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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Belmont Notes - May 14

- Ready's Image made a winning return in the third at Belmont today; it was his first start since he was 5-2 against War Pass in the Champagne. Actually, I should say he was 5-2 against Majestic Warrior, who was the even money favorite; War Pass was 9-2. Pyro was 32-1.

Pletcher's son of More Than Ready got the job done, but I didn't think he looked all that great. He got a fast pace to close into, but Johnny V. went to work on him midway around the turn, and went right to the whip in upper stretch. He really had to work to get past the two leaders, and Velazquez even applied one last smack for good measure, even as it looked like he was trying to gear him down at the end. It looked rather awkward. However, it was the colt's first race since October, so he figures to have gained conditioning. The horses in his running lines from last year - besides the abovementioned, Z Humor, Tale of Ekati, Maimonides - don't seem as imposing as they did then. But I suppose he'll be pointed towards summer stakes at Saratoga, where he earned a career high 105 Beyer winning the Sanford.

Senator Joe Bruno hopes that Exonerated turns out to be the ultimate hunch bet! Bred by none other than the Senate Majority Leader himself, and a horse connected to a controversial transaction which may be part of the current FBI investigation into his business dealings, the three-year old daughter of Johannesburg graduated in her first start on the grass. Trained by Graham Motion, this is a nicely-bred filly who traces back directly to the influential Best in Show, her 4th dam. So, way to go Joe, who got $105,000 for the filly at Keeneland in 2006.

I was checking the tote for the 8th at work periodically, and I could swear that Stalingrad was 4-1 with a few minutes to go. So he must have gotten pounded late, because he paid $7.50 to win. I mentioned him here this morning; he seemed like an interesting horse at the time, but after this, he seems like a pretty serious one. He's now 5-3-2-0 on the grass, and handled the step up in company flawlessly. Check out the snug hold Channing Hill had on him even as he crept up on the two leaders on the turn, as opposed to Eibar Coa, who was all out on favored Cougar Bay. So it was no surprise that, once asked in the stretch, Stalingrad was gone. Cougar Bay is a nice horse who's held his own in graded stakes; but Stalingrad won easily for Mike Hushion in 1:40.79, final sixteenth in six seconds flat. He's by Glitterman (Dewan), out of a mare by Dynaformer; and he's a half to Crowned King, a stakes winner on grass.


Anonymous said...

Alan, I think our Russian hunch bets are back. Looks like Iron Curtain in the 6th today!!! Kentucky Bear is all the buzz here at Woodbine. He seems to be sitting on a big race.

Anonymous said...

If Stalingrad was there, then where was Leningrad? Tom Durkin had too much fun calling that race last year between the two and their exacta.

The Preakness is just so lacking in any electricity and that comes from the organizers on down. Just look at the selection "ceremony" yesterday at the ESPN Zone vs. the Derby draw. You'd think it was chess night at the Tuxedo Park Country Club. Sedate, dark, quiet, and short of seeing Miss Preakness put up the names I'd swear it was in black and white.

I'll give props to ESPN for their typical well done video productions (such as the one on Eight Belles) and commentary for adding some life to the hour-long telecast.

Anonymous said...

Went from 4-1 to 5-2 while in the gate.

Alan Mann said...

>>Went from 4-1 to 5-2 while in the gate.

Thanks for that. I love shit like that! :)