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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Belmont Notes - July 2

- Wesley Ward is now three for four at Belmont with Osceola Prince taking the second on Wednesday.

OSCEOLA PRINCE, away from the starting gate in good order, took the lead soon afterwards, continued on the front facing only token pressure, extended his margin when put to hand encouragement, then maintained a safe advantage to the wire under milder hand urging, while being flashed the whip intermittently.
Extended his margin when put to hand encouragement? Milder hand urging? Being flashed the whip intermittently? there something strange going on here?

Like Ward's recent winner Austin Laviva Baby, this horse shipped in from out of town while dropping in claiming price.

Godolphin's Rallying Cry was awful at 6-5 in the third; nice price on Tsali ($15.20), just the kind of improving sort that I like to bet. Guess I missed this one. This Zito-trainee is a four year old son of Maria's Mon, out of a Kingmambo half sister to the G1 winner Dream Supreme.

Belle's Home ($30.60) won the 4th, first of two nice price winners for Castellano. It was the first win, in 13 starts, on the NY circuit this year for trainer George Weaver. This barn had a productive meeting at Saratoga last year, with seven winners, many of them at generous odds (a median payout of $13). He's one to keep an eye on as the summer progresses.

Nothing doing for my pick Footloose Man in the 7th. I originally called the winner, Miracle Hill ($21, with Castellano), dead on the board; but upon further review, it was just a bad morning line to make him 3-1.

Stakes winner for Contessa, with his hard hitting Runway Rosie recovering from a poor performance at Pimlico, and running away with the Proud Delta. She got a perfect trip under jockey Rajiv Maragh. The daughter of Include tracked two longshot leaders, took over easily turning for home, and
...entered the furlong grounds with a sizeable advantage.

And how about trainer Bruce Brown, scoring with first timer North Ocean Drive on the grass in the 9th; that's his 8th winner (as many as Pletcher, a winner with Sophie's Salad in the opener), from just 27 starters, which rounds to 30%.

Brown is pressing ahead enthusiastically with the plans to send Rap Tale to Colonial Downs, for a VA-bred stakes on July 12; the Brookmeade Stakes will be run at a mile. I have the past performances for the nominees (pdf) A couple of familiar names in Christmas Kid and Mini Sermon; other than that, not much in here. Even those two are flawed - Christmas Kid's last two were really bad; Mini Sermon has never been on the grass - and take them out, and it seems like she should have a chance for a share at least. Not sure exactly what these particular speed figures are, but she fits right in according to them. The trainer says she's doing fantastic, and every time I speak to Bob, Prado's post-race comments on how well she took to the grass become more and more effusive. "She loved it," is what I got today. The trouble line notes the early bump, but nothing about the severe traffic she encountered in the stretch. Bob and several other Kasey K partners are going down to the race. I have a wedding. Looks like I'll have to get the call via the phone once again.

- Reynaldothewizard ($8) took the 9th at Churchill; nice pick by DiscreetCat; unfortunately, we certainly didn't get 8-1. It's the second winner for first-year sire Speightstown, about whose foals I've been reading great things for the last year. Dutrow has one on Thursday in the 4th; Shrewd sold for $435,000 last year, and debuts off just three works for a 30% first-out barn. He's out of Bluffing Girl, a stakes winning daughter of Pine Bluff.