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Friday, July 10, 2009

Belmont Notes

Wayne Lukas took the third at Belmont on Thursday with Richland Creek ($14.20) off the ship-in from Oaklawn Park. It was the first win in 23 starts on the NYRA circuit for the Hall of Famer; and the second going back another 18 to Be Smart, a two-year old daughter of Smarty Jones winning her first start at 49-1 at Saratoga with Luzzi, remember? Just one of the amazing things about Formulator is that you get the past performances of every individual horse from any trainer (updated in real time, literally), and thus can see what became of them. In the case of Be Smart, she went directly to Grade 1 company and ran second to Dream Empress in the Alcibiades, came back three weeks later to get buried, fading to 12th by 18, in the Juvie Filly. She hasn't been heard from since and I have no idea what happened to her.

Dream Empress hasn't been so hot either; after running second in the BC to Stardom Bound, she's been nowhere in three starts, most recently a distant 7th in the Ashland. As a matter of fact, Stardom Bound hasn't been the same as you probably know. Third place finisher Sky Diva got beat at .35 to 1 in the Demoiselle and also hasn't been seen since. And Persistently, who finished 5th for Shug, got beat at 3-5 returning in April. Can a Breeders Cup race have its grade reduced?

Richland Creek was claimed for 35K by Chad Brown for Ken Ramsey.

In the second, General Maximus, 10-1 morning line in a two-year old race with all first-timers, went off at 6-5 for a 1-24 trainer who last won with a debut runner in December, 2005, and won off by four. The double, with the 6-5 shot in the first paid a generous $25.60 (a parley returned $11.20). The day I stop getting a kick out of shit like that is the day I hang up my Form.

Trainer George Weaver won the 6th with Three Bridge Road ($12.00), and I'll be watching out for this guy. Last year I mentioned him around this time of the year as one to keep an eye on as the summer progresses. He went 3-1-1 for the month at odds ranging from 7-1 to 21-1 and carried the momentum into Saratoga.

On Friday, Weaver starts Smart Selection (8-1) in the second. I think you could make a case for him....not like an official pick or anything, but just a heads-up for a streaky barn with a solid 16% hit rate over the last two years which is just four for 47 at this meet after Thursday's win. These things tend to even out as we usually see. Smart Selection ran a good third in his grass debut, though in a race which has not turned out to be at all productive. He faded on a soft course in his next turf try, in a race won by subsequent stakes winner Laureate Conductor. This is a son of Smart Strike out of a half sister to the graded stakes winners Lac Ouimet, Salem Drive, and L'Carriere; as well as to the champion St Jovite. Room for improvement to be sure.

Golden Weekend ($3.10) was another winner for Carlos Martin, now 15 for 55 (27%) for the meeting; four of his last eight.

And this is redboarding I know, but wasn't that an extremely fair price on Treat Gently ($5.30) considering that she was beaten less than three lengths by Zarkava when finishing third in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille last fall?

- Free music at beautiful Rockefeller Park on the Hudson River on a perfect Wednesday evening, if a bit chilly for July. This performance was inspired by a 1972 Miles Davis release entitled On The Corner, and included two members of the original ensemble.

On Tuesday night, we were at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden, an odd atrium whose usefulness as a performance space is limited by the bevy of huge palm trees throughout. (The present ones replaced the originals after the structure, just west of the World Trade Center, was badly damaged on 9/11.) The acoustics generally aren't great either, but that's not the case for purely electronic music, which echoes quite effectively throughout the building. So it turned out to be a great setting for the free show there on Tuesday by Scanner (except for the damn trees blocking the view of the artist also and otherwise known as Robin Rimbaud). He stuck around and sold some CD's afterwards, and it's always nice to see bands and performers do a brisk business after a show - it's one of the best ways to support your favorite bands, or ones which you might just stumble upon.

And on Thursday afternoon, a lunchtime performance on the plaza outside the World Financial Center by the Luminescent Orchestrii - Romanian gypsy melodies, punk frenzy, salty tangos, hard-rocking klezmer, haunting Balkan harmony, hip-hop beats and Appalachian fiddle - all, currently by way of Brooklyn!


Anonymous said...

I know you said it was not a formal selection but boy did Smart Selection come out of the gate and turn sideways! He looked to have taken out all but two of the other horses in the race! Once he learns to straighten out after the gate opens, he could be worth looking at.

steve in nc said...

Thanks for turning me onto trumpeter Ingrid Jensed in the Miles tribute. Man do I miss NYC.