- It hasn't rained hard here since Friday morning, and, looking at the weather map, it seems unclear as to whether they'll be any sustained precipitation today. Just maybe NYRA and Curlin will luck out, and Johan Santana will start on three days rest at Shea. NYRA issued a press release yesterday detailing their promotion and publicity efforts for Curlin's appearance.
Print ads promoting the Sept. 27 races are running in a half-dozen publications, including the regional Spanish language newspaper “Hoy.” Audio ads are in rotation at the two most popular sports radio stations in New York . Online advertising is focused on a half-dozen racing-oriented websites. [ed. note - not this one]NYRA has to at least have a go at it in order to adhere to the performance standards which will be evaluated periodically by the Franchise Oversight Board under its new franchise agreement. I think it's a tough task as you know; and it certainly doesn't help that the race has been shunned by the industry's TV network partner. ESPN will be televising college football, Colorado vs Florida State; ESPN2 has NASCAR.
NYRA also arranged for video of Curlin’s final Saratoga workout on Monday be put up on a satellite feed Monday afternoon along with an interview with assistant trainer Scott Blasi, enabling any TV station in the country to record and air it that day. Another 30 minute video package focusing on the Jockey Club Gold Cup went up on the satellite feed Thursday afternoon and the post-Jockey Club Gold Cup Interview Room session will be available to TV outlets live on satellite as well.
Despite the possibly improved weather outlook, I'm still not sure about the track conditions and turf races, so let's instead venture out to Santa Anita, and the certainty of Pro-Ride. I still say that if everything else, including injuries, maintenance costs, were equal, synthetic tracks would still be worthwhile if not invaluable if just for its staying 'fast' in the rain.
Here's a link to the win in the Del Mar Debutante by Stardom Bound, who was actually graduating from the maiden ranks with a stunning last to first move. She had to be 7-8 wide turning for home and Trevor Denman, as is his wont, picked up the move soon after they turned for home. In fact, he didn't make a single mention of another horse in the race for about the last 3/16th of a mile.
The question regarding Stardom Bound as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the G1 Oak Tree is that she'll be stretching out to two turns for the first time. She's a daughter of Tapit, the Wood winner who is number three on the rookie sire earnings list. She's out of a mare by Tarr Road (Grey Dawn). Not too much going on in the family; but she brought $375,000 as a two-year old earlier this year.
I'm always willing to take a shot against in a situation like this, especially on a new surface; problem here is that none of the other main contenders have gone two turns either. But here's some who look interesting. Empressive Lady (7-2) faded to 5th in the Debutante after stalking the pace wide throughout. I think this filly may really benefit from the stretch out here. She's by Empire Maker, out of a stakes placed mare by AP Indy. She's inbred 5x5 to Buckpasser, and in her first four generations has the likes of Damascus, Secretariat, Le Fabuleux, Seattle Slew, and Cox's Ridge. Will O Way (10-1) was third behind Stardom Bound in the Debutante in her second career start. By Broken Vow, she's a half-sister to Willow O Wisp, who won graded stakes races up to a mile and an eighth.
And Toro Bonito (5-1), who comes off a maiden win in her second start, for Baffert, has some interesting breeding herself. By El Corredor, out of an In Excess mare, she hails from the direct distaff family of Indian Charlie (also by In Excess). Soviet Sojourn, the dam of Indian Charlie, is the third dam of Toro Bonito.
The Goodwood is a great betting race, so perhaps I can delve into it further and let you know what I think.