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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Saratoga Notes

- Seven of Monday's ten races featured favorites of even money or less. The three of them in the Pick Six sequence all lost on a track that I could swear was originally reported in the charts to be muddy on Monday, but reads sloppy now for the last few races. Nobody picked as many as five, and $55,000 carries over for Wednesday.

Whatever the track really was, Winning Point certainly didn't care for it. Never worse than second in eight starts (one prior for current trainer Kiaran McLauglin), including three Grade 2's, this four-year old daughter of Point Given never lifted a hoof, and finished last, some 26 lengths behind the next to last one. Ugh. It's not too uncommon to see a non-effort such as this from an accomplished runner when the track turns yucky. I think it doesn't happen as often when a horse tries synthetic; and that, in general, sloppy dirt tracks cause greater anomalies in form than the artificial stuff.

McLaughlin is six for 25; 24% is fine, but I was thinking he'd have a very strong meet. Maybe in the second half. He does have four seconds, all at 7-1 or more. And he did have two winners over the weekend, including with a firs-timer on Sunday with runaway winner Charitable Man.

I've noted that owner Ken Ramsey has been a buyer in the claiming game here; he claimed another one on Sunday. He was a seller in the first on Monday, dropping Golden Glen below his claiming price, picking up an easy win and $21,600 in purse money at 4-5, and losing him for 20K to Dutrow. In the sixth, Stealth Missile, claimed by Ramsey and trainer Michael Maker for 30K two back, took this starter allowance by ten lengths. Check this out - the race was for horses who have started for 50K or less and never won a race other than maiden or claiming. The listed purse was $66,000, but it ultimately was $79,200! (Only seven horses started, but I guess the purse bonus for field size remains in place despite the host of scratches.) These races are a chance for horses that have been running in races like 35K N2L to race for unbelievable purses. Stealth Missile earned $47,000, making back his claiming price, and more, in one shot.

Maker, nearly 30% on the year overall, got off to a slow start at the meeting, but is hot now with three winners, all for Ramsey, in his last four starts. Overall, he's four-for-14, and these connections definitely bear watching from here on out. I haven't handicapped the race, but I see that they have Terrific Storm, as an also eligible for Wednesday's sixth; this horse is dropping in class in similar fashion to Golden Glen.

David Duggan now has four winners from nine starters, with Indian Delight (Devil His Due) taking another rich starters allowance ($39,000 for the win). She's eligible because she debuted in April for a $25,000 tag, winning at 5-2. Not only did they put over a hot firster (presumably cashing a bet in the process) and get away with her not getting claimed, they got the filly eligible for these rich starters allowance purses. It took them a long time to get this $15K 2005 yearling to the races (eek!), but she's now earned almost $60,000 in just a few months since her debut.


Anonymous said...

Ramsey loves to be in the winners circle. He often drops horses into a spot where they can win. He also bets on them. I did have the short priced favorite in the first but I am still kicking myself about the other Ramsey horse.

Bob from NJ

Anonymous said...


Interesting news out of the Curlin camp. You should keep the saga between the two camps as a running post accessible on the top of the site.

Why do these two ownership groups have their top horses placed with two trainers who have been found guilty of juicing horses?

The Curlin versus Big Brown saga is a rift between huge egomaniacs.

The best races on the Breeders' Cup cards will be the Filly & Mare Turf and Ladies' Classic. Who knows, maybe Music Note will spoil the party for the two camps and rekindle the Rags To Riches love.

El Angelo said...

Jackson's playing this 100% right. If his horse wins out, Big Brown has to put on a show in the Classic to take HOTY. Frankly, I don't think Big Brown would beat Well Armed over a synthetic track.