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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Morning Notes - July 15

- A lot of excitement in Nova Scotia on Saturday night as their hometown horse hit the big time.

Maritime simulcast locations were jammed for the Meadowlands elimination races. At Summerside, New Brunswick Health Minister Mike Murphy and P.E.I. Provincial Treasurer Wes Sheridan were among the patrons who cheered on Somebeachsomewhere. The Horse Shoe Sports Bar in Dieppe was filled to capacity with fans cheering on the Petitpas horses. [Times & Transcript]
Reg Petitpas is a partner in Schooner Stables of Truro, Nova Scotia (which also owns Silent Swing, who finished second in the Haughton Memorial; nice night). You gotta love reading stuff like that; it evokes images of people gathering around their radios to listen to Seabiscuit against War Admiral. Not that I personally remember that, but y'know, like in the movie.

Reader Brett related that Gary Seibel was saying that Somebeachsomewhere raced into a headwind when he came home in 26/2 on Saturday. “There was a bit of a stiff breeze in his face coming home," confirmed trainer Brent McGrath. Combine that knowledge with seeing just how easily the horse was going, and there's no doubt that this was something quite special. The colt will now try to become the first-ever undefeated winner of the Meadowlands Pace on Saturday night.

Although McGrath says that Somebeachsomewhere will return to race in Canada next month, it's likely that he will find somestudfarmsomewhere on this side of the border next year. "He’s going to be a stallion next year somewhere and it will probably be in the U.S." [Chronicle Herald] His present value as a stallion is said to be $8 million.

- Whatever one thinks of trainer Larry Jones, you have to acknowledge and respect that he's a man of his convictions. That became evident when he ignored know-nothings like myself who were telling him where and where not to run Hard Spun last year, and further confirmed when he stuck to his guns and ran Eight Belles in the Derby. So why would he care that people were questioning the wisdom of racing Proud Spell in the Delaware Oaks on Saturday, just over two weeks after she was roughed up in the Mother Goose? He was certainly opening himself up to the harshest criticism possible in these most sensitive times, and I don't even want to think of what the reaction would have been had something bad happened. PETA might have established a separate Larry Jones division.

Fortunately, the filly came through with flying colors, and showed why I still consider her to be the tops in her class. Gabriel Saez, who I'm sure had in his mind not to get locked in on the rail again, had the daughter of Proud Citizen three wide on both turns, and there were moments on the final turn and in the stretch, when he was riding her hard and she appeared to be spinning her wheels. It wasn't fast and it wasn't pretty, but she got the job done on class, holding off Graham Motion's improving African Violet to get the win at 1-5. I look forward to seeing her turn the tables on Music Note in the Alabama on August 16, which just happens to be the weekend that the Head Chef and I have penciled in for Saratoga this summer.

We'll also be hoping to see Just Zip It race in the state-bred Union Avenue stakes on Monday the 18th, at six furlongs and for a purse of $80,000. Our daughter of City Zip continued to pick it up in the A.M. with a half mile in 49.03 breezing (18/52) on Saturday. Bill Turner is thinking about prepping her in a NW2x open company allowance on July 28. That's a class over her eligibility and not an ideal spot, but it's pretty tough going in the condition book these days. She could certainly use a race, and he doesn't want to run her a step beyond six furlongs.


Anonymous said...

From Sunny Jim in Jersey

On the Meadowlands infield tote board, Somebeachsomewhere had about $50,000 to win and $100,000 to show bet on him, with a total of only $10,000 bet to show on all the other horses.

The night before, almost exactly the same thing was done with Deweycheatumnhowe, who will no doubt now be heavily favored to win the Hambletonian.

So these pool numbers have these guys who bet, like, $10,000 to win $500 on the $2.10 show payoff.

Both horses have dominated their 3-year-old pacer and trotter peers, respectively, and will be running again soon at the Meadowlands no doubt with similar pools. But as we all know, all horses have bad days (wasn't there a horse named Big Blue recently? Big Bleach? I can't remember exactly.) And every once in a blue moon you see $75 show payoffs when a favorite like this spits the bit and these chalk bettors have to be coaxed down off the railing of the George Washington Bridge.

Alan Mann said...

Sunny Jim - I think it's always nuts to make those bets on any race. But while the top class pacers rarely go off stride, you never know with trotters and I think you have to be insane to bridgejump on those races.

Anonymous said...

As many of you know, Del Mar opens tomorrow, and the #1 topic of interest (as last year) is the surface. Last year, running times were WAY slow on the new Del Mar polytrack, in stark contrast to the times of morning workouts there. The reason was thought to be the "marine layer" that's present at the seaside track during the early-morning hours, as the fog and dampness that envelops the track at the time of day was thought to tighten up the surface and make it spongier. As the day wore on however, the marine layer would burn off, and the track would loosen up considerably, resulting in the slow times. Many calls came from horsemen for Del Mar to start watering the track (to get it back into early-morning shape during racing hours), but Del Mar refused, as they were instructed by the designer of Polytrack not to water the surface. This year however, Del Mar is taking matters into their own hands, and has announced plans to water the surface continually, from Day One. Running times are expected to be signifigantly faster, and the surface (in theory) should be kinder to frontrunners, who had a helluva time hanging on over the deep, tiring surface last year.

Keep your eyes focused on those early results; they could play a big factor in determining the outcome of future races.