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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Super Saturday

Tough trip for Maddalena (Good and Tough) in the Forward Gal; off a bit slowly from the rail, not the ideal post for the 7 furlongs; she creeped up inside alongside Bird Harbor in :44 4/5. Then on the turn, she achieved the lead and John Velasquez looked confident. But when he asked for more rounding the turn, she just couldn’t pull away as she had in the past and was gobbled up by mid-stretch. The winner, Letgomyecho (Menifee) is now 3 for 3 for trainer George Arnold, whose horses always seem live when they take the money; she went off 9-2, and now her pp lines look kinda like Maddalena’s did coming into the race.

- The Louisiana Derby next week is shaping up as perhaps the most contentious of the Derby preps thus far. The top three finishers in the Risen Star, Scipion, Real Dandy, and Storm Surge are all probable, and the latter will have a new rider, Jerry Bailey. Why? “He's Jerry Bailey," Stewart said. Kansas City Boy, scratched from today’s Fountain of Youth, is expected to be there; and Bobby Frankel is expected to unveil the scary High Limit.

"He's coming," said Frankel. "He's a nice horse, and he's training well."

The undefeated High Limit has won both of his races by a combined 18 1/2 lengths. Both came last fall at Delaware Park while under the care of Anthony Dutrow. The Louisiana Derby will be High Limit's first start for Frankel, who will keep regular jockey Ramon Dominguez on the colt, a son of Maria's Mon. []

- - Disappointed by Maddalena in the 7th at Gulfstream; the red hot Pletcher gets right back on track as his maiden Coin Silver (Anees), in his first try around two turns, took the 9 furlong event, though it took him almost 40 seconds to get the last 3/8ths. He’s a half brother to stakes winner Beyond Brilliant.

- Wow, Nick Zito does it again as Noble Causeway (Fusaichi Pegasus) takes the 8th race allowance at Gulfstream, and impressively. Around the turn he was lagging in 5th, and Vic Stauffer advised jockey Pat Day that “he’s got to go.” Pat Day can be maddening sometime that way, but he swung out on the turn and won with authority, getting the last eighth in a tick under :13. Impressive. We can be sure to see this one in stakes company.

- Ding-dong stretch duel in the 3rd, a maiden special for 3 yo's at Santa Anita. TC nominee Canteen (Fusaichi Pegasus) was the 8/5 favorite from the 12 post in his first try around two turns; he was beaten at 2/5 last time, which came off a close second to El Roblar. He moved up to take the lead around the turn, but Hammer Back (Victory Gallop) came from last to take the lead and looked like he was going to go right by. But Canteen battled back gamely and Trevor Denman exclaimed “It’s a thriller,” as they passed the 1/16th, with Canteen barely getting the nod. After the race, Denman was effusive about the winner, comparing him to Rock Hard Ten in his striking appearance, and tendency to goof on the lead. Indeed, Canteen, was DQ’d for bearing out in the stretch. He out of the stakes winner and prodigious producer Bottle Top, and is a half to Strodes Creek amongst other winners.

- Lost in the Fog was able to rate behind 60-1 More Smoke down the backstretch, but moved up around the turn and drew away through the stretch, going just under 1:09 to 6f, and a final time of 1:22:21, a fifth off the track record on a track not playing fast. I imagine they’ll put up that nomination fee now.

- Eddington, freed from having to face Saint Liam and Roses in May, destroyed the Gulfstream Park Handicap field. Stauffer noted that Elbar Coa was “motionless” as he was pulled to the lead around the turn and he drew away; it looked almost as effortless visually as his 4 yo debut 2 races back.