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Monday, July 11, 2005

Now I'm Mad

- Sorry for not posting for most of the weekend. It wasn’t (all) because I humiliated myself with a couple of my picks for Saturday, just needed a break, and it may be a light posting week coming up.

My trip to the Meadowlands Saturday night couldn’t have started out worse, as my first bet of the day on Saturday was Don't Get Mad leading off some pick 3's and I wonder if this horse was named anticipating just how maddening he would be - to me at least. Things seemed to be going well as he started to move around the turn. I was waiting for his explosive move but he instead just kinda disappeared into the pack and you knew the race was over for him. I had to laugh, really; I've been totally confounded by this colt, and besides the Derby Trial, have never been right about him. I saw his trainer Ron Ellis on TVG Sunday night and he spoke about the toll his long campaign had taken on him blah blah blah. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the unusually slow workout he posted for this race. Surf Cat was the clear second choice over Indian Ocean even though he lost to him in the Affirmed. Here's a modestly bred 3 yo by the 5K sire Sir Cat out of a mare by someone named Centrust (Mr. Prospector), who sold as a yearling for $25000 and is now a neck away from two graded stakes wins, and joins the thin ranks of currently healthy 3 yo’s (Roman Ruler, Scrappy T) who could be considered legit challengers to Afleet Alex (who had his first post-Crown workout yesterday.)

I felt pretty bad about touting Don't Get Mad as a lock, and just to rub it in, Lava Man, who I wrote wouldn’t win the Hollywood Gold Cup, did so in dominating fashion, but at least I didn't lose any additional money. When I saw Congrats as 5-2, I just passed on the race, though I did briefly actually consider Lava Man just because he was such an overlay at 7-1. Limehouse bobbled at the break and then showed nothing at 6-5, indicating that he is not Grade 1 material. Lava Man is turning into a legendary claiming story.

"[The owners] gave me the instructions and said unless he (Lava Man) looked like he was in dire straits to take him," [Doug] O'Neill said. "They really liked the numbers that he had going into the race.

"We thought he could turn out to be a useful $40,000-$50,000-level grass horse. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we'd be posing for a picture in a Grade I, that's for sure." []
- So I was in a bit of a daze of embarrassment as I mingled amongst a very nice crowd on a comfortable night at the Meadowlands. Perhaps I’m too sensitive for this public handicapping stuff! Rocknroll Hanover got nailed at the wire at 3-10 in his Meadowlands Pace elimination; he makes the final, but his post position fate is left to the luck of the draw, while the two heat winners get to choose their favorite posts. "He’s had three weeks off and had to put in a half of 53.2," said [trainer] Brett Pelling. "He rolled out good, and he’ll be fine for next week [$1 million final July 16]." [Meadowlands] There was also a $700,000 free-for-all pace, and I dabbled unsuccessfully in some of the harness action. By the time I regained my equilibrium and was able to focus my attention back on the flats action, the cards at Penn National and Mountaineer, not my favorite tracks, were nearing their closes, and the Evangeline action had turned to slop. I keyed in on the 9th at Penn Nat – loved the eventual winner, Pleasure, a 5-1 shot, but stubbornly took a stand against the 5-2 second choice; and when he held off 6-1 Crafty Ice for second, it cost me what would have been a lucrative exacta and triple. But no regrets – sometimes you have to take a stand and take a shot, and the near miss at least provided some confidence, which has been shaken the last couple of weeks after a very good streak last month.

- Just to demonstrate how blessed the Cash Is King crew has been with Afleet Alex, consider that when Deputy G took the G3 Bashford Manor for 2 yos on closing day at Churchill yesterday, it was the first stakes winner for its “regular-guy” syndicate owner in 20 years of operation! I imagine that’s probably a more typical experience than scoring big with your very first horse, though both situations seem rather extreme.
More than a hundred jubilant people jammed the winner's circle, jumping and cheering in the 91-degree heat. They had a bit more to sweat out: Rafael Bejarano, rider of R Loyal Man, lodged an objection against Deputy G, alleging interference in upper stretch. It was disallowed, and the party was on.

"I've never had any children, so I think this is the biggest thrill in my life," said part-owner Jake Arnold, who claims the colt is named for his bar-restaurant, Mr G's Lounge on Shelbyville Road, rather than sire Matty G. "He's like my child out there." [Courier-Journal]
Matty G (Capote) is a $10,000 Kentucky sire with just 127 foals in 5 crops of racing age, and Deputy G is out of a mare by French Deputy (Deputy Minister).

In Saturday’s G3 Debutante for 2 yo fillies at Churchill, Effectual (Carson City) won with a rather spectacular performance, cruising to a handy win despite breaking last.
Effectual was purchased privately in January by Gainesway Thoroughbreds of Lexington and George Bolton of San Francisco upon the recommendation of bloodstock agent John Moynihan.

"Amazing performance," said Antony Beck, president of Gainesway Farm.

Said Bolton: "She missed the break, was dead last and weaved through eight horses. If (the split) was 22 seconds, she went in 21 seconds, right? Then she's going so easily that they couldn't hook her. Albarado never moved his hands. She just dragged him up there -- and then they went." [Courier-Journal]
She's out of a Skywalker mare, and it's the female family of stakes winner Meter Maid and her daughter, 2005 stakes winner Lemon Maid.