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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Saturday Morning Notes - July 9

- It’s a beautiful morning in Queens today; I don’t know if it’s enough to dry out the track at Belmont, but that surface seems to take forever to recover from rain, so I doubt it. One thing that has not improved in this age of information is getting track condition information in the morning; it’s like trying to get those NSA intercepts out of the White House, there's just no way. So, though the Belmont card includes a Grade 1 race, and an interesting one at that in the 6 furlong Prioress for 3 yo filllies, I’m going to conserve my hadicapping energies for this evening. The Swaps and Hollywood Gold Cup are late here in the east, and I’ll be at the Meadowlands in plenty of time for those and the other Hollywood races. You can be sure that if Don’t Get Mad loses in the Swaps, or if Lava Man or Anziyan Royalty wins the Gold Cup, I’ll be out of any Pick 3’s or 4’s; I’m currently leaning towards Congrats and Limehouse in the latter. And there will be plenty of action besides, with 13 live harness races including the Meadowlands Pace eliminations and a ridiculous amount of simulcasting. It’s a rare Satruday night that the Head Chef can be out making money while I piss it away at the track; it’s going to be a great day.

Not in Miami though, and Calder’s Summit of Speed card has been put off until Sunday.

Only 50 horses made it to the gate in the sloppy card at Belmont yesterday, and there were no less than three races with four horse fields and no show wagering. Jimmy Jerkens, who I believe I wrote to watch out for recently, had two more winners, and Billy Mott had another with even money first timer Saoirse Cat, a 2 yo Storm Cat filly out of Canadian champ Saoirse, out of multiple stakes winner Apelia, also a champion up north.

At Philly Park last Monday, there were enough scratches in one race to leave a field of two, but don’t call it a “match race.” The race is called a "match race" only if it was originally scheduled to be limited to the two starters.

Not to be confused with Seabiscuit-War Admiral or Nashua-Swaps, this pari-mutuel embarrassment pitted the 3-10 Chief Negotiator against the 6-5 Pocopson Man.

After a race-long battle, Frankie Pennington, aboard Pocopson Man, outfinished Josiah Hampshire on Chief Negotiator by a neck in an epic finish.

According to the American Racing Manual, Monday's race was the seventh two-horse race in the last 12 years at the Bensalem track, tops (or bottom) among tracks in the United Stakes. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Coincidentally, this came the same week as the 30th anniversary of the (I guess it’s obligatory to refer to it as the) 'ill-fated' match race between Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure. I think the most searing memory I have of that is the all-black front page on an afternoon Extra Edition of the New York Post with the headline Ruffian Dead. Jessica at Railbird posted more about the match race the other day.