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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Not Wonderful Enough

- Tiz Wonderful was probably the most hyped maiden graduate of the Saratoga meeting, earning a 99 Beyer in a 12 length win. I was there that day, and went hook, line, and sinker for a Zito first-timer that got bet down to 2-1. Man. I remember that Tiz Wonderful was a bit dull on the board at 5-1, and, if you watch the replay, it wasn't the most visually impressive race in my opinion. He was geared down under the wire, but Gomez rode him pretty hard until then, and gave him at least four good left-handed whacks along the way. So I was a little surprised at all the hype, which, as far as NY debut winners go this year, has been exceeded only by Nobiz Like Showbiz (who also runs on Saturday, in the Remsen at the Big A).

Like Barclay Tagg, the trainer of Nobiz, Scott Blasi passed on the Juvenile with Tiz Wonderful, and looking back and considering they were just maiden winners, do you think they would have belonged?

Tiz Wonderful, by the dual Eclipse winner Tiznow, blew away a pretty good field in the G3 Iroqouis, and the chart comments notes that he drew clear and expanded her advantage under energetic handling. Maybe the fact that he's a ridgling threw off the chart caller. Now he stretches out to two turns in Saturday's G2 Kentucky Jockey Club at a mile and a sixteenth, and Blasi says: "The more ground, the better for him," but don't they always say that?

What A Tale got the place money chasing Tiz Wonderful in the Iroqouis for Patrick Biancone, and also has a license to improve trying two turns for the first time. He's by Tale of the Cat, out of a mare by Eastern Echo; and his third dam is Mrs. Warren, one of my early thoroughbred memories who I've written about a couple of times now.

Any Given Saturday is unbeaten in two races for Pletcher. Both of those races were on the Polytrack, but he shows a recent bullet five furlong work in 59.2 at Churchill. His allowance win came around two turns at Keeneland, and there's little surprise he liked the distance. He's a $1.1 million son of Distoted Humor, out of an AP Indy mare, and a half-brother to Bohemian Lady, a stakes winner at nine furlongs. His dam is a half to the graded winner Second of June. It remains to be seen if the sweeping wide move he used in each of his wins will translate to the Churchill dirt surface, but this horse was practically in Louisville around the first turn at Keeneland, and just effortlessly circled widest around horses on the second.

Joe Got Even is another who's two-for-two on the Poly, both in sprints. His one poor race on dirt came in the slop. He tries two turns for the first time, but definitely has some distance in his pedigree. He's by Stephen Got Even, out of a mare by Inland Voyager, a five-time leading sire in Venezuela; his second dam is a half to Bienamado, the multiple Grade 1 winner who took, amongst others, the mile and three-quarter San Juan Capistrano.

But we'll try for the upset with Any Given Saturday and play him exactas with the favorite, and throw in Joe Got Even on the bottom. By the way, Tiz Wonderful gets Johnny V., who picks him over my selection here. I guess that's not a good sign, eh?