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Monday, July 18, 2005

Monday Night Notes - July 18

- As Del Mar sets to open, Belmont enters its final week before NYRA moves to Saratoga for what could be its next-to next-to-last meeting there before losing the franchise as many expect. Bill Mott has an edge of 20-19 over Juan Rodriguez for the training title, and Todd Pletcher. Mike Hushion and Christophe Clement, with 17 wins each, still have a shot. [Daily Racing Form] Juan Rodriguez is the NY assistant trainer to Richard Dutrow, currently serving his drug suspension. If he goes on to win, it could call more attention to those proposals in Kentucky to suspend the horses; a concept that seems to be making more and more sense.

Dutrow has a propensity to do some unconventional things especially when it comes to running horses back on short rest. So when one of his surrogates pulls such a move, it’s clear that Dutrow is lurking on the dugout steps calling the shots and that his suspension is a farce. This reached an extreme this past weekend when his Golden Man, in the care of his brother Anthony (on Sunday anyway), ran third in the G3 Long Branch at Monmouth on Saturday, and then the very next day rallied past High Limit for second in the G3 Leonard Richards.

"The trainer chose to run him and we allowed him to run," said longtime racing official and Delaware steward Dennis Lima. "I've seen it before. I’ve seen a horse run twice a day in Rhode Island years before. Back in the days of Narragansett Park and Lincoln Downs."

Tom Gilcoyne, retired historian at the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, pointed out that Rushaway won the 1936 Illinois Derby and Latonia Derby on back-to-back days.

"Before [being] completely cooled out, he was vanned 40 miles into Chicago and left there that evening for Cincinnati, Ohio, which he reached early next morning and was hurried across the Ohio River to the Latonia course," historian John Hervey wrote of Rushaway in the 1937 book, ‘Racing In America.’ "At five that afternoon, in the Latonia Derby worth $12,125, he polished off Holyrood, the favorite, and all the rest of the field in summary style. He ended five lengths ahead. The next morning he awoke to find himself famous. Rushaway has never won a race of importance since then." [Thoroughbred Times ]
I wonder how many people who bet on the race actually knew that Golden Man had run the day before? The Form of course did not have the race in their print edition, at the very least; in fact, the Form didn’t even have that note that he’d been entered in another race you usually see. (Right above him in the past performances is Papi Chullo, with the note “Entered 15Jul05-5BEL.”) Though Delaware Park’s racing secretary said that they “had to put out a new [past performance] on this horse,” I would lay odds that many people who wagered had no clue, and that at least a few bettors were taken by surprise when the Delaware race caller referred to the feat as Golden Man rallied to take the place.

- Trainer Scott Lake must be glad to see the Belmont meeting come to an end; it’s been a tough go with just 5 wins to his credit. However, at Delaware it’s a different story. Lake is by far the leading trainer there, with 44 wins; his closest competitor Michael Pino, has 31. Lake is doing it with sheer numbers though; he has by far the most starts with 160 to Pino’s 97! Of course, the disparity between his winning acumen at each track will only increase the suspicions regarding his methods since his troubles at Belmont correspond with the imposition of the prerace detention procedures.