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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Going to the Chapel, And We're.....

- Well, actually that's not exactly the case. The Head Chef and I were officially married at City Hall on Friday, which was a trip all in itself. Today's festivities will include a faux ceremony to mark and commemorate the occasion. And right around that time, Just Zip It is scheduled to go to the post as the heavy favorite in today's 7th race; she's the even money favorite in the morning line. It's a good thing to have a NY-bred who can run a little in March at the Big A. So good luck to the Castle Village partners this afternoon. I don't think I'm going to be able to make it.

Just some quick impressions on yesterday's races before I gotta go. The most startling sight of the day was that of Circular Quay not only being close up to the pace, but actually being wrangled back by Garrett Gomez. What the hell were in those blinkers anyway?? Grasshopper, and his trainer Dale Romans Neil Howard, must have been reminded of the Travers, in which he waged a similar losing battle from the inside. A fantastic race; Grasshopper battled back and I thought he was going to do it, but it was not to be. Whether it was the blinkers or a Fair Grounds track over which Circular Quay ran his last good race a year ago, we'll have to wait and see....but I doubt we'll see 6-1 on him anytime soon.

Daytona never seemed completely comfortable this time, despite setting a slower pace than he did in the Fair Grounds Handicap. He was never quite able to get away from Proudinsky and Buffalo Man. No real excuse here.

Regarding Indian Blessing, far be it from me to be telling Bob Baffert and Garrett Gomez what to do. But it seems to me that this filly's main asset is her brilliant speed. So perhaps she should just be allowed to do her own thing early rather than being restrained, thus allowing Proud Spell, a fantastic filly herself, to stay close enough to track her down in the stretch. Still, Gomez said: "If anything it was better than her last effort," and indeed, the race was faster than the Louisiana Derby which followed.

Pyro was a revelation in that race, like Circular Quay, displaying early tactical speed that we've never seen before. So much for the notion that being closer to a reasonable pace would dull his closing kick. He showed a lot of grit in bulling his way through a crowded stretch to get through and post a classy three length win; and that's invaluable experience for the 20 horse field of the Derby. Nuthin' doing for Tale of Ekati or Majestic Warrior, and I dunno, maybe this two-prep thing is not the ideal approach?

And finally for now, thanks to reader Nate for posting about the amazing story of Autism Awareness, a $1,000 yearling purchase who won the El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows at odds of 62-1. He was coming off his maiden graduation, in his 13th start! More on that story here and here. As for me, I gotta go. The Head Chef is giving me funny looks. Have a great day.


Anonymous said...

No doubt a better looking performance. And closed well, doing the final 1/16 in 6 2/5 or something. But still, it was set up by a slow middle quarter of almost 26 seconds - 6F a second slower than the fillies. If the Derby goes 6F in 1:11 or quicker, Pyro's gonna need that late kick.

dana said...

Congrats Alan and best of luck with Just Zip!

As for Daytona, I think (as I predicted here) that he didn't like the yielding turf. Although I didn't manage to pick the right ones to benefit from the surface condition, oh well!

Anonymous said...

There's only one thing to say today, only one "comment" to make on LATG: Mazel Tov to Alan and The Head Chef!!! /S/Green Mtn Punter

Glimmerglass said...

Kudos on the wedding!

I don't think my wife would've let me blog on the night before of day of the wedding - despite her following racing closer then most wives. Then again I was married in Italy so not a lot of internet access at the time ;>

Teresa said...

Congrats on the trifecta: you celebrated your wedding; your horse won gorgeously; and the Rangers took it in overtime.

Not bad for a Sunday...

onecalicocat said...

I love JZI -- a real competitor.
I bet her anyway despite the small payoff.
It looks like she could go longer.
Will she stay in this kind of company or try to move up?
Staying in this class she could become quite an earner.
You've had a heckuva a wedding day.

Jim O'Sullivan said...


Well, Pyro has shown an ability to stay in touch with the leaders. If War Pass can show an ability to rate a little...

Anonymous said...

Mazel Tov Alan and Head Chef;o)

Who in the world was touting universal good thing Saratoga Russell in the Gotham. Yeah, he ran fast, but never had competed in stake and had never run past 6 furlongs and he is the huge favorite in a good race????/

People I never saw in the simulcast before were walking in with a "tip" on this sprinter, then walking out faster when they looked up and saw 6-5.

And EVERY public handicapper picked him. Amazing.

I have seen a lot in my years but this one was as strange as anything I have seen.

Of course, I toss him, box the other four logical horses in the TRI and SF, and get beat by some longshot named Larry.

Do the right thing and still lose..

Anonymous said...

hey chief, dont mean to be stickler but neil howard trains grasshopper not dale romans

Teresa said...

What was interesting about the public handicappers was that maybe one of the twelve handicappers in the News and the Post picked Saratoga Russell; the DRF guys had him, but not the locals, many of whom had him off the board entirely, as did the two NYRA handicappers.

Of course, none of them could know that he'd displace a palate.

Anonymous said...

Teresa, is that the excuse du jour?

Methinks he just didn't get the distance, but they need an excuse to avoid looking stupid for running him way too far, way over his head, way too soon. He's a son of Trippi, not AP Indy.

Whatever the cause, the Harvey Pack rule, or KISS rule, exists for a reason.

Never bet a horse as favorite to do something it has never done.

That written, even if you toss that horse, you still need to make the correct wager, a task at which I failed miserably, getting greedy with TRI and SF instead of an easy EX.

Anonymous said...

PS- TX Wildcatter is Pletcher's best shot at the Derby, unless you count Ready's Echo, who may be more talented but just has too much to do.

Tex would have won for fun if Johnny V was in the saddle, and maybe even if they just did not add blinkers. Headstrong, Arroyo moved him three wide way too soon.

Can only see it on the pan shot due to the fog, but he ran a big race while Visionnaire got a perfect trip.

Nate said...

Congrats on the big day, Alan! And thanks as always for the analysis...can't believe you still made time for it today, you're a true fan! GO JUST ZIP IT!!

alan said...

>>Congrats on the big day, Alan! And thanks as always for the analysis...can't believe you still made time for it today, you're a true fan!

Yeah, that was a little hardcore I guess. :-\

>>hey chief, dont mean to be stickler but neil howard trains grasshopper not dale romans

No problema, always appreciate having my occasional errors and misstatements corrected. Funny, I always get those two guys mixed up, even on days when I'm not getting married!