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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Saratoga Notes

John Velazquez stole the state-bred William B Fasig Stakes with a first half in 48 2/5 on Exclusive Scheme ($52.50), more than two seconds quicker than the other, and far cheaper, races run on the inner turf course later in the day. After reaching the three quarters in 1:13 1/5, this four-year old daughter of the late Saarland, who died in disgrace shortly after being retired due to his shooting blanks at stud, sped home in splits of 22.90 and 5.87 and held off favored Chestoria. That's the way you win horse races, son! This may have been the first stakes winner for the sire, but without a Dead Stallion Register we can't be sure. The beaten favorite had a bit of traffic in the stretch, but the loquacious chart-caller currently on duty at the Spa noted that she lost little if any momentum. Just some great race riding by Johnny V.

Hot horse of the meet: First time starter Admiral Alex, 10-1 in the morning line, opened at 6-5, and drifted only slightly, going off as the 5-2 second choice in the nine furlong race. Three-year old son of Afleet Alex was restless in the gate and was caught 3-4 wide going into the first turn, 3 wide into the final one; but no problem. After taking over midstretch, Kent D at one point cocked the whip, but saw it was unneeded after taking a peek back. OK, he gave him a tap anyway, but hand rode him to the wire. The veteran Leon Blusiewicz was listed as the trainer, and it was his first and only starter of the year according to the Form. Some interesting bloodlines too; Admiral Alex is inbred 4x4 to Nureyev; he's a half to the good turf horse Woodlander, and this is the distaff family of the Belmont winner Go And Go, the Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle, 2000 Guineas winner Refuse to Bend, and the multiple graded stakes winner Twilight Agenda. So definitely some turf and distance pedigree here.

Caberneigh ($7.80) won the fifth for trainer Thomas Proctor, and this barn is now three-for-six at the meeting (he was also a close pace-compromised third with You Go West Girl in the first). The son of E Dubai was taken for the optional 50K claiming tag by owner/trainer Merrill Scherer

Sixth race winner Settle for Medal, 6-1 morning line after a bad start in his debut, paid a whopping $45.20! Not bad for a colt whose half-sister, Mani Bhavan, won the Spinaway and Adirondack over the same track in 2008.

Funny, after the Times published a column by Joe Drape on Saturday entitled 3-Year-Olds Can Inject Life Into a Dull Season, one might think they'd devote more than three short lines in an AP summary to the Jim Dandy on Sunday. I guess Drape must be at Monmouth along with the far stronger lineup for the Haskell. Who knows - A Little Warm ($10.20) shows the kind of improving form that could make him, along with Trappe Shot after he wins the Haskell today, one of those three-year olds referred to in the Times story referenced above. "To achieve a race like this is overwhelming, it's bigger than life," said trainer Anthony Dutrow. Jeez, what will he say if he goes on to win the Travers? This is a son of Stormin Fever, out of Minidar, a stakes winning Alydar mare whose a half to the graded stakes winning Colonial Minstrel; and this is the distaff family of the ill-fated champion Saint Liam (they have the same third dam).

- Free music at Prospect Park in Brooklyn last night, and wow, what a show by Sonic Youth. When I saw them earlier this year, they were touring in support of The Eternal, their latest album, and played songs nearly exclusively from that record. But on Saturday, they played all older stuff - practically all of their classic Daydream Nation, plus songs from Evol (Expressway to Yr Skull, Shadow of a Doubt), Sister (Catholic Block, Stereo Sanctity, White Cross) and even Shaking Hell from their very first album, Confusion is Sex - and they just ripped and roared through every one.

Lincoln Center's free Out of Doors series is underway, and on Wednesday, we saw the eclectic string quartet Ethel. They brought along some friends too, including Argentina's enchanting Juana Molina, as well as the immortal Tom Verlaine. With the latter, the ensemble performed a stunning version of the Television classic Prove It that nearly had me in tears, as unexpectedly sublime and ravishing as it was. Wow.

