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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

News and Notes For Others Who Don't Care About Horse of the Year

What a race in the second at the Big A on Monday - a total of 55 lengths separated the seven horses who actually finished the race, with no less than 5 1/2 lengths separation between any of them. It's a pretty sad sight; looks like a Martha Coakley campaign rally. At least those all finished though; Freefourme broke down and fell in upper stretch.

Nice run by Stardom Bound at Santa Anita on Sunday, but Chantal Sutherland took the shorter route home and got the money with Pretty Unusual ($61.40). This one-time 40K maiden claimer was far back in her prior two graded stakes tries, but seems improved now at age four. Weird betting race with Justwhistledixie the 2-1 second choice in her first race out west; one of those synthetic subsidies that people should try to take advantage of instead of complaining about.

That's five wins in a row for Quiet Harbor ($39.40), your typical Shug horse who shows slow but steady improvement as a four-year old before blossoming into a graded stakes winner. She's a half-sister to the stakes winning Hunting and the stakes placed Minister's Joy.

Bettors at the Big A drank the Toddster Koolaid and made Citizen's Arrest the 3-5 favorite in the Jimmy Winkfield off a head victory in a maiden special. Not that there was anything else so great in the five horse field, but c'mon. He finished 17 lengths behind Deputy Daney ($16), a now three-for-three son of Officer.

I mentioned trainer Scott Volk on Saturday - and his Awesome Charlie ran a decent third at 11-1 that day. He subsequently had two winners on the weekend, including the handy maiden winner Itsagoodtendollars ($8.60) on Monday, and definitely bears watching at this meet. This colt earned a Beyer of 90. He's a four-year old son of Tale of the Cat out of a Sea Hero mare; and he's from the same distaff family as Tiz Wonderful, a one-time Derby hopeful a few years ago who suffered a career ending injury at Belmont; he stands at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky. Seems an appropriate name in these days of dwindling stud fees....though I think that anyone who spends the $12,500 fee to breed to this unproven stallion isn't being one at all.


Anonymous said...

The Eclipse Awards happened already? Who won?

Anonymous said...

A permanent BC home at SA seems a lot more logical considering the following;

Santa Anita canceled Monday's racing program, citing the synthetic track's inability to drain properly after a day of rain, and track officials acknowledged for the first time that they are considering a return to a dirt track later this year.

"There have been discussions knowing we're going to have to replace this racetrack after this meet," track president Ron Charles said. "The options are out there to return to dirt."

In the most likely scenario, Santa Anita could replace its Pro-Ride track this summer, when the track is closed for renovation during the Del Mar meeting in late July and August.

California Horse Racing Board chairman Keith Brackpool said Monday that the racing board "would be open" to replacing a synthetic track with a dirt track. Under chairman Richard Shapiro, the racing board in 2006 mandated that California's Thoroughbred tracks install synthetic surfaces. Golden Gate Fields, Del Mar, and Hollywood Park also have synthetic tracks.

steve in nc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve in nc said...

Sorry - a bad edit on my first post. Try #2:

One very noticeable inside betting coup at the A yesterday, in race 6 by Edward R. Barker.

His filly Hazaam's Back was 20-1 on the ML (in NY, they're typically really good and he had the rest of this race fairly accurate), but opened at 2-1, drifted to 7-1 and won for fun.

Barker didn't take chances messing around with multi-race bets - just win. One DD paid almost 4 times the parlay; the other paid more than twice the parlay; similar for the P3s, P4 was astronomical, and if most handicappers had seen her as a contender at the 7-1 level, the P6 would have been hit.

I'm mad because I tossed the horse and it cost me. True, she had just 10 starts so she wasn't beyond improvement, was coming off a long layoff off two terrible races, was dropping slightly, and switched to Chop Chop. But even if she ran a little better than her back figs, she was a most unlikely winner. The odds make clear this wasn't a speed bias accident. This was a coup.

The ordinary Barker is suddenly hot, now 3 for 7 this year. I'll certainly be watching the tote when his horses are entered.

Anonymous said...

The "Manure Scandal" at NYRA is further evidence of incompetence at the top of NYRA.

Hayward cannot survive now. The big questin is whether Dunker also gets the heave-ho as well.

Dirtyshirt said...

Anybody who voted for Rachel has no clue about racing. Period. End of story.

If Rachel races this year, and I say if because I think she won't want to face zenyatta, it will show how little the voters know about racing. Hopefully, these same jerkoffs will put their money where their mouth is when race day comes. I'll gladly take 5/2 on zenyatta against Rachel and anyone else.

