RSS Feed for this Blog

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Monday Morning Notes - Dec 17

- Country Star responded promptly to a couple of right handed smacks from Rafael Bejarano, and was gone in the Hollywood Starlet. Good job by me picking out 13-1 Grace and Power, who rallied widest of all and was a clear best-of-rest second, completing a $39 exacta. Indian Blessing is a deserving Eclipse winner, but this daughter of Empire Maker is now a two-time Grade 1 winner as well, both around two turns. Reader rgustafson pointed out that Ken Rudolph may really have seen a possible Oaks winner in this filly. I think that Country Star would be the favorite over Indian Blessing should an Oaks futures pool be conducted today, doncha think? (Bejarano said: "Oaks? She's going to be the next Kentucky Derby winner.." []) Her final time of 1:40.54 broke the Cushion track record for the distance that Zenyatta had tied (in fifths, anyway) earlier on the card.

Elvis Trujillo, the CF on my all-star jockey baseball name team, nearly hit for the cycle in Calder's Grand Slam on Saturday, taking three of the four graded stakes. Paradise Dancer (Langfuhr) won the Grade 3 Kenny Noe; this seven-year old gelding now has a solid record of 40-11-10-10, making all but six of his starts at Calder; this was his first graded stakes win. Ditto for Electrify, the winner of the G3 Fred Hooper, who has now taken four of his last five. He's a son of Delaware Township, a third-year sire who I recall having a bit of a buzz a couple of years ago, but who has since been shipped from Florida to a farm without a website in Pennsylvania, where he stands for $4,000. Trujillo then shocked the G2 McKnight with 67-1 Presious Passion (Royal Anthem), who had won the G3 Cliff Hanger at the Meadowlands in September.

The 4th at Calder on Monday is an interesting juvenile maiden race, scheduled to be run on the grass. Hall of Famer goes first time for Christophe Clement, 13-3-3-2 at the meeting. The barn is seven for 23 with two-year old first-timers on the turf over the last three years. Hall of Famer is by Gone West, out of Palace Music, and he's a half-brother to no less than ten winners, three of them stakes winners. Pletcher debuts Sir Dynamite, and the Toddster has won with six of 16 starters at this meeting. This colt, a $450,000 yearling purchase, is by Dyanformer out of a Trempolino mare who's a half to the dam of the juvenile champ Action This Day. Most interesting on breeding though is one stuck out on the AE list. Sir Mott would make his debut for Bill Mott should he draw in; he's by Stravinsky out of a Private Account mare, and he's a half-brother to the graded turf winner Sir Cat. His second dam is the champion April Run, who I remember as if it were just yesterday....OK, maybe as if it were just a few years ago, beating the boys in the Turf Classic two years in a row (1981-2) for owner Bertram Firestone and trainer Francois Boutin.

Overlooked amongst these well-bred firsters could be the other Pletcher Tanganyika (Smart Strike), 5-1 morning line with Edgar Prado. He's had three perfectly decent 4ths on the grass thus far, and returns after a brief freshening.


Michael said...

I had Grace and Power too, it's nice to hit a decent exacta with such a short priced horse on top.

Love to see her to go the Ashland Stakes as an Oaks Prep with her clear like for synthetics.

Anonymous said...

Obviously a very talented filly, but still a mystery on true dirt so the Oaks/Derby predictions need to be tempered.

Anonymous said...

Nice pickup!

Alan Mann said...

>>Obviously a very talented filly, but still a mystery on true dirt so the Oaks/Derby predictions need to be tempered.

That's certainly a valid point. I'd like to think though that, having demonstrated her ability on three very different surfaces thus far, that dirt will present no problem. Of course, we won't know that for sure until she runs on it. I could also argue the same for Indian Blessing, who hasn't run around two turns on a fast dirt track.

Anonymous said...

We'll see about Country Star. I can't say I was a fan of Empire Maker so maybe I'm biased.

In recent years I've seen a lot of talented fillies that I thought were going to maybe make it to the Derby starting gate. However by spring time the Oaks was the place to go.

Halfbridled, Sweet Catomine, even the freaking fast and lovely Madcap Escapade ... all kicked butt and took names this early in the game. And that was on good old fashion Mother Nature's finest - dirt ;>

Anonymous said...

The artifical suface thing is going to be an ongoing issue with regard to Derby/Oaks prognosticating, certainly there will be starters that have yet to run on real dirt.

While I will remain skeptical on any of these types until they prove it, am more willing to give the benefit of a doubt to a filly like this who is sired by a true dirt runner, as opposed to similar form from a turf sired animal.

Just another puzzle for the first weekend of May.

Michael said...

Look at all the Derby horses that trainer based at Keeneland rather than Churchill the weeks leading up to the Derby. All told I think 8 or 9 of the 20 were in Lexington... and (I think) Circular Quay was the one of this bunch that finished best in 6th place.

Michael said...

Oh and on the flip side, Rags to Riches spent her last few weeks of Oaks training over Keeneland's Polytrack too...