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Monday, August 01, 2005

Monday Night Notes - End of Week 1

- The turf course at Saratoga was downgraded to good by the end of the day, so I guess it must have rained at some point. I’m getting a little nervous about all the nice weather there so far with my trip scheduled for next week; it's only a matter of time before the weather turns unstable. Well, I don't want to wish bad weather on anyone else, so I'll just hope for the best. The first week wrapped up with a smallish crowd of 14,398, and with 11 wins for Todd Pletcher. His day started off bad in the 2nd, with his .35-1 favorite Mr. Sam I Am finishing out of the money altogether, creating some nice show prices. Then in the 6th, his 7-5 favorite Copyco finished 4th by 2 necks and a nose, with my pick Jesus Carboni, who was credited with the lead at the stretch call, close behind in 5th at 10-1. Not a terrible pick; I thought he could steal the race, but he couldn’t get the lead over 29-1 Jimmy the K, I hate when that happens.

So, in the 7th, maybe the bettors figured that Pletcher was all through, and they let his Indian Vale go off at 4.40 to 1. He won his debut at Monmouth at 3-1, but his Beyer didn’t compare favorably to those of favorite Disturbing, or second choice Pixie Stix. However, they were all trying 2 turns for the first time, so it seems in retrospect like a great price, and the horse ran off to win by 13 lengths, are you kidding me? As someone who admittedly probably pays too much attention to the tote board, I probably would have thought ‘oh, well, Pletcher-Velasquez, 4-1?’ concluded he wasn’t getting bet, and looked elsewhere. But then I would have been amongst many others who I imagine were wondering how you can let that go by, the way this guy is going. He had 6 winners the first week last year, and has nearly doubled that this year! Indian Vale is by A.P. Indy out of Marley Vale, who won the Test Stakes over this track. For Pletcher and Velasquez!

Richard Violette got his second first time winner (both NY-breds) and third winner overall in the last three days, with What’s Your Edge (Stormy Atlantic) ($10). He was a $150,000 2 yo in training purchase at Ocala this past March. Note that Linda Rice’s Metro Meteor ran a close second at 5.90 to 1, watch this barn.

Artie Schiller took the G2 Bernard Baruch. I seem to recall this stakes back in the day as being the Sunday after the Travers, and thus often a last chance to get even for a long weekend of betting (since only an addict would stay for the last race on those days facing a long drive back to the city). And I don’t seem to remember any happy Bernard Baruch stories to relate.

- Well, after indicating that they would indeed come east for the Haskell, Bruce Headley announced that Surf Cat is staying home, saying that the shipping arrangements from California became too complicated. Well, that really sucks. It would have been an intriguing matchup with Roman Ruler, kinda like the “old generation” of 3 yo’s against one of the late bloomers. Now we’re looking at names like Park Avenue Ball, Indy Storm, and Chekhov instead. You have to feel bad for Monmouth officials; the injury to Afleet Alex was a particularly cruel blow, far more so for the Jersey shore track than for Saratoga, where the Travers may get second billing to the anticipated match-up between Lost in the Fog, Bellamy Road, and perhaps Roman Ruler as well.