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Monday, July 26, 2010

Saratoga Notes

Trainer Chad Brown has sent out three first-time starters at Saratoga and won with them all; two of them were part of Javier Castellano's five race winning streak (and one of them, Stand Proud ($27) was picked on top by my buddy Discreet Picks, one of three of his winning selections on the day).

OK, so maybe Devil May Care isn't quite as overrated as I thought. Another spectacularly easy-looking win in the CCA Oaks could make one understand why Pletcher thought highly enough of this filly to run her in the Derby. Johnny V may get a stiff neck from riding her if he keeps having to look over his shoulder for nonexistent competition. On the other hand, she again didn't beat any monsters; and a couple of horses that I thought would step up and improve did not do so, as evident from the moderate Beyer of 96 which did not show any progression on the part of the winner. So I'm figuring that I'll still make some money betting against her at some point down the road.

Desert Key ($8.80) took the 4th on Sunday, breaking a seven race losing streak going back two years and including five occasions when he was favored at odds less than 2-1. They could have run this race 1,000 times, and I would never have had the winner! Two of the three entered for the optional 50K tag were taken; David Jacobsen (surprise) nabbed the midwest shipper American Classic, a disappointing sixth, from the Toddster; and Chris Englehart took Be Bullish, who hasn't won in his last 11 tries; good luck with that.

I don't really see how they can continue to give Grade 2 status to summer juvenile races such as the Sanford which serve merely as entry level allowance races these days. Seven of the eight runners were coming directly off their graduation day; makes it more or less a complete tossup betting-wise too. Maybesomaybenot ($21.20) is by the Japanese sire Sunday Break out of an Olympio mare; not much on the catalog page to report. He earned a Beyer of 82, and seems no more likely to make any stakes noise than any number of Saratoga maiden winners we'll see this summer.

Rachel Alexandra is back at Saratoga after laboring to beat a highly mediocre field at Monmouth. Can't imagine the extra purse money that the money-losing racetrack doled out to attract her paid off with not even 13,000 fans in attendance on an oppressively hot day; and not much of an aesthetic triumph either. The Daily News makes up a story about a possible matchup with Zenyatta in the mile and a quarter Personal Ensign at Saratoga today; and though Charlie Hayward says he's contacted her connections, there's presently no reason to imagine that will happen.

"I have no idea," said Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, the wife of trainer John Shirreffs and the racing manager for Jerry and Ann Moss, who own the undefeated Zenyatta. "We're trying to decide that. We have not confirmed anything yet. We're looking at several options."
I like where Hayward emphasized that the distance would not be shortened for Rachel's spoiled connections, though he left open the possibility of raising the purse. If Jess Jackson needs that extra incentive to run his horse at the nation's (arguably) showcase track in the matchup that everyone wants to see, then he doesn't belong in this game. Period.


ballyfager said...

They'd be fools to run Rachel against Zenyatta at a mile and a quarter. As I already said, at a mile and an eighth on dirt, I think Rachel would win.

Alan, denigrating Rachel's performance on Sat., on top of your marvelous opinion about Devil May Care, makes me wonder about you.

And how do you like the card at the "Spa" today?

El Angelo said...

I thought Crist had some good comments on his blog yesterday about the suspect nature of that 96 figure.

Figless said...

As I posted earlier, with the ship, the heat, and giving weight, I tried to beat RA to no avail. I thought her performance was credible, and Beyer obviously thought so too increasing the preliminary Beyer to 110.

This from a Z supporter in the debate.

RA is ready, and I read that they want to try her at 10f once before the BC Classic, so the PE seems like a go.

Hopefully they will not hedge with the Woodward until the last possible second to keep Z from running, as been Jackson's MO.

Announce today, we are running, which will give Z's connections the chance to arrange shipping and prepare her for the match up we have all been waiting for.

BUT, I suspect they will hedge and hedge and hedge.

Of course, Z's connections could also just announce they are coming, with or without RA, which would put the ball in Jacksons court.

One way or another, I doubt it happens.

No matter, I would NOT increase the purse, the overnight purses need the money, not these spoil sport non-sportsmen.

Figless said...

I may have dreamt the 110 figure, need to look that up.

Figless said...

Preliminary was 110, adjusted to 105.

Heat is getting to me, I thought El Angelo reference to the 96 was for Rachel.

El Angelo said...

Sorry, I meant Devil May Care.

DiscreetPicks said...

Chad Brown did actually lose with the firster Too Clever By Half on Opening Day. But 3-out-of-4 ain't bad.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who was on Switch in the San Clemente... Ugh. Let's get that next time. And colgans chip well never see that price again.


DiscreetPicks said...

Very rough trip for Switch. She was boxed in and had nowhere to run until it was far too late.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Figless: Z's connection oughta announce that they are shipping to Saratoga this week; Jess Jackson would be on the spot. Charlie Hayward and all racing fans would be over the moon and the Spa would be buzzing from now until the big race./S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

So now that Saint Roidians is on the shelf, who will Zenyatta be facing in her next race? A bunch of tomato cans. They should send her to the Spa. -jp

Mary M said...

At this point it would be a waste of time to run Rachel against Zenyatta. Everyone knows how it would turn out. Last year it would have been something to see but this year it would be a joke.

Anonymous said...

Lol @ Jp. Tomato cans? Rachel is a fucking tomato can if we've ever seen one. The west coast has an arsenal of fillies and mares that will blast Rachel off this planet. I get the feeling she might not be better than some of our 3yo fillies, as much as they're stepping forward. Rachel is a G3 type at best, unless VERY carefully spotted.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about Rachel this year....and then I read the comments on this blog.

Funny, I actually was beginning to think Zenyatta had a chance against her. Thanks for straightening me out. After reading the idiocy here it is clear as a bell that Rachel will dust her.

Figless said...

Is Rachel going to attempt a G1 this year?

Anonymous said...

Rachel is not a grade 3 mare. That's just ig'nant.

And who exactly is imposing in the older filly/mare division on the west coast now that St Roids is on the shelf?

Come now, let's try to keep it real. -jp