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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Morning Notes - Dec 13

- Three winners for Contessa on Friday, giving him an inner track leading six. Of course, having started 54 horses thus far, he's had nearly three times as many runners as runner-up Bruce Levine. On the other hand, there's the Steve Asmussen barn, which, with yet another winner on Friday, has five winners in eight starters. Also well worth noting that two more winners, including 16-1 Half Metal Jacket in the 5th, came off main track races at the Meadowlands, so that pattern continues.

In the 3rd race today, here's Futuristic (5-2) for trainer Michael Maker and owner Ken Ramsey, shipping in from Churchill. The connections have run second and third with their prior two such runners over the IT this meeting. This two-year old son of Millennium Wind, who stands in Louisiana for $2,000 in 2009, stepped up to maiden specials and ran second in his last to Indygo Mountain, a nice looking $600,000 AP Indy colt. He stretches out to two turns here. Already proven at the route is Pitched Perfectly (2-1), for Contessa; son of Pleasantly Perfect just missed to Shadwell's Aswaaq here ten days ago.

In the 5th, well, here we go again - Scott Lake drops Chief Export (7-2) off the claim, from the 20K he took him off Contessa in November, to the 14K in this wild and woolly affair today. As we discovered in great detail last weekend, this horse is likely live despite the suspicious nature of the drop. He's easily the class of the field, having won for 45K at Penn National over the summer, and would seem to have a tactical edge in a race laden with speed, having shown the ability to win from off the pace. However, he seems a bit slower than some rivals based on his recent Beyers, so here's others to consider:

End of an Era (5-1) was claimed for 20K by David Jacobson last March after three fine efforts on the inner track. He didn't return until November, and romped by six second off the layoff in a restricted 10K claimer. It can't be great news that he drifted out in the stretch despite emphatic right handed encouragement. But I love the move up in class here to open 14's; and there's certainly something wrong somewhere with most every horse at this level. And he's also won from off the pace. Bubba Gum (9-2) also found his level, dropping for Lake and winning his last for 10K; moves back up in class after being taken by trainer Bruce Brown, 23% first off the claim. Methodtomymadness (20-1) ships in from the Meadowlands for Patricia Farro, who claimed this horse back for 10K a race after losing him for 5K. Mixed it up against Jersey-bred allowance company last; possible speed of the speed here?

And if you think today's Queens County Handicap is weak, check out Sunday's Ladies Handicap. NYRA was so desperate to fill this one that they actively recruited Rap Tale. And guess what, she's going. It's another installment in the continuing quest to get this filly some black type, and what an opportunity here. We also want to see her stretch out, so here's hoping she can pick up some pieces late and sneak into the third spot so we can run her in spots where she better belongs.

- Cold day today, but supposed to warm up to the low to mid 40's for the Jets game tomorrow; piece of cake for a veteran like myself. Some in the Jets blogosphere are excited about the anticipated activation of wide receiver David Clowney, a 5th round pick from Virginia Tech for the Packers last year. Clowney was the Jets' leading receiver in preseason, but has been out with a collarbone injury all season. The Jets' passing game has resembled that of Chad Pennington with its short range lately, and it's hoped that Clowney, one of the fastest players on the team, can get some separation and help Brett Favre stretch out the field.