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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Late Double

- Yesterday, I mentioned Dancing Forever, who won the closing day stakes at Keeneland for Shug. Criminologist, the 9-5 ML favorite in the G3 Beaugay at Aqueduct later today, is a very similar case, also having worked her way slowly up the allowance ranks and steadily developing into a legitimate stakes horse late in her four-year old season last year. Criminologist has been a bit ahead of her stablemate, having won two graded stakes in emphatic fashion in the fall.

After a few months off, the daughter of Maria's Mon ralled for second in one of those Keeneland stakes races masqerading as an allowance. One can certainly argue that the mere presence of winner Sharp Susan, though no world beater, still made that a more formidable test than this race today. Criminologist got caught behind a slow early pace, and his final quarter rally in 22.56 seconds wasn't quite enough.

Short field today, but she has does have some tactical speed, and will likely track behind All Is Vanity, stepping up to stakes company for Clement. All in Vanity defeated Shug's Carriage Trail in her North American debut, and that one won the Doubledogdare at Keeneland last weekend. But I think that Shug will turn the tables today.

Let's go for a cold late double: Stormy Catch (3-1) has the look of a potential perennial bridesmaid, having run second her last three races, all on the grass. But I'm willing to give her another shot. In her turf debut last August at the Spa, she ran into eventual Comely winner Sherine, who ran third against the boys in her subsequent start. Her next race, also at Saratoga, produced three subsequent winners and the stakes placed Mine Or Who's. Then it was almost eight months until her last race. She had no real excuse with an inside trip, but ran into a filly who seemed to freak on the grass for Tom Bush. Last shot today.

- - reports this morning that Smooth Air has a slight fever, and missed his scheduled gallop. He's being treated with antibiotics, and trainer Bennie Stutts said that the horse won't run in the Derby if he can't get him back on the track by Monday.

Pletcher said that he'll decide about Behindatthebar after watching [him] train over the next few days.

And Larry Jones said that owner Bereton Jones appears “95 percent” committed to running Proud Spell in the Kentucky Oaks.

There's three horses squarely on the Derby bubble....and it sounds as if one of them has already slipped off. Looking good for Bob Black Jack at least. I'm sure Dutrow isn't the least bit concerned about the speedy West Coast-er; but I don't think he'd be worried even if Shecky Greene was in the race! Still, I want to see him in it, and I trust a lot of other horseplayers do too.


Anonymous said...

surprised there hasn't been more of an outcry about the filly situation.

while within the rules, it is just plain wrong to deny someone a chance in order to shop for a better post position in the oaks.

i hope both his fillies run last.

Anonymous said...

For Aqueduct's last weekend of racing, Friday's card had five maiden races (and 2,300 people in attendance) and today's card has four. It's as though they could care less about putting out an attractive card.

For today's two $100,000 stakes races, there are four entries in one and five in the other.

This is the best New York racing can do, a week before the Derby?

Wouldn't it be better if Belmont were open during the month of April? I know it's not suited for winter racing, but why does it sit empty for so long into the spring?

Sunny Jim

Alan Mann said...

Sunny - Belmont is opening in April for the first time this year, btw. I don't know that it would matter if the races were at Belmont instead. I think it's more just a case of the big stables shipping south and not coming back until after Keeneland.

Anonymous said...

I saw First Saturday In May last night. My gf and I really enjoyed it.

Brad Hennegan stopped by after to take a few questions from the audience.

The Frank Amonte stuff was brilliant and lots of good Big A footage.

It wont be in the theatre much longer so go check it out.

Tough one for the Rangers last night, if they don't wake up tomorrow, it is a quick series.

Anonymous said...

Alan -

I know that there is only so much that can be done to attract the big stables, but 9 maiden races out of the 19 on your last Friday/Saturday cards? It's like they are not even trying, like they are viewing the last Aqueduct cards as 'throw away' cards, while everyone waits for Belmont to open. This is arguably racing's most exciting week, in the days leading up to the Derby, with the chance to attract new fans. Not with these cards they won't.

As you well know, there is a revving up of excitement and interest level when Belmont opens. Why not try and capitalize on that by opening Belmont earlier?

Sunny Jim

Anonymous said...

late double you picked,,,,,,,,,,,,,has no shot try those hunch bet plays,,,,, you have a better chance.

Anonymous said...

Did you guys notice the Calder Derby/Kentucky Derby double that was being offered by Calder today? They were actually allowing you to bet doubles to horses like Atoned, El Gato Malo, Yankee Bravo, Tomcito, etc. It's one thing for Las Vegas casinos to offer wagering on horses who have already been excluded from the Derby (yes, they're still doing it even this week), but shouldn't an actual RACETRACK (one that's operated by Churchill Downs, no less) be held to a higher standard?