- The stewards at Hollywood Park let Bushwacker stand as the winner of the G3 Vernon O. Underwood, despite his steady bearing out through the stretch and apparent impeding of runner-up In Summation as they neared the wire. The latter's jockey Corey Nakatani was not happy.
"The problem is that he was herding my horse," Nakatani said. "Every time I got close to him, he'd just float out and my horse would have to check himself. You're not allowed to herd. Five or six strides to the wire I couldn't even ride him because he kept floating my horse out." [AP]I can't say I blame Nakatani. Watching the head-on on Cal Racing, Bushwacker ran in a virtual diagonal all throughout the stretch, and In Summation had to make several adjustments in his path even before the more blatant crowding at the end. Nakatani also claimed that his horse was whipped by the winner's rider Joe Talamo.
Greg's Gold was the even money favorite in his first start since his disappointing run in the slop of the Breeders' Cup. He looks like he could use a break; he broke a bit sluggishly, and was never really in it, despite his making up ground for third late. Council Member was stone cold dead on the board, and didn't show much interest at all.
Bushwacker was 6-1 despite the fact he seemed to clearly be the lone speed. It was a big step up in class to this Grade 3 in which two of his five opponents were legit Grade 1 campaigners. He's by Outflanker, a son of Danzig standing for $4,000 in Maryland, where he ranks number two on the state sire list with over $3 million in purses this year.
- When Southern Terminus won the second race on Saturday at the Big A, he became the first two-year old first-timer to win on the dirt at a NYRA track for Todd Pletcher since June 15, in 27 attempts, many at short odds. He'd had two such winners on the turf since, but none since August 2.
It's been business as usual out-of-state however. Since June 15 at tracks other than NYRA, the Toddster has nine debut juvenile winners out of 31 tries, a percentage of 29%.