RSS Feed for this Blog

Sunday, August 17, 2008


- The word came pretty early on - I'd say by the midway point of the card - that there were no more long sleeve T-shirts available. Shouldn't have been surprised considering the stashes we saw some people hoarding when we were coming in. T-shirts are far easier to transport in bulk than bobble heads I suppose. So, it's a crowd of over 65,000, which should help NYRA's figures. However, I don't know that there was a third of that many people remaining by the time the tenth race rolled around, and I didn't notice any long lines other than the ones to pick up the damn shirts.

In the first, Kiss the Cruiser ($13.40) went from "first to fourth to first" as described by Tom Durkin, who called the strategy "unorthodox." This gelding won his last three at Finger Lakes, the last two at 3-5 and 4-5.

Amanwalla was a hot number in the second for Graham Motion; 6-1 morning line, she went off as the 9-5 favorite in her first try on dirt. She looked like a winner before Persistently ($9.90) came from last to first and six wide for Shug. She's by Smoke Glacken, out of a half-sister to Good Reward and Pure Prize. First timer State Treasure, a half to stakes winners Secret Status and Alumni Hall, got bet down too for Neil Howard, three for 53 in the 2yo first time category.

I thought that Mucho Macho was a bad favorite in the third, having never traveled two turns. I liked the Ramsey horse Skills Coach at his 12-1 morning line, and was only mildly surprised, but still disappointed when he opened at 3-1. I have a talent for finding horses like that. Still, I used him in exactas with Numaany, who'd won his only try around two turns on dirt. That was the race that he bolted with Castellano hanging on for dear life; so, in retrospect, I'm surprised he paid $7.10 going back to dirt. Lousy race though; it fell apart after a quick opening half, and Numaany merely survived the last three furlongs in 39.78 seconds, yuck.

Good thing I sat out the 4th since I figured that Troy G was a bad favorite, getting bet to 7-5 on the basis of his sole career effort, a third on the Poly at Keeneland. Trainer Ken McPeek has now won with three of his last four starters at the meeting, take note; he had Tar Beach (5-1) and Loose Leaf (10-1) last week. Telemachus was dead on the board and the track for former Toddster assistant Seth Benzel, still looking for his first winner.

The fifth was a two-year old maiden race for state-bred fillies, and all of the nine starters were making their debut. So I sent the Head Chef over to take a look; she surveyed them on the walk over to the paddock, and jotted down some notes. The one horse was "strong," the seven horse was "confident;" the four, "introspective." But I did an extra double take when I read the comment on the six horse, and had to confirm that she had really written: "Bruiser." "Bruiser?" "Yeah, he looks like he'll like to mix it up." Bruiser was Anjorie, the morning line, and betting favorite, at 3-2 for Dutrow. He didn't have to mix it up too much, surging to the lead on the turn, and holding off Fabulous Florence, who ran well shipping in from Finger Lakes. Anjorie is by A.P. Jet, out of an Eastern Echo mare who has produced some nice NY-breds in What A Tale, Legend Has It, and Quatre Dix Neuf.

Ridge Royal took the 7th for owner Ken Ramsey and trainer Michael Maker; and though I mentioned these connections the other day and bet their horse in the second, I let this one float right by in his first try on grass.

I loved Stepaside in the 8th, but didn't come up with the longshots who filled the place and show spots. Neither the 11 post, nor a last place trip against slow fractions, nor a wide journey on the turn could stop this gelded son of Real Quiet, who won as easily as you can imagine given the above circumstances; he effortlessly cruised home in 23.22 while moving up in class and through his state-bred allowances conditions flawlessly for trainer Thomas Voss, three for 11 on the meeting. Stepaside is out of a stakes winning mare by Rahy who's a half-sister to the G3 winner Timely Broad. Solvent was out of the money for George Weaver.

I went to the paddock for the John's Call, and it was cool to see John Call himself leading the horses out to the track. However, I didn't pay a bit of attention to the race itself; can't deal with these marathons from a betting standpoint. Instead, I lost on the second at Del Mar. Jeff Mullins had two horses in the race. Newport Topper was dropping severely in class after a half length loss and was 3-2; La Mandolla was moving up in class off the claim, and was 9-2. Guess which one won? It was the 9-2 shot, and I didn't have him either.

