- Been trying to get back into the local racing, and my immediate observation from scanning over the pp's for Aqueduct this past week is that the racing is clearly better than we saw the last couple of weeks (at least) at Belmont.
Just because it's the Big A doesn't mean that you can't find some nice two-year olds to put on your watch list. The sixth on Saturday is worthy of an August day at the Spa. Could be a Derby in horse in there somewhere for all we know.
All Tiz debuts for McLaughlin. Hasn't shown too much in the morning, but interesting pedigree here; by Tiznow, as you might expect, out of a mare by Alwuhush (Nureyev) who's a half-sister to Awesome Again and Macho Uno.
Barrier Reef, another with steady, but moderate works, goes first time for Tom Albertrani, now three for five at the meeting, including the impressive two-year old filly Music Note who won on Thursday. This son of the $15,000 stallion Mizzen Mast sold to Darley for $350,000 at Barrett's in March.
Dream Smart has shown some speed in the A.M., and debuts for Mott. The trainer is looking for his first win at the Big A - he's had nine runners going into the day. He continues to be hot at Churchill though, scoring his 4th winner, from nine starters, there on Friday. Dream Smart is by AP Indy out of Storm Cat mare. He's a half-brother to the sprint stakes winner Woke Up Dreaming, and his second dam is the champion turf filly Flawlessly.
Barclay Tagg sends out Carson Hall for his first start off a smart series of drills, and check this out; this is rather remarkable. Looking back, via Formulator of course, at this barn's record with two-year old first-time starters on the NYRA circuit this year, we see that out of 13 such runners, he has a record of six winners, four seconds, and a third! Wow. He also scored for Lael Stables with Burning Calories at Laurel on Halloween, and that's a name that probably scares a lot of people. Carson Hall is by the prodigious debut sire Carson City (17%) out of a mare by Wheatly Hall (Norcliffe), and he's a half-brother to the late Bevo, who won the Futurity at Belmont in 1999. I'll make him the top pick here.
And Bobby Sands makes his first start, for Nick Zito. So let's see. It's not OK to name a horse Sally Hemmings after Thomas Jefferson's slave and reputed lover. But it is OK to name one after the highly controversial IRA leader who took his own life via a hunger strike in 1981 during his imprisonment on charges of possessing firearms used in a shootout with the police. Just wanted to get that straight. Bobby Sands, the horse, is by Gulch, out of a Storm Creek mare; and Zito has a record of four winners from 34 juvenile first-timers this year.
- If Curlin ever runs again, a prospect which I get the feeling is growing dimmer by the day, the winner's circle could make a West Point celebration look like a weekday crowd at Aqueduct after a Kentucky judge awarded a 20% share of the horse to the 400 plaintiffs in the class action suit against his jailed part-owners. Joe Drape confirms in the Times what we all know - that the Sheikh is amongst the interested buyers. A sale of the Horse of the Year would go towards settling the $64.4 million that the plaintiffs were ruled to have been defrauded out of. Though his value has been widely estimated at around $40 million, Rick Porter, who sold Hard Spun to His Sheikhness earlier this year, speculates that it could be even more.
"If I had to guess, an educated guess, I would think somewhere between $60 and $70 million," Porter said. "All I know is what some of his competitors sold for, and he sort of towered over all of them when it was all said and done." [Louisville Courier-Journal]