Kinsella ($14.20) won the 11th on Saturday at Gulfstream, on the grass, for Pletcher, his third straight winner at the track with a first-time starter, and 7th from his last ten. That's pretty remarkable, even for the Toddster.
However, in racing, as with everything else, things have a way of evening out over time, and bettors who tried to ride the wave on Sunday got wiped out on two debut runners for the barn. In the second, Ice Mint, at 4-1 the co-third ML choice, was sent off as the 2-1 second choice to Abundantia, an IEAH filly making her first start since running second at Saratoga to Obsequious, second in the Herecomesthebride. She's a Wertheimer homebred daughter of Awesome Again, out of an Unbridled mare, and a half sister to two French stakes winners. A lot of turf blood in this one's distaff pedigree, but racing on the dirt in this spot, Ice Mint ran 5th.
In the 4th, Flash the Silver (Trippi), 8-1 in the morning line, went off as the 2-1 favorite, and checked in dead last of 12, yuck.
But I guess getting a Grade 2 stakes win, with Game Face turning the tables on Any Limit in the Inside Information, made up for the earlier disappointment.
On Saturday, Pletcher just missed upsetting the Tampa Bay Derby with 35-1 Join In The Dance, who just failed to last over Musket Man ($13.80). Goodbye Louisville for Hello Broadway, 2-1 in his first two-turn start, and a never-in-it 7th with a wide trip. Musket Man is owned by Eric Fein, the same guy who owns last year's TB Derby winner Big Truck (referred to twice as Big Chuck in this article on a Tampa website). Musket Man, trained by Derek Ryan, is not nominated for the Derby.
"I will not have any influence at all after last year. Last year, that was totally Kentucky Derby fever and it probably was the wrong thing to do for Big Chuck's sake. Derek will make that decision ... but I'll have a little input." [TBO.com]So, he won't have any influence at all, but he'll have a little input. OK. Musket Man is by Yonaguska out of a Fortunate Prospect mare, and thus seems iffy for the Derby distance based on pedigree.
Pletcher's colt, a son of Sky Mesa out of a Devil's Bag mare, is a bit interesting; he ran a good third to Imperial Council in his three-year old debut, and went well here in his first try beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.
Proudinsky won the Muniz at Fair Grounds on Saturday in what was definitely the most exciting finish of the weekend; a frantic three-horse head bob with the winner just getting his snout down between the other two. I think that Nownownow, who finished third behind El Caballo, would have won had the race been a step shorter. I was at a Louisiana Derby party with a bunch of really, really smart guys; and not a single one of them was alive with anything after this horse won. Proudinsky was an obvious bet-against as one of the favorites from the 14 post and in his first start of the year, and there were some hard feelings and bitterly harsh words for those who cashed despite being foolish enough to bet him. I hate when that happens.
I still think Macho Again is a POS and not a true two-turn horse. But he does like an off track and fast pace set-up, and he rallied smartly from far back to win the FG Handicap after a quick half mile of 46 3/5 up front. I'll bet against him again next time when he's lower odds.
I mentioned the Linda Rice first-timer in the second at Aqueduct, as well as the hazards of trying to select debut runners in advance. At 3-1 morning line for a good first-out barn, the fact that this one went off at 6-1 was a classic case of a horse being dead on the board. If I was at the track instead of at the Rangers game, I wouldn't have bet him.
The late pick three at Aqueduct, with Elusive Gift ($5), Mor Chances ($2.40), and Tiger D.R. ($3.80), paid $15 even. Exciting stuff there.
The Rangers beat the Flyers 4-1 to split their weekend home-and-home; and the way I saw it, with a little luck, the Blueshirts could have won both games. Of course, that's just the way I saw it.