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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Here We Go Belmont

The unstable weather seems to have moved on, just like the unstable soon-to-be former governor of Alaska. However, that last rain at Belmont yesterday must have (also) been a bitch, as this morning's turf update shows that the course is yielding, and the second race has been taken off.

Trainer Christophe Clement has won 15 of 57 races at the meeting (26%) after taking the 8th on Friday with his three-year old filly Giant Moon, apparently none the worse for wear after taking a beating in the Acorn. In the 4th today (Saturday), he sends Too Amenable (3-1) to the post for his second career start. This three-year old son of the thus-far disappointing Pleasantly Perfect dawdled through a half mile or so of his debut before making a wide run on the turn, with a fast finish to miss by just 2 3/4 lengths. Second place finisher Separatist came back to win (via DQ). Too Amenable is a half-brother to the stakes-placed turf runner Blitzen Too. Compliance Officer (2-1) would seem to be a classic case of lone speed; however, he had an easy lead in his last, at seven furlongs, and the extra distance can't help here.

In the 7th, Urban Flight (9-2) goes for trainer Richard Violette, and with jockey Cornelio Velasquez, for whom he's performed quite admirably since they hooked up two races back. He dropped back after some early trouble in his last before making an impressive run for second while widest of all on the turn; gamely holding off Stormy Success at the end, and three lengths behind Extra Zip, who came back his next by six lengths with a 92 Beyer. Minnie Punt (3-1) won a state-bred stakes straight out of the lowly NY-bred maiden claiming ranks, and stretches out to a mile and a sixteenth here; Johnny V returns for trainer Mike Miceli.

The extra distance would seem to be the main question for Kensei (6-1) in the Dwyer. This improving colt was in an uncomfortable spot between horses and wide around the turn in the seven furlong Woody Stephens, and finished well once he found running room in the stretch; just missed the bob for second to the impressive Everyday Heroes (as Munnings ran away) in a final furlong of 12.22. Little reason for me to think that this son of Mr. Greeley out of a Belong to Me mare couldn't go on in this one-turn route. (Hails from the direct distaff family of Wait A While, whose third dam is the second dam of Kensei). Just Ben (2-1) freaked on a good track in entry-level allowance company; that 109 Beyer will attract a lot of money. You might attribute the effort to his 480 Tomlinson (though he failed on a good track at Churchill against an excellent field which included Warrior's Reward, the 9-5 ML favorite here). Standing against. Warrior's Reward went down at 4-5 in the Northern Dancer after freaking himself in that aforementioned Churchill race; two for two around one turn, but no value here, and Borel might be tired after spending an hour signing autographs.

- Free music on Friday night from Brooklyn-based Here We Go Magic (and New Zealand's Bachelorette) at the South Street Seaport on an absolutely gorgeous New York City evening. Great show....and besides, any band with a chick playing a slamming bass guitar is OK in my book!

Here We Go Magic