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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Wait No Longer For Shot At Cup

- Wait A While was the star of the preps today, and, in my opinion, is the one horse we saw today who looked like a serious Breeders Cup contender. [NOTE: This post was written before the Oak Leaf.] She's four for four on the grass with two Grade 1 wins and a combined winning margin of almost 20 lengths. It was last September that she won her turf debut in a maiden special at Belmont in her second start. After the race, I posted:

Wait A While (Maria’s Mon) was 2-1 when finishing a well-beaten 5th in her debut at Saratoga, but was sent off at 6-1 in this, her turf debut. She was steadied in traffic, hit the rail and dropped back suddenly, but circled the field 4 wide on the turn, and won going away by 5, wow.
But who that day would have thought we were looking at a contender for the Filly and Mare turf? Maybe not even Todd Pletcher, who ran her on the dirt her next six races (two of those off the turf stakes races, and three of them wins, all on off tracks). But despite that, no one was fooled when she returned to the grass and was bet to 5-2 in the Grade 1 American Oaks.

As she's done since returning to grass, she made it look easy in the Yellow Ribbon in her first race against elders, and won as if there's plenty left in the tank for Churchill. She has tactical speed and a big closing kick; she got the final quarter today in 23.09.

Ashkal Way was also very impressive in winning for the fifth time in six U.S. starts, though not in a way that suggests he can run with the best turf milers in the world. But he's as consistent as can be, and has a big heart, once again showing his toughness in lasting over a stubborn, and, at 11-1, overlaid Free Thinking. I mentioned the latter in my preview, and for once, I listened to myself and nailed the $142 triple. The bettors made Frankel's Art Master - the hype horse - the 8-5 favorite; nice win price on the winner at 2.10-to-1.

And I would agree with Randy Moss' assessment on ESPN that The Tin Man did not finish in a way that would suggest that he'd last at a mile and a half against the European horses that will be here for the Turf.

- Past performances for the Arc (in pdf) available from the Racing Form here.

I'll be up for the early racing, but I must admit that I will be on my way to the Jets-Colts game by the time they're in the gate for Arc. So I won't be watching the race until I get home. If you see me at the game, don't tell me who won.


Anonymous said...

I was very, very impressed with Wait a While. I thought she looked every bit a legitimate contender for the F&M Turf. That being said however, it's one thing to dominate second-tier turf fillies and quite another to run against Ouija Board and Alexandrova. I do give her a much better shot than i did before, which was pretty close to "none". After today's performance, she certainly deserves a hard look. Really, the only knock against her (other than a steep class-hike) is the fact that she appears to do her best running over a very firm course, which she may or may not get @ Churchill in November. I guess we'll know more as the race approaches.

Speaking of ground conditions, that's the main handicapping aspect left to be considered in the Arc. As of this afternoon, the track was listed as "good", but i read that they're not watering the course today because they're expecting some rain. As long as there's not a deluge, it looks like the the course should avoid a "soft" rating, though i guess "good-to-soft" is still possible. I'm sure we'll have all the info we need as the results come in for the undercard races, such as the Prix de l'Opera. And wow, as much as i was looking forward to catching Alexandrova in action, the Opera is NOT one of the races being carried here in Vegas. I guess it starts too early, what a shame.

Btw, i was watching the ESPN broadcast today, and i nearly fell over when Randy Moss called the Arc "a prep for the Breeders Cup Turf". I wonder how many people actually believe that. I can't imagine that Moss does, but who knows.

Anonymous said...

I'll echo Walter...please hype Wait a While as much as possible, as the number on Ouija Board and Alexandrova will only go up!

Alan Mann said...

From a U.S. perspective, every stakes race run after the Travers has become a prep for the Breeders Cup. That's one thing I think is wrong with the Breeders Cup.