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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pletcher Strikes Smartly

- I took a glance at the two turf maiden races for three-year olds at Gulfstream before leaving the house Wednesday, and noticed the two Pletcher first-timers in the 4th; running, of course, nominally for Anthony Sciamatta, Jr. I recalled the success that Pletcher had at Saratoga with first-timers on the grass, and went to look up those stats. Except I couldn't, at least on Formulator, because Pletcher isn't listed as the trainer. I can only see what Anthony Sciamatta, Jr. has done. It's not the Form's fault, just an inconvenience resulting from a flawed system.

Anyway, neither halves of the entry were ridden by Velazquez. He opted instead for Darley's Sahara Heat. Johnny V. got good position after breaking from the 11, and launched an insanely wide move towards the lead rounding for home. But Brooklyn's Smart, at 24-1 for the Pletcher barn, followed Velazquez from the back of the pack, and went even wider, swinging a good six wide turning for home. With Chris DeCarlo aboard, this son of Smart Strike accelerated after changing leads, going on to win by 3/4's; final eighth in 12.48. Brooklyn's Smart is out of a Storm Cat mare, and he's a half brother to Stormina, winner of the Firecracker last year.

It was the longest price for a Pletcher first-timer since......oh, I can't look that up either. Whatsmore, all of these races taking place during the suspension won't be reflected in Pletcher's stats once he comes back.

In the 9th, a second division of the maiden grass route, Sciamatta/Pletcher had the 5-2 favorite with Pleasant Strike, yet another son of Smart Strike, this one trying the grass for the first time after three dirt races. This time, Velazquez was on board, and guided him to an eight length win. This colt is out of a Pleasant Colony mare; and his second dam is Ministrella, a champion filly in Ireland. This is also the family of the champion Saint Liam - both he and Pleasant Strike share the same third dam.

And it was a hat trick on the day for Pletcher, or Sciamatta Jr. Tiganello "exploded," as appropriately described by Larry Collmus, blowing by the 7th race field after turning for home dead last with Velazquez in the field of eight. Like Pleasant Strike, he was making his first start since November at the Big A; and he'd ended his year badly with two poor starts. After Market, who'd won his first four starts for Bill Mott, checked in dead last for the second straight time, with no soft track to use as an excuse this time.

Surprise, surprise, Sciamatta Jr. is the leading trainer at Gulfstream with 16 winners from 53 runners, giving him what seems like the usual Pletcher percentage of 30%. (Though you can't look that up at the present time.)

- Barbican was dead on the board as the 5-1 4th choice, but gave a good account of himself rallying for third after breaking slowly. Look for him to stretch out, and possibly try the turf.


Anonymous said...

Actually it is nice to see the actual trainers of the Pletcher horses get some ink, even though due to unfortunate circumstance.

El Angelo said...

Pletcher (or his viceroys, be it as it may) has to be an auto play at >20-1, especially in the 2nd slot as well. That play alone would've netted you huge profits on Friendly Island & Bluegrass Cat alone.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, Barbican is also the name of a popular non-alcoholic beer brand in the Middle East, with such refreshing flavors as peach, raspberry, regular and lemon. It's a beer-like alternative if you happen to be living in a dry country.....

I once had Darley's Barbican in the Seven Stars competition, and am sad that he did not run until now, based on his promising beginnings. It is hoped that he is such a price as yesterday, next time out.

Calgary, Alberta