08/03/2009 2:30PM

Asmussen!

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Steve Asmussen killed two Birds with two distinctly different stones over the weekend.  Just to pile it on, he added a Warrior's Reward in the Jim Dandy with KENSEI. 
First up came arguably the pebble of Asmussen's trifecta of three-year-old boulders.  The previously unheralded SOUL WARRIOR outfinished Kentucky Derby hero MINE THAT BIRD to nab the exhausted BIG DRAMA in the waning strides of the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park.  While the Derby winner lost some luster in defeat, it must be noted that the top two finishers of the West Virginia Derby had the recency advantage over the plucky gelding.  Mine That Bird fans shouldn't jump off the bandwagon just yet as he should be tighter for the Travers at Saratoga.  As for Big Drama, he went fast but that was the plan all along...to take the race to Mine That Bird, and use his early speed to his greatest advantage.  He simply didn't stay the nine furlongs.  There is no questioning Big Drama's courage as he tried all the way to the wire, but I do wonder how sound the injury-plagued colt really is.  He looked uncomfortable on the far turn as he made his final lead change very, very early.
Asmussen didn't have much time to celebrate Soul Warrior's upset victory.  Six minutes later, Kensei toyed with his opponents in the Jim Dandy, the local prep for the historic Travers.  The Mr. Greeley colt, making his first start around two turns, pressed the unlikely pacesetter WARRIOR'S REWARD before taking over at will turning for home.  Warrior's Reward may be a bit more comfortable coming from off the pace, and third-finisher CHARITABLE MAN ran well enough in his first start after a grueling run in the Belmont Stakes.  Both deserve consideration next time along with the impressive winner.
But no star shined brighter than RACHEL ALEXANDRA in a rain-soaked rendition of the Haskell Invitational.  As expected, Todd Pletcher's stretchout sprinter, MUNNINGS, assumed the role of pacesetter in the nine-furlong, Grade 1 event.  What no one could have expected was the early positon of Belmont winner SUMMER BIRD.  Jockey Kent Desormeaux had Summer Bird, normally a late-runner, right up on the early lead, and pressing Munnings from the rail.  Rachel, like a hawk ready to swoop, tracked the leaders while three wide, and the race was over three furlongs from the finish.  As has been the case all season, when Rachel goes, no one can go with her. Simply brilliant. 

From the Monmouth Park press department:

Tim Ice:  "I didn't tell Kent anything...He was going real comfortable throughout.  That's Rachel Alexandra.  That's what everyone came to see.  I'm very proud of how my horse dug in...We'll take a look at the Travers.  If she's in there, she's in there.  I'm not going to invite her."

On running against Rachel Alexandra again, Ice said, "Not if I don't have to."

Kent Desormeaux:  "I might have taken my horse out of his game today."

Todd Pletcher:  "I thought the early pace was a little quick, but he was doing it well and had the main contenders close to him.  We thought he ran very well and we're very pleased...We'll see how he comes out of it, and wouldn't be against running him two turns again in the future."

Joe Bravo (rider of Atomic Rain):  "I could tell at the break that he was not himself.  He came back safe and sound.  He is an aggressive horse but he didn't even bite at the pony today.  The stress of this week may have got to him..."

If Rachel does return in the Travers, it will be interesting to see if Asmussen points his two colts to run against her.  Mine That Bird is scheduled to try her one more time.  As a one-run closer, he always has a puncher's chance.

Somewhere in Southern California, Zenyatta waits.


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Let's take a look at the winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's stakes races:

*Haskell Invitational (Mth):  RACHEL ALEXANDRA (S. Asmussen/C. Borel) - 116

*Jim Dandy (Sar):  KENSEI (S. Asmussen/E. Prado) - 106
*Louisiana Cup Turf Classic (LaD):  STAR GUITAR (A. Stall Jr./C. Bourque) - 105
*Schuylerville (Sar):  HOT DIXIE CHICK (S. Asmussen/R. Albarado) - 103
*Fourstardave (Sar):  JUSTENUFFHUMOR (K. McLaughlin/A. Garcia) - 103
*Pennsylvania Governor's Cup (Pen):  CARDASHI (T. Kreiser/D. Cora) - 102
*Wickerr (Dmr):  COLONEL JOHN (E. Harty/G. Gomez) - 102
*West Virginia Governor's Cup (Mnr):  SHADOWBDANCING (T. Gore/R. Meier) - 102
*Diana (Sar):  FOREVER TOGETHER (J. Sheppard/J. Leparoux) - 101
*San Diego (Dmr):  INFORMED (D. O'Neill/T. Baze) - 101
*Quick Call (Sar):  AWAKINO CAT (L. Rice/A. Garcia) - 100
*Femme Fatale (Pen):  BOLD UNION (K. Breen/J. Velez Jr.) - 100

