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Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Notes - July 13

- Light posting today; not much time, between the usual summer Friday rush to get work done and run out to Belmont for the sunset card and the 45 minutes or so that it took for me to read Valerie's comment. Only one more twilight card to go after today, and since I scored free box seats for the Yanks next Friday, this will likely be my last one of the year (except for the Aug 3 Friday card at Del Mar, which will be followed by the Violent Femmes!) I haven't even had a chance to handicap today's card after going out last night; I feel unprepared these days going there with "only" the Racing Form, but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.

A short price on Thursday on Dutrow's first-timer Dazzling Derek; but the way he won made 7-5 seem like a bargain. He broke badly, and his decisive move to the lead was really eye-catching. Wolfson loomed as a threat at the top of the stretch, but Dazzling Derek dug in and widened his lead while running the 1/8th mile to the sixteenth pole in 11.83. Iron Curtain was dead on the board for Steve Klesaris and finished 7th.

- On the song When I Win the Lottery, from the album Key Lime Pie, which is truly one of the great overlooked albums (or overlooked great albums) of the 80's, David Lowery of Camper Van Beethoven sings: "When I win the lottery, the righteous will shake their heads and say that God is great, but surely works in mysterious ways.." And for Jack and Lyn Ford, the lottery came quite unexpectedly when they discovered, three days afterwards, that they had not one, but two winning $2 tickets on the record Pick Six which paid $576,040. Mr. Ford knew he had at least five of six, and waited until getting to Los Alamitos last Thursday to get the result! "I was too nervous to look. Winning is great but a near miss can leave you with an excruciating feeling. I didn't want that feeling." [Bloodhorse] It's like those people at the track who you see go into the bathroom and put their hands over their ears during the race, and then come out to see if they won. The IRS, which works in far less mysterious ways, presumably collected their share without any further delay.

- Back to Del Mar, great news to hear that the Polytrack surface received rave reviews on its first day of serious use. “It's as good a track as I've ever been on,”[Gary] Stevens said. “I galloped two horses for (trainer) Wesley Ward and I loved the way they were getting over it......To me, it felt identical to Keeneland.” [] Well, I suppose not everyone will be happy about that last comparison; we wouldn't want to see any of those "ugly" races in which four horses finish across the track in a thrilling finish after a slow pace, now would we? It seems as if the early returns are always good, and we've then at times seen troubles arise with usage and weather. But we're rooting for the synthetics in this corner given the excellent overall safety results thus far, and the hope that it will eventually lead to our top horses running more frequently. I was going to also say 'horses having longer careers,' but that seems to be more of an economic issue than one associated with safety.

And, Trakus will happily make its West Coast debut (hat tip to Railbird). Yes, I said happily. I still hate the chiclets, but the accurate, full field running order during the race is one of the better innovations I've seen of late; and the 'ground-lost' charts, which I originally and wrongly criticized, is a great tool for handicappers. I'd also like to see more use of the animation capabilities. Imagine if Churchill had Trakus (and I don't see why they and any other track doesn't at this point), we could see isolated, animated replays of the Derby runners, and actually be able to see what happened to them. As many times as I watch the replay with the wide angle necessary to capture a 20 horse field, I still don't really know what happened with many of the individual runners.

- Finally, I always appreciate it when the editor-in-chief of Bloodhorse takes the time to read and comment here, even if, yeah, he may have ventured just a bit into the shameless plug territory. Look, I certainly had no expectations that Terry Finley would answer my question. Talkin' Horses is what it is - it's not hard news, but rather a chance for participants to answer questions of their choosing, as Bloodhorse makes perfectly clear with its disclaimer that "guests may decline to answer questions." I wouldn't expect Finley to address that issue in that particular forum anymore than I would Steve Asmussen to discuss his suspensions if he had made an appearance.

I certainly defend the question as being entirely legitimate to pose; whether or not it was inappropriate, as Mr. Paulick suggests, I'm not quite sure. Finley was hyping his partnership here, and outfits such as West Point are asking their investors to invest a great deal of trust in addition to money. So I think that any matters of possible duplicity on the part of the president of that partnership is not entirely irrelevant in that context. But again, Bloodhorse clearly lays out the conditions of the chat, so I have no big dispute with Mr. Paulick on this issue. And as this commenter points out, Bloodhorse gives ample coverage to stories that are controversial and negative to the industry in their real news sections; and has also broken stories on the franchise situation with excellent reporting by the Buffalo News' Tom Precious.

But Valerie's criticism of some of Finley's responses are another matter, and certainly more than fair. Additionally, her point about the bio preceding the chat noting that he serves on various boards, including that of the NYTHA, is a valid one as well; and it practically invited an inquiry such as mine. So perhaps in the future, Bloodhorse should limit its introductions to the areas which the guest wishes to discuss.

That's it for now; see you after the races. Have a lucky Friday the 13th!

1 Comment:

Jim L said...


Some very questionable news at Belmont on the Friday card. The DRF listed Linda Rice's horse, King Tallymon, in the 6th race without blinkers. The horse ran in its debut without them. However, on Friday the horse had the hood on. The NYRA simulcast feed (video only) never showed (in the crawl) the horse as wearing blinkers, but the NYRA office told me the horse was announced as wearing them. The problem is this: most off-track parlors likely show video only, not sound, so people will be unable to hear any announcement regarding this.

I did not place a wager on the race. I did, though, call NYRA on Friday after the race was run. After going through hoop after hoop in trying to speak to someone, a woman from the racing office finally told me that "The trainer (Linda Rice) called the office this morning and said the horse needs to wear them." Okay. Maybe the horse does need to wear them, but did she declare the hood when entries were taken? The trifecta for the race was lost when the #3 was scratched.

It appears some bettors were snookered by the tactic. King Tallymon was bet down to 2-1 as they loaded. After fading in its last race, a $35K maiden claimer, Rice saw fit to rise the claiming fee ladder. Same result -- went to contest the lead, dropped back, and faded.

This reminds me of the Breeders Cup 2005 malarkey with Bobby Frankel and Leroi. That horse had been training in bar shoes, but when entries came there was no mention of aluminum pads. But, aluminum pads it was on BC day. The rule should be: at the time of entries, list everything!

So much for Scipion's turf performance. Was this horse pulled from Biancone because of the recent allegations? Did Payson pull all horses in training from Biancone? What would NYRA have done if Lion Heart was headed to the Travers this year in the Curlin and Street Sense class? Pull Biancone's credentials?