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Friday, May 11, 2007

Belmont Saturday

- Woo-hoo, I'm going to Belmont on Saturday, my first appearance of the year, and a nice, and not-too-hot day is forecast. Here's some observations on (part of) the card.

- In Race 1, Holy Canyon (Holy Bull) wheels right back - three weeks qualifies as right back these days I suppose - after an impressive and well-bet debut for Allen Jerkens. "Look at that stride," Durkin exclaimed as he sprinted away from favored The Duke of Stanco, a City Zip colt debuting as the 2-1 favorite for McLaughlin. Pulpiteer is an interesting case; this four-year old son of Pulpit sold for $900,000 as a yearling, and has enjoyed only very modest success on the track since. So he was dropped for a tag for the first time last month, and was claimed for 35K by trainer Diane Balsamo (he won by 8). Ms. Balsamo has been on a bit of a claiming spree, and has been moving horses up in class with some success; no wins, but a couple of seconds, including Wild Vicar at 50-1, and some decent tries, all against better. She wheeled Pulpiteer back in an allowance, and he ran perhaps the race of his life, earning a career best Beyer, though falling short by a nose after a long wide rally. Shortening up to six furlongs here may not help, but he picks up Johnny V (which I know doesn't make all of my readers happy).

Race 3 is the Sugar Plum Time Stakes, and Christophe Clement has Rutherienne (Pulpit), the 2-1 morning line favorite. Clement has gotten off to a great start; he's three-for-five at the meet thus far. I think she looks a legit favorite...but I also think her last race looks just a bit better on paper than it did on video. She saved ground on both turns, and never threatened at all. On the other hand, she lost to three pretty nice turf fillies. Ken Ramsey tried to slip his homebred Unspoken Word for a $75,000 tag in her debut, but she was snagged after winning by eight in the slop. Patrick Reynolds moved her up to allowance company, and she won on the grass, and I betcha Ramsey is pissed. She moves up the ladder again, and gets Javier Castellano, seeking to recover from an unproductive Keeneland meeting. Silence Dogood slipped up the rail to take the lead, but couldn't hold off Pletcher's graded stakes placed Panty Raid on the Poly. She's a half sister to Silver Haze, a stakes winner on the lawn.

In Race 4, Hedge Fund (Maria's Mon) looks like a beatable 8-5 morning line favorite for Shug; he's never been beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, and tries 8 1/2 here. Of course, he has some classic Phipps breeding, and is related to Bluegrass Cat as well; they both have the same second dam and, in fact, their first dams are full sisters. OK, maybe he'll get the distance. But 8-5 morning line? Daaher (Awesome Again) was well-bet at 5-1 in an 11 horse field at Keeneland, and lost all chance with a swerving start. This full brother to Spun Sugar makes his second start for the absurdly hot Kiaran McLaughlin; he had two winners on Friday, and is five-for-nine at the meeting. And Alan Garcia has won 35% of his 60 rides for this barn in 2006-07. Sculling goes for Frank Alexander, sharp here early in the meet; he took the opener on Friday with 9-2 Dean's List. He showed improvement moving up in class in his last, but do the slow works mean anything, considering he's worked much quicker in the past?

Maidens sprinting on the grass in Race 6, and here's McLaughlin again, with first-time starter Houbara (Mt. Livermore), for Darley. He's 12-1 morning line off moderate works, but I'll be keeping an eye on him and the tote anyway. Eff Jaa Gee looks like the favorite for sure off a rousing close for second in his turf debut at shorter. He picks up Garrett Gomez and should be closer early with a clean start, which he'll need from the rail in a big field. Justy has two nice efforts around two turns, and now Bill Mott cuts him back to a sprint. I've noticed Mott doing stuff like this lately; it's like he's going through an experimental phase or something. He also just broke out of a 0-30 slump the other day.

That's all I've done now; be back with more later, maybe!


Anonymous said...

Belmont Race 4

Don't overlook Uncle Indy. Worth a WP bet today.

Bank Check

Harl said...

hope you had some cash on Daaher!

Anonymous said...

Nice call on DAaher!!

Songster looked like a BC Sprint contender, 108.4 in a hand ride.

Great thing about Belmont, any given Saturday you can see a potential future champion.

Even on Sunday you get to see Steppenwolfer return to action trying the turf.

Can't wait for the 2yo's to get going.