogging for Wed through Friday when a lot of you guys are stuck at work. On Saturday, the Head Chef is joining me, none of you will be reading blogs, and I'm planning to just play.

I'm supposed to post something every day this week for the BC blog, though I've no idea what exactly they're looking for. Then again, it's been basically a freebie in terms of subject matter all along, so I guess I'll just wing it. I'm going to go through the races here, starting now, just with some general impressions, which horses I'm interested in, and which I intend to stand against. My actual selections, after post positions are announced, I'll likely be posting over there. With my time limited, I'll start with Saturday's races, and get to Friday's if I have a chance.

Juvenile Fillies - I'm pretty much committed to taking a strong stand against Indian Blessing, expected to be favored, pending the post draw of course. A lot of analysis goes down the drain once the posts are drawn; and Baffert's filly would look a lot different from post 14, with a fair amount of speed inside, than she would from the inside. What scares me about her is the way she readily rated in second in the Frizette, looking very professional as she assumed the lead. But her very slow final quarter and her lack of two-turn experience makes her a highly vulnerable favorite in my view.

Proud Spell also stretches out to two turns, but will likely make for far better value. She's undefeated for trainer Larry Jones, and her Matron win was really very good. She was patiently ridden by Delaware-based, 19 year-old Gabriel Saez, and launched a five wide rally turning for home. This is a daughter of Proud Citizen out of a Langfuhr mare; her second dam is a half to the Black-Eyed Susan/SA Oaks winner Imaginary Lady.

Two fillies come out of the Alcibiades. Three actually; but if Irish Smoke rebounds from her last place finish to win, then I'll lose, plain and simple. A to the Croft (Menifee) was wide both turns making her two-turn debut in finishing second to the absent Country Star; she's never been worse than second in her four starts for Ken McPeek. She worked five furlongs in 59.80 in company with McPeek's Juvenile candidate Old Man Buck on Saturday. She didn't beat him though, and Tom Amoss, on The Works, was saying that given the horses running next week, you "better be able to beat your workmate!"

A neck behind in the Alcibiades was Grace Anatomy (Aldebaran), and that filly was extremely impressive. She broke dead last, made a big middle move to mid-pack, continued to work her way forward, going three wide around the leaders and establishing a clear lead in the stretch before tiring late to third. Grace Anatomy has a blend of stamina and speed in her pedigree; her second dam is Plenty of Grace, who won the Yellow Ribbon and the Diana for John Veitch, and is also the granddam of the speedy (and also absent) Diabolical.

Keep in mind of course that A to the Croft has run well on dirt, while Grace Anatomy ha raced exclusively on Polytrack. One can take that both ways, as the latter, and others like her, may have gained a lot of conditioning, especially having summered out at Del Mar.

The other Grade 1 prep for this race was the Oak Leaf at Santa Anita, won by Cry and Catch Me (Street Cry). Unlike her stablemate, this Baffert filly has already passed the two turn test, and held on very gamely after dueling early from the two-path. Izarra was a nose short of catching that one at the wire after she was four wide throughout the final turn. She also expended energy fighting her rider early, and she'd shown that tendency in her prior as well. By Distorted Humor out of Arlucea (Broad Brush), one of the four foals produced by Distaff winner Bayakoa before her passing, she looms a major factor especially if Espinoza can settle her early.

Clearly Foxy is unbeaten in two turf races, but has a dirt pedigree. She's by Classic winner Volponi out of a Pulpit mare who's a half to the sprinting stakes winner Wildcat Shoes and to this year's Peter Pan runner up Prom Shoes.

Backstreet Rhythm was second to Indian Blessing in the Frizette; Amoss did not care for her Saturday workout at all. She was being pushed very hard, and he felt that she should have done better than her 1:14.23 clocking.

I'm tossing Set Play and Tasha's Miracle on the basis of their disappointing two-turn debuts in the Oak Leaf. You just gotta take some unforgiving stands somewhere in races of this ilk.

2 Comments: said...

Thanks for your blog, If you need something to write about you can go to the Weather. Current forecast has rain most of the week. Maybe Thursdaythey should give away Umbrellas instead of blankets.

alan said...

Check out the Accuweather forecast, it's somewhat more optimistic. And hope for the best.

And you're not allowed to bring umbrellas into the track!