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Friday, February 09, 2007

News and Notes - Feb 9

- Rene Douglas retains the mount on Dreaming of Anna, who will make her three-year old debut in the 6 1/2 furlong Old Hat at the Gulf on Saturday.

Shortening up to a sprint after winning her last two starts around two turns should be no problem to Dreaming of Anna, a daughter of Rahy, who won her debut going 4 1/2 furlongs at Arlington Park and the Tippett Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs over the turf at Colonial Downs. [Daily Racing Form]
- When Gulfstream opened for business this year, I linked to a track press release in which VP Bill Murphy touted the new North Park area, established in response to complaints, as a fan friendly place where people could soak up the sunshine. Murphy went so far as to tell the Form: "I'm hoping to give the North Park area a Saratoga feel."

But Andy Beyer has been there, and says that the track has no satisfactory place for a horseplayer to spend the day under the blue Florida skies. [Washington Post] And it sounds like the North Park may remind one more of the parking lot at the Saratoga Public Library than anything to do with the historic track:
For casino customers, Gulfstream has spared no expense. The slots parlor is elegant. Its centerpieces are a beautiful granite horseshoe bar and a spectacular 13,000-gallon aquarium that cost $100,000 to install. Customers playing the 25-cent slots do so in an area with nicely carpeted floors and upholstered chairs. But when Gulfstream added outdoor seating for its horseplayers in the "North Park" (if green-painted cement counts as a park), it installed an uncovered stand that looks as if it belongs at a junior high school athletic field. [Washington Post]
I'm now having second thoughts about ever going down there again.

- Darley's $5.2 million bust Ever Shifting ran dead last at Aqueduct yesterday, and it's entirely conceivable that even Highland Cat would have beaten him had he not been scratched.

- Hard Spun, currently 9-1 in the futures pool (!!) worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 at Oaklawn yesterday in preparation for the Southwest Stakes on Feb 19. He got a little education as well, working behind stablemates that were partly intended to keep him from going too quickly - yet it was the fastest of 51 works at the distance!
“It wasn’t so much to try and make him go fast, but give him the opportunity to go ahead and eat some dirt,” [trainer Larry] Jones said. “Those other horses, I knew they would keep him from working too fast. That’s our big deal with him. It’s just make sure he doesn’t go out and do too much.” [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]