*Harvey Arneault Memorial (Mnr):  RAVALO (D. Barr/M. Smith) - 99
*Teddy Drone (Mth):  FLEET VALID (S. Volk/P. Morales) - 98
*James Marvin (Sar):  GOLD TRIPPI (S. Hough/C. Velasquez) - 98
*Louisiana Cup Sprint (Pen):  BROTHER BEAN (V. Arceneaux/B. Patin) - 97
*Jenny Wade (Pen):  CASANOVA KILLER (S. Klesaris/D. Cohen) - 97
*Royal North (WO):  GLITTER ROX (I. Black/G. Olguin) - 95
*West Virginia Derby (Mnr):  SOUL WARRIOR (S. Asmussen/D. Beckner) - 95
*West Virginia Secretary of State (Mnr):  TEQUILAS DAYJUR (J. Jackson/T. Houghton) - 95
*West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Cup (Mnr):  YATE'S BLACK CAT (D. Romans/C. Lanerie) - 95
*Majestic Light (Mth):  ACTIN GOOD (R. Dibona/K. Desormeaux) - 94
*Curlin (Sar):  BLAME (A. Stall Jr./H. Theriot II) - 94
*Go for Wand (Sar):  SEVENTH STREET (S. bin Suroor/R. Maragh) - 94
*Lake George (Sar):  BE FAIR (D. Lukas/R. Maragh) - 93
*Oceanport (Mth):  GET SERIOUS (J. Forbes/P. Fragoso) - 93
*East Hanover Township (Pen):  PASHITO THE CHE (S. Lake/A. Castellano Jr.) - 93
*Seattle Slew (EmD):  PEACEFUL REIGN (V. Belvoir/G. Mitchell) - 93
*Rossi Gold (AP):  RUMOR HAS IT (D. Hinsley/E. Perez) - 93
*Leeward (PID) - FRISKY THUNDER (T. Keefe/E. Rodriguez) - 92
*Chesapeake (Cnl):  AH DAY (K. Leatherbury/S. Russell) - 91
*Osunitas (DMR):  MEYDAN PRINCESS - IRE (J. Cassidy/D. Flores) - 91
*West Virginia Legislature Chairman's Cup (Mnr):  PIRATESONTHELAKE (J. DiVito/M. Smith) - 91
*High Rock Spring (Sar):  R CLEAR VICTORY (S. Asmussen/R. Dominguez) - 91
*Jersey Derby (Mth):  ENDYMION (C. Clement/J. Bravo) - 90
*Mountaineer Juvenile (Mnr):  PRINCE ROONEY (S. Asmussen/C. Lanerie) - 90
*West Virginia Senate President's (Mnr):  TIZFIZ (J. Good/C. Lanerie) - 90

*Lake Luzerne (Sar):  CHESTORIA (W. Badgett Jr./R. Maragh) - 89
*California Dreamin (DMR):  DEWEY'S SPECIAL (R. Ellis/J. Valdivia Jr.) - 89
*Lady's Secret (Mth):  DEVIL HOUSE (B. Levine/C. Lopez) - 89
*Regret (Mth):  D'WILD RIDE (J. Orseno/C. Marquez Jr.) - 89
*Middleground (LS):  GRAND SLAM ANDRE (S. Asmussen/E. Tejera) - 89
*Ontario County (FL):  SMOKIN HERO (C. Englehart/J. Davila Jr.) - 88
*Mongo Queen (Mth):  LADY ALEXANDER (B. Alexander/D. Centeno) - 86
*Louisiana Cup Derby (LaD):  MILWAUKEE MIRACLE (B. Young/C. Bourque) - 86
*San Clemente (Dmr):  STARLARKS - IRE (P. Gallagher/A. Solis) - 86
*Louisiana Cup Distaff (LaD):  SUPERIOR STORM (R. Jackson/L. Quinonez) - 86
*Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (LaD):  MASTER LINK (M. Nicks/P. Valenzuela) - 84
*Capital City (Pen):  DR LARGE (J. Jones/G. Saez) - 83
*Sanford (Sar):  BACKTALK (T. Amoss/M. Mena) - 82
*R. J. Speers (AsD): GROW UP (A. Blake/R. Bowen) - 82
*Arapahoe Park Classic (ArP):  MR CHARLYPOTATOES (T. Klenakis/T. Wales) - 81
*Minnesota Derby (Cby):  PERFECT BULL (B. Rhone/D. Butler) - 81
*Breeders' (WO):  PERFECT SHOWER (R. Attfield/J. Jones) - 80

*Tyro (Mth):  PHIL'S PROSPECT (G. Capuano/T. Maragh) - 77
*Humphrey S. Finney (Lrl):  TARGET SIGHTED (F. Campitelli/J. Joyce) - 77
*Taylor Made Matchmaker (Mth):  CAPTAIN'S LOVER - SAF (T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez) - 76
*Minnesota Oaks (Cby):  CHICK FIGHT (M. Robertson/D. Butler) - 76
*Red Carpet (Pen):  DATTTS OUR GIRL (M. Hennig/J. Rose) - 76
*Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies (Mnr):  FOR ROYALTY (T. Pletcher/M. Smith) - 76
*Graduation (Dmr):  WOLF TAIL (D. O'Neill/J. Rosario) - 76
*Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies (LaD):  DELTALICIOUS (C. Hassenpflug/D. Simington) - 75
*Count Lathum (NP):  COOL DIABLO (C. Anderson/R. Simard) - 74
*Turf Starlet (Pen):  LETTER OF THE LAW (R. Potts Jr./H. Vega) - 72
*Louisiana Cup Oaks (LaD):  LIGHTLIGHTLIGHT (S. Asmussen/S. Sellers) - 71

