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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wednesday Morning Notes - Nov 7

- Another winner for Ian Wilkes, the hot trainer at Churchill these days; he scored in the 8th on Tuesday with Awsugahnow, at 5.40 to 1. Once again, Calvin Borel was aboard, as he has for all five winners the barn has from only eight starters. Wilkes has one starter entered for Thursday; Tiz to Dream is stuck out on the AE list. Wilkes is 0-for-35 lifetime with first-time starters. This son of the 9% debut sire Tiznow is out of a half-sister to the Juvenile champ Gilded Time.

Steve Asmussen is also having a good meet at CD; after two winners on Tuesday, he stands with a record of 23-8-4-4. Storm Treasure is another of those Derby survivors, having run 11th, a mere 19 1/4 lengths behind Barbaro last year. Immediately afterwards, he found a new home on the grass, and even though he lost 15 races in a row, he'd earned almost $370,000 even before this win, which was his second in a row since breaking that schneid.

Asmussen missed another winner in the 10th when his Dr. W ran second to Possibi. The winner last ran on the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs, and again, this is strictly unscientific and not backed by any stats, but I've been noticing horses with the Pid in the 'Last Raced' column of the race charts faring pretty well.

Golden Gate will unveil its Tapeta track when the meeting opens there today.

Costing about $10 million to install, Tapeta already is paying dividends for Golden Gate. Field size for opening week is up an average of almost two horses per race, from 6.6 to 8.5. The barn area is filled to capacity with 1,350 horses. Track officials hope to build barns with 250 new stalls to accommodate the waiting list.[Sacramento Bee]
Small fields are one of the main reasons that I've never really had much interest in betting the Northern California circuit, so perhaps I'll take a look. The surface has thus far received all the rave reviews we're accustomed to hearing at tracks that have installed synthetics, at least before the racing actually starts. Average field size at the recently concluded Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita was up from 8.9 from 8.2 last year, before the Cushion Track was installed.

- One trainer who is not doing particularly well at Churchill is Pletcher, with a record of 13-1-2-0. His two-year old colt Holy Humor, 7th at 7-2 in his debut at Keeneland, was 5th at 5-2 on Tuesday. The favorite, Sacred Journey, was bet down to 2-1 from 5-1 morning line in his career debut for Dallas Stewart. He finished 4th, so if you bet the Blessed Exacta of Holy Humor and Sacred Journey, you got left at the pearly gate.

Pletcher is also 0 for 9 at the Big A, and 1-for-24 overall since English Channel won the Turf; so looks like another mini-slump for the Toddster, who stands at 23% for the year. On July 22, the last day of the Belmont spring meeting, he was at 27%. Since that time, he's 75-for-458, for a percentage of 16.4%. That's an average most trainers would die for, but it's clearly below par for this one.