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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Saratoga Thursday

In the 8th, the Smirnoff Sorbet Quick Call at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf for three-year olds, Central Banker (8-1) returns off a 250-day layoff and returns to a course and distance over which he won last year.  Son of Speightstown is the first starter of the meet for trainer Albert Stall, Jr., who had a successful meet here last year (seven winners from 24 starters and a bunch of close calls at generous odds).  Barn has been deadly lately with long layoff horses such as this.  As alluded to above, Central Banker graduated on this course last summer (defeating eventual BC Juvie Sprint winner [on dirt] Hightail, and another eventual stakes winner [on dirt] in Mico Margarita), and proceeded straight to stakes company, at Kentucky Downs.  There he earned a good figure on the TimeformUS scale (and this is one of the two free races of the day today), while holding second at seven furlongs.  Won his next on dirt before his connections got distracted by visions of grandeur and sent him to the two-turn Delta Downs Jackpot.

Now he's back in his wheelhouse off a steady series of works going back to May, and repeats the winning training pattern from the race here last year with a half mile breeze a week before the race.  Hoping he'll get some pace up front for his mid-pack closing style  Seems great value at his morning line.  Stage Street (4-1) has won two in a row in front-running fashion for Asmussen (8-3-2-0 on the meet) since returning from a 250-day layoff of his own, and won in his grass debut last time out.  May face some pace pressure here though from a couple of these making their grass debut - No Distinction and Salutos Amigos - as well as the Euro shipper The Brothers War (6-1).  The latter has a big Timeform number two races back, at six furlongs, and weakened late at seven at Ascot in his last. The long comment in that race reads "weakened final 1f; best 5f/6f" so a similar effort could put him close at this distance.  Will save with him on top.

In the 9th, Holiday's Jewel (7-2) makes her third start of the year after two troubled journeys at Belmont.  Daughter of Harlan's Holiday had traffic problems two back and spent much of the backstretch run bearing out in her last.  That's not good....but she still ran a competitive 4th behind Lady of Gold, who ran a good third in a stakes here on Saturday, and the graded-stakes placed Sustained.  Here she's reunited with Castellano, who has done pretty well with the Carlos Martin barn, and returns to a course over which she ran quite well twice last year, including her graduation with a solid figure on the TimeformUS figures.  Don't see much in the way of speed in here, so Holiday's Jewel should be well-positioned for a less eventful trip and to finish strongly as she did in those efforts over this track last summer.  Beverage Queen (another one named after Bloomberg's bid to ban super-size drinks?) is the morning line favorite off a closing 6th in a Grade 3 at Churchill, but is a dead plodder who will need a lively pace that I don't believe she's going to get here.

 - On Wednesday, Kitten's Dumplings ($5) (who won the G3 Regret referred to immediately above) took the G2 Lake George for trainer Michael Maker and owner (guess who); second winner of the meet for the trainer from 14 starters.  This was the third winner of the day to have last raced at Churchill Downs, a good angle at the Spa in recent years.  By my unofficial count, she was the 10th such winner at the meet overall (including the two that deadheated in the Schuylerville on opening day).

Damn it, meant to mention trainer George Weaver after he scored with the longshot Joe Can Gallop on Monday, as streaky as we know this barn to be.  And sure enough, he scored again in the 4th with Samiam ($10.80), one of those winners coming from Churchill.  Three-year old filly graduated in her second start.  She's by Dynaformer out of a Fusaichi Pegasus mare, and she's inbred 4x5 to Nashua; don't see that sire, born even before I, that close up in horses that way anymore.  That's two winners from the first three starters for Weaver, and we'll surely be keeping a closer watch for him.

In the 10th, Where's Danny ($11) was the first winner of the meet for trainer Eddie Kenneally, another guy who had a successful Saratoga meet last summer.  Tough one to come up with at that price, first time dirt in the off-the-grass affair.


steve in nc said...

Parlay paid $35 for a $2 bill. Nicely done!

Thomas said...

This is gorgeous!