RSS Feed for this Blog

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Belmont Notes

- Lively affair in the first at Belmont on Thursday. Sonny Pajamas ($21.80) actually had the lead coming out of the gate, but, in a change of tactics for this 4 yo 20k claimer and earner of nearly $140K, dropped back to second to last as three horses engaged in a pace duel up front. With apprentice Sabastian Morales aboard, Sonny Pajamas swung very wide turning for home, easily ate up the stretch runners and opened up a lead. I mentioned yesterday that Morales applied what appeared to be a couple of needless whacks to Bribon. This time, other than a single reminder, Morales looked most confident heading for home. I don't know if he saw Debating flying home from nowhere to his inside, and he just held on for the win.

Cheap horses, but a wide open betting contest - the favorite was 2.35 -to-1 - that was action packed from start to finish. I think that us NY horseplayers need to come to appreciate these kinds of races. This card featured three maiden claimers - one of them for a 20K tag. You can be certain that we'll be seeing many cards just like this once we get into the third and fourth week of Saratoga. The better horses just don't run back that often, there's a sizeable population of NY-breds to acommodate, and the meet is at least a week too long. But hopefully, those cards will be like today's in that, of the 72 horses in the nine races, the lowest odds on any was 8-5; only four runners went off at less than 2-1.

- Mark Hennig is having a good meeting, getting his 7th winner, out of 36 starters, when Yankee Chief took the second. Hennig has as many wins as Pletcher, who has 7 more starters.

David Duggan is a former assistant to John Kimmel and Eoin Harty, and he's having a productive meeting as well. He won the 6th with Brendan's Warrior ($23), a first time starter in this, the aforementioned 20K maiden claimer; that's Duggan's 5th winner from 23 tries. He's now three for seven with debut maiden claimers, two of those at double digit odds. Finishing second was Open Fly, another beaten favorite for Kiaran McLaughlin. In his current 0-24 streak, seven of those have been 2-1 or less (far less in the case of 3-10 Winning Point).

A couple of other barns going well had winners. Enrique Arroyo won the 7th with Ambling Rose; he's 7 for 32, with all of the winners coming with claimers running for 20K or less. And Christophe Clement continued his torrid streak when Perfect Casting won the 8th, coming off a five month layoff. This barn's 13 wins have come with its last 37 starters (35%), after losing with its first 16 runners at the meet. We can be sure that McLaughlin will eventually start winning as well, and it should be worth following him once he does.