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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Saratoga Notes

I think that the cards at Saratoga have held up pretty well thus far; that in direct contradiction to the pre-meeting gloom and doom in this corner. The field sizes have been generally good (at least in non-stakes), and the tote has been pretty wide open. So, good job by racing secretary P J Campo, and here's hoping it keeps up through this weekend when the Head Chef and I will be in town.

Two more first-out two-year old winners for Pletcher on Sunday (and a close second, with the green Ginger Snapit on Monday); he has five from 13 such starters. Hysterical Cat ($5.40) was the 11th winner for the rookie sire Bluegrass Cat. The Winstar stallion received some unprecedented hype even before he was retired, and has thus far lived up to his billing. Though he ranks third on the first-year sire list by earnings, he's the leader in the number of winners; his closest pursuers, With Distinction and Pomeroy, have eight at this writing.

Linda Rice is at it again; seven winners from just 20 starters (35%). Her first time starter Higher Desire ($8.90) won Monday's finale; she's a two-year old daughter of the solid NY sire Hook and Ladder, and descends from the classy Canadian family of Classy N Smart/Dance Smartly - Smart Strike, et al.

Ken McPeek is arguably the livest of the trainers from the CD circuit who have shipped in, with a record of 29-5-4-7 (though Dale Romans has a better win percentage at 15-3-2-2). He took the 4th on Monday with Bigshot, a three-year old from the first crop of Limehouse, standing for $10,000, down from $17,500, at Vinery. Bigshot is from the distaff family of a horse from the 70's named Brian Boru; that ring a bell for anyone else? He won the Lexington Handicap, but won only four I must have made some kind of score on him since the name seems so familiar.

On the schneid: Nick Zito - 0 for 19

- Free music at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors series last Friday evening: Hallogallo 2010 is a project led by Michael Rother, a member of the highly influential 70's German bands Kraftwerk and Neu! (exclamation point theirs). Rother was behind a recent release of a Neu! box set; and for this live project, he's recruited bassist Aaron Mullen of Live Furs, and Steve Shelley, the drummer for Sonic Youth. If you're interested, there's more on their music - as well as a stream of the entire Lincoln Center set - at the WNYC website here. It was a pretty great show, and I would describe the music as being 'urgently hypnotic." Have a listen (of the stream especially) and see what you think.


Figless said...

Andy Serling pointed out that was Rice's first winner of an originally scheduled dirt race in two years at Saratoga. He threw the horse out based on that stat, another case of too much information. She obviously can win with debut runners, and this horse showed good works and decent pedigree for this field, why would you stand against based solely on that stat? Good for me, bad for him.

As for overall race quality holding up, not so much. Field size yes, but there have been plenty of bad, bad races. My buddy went home early last Monday when he looked at the card in the morning.

Believe handle and attendance are way down, although the NYRA spin machine is comparing vs. projections rather than real numbers.

Part the economy, sure, but with Monmouth way up in all stats you can not just blame the economy.

John Manley said...

Brian Boru was trained by the late Frank Wright and I can remember him doing his Channel 9 "Race of the Week" telecast, all nervous since he actually had a horse in the race. Although one can find plenty of TV racing if one has the patience to wade through scores of channels, I think the sport has suffered since the demise of programs like ROTW, where impressionable sorts like myself were introduced to the sport by the likes of Wright and Win Elliot, may they both RIP. And Charlsie, of course, hopefully still alive and kicking. Why, I even remember the song they faded out to years ago, on their final telecast (can't remember the year) -- Time Passages by Al Stewart. Their usual theme was Wes Montgomery's Road Song.