El Angelo said...


(1) I would have voted for RA and watched a lot racing this year. I suppose I'm clueless, then. I prefer the horse that ran in multiple states and won more times. But that's just me and most of the Eclipse electorate.

(2) On what planet would you get 5/2 in a match race between the two fillies? Actual odds in the Apple Blossom, if they go, will be something like 4/5 and 7/5 for RA and Zenyatta, respectively.

Anonymous said...

Paterson has delivered his 2010 budget.

It is now time to announce the VLT operator.

Anonymous said...

I must be insane because I would have voted for Gio Ponti.

Dirtyshirt said...

El Angelo:

Zenyatta is top 5 ever. Maybe the best.
I'm not sure you realize that. Hopefully you enjoy her while she's here.

Anonymous said...

Rachel still the best...Zenyatta pretty good for a West Coast synthetic specialist... Martha Coakley thinks Curt Schilling is a Yankee fan...and the beat goes on....dum, dum, de, dum de dum dum..../s/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

Missed the part about SA going back to's tough for the pro-synthetics to admit defeat but better late than never. The marketplace prevails in the end.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve - will you recant your statement that obama doesn't want a single payer health care system?

Alan Mann said...

>>Hey Steve - will you recant your statement that obama doesn't want a single payer health care system?

Who told you that, Michele Bachman?

ballyfager said...

@Dirtyshirt - Rachel clearly had the better year. That's what HOY is about. If you want to blame somebody blame Moss. He treated Zenyatta like a hothouse flower until it was too late for her to recoup.

As to which is the better horse, that remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

HOY is undefined, that is part of the problem.

With SA going back to dirt perhaps we will see just how "great" Zenyatta really is. If they are going to meet why not do so in the OAK handicap rather than limit participation to ladies?

steve in nc said...

Pretty funny to see all those R.A. v. Zen comments given the title of the string.

Anon -- I'm one of the lucky ones with workplace-based health insurance. It just went up 25% this year. How much did yours go up?

DiscreetPicks said...

I think Zenyatta deserved the award, and i also think she's the better horse. But i can't really fault anyone who voted for Rachel. They both had huge years and were deserving in their own right. I do think that Rachel racing on the East Coast (and being a major attention-getter during the Triple Crown season) gave her a decided edge among the HOTY voters, many of whom are based on the East Coast. I think that's why she won. I don't think she was more deserving, particularly after she stayed in the barn during the Breeders Cup. How she was given a complete pass on that is beyond me. And i believe those who think Rachel accomplished more when she ran are mistaken. I mean, who's the best horse she beat? Summer Bird? Zenyatta beat him also. She beat males in the Preakness and Woodward, but she barely squeaked by on both occasions. Does anyone here really think that Zenyatta couldn't have beaten those fields as well? It's also been overlooked that one of the "nobodys" Zenyatta was beating out West ended up dominating the Breeders Cup Distaff. Zenyatta also defeated a field that was far more accomplished than any field that Rachel had faced all year. What, because it came after Rachel was done for the year, it's considered "too little too late"? It's still a much greater accomplishment than any Rachel had. And it came in the championship race (you know, the one that Rachel didn't show up for). I don't think that was taken into account nearly as much as it should've been. The synthetic excuse rings pretty hollow in my opinion considering Rachel had already won on synthetic. And Jackson of course had been training Curlin on synthetic for a period of a couple of years.

I'm also surprised at how Zenyatta is considered a "synthetic specialist" (some kind of slur?) despite the fact that she shipped to Oaklawn last year and destroyed the reigning Distaff winner. I guess that race didn't count either. None of her races ever seem to count.

Anonymous said...

Winner at:

9f dirt: RA
9f Synth: Z
9f Turf: Gio Ponti

If you ran the race three times on three surfaces I believe GP peforms best.

Gio Ponti was the only horse that ran on more than their preferred surfaced and placed in the BC Classic.

That is my argument and I am sticking to it, just to be a contrarian.

Anonymous said...


Zen is top 5 ever? Top 5 what?
Name the other 4 in that group. Then I'll understand.


El Angelo said...

I never argued that Zenyatta wasn't great or a Hall of Famer. But her 2009 campaign wasn't as impressive as RA's.

Dirtyshirt said...

If you think Rachel is better, you don't really understand racing. You don't understand class. You are a long term loser in this sport.

Zenyatta is regarded as being better everywhere in the world - except the east coast.

Watch Jess Jackson duck Zenyatta all year.