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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Night Notes

Saturday's late Pick Four returned $764, with a pool of almost $485K easily exceeding the $350K guarantee, to those bettors who benefited from what seemed like a routine call on the DQ which made Separatist the winner. Seems like a good payoff to me, considering that, the way I saw it, the 8th was the only race which required going deep at all. Not redboarding - I mentioned Piazza di Spagna yesterday, and I did end up singling him. I used the two horses I mentioned in the 10th, of which the winner was one. And I of course took advantage of the free marker in the Mother Goose. I'm not that stupid. I was fully prepared to rescind my holy request that she somehow lose.

But it never got to that point because the half dozen horses I used in the 8th did not include Big Jerome ($40.20); and if the general silence which greeted the result was any indication, I was not nearly alone. My closest runner was Parc des Princes, third by a neck and a nose at 6.80 to 1. Never considered the winner; not that his past races at this level had been bad. And he had some nice back figs too. But he certainly wasn't inspiring, especially from the 13 post. Perhaps he paid off for some of you?

Rachel Alexandra got a Beyer of 111 for her 19 1/2 length win (with Durkin nailing it again) in stakes record time. There was some discussion about how fast the track was in the comments section here. Souped-up tracks on big race days is one of those things that nearly everybody says it's a bad thing, yet it happens every time, or so it seems. It's hard to understand - not like there's a public hankering out there for track records. And as one reader pointed out, besides being dangerous, it's boring.

With the other two horses setting a brisk pace just ahead, it was far more like a time trial in harness racing than your typical Grade 1 stakes race. Between that and the fast surface, it's little wonder she broke the stakes record. However, I imagine that the track has been fast for other Mother Goose cards; and the list of winners includes some of the legends of the sport. So it has to be considered an impressive accomplishment in any event.

Back to normal on Sunday with around 6,700 on hand. In the Grade 2 First Flight, Porte Bonheur had the classic pocket trip on the rail down the backstretch behind dueling leaders Carolyn's Cat and Sunday's Geisha. Ramon Dominguez had to swing her out to the four path for a running lane in the stretch, and it looked for all the world to me that she wasn't going to make it; even after she changed leads around midstretch. But the meet's leading rider - by a wide margin and not because he has all that many more mounts than the runners-up - kept driving on this four-year old daughter of the deceased Hennessy through a seventh furlong which she may want no part of. He managed to get her up by a nose through a fairly plodding final eighth of 13:07, earning a moderate Beyer of 87. Ramon certainly fits this filly, with three wins and a second in his four rides on her....but I'd look for her to stick to six in the future.

The barn of trainer Rodrigo Ubillo has been live all year. He'll need a new jockey or two these days; and Eibar Coa came through in the 10th with Vivi's Book. Ubillo has two winners, two seconds and a third with his last five runners here at Belmont.


Anonymous said...

Just want to clarify that I am being critical of racetrack management regarding the souped up tracks, not Rachel's performance.

Of course most of the past runnings of this race also occurred over souped up surfaces, so her Stakes record is legit as is she as a race filly.

But talk of horse of the year is premature, traditionally three year olds, male or female, need to beat older horses to be considered for HOY unless of course they win the triple crown.

So she first needs to beat Zenyatta, Seattle Smooth and the other top older F&M's and then also defeat older males to truly be considered.

Right now Einstein is the front runner until proven otherwise.

El Angelo said...

Anonymous, I'm not so sure I agree with you. Einstein's a neat horse and all, but he's currently 2 for 4 this year without a graded stakes win on the dirt. Rachel Alexandra, by contrast, has annihilated her division and won the Preakness. That's a much more impressive resume.

Put it this way: if Einstein finished the year winning the Arlington Million and Clark (he's not running in the Breeders Cup); RA won the Haskell and Ruffian then called it a year; Zenyatta won the same Cali races they've been pointing her to, and nobody else interesting pops'd still give it to Einstein?

o_crunk said...

Einstein isn't running in the BC? That's surprising since a Big Cap win on that fickle surface would have me pointing him specifically for the Classic the rest of the way.

RA is about as far ahead at this point in the HoY as she was at the eighth pole on Saturday. Her entire year has completely dominated, just destroyed her division, beat boys in a classic. I don't think there's any question that she'll be competitive against older fillies and probably will beat them. It's just an eventuality.

The point is...they're all chasing her and they've got a lot of work to do to outshine her resume.

El Angelo said...

Einstein's not BC nominated, and I recall reading somewhere that they're not going to supplement him.

Erin said...

I think it's safe to say coming in to the Classic with a potential favorite might make rethinking Einstein's eligibility likely.

Anonymous said...

El Al, interesting point on Einstein. I think he is a Super horse, unique in his ability to transfer his talent to different surfaces and that has to count for something.

That written, he might have to supplement to the BC to earn HOY honors and I thought Pitts indicated that was the plan so long as the receiver in charge of the trust would approve the cash outlay?

If so, he is in The Classic as is Mine That Bird, Summer Bird and Zenyatta in all probability according to their connections.

That would put the onus on Rachel since it would be near impossible to vote for her if Einstein or Zenyatta would win the Classic over that group.

Of course, if they all get beat by some Euro import then she could win it by default.

Good debate, I only wish they all stay sound so we can see it come to fruition.

Anonymous said...

Saturday's NY late Pick Four returned $764 with a 26% takeout.

It would have paid $930 at Monmouth with it's 15% takeout.

ballyfager said...

"Einstein is the front runner"? I don't think so. Right now the issue is between Rachel & Zenyatta.

Re Dominguez, I tried to tell the cultists at thorograph, two or three years ago, that he was the coming thing. But they were behind the curve as usual.