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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Notes - May 24

- We got word from Castle Village management from Timonium that they were “totally mystified” that our Vicar filly did not do significantly better than the high $35,000 bid she received. It wasn’t close to our reserve, and our consignor Niall Brennan is looking to sell her privately for 50K. “Most pinhooks going through the ring today, except for New York-breds, lost money. It was generally a bloodbath. If he can't [sell her privately] in 24 hours, we'll take her home and regroup. Eventually, she'll reveal her abilities as a real racehorse, which she is, and we'll be suitably rewarded.” Tough business. An Unbridled’s Song filly topped the session at $280,000, and the overall average was up 25%.

- I was at Belmont for awhile Sunday but couldn’t stay for what turned out to be a wild feature, the G3 Sheepshead Bay, as 16-1 Sauvage snuck up the rail for an upset win that I most definitely would not have profited from; favored Honey Ryder was 5th. Sauvage is a 4 yo filly by the stallion Sri Pekan (Red Ranson), currently standing in Turkey. He also had a Group 1 winner this weekend in Derby Italiano with De Sica. Sauvage's pedigree traces directly back to Almahmoud, her 5th dam and the granddam of Northern Dancer, through her 4th dam Cosmah, the dam of Halo. The 10f NY Handicap at Belmont July 2 is next.

Saturday’s stakes race at Belmont (where there was an apparent job action by mutual clerks) was the G2 Shuvee, which marked to return to form of Society Selection (Coronado’s Quest), who won the G1 Test and Alabama last summer before faltering in the BC Distaff. She’s out of graded winner Love That Jazz, and is inbred 3x3 to Mr. Prospector. It was a good weekend for his sire line, with Afleet Alex’s win in the Preakness; and in addition to Society Selection, a 3 yo filly named Gold Strike won the G3 Selene Stakes at Woodbine. She’s a granddaughter of Mr. P through Smart Strike, and has a fascinating pedigree in that she’s inbred 2x3 to Mr. Prospector and a full brother of his named Search for Gold.

For Smart Strike, it was his second stakes winner of the weekend, as his 3 yo colt English Channel took the Woodlawn Stakes on the turf at Pimlico Saturday at 1-2; it was his stakes debut. He’s out of a Theatrical mare, so his affinity for the turf is no surprise. Indeed, his dam is a full sister to millionaire Hap, who won several graded turf stakes including the G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. He’s another Todd Pletcher trainee, so certainly one to watch.

- Mike Watchmaker in the Form (sub. only) writes:

Afleet Alex was so much the best that it made anyone who picked or bet against him (like me) feel mighty stupid. That is about the highest compliment a handicapper can pay to a horse who beats him.
I feel stupid a lot, but this was not one of those times. I felt more stupid after the Derby, really. I thought the horse had questions to answer after the Derby, and didn’t think that 3-1 was worth finding out the response. I actually hedged my bets with Scrappy T on top, not Alex. Of course, after seeing what the exacta and triple paid, the lesson is that value does indeed abound in the exotics when there are 14 horses, even when the favorite wins. Watchmaker also noted:
Some of the wackiest odds of the year occur in the Triple Crown races. How Spanish Chestnut wasn't the longest shot on the board in the Derby is a marvel. But the prices in the Preakness on Malibu Moonshine (24-1), Going Wild (26-1), and especially Hal's Image (23-1) were even more baffling in how low they were.
Reader Jerry from Philly writes to inform that he caught Jeremy Rose on local TV last night, and that the jockey said that he lost two races for Alex last year because he "felt the pressure." He also reports that one of the reasons Cash is King went back to Rose is that he rushed to the barn after the Rebel debacle to see the colt, knowing that something was wrong. In return for the owners’ confidence, Rose has since delivered three flawless rides. I know some people said he moved too soon in the Derby, but c’mon. He let the horse run his race and gave him his best chance to win – for whatever reason, it wasn’t good enough that day. Alex’s big move on the final turn is the type that can win the Belmont too….if he can handle the marathon distance of course.