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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Belmont Notes

- Pletcher has been close to a total non-entity at Belmont thus far. He has two ungraded stakes among his seven winners (in 47 starts); three others came in restricted claiming races. The barn had a particularly awful weekend at Belmont, with three heavily bet runners finishing out of the money in stakes. On Saturday, AP Arrow was an unbelievable 6-5 in the Suburban, and couldn't have been less of a factor if he just stayed in the barn.

On Sunday, Mr. Mistoffeles was .35-to-1 in the Tremont Stakes off his un-Beyer rated 4 1/2 furlong maiden romp over the Poly at Keeneland....oh man. Who exactly are the "they" in "they bet him to 3-10? He even attracted some bridgejumper money judging from the show payoffs after he finished in last, some 20 lengths back. He took a pretty bad stumble at the start, though not in the Proud Spell category. Dagnabit, a NY-bred by Freud, gave Dutrow another stakes winner on the weekend.

The bettors got a bit wiser for the Astoria, in which Pletcher's Pride was the 7-5 morning line favorite; like Mr. Mistoffeles, she was coming off a maiden win at Keeneland. She ended up as the 1.95-to-1 second choice to 1.85-to-1 favorite, and runaway winner, Bold Union; and finished 4th. She stumbled too; twice in fact, or so it appeared from viewing the head on. A terrible trio for the Toddster indeed.

- There was a lot of talk about how weak the two Grade 1 stakes at Belmont on Satuday were. And they were. The Mother Goose fell victim to unfortunate circumstances, and we were quite possibly deprived of a ding-dong finish (if not an impressive win by Proud Spell). The fact that AP Arrow was 6-5 tells you all you need to know about the G1 Suburban; though it at least had an exciting finish.

And in fact, exciting finishes were the order of the day, and there were some really good betting races too. So it wasn't a bad day at all. Maybe Handride should have come after all; then maybe he really would have bet Frost Giant! (Sorry man...)

The first four races were won by three noses and I Lost My Choo's head; Hi Daddy could not possibly have lost the second by any less without it being a dead heat. The 10th was another nose job, and every race on the day, other than the Mother Goose, was decided by 3/4's of a length or less. The fields were generally full enough if not overflowing, and, though there was a run of odds-on favorites early in the day, four of the races had favorites who were 5-2 or more. So, all in all, a pretty interesting day at the races despite all the pregame gloom and doom.

- I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that it's been at least 20 years since I've won a race via DQ. At least that long, maybe a few years longer. I can't remember the last time. Considering all the races I've bet over that time, isn't that statistically bizarre? I've been taken down, that's for sure.

So I thought my time had finally come in the 4th on Saturday. I had a cold exacta bet on Frankel's Good Request over favored Les Antiques. Not the kind of bet I'd generally make - a $16 will pay with a major money burner on top. However, he was coming out of an extremely key race, and besides, I've seen a couple of these seconditis types win lately. Eventually, they just find a field they're faster than.

Good Request showed why he doesn't win, getting outgamed by the favorite at the wire after poking his head in front on the inside. However, the stewards flashed the inquiry sign immediately following the finish. I really thought this was it. I didn't watch the stewards replays, as I'd gotten involved in some other race somewhere; but I figured I had a big shot. However, had I watched the head-on shots, I would have known that it wasn't to be. The winner drifted in and Good Request didn't have much room; but he had a fair shot. He just don't like to win. Les Antiques was another winner for Clement, his 14th of the meeting.

Kiaran McLaughlin had two winners on the weekend to break out of his 0-24; might pay to follow in the short run. Cobblestone Way was 12-1 in her debut in the slop and lost by 25 lengths. In the 6th on Sunday, he was 4-1 morning line for his first grass race, but went off at 9-5 and won by five. Hello?

I'llthinkofsumthin was another winner for Bruce Brown, taking Sunday's fifth; this barn has seven winners with 26 starters, and has quickly become a factor in the local claiming game.

Highland Cat looked home free midstretch in the 6th at Monmouth, but was edged out by a rival to whom he conceded a lot of ground on the turn. This is definitely one that got away - he's developed into a consistent and sturdy money earner for trainer Norman Pointer with two wins, three seconds, two thirds and a 4th in nine starts since the claim on New Year's Day.

8 Comments:

Jessica said...

We were probably deprived of a good stretch battle in the Mother Goose, and the chance to see Music Note tested, but I don't know about seeing Proud Spell win -- I think she would have been second best Saturday even if she had a perfect trip. Check out Music Note's past two races and her female family -- the filly is the real deal, her win no matter of chance.

Anonymous said...

Fresh off his Vogue internship, Sean Avery is entered in the 4th at Belmont on Thursday.

cheers, Chris

Handride said...

Thanks for the link, though this now makes more infamous than famous. As of Monday morning I'm over it. I didn't bet the tri (which would have cost me $1300), so all in all, LESSON LEARNED

Anonymous said...

While AP was certainly overbet, his problems in the gate prior to the start definately contributed to his non interest performance.

He was wedged into the inside back corner of the gate, with the crew struggling to force him to stand properly.

Instead of delaying the start by backing him out and reloading, they went ahead and sprung the gate, and he appeared to bump it very hard, squeezing the jocks leg in the process, no doubt contributing to both of their non interest.

Another in a long line of bad starts brought to us by the most incompetant gate crew in the nation.

At least 4 favorites "stumbled" at the start on Sunday alone, too much of a coincidence for me.

Not implying intentional by any means, just incompetance.

There used to be horsmanship used at the gate, now they rely on muscle.

Anonymous said...

Pletcher had the 3-5 favorite in a 2yo stakes at Woodbine today,Royal Card was coming off a big debut at Keeneland,Johnny V even came along.He ran out.

Anonymous said...

Did you notice the payoffs for place in the Mother Goose-$11.60 and $20!! Must have been a busy day on the bridge. Free money if you could see the pools in a four horse race.

Tote Board Brad said...

alan,
did you leave this comment over on vic's horse-insider site? if so, well done, mi matie.

>>alan says:
30 Jun 2008 at 05:13 pm | #
I’d leave a comment so that I could whore my link too, but I couldn’t even get through this column and I have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you?

alan said...

>>did you leave this comment over on vic's horse-insider site?

Moi?