I was pissed at myself for not landing on Frisky Rosie ($18.80) in the 10th, having considered her at one point before ultimately going with Milk Run. I've had some success with winning trainer Gary Sciacca up here in the past. Not today though, and no follow-up success after the late Pick Three on Saturday.

- I've written in the past about how the bell - the one that clangs with either 17 or 18 minutes to post - has bugged me ever since they decided to blast it through the PA system. But I've been laughing at it this week ever since early on Saturday when I heard a guy, upon hearing the racket, yelling: "Bring out your dead!.....Bring out your dead!"

- Highland Cat was second at Monmouth, just missing to an equally stubborn Approved By Dylan. The grey gelding has now finished second three times in a row, and in four of his last five. I think he likes the mile and three eighth distance he ran today.

Also at Monmouth, Spooky Mulder made his 82nd career start, but first since May when he was claimed by David Jacobson for 32K. Here, the ten year old showed up for half that claiming price. He proved that he's still a bruiser, surviving an early pace duel, battling back on the inside, and drawing clear at the end. He was claimed by Bruce Levine.


Anonymous said...

Anyone who has been with Alan for a couple of years will know that some of us have been close followers of one of Alan's first horses, Highland Cat. HC was even the subject of a great article on racehorse ownership that Alan did for Barron's.
Well, yesterday at Monmouth I thought I had the betting race of the year as HC was finally getting that longer 1 3/8 mile distance on the turf that he was bound to love. (I would like even longer).
So I threw the whole PhoneBet account on him, mostly win and some place.
HC did exactly as I expected with a strong stretch drive but he could not get his cute little grey head ahead of Approved By Dylan.
So I lost a little on the race.
It was only after the race that I looked into Approved by Dylan's credentials and saw what a tough foe that HC had almost beaten. Approved by Dylan was recently second in a $50,000 1 3/4 mile marathon that set a new track record at Philly Park.
So HC had nothing to be ashamed of.
I hope they find a 1 1/2 mile race on the turf for Highland Cat. It is nice to see that this little, once-timid animal has turned into a truly professional race horse.
I don't think Alan's connections will be able to reclaim him -- but I hope trainer Norman Pointer is taking good care of him.

Anonymous said...

Highland Cat......the new Jacques Who?????

Bank Check

Steve Zorn said...

Since I represent Highland Cat's connections (Castle Village Farm), I guess I should add my two cents' worth here.

Highland Cat really started to improve when we sent him to Kathleen O'Connell in Florida last winter. She should definitely get credit for figuring out how to make him want to win.

As for reclaiming him, especially if he returns to New York for Levine, I think it's pretty unlikely. Because Highland Cat never really lived up to our expectations when we had him, I don't think I'd find a lot of support for getting him back at this stage, but, hey, you never know.

Anonymous said...

Re: Highland Cat
Maybe some credit to Norman Poynter as well.
My friend in Florida says Poynter is excellent with getting sort of average-level horses to win on the grass.
It seems to me that HC has really filled out as well.
Please excuse me for going on about HC.
I am strictly an amateur in terms of followign races and I take a liking to a few specific horses.

Anonymous said...

Good luck today at the Spa with Zip!

While you're there have a drink to an old gal who rose to great heights and for whom the final call to post was sound this morning: Genuine Risk Feb 15, 1977 - Aug 18, 2008

Mutaman said...

Here is Genuine Risk winning the Derby- a great call by Dave Johnson:

Anonymous said...

Can someone post the scoop on West Point and Rick Violette? Why is he no longer listed on West Point's site as one of their trainers? Did they fire him? It seems McLaughlin has several West Point horses in his care. Violette has none. Violette trained High Finance for them. Dream Rush as well. Irish Smoke was trained by Biancone. So, if West Point fired Violette, what will they do when Biancone returns (if he returns)?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Stepaside race; I used the runner up Alexandros as a triple key with the 3rd, 4th 5th palce runners. I left Stepaside completely out after viewing him in the paddock and post parade. He was sweating profusely, through the saddle cloth and under all legs, also though his coat was dull. So much for looks verus class

Alan Mann said...

>>He was sweating profusely, through the saddle cloth and under all legs, also though his coat was dull. So much for looks versus class

Pays sometimes to be lazy and not venture to the paddock! :)