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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saratoga Notes

- The problem with scheduling a lesser stakes race, at the exact same distance, as the race before a graded stakes, is that you risk embarrassment to the graded winner if that race is run in a slower time. Thus, it's hard for me to get too worked up for the Travers if we're going to be seeing the same cast as the Jim Dandy without any intriguing additions. Macho Again's historically slow final Jim Dandy time of 1:51.16 compares unfavorably to that of Macho In Seattle, who won a non-winners of a stake in 2008 for 3 yo's affair in 1:50.98 in the preceding race. Not that the Jim Dandy wasn't a good race to watch, featuring a spirited duel for the early lead, a couple of lead changes in the stretch, and a driving close finish. But this race fell apart badly after Da'Tara and Mint Lane folded from their early efforts, and the sight of the Belmont winner straggling home last is not really a good one for the sport. The last three-eighths went in 39.34, and favored Pyro had no excuse whatsoever for not being to run down the winner....who I'm STILL not convinced is really a two turn horse!!

The slow times differ sharply from the quick ones seen in sprint races early in the day, so I guess this is where the Beyer guys earn the big bucks; these were the only two dirt routes on the day, and came after the track was sealed for one race. If they simply used the early variant all day for all distances, Macho Again would probably get about a 12. Cribnote missed the track record for 5 1/2 by a fifth of a second, winning off by 13 lengths for Violette in the second. He's a 2 yo NY-bred son of first-year sire Read the Footnotes, out of Totebook (by Notebook), a half-sister to the graded winner D'Or Ruckus. The stallion had three winners from just seven starters as of 7/21. State-breds and 25K claimers then cracked the 1:10 mark for their six furlongs.

Miss Ocean City was a front running winner in her debut for Zito in the sixth. According to the Form, only two prior foals of Mineshaft had won its debut in 41 tries. This two-year old filly has an interesting pedigree, inbred 3x3 to both Mr. Prospector and Seattle Slew. She's a half-sister to the graded turf winner Woodlander, and this is the female family of Twilight Agenda, Belmont winner Go and Go, and the Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle. Zito now has two seconds and this winner with his three first-out 2 yo's at the Spa.

Pretty Carina, 3-1 morning line, was bet down to even money in her second start, and romped for Frankel in the 8th. She's a three-year old daughter of Seeking the Gold, out of Ile de France, a half sister to Bernardini. Pletcher first-timer Sahara Wind was dull on the board at 8-1, and rallied well for second. On Saturday, the Toddster won with the $1.7 million Speightstown colt Munnings; he won with only one first-time starter at the meet last year.

- With all my talk about Mott's 0-fer streak with first-timers, I ended up betting on Intercoastal in the third on Saturday. With an interesting pedigree that I mentioned in this post, and 9-2 odds which were fair, but which also reflected some live action on the board, it seemed like a good time for the barn to break out. Thought I had this one too when the three-year old surged to the lead after fighting Kent D. down the backstretch. Would have had the rolling double too, as I stood against Unbridled's Heart in the 4th. Godolphin's million dollar baby has now lost twice at 4-5 since he romped with a 101 Beyer in his debut.


Anonymous said...

maybe u did not notice tahat rain was a factor and the SAR track changeg several times as per speed-times. maybe you wake up?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Jim Dandy, I see nothing wrong with the Belmont winner struggling home last. There have been a number of mediocre horses who have won "the test of champions" lately who have done nothing subsequently. I suspect this horse will join that list.

Anonymous said...

From Sunny Jim in Jersey

Alan -

For the heart and soul, not to mention spare hours, you put into this blog, there's absolutely no reason that you should put up with someone hurling abuse at you in these comments.

Is this the same 'anonymous' that was here before doing the same thing? He's like a creeping stalker. His characteristic grammar and spelling errors give him away - there can't possibly be more than one person doing such criminal damage to the English language.

Doesn't he know you need an advanced degree to post on this blog?

Anonymous said...

How much could the surface have changed in a half-hour? To my knowledge, there was no sudden downpour in the minutes leading up to the Jim Dandy.

Incidentally, it'll be interesting to compare the Beyer figs of those two runners. Let's see if the Jim Dandy winner gets a higher fig because he was "supposed" to run faster.

Anonymous said...

This is without a doubt the worst opening week of racing I have seen at the Spa. Yes, the weather has been awful, but the quality is substandard. I am not impressed.

Looks like Johnny V has replaced Javier Castellano in the Zito "go to jock" category.

If you really want to see how far down Spa racing has gone, take a look at the last race on Monday's card. The mile in almost 1:42. A final sixteenth in over 16 seconds.

As for the Jim Dandy, all that did was fatten the wallets of West Point's leadership, and you'll see Curlin beat these 3yos by double digits without breaking a sweat -- that is, if Curlin runs in the Jockey Club Gold Cup instead of the Arc.

If Jackson wants the money, he has dirt champ locked up. If he wants to fine tune The Champ for the grass, then go for it!

As for attendance at the Spa: it's gotten lower. Monday's crowd was the lowest for any opening week day.

How many NY bred races to watch over the next 5 weeks?