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Thursday, August 07, 2008

No Rain on Pletcher Parade

- Jerry Bossert wrote in the NY Daily News of Dutrow's admission before the Preakness that Big Brown was receiving steroids:

But without Dutrow's openness, this sport would still be using steroids blindly today, and surely the Breeders' Cup and other organizations wouldn't have come forward with strict policies limiting their use.

The sport should thank Dutrow for coming out and admitting to using steroids on his horses. [NY Daily News]
Interesting point, but I don't know that I completely agree. For one thing, the movement to ban steroids was already well underway when it was amplified by the death of Eight Belles. The early speculation that she had been administered them fueled further interest in the subject, and that's what led to Dutrow being questioned about it in the first place.

Also, I wouldn't use the word "openness" to describe Dutrow's admitting to giving his horses Winstrol. To me, that has the connotation of it being borne out of some desire by the trainer to be forthcoming and honest, thus making a positive contribution to the debate. Instead, I suspect that it wasn't quite that profound. Dutrow doesn't seem like a very complicated guy to me, and I get the impression that he simply gave an honest answer to a simple question. Where I agree with Bossert is his emphasis that Dutrow stands amongst just a handful of trainers that have come clean on the matter. Not going to once again get into the thing with Zito not commenting on whether Da'Tara had used steroids before the Bemont, and the free pass he's gotten from the press. But, yeah, there's that too.

- Got an email from Tom Federlin today with some house listings for Saratoga, including availabilities for Travers week and some "last minute bargains." That can't be a good sign; I always thought the guy skipped town once the season actually starts, but sounds like he's still hustling. And after a few nice weather days, heavy rain returned to Saratoga on Wednesday, and the forecast is grim. The combination of a weekend with no graded stakes and an off track would not be a good one.

Before the rest of the grass races were rained onto the slop, Pletcher had his 4th two-year old debut winner of the meeting when High Cry ($6.50) won the 4th - juveniles going a mile and a sixteenth on a firm turf course. We might not see that course condition again for a few days. Johnny V was able to slow the pace down, getting to three quarters in 1:15. He then opened up a few lengths going 24 flat to the sixteenth pole, but was all out to barely hold off Dancing Daisy. Durkin called it "too close to call" and mentioned Dancing Daisy first. Not sure if track announcers still call the horse that they believe won the race first these days. I don't really pay close attention to who they call, since one only has to wait a moment to see the slow motion replay. Back in the day, the track announcer's "call" was often the only thing one had to go by other than the naked eye. They rarely got it wrong. Durkin did today if that was his intent.

High Cry is by Street Cry, out of a mare by the two-time Arc winner Alleged. He's inbred 5x3 to Hoist the Flag. If I was Alan Porter, I might also point out that he has Mr Prospector and Marshua's Dancer in his third generation, and that the two are quite similarly bred, being sons of Raise A Native out of Nashua mares. Nice distaff family includes three Grade 1 winners - Tactile, Queens Only, and Gun Salute.

Last year, Pletcher's record in this category at Saratoga was 1 for 23. Note that he has an entry of newcomers entered for another two-year old turf race scheduled as the 5th race on Friday, but I guess that race is coming off the grass.


Brett said...

Any thoughts on Million weekend? I'm somewhat excited. We are suppose to have picture-perfect weather and the Million may prove to be the top turf race in America this year. The Beverly D. also looks quality while the Secretariat is somewhat lacking. Oh well. Just wanted to know if you have any thoughts?

I'll be at the most underrated track in America that day, Arlington Park.

ljk said...

It sure rained on Pletcher and Ravel today.

I'm thinking NYRA might be changing the length of this meet from 36 days, to 40 days and 40 nights.

Was slightly amused when Durkin paged "Mr. Noah" to the office.

It's ironic (don't ya think?)that it has been beautiful sunshine from the moment Durkin announced the cancellation.

DC said...

Just thought i'd give brief mention to the European entrants in tomorrow's Arlington Million.

ARCHIPENKO: Beaten just a half-length in the Dubai Duty Free while finishing just a nose behind the fabuolus filly Darjina, who was likely the best grass-miler in the world last year. Subsequently shipped to Hong Kong for a win at the Million distance, and comes into this one off another nice win at Ascot.

SPIRIT ONE: Finished a close 4th two starts back behind 3 return winners in the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Longchamp, one of whom (Duke of Marmalade) just won the King George and is one of the leading contenders for the Arc.

MOUNT NELSON: Beaten just over a length in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, which always boasts a sterling field. As with Archipenko, he was just beaten out by Darjina in that race. Stepped up to the Million distance and won the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes in his latest start.