*Iowa Stallion (PrM):  REACH ONE MORE (D. Anderson/M. Ziegler) - 69
*Jamestown (Cnl):  TOCCET'S CHARM (K. Furlong/M. Franklin) - 68
*Ann Arbor (Pnl):  HAKUNA MATATA (L. Uelman/A. Stanley) (**Moon Charmer finished first with 69 Beyer, but was disqualified and placed third**)
*Horizon (RD):  RAISE THE REWARD (T. Hamm/H. Rosario Jr.) - 67
*Hall of Fame (Cls):  COBLE AVENUE (R. Mitzner/W. Arroyo) - 66
*Madamoiselle (NP):  SUMMER SONG (A. May/M. Gutierrez) - 65
*Louisiana Cup Juvenile (LaD):  KING OF THE BAYOU (J. Hodges/R. Eramia) - 62
*Vernon Cup (Kin):  POLAR BLUE (L. Gregoire/C. Stinn) - 61

*John Franks Memorial Sales (EvD):  BAILEY'S CHARM (T. Young/D. Saenz) - 57
*Nandi (WO):  OISTINS (T. Jordan/J. McAleney) - 53

*North Dakota Stallion (AsD):  WHATCHA GONNA DO (A. Sayler/R. Singh) - 43
*John Franks Memorial Sales (EvD):  THE RUMOR'S TRUE (S. Duke/R. Eramia) - 42

*Harlequin (MD):  BESNARD (F. Zdunick/N. Stephenson) - 27
*Gold Strike (MD):  DIANATION (B. McDonald/N. Stephenson) - 22

*Cavonnier Juvenile (SR):  OUR MINESWEEPER (M. Lenzini/W. Antongeorgi III) - N/A
*Joseph T. Grace (SR):  SHEM (S. Specht/F. Alvarado) - N/A

Here are the lifetime past performances for the highest and lowest Beyer stakes performers of the weekend:

Download Rachel

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Is there any way to see Easy Goer's career Beyer Speed Figures?
Kris

The Beyers weren't published in the DRF when Easy Goer was racing.  I'm sure the numbers are out there somewhere.  In "Beyer on Speed," Andy Beyer mentions that Easy Goer ran a 116 in the Champagne Stakes as a two-year-old. He also notes that Easy Goer ran a 110 in the Cowdin, a 113 entry-level allowance in his third lifetime start, and a 102 for his maiden victory in his second race.  I believe he ran in the 120's when he spoiled Sunday Silence's Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes.

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Dan,
Did I miss the boat about the former Bulls and Bears?
C

The former Bulls and Bears (not the excessively green juvenile) was a foal of 1996, and raced until 2002 when he finished eighth in a $3,200 claiming race at Turf Paradise.  He never competed in a stakes race.

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Dan, I asked you to give the best Beyered races for the Eclipse catagories.  Scratch that! If you could just give the best races restricted to 2 and 3 year olds I'll be very grateful
Captain Bodgit


3yo (through 2008):
Travers - 110.32
Preakness - 110.11
Haskell - 109.72
Jim Dandy - 109.00
Kentucky Derby - 108.89
Jerome Handicap - 108.74
King's Bishop - 108.39
Kentucky Cup Sprint - 106.73
Belmont Stakes - 106.53
Pennsylvania Derby - 106.31
Swaps - 106.21
Pegasus - 106.00
Blue Grass - 105.65
Dwyer - 105.50
Carry Back - 105.06

2yo (through 2008):
Breeders' Cup Juvenile - 99.61
CashCall Futurity - 99.06
Champagne - 98.00
Hollywood Prevue - 95.83
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies - 95.32
Sanford - 94.53
Hopeful - 94.28
Futurity - 94.22

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Hi Dan, could you post the lifetime pps of Japanese champions T M Opera O and Deep Impact (this one the best son of Sunday Silence), and Australian mare Makybe Dive, I think they are the world's earners leaders. Thank you so much!!
Jose Iglesias Garcia

Here's what I have on those three runners:

Download ForeignMonsters

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Dan,
Could I bother you for a somewhat random PP request? 
Broken Vow, Street Cry, Officer, Siphon, Skimming please.
Thanks so much!
Pat Copelan

Here they are:

Download RandomRunners

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Dan,
  Let's play the Cougar II Handicap(8th) from Del Mar on Wednesday, August 5th as the Handigambling 145 race. We don't have many 1 1/2 races on the dirt and it should be wide open.
SpartanTom

Congrats to SpartanTom for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling.  Here are this week's past performances:

Download HandiGambling145

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Take care,

Dan