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It doesn't get much closer than this:
(photo courtesy racereplays.com)
That's Rutherienne on the inside at the only point of the Grade 3 Noble Damsel at Belmont on Saturday in which she was in front. Not exactly how you want a 2-5 shot to win, to be sure, but trainer Christophe Clement still was pleased with his filly's performance.
"The bottom line," Clement said, "it was a very tight race, a very good race. They both opened up on the rest of the field, but I'm delighted with my filly. It's been a long time since she's won a race and, as I said, she ran a very good race. They were flying that last quarter. She's been so consistent. Look at her career - she's never run a bad race. I know she only won by a nose today, but she's a very good filly."
Jockey Alan Garcia, who eschewed an inviting opening in the three path in upper stretch to dive in between horses, was understandably relieved.
"It was a good race," Garcia said. "She got a little timid between horses, but then she really dug in."
Rutherienne's form is rather out of the ordinary. She's now won a remarkable 11 of 22 starts, but has only reached the triple-digit Beyer plateau twice (she lost both of those races).
Rutherienne's Noble Damsel was one of three graded races on Saturday's Belmont card. D'Funnybone, a juvenile colt trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., ran away and hid from his rivals in the Futurity for his second straight open-length score. "I'd rather run him here [Champagne] and then just stop on him for the year," Dutrow said after the race. "I'm not crazy about California and the Polytracks, but there's a lot of excitement that goes with [the Breeders' Cup], and how can you turn it down?"
I'm not sure how far D'Funnybone will eventually go as he's by sprint stallion D'wildcat, but the one-turn route of the Champagne may be within his scope.
While D'Funnybone rewarded the chalkplayers in the Futurity, odd-on favorite Worstcasescenario blew them all up with a dull performance in the Matron for juvenile fillies. Worstcasescenario finished eighth, but Stanley Hough's winner, Awesome Maria, looks like a comer. A daughter of Maria's Mon out of a half-sister to Discreet Cat, Awesome Maria showed the same stretch burst in the Matron that earned her a blowout maiden win at Saratoga. If all goes right, Hough will enter Awesome Maria in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont on August 10. "I like the filly," said winning rider Cornelio Velasquez. "She doesn't stop, she'll run all day."
Jonathan Sheppard had to be disappointed that he didn't get the big money when champion mare Forever Together was beaten a dirty nose in Sunday's Canadian at Woodbine, but the sharp trainer was the beneficiary of a somewhat-controversial disqualification in the Northern Dancer Turf. Sheppard's Just as Well proved that he could handle 12 furlongs, and will now likely be pointed for the Breeders' Cup Turf.
Perhaps more impressively, Sheppard's ageless nine-year-old Cloudy's Knight returned from an injury-induced two-year layoff to win the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Turf.
Ventura, albeit on her wrong lead through the stretch, rallied powerfully to become the first female to win the Woodbine Mile. Don't expect her to tackle Goldikova and the boys at the Breeders' Cup, however, as she will look to defend her Filly and Mare Sprint title.
Here are the winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's stakes races (scroll over for Beyers):
Here are the lifetime past performances of the highest and lowest Beyer Stakes performers of the week:
Finally, I would be extremely grateful if you could find a minute to assess the potential of Border Patrol, who you saw win the Group 3 Solonaway Stakes at the Curragh. I am part of a large racing syndicate and own a couple of horse-hairs of Border Patrol, and given his very light campaign to date we have high hopes that he will eventually make up into a Group 1 horse (especially on Good to Soft ground). Did he give you that impression?
Regards - Bernard
First of all, congratulations on your Group triumph with Border Patrol. Secondly, I'd like to commend the connections for being so patient with this talented son of Selkirk. After winning the listed race in May at Sandown, you must have been tempted to run against some tough competition at Royal Ascot. I'd certainly compare him favorably to other recent three-year-old winners of the Solonaway, most notably Ivan Denisovich, a Danehill runner that eventually shipped to the U. S. to finish third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at 10 furlongs.
Border Patrol's versatility seems to be his greatest asset as he seems just as comfortable sprinting as he is at a mile. Turning him back to seven furlongs for the Prix Daniel Wildenstein at Lonchamp looks like a cozy option, especially if you are looking forward to further development next season as a four-year-old. If you're really aggressive, you could tackle Goldikova and company in the Prix du Moulin.
I think he has Group 1 possibilities as he continues to progress and mature. He's so lightly-raced that he could be the proverbial "any kind" runner.
Best of luck in the future.
Why doesn't the DRF post vet sratches in the PP's, would have never picked Fast Million in the HG if I'd have known.
Vet scratches are listed on the selector pages in the print version of DRF, and they are can also be found on the "Scratch Board" link on the PDF past performance page online.
Dan can you post the lifetime PPs for the two BC Juvenile Turf winners, Nownownow and Donativum? Thanks in advance.
Here's what I have for Nownownow and Donativum:
Can anyone post a link to the past performance for the Woodbine Mile run on Sunday? It may have been the race of the day, but I missed printing it out.
Here they are:
HG 152: Chance of rain at BEL on Wednesday, so let's go to the fair for some rare real dirt racing in California. FPX 11, Governor's Cup, Wednesday September 23. Thanks for the opportunity and good luck to all.
Congrats to Uncle B for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise. Here are the past performances for HG 152:
Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan." Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified. In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference.
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are. I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.
Take a look at what a billion dollar race track looks like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLdGj4hn5SE Hopefully Cayman and I will be there for the track opening. You sure can't say they think small.
