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Monday, May 07, 2007

Belmont Wednesday

- As the second week of Belmont begins, the racing remains a little Aqueduct-ish for now. But a few interesting horses on the card for Wednesday, especially Acquired Cat, who caught my attention when she ran off to win her debut, at six furlongs on the turf, by six lengths, getting the last eighth in 10.98 seconds; this after getting pounded to 6-5 from her 9-2 morning line for Frank Alexander. You gotta love that kind of stuff. For some reason, she then ran on the dirt, and unfortunately, I was sucked in and bet her that day at Saratoga when she ran 4th.

She went back to grass, but stretched out to a mile, opened up five but got nipped by Brushed Gold, a pretty nice horse who subsequently put in two acceptably mediocre performances in stakes company. Acquired Cat made her three-year old debut at Gulfstream just last month, which I missed because who the hell pays any attention to racing at Gulfstream after the Florida Derby? It's like the track doesn't exist anymore. But returning to five furlongs, she came off the pace this time rallying three wide, and just held off the ground-saving Rolling True.

In this field on Wednesday, she looks like a big favorite to me, but she's listed as a moderate 3-1 favorite. I dunno about you, but she looks a lot closer to 3-5 to me. There are a couple of horses with nice grass form, but at routes. She's the only one with sharp sprint form on turf, and it's extremely sharp sprint form; and Alexander is 22% 2nd off layoffs. So I say, if she's 3-1, cash in that 401k, as someone, I don't quite remember who, recently said.

Earlier on the card, in the second race, Storm Eyed Belle makes her first start since winning by six in her debut last December for Contessa. She was 8-1 in the morning line off three moderate breezes, went off at 7-2 and won off by six. Woo hoo! She's by Storm Boot, and is out of a mare by Captain Bodgit. second to Silver Charm in the 1997 Derby, who's a half-sister to Kip Deville.

The featured 8th is the Screenland Stakes, 6 1/2 furlongs for New York-breds; and there are a couple of very impressive looking three year olds in here. Steve Asmussen got away with running Chief's Lake (Yonaguska) for a $50k tag in his second start; since then he's won three in a row, all by daylight, all on this track, most recently in the restricted Sleepy Hollow last October. Asmussen does very well at this track when he's not suspended, scoring with 25% of his runners in the last two years; and at the spring meet last year (a statistic easy to discern since he was banned during the fall meet), he was 9 for 26, and 65% in the money.

The morning line favorite is Bustin Stones, trained by Bruce Levine, rolling along at a 20% pace in 2007, almost exclusively at the Big A. This guy is strictly a Northeast trainer; looking at his record over the last five years, I don't see a starter further south than Laurel. Bustin Stones is two-for-two, and went straight from romping in maiden company to win a restricted stakes by four. That's good for earnings - gross earnings that is, over $84,000. Bustin Stones is by City Zip, the half-brother to Ghostzapper who has gone from standing for $7500 in Coxsackie, NY, to $20,000 and residence at Lane's End.

And that brings me to the latest misfortune in my little stable. Just Zip It, a daughter of City Zip herself, who just last month came back from the farm recovered from sore shins, is heading back to Virginia. Bill Turner noticed some deep shoulder soreness, and she's been given the rather inexact diagnosis of "deep muscle pull or a hairline fracture, which won't show up on x-rays." Either way, she'll need a full month off, and then the long process back to racing fitness. We're not expecting to see her on the track until fall.


Hawken said...

This is off topic - sorry. I just read that Teuflesburg is running in the Preakness. This horse may be even more amazing than Street Sense - afterall, when was the last time you saw the 17th place derby horse run back in the next leg - with optimism!? Normally, I would be making comments under my breath about money grubbing owners and trainers not looking out for their horse, but for some reason that thought doesn't enter my mind here. Everything about this horse and his history says he just loves running. I for one will probably never bet this horse in graded stakes company, but I promise that if he runs huge - I'll be cheering like I just put a thousand bucks on him. Horses like Teuflesburg are the true rarity these days - talent (albeit modest) without a fragile ego. I truly hope my intuition is right on this one and that we'll still see him putting it all on the line a couple years from now in some mid level allowance - I'll be at the paddock talking out loud to nobody in particular and proudly proclaiming, "they just don't make 'em like this one anymore."

Harl said...

If the horse just loves to run, why not put him in a spot that he could possibly win? He obviously has distance limitations considering he crawled the first half mile in the Bluegrass and still was not able to hold off STREET SENSE, DOMINICAN, et al. There are plenty of 7f, 7.5f and mile races that would be up this one's proverbial alley. He's a complete toss in the Preakness. I look at that horse and can see some talent, given his win in the Southwest over HARD SPUN, but he's not a classic distance horse and it's a shame that a trainer would put a horse through a campaign like this without giving him the opportunity to find the winner's circle. Then again, there's probably a reason why Jamie Sanders has hit at a whopping 3% rate with her starters this year.

Anonymous said...

I've been with Hawken on this horse, at least up to this point. I love the fact that he can run and run and that he doesn't seem to take getting thrashed personally. I was all for him prepping for, and running in the Derby. But it gets to the point where you're beating a dead horse, so to speak. So I'll accept him running in the Preakness - they need the bodies to fill the field at this point I think. Sounds like Street Sense is even going to scare away Matz and Cheolokee.

But if he runs back in the Belmont, then it's time to say enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

I was at Belmont today. Acquired Cat went off at 4-5 or 3-4, or something a lot closer to the 3-5 you suggested. However, it was very much a closer's track (and turfS) today (defied only I think by the amazing Bustin Stones). I bet against Acquired Cat, on one of the two closers. One of the two closers won. Not mine. Also, I noticed that there had been zero turf winners from post positions 1-3 since Belmont opened, and ACat was in the third post. She ran well though!

Valerie Grash said...

I took Stag Dancer in the 7th race, only because I just finished Thornton's Not By a Longshot and he talked about Running Stag who I saw was this horse's sire. Imagine my (lucky) surprise when she won, paying $25.60. Sometimes it is just a name or a "feeling" that allows you to win :)