Made it to Belmont for a bit on Saturday, and that's a wrap on the meeting for me, as I'll be elsewhere today.
Saw a couple of interesting maiden races. This time of year we see two-year old maiden races at longer distances, and these were both at a mile. In the second, Buffum was 4-1 on the morning line, making his debut for Darley, who paid $1.2 million for the son of Bernardini as a yearling at Saratoga. So, when I saw him fluttering between 6-1 and 7-1, I put him in the "dead on the board" category; a notion reinforced when he drifted up to 8-1 at post time. Wrong. My dependence on the tote board is either the strongest or weakest aspect to my game, I can't decide. Buffum ($18.20) eased his way to the lead around the turn after a hot early pace, and held off another first time starter in Cool Blue Red Hot (of whom I made a similar judgment based on the tote....the Angel Penna Jr barn is not generally one to hide its enthusiasm on a debut runner). The winner bore out under left-handed whipping, and a good job by David Cohen to straighten him out just in time to avoid fouling his rival, who did concede ample ground on the big turn for home. Joe Vann was an awful favorite at even money and checked in last, and I'm not red-boarding....left him off my tickets entirely.
Buffum is out of Storm Beauty, a stakes winning Storm Cat mare who's a half sister to the champion sprinter Gold Beauty, who is the dam of Dayjur, a horse who always brings back memories around Breeders Cup time.
The 4th was for the girls, and Royal Delta ($16.40), another first-timer, dominated after an eventful trip. No need to go to the videotape when we had our descriptive chart-caller on hand.
ROYAL DELTA, away in good order, was allowed to settle into stride down the backstretch, was guided into the three path departing the half mile pole, galloped into contention, displaying a tough of greenness in the process, encountered a wall of rivals spread out four deep, reacted kindly to the solid hold put to her by the rider, bided time behind the traffic, dove to a newly-created opening along the four path coming to the five-sixteenths pole, was forced to swing out an additional path turning for home, cruised to the front, being asked for the barest amount of speed, then proceeded to draw off to an authoritative victory while being ridden out to the finish line.Royal Delta, a rare first-out winner for Bill Mott, is by Empire Maker, out of the graded stakes winner (on grass) Delta Princess, a full sister (by AP Indy) to the G1 Garden City winner Indy Five Hundred. So, wouldn't be surprised to see Royal Delta try the grass at some point.
- So it's on to the Big A, for what will presumably be the last meeting there conducted under the current dilapidated conditions. The groundbreaking ceremony did take place on Thursday, and, in this case, let's go to the videotape.
As I expected (and as the mainstream media subsequently reported as "news" [yawn]), the Senate Democratic leadership vilified in the AEG report did not show up. I mean, did anyone consider for a second that they would??? That's NYRA Chairman C. Steven Duncker talking at the end about the good fortune that NYRA and the racing industry has apparently lucked into after all these years. Still seems too good to be true, doesn't it? Nobody really deserves to get "credit" for it; I know that the governor is saying that he changed the process in a way that led to this result, but that, of course, wouldn't have happened if he hadn't allowed the prior round to spiral beyond his control.
A reader reminded me the other day that I myself had grown exasperated enough to be willing to settle for AEG once they were selected. Can't say I'm at all proud of myself for that little bit of misjudgment....but I was not the only one who was that fed up as I recall.