- In the 9th at Saratoga today, National Pride (Macho Uno) makes his first start since a debut win for Contessa and Winning Move Stable at the Big A last November. He reappears here in Godolphin blue. Somebody must have made a little money on the deal; this was a $60K purchase at sale. But certainly, a three-year old debut in August was surely not what Sheikh, Inc. had in mind.
National Pride is 2-1 morning line, but with that running line showing him beating Saratoga Russell, who we haven't seen since he faded to oblivion as the favorite in the slop of the Gotham, and Mint Lane, who knows what he'll go off. So I'm gonna take a shot against. He's Solid Gold is 8-1 morning line for Zito. This half-brother, by Seeking the Gold, to the trainer's Florida Derby winner High Fly returned off a layoff with a good third to the improving Sixthirteen in which he was wide on the Belmont turn, and then finished well, outbattling a rival for the show spot. Nice workout on July 26 a week before this race, the same pattern as last time; and Johnny V climbs aboard.
- Did you see that George Weaver almost pulled over another debut winner, settling for second this time with County Galway, at 10-1 in the 5th on Friday. You may recall that the barn scored with Unflagging at 30-1 on Monday.
I guess that Miss Macy Sue just doesn't care much for Saratoga. Last year, she ran 4th, by 6 1/4 lengths, as the 6-5 favorite in the Honorable Miss. On Friday, she ran 4th, by 7 1/4 lengths, as the 8-5 favorite in the same stakes; so the situation is slowly deteriorating! Any Limit took her second stakes in a row, for Allen Jerkens. Any Limit will be retired to the breeding shed next year. [Schenectady Gazette]
Owner Kenneth Ramsey is on a shopping spree, and not at the retail outlets in Lee. He's been quite busy at the claim box here, taking two horses on Friday - Panthera Tigre, the winner of the first, and Casino Kay, the beaten 4-5 favorite in the second. He claimed another horse on Thursday, and two on Wednesday.
We've mentioned the long winless streak with first-time starters by Bill Mott, now over 60 according to my unofficial stats, but now he's contending with an 0-for-Saratoga streak that has reached 16, with two more losers on Friday. He has a pair of first-timers in the second today, and, at this point, I'm looking at some of these to bet instead of to oppose. The point isn't that he's never going to win one, but that one should be wary when the crowd is betting on them as if it's August 2007. Tufao (6-1) is the half of the entry that gets Kent D., and this son of Holy Bull, a 15K stallion, fetched $460,000 at the Keeneland two-year old in training sale in April. I could look up what his show workout there was, but it was obviously fast, so who cares if it was 21.4 or 21.2, really? (Illman wasted his time looking it up on our behalf - it was 21.2.) Don't know if this will be the one to break the streak, but one of these days..
- Oh man, 14 races at Monmouth tomorrow, starting at noon. The Haskell isn't until 6:15. It's a looong day, and I don't know if the Head Chef quite realizes how long I'll be gone. I'm planning to arrive well in time for the first, and was really hoping the Haskell would be earlier so that I could beat at least some of that Jersey shore traffic heading back up to the city. Oh man. Better bring some good CD's with me.
Vice president for racing Dennis Dowd said he expects 50,000 for the 14-race Haskell Day card, which means the track could flirt with Monmouth's attendance record of 53,638, set in 2003.
"We think we're going to be packed to the rafters," he said. [NJ.com]