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Monday, March 21, 2005

Seeking the Gold

- A bit of a family affair on Saturday for Seeking the Gold, with stakes winners by he as well as by one of his sons and one of his brothers. I mentioned yesterday the 2nd straight stakes, and first graded win for 4-4 on the turf Cape Hope, by Seeking the Gold’s son Cape Town, about whom I've posted previously.

In the 500K Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. at the Fair Grounds, Rapid Proof got to the finish first in a thrilling finish, holding off favored A to the Z and America Alive by a head and a nose at 31-1. And man, I was handicapping this race, and I noticed the price on him and thought to myself it was too high, but sometimes I get psyched out by the was like, there’s gotta be something wrong, how can this horse be 31-1?. He’s shown big time improvement since the summer, and was coming off two close thirds in stakes against several others in this race, last time at only 9-1, showing a steady pattern of improving Beyers. You have to be able to distinguish between “dead on the board,” which in my experience is one of the more reliable ways to throw horses out, and legitimate overlays, like this one in a full competitive field of stakes horses; and I did a really lousy job here. What the hell is wrong with me? It was the first stakes win for Rapid Proof, who is by Fast Play, a Seattle Slew half brother to Seeking the Gold; I’ve also posted about him before (scroll down).

Seeking the Gold’s winner was Gold Storm, who took the 6f Duncan F Kenner, also at Fair Grounds on Funny Stakes Name Day; it was his second stakes win in as many starts in 2005. His sire is seeking to bounce back this year after having missed the top 100 on the general sire list for 2004. In fact, his stud fee has been on a steady decline since it was $250,000 in 2001; it’s half that now. He’s off to a fast start, with 4 stakes wins by Gold Storm and two others, Wanderin Boy and Quest. He ranks 4th in the early going on the 2005 sire list, thanks also to his UAE winner Satin Kiss.

To show you how the game has changed in not that long of a time, Seeking the Gold was a 3 yo in 1988, and that year, he ran 12 times, 9 of them graded stakes races! Ask yourself how many of the 3 yo’s we’re watching for the Derby now will run in 12 races and/or 9 graded stakes in their entire careers, forget about this year! He won 6 of those races, and ran 2nd five times, losing heartbreaking nose decisions in the Haskell and Travers to Forty Niner. Nowadays, the Haskell and the Travers is mostly an either-or affair even though they’re at the opposite ends of August. His incredible complete race record is here, courtesy of Claiborne Farm. And by the way, the one race in his 15 race career that he didn’t finish in the money? A 7th place finish in the Kentucky Derby, won that year by the filly Winning Colors. [EDIT: That was actually the only time he finished worse than second!]