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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Morning Notes - July 13

- I haven't seen Rap Tale's race, since Colonial for some reason does not make their races available on Cal Racing; nor on its own website. So I'm depending here on Bob's account from the track. He called with five minutes to post to inform me that she was 6-5. With only $5,000 in the win pool, this was due largely in part to his own wager. She drifted up only to 3-1 however, and if I'd known that, I probably would have bet less on her, and more on Thou Swell ($45.60), who I mentioned here yesterday morning (how about some props for that).

Jockey Nick Santagata was "overmatched" by the filly I'm told, and never had a handle on her as she fought his restraint and tugged up to put a head in front, albeit a good 5-6 wide on the backstretch. I didn't hear the call either, just Bob's moaning and groaning, but I'm told that the announcer noted on two occasions how difficult she was to handle. She's extremely headstrong, and has fought the rider now in each of the last two races. Rap Tale had nothing left in the stretch, and finished 7th of 8, thus earning a grand total of $0. Call it a wasted trip if you'd like; I still think it was worth the shot. Bob said afterwards that he wants to put her back on dirt for now, perhaps cut back to a sprint, and just let her run. Hopefully, she came out of the whole ordeal none the worse for the wear.

- Jess Jackson and Steve Asmussen are now faced with a decision that I'm sure they didn't want to have to make. Deep down, they might have wished that Curlin would either win the Man O'War, or run 7th himself, thus definitively showing whether he liked the turf or not. His second place finish certainly wasn't bad, but wasn't good enough to make their reservations to Paris today. He certainly wasn't the Curlin we've come to know, drifting very wide turning for home, and offering a rally that seemed half-hearted. "Class might have been the reason he got second today," said Robby Albarado. I also might question whether he wants more than a mile and a quarter; note that he's now been beaten in both tries beyond that distance. The guess here is that he goes back to the dirt and aims for the Classic.....which, actually, isn't on dirt either. Nobody really knows exactly what the fuck it's going to be run on, actually.

- Wow! That's all I can say about Somebeachsomewhere, and his dominance in his elimination heat for next Saturday's Meadowlands Pace. No breathers at all for the still-undefeated colt in this race; driver Paul MacDonnell (MAC-duh-NELL) actually tapped him with the whip to get him past John Campbell and Meant to Be Me (Campbell won his 10,000th race in a later elimination heat), and up to the lead in a quarter of 27.1. They got to the half in 55, repelled a challenge in a third quarter of 27.1, to 1:22.1. Then, with no urging at all, and MacDonnell looking around for competition, Somebeachsomewhere rolled home in a final quarter of 26.2; the final time of 1:48.3 was the fastest Pace elimination ever, and tied the stakes record set by Rocknroll Hanover in 2005. A phenomenal performance, and you'll find me at the Big M next Saturday night, wouldn't miss this for the world. (Fortunately, no weddings or 40th birthday parties for me next weekend.)

- Yesterday's Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth and today's Barbaro Stakes at Delaware could have made for an interesting three-year old stakes had they been combined. Instead, as we often see in this fractured industry, the races were scheduled for subsequent days; thus, we had five horses yesterday, and five scheduled for today's race. How ridiculous (and I'm not even including the Swaps Stakes, since it is at least on the other coast). Also ridiculous is the way Atoned always seems to get himself beat, this time by a neck to longest shot on the board Truth Rules. Atoned now has a record of 12-2-7-0; and no less than six of those defeats have been by a head or less, amazing. That's three in a row for Truth Rules, a late developer for Zito, and one son anyway of the late Vindication who has been able to stay sound, improve, and stretch out at age three.

Tres Borrachos looked done on the turn in the Swaps as the anticipated duel between Two Step Salsa and Colonel John looked to be getting underway. But just like that - seemingly in just a couple of strides - Tyler Baze, taking advantage of the inside turning for home, had his horse clearly in front. And, despite a slow final furlong of 13.18, he was never really challenged after that, as the two favorites battled it out for second. You can offer the excuse that it was Colonel John's first race since the Derby. But the 'off-the-layoff' excuse doesn't go as far as it used to; and he apparently just isn't that fast. "I thought he was a little fitter than he probably was," said trainer Eoin Harty.


Anonymous said...

Definite props for Thou Swell, I read your earlier post this morning and immediately checked the charts (as I had My Man Lars last week). Weaver is now in my trainer watch, fo' sure. That's what I get for taking a day off! Nice call.

Brett said...

How awesome did Somebeachsomewhere look? 26 and change into what TVG host Gary Seibel termed a headwind. 1:48.3, damn that is impressive. I cannot wait till next Saturday. I wish I was in NJ for that.

Congrats to John Campbell on 10,000 wins too. Now that is impressive.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Brookemeade. Your Rap Tale was definitely rank in the early going and then stopped pretty much cold. Didn't much matter, as Debbie Sue was leaps and bounds the best in that group.

Y'all ought to keep her down at "the Downs" -- as a VA-bred, she's running for double purses there (eg., a $27,000 purse N1X has $54k available for VA-breds, which makes it nearly a NY sized purse but against easier competition.

Good luck w/ her.

Anonymous said...

Gee Alan - how could you let Santagata get on the horse.

Who is next - Herb McCauley ?

Bob from NJ

Anonymous said...

Jeff Fell and Hugo Dittfach were unavailable.

El Angelo said...

Losing to Red Rocks who, while a good horse is clearly 2nd tier in Europe, is pretty clear proof to me that the Arc is asking too much from Curlin. However, the BC Turf may not be. I can't see that being their goal but its not ridiculous if they don't want to bother with polytrack.

Anonymous said...

you want props you say. take your props and put it under your pillow. You really are pathetic aren't you. Santagata was over matched you say. No RAP TALE sweetie pie was overmatched. Do u want the nice try award Alan. YES it was a wasted trip. Put the horse where she belongs.

Anonymous said...

Curlin should stay right here and win a few more G1's on the dirt, then try the BC on carpet fiber and wax.

Rap Tale should truly stay in VA, but wherever she runs, on whatever surface, she needs to be let loose on the lead.

All these jocks turn into Frenchmen the minute they ride a turf race, you can steal one once in a while if you stop fighting the girl. She clearly wants a loose reign, loose on the lead trip.

steve in nc said...

The darts at Santagata (I admit I was never a fan of his either) reminded me: What is the name of that British jockey who created disasters in the Arlington Million and then at the BC? I swore I'd never back him again on this side of the pond and now I can't remember his name!

I'm hoping Curlin wins nicely back on dirt and then runs in the BC classic so I can look for a price against him-- I think turf is a better indicator of how he'll do on synthetic than his dirt #s.

Anonymous said...

Jamie Spencer would be the British jockey you're thinking of, Steve. He was the reason I stayed off Powerscourt in the BC. He's actually matured quite a bit and has been the champion jockey over there a couple of times.

Anonymous said...

i am not trying to defend curlin but red rocks seems to prefer a firm turf course like we have in america

Anonymous said...

There will be ten horses in the gate for the Arc that are superior to Red Rocks, silly to go there now.

Nice try, sporting effort and all, but time for a reality check, he does not belong in the ARC.

If they want to try him at 10f on the turf, I would give it a go, but 12f seems just beyond his reach on dirt or turf.

Still wish Hard Spun had been given a try on the turf, and for that matter Street Sense too. They both had better turf pedigrees then Curlin.