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Monday, November 12, 2007

Revved Up At the Big A

- The most exciting finish I saw this past weekend was at Calder, in the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup, on the turf as part of the Florida Millions day. Revved Up got a great ground saving trip from his outside post with Eibar Coa, and took command after turning for home. Soldier's Dancer was far back when Cornelio Velasquez tipped him wide at the top of the stretch, and he came flying home out of nowhere. Track announcer Bobby Neuman didn't pick him until the sixteenth pole.

I was watching the race at the track, on the third floor clubhouse in the Equestris area. It was my first appearance at the Big A this fall. I have to say that I was extremely disappointed. I guess I got the wrong impression from reading about renovations and improvements, and thought there were some real changes. But aside from some new coats of paint and some new TV's up in the Manhattan Terrace (an excellent addition to my favorite place to hang in the place), I didn't really see much. All of the various rooms, restaurants, and bars looked exactly the same, and I didn't notice a new simulcast room that I'd read about.

So it was mostly just the same Aqueduct as far as I could see. That's not such a bad thing, but it's time. I hope there's something in that MOU for a renovation of the Man O'War room.

It was shortly after the end of live racing, so the crowd was thinning down to the hardcore, and a guy behind me was pleading for Soldier's Fortune to get up. It was an extremely close finish with the heads bobbing furiously, so it was a tough call watching it live. This other guy sitting right next to me was this hard-boiled Irish dude, a long, long time regular, one of those guys I've never said a word to, but I feel I've known all my life. "You got it," he assured the guy behind me. "Don't worry, the one was up at the wire." "I don't know," the guy behind me groaned when we saw the replay.

"Don't worry, the one got up. You got it!"

But of course, Revved Up held on, and the poor guy lost. Revved Up got the fortuitous bob after the other may have had his nostril in front a stride before. Revved Up is nine years old and still going strong for Christophe Clement. This was the third straight year he's won this race; in 2005, he earned a career best Beyer of 108. He doesn't run triple digit Beyers anymore (he got a 98 for this race), but he has two wins and two seconds and earnings of $200,000 this year.

I thought that the Long Island Handicap was a strange race. It started out with slow fractions, but instead of seeing them pick up the pace late as we generally see on the grass these days, the race actually slowed down; the last two quarters were run in a plodding 26.09 and 26.23. So either the turf, labeled good, was extremely soft and tiring, or the first two finishers were simply the only horses doing any running at all after a mile and a half. Dalvina (Grand Lodge / Chief's Crown) went last to first and got a Beyer of 100. Royal Highness, who won this race last year on a course also labeled good, was very very disappointing as the even money favorite, saving ground and coming up empty even as the fractions slowed in front of him.

1 Comment:

Dave B said...

Royal Highness was certainly disappointing and she's been a great race mare but I don't think the result was totally unexpected. This was her last race and Clemente sounded pretty unsure of her condition leading up to the race. Dalvina was very highly regarded early on but had not really shown a solid return to form until her last race. She now goes to Motion and I expect she'll do pretty well.