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Monday, January 30, 2006

Millions Sun Shines on California

- California-breds beat Florida-breds five to three on Sunshine Millions day, and Santa Anita beat Gulfstream attendance-wise by a count of 32,116 to 8,440. Don’t know if the promised additions to available facilities were in place at Gulfstream, but I do know that there was no one at Calder for simulcasting.

Florida was also a loser in that none of the three FL-bred winners were even bred by sires who currently stand there. Filly and Mare Sprint winner Hot Storm is by Stormy Atlantic; Ocala Stud Oaks winner Joint Effort is by Runaway Groom. Both of those stallions reside in Kentucky. As for Miesque’s Approval, the Turf winner with no sense of sentimentality whatsoever in denying Jerry Bailey a winner on his final mount, he’s by Miesque’s Son, a full brother to Kingmambo. The most recent information I could find on him has him standing in France; though his most recent stateside duty was performed in, of all places, California.

Amongst the Cal-bred winners, Classic winner Lava Man (Slew City Slew), who is one winner who I can definitively say that I would not have had if I'd played the races that day, and Dash winner Da Stoops (Distorted Humor), also have sires standing in Kentucky, but the other three are “pure” Cal-breds with sires that actually reside there, or did. Distaff winner House of Fortune, is by the late Free House. Filly and Mare Turf winner Moscow Burning, is by Moscow Ballet, who stands at Harris Farms for $3000; and Sprint winner Bordonaro is by the Chilean-bred Memo, stands at Ridgeley Farm for $6,000.

So there you go. Big payday for the winners and runners-up, a nice big crowd at Santa Anita, and a chance for Frank Stronach to pat himself on the back and get hyped on national TV. Other than that, it’s not an event that does anything, really, in terms of promoting the sport. Like the Breeders’ Cup, there are too many big races in one day to generate any meaningful coverage in the press; if not for Bailey’s retirement, there would have been little written other than the stories on Lava Man. Even the LA Times gave just cursory coverage of the whole shebang. And considering that the lead-in on NBC was the National Hockey League, one of the few sports whose ratings are probably worse than horse racing (what does it say about me that these are my two favorite sports), I don’t even want to see what the Nielsens were.

- Before the Millions races at Gulfstream, Songster ($18.80) (Songandaprayer), a three-year old first time starter from Darley and trainer Tom Albertrani, won the 4th race and equaled the track record for seven furlongs (for whatever that’s worth in year two of the new track there), stopping the clock in 1:21.59 under Prado. The $200,000 yearling price tag on this one is, for Darley, like a purchase at Dollar General. This colt is from the family of Slewpy – his dam Rare Bouquet is the 4th dam of Songster. Also worth mentioning is runner-up Trippi Storm, the 2-1 favorite, who was just 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner and nearly eight in front of the rest of the field.

In other three-year old developments, Doc Cheney, one of Nick Zito’s hopefuls, could manage just third as the 3-2 favorite in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa, suffering his first loss in three races. The winner, R Loyal Man (More Than Ready), is a nice one, having run second in the G3 Bashford Manor last year; this was his third straight win. Another of Zito's prospects, Hemingway’s Key, worked five in 1:01.20 (15/30) on Sunday. But Hesanoldsalt is the Zito horse I'm most excited about.

Cause To Believe took the El Camino Real, and considering that Wanna Runner and A.P, Warrior, who were competitive against Stevie Wonderboy and Brother Derek, finished well behind the winner and two other Northern California-based colts (six lengths behind show horse Bold Chieftain), do you downgrade the Southern Cal contingent? Or is the north the place to be this year?

"That was very disappointing," said Alex Solis, who rode 11-to-10 favorite A.P. Warrior. "He didn't show up today. I was laying in good position, and we had some pace to run at. I got him outside at the five-sixteenths, and he didn't fire."

"I was right off them and had a good hold," said David Flores, who rode Wanna Runner. "When I tried to go, they went again and it was over. I had an empty wagon." [SF Chronicle]
- Music School was a scratch at sloppy Oaklawn on Saturday, but he worked a bullet (out of six) six furlongs in 1:17.40 there this morning.

Also this morning, Bob and John went a half in 47.60 (3/19), and Doctor Decherd got one in :48.80 (3/14). On Sunday, Bluegrass Cat worked a bullet (out of 56) five furlongs in a minute flat; Noonmark a half in 48.80 (5/26); Keyed Entry five in 1:02.80 (19/21).

First Samurai, at 7-1, is the favorite (other than the all-others) in the first Derby futures pool. He worked a half on Saturday in :48 2/5 (12/52). He’s expected to make his return in the 7 1/2 furlong Hutcheson this Saturday.


thecalicocat said...

If horse racing didn't have enough problems attracting new fans, the byplay between Gary Stevens and Donna Brothers before tha Lava Man race was enough to confuse anybody.
Their premise, I guess, was that there was so much speed that all the speed would take back and the pace would be slow. But after setting up that premise, they picked horses who could come off of a fast pace.
Let's get Prof. Irwin Corey in the booth to call races.
Looks like Philly is down to Barbaro and J&J as possible Derby contenders. Kennebunkport didn't run a lick on the wet track at Oaklawn Saturday. Menacing looks like a fraud. Fidrych still has yet to show much. I am ready to adopt a colt from another state.
Alan, Flyers got Pitkannen back just in time to pull one out against your Rangers last night. The Flyers D had been putrid.

Alan Mann said...

A bitter defeat, indeed. Great goals by Pitkannen.