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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Rice Time

- OK, time to put my money where my mouth is. I’ve been writing to watch this trainer and that trainer, but haven’t actually picked any horses by any of them. So, here we go – the 4th is a NY-bred 2yo filly maiden race on the turf, and Linda Rice, who I’ve been mentioned a few times and who has 2 wins and 3 thirds in five starts here, has first time starter Mohegan Sky. I don’t normally select races with first time starters in advance, preferring to see the betting, but if she wins and I don’t pick her, I’ll feel dumb.

I believe this is the first 2 yo turf race restricted to NY breds, and it’s brought out the Freuds; 4 entrants by the first-year sire and full brother to Giant’s Causeway. According to Equiline, Freud has yet to have a winner with 9 starters. Three of them are coupled for common ownership, and one of those, Interpretation, has the Mott/Bailey team. She’s had excuses in her two well-bet dirt races. Interpretation is out of a Cox’s Ridge mare and has Secretariat 4x3.

Pletcher has the uncoupled Freud, a first timer named Summer Palace, who sold for $300K to Peachtree in February. She’s another of those Pletcher first-timers we’ve noted that has been training at Saratoga since May. She has Grade 1 turf winner Mea Domina back in her third dam’s family. With Velasquez aboard, I gotta use this one on my tickets.

Mohegan Sky is by Straight Man, a second year sire by Saint Ballado, from the Halo line. She’s out of a dam by Seattle Dancer, the Nijinksy half-brother to Seattle Slew that sold for $13.1 million as a yearling; and that was in 1985. With inflation, that’s probably close to a billion dollars by now. Mohegan Sky also has Nijinsky in her sire’s pedigree, and is inbred to him 4x3. She’s a half-sister to Vous, who won a turf stakes at 2, and ran third in the G1 Very One on the grass earlier this year.

Rice sent out a first time 2 yo turf winner in Be A Believer at 6-1 the last week at Belmont, and she’s been live with virtually everything she’s put on the track since then. This filly worked 6f in 1:13 breezing around the dogs on the turf on Thursday and seems ready to roll in the 4th at Saratoga.

- So, as far as my picks for the first week at Saratoga, I had a pretty close second, and a $9.80 winner; then on Friday, I meant to say that I only liked Laurafina at 2-1 or more, so that one doesn’t count. Saturday I fell just short in the late double with Flower Alley and the three horses that ran a close 2-3-4 in the 10th, and Monday I had a 10-1 shot who had the lead midstretch. So, there were some minor moral victories amongst the one real one. I’ll try a few more days and if I don’t have another winner I’ll probably get embarrassed and stop.