Also greatly enjoyed Canada's Chad Vangaalen at the Seaport (for free, of course) on Friday night. Was not previously too familiar with his music, but y'know, that's the beauty of these free shows. You don't have to be all that picky, and you never know what you'll find. This evening, as many of you will be preparing for the Haskell, which I'll have to watch on tape, we'll be back off to Lincoln Center for a totally bizarro bill of the multi-talented Melvin Van Peebles, New York Doll David Johansen (yes, Looney himself!), and Sandra Bernhard! Don't ask me. Time Out New York described the bill as "three New York loudmouths," and that's good enough for me! Best of luck no matter what you have planned, and have a great day!


DiscreetPicks said...

The Pamplemousse returned to the worktab @ Del Mar today. Great to see him back.

El Angelo said...

Let's hope they start pronouncing his name correctly.

Anonymous said...

How good is Lucky? Best 3yo since Barbaro?


DiscreetPicks said...

I'm not even sure Barbaro was the best 3yo the year he won the Derby. I think Bernardini likely would have beat him on the square in the Preakness. And of course, Invasor looked great winning the Breeders Cup Classic that year (though as a South American colt, technically I think he was 4 at the time). Discreet Cat was also a 3yo that year, and was probably the most talented of the bunch.

As for Lucky, he certainly looks best of this crop until further notice. He handled Trappe Shot pretty well today, although that one didn't have the best of trips (not that it necessarily wouldn't mattered). I'd still like to see Twirling Candy run in the Travers, as I've been thoroughly impressed with him, and I think he might relish the distance.

El Angelo said...

Lookin at Lucky has been serially underrated his career because he lost the Juvenile and Derby with horrible trips. The last horse that was this consistently good as a 2yo and 3yo was Point Given.

I agree with DP: Bernardini was better than Barbaro, as was Discreet Cat. Heck, so was Curlin.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, love all the revisionist history going on here.

First, Dirty you're west coast bias is laughable. Last year, Rachel kicks the crud out of the girls, the boys, and the men, never loses and she sucks in your eyes. This year, southern cal-based Lookin At Lucky whups up on a PATHETIC group of 3-year-old colts (Super Saver, what a joke, Trappe who, etc) and he's the best 3yo colt in years. Don't get me wrong, he's a nice horse, but get some perspective, man. Let's see him defeat one true grade one animal before we start drooling all over him.

And Discreet Picks, please don't make the mistake of projecting Bernardini over a non-broken down Barbaro in the Preakness. Barbaro had much better tactical speed than that big slob and probably deserves the benefit of the doubt considering he BROKE DOWN in the frigging race. And Discreet Cat was a typical Storm Cat, brilliant miler who was more fragile than humpty dumpty. -jp

DiscreetPicks said...

Bernardini ran absolutely huge in the Preakness. It would have taken a gigantic effort by Barabaro to beat him that day.

Dirty said...

Jackoff Anon - Lucky is much better than Rachel ever was. He might be the only legit threat to Zenyatta in a few months. I'm not sure if you saw the race but he was 3 and 4 wide around the track and the jock didn't move. He just shook him up at the top of the stretch and galloped away. I thought you Rachel fags would shut up by now.

DC - I still favor Barbaro. Agree about Twirling , could be any sort. A monster.

Anonymous said...

Dirty, let me lay it down for you -- you're a complete fucking west-coast biased imbecile and you always have been. I'm beginning to think you don't have a clue. Name one true grade one horse Lookin At Lucky has defeated. You can't because there are none, you pud-pounding bigmouth. If you line up his '10 with Rachel's '09, only a total So-cal ditz like yourself could possibly come to the conclusion that LAL has had a better year than Rachel. ie you. -jp

Anonymous said...

JP you are a fucking moron. He just blasted the derby winner and runner up. And before you insult those horses think about how much you loved them in the Preakness and Belmont (don't make me dig up your "exacta's every fucking which way with the derby winner" post). You are the biggest flip-flopping no clue faggot around. I'm glad I'm betting against people like you. Dipshit.

Alan Mann said...

Please refrain from use of the f word. (No, not that one. That one.)

Anonymous said...

Dirty, you know how I am 100% sure you are a loser at the windows? You're too emotional. First off, my Preakness and Belmont picks have absolutely nothing to do with the discussion. Second off, how can someone who is so biased toward his beloved West Coast possibly be a consistent winner at the windows? You let your heart get into the ballgame. And in the game of pari-mutuel wagering, that spells L-O-S-E-R. Sorry, thanks for playing. -jp