- I knew it was a particularly slow week when I saw all these articles on Argentina leading up to the weekend. Bill Finley even had a dream about her. Confused, I sought professional help. I'll say. This mare hasn't won in 2 1/2 years, and was by far and away the biggest underlay of Breeders' Cup day. Yet, there she was, the 2-1 second choice in the Cardinal Handicap; and at least she managed to finish second.
Just as Barclay Tagg swept graded stakes in NY and Kentucky last weekend, Shug McGaughey did it on Saturday with Criminologist winning the Cardinal as the 3-2 choice, and Hunting taking the nondescript G3 Stuyvesant at the Big A. Things will pick up next weekend for sure. I'd picked Naughty New Yorker to win the Stuyvesant, but when I got to the track and saw Jessica and Teresa, they informed me that he was the wise guy horse that everyone had selected. I have a real knack for picking out horses like that. Still, with the two presumptive favorites, Awfully Smart and Barcola, dull on the board and bringing up the rear at the finish, I can't help but think that Naughty New Yorker would have won.
Hunting was coming off his second career win in which he actually crossed the wire first (he was put up via DQ last spring), and it was probably fair to surmise, based on his 414 Tomlinson, that it was due to the slop at Monmouth on BC weekend. Thus, he was by far the longest shot on the board at 9-1 in his first-ever stakes try. But he was there to pick up the pieces before a festive crowd of 3,743, including those who participated in the "gobbling" contest. No, not a test of how much turkey one could gobble, but one of who could gobble like a turkey.
- Matt Hegarty wrote of NYC OTB's finances, and how the 5% surcharge on winnings that are levied on bets made at the parlors adds up to revenue for NYC despite what the Mayor says. And Jerry Bossert explains in the NY Daily News how OTB's deal to carry nighttime thoroughbred races has contributed to its financial woes.
- Donato Hanover got beat in his Breeders' Crown elimination heat at the Meadowlands last night, snapping the three-year old trotting sensation's winning streak at 19. Arch Madness beat him fair and square after a long stretch duel; he was supplemented to the event at a cost of $62,500. The Hambo champ, however, will have a chance to avenge the defeat in the final next week.
"The five weeks off really hurt him," said driver Ron Pierce. "He didn't get much of a qualifier at Gaitway. He wasn't quite up to that fast of a mile. I kind of figured it would take me awhile to get to the lead. That's the way I've been racing him all year, floating him away from the gate. We had a soft middle half, but the other horse has been racing every week." [US Trotting Association]- We saw a band called My Brightest Diamond last night. I had caught just the tail end of a set they played last year, and I knew that the Head Chef would like them...but didn't realize how far they'd come in the year and a half since I saw them last, wow! Whenever we go to shows, there's always the worry that we'll be the oldest ones in the crowd. But that concern was immediately relieved when we saw the actor John Lithgow there. Later, the bass player, half of a killer rhythm section, was introduced as Nathan Lithgow, so I suppose they may be related. The band is the brainchild of Shara Worden, who belts out her ethereal, classically trained vocals and hammers power chords on her guitar simultaneously. Last night she played with her rock trio and her string quartet, and it was really quite a show. The music ranges from heavy metal and prog-rock to unbearably gorgeous hymns, and I guess you really just have to hear them to get the full effect. So here's one of their videos. Good luck and have a great Sunday.