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Friday, August 05, 2005

The Whitney

- It was a rough day, trying to wrap up things at work before going away, and posting was not even an option. Fortunately, neither was betting on the races. I suppose that it would probably be wiser for me to just take a break tonight and tomorrow, just to get a little refreshed before a week in Saratoga, instead of going to the Meadowlands for 15 live harness races and simulcasting from Saratoga and Monmouth (a much smaller simulcasting menu than usual).

I thought Saint Liam was a lock in the Stephen Foster, but I can't quite say the same here, though I do still like him. The presence of Commentator (Distorted Humor) adds the uncertainty for me. We just don't know if he can go around two turns, as he came out of his only such effort injured. If he goes to the lead and freaks like he did at 7 furlongs at Belmont, then he'll be waving bye-bye. Even Zito has no idea how he'll do here.

"We are in no-man's land.....He's an amazing horse. Maybe he can't go that far, but I think he can. We'll find out. If not, we'll just re-group. Still, we really think he's a tremendous horse." [Bloodhorse]
Dutrow’s only expressed concern about Saint Liam is whether he’ll take to the Saratoga track. Otherwise, he says he’ll run a huge race. Saint Liam has not even been to the main track; you may remember that Dutrow gave the odd explanation that it was too long of a walk and that he could step on a rock. Of course, Dutrow wouldn’t be the one to have been making that decision the last 60 days, right?

If you want to take a shot against him, then perhaps you want to buy Pletcher’s assertion that Limehouse’s (Grand Slam) last was “a complete throwout.” He acted bad before the race and had a poor start, and was never in it. Jockey John Velazquez told the Albany Times-Union: "He just did not behave at all that day.....He wouldn't even let the assistant (trainer) put the tack on him, he was misbehaving the whole time. He was very unhappy." So were those who bet him at 6-5. They’ll get a better price here, and a return to his 112 Beyer in the Brooklyn puts him in contention (unless Commentator returns to his 121).

Swingforthefences (Boston Harbor) is an interesting and improving 4 yo for Richard Violette. He looks like a horse that burned out towards the end of his 3 yo year, in which he raced 9 times against some of the best in the division. After a long freshening, he had two excellent efforts at one turn, earning a 112 in the second. If you throw out his last in the slop, he could be close, and Mike Watchmaker, who selects him to upset, points out that he should be very comfortable with the added distance since all nine of his starts last year were around two turns.

Perhaps the most intriguing of the possible upsetters is Eurosilver (Unbridled’s Song). Bothered by physical problems, he’s been considered an underachiever since a string of spectacular wins at 2. Perhaps his sharp second to Saint Liam in the Stephen Foster signals his return to that form. He ducked in at the start and was dead last and then quite wide going into the first turn. He rallied wide again on the final turn and closed impressively, missing by just 2 3/4 and coming home in :12 1/5. He raced twice at Saratoga at age 2, running second to Silver Wagon in his debut, and then delivering a big 96 Beyer while winning his first race. If he takes to the track more so than does Saint Liam, who is 0-1 over the course, he could have a shot.