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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Notes - June 15

- Curlin's win in the G1 Stephen Foster wasn't quite as simple and routine as it may have looked. Conceding 10-15 pounds to a sufficiently accomplished field, trapped down on the inside courtesy of some race riding by Jamie Theriot on 90-1 Jonesboro (imagine the noive?) rather than being wide as he seems to prefer, and facing a steadily quickening pace scenario after Barcolo walked to the quarter in 25 flat, the defending HOY made short order of the field once getting clear at the quarter pole. "I actually snuck through on the fence today on the three-eighths pole," Albarado said. "He's never wanted to do that before. It's scary how good he's getting." [Courier-Journal]

So now the question is what's next; and the Arc D'Triomphe is still apparently in the picture. Asmussen mentioned the Man O'War or a race at Arlington as possible places to test the turf waters. He also indicated that, since Curlin seems to improve second time over a particular course, he would want to run him in a prep at Longchamps before the big race on October 5. And while this would all be quite cool, it would certainly preempt any chance of a meeting with Big Brown in the Classic. Besides the fact that the races are less than three weeks apart, it would mean no chance of a prep over whatever surface will be in place at Santa Anita this fall.

Other than that, the Foster day card turned out to be as uninspiring in practice as it looked to be on paper. The only interesting betting race of the six was the Jefferson Cup; odds on favorites dominated in four others, and the Northern Dancer produced an unspectacular, picture perfect trip win by 8-5 second choice Pyro over some of the dregs of this Triple Crown season. If you needed any reminder of just how mediocre this crop is, this race was an ample reminder; and a particular one of just how irrelevant the NY prep races were this year. More interesting to me is today's Affirmed at Hollywood, which at least features sophomores such as Two Step Salsa, Dixie Chatter, and Exuma who still seem to have some potential for short-term upside.

The six graded stakes produced six lopsided wins and consistently spread out fields. The only suspense was the photo for second in the Foster, which was won by second choice Einstein, thus completing a surprisingly generous exacta payoff of $12.80 with the 2-5 Curlin on top, wow!

- Two more winners at Belmont on Saturday for Christophe Clement. Since his 0-16 start to the meeting that I noted on May 23, the barn has won nine of its last 26 starts. Considering the lake at the nearby intersection of the Cross Island Parkway and the Southern State that I had to drive through on our way back from Fire Island last night, I'm quite surprised to see that NYRA has salvaged two grass races on today's Father's Day card. No picks today you may be happy to know; I guess the fact that 6-5 Bill Place ran second by a half length makes me suck again. So you're on your own; no automatic throwouts for you today! Happy Father's Day and good luck at the windows!


Anonymous said...

After watching Curlin destroy this field giving weight, and watching the left over 3 yo's earlier on the card, it was so obvious to me how silly it was to be anticipating a Big Brown/Curlin show down.

No contest, IF there was ever a chance of it happening.

The retirement news on Big Brown should come this week, just a somewhat educated guess, but whatever it was that truly was bothering him should come to a head this week.

Until proven otherwise, I make the quarter crack, or more specifically the infection underneath the now sealed crack, 2-5 to be the announced reason for retirement, and the historical reason for his non-performance.

Anonymous said...

pvfFoolish Bid no factor in Philly turf race today. He may have gotten fifth in a good field.
He did make a late bid from outside but never threatened.

Anonymous said...

I really think that Jess Jackson would like to prove that Curlin is the best horse in the world and maybe the best to come along in quite some time and a victory in the arche de Triomphe would do just that.

Anonymous said...

For a fleeting moment, whilst I was at Churchill watching the Stephen Foster race, I thought there was trouble for Curlin. Robby and Curlin remained calm and got the job done! Man it was fun, the crowd was cheering and the energy was electric! I hope Curlin does a turf race at Arlington for I will certainly go.

Erin said...

Sorta shaky vid I got that day.

Applause for Curlin

Cheers begin again as he's led into the winner's circle.