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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Notes - Dec 1 (DEC 1!?)

- Just Zip It is doing great and came out of her debut second well. Up next, if all goes well, is a six furlong state-bred maiden special with a $41,000 purse on December 10. I imagine that Bill Turner would like to stretch her out even further, but with the inner track open, that's as far as you can go without going two turns.

- I imagine that some bettors are pretty frustrated over Homerette. The NY-bred three-year old filly took the restricted Irish Linet Stakes at Saratoga in August, and was 15.90-1 that day. Since then, she's been 9-2 twice and 8-1, and managed one second and two 4ths. She was dismissed again at Aqueduct on Thursday in the Flat Fleet Feet Stakes at almost the exact odds - 16-1 even - as her last win; there were five others in the field, none higher than 5-1. But I guess she likes those odds, because she did it again for trainer Pat Kelly.

Homerette is a daughter of Grand Slam, who saw his stud fee cut from $50,000 to $35,000 for 2007.

Another winner and two more seconds for Gary Contessa.

NYRA reopened the turf course for the first time since early in the month, but the jocks shut it down after one race, and we likely won't see it again until next spring.

"It's too soft at the half-mile pole," said jockey Mike Luzzi, whose mount Rap Queen finished last after being eased late. "Just look at the fractions of the race. They went :24, :48 and then slowed it up to 1:16. My horse never handled it."

Luzzi said it was a unanimous decision by the jockeys. [NY Daily News]
- Excelsior spokesperson Howard Wolfson told the Saratogian that the proposals announced for Saratoga by rival Empire were indeed included in the plan reviewed by the Ad Hoc Committee. 'The committee chose us,' he said.

- Derby/Preakness winner and "reluctant breeder" War Emblem is still shooting blanks these days. Despite being offered more than 100 mares, War Emblem did not get any in foal in 2006. [Thoroughbred Times] But he had his first winner from his initial crop, which consists of four horses. Clan Emblem, out of a Sunday Silence mare, won in his second start under jockey Yutaka Take.

War Emblem does reportedly have some 40 foals in his second crop, but I guess he decided that he doesn't like being a dad. And that's before any of them became teenagers!

It's the retirement season these days, as the stallion announcements are coming faster than Empire's press releases. And some of them are horses that one might consider to be more marginal sire prospects than the bigger names, and they require some touting by the owners. Sharp Humor (Distorted Humor) earned a shot at stud-dom with a win in the seven furlong Grade 2 Swale, and his close second place finish to Barbaro in the Florida Derby (you mean the prospective Sportsmen of the Year struggled to defeat a NY-bred sprinter in a nine furlong race?). Winstar purchased a share after that race, and their president Doug Cauthen talked him up big time:
"In what is the best 3-year-old crop I have ever seen, Sharp Humor entered the classic picture in a serious way....His awesome runner-up performance against Barbaro in the Florida Derby, in which he posted a triple digit Beyer Speed Figure, confirmed him in our minds as one of the most talented 3-year-olds of his generation. In fact, Sharp Humor's BRIS Speed Figure in the Florida Derby was equal to Barbaro¹s, and we all know now what an exceptionally talented racehorse Barbaro was. Unfortunately, Sharp Humor sustained an injury in the Kentucky Derby which precluded us from seeing the full extent of this horse's talent." [Bloodhorse]
Some other stallions that could probably use even more PR include It's No Joke, Love of Money, Old Forester, and Praying For Cash (an appropriate name to be sure).

Silver Train will stand for $25,000 at Vinery. And the venerable mare Happy Ticket will get a one-way ticket to the breeding farm; no plans for a mate have yet been announced.

- All seems to be well with the Cushion Track at Hollywood since problems were reported a couple of weeks ago. The track was pronounced safe despite some surprisingly quick times were registered on Thursday. In the second race, 2-year-old maidens entered for claiming prices of $28,000 to $32,000 ran six furlongs in 1:09.31. [DRF]
After the first race, Martin Pedroza, who rode race winner IB Bad, said, "It's not really hard. It has a good bounce to it. It feel good, and it's not just because I won. As long as they come back healthy, that's important."

Danny Sorenson, who finished fourth on Zackary's Verbatim, said the track was similar to Wednesday, when times were not as quick. "It didn't feel any different from yesterday," he said.