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Sunday, June 18, 2006

More Churchill Stakes

- Did you see the way Julien Leparoux fearlessly bulled his way through a hole - or should I say slit? - that barely even existed at the top of the stretch in Saturday’s Regret? A willing Lady of Venice looked like Priest Holmes bursting through the line into daylight on her way to a four lengths win for Patrick Biancone. It was the eighth win, and 4th stakes victory for the jockey/trainer combo.

Lady of Venice is by Loup Solitaire (Lear Fan), a French stallion who stands for 4500 Euros, and whose Best Progeny contains no household names. The distaff side of Lady of Venice contains some illustrious turf names. Her third dam is Verouschka, the dam of the multiple Grade 1 winner Soviet Star and The Very One, a durable multiple stakes mare on the turf who went to the post 71 times.

- Happy Ticket (Anet) may have won the Fleur De Lis, but I think we learned more about Oonagh Maccool. She had won her three races since being switched to the dirt with aplomb, but here she was tested by a more seasoned mare that we already knew would give no quarter to a rival in the shadow of the wire. Oonagh Maccool showed her mettle in defeat, and could be better for the experience next time for trainer Todd Pletcher.

For Happy Ticket, it’s her third all out photo finish in a row, the prior two ending up as bitter defeats, and trainer Andrew Leggio Jr. was thinking he had seen this before. "I was kind of paranoid......I just knew we got beat." But this time, he turned the tables on Pletcher, whose Spun Sugar edged Happy Ticket in the Apple Blossom.

Happy Ticket’s next race may not be for awhile.

Leggio said he'll look for one race for Happy Ticket between now and the Breeders' Cup.

"Every time I've run her fresh, she's won," Leggio said. [Courier-Journal]
- I’ve been telling you that Nick Zito is about to break out with a big stakes win. The only problem is that he no longer trains Seek Gold, the simply unbelievable winner of the Stephen Foster. I’ve watched that replay of the field at the top of the stretch several times as the then-last place son of Touch Gold dropped out of the picture, still not believing that he would make a sudden and most unexpected return appearance in the final frames of the movie, spoiling the Hollywood ending of a win by Perfect Drift. The seven-year old gelding looked home free, and his rider Mark Guidry said “He pulled up a little bit. He was getting a little bored.” [AP]

Seek Gold is by Belmont winner Touch Gold, his third stakes winner, and first graded one of the year. He’s out of Aly’s Adita, a stakes winning daughter of Alydar who is a half-sister to the great champion Davona Dale, who won eight graded stakes at three, including the Oaks, Black-Eyed Susan, and the NY Filly Triple Crown (Acorn, Mother Goose, CCA Oaks).


Anonymous said...

...the time of the Oonagh Maccool/Happy Ticket race compares very favorably to that of the Stephen Foster, however the big guns in that race obviously didn't fire their best shots (Perfect Drift aside) for Oonagh Maccool, her effort was indeed gutsy as Alan noted, but i have a slightly different take on the matter...Oonagh Maccool had things all her own way up front (thru some moderate fractions), and she still couldn't keep Happy Ticket at bay...if she couldn't win the race under the best of circumstances, i don't think that bodes well for her chances down the line...that being said, i think it's possible she does her best running from off the pace, as her prior wins came when she had broken slowly and employed stalking tactics...and Pletcher has been quoted as saying Oonagh Maccool is possibly the best filly he's ever trained, quite a statement considering he just got done training i guess the jury's still out on Oonagh Maccool, though i do think she should've won the race yesterday under the circumstances...

Anonymous said...

...unfortunately i missed the Lady of Venice race, but i wanted to give the best example i've ever seen of a horse "bulling thru a hole" was Lit de Justice in the 5 1/2 furlong El Conejo several years back, and he was blocked by a wall of horses in midstretch...i mean, there wasn't even a hole to bull thru...but bull thru he did, like a bowling ball knocking over a bunch of pins...damnedest thing i've ever seen on a racetrack, pretty much...Nakatani must've been scared to death...he went on to win the race easily, but of course he was disqualified to's well-documented the horse was flat-out psycho, but he was probably the most talented horse i've ever seen, bar never knew what to expect from him, however...he would always lagged far behind early, and it was just a matter of whether he felt like running or not...either he would unleash a devastating turn of foot and win the race, or he stay ten lengths behind the entire race and never make a move...nothing in-between, really...the only time you could really count on him to run was when he'd hold the race up for 5 minutes throwing a fit behind the starting gate...that's when you knew he was keyed up and was going to bring his "A" game...he once held up the Pat O'Brien stakes for ten minutes fighting the gate crew, then set the track record...anyway, i know this has nothong to do with Lady of Venice, but when i read that she "bulled thru a hole", it made me think of Lit de Justice...that crazy son of a bitch... 8^)