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Friday, April 13, 2007

Keeneland Notes - April 13

- Nergal, a French import making his first U.S. start, won the fifth at Keeneland on Friday with a dramatic late rally that seems a little hard to believe when you watch the replay on Cal Racing (or on the Keeneland site). It's one of those races that there comes a point at which I thought I was watching the wrong horse because there's no way this one could possibly win. Nergal lost ground and momentum swinging 5-6 wide coming into the turn, and at midstretch there seemed no way he could win. But he crept closer, albeit slowly, at least until he mounted a last minute surge. At which point it still seemed he had no shot. In fact, I've watched the replay several times, and I'm still not seeing him win!

But he was a nose winner in his first start since May, 2006. The race before was won by Arradoul, who hadn't been out since last June. The race afterwards was taken by Quasicobra, last seen at Saratoga, and very well-bet here for Biancone. It seems as if layoffs mean almost nothing anymore.

It was Bobby Frankel's Lemon Law who was the tough luck loser in the fifth, and it's his second agonizing loss in a row, this time as the 7-5 favorite. Whatsmore, he's now been involved in four straight nose decisions, and won the first two. I guess he likes to mix it up. For Frankel, it was the first of two narrow losses on the day, and the second one was the subject of an attempted betting coup in the tenth. First time starter Tight Spot, 5-1 in the morning line, was slammed to 3-2, and came into the race a long series of steady works. The $300,000, three-year old son of Distorted Humor got hung out three, even four wide on the final turn, surged to the lead, and looked home free until he until he also got nailed at the wire. Man, you just can't get beat by less than what each of these horses did.

To make matters worse for the horse's backers, the 10th race winner was a 27-1 shot, with Kent Desormeaux aboard. Markdale hadn't raced since September, yet another winner off a long layoff!

But one layoff horse who didn't win was Showing Up. Even though he seemed to blow the first turn a bit, losing ground at a point at which I thought he was going to fare just fine from his outside post, he ran less ground (15 feet) than winner Kip Deville, who was outside of him every step of the way, but just wouldn't quit. I kept waiting for Showing Up to draw away in the stretch, but it just didn't happen, as Dutrow's colt prevailed in a final quarter of 23:35. Was it because Showing Up was short? Or is Kip Deville (Kipling) getting really good at this time? Cornelio Velasquez said of Showing Up: "My horse ran big. He ran his race.” [Bloodhorse]

- Reader Alex mentioned One Hot Wish, the Wesley Ward-trained filly who won Thursday's baby race by 12, setting what is said to be a world record 48.87 seconds. Now comes word that she's been added to next week's juvenile sale. Her race might be the first pari-mutuel under tack show in history. (And in fact, she's not the only two-year old to run really fast over the Polytrack for the sale.)

One Hot Wish is by Bring the Heat (by Wish For A Jeanne), an In Excess stallion by Roar (Forty Niner) standing in California. Her second dam is a half to the Grade 1 winner Broom Dance, the dam of End Sweep.


Harl said...

Anyone taking a stab at the Premier Pick 4? I think there's a chance at a decent payoff, even if STREET SENSE and CURLIN win their respective preps.

In the 8th at KEE, it looks like there's a ton of speed and I'll toss the Japanese runner with the turf/synth, route/sprint angles. I like some of the longer shots here (along with the favorite, ML fave MIDNIGHT LUTE) and will include the 1,4,7 prominently on my tickets with bombs 2,9,10 on some backup tickets.

In the Bluegrass, it's hard to look past STREET SENSE and it's a possible key opportunity, but I can't discount GREAT HUNTER despite what O'Neill did to me last weekend. GREAT HUNTER has never done anything wrong and is 1-0 against STREET SENSE on the poly. I have to use them both in this race and will even have a backup ticket with DOMINICAN.

If the likely favorite in the Instant Racing Breeders' Cup Stakes, ANGEL SMOKE, doesn't take this one, I'm looking for a mild upset from CHAMPAGNE SUE or CHATHAM. The former is making her third career start and stretches out for the first time. I like the connections here (Bernard Flint-Russell Baze) and she breaks from the rail and should keep all the speed to the outside. The latter breaks from the outside post but should have enough room down the frontstretch to save ground entering the first turn. She has progressed nicely in her last four starts and I expect to see further improvement. We'll use the 1,8, and 10 on most tickets and I'll also try to find a way to include the 7, NEW EDITION, on a couple of tickets.

