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Monday, November 10, 2008

Aqueduct Notes

- Another winner for trainer Seth Benzel, who took the second at the Big A on Sunday with Southern Charmer ($9.80). The former Pletcher assistant is on a run of 12-4-4-0. This two-year old daughter of Dixie Union out of the graded stakes winner Power Play (Fast Play) was coming out of the race which served as the debut win for Elusive Heat. Here, she survived a stout early duel with Slam the Cat, coming out of a major key race (three winners). Boca Belle, a West Point first-timer running on a weekend with, no doubt, a big group of partners on hand, was slammed to 9-5 in her first start and finished 7th despite a stalking trip behind the dueling leaders.

The Toddster himself has only one winner at the meeting thus far, from 18 starters. In fact, over the last 90 days on the NYRA circuit, Pletcher has just 11 winners from 134 starters, for a paltry percentage of 8%. Nonetheless, the fans sent his first-time starter Battle Plan off at 9-2 in the 9th. This three-year old is a son of Empire Maker, out of the champion filly Flanders, and thus a half to her champion daughter Surfside. However, Battle Plan got caught chasing an absurd pace for a mile contest - 45 flat to the half! No wonder why he did a steady fade around the turn. Turaath closed from well back for trainer Dan Pietz, giving the barn two straight wins here. This half-brother to the trainer's Steppenwolfer took full advantage of the blistering fractions; he was the only horse in the field who broke the 26 second mark for the final furlong quarter. Talk about a field staggering home, just awful. Tab to bet against next time out against winners.

3 Comments:

steve in nc said...

Remember the Flanders/Serena's Song race in the BC? I just looked up the chart -- the rest of the field was 4 lengths back, but in my memory, they could still have been at the top of the stretch when Flanders got her head down on the wire.

And the chart reminded me that Flanders went lame in the backstretch pulling up and was retired. Of course, if she had been racing against colts, she would have broken her leg completely and needed euthanasia.

Steve H. said...

In the 9th on Sunday, you mean Turaath was the only horse who broke the 26 second mark for the final TWO furlongs - which doesn't seem all that slow.

alan said...

steve h - You are correct sir; I did mean for the final quarter. And I guess you're also correct that, in relative terms in the world of dirt racing, it might not be that slow. However, this is just part of my general pet peeve as to the way most dirt races are run - the first two quarters in 22.3 and 22.2, and then staggering home in 26 seconds. Just doesn't make sense, especially to an old harness guy like myself. And I'd still be skeptical of Turaath off the race considering that the half mile split for the mile race was by far the fastest of a day which included several sprints. Thanks for checking in.