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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Delayed Opening Day

- With the rain (mostly?) gone, and the sun having shone for most of the day, the track at Saratoga should be fast for Friday's twilight card - at least at some point if not for the 2:45 opener. I'm told that the Lake George will stay on the turf. It feels like opening day for me. Just don't get much into the game when the track is like that.

In the first, Charging Hero (9-2) takes an enormous drop in class to restricted claimers. I'm just tosing his last - he was a full three wide around the entire Belmont turn in a race against the likes of Tizbig (2nd in the Dwyer) and Goldsville (4th, beaten 2 lengths in the Barbaro [Delaware version]). His prior was a sharp second in allowance company, beaten a neck by Monster Drive, who subsequently overcame a bad stumble at the start to post a close second at Monmouth on July 12. Not thrilled about the cutback to six furlongs, but this is a significant drop in class for a horse with some sharp recent form. At Attention (4-1) goes off the claim for trainer Bruce Brown, three for ten in that category. He switches to dirt after a so-so 5th on grass with Castellano, and you gotta love that the rider returns for the new barn. By Proxy (7-2) is a sharp shipper from Churchill. These have done well here the past couple years, at least it seems that way. As far as I know, if you want stats as to who is winning from which tracks, you have to compile them yourself.

The second race juvenile affair will be run on the dirt. Contessa, who sent out the sharp Vinny Van Go on Wednesday, starts first-timer Into My Soul off a very similar workout pattern. He's a son of the Classic/World Cup winner Pleasantly Perfect, standing at Lane's End for $30,000. The stallion only started once as young as three, and won his big races at five and six. But he's off to a pretty good start, with [pdf warning] two winners from six starters overall. Into My Soul is out of Stop Traffic (Cure the Blues), who won the G1 Ballerina over this track. Seems worth a flyer at his 12-1 morning line. Mott debuts Charlie Temper (Giant's Causeway), and Kent D. rides. Desormeaux needs one win to get to #5000. We all know how Mott/Kent D dominated the baby races here last year; Mott won with six with first time starters with Desormeaux on five. I've also been noting here that Mott is 0 for his last 56 first-timers going back to September. We'll soon start seeing which of those stats is more relevant. For now, I'm leaning towards recency, especially since Mott's first-timers are still going to get bet way down based on what he did at the Spa last meeting. People like to bet that way there. Charlie Trumper is a 3/4 brother to the speedy Wildcat Heir.

The third race might be the first one of the meet that really makes you feel like you are indeed at Saratoga. Demoiselle winner Mushka makes her first start of the year in this allowance race after missing all of the spring madness. Could be a tough spot with One Caroline (5-2), one of those sharp CD shippers, two-for-two for Rusty Arnold. The trainer had a tough meeting here last year, but he's better than that two-for-23 record. Hamsa (3-1) was one of the stumblers in the Mother Goose, and deserves another shot for Barclay Tagg. No pick here.

In the sixth, Laysh Laysh Laysh (6-1) returns to the races for trainer David Jacobson. He was last seen in the Bay Shore, far back after getting taken up sharply at the start. Prior to that, this three-year old son of Whywhywhy got really good since the barn claimed him for 50k, and ran third in the Capposella Stakes close behind Accredit (who romped in his return for McLaughlin on Wednesday). Steady workouts, and the barn is 23% in the 61-180 day layoff category.

Tough call in the Lake George, which features My Princess Jess (8-5), coming off her two straight stakes wins for Tagg, and Mousse Au Chocolat (2-1), who last ran second in a Group 2 in France on soft going, which I imagine she'll see here. Her Racing Post numbers keep going up, which I know has to be good, even though I lost my handle on the relative merits of the foreign numbers when the Form switched from Timeform. Seems like a good race to just watch anyway.

- I'm taking a long peek at Notional for the Whitney on Saturday. He was one of the top three-year olds last spring with his Risen Star and San Rafael wins, and his second to Scat Daddy in the Florida Derby. He went to the sidelines after that, and seemed to suffer a setback after what seemed like a very hasty trip to Dubai. He switched to the barn of Mark Hennig, who is having a very good year, and it was for that barn that he won the Salvator Mile at Monmouth, running down a loose on the lead Gottcha Gold on his favorite speed-favoring track. No mean feat there, and he finally topped that 105 Beyer he ran in his debut. His two-turn dirt form is pretty excellent overall, and he doesn't have to be a champ to get his first Grade 1 win in this spot.

8 Comments:

Anonymous said...

The usual strong Whitney field entered for Saturday's Big 4 day.
Woulda been better with Curlin in it. Year in, year out, the Whitney usually proves to be the most hotly contested of all Grade I stakes races at the Spa. It is the older, mature Grade I horses that I find most exciting to watch. Racing needs to get back to promoting a Grade I handicap circuit where veteran campaigners come back year-after-year and thus have a chance to develop a loyal fan base at the major tracks all around the USA and Canada. /S/Green Mtn Punter

DC said...

Note the name in Mousse Au Chocolat's company line from her April race @ Longchamp. Then check some Arc futures on-line.

El Angelo said...

A somewhat decent rule of thumb that I've gone by on Euro shippers for turf is to give them a "plus 1" on graded stakes races. For example, if a Euro won or was very competitive in a Grade 3 turf race in Europe, they should be very competitive in Grade 2's and 3's here. Grade 2 winners in Europe are about the equivalent of American G1's (see, Red Rocks). Real Euro Grade 1 winners would trounce our best with regularity.

Anonymous said...

And the softened turf will not hurt MAC either. Live, in a very tough race.

Anonymous said...

Flashing back to the prior thread, I am certain the full card simulcast menu at the Raceway has something to do with any decline in attendance, air conditioning is very appealing on some days.

Yes, to a lesser extent, sure there are some that Forego! the hot day in the yard for the air conditioned comfort of the VLT's too, especially the novices.

Those days were too crowded for me anyway, but will be interesting to monitor attendance Saturday with a perfect forecast.

Anonymous said...

Alwajeeha will be very tough if JV can manage a decent trip.

Multiple trouble lines, and with presumed legit pace and small field she has a good chance to get a clean late run this time.

Steven said...

Sixth Race DelMar.
4 SAYIT

I have been watch this filly for over a year and she just broke her Maiden in impressive fashion. 7/2 morning line is nice value stepping up to Allowance.
Steven

Steven said...

Sixth Race DelMar.
4 SAYIT

I have been watch this filly for over a year and she just broke her Maiden in impressive fashion. 7/2 morning line is nice value stepping up to Allowance.
Steven