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Monday, May 30, 2005

Awesome Again

- Ghostzapper’s ridiculously easy win in the G1 Metropolitan Handicap doesn’t bode well for the prospect of large fields in his upcoming races before the Breeders Cup. Other than for the big race itself and perhaps the Whitney at Saratoga, why would anyone ship their horse in to face the champ at Belmont, unless they’re in a sporting mood? More likely, we’ll see the division leaders knock heads elsewhere around the country with whoever is left standing coming to New York in late October. Frankel’s horse doesn’t figure to prove much other than being unbeatable around his distinctive home oval. Still, he looked totally awesome today. Frankel said:

"He's an amazing horse. He's probably the best sprinter in the country, and I think he can win going a mile and a half on the turf -- I really do. (Castellano) never moved on him. He just took a hold of him in the stretch." [Bloodhorse]
It was second time in the last couple of months that Javier Castellano was the passenger in New York on such a dominating stakes win, though this time he saved his celebration until after the finish. (No, I am not comparing Bellamy Road to Ghostzapper in any way.) Listen to how excited trainer Ralph Ziade was about his Silver Wagon picking up the pieces for second. "It's like a big win, believe me....All the people said I was wasting my time coming up here. I don't think so." NYRA will have to find other connections that would be as happy as Ziade to run second in a Grade 1 if they want to round up any opponents for Ghostzapper in his next expected start, the Suburban on July 2.

- Workouts for some Belmont contenders: Giacomo worked 7f in 1:27; possible starter Buzzards Bay went 6f in 1:12 3/5, and Southern Africa got 6f in 1:14 and galloped out in 1:27 according to his trainer Mike Puhich: "I'd be surprised if he didn't handle the distance....He's got a steady pace, and he wears horses down. He's got natural speed and keeps going." [Bloodhorse]

- Nice day for me, as I hit my first two bets - nailed the 5th exacta cold at Belmont (with apologies to Castle Village) and also had the 7th exacta from Pimlico - they both paid around $39. The Belmont race was another horse pointed out by being live on the board, bet on the nose; Be My Prince was coming off a layoff for Angel Penna, Jr, who was 3-7 in the 180+ days category coming in. There were a bit over 15,000 in attendance, a fine crowd these days, and nice to see. But it was a really pedestrian card; you’d never know it was a holiday with a Grade 1 race. The 10th was fun though, a maiden event on the grass and again, the money showed. Seeking Slew (Seeking the Gold) was 6-1 morning line, but the 5-2 favorite at post time for Bill Mott. He hadn’t raced since August, and that was a badly beaten 6th on the dirt at 9-1. But here, the money showed correctly and he reported home by 2 1/2, getting the last quarter in 23.27. You gotta love it. This 3 yo colt is out of multiple graded stakes winner Borodislew, and a half brother to stakes winner Canadien Frontier.

- I was bummed when Interpatation was a late scratch for the Jersey Derby; I really liked him. I bet the race anyway; Malibu Moonshine got bet at 5-1 in his turf debut from the outside post. This situation, when a dirt horse with familiar names such as Afleet Alex in his running lines tries the turf and gets overbet, is consistently a situation in which you can benefit by drawing a line right through him and choosing from amongst horses that are all at higher odds than they should be. I scored a couple of weeks ago in a similar situation when Naughty New Yorker got bet to around 4-1 in his first grass race - he ran out of the money too. I went with 4-1 Spring House, but he ran second and got beat by one of the horses I had underneath, 11-1 Touched By Madness (Sword Dance), who was able to steal the race on the lead. Even when I lose I've been coming close.