HG 152 $2 Superfecta 6,8/2,5,6,7,8/2,5,6,7,8/2,5,6,7,8 =$96
HG 152 $16 exacta box 2/5/8
HG152- my bet is $100 to win on #2-Big Bad Leroybrown. I just like his past two races. Thanks!
HG 152 #8 : 3 wins in 5 chances on dirt. Can either win on the engine or track speed. top pick. #1: Decent dirt record. May like the 2 turn sprint as he has run longer races in the past #3: bullet work and has fairplex experience Others have either no dirt experience or are closers who may be compromised on the tight turns. The bet $80 win #8 $10 ex. 8/1,3 Peace and love.
Mike A: Just got back on to see what I wrote above, and found I "invented" a jockey, apparently. The guy who jumped the outside rail twice in the same race at Northampton Fair in the early 70's was Ray PASQUERELLI (Sp?), not "Piscatelli". If I remember correctly, if you were backing a speed horse in these tight turn tracks, you wanted a post as close to the rail as you could get....come from off the pace types usually did well from the outside posts, however.
FAIRPLEX PARK – Wednesday (09-23-2009) – Race 11 A very tough race with everybody having a chance at the brass ring. This race seems like one where you will have to use the board to profit – there is really not much separating these, and anyone whose odds get out of line with the rest is probably the one to pursue. #1 SCREEN TO SCREEN (6/1) – is 2/17 lifetime with both wins coming on dirt tracks. Very consistent type who is always near the front at the end. Baffert will have him ready, think the jock switch to the more patient Gryder is a plus. Not sure sprints are his forte, but he is capable. #2 BIG BAD LEROYBROWN (7/2) – was trending up strongly until he ran into Zensational last out in the O’Brien. Has never run on dirt and changes riders to David Flores. Think he will be shuffled to the back and it is going to be very tough to run these down on, and a small track adds to the difficulty. Not here. #3 LIT’SGOODLOOKNGRAY (12/1) – no way does he go off at 12/1 here, another very solid, consistent runner. Lit de Justice runners can run on anything. He is 4/5 ITM at Fairplex, 7/10 ITM at the distance and 6/11 ITM on dirt. There are a couple of significant positives here – the last work, a :46/2 at Santa Anita and the rider switch to Delgadillo. Note: Agapito Delgadillo is a very smart and capable veteran jockey who actually retired two years ago, but just kept riding second tier horses for trainers. Give him anything that can run and he can bring them home. If you see him listed as the rider in a race, take a hard look at the horse because he brings home bombers pretty regularly. #4 FIRE BREAK (SCR) – has been scratched. #5 USURP (5/1) – okay, stop me if you have heard this before; a very capable and consistent sort who is always around the lead. I have been waiting for this one to hit dirt and here he is. Probably has the racing style to exploit the small track and tight corners of Pomona. Talamo rides for his girlfriend’s Dad… Note that he beat Bullsbay and Cost of Freedom last Summer in a sprint. A synthetic record of 9-3-4-0 is not chopped liver, but this one should go off on dirt. He needs the lead early to win – the three times he was leading at the ¼, he is 3-2-1-0. #6 A LIL DUMAANI (6/1) – one more time, a consistent runner who is always there at the end… Record in his last five is 5-2-2-1. He is 4/4 ITM on turf, 9/14 ITM on synthetic and has not raced on dirt. In his last 12 races he is 12-3-5-2 with a narrow Beyer range (86-99). This horse has been a rolling paycheck for Martin Garcia, so you are going to get max effort. #7 PAUL’S HOPE (5/2) – Hollendorfer has run him in progressively tougher races and he has held his own. I was actually at Turf Paradise on Valentine’s Day (with Ray and Katie) when he ran and he looked absolutely horrible on dirt, finishing last in a field of 13. He has won at Fairplex, so it could have been the surface at TuP. Extremely strong works at Del Mar. Quality runner, but not sure this is the best spot for him and he is the likely favorite. #8 DANCE WITH GABLE (9/2) – ignore one that is 5-3-1-1 on dirt at your own risk, his last race at Sacramento was ridiculously good – he ran with some very nice horses and closed them all out after running :21 and :42/3 fractions (not to mention he was steadied at the ¼ pole). Can’t get past that last run, the pick. SELECTIONS: #8 DANCE WITH GABLE #5 USURP #3 LIT’SGOODLOOKNGRAY WAGERS: $50 Quinella 3/8, 5/8
HG picks: This is my second attempt to post my picks -- $8 tri 7/ 5 8/ 2 3 5 6 8 $64 $1 tri 5 7 8/ 5 7 8/ all $36 Pedroza will go to the lead in the stretch for Hollendorfer who is 32% with AW to dirt and 9-13 bullet says ready. Leaving for Fort Collins, Co. and gone till Oct. 6. Heard that the dog track / simulcast in Loveland, CO has been closed and is to be torn down. Too bad as I enjoyed spending time there and visiting with the old timers who were there everyday. Cheers!
HG152 I am guessing that this will be won from off the pace. BigBadLeroyBrown(2) has the inside, ran well against these before, tried a G1 last out, and beat PaulsHope(7) at 6Fl. PaulsHope(7) beat BBLB at 7FL, has show pressing and closing ability, and gets Pedroza. His dirt debacle at TuP followed by a layoff is cause for concern. Was he injured or does he hate the dirt? BBLB gets the nod because of the inside post and the FPX work. Usurp (5) has to be included because he has been competitive with these two (2 & 7). LitsGoodLooknGrey (3) can close and may be lucky enough to hit the board. The play: $40 Exacta 2 with 5,7 $20 Exacta 2 with 3
I'm rooting for Paul's Hope but I think he's probably better on synthetics than dirt...