RSS Feed for this Blog

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Morning Notes - Aug 17

- Well, we almost had the weather timed perfectly up here, but wouldn't you know it, there was around 10-15 minutes of intermittent rain from a stray dark cloud looking for his pals who had long moved east. Other than that, it was a gorgeous day, and a nice crowd of over 32,000 on hand. I love the summer in the city, especially for the relatively sparse crowds enjoying the plethora of free outdoor events (and we do thank Mayor Bloomberg for his considerable efforts in that regard). In fact, I was a little bummed about missing Battles play for free at Central Park yesterday. But I'm certainly not complaining. This is the first time I've been out of the city all summer, so, even with the brief metereological event, the air seemed particularly clear and fragrant.

Proud Spell clearly established herself as the top three-year old filly with her dramatic win over favored Music Note in the Alabama - a classic edition of that storied stakes to be sure! Looked like Godolphin's filly was going to blow right by the Oaks winner midstretch, but it was not to be. "This filly of ours has never been passed down the stretch the entire time we've had her," said Larry Jones. [NY Daily News]

Considering that I've been anti-Music Note and a defender of Proud Spell against her more physically imposing rival, I'd love to report that I brazenly tossed the favorite and singled the winner in all of my wagers. But I didn't - I was scared, OK? However, I was alive in the Pick Three after I was touted onto Grand Couturier in the Sword Dancer. Like to think I would have had him anyway, but Bob was so hepped up on the Thorograph pattern for this horse that I couldn't possibly resist. He carefully demonstrated how his sheets pattern for this race was nearly identical in terms of his figures and spacing as the last two years, when he ran tops in finishing third in 2006 and winning last year. Afterwards, Bob said that he'd like to take the horse's sheet and frame it as a testament to the power of the Thorograph. Didn't look that powerful midstretch when the horse encountered severe traffic problems; but there he was, re-emerging and bursting to the lead after I'd almost given him up for dead.

So when George Weaver took the 10th with Miss Challenge, a ridiculously easy winner, practically under wraps at 8-1, it was good for a winning Pick Three for me ($237.50). Weaver is one of the most ridiculously hot trainers I've seen in recent times, and I think you just have to ride this out. His record at the meet is 16-5-5-3, with many at nice odds like on Saturday. In the 8th on Sunday, the barn starts Solvent, moving up in class off a win (at 9-1) at Belmont last month. Nothing notable to report from that race in terms of next-outs....but I think I leave this horse off my tickets today at my own risk.

OK, gotta get to handicapping today's card. We've been pretty busy, so not much time to post; maybe later tonight. I'm sure that Saturday's card earned a lot of derision as to its "quality," at least in terms of class. One wouldn't expect two restricted claiming races to be the prelude to the two Grade 1's. But the races proved to be entertaining betting affairs, Durkin got to do his ARRRRR thing again, so no complaints from here. One more race I wanted to mention is the 5th race. Girolamo, 7-2 morning line for Kiaran McLaughlin off of just two published works, was steadily hammered down in price from the start, and finally settled at even money. The two-year old son of AP Indy, a full brother to graded stakes winners Daydreaming and Accelerator, was a bit sluggish at the start, circled four wide around the turn, and powered past the field, obviously much the best, to win by three. I just love shit like that. For all my talk about demanding value, that all goes out the window in cases like this, at least for some (ultimately losing) daily doubles.


Anonymous said...

thorograph had a little thing on tvg about how great grand couturier was for the race

Anonymous said...

Congrats on that nice Pick 3 - you were overdue for one like that.

Don't give it all back now in one day!

Sunny Jim

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear you that you cashed a bet. Now maybe you can buy some tickets and see a real concert. and stop being the KING of the freebies.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the owners of Arrrrr! A couple of Green Mtn Boys with a NY bred, Randy McGlinn and Bob Genovese of little ol' Hartland, VT hit the winner's circle at the Spa! Sorry I couldn't be there to share the Arrrrrrr win with you and the crowd. Tom Durkin sure loved to call that name, one of the highlights of his meeting from the PA. /S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the mention by Crist. Envious, yes I am a bit. Is he calling me an amateur:)

Anonymous said...

Alan, I notice a rising tide of fan and player dissatisfaction with the number of NY bred races being run at the Spa this meet, a trend that seemed to accelerate with the advent of VLT's at the Raceway?

The NY bred races are all part of the franchise/VLT deal, are they not? It's a very complex arrangement as I recall, and one which may have introduced one or more "unintended consequences" to the Spa tradition of offering the biggest purses to the highest class stock? Wasn't Finger Lakes supposed to be the track where NY breds raced?

On the other hand, I think the daily average purse distribution at the Spa has been # 1, hasn't it? Has that slipped this year? How is that possible with some of the purses I've seen this meet? So, isn't that a good thing for NY breeders? One anti-VLT wag described the Spa meet this year as "Del Mar with thunderstorms". Pretty funny, I thought, and perhaps making a good point.

I do like the idea of purse bonuses to attract larger, higher caliber fields in 9 furlong dirt races. But again, if the franchise weren't so restrictive, and the free market prevailed( yeah, right), there would be fewer NY breds, the cream would rise to the top as it always does, horseplayers and fans would be happy, and we wouldn't need to do all of this tweaking.

The overabundance of turf sprints and restricted races for NY breds is rather cloying, to be sure. What can be done other than carding more open, non-state bred races? And is that even possible under the franchise agreement? /S/Green Mtn Punter