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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Notes - Xmas Eve

- With Todd Pletcher's suspension set to start on Wednesday, here are the names you need to know for the next 45 days: Seth Benzel in New York, Michael McCarthy in California, and Anthony Sciametta Jr. in Florida. They'll handle the training duties as the Pletcher machine continues on uninterrupted.

Pletcher was denied in his attempt to start his suspension on what was probably, out of the 365 days of the year, the most optimal possible day: during the December lull, on the day that a ten day break in New York commenced, and early enough so that he'd be back at Gulfstream and Santa Anita during the first week in February. Still, even with the delay, he'll be back by Wednesday, Feb 14, in plenty of time to hop on the Derby Trail. (The Fountain of Youth, for example, is not until March 3).

Gulfstream opens on January 3. Nick Zito has been warming up at Calder, and with the win by Carmrachkim in the second on Saturday, he now has seven winners and four seconds from the 20 runners he has saddled. He's even managed to get Hesanoldsalt a graded stakes win and Little Cliff under the wire first (he was DQ'd to second). So you know he must be hot.

Zito has started four first-timers at the meet, all two-year olds, and he has two winners and a second. You may recall his hot streak with these at Saratoga, and after a lull following that meeting he appears to be warming up with them again. Those who are looking at his record of years past of scoring with first-timers at Gulfstream can throw the book away (for the record, he's 2 for 19 there over the last three years). Subsequent to the win by The Luckiest, which I posted about here, he sent out King Alliance for Kinsman Farm, and nice to see Nick still getting horses from the Boss, who has a new farm manager these days.

Calder, Philadephia Park, and Fair Grounds will be the only thoroughbred tracks running on Christmas Eve. Dallas Stewart is off to a good start at the New Orleans oval, with seven winners out of 22 runners. In the 4th today he sends out first-time two-year old Cat on the Line for West Point Thoroughbreds. By the good two-year old sire Tale of the Cat, this colt was purchased for $200,000 at the Fasig Tipton two-year old sale in February after working furlongs in 10.2 and 10.3. It's been a long road to the races for him since then. But note that Stewart and West Point combined to score with first-time juvenile Ollie Jet earlier in the meeting, and this one shows a similar work pattern.

Cat on the Line descends directly from the female family of the 1985 champion two-year old filly Family Style - his second dam is a half-sister to the venerable Wayne Lukas / Eugene Klein runner who won three Grade 1's at two - the Frizette, Spinaway, and the Arl-Washington Lassie. In the Juvenile Fillies, at the Big A, she settled for second to her stablemate Twilight Ridge; but she went on to run 35 times, and was a Grade 1 winner (La Canada) at four.


Anonymous said...

I just picked up Tuesday's Racing Form, and i can't believe my eyes. They're listing Midnight Lute as a 10/1 shot in the Malibu (odds by Michael Hammersley). And in the DRF consensus, no one is even picking him in the Top 3. The race has certainly come up tough, but can't these people spot an up-and-coming star when they see one??? In-freaking-credible. More evidence of people being Beyer-crazy, as Midnight Lute comes off a very ordinary 100 that represents his career-best. But ask Latent Heat (4/1 ml) how poorly Midnight Lute ran in that race. Chances are Latent Heat didn't like the polytrack taht day, but taht kinda iffy because he appeared to be moving pretty well down the backstretch. I do expect a nice run from Latent Heat here in his return to Santa Anita (particularly with Frankel passing the race with Ramsgate), but asking him to turn the tables on Midnight Lute is a bit much. Brother Derek is capable, but he's very likely become accustomed to slower route fractions. I could go on and on, as there are several horses in here who deserve some consideration, but none of them stack up to Midnight Lute at this 7-furlong distance. Please keep in mind that Ramsgate, whom Midnight Lute nosed out of 2nd in their common return try, has reeled off 3 straight wins since then. And the winner of that race, Sailor's Sunset, has won 3 of 4 since then. His only loss? He got smoked by Midnight Lute @ Keeneland. Also note that Espinoza takes off Da Stoops here to stayn with Midnight Lute. For the same trainer, no less. Yeah, this horse deserves to be 10/1. The Racing Form says so. Bunch freaking idiots. If he goes anywhere near 10/1, guys, he's a STRONG play. Horse oughta be favored...

P.S. - Another to keep your eye on is Something Sonic in the 6th (another horse with a low Beyer). He can flat-out run.

Oh, and by the way......MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Anonymous said...

Is that Michael McCarthy the same as the jockey who won several riding titles in the 1990's? I know he quit riding and had a small string at Del a few years ago.

Bank Check

Anonymous said...

Just doing some more reading on the Malibu. Headley say that Arson Squad is "as good as any horse he's ever had". This is the same guy that trained Kona Gold. Good grief. Let's indulge in a little hyperbole, shall we?