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Monday, December 12, 2005

Putrid Picks

- My picks were putrid this past weekend, as was any other handicapping and wagering I did (which fortunately, wasn't that much). Ugh, sorry. At least I can blame Walter for one of them. I was at least right about Evening Attire not winning the Queens County at Aqueduct, though he once again ran his heart out; his poor start may have cost him the race. I was kicking myself a bit though, about not having the winner Philanthropist. This Phipps colt had pp’s that reminded me a bit of those of Happy Hunting, an allowance winner on Thursday, and even of Pleasant Home. All three are four–year olds who improved late in the year for Shug McGaughey. Happy Hunting actually never started until he was four.

And, of course, he’s impeccably bred in the Phipps way. Philanthropist is by Kris S. out of Hidden Reserve (Mr. Prospector) a graded-placed performer for the Phipps barn, and a half to Phipps stars Educated Risk and Inside Information, the dam of Smuggler, an outside possibility for an Eclipse as top three-year old filly. Hidden Reserve is also the dam of Defer. I scoffed at him as a Derby candidate this past spring, but chances are that he’ll be winning stakes races late in 2006. Perhaps the Classic at 45-1?

In the Native Diver at Hollywood, I knew I was dead with my longshot Courtly Jazz when Simon Bray on TVG picked him as a single in the Pick Four. Nothing against Bray, but how many times do you see these guys correctly single 14-1 shots? For the winner, the 2004 Chilean Horse of the Year Trotamondo, that’s two wins in as many U.S. starts; could be a nice one for Laura De Seroux, who said, hopefully, "I think he is the best thing we've had on our hands on since Azeri.” [LA Times]

- Trainer Richard Violette, Jr. is red hot over the inner track, and in particular with two-year olds. On Saturday, Violette sent out juvenile winner Trailing Twelve ($12.40). His prior race had been a second place finish in a sprint at the Meadowlands; here he stretched out to 1 1/16. He’s a son of first year sire Five Star Day (Carson City), who stands for $15,000 in 2006, up from $10,000. Ten of Five Star Day's 21 starters have won (62 in the crop), with one stakes winner (Within Reason). The fact that he was strictly a sprinter has not kept the mares away – he was bred to 141 in 2005.

So, wouldn’t you know it, on Sunday, Violette sent out another juvenile winner, Hundred Year Flood, a Giant’s Causeway colt out of stakes winner High Heeled Hope, who was also stretching out after finishing second in a sprint at the Meadowlands, and for the same owner, Klaravich Stable, as well. You may say oh good, what good does this do now? Alas, I missed it too, so you’re only getting the red-boarding version here. This one paid $8.50. We obviously won't let him get away with another one of these so quietly. Violette also had two runner-ups on Sunday's card, including two-year old Borrowing Base, who ran second at 6-1 to an even money Pletcher colt. His three year old filly Popular Delusions ran second in the Twist Afleet stakes to 32-1 bombshell Grecian Wings. The preceding weekend, Violette sent out two-year old winners Laptop Computer and Spenny.