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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Gulfstream Saturday

Bombs away at Gulfstream on Friday when Mass Invasion ($93.40) came from last in the field of six to sweep by Salamera and take the 8th.  Since I did pick the latter here, I feel comfortable in expressing incredulity that Calistoga was sent off at 2-5 in her first start since running 4th in the Eight Belles on the Derby undercard, some 287 days ago.  Prior to that, she started her career with two wins over the Gulfstream strip.  Mott is pretty good off the layoff, but a hot pace was too much for this daughter of Speightstown out of a full sister to Giacomo, and she faded to 5th, ouch.

The longshot winner was actually earning her third win in five starts.  Her recent form is that of a classic in-and-outer, with the three wins sequenced amongst losses of 11 and 20+ lengths.  She's by Mass Media, who you may recall as a Frankel sprinter who upset the Forego at Saratoga in 2005 (prompting me to write here that I "wouldn’t come up with him if they ran the race 100 times.")  He now stands in Louisiana for $1500.

Mott then regrouped and took the 9th with Clearbrook ($13.60).  Back in third about a length and a half  behind was 11-1 Win For Kitten, for Contessa, who continues to send out live runners on the grass.  This goes back to Saratoga, when I made some nice money on this barn, and looking to do the same here.

 - Staying down at Gulfstream, in the 8th on Saturday, the G3 The Very One, let's take a stab with Dame Marie, at 10-1 morning line, the co-longest shot in the field.  She's never been this mile and three-eighths distance, but has been running pretty well at shorter, earning solid TimeformUS speed figures while running into some tough pace scenarios for her closing style.  Her last was particularly fine, a wide move to win at Churchill, earning the best last-out number in the field.  Dame Marie is by Smart Strike, out of a Royal Academy mare; and she is a half-sister to Rule of Law (Kingmambo), who won the mile and a half Great Voltigeur and the nearly mile and seven-eights Group 1 St Leger, both in the UK.  So I'm fairly optimistic that Dame Marie will be able to negotiate the extra ground; surely enough so to take a shot at that price.

In the 9th, Hurricane Elvis (5-1) is coming off an impressive second place finish in a nine furlong race in which he had a troubled trip.  Off last after getting bumped, he was last down the backstretch, as Pinball set a comfortable pace up front.  He made nice progress saving ground around the turn, but found himself in and amongst horses in the stretch. Undaunted, he bulled his way through traffic and finished strongly to earn the best last-out TFUS speed figure in this field; this while Pinball was picking up the pace after a leisurely second quarter to earn his 4th consecutive win in his first try on grass.  Now, Hurricane Elvis stretches out to mile and a half, a distance at which he's one-for-one.  Trainer Mark Casse, in a bit of a cold spell at the track of late, has successfully similarly stretched this six-year old gelding out off relatively short rest - 14 days, in this case - in the past, so he looks to repeat that pattern here. Wings of Fortune (3-1) is the logical favorite for the red-hot Maker barn coming off a solid second at a similar distance, just behind repeat winner Unitarian.  Best of luck and have a great day.


Figless said...

Disappointing card for a Saturday at GP. Two fun Graded Stakes sandwiching a decent Alw race, but FIVE of the remaining 8 races are for maidens with the other three races being bottom type claimers or short fields.

Perhaps the extended meet is taking its toll?

I know if NYRA presented a Saturday card like this at Spa the critics would be screaming from the rooftops.

Figless said...

"Aqueduct canceled today, and watch out this weekend too. It's when we get all this rain/snow and the temperature hovers around freezing that you see the freeze/thaw cycles that has caused problems on the inner track in the past."

I guess they heard you, cancelled Saturday as well, better safe than sorry seems to be the new welcome motto.

Drape hasn't written any articles this winter so guessing that the track has remained fairly safe despite the harsh winter. Suppose its too much to expect a follow up article praising NYRA for the effective safety measures.

jk said...

The alleged assault is the latest black eye for Aqueduct, once among the top thoroughbred tracks in the nation.

The nearly 120-year-old Ozone Park venue has deteriorated rapidly in recent years.

Racing association President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Kay has talked about enhancing the fan experience at racetracks, but Aqueduct has clearly seen better days.

As the Daily News reported this month, the Malaysian-based Genting Group, which opened its Resorts World New York Casino at the track in 2010, collects an average of $66 million a month in profits from slot machines at the site.

The racing association receives 7% of that money but apparently is not willing to spend money on maintenance.