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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Notes - Aug 6

- Ellis Park announced an immediate 15% cut in purses, and no surprise that, in addition to bad weather, the ‘s’ word came up as an explanation for shorter fields..

"Our daily racing operation continues to face ever-growing pressure in the competition for horses with racetracks in other states that offer larger purses boosted by slot machine revenues," [general manager Paul Kuerzi] said in a prepared statement. [Courier-Journal]
- Ohio Derby winner Palladio arrived at Monmouth for the Haskell, and here’s a little piece of information you probably don’t need to know:
Skip Away was the last colt to complete the Ohio Derby-Haskell double, winning the races back-to-back in 1996. Four years earlier, Technology ran second in the Buckeye State before giving jockey Jerry Bailey his only Haskell victory to date. [Newark Star-Ledger]
Having bet him in the Belmont, I won’t be throwing good money after bad by betting on Chekhov in the Haskell, but add his trainer Patrick Biancone to the Monmouth Park fan club.
"Monmouth has something special," Biancone remarked. "The surface is really, really good and the people are exceptionally nice. I have been all around the world, but the management at Monmouth is, maybe, the nicest I have seen in my life." [Newark Star Ledger]
Bob Baffert has also expressed his affection for the track, and a win by Roman Ruler, which would be a rare Grade 1 win for him of late, would certainly endear it to him even more.
..His money totals have dropped every year since recording earnings of $16,361,034 in 2001. Baffert saddled the winners of 11 Grade I races in 2001, six in 2002, five in 2003 and just one last year.

He suffered a huge blow when Prince Ahmed bin Salman passed away on July 22, 2002 at the age of 43. The prince was the man behind The Thoroughbred Corporation, which campaigned 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given and 2002 3-year-old champion War Emblem — both Haskell winners.

"We're as good as the last good horse we've had," Baffert explained. "When I lost the prince, that was a blow. You get hot, you cool off. It's very streaky." [Asbury Park Press]
With a crowd of perhaps 45,000 expected despite the absence of Afleet Alex, Monmouth management is treating the big day as a tuneup for 2007, when it will host the Breeders Cup.