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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Baby Turf Races

- We’re seeing a lot of these 2yo races on the grass at Saratoga, and they’re proving to be popular; I’m not sure if we’re into the portion of the first condition book written by new racing secretary PJ Campo. Lakow was in the process of writing the first book when he was unceremoniously dumped, so I’m not sure as of exactly when these cards are being written by Campo. Campo talked about adding turf sprints and says that the first race of this kind will be run Aug. 7 for older fillies and mares running for a $35,000 claiming price.

Friday's race, a 1 1/16 miles drew enough for two divisions. The second race has first time starters from Mott/Bailey and Pletcher/Velazquez. Pletcher has the 5-2 ML favorite in Straight Run (Straight Man); he's also listed as the owner. On Wednesday, he had a first time winner on the dirt that shipped in from Monmouth. This one has been stabled at Delaware, and has been working there since May. He's out of a Full Out mare, and is a half to 3 6-figure earners including a horse named Regiment, a winner in England; though he checks in with a Tomlinson of just 250.

Mott's entry is Go Between (Point Given), out of a mare by French champ Caerleon; he has some British stakes winners in his pedigree. These two figure to get bet on their trainers' reputations and may be underlays, so take a look at West Coast, 8-1 morning line for the live George Weaver barn. He ran on the turf, in a mile race just 7 days ago, coming 5 wide and bidding for the lead in the stretch at Colonial, but weakening to 5th by 3 3/4. On July 11, Weaver shipped RC Indy from Delaware to Belmont off the same 1 week layoff and won in maiden 50s on the turf. Javier Castellano gets on board; he continues to ride well on the turf here, almost stealing Thursday's 6th on 9-1 Musical Native.

In the second division, the 4th, Weaver has a first timer, a $475K son of Pulpit, out of a Chief's Crown mare who's a half to 1993 Santa Anita Derby winner Personal Hope. Mott has Abbe's Chestnut (Horse Chestnut) a first timer starting from the outside 9 post; Gary Stevens rides, as Bailey jumps over to Harold James Bond's first timer Wooden (Woodman). He's out of a mare by American Chance, a son of Cure the Blues, who is by the recently deceased Stop the Music. Randy Shulhofer and Chantal Sutherland, a couple of names we've mentioned lately and specifically with turf horses, team up with 15-1 first timer Fly With the Wind (Fly So Free).

Once again, there's a horse with turf experience that may present decent value for the win here. Quarterflash stretches out from 6f on the turf for trainer Michael Brice, who had some success on the turf at Belmont with limited starters. He was well bet in his turf debut at 5-1, and the chart says he raced greenly on the inside and was going well late, and he finished an even 4th, as the winner (Pletcher first timer Baur Au Lac) came home in :12 1/5. He's by Tactical Cat, and the fact that he's out of a mare by Houston may indicate that he'll prefer the 6f. But he also has in his third dam's family Grade 1 winner Majesty's Prince, who won turf marathons like the Man O'War, Sword Dancer, and Rothmans Intl. Leading rider John Velazquez replaces the injured Bejarano.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

My Interpretation was the first winner for Freud, full brother to Giant's Causeway. In fact, in that race there were FOUR fillies by Freud, who placed 1st, 3rd, 6th and 10th. Considering the tiem of that race, looks like the first two might be competitive beyond just the NY bred races

My Interpretation and Interpretation (the confusingly named 3rd place finisher) are both owned by Lewis Lakin, who together with Becky Thomas owns Freud. These horses are very attractive, or at least they were at the yearling sales last year, and three fetched six figure prices this year at the July FT sales. That's quite a bit on a 5K stud fee.

Like Giant's Causway, Freud's babies were expected to do well on the turf -- and having a winner before the NY bred yearling sales is strategic. The introduction of these two year old turf races helps Saratoga fulfil its role as a proving ground.

The shorter turf races seem designed to attract horses that might otherwise ship to Monmouth for them.

I hope the turf can take the pressure.