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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Descent to Belmont

I know I said that I didn't want to hear the usual postings about how empty Belmont seemed this past weekend.

But man, it was empty. And not just because it seemed empty. It was empty. No doubt the severe weather that struck the area around the time when people might be heading out there had an effect. Those of us who were following on the weather radar - instead of cowering in the basement as weather.com advised us to do - knew that the rain would only skirt the racetrack. Nonetheless, only 4598 were on hand to take advantage of free grandstand admission. (And actually only 4596 because I went out to my car twice.) As you know if you've been there, Belmont is vast enough that twice that many people would barely supply a buzz. And the contrast from the last six weeks spent at Saratoga or Del Mar was striking to be sure.

Passing by a TV monitor at one point, I noticed an ad playing, with a caption that read, 'Employs 35,000 New Yorkers.' At first I thought of the NYGA ad from the last post. But, then I saw a horse. And we know how much NYGA cares about the horses, so it couldn't have been them.

 Indeed, it was an ad from NYRA, and I know I'm late to the game on this.

Dan Silver of NYRA was nice enough to supply the link, and explained that it was shown throughout the summer on NBCSN's telecasts from Saratoga. Have to admit I didn't see any of those this year, though all for good reasons. "The result is the best racing in America." Yeah. It's a message that NYRA, as well as the horsemen and breeders, needs to target towards a local audience as well....especially, in fact. If the matter of the tracks' share of VLT revenues can successfully be turned into a jobs issue, then the industry may have a fighting chance should the governor move to cut it off.

- Air Support ($4.90) won the G2 Bowling Green in an oddly run turf race; it went really slow early, then pretty fast over the 'good' going in the middle, leaving them all exhausted in the final quarter. That was the slowest split of the race, which is more typical for a dirt race than one on grass. Didn't look like the winner was going to catch front-running Bombaguia; but he ate up the deficit more readily after the 1/8th pole, and wore down what proved to be a very stubborn opponent in the last few strides to prove best, with Johnny V aboard for the first time. (And can I nominate this guy for an Eclipse Award for great achievements in chart calling?)

Sean Avery ($5.40) returned from a long layoff.....again.....and won off of it....again. He's three-for-three off layoffs of more than a year. Last time we saw him, he rode a speed bias to a G1 win at Saratoga last year. This time, he came off the pace, and he's surely versatile if nothing else. Not a fast race - he got a 92 Beyer - and the final furlong split was painfully slow at 13.59 seconds. But let's see if trainer Allan Iwinski can keep him sound for a stretch of a few races as he did last year.

In the 2nd on Sunday, Dreaming of Julia ($2.60) breezed again for Pletcher in her second career start; this time by 16 lengths instead of 10, and in 2yo "stakes" company; really one maiden, two maiden graduates, and one who's sucked up for minor shares in a couple of graded stakes. She earned a Beyer of 90, and is headed to the Frizette to prep for the BC Juvie Fillies. That means she would go into the latter without having been around two turns, and we can bet against her as the favorite. Daughter of AP Indy is out of Dream Rush, who was strictly a sprinter. And there ain't much else on the catalog page...though if you go out to her 4th dam and beyond, plenty of distance influence there.

Bake Shop ($4.60) won the 4th for trainer Tom Bush, his 4th winner from his last seven starters.

In the 7th, Fly Again ($53.50) was ignored at the tote but won first time out for Eddie Kenneally with a rousing rally from far back in the pack. Two-year old daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus, out of a Storm Cat mare, has the Juvie Fillies winner Cash Run as her second dam, and Shared Interest, the dam of Forestry, as her third.

 - Well, turned out that the best free outdoor rock show of the summer came after the summer. Not technically of course, but after the summer season in any event. Bob Mould played at the Williamsburg Park on Friday night before a pretty small - not nearly worthy of his status as guitar god - but enthralled and enthusiastic crowd. Mould and his band roared through Copper Blue, the classic Sugar LP now 20 (!!) years old; and touched on their fine new Silver Age LP before turning to some Husker Du classics, such as Something I Learned Today (with a guest spot by Craig Finn on vocals) and I Apologize. Here he performs The Descent, an instant classic from the new LP, on the Letterman show.

3 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Alan,

The fractions on Saturday were significantly affected by the wind, tailwind on the backstretch and headwind in the stretch, especially earlier in the card.

alan said...

^^Yeah, fair point, thanks. That would explain it.

El Angelo said...

I'm not saying you would have had 40,000 there on Saturday, but the weather was horrible enough that it had to keep the crowd down by a thousand or so.