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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Spa Turns Into Bog

- I'm watching this big yellow mass with little red dots squarely over Saratoga on the weather map here on Wednesday night, and can't imagine how wet it must be there (and the resulting problems are more serious than off-the-turf races). The storms are coming straight up the Thruway it seems, but amazingly, they've been skirting just barely west of NYC. So it was dry here throughout the day and early evening at least - the Yanks and Mets both played without incident, and the latter were even able to hold on to a three-run lead in the 9th this time.

The Head Chef and I were even able to see most of an outdoor movie at Socrates Sculpture Park, located picturesquely right there on the river, facing Manhattan, just north of the 59th Street Bridge (and a Costco) in Queens. The sky was being illuminated by lightning to the west and north, and it eventually got close enough so that they stopped the film to break their equipment down before it got wet. I think they panicked a bit, and that the rain never came, but I guess they had to be cautious. It's freaking pouring now.

I'm off tomorrow, and I'm easily enough of a degenarate to head again to Monmouth, which had a fast track all day today. But it's finally getting rain tonight. I spend far too much time looking at weather maps.

Wednesday brought a very wet track and an opening day crowd of 18,127 at Saratoga - a total bog, according to a reader. And that was even before the rain tonight. No grass racing on Thursday as you might expect (five were washed out on Wednesday alone, as opposed to just six all last season); and Thursday's steeplechase race was canceled on Wednesday, giving anyone planning on driving up from Fair Hill plenty of notice. I'd guess that Saturday is the earliest we'll see any turf. You gotta feel bad for everyone involved who have been eagerly planning for this year's opening. NYRA has not been very lucky with the weather of late.

Our reader also noted that there were a lot of collective drug positives represented in the winner's circle on the day. Three winners for Asmussen, including Cognito (three in a row for DiscreetCat guest handicapping here) in the first baby race of the meet. A mixed bag for the trainer in the G3 Schuylerville; 6-5 favorite Ocean Colors, a daughter of Winning Colors written about by Bill Finley in the Times, finished dead last in the muck, some 60 lengths behind the winner. Ugh. But fortunately for Asmussen, he trains that winner too. Jardin is a daughter of Montbrook, the popular regional stallion standing in Florida for $10,000 at the age of 18.

Jardin is a full-sister to Beacon Shine, who won the early season Flash Stakes for juveniles in 2005 and passed away from colic a year after. Her dam, by the excellent slop sire Valid Appeal, is a half-sister to Outofthebox, another Super Derby winner (been mentioning that race a lot lately it seems), who won a graded stakes at two. And her second dam is a half to Mighty Appealing, who won the Remsen and Laurel Futurity at two. So a lot of precocity in this pedigree. It's also an unusual one, as both her sire and dam have the same 4th dam, Old Bess; not often that I notice that pattern in pedigrees these days.

Dutrow had two winners, Contessa one, and the latter also ran second in a state-bred baby race with the well-bet Vinnie Van Go. This barn reportedly has some nice two-year olds to debut up there, and this 120K son of Hook and Ladder was a promising start. Steve Crist, reporting live from the Saratoga press box this year, notes that this colt tried to come up the soupy rail, altered course and finished with a flourish for second. He fell short to Lookin At Her (also by Hook and Ladder), from the barn of Ramon "Mike" Hernandez, who always seems to be good for a couple of winners each year at the Spa.

Phil Serpe took the 6th with his MTO entry Theartofcompromise; that's his third winner in a row at various tracks on the East Coast, including I Lost My Choo's win in the Virginia Oaks on Saturday. He got off to a quick start at the Spa last year with three winners in July, but then didn't see the winner's circle again until September. He's having a good 2008 with relatively limited starters (63), winning at an 18% rate, and I'm looking for him to have a very productive meeting this year.

- I picked a really wacky race to pick at Del Mar. No Ka Oi dumped her rider early on; and though the chart reads '9 DNF' throughout, she caused havoc throughout. On the first turn she forced favorite, and my selection, Honored Gold wide before she zoomed up to the lead, bothering front-running Grecian along the way. When she tired, she carried Grecian way wide on the final turn. Meanwhile, my other pick, Marqs Melody, assumed the lead at 6-1. The King's Lass seemed to have that one tracked down, but then she drifted wide late, for no apparent reason at all, while Brendolyn snuck up the rail to win. Honored Gold tired badly and was vanned off. With Saratoga wet again, I think I'll try to take another shot at Del Mar a bit later on. The weather there is pretty damn nice.


Anonymous said...

No plays here, but in case you guys are betting Saratoga today i just wanted to inform you that Tomorrows Roses (Race 2) worked a best-of-50 bullet from the gate while recording the only "handily" designation out of the 50 horses. That's a very good sign. Subsequent to that, she appears to have worked head-up from the gate with Triple Glory, but i have no idea who that is (appears unraced).

In the same race, the second-time starter for Asmussen (Stunning Electra) is coming off a heads-up drill with yesterday's Schuylerville favorite Ocean Colors. That might not look so hot however due to the fact that the drill came in the mud, and Ocean Colors apparently HATED the mud yesterday, finishing dead-last as the 6/5 favorite after being virtually eased around the turn. Still worth mentioning though.

Anonymous said...

Vinnie Van Go was best, jock either could not or would not get off the rail until is was too late.

Tomorrow's Rose's fast works are surprising considering his pedigree leans toward later develoment, longer distance and the turf.

Guess he COULD be a freak, but would not be surprised if he finds this race a little too short for his liking.

It rained all night upstate, but it is supposed to stop early and since the track is sealed would not be surprised if it is good/fast by Fridays sunset card.

Alan Mann said...

Interesting pedigree on Tomorrows Roses as she's inbred to Lyphard. Don't see that on a regular basis, and further indication perhaps that, as the commenter noted, distance and turf could be the main goal with her.

Brett said...

Wow talk about an eventful 6th at Del Mar. That was weird.

Alan Mann said...

Brett - Notice that Grecian actually re-rallied a bit after getting carried out. Might be worth following.

Brett said...

He is a lightly raced seven year old (don't hear that much), but I liked him in this spot. It was his second route after a downhill sprint at Santa Anita. Considering he was about 12 wide around the turn that was a great 4th place finish. McNally will have this grey in a perfect spot next time. Maybe a bit of a class hike would be nice.