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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thursday Night Notes - July 21

- When jockey Chantal Sutherland won the Tom Fool with Smokume on Sunday, it was only her third win of the meet, with the other two coming on the same day. If you take a look at the odds of the horses she rode at Belmont today, it’s obvious that she still has work to do to gain the confidence of trainers other than Allan Jerkins. She had mounts that went off at 19-1, 40-1, 67-1, and 68-1, all finishing out of the money. But she had a fifth ride that was a winning one, on 17-1 Giant’s Promise, a 3 yo NY-bred maiden filly; she drew clear midstretch and held off John Velasquez on a Pletcher 7-10 shot. That’s the type of result that could get her better quality mounts. Pretty nice priced winner for trainer John Kimmel considering that she’s a Giant’s Causeway filly out of a stakes placed Affirmed mare making her turf debut against state-breds.

Christophe Clement crept a bit closer to the training leaders - he trails Billy Mott by just 2 wins now - with Deed, another turf winner for this barn, with jockey champ Edgar Prado aboard. (Note the second horse was a 32-1 trained by Stanley Hough, who I mentioned the other day.) And Steve Matthews of Newsday had a 16-1 NY-bred winner right on top: Lucky S. Lorenti is drilling with a purpose for first start since moving to suddenly live stable ([Richard] Schosberg).

- The highest priced Fasig Tipton yearling at by a first year sire, at $500,000, was a colt by Buddha (Unbridled’s Song), the 2002 Wood Memorial winner, and a favorite of the Head Chef. She had him that day at the Big A - she was very taken by his looks, and she seems to have a knack for that. I seem to recall buying her a Derby futures ticket as well. Of course, he never ran again after that day, retiring to stud with an injury and leaving behind the usual frustration of wondering what could have been. After one off the board start at 2, he went 2 for 2 at Gulfstream, winning his allowance test by 9 1/2.

He went right from there to the 2002 Wood, which was as exciting a race you’d ever want to see, and hopefully you can do so on this page (if I can watch it with my browser and on a Mac, anyone should be able to). If you watch the allowance race that's on the same page first, you’ll see his sheer talent as he draws away easily while greenly checking out the crowd. In the Wood, you see his courage as, in just his 4th career start, he battles on the rail to the inside of the imposing Medaglia D’Oro, with Sunday Break looming boldly 3 wide. Tom Durkin, delivering one of his usual classic calls, noted at the 16th pole, “Medaglia D’Oro with Laffit Pincay --THEY’RE SURGING” and at that moment they indeed looked like the winners. But, as Durkin exclaimed as they crossed the wire, “BUDDHA WON!”

Durkin was the first guy I remember that extended his call after the horses crossed the wire. It used to be that the call always ended when the race did, so in a race like this, the announcer would have said something like, “Medaglia D’Oro on the outside, Buddha on the inside....To the wire!” If the winner was apparent, most calls ended in, say, “Buddha...In Front!” Or in the dark age of Marshall Cassidy at NYRA - I get queasy just thinking about him - “Buddha HAS the LEEEEED.” I don’t really remember giving much thought to this - it was just the way it was. I don’t recall any public outcry for the call going on past the finish - didn’t get any emails from on the issue. Durkin had called harness races at the Meadowlands and he did it there, and when he came to NYRA, I wondered whether he’d be allowed to, and he did from the very first day. I wonder if Marshall Cassidy was pissed off about that.

Buddha’s big seller is a colt out of a stakes winning Danzig mare. Despite the big price tag, the buyer said he intends to pinhook this colt! "My partner tells me there’s old pinhookers and bold pinhookers, but not both. We’re getting close though. This horse will go to a two-year-old sale." [Thoroughbred Times]