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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sunday Night Notes - July 24

- The Belmont meet closed out with a mostly lackluster weekend of racing and as the action shifts upstate to Saratoga, Nick Kling of the Troy Record, citing the strict barn detention policy, says that a continuation of the stagnant product at Belmont could tarnish the track with its worst meet in a decade.

..many horsemen have been inconvenienced, and in some cases forced to hire more staff to accommodate the rules. That has apparently resulted in fewer horses being entered in NYRA races. Why, you ask? Because those same horsemen have the alternative to race their animals at venues where there is no security barn.

At this time, that includes every other racetrack in America. This has been particularly true for trainers who are not already stabled in New York. NYRA officials are hoping that the cachet of racing at Saratoga, along with the reality that many non-NYRA-based horsemen will have already shipped their horses into town, will reverse this effect during the 36-day Spa meet. [Troy Record]
There was a two year old race on the turf each day this weekend, which we should see more of at Saratoga, and they both produced winners at nice prices. On Saturday, it was 21-1 Loushe, the first turf starter for first year stallion Black Minnalouche, who I posted about a while back. I’m excited about him as a stallion just from watching his stretch kick in the races linked to on this page. Loushe is out of a Dixie Brass mare who is a half-sister to Platinum Tiara, who ran second to 45-1 shot Caressing in the 2000 BC Juvenile Filly.

In today’s juvenile turf affair, Pletcher had a two-horse entry of first timers sent off at 7-10. The presumed strong half of the entry was Dyna’s Destiny, a full sister to Dynamist, recent winner of the grassy Rhudy Memorial at Delaware. She ran well but checked in third behind the winner, first-timer Be A Believer, for Linda Rice at 6-1.

Bill Mott had a winner on Saturday to wrap up the trainer’s title, with his Rayon edging out challenger Christophe Clement’s Let the Lion Roar in a contest that proved decisive, as Juan Rodriguez scored with Yankee Mon in the state-bred Evan Shipman on Sunday. Keep an eye on this one at one-turn distances. If you throw out his one two-turn race this year, he’s 4 for 4 in 2005, including a win in open company against next-out winner Dwango. Yankee Mon is by Maria’s Mon out of a Wavering Monarch mare who’s a half to Florida Derby winner Creoso and to Maytide, the granddam of Highland Cat, preparing up at Saratoga for my Castle Village partnership group. He worked 4f in 49.37 yesterday, 14th best of 26. We're waiting for word on his getting his gate card.

Another nice NY-bred winning Sunday was Chestertown Slew, a Seattle Slew 3 yo out of a Hansel making it 3 for 3 on the turf for John Kimmel. In the 7th, Godolphin invader Keep the Faith ran 6 furlongs on the turf in an American record of 1:06.82.

For the most part, the betting action was so dismal that I ended up playing mostly the races from Monmouth. The 4th was an interesting maiden turf affair that saw the debut of $1.1 million yearling Diaphanous, a 3 yo daughter of Unbridled’s Song, and a full sister to 1998 Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama winner Banshee Breeze, starting for Alan Goldberg. He got OK board support at 4-1. That was second choice to Wear Well, who was going out first time off the claim for Kirk Ziadie, who has fabulous numbers in that category. If you ignored the hot first-timers and the trainer stats and just boxed the horses with the best last Beyers on the turf, you’d be rewarded with a $27.80 mutuel on winner Eloquently, and a $255 exacta.

The 6th was a maiden 2 yo affair, and Pletcher had first time starter Western Slam (Grand Slam) who got slammed late down to 3-1, and got up at the wire with the stable's main Monmouth man Chris DeCarlo. Keep an eye on Bound Notebook, a firster from the aforementioned Stanley Hough, perhaps at Saratoga; he was live on the board at 5-1 and rallied well for third.

I bounced back from my bad day Friday, hitting the final Pick 3 at Monmouth. The key was my single of Cherokee’s Boy in the Salvatore Mile. I went against the eventual 1-5 favorite Gygistar, reasoning that his recent good efforts were at one turn and he’d never raced at Monmouth, while Cherokee’s Boy was improving for Gary Capuano, and had a win over the track in his last. He’s by Citidancer, the sire of Park Avenue Ball, who won the Long Branch last weekend and is expected to start in the Haskell. I used three horses in both the 8th and the 10th, and came up with a $150 payoff for a dollar bet. As for Gygistar, it was apparent as soon as they entered the final turn that he wasn’t going to be a threat, and Elbar Coa said "I'm not sure if he didn't handle the track so much as he just didn't run his race today.”