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Monday, July 23, 2012

Saratogs Notes

Seemed like the Saratoga training title was conceded to Pletcher prior to the opening of the meet.  But, as opposed to some past years when he came flying out of the gate, the Toddster thudded to a 1-for-19 start (coming into Monday....and is there anyone out there who doesn't find the Monday racing at the Spa to be excessive at this point?).  Still, no need to worry if you care about this stuff.  He's only one winner behind a host of others.  And even with a low winning percentage, he can simply overwhelm the others through volume; Chad Brown (2 for 12) is the only other barn in double figures in starters.

His one winner was certainly of the spectacular variety, at least on the Beyer scale.  Two-year old filly Kauai Katie breezed by 12 in her debut on opening day, earning a whopping figure of 100; thus virtually ensuring that she'll be a contender for underlay of the meet when she runs back in the Spinaway.  She's by Malibu Moon our of a turf stakes winning More Than Ready mare; and she's out of the distaff family of the hard-hitting handicap horse Cimarron Secret, who started 49 times, probably more than Kauai Katie and the six fillies she crushed will run in their careers combined.

The rest of Pletcher's balance sheet for the weekend was quite grim; out of the 18 losers, 10 of them went off at odds of 3-1 or less (mostly less, seven at 2-1 or lower).  One of the worst of them was Rose Junction, an effeminately-named son of Dixie Union who checked in dead last as the 2-1 second choice in the Sanford Stakes, an entry-level allowance disguised as a Grade 2 stakes, as most early season juvenile stakes races are these days.  Another thing that these races often are is ugly.  First quarter was sped in 21 3/5, while the final quarter of the six furlong affair took 26 2/5.  I dunno, you dirt guys love this early speed stuff, but I found it a bit painful to watch as Bern Identity ($5.60) managed to stagger home the least exhausted of the bunch.  I know there's a lot of talk about Lasix-free two-year old racing these days.  But maybe, if you're considering the health and welfare of juveniles, one should consider the way they are raced and on what kind of surfaces, rather than what they are racing on.

And, on that topic, this thing with the group of trainers who announced they will not administer race-day Lasix to their two-year olds is not going to last unless every trainer agrees to go along.  You'll have owners who spent six figures on some horse who went 20 seconds flat in their sales show wanting their horses to be faster, and wondering why other trainers can use Lasix while theirs won't.  And you'll end up with trainers who do and trainers who don't, and eventually the whole thing will fall apart when owners shop around in the interest of getting an immediate return on their investment.  Nice gesture, but it won't work. (It was an owners' pledge, stupid mistake on my part.)


El Angelo said...

If I were cutting a day from racing at Saratoga, it would be Wednesday, not Monday. But that's just me.

Anonymous said...

Wednesday is one of the more profitable handle days of the week.

Today's handle at Saratoga was $8.9 million.

El Angelo said...

Really? I would have guessed Monday was better than Wednesday simply because more tracks were dark that day, but I'm happy to be proven wrong.

Al said...

Del Mar's decision to drop Monday racing a few years ago has no doubt had an effect on the handle.