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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saratoga Saturday (Updated)

- In the first, Por Favor (4-1) drops in class and returns to a two-turn dirt race for trainer John Fahey III after a futile try in a grass stakes at Canterbury. This is a seven-year old with 64 lifetime starts, but it was only this past May that he started to be stretched out consistently. His two races around two turns at Churchill were quite good, earning solid Beyers in races that turned out to be productive ones. Not much speed inside of this one, so expect good position for Robby Albarado. Hawkinsville (5-1) goes first off the claim for trainer Bruce Brown, 3-3-2 with his last eight in that category.

Trainer Michael Trombetta is in town today with Eternal Star for the Forego (a race which I think has too much talent to simply defer to likely favorite Lucky Island); and he's also brought a couple of other horses along to drop in class in search of a) a win, b) to get rid off, c) both of the above? In the 4th, T.J's Posse (7-2) stretches out to seven furlongs after returning off a layoff with a wide, fast closing third at Del Park. The barn is 25% in the second off layoff category, and the horse has some back class with a second place finish in a Zia Park stakes last year. He's never failed to fire around one turn. Wesley Ward, a ridiculous 8 for 21 at the meet, starts Chief Talkeetna (5-2) after claiming him for himself from Ken Ramsey off an extremely long layoff and sharp drop in class off a maiden special at Gulfstream by 5 in Jan 07 which earned him a 92 Beyer and probably a mention in a Haskin Derby Watch column too. Has he started those for next year's Derby yet?

Just a note about the 5th - the two morning line favorites, Jamaludin (5-2) and Moore Miles (3-1), both come out of strong heats. Jamaludin, shipping in for the resurgent Toddster from Arlington, took an allowance there from which the second and 4th place finishers returned to run a close 1-2 in a subsequent race of the same class. Moore Miles, second at this level on this track to McLaughlin's Great Emperor, defeated Big Wig, a winner next out with a 90 Beyer, and Osceola Prince, who returned to win at this level as well.

Pletcher has the morning line favorite in the 6th with first-time two-year old French Action (2-1), by Action This Day out of a French Deputy mare. The barn got off to a flying start in this category, with four early winners. But it may be worth noting that he's 0 for 16 since High Cry won on 8/7 - eight of those at odds of 3-1 or less.

That's it for now - gonna get cracking on the rest of the card and I'll report back if anything strikes my fancy. No, I'm not betting against Curlin, but I'd take a shot against Lucky Island. I know, nothing too exciting here, but I'm finding it a tough card to sink my teeth into. DiscreetCat has some thoughts on the 8th, so I hope that helps.

Cashed one ticket on Thursday.....but it was a consolation daily double when Dressed to Win was a late scratch in the 7th. I'd successfully singled the Dale Romans entry of first-timers in the 6th. 8-1 morning line, they were a solid 3-1 on the board. This was strictly a tote play, with a little bit of 'good first-timer barn' mixed in. Is there anything sweeter when you bet a coupling and Durkin goes "the entry is 1-2" as they pass the eighth pole?

$100 even for Be Smart in that day's 9th for Lukas. This is a son of Smarty Jones, and this looks to be his 4th winner from this, his first crop. Be Smart is out of a Unbridled mare who's a 3/4 sister to the Wood winner Buddha.

How about the Toddster, battling back with two winners on Friday to cut McLaughlin's lead to one? And it's a funny game sometimes - John Kimmel, 1 for 20 on the day coming into Friday, scored with three winners, including two consecutive (and well-bet) first-timers. Close Encounter is the fifth winner for rookie sire Friends Lake. Timber Reserve, the 2007 PA Derby winner, rebounded from two hideous running lines for 2008 to win an awful feature in which I couldn't make a case for no one. But he sounded like an easy winner according to the race chart, as he coasted to the finish line while being struck thrice on the shoulder. That's surely the first time I've ever seen the word thrice in a race chart, and I hope it was merely the whip with which he was struck.

[UPDATE: A couple of points to add about the 8th. As DC mentioned, it's a tough heat. Besides Tagg's colt being a half to Nobiz Like Shobiz, you have Zito's Ruler's Vision, a half to War Pass, and Mott's Pious David, a troubled third in his debut, a half to Blue Grass winner Monba. Speed Limit looks like the best of the ones who have already run; he made a very wide move on the turn after a stumbling start, and can thus be forgiven for flattening out and settling for second to Asmussen first-timer Kensei.

