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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Belmont Notes

- Made it to Belmont for a few races on Saturday, and I lost; that for the guy who said I don't write about when I lose. In the fifth, Unbridled's Heart, a $1 million 3yo son of Unbridled's Song making his debut for Darley, was 4-1 morning line. He was dead on the board as can be at 13.90 to 1. Yet he went straight to the lead and stayed there throughout, drawing away willingly and ridden out to the end to win by ten. I lost, and I swear, you could run that race 1,000 times, and I would never have that winner. Just goes to show you that there's no such thing as 'never,' because I would generally say that those horses never win. No less by ten.

Unbridled's Heart is out of a stakes winning mare by the late Farma Way (paddock accident) who's a half-sister to the graded turf winner Man From Wicklow. The dam won on the grass too, so perhaps we'll see him on turf at some point.

I actually had Thatsrightofficer, the winner of the sixth, singled in some midday doubles. Wasn't going to let this Schosberg winner get by, and the barn is now 8-3-2-1 at Belmont thus far. However, I tried to beat the 7th race favorite, Boxitup, in the 7th, and I lost.

I didn't lose the G2 Bold Ruler, because I didn't bet. Alan Garcia had himself a handful on the turn with Lucky Island, and seemed ready to pounce on pace setting Man of Danger. Garcia may have thought he'd have an easy time, but had to shake up his mount to get past a stubborn foe. But he sprinted away at the end, closing in a solid 12.35 to give Kiaran McLaughlin his ninth graded stakes winner of the year. This is an Argentine bred, by Lucky Roberto (Belong to Me), who is now three-for-three since adding Lasix after his first US Start.

I tried to beat Casino Drive in the Peter Pan, so I obviously lost. I was at least right about how the race would be bet, but that was about it. I knew I was in trouble when I saw this colt in the paddock. Sure, he was bucking and kicking at first, and one might have thought he'd leave the race there. But once Kent D. got aboard, he was all business, and he looked fantastic. Not a strong edition of the Peter Pan, but that doesn't really detract much from what this colt accompished in his second lifetime start. He got the last three furlongs in a solid 37.04; final eighth in 12.61; those according to Formulator.

I'm pretty sure that no horse has ever won the Belmont off of two lifetime starts; but what the hell do these rules mean anymore? Say Big Brown does what we (mostly) expect him to do on Saturday; would you really think Casino Drive is ready to take him on? We might assume he'll get the distance because his siblings have; but I personally don't feel as if Big Brown has any breeding limitations as to how far he can go. Sure will make it interesting anyway....if Big Brown wins on Saturday, that is.


Anonymous said...

I broke even on Saturday at Belmont, but my big winner was Unbridled's Heart. Funny, that was the race I told my friend, who was at the races for the first time, to come with me and check out the body language of the horses as they warm up with the lead ponies. Unbridled's Heart was prancing and nipping the lead pony with such joy and energy, I bet him across the board on that evidence alone. I had had two others picked out, but when I saw him on the track, as opposed to calm and maybe even dull in the paddock, I changed my mind big time. My friend thinks I am a genius, which is amusing, but behavior like U's Heart is almost never that pronounced.

Paddock analysis is great, in general, but I prefer the moments they first walk on the track, and especially their first cantering strides.

Anonymous said...

I"m just curious why the trainer of Casino Drive would choose Kent Desormeaux to ride this race. There is a 90% chance Big Brown wins the Preakness and Kent will be on board for the Belmont. Why not get another jockey accustomed to Casino Drive instead of a new mount for a classic race. Just seems strange to me.

Alan Mann said...

Robin - Next time I see you at the track, I'll have to hit you up for some physical handicapping tips!

Anonymous said...

I too had Unbridled's Heart on Saturday. I looked at the race with about 5 min to post and noticed that most of the runners were multiple losers. I bet the two horses that were not yet proven losers Unbridled's Heart and second time starter Fwhyeye. They bookended the field but netted me a nice profit.


forego is my witness said...

I think the finer points of paddock/physical handicapping would make a GREAT post. That's one area I am definitely lacking in.

El Angelo said...

I agree 100% with JK, that made no sense. I know Desormeaux rode a lot for in Japan and I believe for those connections, but regardless, if you're going to get the horse a prep race, why not get a jockey you can use again? It's not like NY is lacking for good riders.

Anonymous said...

The reason they didn't mind letting Kent D. ride CD is that he's a fanastic jockey, and they already had their Belmont jockey lined up before the race - Yutaka Take. He just wasn't available for the Peter Pan. It was nice of them to give Kent a preview of his competition, though I don't think it hurts CD's chances one bit.

Alan Mann said...

Nate - I wonder if they would stick with Kent D should Big Brown's feet fall off between now and then.

Alan Mann said...

>>I think the finer points of paddock/physical handicapping would make a GREAT post.

Agreed! Now, who wants to write it?

Anonymous said...

Horse body language: I'm going to Belmont on Saturday, Preakness day. Will be focusing on the paddock and the warm-up on the track. Robin is my real name. I'm female, will be wearing a red baseball cap. (not redsox) Find me, we'll confer and write up our results.

Anonymous said...


I am pretty sure that they will be going with Take regardless of the outcome in the Preakness. The Japanese media actually quoted Take as saying something to the extent of, "I'm sure after that race all the jockeys in America are begging to ride him...I hope my job is safe." But he (or his agent) later confirmed that the connections of CD are committed to him.

And this, in my opinion, is the right move. While Japanese racing and American racing are certainly different, the Belmont is not your typical American race. I'm sure that Take has ridden more 1 1/2 mile races over the past year than many American jockeys have ridden in the past five. Plus, he's basically a legend in Japan, so he clearly knows what he's doing. And the owner has actually been quoted saying that his primary reason for getting involved in horse racing is for the impact it will have on his social status. Seems to me like sticking with the Japanese rider is the way to go.