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Friday, December 15, 2006

Got A Notional

- The Hollywood Futurity, the Grade 1 for the boys at Hollywood on Saturday, has a rather intriguing field. Principle Secret (Sea of Secrets) and Stormello (Stormy Atlantic) battled it out in the Norfolk; despite the fact that the latter won, Principle Secret was the one who had a lot of support going into the Juvenile. The theory was that he would revert to the rating tactics he'd used in winning the Best Pal. But he was dead on the board for the Juvenile, and sure enough, he battled for the lead again, and against Stormello, who himself was abandoning rating tactics he used to win the Norfolk.

It's hard to evaluate each coming off that race. It's quite possible that the grueling Norfolk caused them both to bounce in the Juvenile. It's also possible that they'll hook up on the front end again. Sometimes you see horses that may have rated in sprints, but once they stretch out, their natural speed takes over and they end up on the lead consistently. Principle Secret may be one of those horses, and besides, there's no one else who has shown much early speed with the exception of Stormello, who gets the better of the draw. I'm not really feeling enthusiastic about either.

The other two who look like main contenders are both stetching out from seven furlongs and trying two turns for the first time. Belgravia (Mr. Greeley) is two-for-two for Biancone, both on synthetic tracks. Out of a mare by Stalwart, he hails from the distaff family of Afleet Alex, whose third dam is the same as the second dam of Belgravia. In the Hollywood Prevue, and as he did in his debut at Keeneland, this $2 million two-year old purchse unleashed an impressive wide rally after sitting midpack. He looked home free at the eighth pole in the Prevue, but Dilemma, who I'd probably really like if he was in this race, was absolutely flying from way back, and it was a miracle, only the luck of the bob that Belgravia earned the win. Biancone/Leparoux are having a slow meeting out there, and the ten post doesn't help. Add in the stretch out, and he seems like a poor investment at his 5-2 morning line.

Notional (In Excess) had a great debut, putting in a big move on the turn and sustaining it late for a 2 1/2 length win and a field high 105 Beyer. He was beaten by Belgravia in the Prevue, fading to third, but draws well here and had an extremely sharp six furlong workout for this race. His dam, by French Deputy, is a half to the dam of the Argentine champ, and G1 Santa Maria winner Lovellon.

Amongst the others, the most interesting to me seems like Silent Soul; he's shown some nice improvement in his last two, and though the last was on grass, that may mean he'll like the Cushion Track.

So what do we have here? Belgravia looks scary on paper, but has a bad post, stretches out, and figures to be overbet. Stormello and Principle Secret are uninspiring coming off the Juvenile and may battle early again. Notional was highly impressive in his first race, was beaten by Belgravia last time, but looks worth a shot if he is indeed the 4th betting choice, as on the morning line.

- Just Zip It will not run on Sunday. Trainer Bill Turner wants to give her more time, as she'll be stepping up to maiden specials and trying two turns. There's a mile and 70 yard race in the book for January 4. Highland Cat is expected back at Belmont next week.


Anonymous said...

Hi guys, hope everyone is doing well. Thought i'd check in today with the Hollywood Futurity on tap. EZ Warrior has been training steadily of late, and i thought perhaps he'd turn up in this spot. I guess Baffert wants to bring him along slowly. So anyway, on to the race. My main interest here is/was Principle Secret, but i was kinda tipped off a few days ago that he may not be 100% for this one. He was involved in a another one of Paasch's 3-horse team drills, along with Baltimore Drive and the filly Company Secret. Company Secret looked very good in that drill, and was subsequently entered in an optional claimer (on grass) a few days ago. She did not run well, and had no excuse (except perhaps the grass). That doesn't bode well for Principle Secret today, especially when you consider that Baltimore Drive hasn't been done squat lately either. But here's the report, along with a few others. I'll let you judge for yourselves...


Washy while rated back from Company Secret and Baltimore Drive early, pushed out in 24.0, 58.4, 110.4. Have to respect clocking. Grade B-

Note that Principle Secret was rated in this drill. In his previous team drills (back around the maiden-breaker), he had been on the lead. Of course, i was 100% convinced he would rate in the Juvenile, so it's impossible to make any assumptions here.

STORMELLO (Dec 5, HOL, 138.1)

Drifted out under righthanded sticks looking average late while under a good late push working to the mile pole in 113.3, 127.0, 139.2. Not real impressive. Grade C+

Yuck. This is a horse who had been training very sharply into the Juvenile. Seems to be regressing.

LIQUIDITY (Dec 9, HOL, 58.3g)

Huge gate drill in blinkers flying along in 34.1, 58.1 big energy late. Top notch. Grade A-

Interesting. This is the speedball O'Neill shipped into Belmont for the Champagne, and he ran terribly. Came back to California and rebounded with a decent effort over this very same surface/distance. Adds blinkers today, and looks ready to fire. Could surprise at a price, particularly if he's allowed an easy lead.

BELGRAVIA (Dec 12, HOL, 100.1)

Easy drill with a barnmate here in 100.0 finishing within himself at the wire. Holds edge. Grade B

The last report i have on NOTIONAL was of the sub-par variety, but that came right before his last race, and he did run well although he was beaten by Belgravia.

Good luck if you're betting the race today, guys. I'll likely be passing, unless i'm offered some very generous odds on Liquidity. I'll go on record though as saying that the best young colt in California isn't entered here. Keep your eyes on EZ Warrior, he's very likely the best of the bunch. Only question is his health, and the fact that he's never been two turns. Supremely talented animal.

Anonymous said...

Hey Walter, I was wondering if we would hear from you. I am going to give the kiss of good luck to Principal Secret as I will cancel the bets I have already placed on him, and therefore, he will probable fire the race of his life. Byanose

Anonymous said...

Just watched the race on reply. Great stretch drive!

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