Finally, in the Arkansas Derby, I have CURLIN singled on most tickets. DEADLY DEALER will be hung wide and John Velazquez won't know what to do throughout the first turn (how about another terrible ride from Velazquez aboard ANY GIVEN SATURDAY last weekend - it'll be interesting to see who he ends up on come Derby day). He's a toss for me. I kind of like FOR YOU REPPO, who may not have liked the Polytrack in his last start, finishing nine lengths behind HARD SPUN in the Lane's End. I don't know if I like him enough to include on a backup ticket, but I will find a place for DELIGHTFUL KISS, who can make an impact with a clean start after finishing six lengths behind the STREET SMART/ANY GIVEN SATURDAY duel in the Tampa Bay Derby. He'll definitely be on some backup tickets.

I'm relatively new to the Pick 4 wager, but my first success came when I hit this Pick 4 last year when I singled LAWYER RON in the Arkansas Derby. I'll take a stab at it again, spreading out my investment over several tickets using the horses mentioned above.

Anonymous said...

Kevin - I like Midnight Lute as well, and I did like Silent Name, though not at 4-1. The turf-to-Poly angle is too strong to ignore I think. I also like Steel Light, also making the switch; and I think Ramsgate is scary with his three-for-three record on Cushion Track. Tough, tough race, and I don't blame you for going deep.

Neal Watzman said...

On the Makers Mark Mile yesterday at Keeneland. Showing Up did show up, but came up short to a better and hot horse, Kip Deville.

Kip was in the race every step of the way, pressing the lead. He ran about the same race yesterday as he ran in his last which was the Frank Kilroe Mile (GI) at Santa Anita. I saw that race and couldn't help but some bucks on Kip's nose yesterday for my own winning ticket of the day.

Brett said...

Steel Light is a great selection. I think this gelding will take a liking to the poly. I really like Dominican to sneak up in the Blue Grass. As for OP, chalk.

Anonymous said...

What on earth is a first time starter doing in the Arky Derby? Talk about Roses colored glasses.

Anonymous said...

>>What on earth is a first time starter doing in the Arky Derby?

There oughta be a law!

Harl said...

Janet Davidson must be related to Biancone.

Valerie Grash said...

And interesting that Olympic Chief was denied entrance in the Blue Grass first, then they dragged the poor horse to Oaklawn to enter him there!

Brett said...

How nice did Dominican look? You cannot overlook this horse going into the Derby and stretching out to a mile and a quarter. I think Miller knows what he is doing with this gelding, oh wait aren't geldings not supposed to win the Derby.

Valerie Grash said...

I don't know...somehow the Blue Grass left me very disappointed. A pace-less race where at least Love Dubai didn't breakdown. Was that first quarter :26? The half in :51? Nobody started running until they were halfway down the stretch...they could have just run a 5-1/2 furlong race for the amount of effort put forth here. I guess that's a good thing for some going into the Derby, but I would think at least for Great Hunter he really could have used a bit more of a workout. Overall, I think this race confuses the handicapping picture for the Derby even more, rather than clarifying anything.

Brett said...

Well there goes my premier pick four ticket to pieces. A 30-1 shot winning at Oaklawn. Poop, i thought i was going to have a nice pay coming too.

Greg said...

ya know when Curlin went to Asmussen and won the Rebel I told everybody to "LOOk Out" on this post board and that this colt was just getting started.
I have no idea what speed figure he earned today, but I wish he hadn't totally dominated and blown away the field today becuase it is going to hurt his price on the first Saturday in May. Everybody talked about how he didn't race at 2 and has only raced two or three times, needs more seasoning etc, etc, etc,, but HE IS IMPROVING while the rest of this bunch of ordinary 3 year olds really isn't. All you Street Sense believers out there, be afraid, be very afraid!!! This horse can flat out run (and yes I know he didn't really beat anyone today but as far as I'm concerned neither has anyone else this spring in this lousy group of 3 yr olds.) .....Greg