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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Belmont Drug Questions Nothing New

- Baffert is in town, and he's two-for-two since arriving on Wednesday. He'll saddle Indian Blessing in the Acorn, second on my list of which races I'm most excited for. I got on her case last year for her unimpressive finishes, but she earned my admiration in her two races at Fair Grounds this year, including her loss to Proud Spell. This turnback after a respite to a one turn mile seems like a good spot. Baffert said that he wants to "shut that motor down early in the race," and she did so more or less in the Frizette at this distance here last year, when she sat just off the pace of Dill Or No Dill. She may have to do the same behind Dance Gal Dance here.

Baffert won the fifth on Thursday with Under Serviced, an expensive ($325,000) Hook and Ladder NY-bred who'd won her only start on the Cushion at Hollywood almost a year ago. 5-2 morning line, she paid $4 winning on a track which was sealed for the second straight day. Under Serviced is out of a mare by Thirty Six Red, who had the lead turning for home in the 1990 Belmont for trainer Nick Zito as the 7-2 second choice to Unbridled, the 6-5 favorite who stopped on the turn and finished 4th. Thirty Six Red had to shake off 65-1 Baron De Vaux, and succumbed to Go and Go.

Drugs were a major topic of discussion that year too, as it wasn't until 1995 that Lasix was legalized in New York. Unbridled had been running on the drug, and the question of whether he, and other horses, could run without it here was a key handicapping factor in those days, and often as much of a guess as the synthetic track questions today. Reporting on the race for the New York Times, Steven Crist noted:

Summer Squall, the Derby runner-up and Preakness winner, did not even contest the Belmont because his handlers were reluctant to run him without Lasix, on which the colt had been racing.
We don't really know what steroids are doing to horses long-term, but they have no effect on how we bet races as Lasix, or the lack thereof, did then and still does now. Hell, we don't even know which horses are using steroids (though you can guess that trainers that decline to comment probably are).

Here's a video of the race. I'm not going to mention the track announcer's name, because I'm sure he's a nice guy and I wouldn't want him to see this if he Googles himself. But hearing his calls just sends shivers up my spine, and this one epitomizes everything that was wrong about......him.



Woodbine-based trainer Reade Baker is also two-for-two after shipping in Find the Wire to win the 4th. And Baker also has a live one on Saturday, though his is 8-1 morning line. Fatal Bullet has an awful name - ugh!! I mean, why would anyone give their horse such an unattractive name? Can't the Jockey Club refuse names for being in bad taste?

But the son of Red Bullet does have some attractive form on the Poly at Woodbine. He's dominated all three of his 2008 starts, while moving up the ladder after running for a 62.5K tag in the first one. He'll have to improve more to compete in the G2 Woody Stephens; but Northern Nelli passed her class test for Baker in the state-bred Bouwerie, paying $22.80 in transferring her form from Woodbine. So this Adena-bred gelding could be a live one on Saturday.

8 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Alan, how about that Brooklyn as a prep for your favorite race, the BC Marathon?

The Old Gray Man, Evening Attire, trying to reinvent himself has a marathoner.

Even had his first gate work is six year this week (think the trainer might have wanted to revisit this issue sooner?)

Not a scintallating gambling event, but fun to watch and root for the old man.

El Angelo said...

I love the Brooklyn as a 1 1/2 mile race, but wouldn't it make more sense to run it on Belmont day, so they have a pair of races at the distance and can normalize speed figures?

Brett said...

Not good for Casino Drive. The DRF is reporting he has a stone bruise in his left hind foot. He did not do any training today, and I assume they will monitor him on a hour by hour basis.

A decision won't be made until tomorrow.

If CD does not run this could hurt the "fun-factor" of the Belmont Stakes. At least for me that is. And I won't get as nice of prices on Ekati and Cork.

Anonymous said...

No surprise, he was reportedly "off" all week.

Interesting to see if they get Ian McKinley to work on him. althought its not a crack.

alan said...

>>And I won't get as nice of prices on Ekati and Cork.

Exactly. Seemed strange that he never had a proper workout anyway, considering that he did before the Peter Pan.

And yeah Anon, you know that these BC Marathon preps really get me going! :-) I guess Pat Kelly thinks that you can teach old dogs new tricks. Good idea by El Angelo, but Beyer's not the racing secretary..

Glimmerglass said...

CD's workout yesterday wasn't anything to crow about. Some said he didn't look 'comfortable' in his last couple of works. Yes a sloppy track on Thursday but in light of this physical condition discussion I can't think they'd go forward.

His connections scratched the only possible rabbit from the Belmont Stakes because they didn't want to waste him. So if CD isn't 110% perfect, why would they race him?

El Angelo said...

He doesn't Alan, but up until a few years ago, they always ran a 1 1/2 mile race on the undercard as a starter allowance or overnight stakes race, presumably for this reason. Hell, I'd be fine with that too.

Brooklyn Backstretch said...

Evening Attire worked at the gate a couple of years ago (two?), before he was retired, I think. Even then, Kelly figured it would be futile...and so far, he's been right...