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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Highland Cat Sputters, Belmont Shines

- As Highland Cat was unsaddled after his mediocre fifth on Thursday, there was still a sliver of hope. Hope that someone would come along, slap on a red tag, lead him away, and deposit $35,000 in our account. Of course, that wasn't likely, and it didn't happen. The Head Chef, so impressed by his appearance before the race, was harsh and succinct in her post-race assessment: "He sucks."

Well, maybe she's being a little harsh, but chefs of her stature always demand perfection. He actually got the first call, sticking his cute little head in front leaving the gate. He dropped back to fifth, maintained decent position, and started to rally on the turn. But that quickly fizzled and he basically ran evenly the rest of the way. The pace was against him - after six furlongs in 1:12.53, the next quarter went in a zippy 23.07, and the last sixteenth in 6.05. So he didn't finish badly, and galloped out well. So I don't know that he sucks, and I think he can get purse money in this company under certain circumstances. But he may very well have to go out of town to start getting wins.

Y'know, under other circumstances, I could have crushed that race; I didn't like the eventual 4-5 favorite Exton to win, though I used him and the third place horse in my triples. And I liked the winner a lot, and used him on top in not enough combinations.

Despite the big disappointment, it was an absolutely beautiful day at Belmont. It seemed almost like a whole day off even though we were only there for the last three races. This is the nicest time of the year at the track in my opinion, before the haze and humidity of July, and the chill that quickly prevails in the fall. We stuck around to see Harlington win facilely, benefiting from a picture perfect trip. I don't know if I'd agree with Durkin's assessment that he's a "force to be reckoned with," at least not yet, just off this race. Then I made an additional donation trying to get even in the ninth. Despite the losses and the total crap I've been picking in this blog lately, I actually feel good about my handicapping right now, and I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time in that big backyard this weekend.


Jim L said...


I was rooting for him, but he looked washed out in the post least from the shots on the simulcast signal. It was 91 here on Thursday, but had to be much cooler downstate. He did look good in his gallop out.

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty fast race.
What was his speed figure?

Anonymous said...

Too bad about Highland Cat. I watched on TV and thought he put in a good effort. He did not suck. :-)

Harl said...

I thought he ran well in spots, too. It looked like he was bothered by something in the stretch and the jockey had to wrestle with him a little, but he wasn't exactly putting out smooth strides for awhile. I couldn't tell if he was interfered with or got lost his attention.

Michael said...

Where are you considering sending him? You said out of town...?

Anonymous said...

You need to stop owning horses and focus on your writing because you come off as a baby. If you stay in the game long enough you will find a winner to pay for all the horses that did not succeed on the track.