Novato ($41.80) got his nose down on the wire to take an exciting blanket four horse photo in the 7th on Wednesday; a big win for me. I'm having a decent run of luck, maybe I should spend the rest of the summer here? Nothing fancy in this case - just a plain old overlay on a horse with steadily improving figs, the last one of which put her right in the mix on paper....at least to me. This four-year old daughter of Bartok is out of a Crafty Prospector half-sister to the Grade 1 winner Degenerate Gal.
Novato was part of a series of longshots throughout the Pick Six sequence; but one bettor managed to hit five and collect over $44,000 - nice consolation there!
Wolf Tail ($37.40) got up late to take the state-bred Graduation Stakes for trainer Doug O'Neill. This is a juvenile son of Strive, a son of Deputy Minister who won four of 24 career races, and who must no longer be with us on this planet or in this country since he's not listed on the stallion directory sites.
Seemed like a nice midweek crowd, as the track gave free grandstand admission (normally six bucks) to anyone who filled out a form with their address and email address. In return, I got a Del Mar Diamond Club card which I'm told is good for life, so hopefully I'll get a lot of use out of it. And hopefully, Del Mar will get a lot of use out of the marketing information they gathered from a mostly young crowd. Seems an effective strategy, and it ain't rocket science.
But on the grim side is the news that six horses have already been fatally injured at the track, five of those on the Polytrack. That's not good, and if this surface is not safe, then it renders the whole debate moot. Del Mar officials are trying to rationalize this cluster as a natural occurrence related to the change of racing surface....but that seems like grasping at straws.
"I hate to be anthropomorphic, but think about if you were jogging on the side of the road and then you started jogging on the sand or the beach," Arthur said. "Apparently, you are putting different stresses on different structures when you change surfaces."This story was the main headline in my daily Bloodhorse email today, and expect to see more about it in the racing press and blogosphere which wants the synthetic experiment to fail. I don't recall reading any headlines whatsoever about, for example, last year's Presque Isle meet which produced only four fatalities from some 5,677 starters.
- Jess Jackson said "maybe, maybe not" when asked if he would have raced Rachel Alexandra in the Haskell had they not, at his behest, raised the purse from $1 million to $1.25 million. And you wonder why I'd like to see his filly get her butt kicked? Maybe he'll change his mind about the Breeders Cup if they raise the purse of the Ladies Classic to $2.25 million?