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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

- I guess that the Tropical Park Derby on the grass at Calder today officially kicks off the Derby trail considering that Barbaro won it last year. Oh man, already?

Well, there don't seem to be any Barbaro's in this field. Nor any Showing Up's for that matter. But Pickapocket may have a class edge off a stakes win in the Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont. He's won three of his last four with his only loss coming in the trouble-filled With Anticipation at Saratoga, an excellent race which produced next-out winners Admiral Bird, Giant Chieftain, and eventual stakes winner Twilight Meteor. In the Pilgrim, he defeated Strike A Deal, who came back to win the Laurel Futurity, as well as the aforementioned and imposing Giant Chieftain. However, he draws the outside 12 post here, and will have to use some of his early speed to try and gain position going into the first turn.

Soldier's Dancer figures to get a lot of local support. In two Florida turf tries, he has a six length win over Florida-breds, and a head loss at 3-5 in the Kris S. In that race, he saved all the ground, but still had to close impressively into fast closing fractions. This gelding sold for all of $4500 as a yearling, but really seems to have found a home on the turf. By Lost Soldier, the sire of Lost in the Fog, he's out of a Gate Dancer half-sister to Bull in the Heather, who we mentioned just the other day.

Rutledge Cat made an dazzling wide move on the turn of the Laurel Futurity, but Corey Nakatani may have moved too soon in this case, and he was collared by the aforementioned Strike A Deal. This son of Tale of the Cat has never been out of the money in five tries on dirt, Poly, and turf, and should give a good account once again.

Loose Leaf has also been consistent, and ran second in his turf debut in the Grand Canyon stakes at Churchill to the impressive Corrupt. Gets the rail and Castellano, and could upset.

Picks: Rutledge Cat, Soldier's Dancer, Pickapocket

- And a very, very happy, healthy, and safe New Year to all of my readers. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your kind patronage. As Harvey Pack used to say, May the Horse Be With You, each and every one of you, in 2007.


Anonymous said...

Selvatica goes in the Monrovia (coming up in about a half-hour), and is a whopping 8/1 on the morning line. I have a bad workout report on her though, which is highly unusual because she's generally a razor-sharp workhorse. There's also a god bit of speed lined up to challenge her. None as quick as she is, of course, but it'll certainly make life harder for her. I'll be passing on this one.

Btw, there was a Baffert first-timer earlier today named Painted Shadow that i had some outstanding reports on. Being a Baffert, he was no secret of course, and was HAMMERED at the windows going off @ 4/5 while facing a reasonably tough field. He ended up running second by a head after stalking some very fast fractions, which were set by the wire-to-wire winner. I must say however, i was impressed with this colt in defeat because he realy seemed to be bouncing around the track as they straightened into the lane, and it looked to me like he was tired and would just completely crater. He must've just been green, because he gathered himself up and kept to his task and was really getting to the winner at the end. I didn't catch the final time, i'm guessing they got the last furlong in a slowish 13 seconds (for a high 1:09), but with the race under his belt i think this colt will really improve next time out. Probably at even shorter odds. One to keep an eye on though, he's certainly a good one for Baffert.

El Angelo said...

Happy New Year, and here's to a good year for NY racing, hard as that may be to fathom. Though amazingly, with Jazil scheduled to run on Friday at the Big A, it's already off to an ok start.