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Friday, August 07, 2009

Kind of a Drag

Three horses did not finish their races at Saratoga on Thursday, though they are all OK. In the 4th, 5-2 favorite Pluto, a $1 million Tabor/Smith bust dropping in for a 35K tag for Pletcher, was pulled up on the backstretch and vanned off with a strained left front distal sesamoid ligament.

He will be retired to stud, according to NYRA. [Albany Times Union]
Retired to stud? Where, in Alaska? You knew what the connections thought of this expensive purchase when they debuted him at Calder in April. And even after taking that debut, the son of AP Indy out of G1 winner House Party was sent to Delaware instead of Kentucky or New York. A reader writes:
No takers at the claim box, not even Jacobson who takes this type all the time, so word was out, but the gamblers were not protected.
No, they weren't, were they? As we've seen, in Hong Kong, this incident would prompt an investigation and a thoroughly detailed report to the public. Here, we're just happy that the horse is alive.

Two winners in a row on Thursday for trainer Eoin Harty, both with the ol' synth-to-Saratoga angle. But while Past the Point ($3.80) had prior success over this main track (most notably his second to Curlin in the Woodward), African Diamond ($15.40) had only run on the fake stuff. He seems to prefer the dirt, earning a career high Beyer of 84. But the gelded son of Yonaguska will be preferring it for trainer Chad Brown, who claimed him for 35K.

Two winners a row for Dutrow as well. Jung Man Scott ($3.40) ran away by eight switching to the grass. Two year old son of Freud is out of a half-sister to the stakes winners Wishful Tomcat and Uncle T Steven. Adagio ($11.40) was in first time for a tag a bit suspiciously himself off a long layoff, but no problems here. Storm Caller was a close second at 30-1 for trainer George Weaver. This barn, which I looked to get off to a quick start, is instead one for 12. However, he was second by a length with 6-1 Liscarroll on Saturday, won with My Man Lars ($10.60) on Sunday, one of his three starters was second by a head with 8-1 Cleric. So I still say beware.

- Free music on Thursday night at Clinton Castle, as the summer schedule starts to wind down....though not of course before the mighty Dinosaur Jr. plays Summerstage for free on the 16th. On this night, we saw John Kelly evoke Joni Mitchell with uncanny preciseness, especially when he was decked out in a sleek green evening gown and a stunning platinum blond wig for the first half of the show. I found the performance, with the help of a sharp backing band, to be exhilarating, even though I wouldn't at all call myself a big fan of Ms. Mitchell.

In fact, so inspired am I, that when I saw this new Fillies First blog, I thought I might start a second site myself. Mine would be called Phallus First, and it would be dedicated to fighting those pernicious gender prejudices that create the preconception that men can't cover Joni Mitchell songs. See for yourself.

4 Comments:

Anonymous said...

How about some good words for Commentator and his connections going for a third Whitney win at the Spa on Saturday? Hopefully a history making trip as Commentator would enter the select group of 3 X Whitney winners: Discovery, and the legendary Kelso.

I am a big fan of the handicap division as the true exemplars of racing. These are older horses who have shown their mettle over two, three, four, five, and in Commentator's case, as for Kelso, six seasons. It takes genuine horsemanship, determination and some lady luck to win Grade I stakes races over six seasons.

And NY Breeders should be especially proud of one of their own carrying the banner. It is unfortunate for racing that too little emphasis is placed on the handicap division these days what with the 3YO, one hit wonders winning a KY Derby and retiring to stud at 3 with gazillions.

When reviewing the Saratoga season as so many are wont to do, it is interesting to note that more years than not the Whitney Handicap is named as the most exciting, competitive Grade I stakes race of the season. I have long advocated more emphasis on the handicap division, with horses racing over several seasons, as one of the most effective ways to build fan interest, repeat customers, and attract new fans.
/s/greenmtnpunter

Sunny Jim said...

Hi Alan -
The Hambletonian (daytime) card looks interesting tomorrow at the Meadowlands with $4 1/2 million in purses. They are guaranteeing a $100,000 pool on the first Pick 4 in races 7 to 10. If odds-on Lucky Jim wins the 7th and Muscle Hill wins the Hambo in race 10, it could be a very chalky payout for a Pick 4. But if either of those two go down, you could see some excellent prices.
Have a great weekend.

dana said...

Personally I'd like to see Phallus Second or even Third, but that guy did really nail it... impressive!

Anonymous said...

Cleric was also vanned off.
RG