Another which I won't ignore is Imperial Council (12-1), first time out for Shug. This barn has been very sharp with its two-year olds at this meeting. Consequence was a debut winner at 6-1 last week; two others, Persistently and Gone Astray, ran good thirds at long odds in their debuts and then each won their second time out. Imperial Council has some solid works, and outworked stablemate Consequence on 8/16 and 7/26. This colt is by Empire Maker (just 2 for 65 with debut runners thus far), out of a stakes winning Thunder Gulch mare.

Haven't come up with anything for the Forego. Lucky Island sure looks tough, but there are some tough seasoned sprinters in here. Eternal Star has come on strong, for Trombetta; likewise Bold Start, and we know how well McPeek has been going; First Defence loves this distance and has two seconds in graded stakes over the track; Forefathers is fast when he wants to be; and Premium Wine is capable of picking up the pieces if things get too complicated up front. I think I'm going to limit my late Pick Three single to Curlin. Best of luck and have a fantastic day!!]


Anonymous said...

Saratoga - Race 8 #9 Hello Broadway (5/1 ml)

2yo Tagg firster looks to be a good one, from what i can tell. Two drills back he worked a bullet from the gate in 59.1, fine by itself but even more impressive when you consider that the worked was listed as "handily", a designation few workers receive on the East Coast (it's like the West Coast version of "breezing"). Prior to that, on August 10, his workout was an exact match for Lucky Island, an older multiple stakes-winner who happens to be the 8/5 ml favorite in today's Grade 1 Forego on today's card. Lucky Island is trained by McLaughlin, so it's probably a coincidence, but perhaps not. Tagg's go-to rider Coa takes the call, and it turns out that this colt is a half-brother to Nobiz Like Shobiz, who won his debut by about 10 lengths for Tagg a couple of years ago, right around this same time of year. Also of note is a very slow pre-race workout, which comes on the heels of that 59.1 bullet. That tends to be a very positive sign, as if the trainer is stating "my horse is ready, i don't need to do anything more with him". Tough field here, but i suspect this colt will run a big race today.

TripleCrownRacing said...

Was it just me or did Imperial Council have the look of an easy winner coming off the turn??? I would have had him in the Pick-4 which I had anyway thankfully.

Anonymous said...

Chief Talkeetna was claimed from Kimmel & Drazin, not the Ramseys.

Anonymous said...

Are the jocks and their agents dumb fuc&s?

Castellano not around for First Defence.

Garcia has had 2 horses lose and not finish on the board at odds-on because of being left at the gate this meet. Nice ride on Lucky Island.

Prado not on Kimmel's winner of the 7th. He rode Hough's dog.

Johhny Velazquez off Past Post in the Woodward.

Speaking of which, Curlin is overrated. Lots of the Peb posters not given away. John Lee should be fired.

Anonymous said...

Dave Litfin should resign from the Form.

He's $619.50 in the hole for the meet as part of the DRF+, that thing you HAVE TO PAY FOR ACCESS!!!!

This is the poster child for gimmickry where people, make that suckers, are taken down the shady street of horse racing gambling. There have to be many who take his drivel as gospel.

Same goes for Andy Serling. When he gives out those picks he sure as shi^ isn't losing, but his picks are.

Andrew Beyer fawns all over Jess Jackson in a recent column. Hey Andrew, why don't you ask him how slowwww is future Hall of Famer is next time? He can run a distance of ground, but he's not fast!

Anonymous said...

Desormeaux was at Delaware on Saturday to take over after Prado stiffed him in his latest.

Castellano rode in the same race, deciding to move a lot later than he did when winning the stake at Saratoga. But he did allow Frankel win the Forego with First Defence.

Ramon Dominguez was on the favorite, which helped to further embolden Motion's bad luck (or awful training) by finishing fifth or sixth.

All three of these horses came from the same stakes race at Saratoga, and they will each get trounced by the Euros when they come here for the Breeders' Cup. It's not going to be pretty. The Euros could win half the races on the Saturday card, and if they ever decide to bring fillies and/or mares half as good as Ouija Board, it could get realy ugly at Santa Anita.

At least they'll run and not chicken out like the U.S. based elitists, hoping to retain stallion value.