07/05/2011 10:47AM

Courageous Cat, Smiling Tiger, and Other Stuff


A few quick notes on some Independence Day weekend stakes action:

I’m a Caracortado fan, but Courageous Cat was a much more decisive winner of the Shoemaker Mile than his margin of a neck over Caracortado would suggest. But this post-race talk about can’t waiting for Courageous Cat to tackle Goldikova in the Breeders’ Cup Mile? Be careful what you wish for. Let’s first hope that Courageous Cat can actually put a complete campaign together, something he hasn’t always been able to do.

The Smiling Tiger who was so impressive winning the Triple Bend? That was the Smiling Tiger everyone’s been waiting for to show up. Oh yeah, the way Smiling Tiger won the Triple Bend after struggling in the Churchill Downs Stakes in his previous outing was also additional evidence of the dead rail that prevailed at Churchill on Kentucky Derby Day.

It was sad to see Fabulous Strike come up wanting again, this time in the Mr. Prospector Stakes. Fabulous Strike was for a time the best sprinter in the country a couple of years ago, so he deserves easier assignments if he is to continue his comeback.

Whether it’s a case of the local horsemen not supporting early 2-year-old racing, or a case of track management not sufficiently encouraging/coercing local horsemen to participate in early 2-year-old racing, I thought the New York representation in the Futurity and Matron Stakes was most distressing. Only one of the six males entered in the Futurity was New York-stabled, and only two of the seven females entered in the Matron were New York-based.

Speaking of New York horses in New York stakes, I know Rule and Morning Line were unsuccessful in the Salvator Mile, but why did they run in that New Jersey race instead of the six horse Suburban Handicap in New York on the same day? Rule and Morning Line are New York-based horses, and they happened to have run well at the Suburban’s nine furlong distance in the past.

Yeah, I know he was 4-5 in a four horse field. But Flashpoint was still very impressive dominating the Jersey Shore after a somewhat difficult trip early. He has all the earmarks of a big league sprinter.

And speaking of monsters, there’s Hungry Island. Granted, the Recording Stakes she won was only an overnight event restricted to 3-year-old fillies, but the overwhelming late kick she displayed in her compelling performance is usually the hallmark of only important grass horses. Hungry Island has major wins in her future.

gerry More than 1 year ago
i hear all this chat about goldicova a great horse maybe the best miler but father time has caught up with her canford cliffs is now the best miler and will prove it again at the breeders if he chooses to run
LetItRideMike More than 1 year ago
Regarding Smiling Tiger at CD, he didnt work that well before the race. CD's track Derby week was unlike anything that horse has run on before or since, and that includes CD's track for the BC. People forget what kind of surface that was, greasy would be the best word for it in the BC, cuppy this spring. Lets hope all get a fair and well maintained track to workout and race on at CD for the BC, cuz it will be the first time in a while that has happened before the sports biggest events. Also, before I put away my soapbox - am I the only one who thinks its absolutely nuts that Churchill does not allow the general public in to see morning workouts?? Saratoga, Keeneland, Del Mar, Arlington, Santa Anita, Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Gulfstream and on and on and on all do, Churchill. Do you have any logical reason for denying the racing fan the ablility to view for free one of the best parts of our sport, a morning watching all these great runners with a cup of hot coffee and some friends. Try it, they may actually come back and bet more in the pm, or buy a share in a horse or two!!
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
GunBow, Yeah! I saw the memo. When California learns what constitutes DIRT, then give me a call. What's this ? Their 14th renovation in just the last year ? When one of those plodders was given credit for breaking the 'Bids record, didn't you sort of smell a rat ? The 'Bid is laughing, just like the rest of us. Might be good for fruits & veggies, but not a horse racing track......... PS: Oh! I see they're at it again.........LoL.......15 & counting......
Utah More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the kudos SamG. I did pay for my obnoxiously high priced Saratoga hotel bill on Flat Out's back! Im also looking forward to playing Crown of Thorns next out too!!
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
Hialeah: The Futurity and Matron were September races through 2009 (last time they were run before this year). NYRA decided to move the races to July as with the way horses race now, few trainers would run in the Hopeful, Futurity and Champagne or Spinaway, Matron and Frizette. Given that is the likely case for the future, perhaps starting with 2014 (foals of 2012), we can make both races what they actually were for many years in terms of being futurities: Start with a foal payment in 2012, then yearling payments in 2013 and then a early two year old season payment in 2014. This could lead up to trials at five and a half furlongs that could headline the card of the Thursday before the Belmont Stakes, carrying the same purse as a typical NW1x Allowance with the first x number of finishers making the actual races. The actual Futurity and Matron races (that would essentially be finals) then would be held on the July 4th weekend and could be guaranteed to be worth $250,000, but would carry at least $150,000 in added money. That, like the increase in purses for maiden races for two year olds to $60,000 for this season at Belmont might help in having more two year olds available later to fill NW1x/NW2L Allowance events that can make things easier for everyone, especially heading towards Saratoga. Given where we are in the sport these days, this might very well work.
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
"Please, Please, Please....>>JB......" I see the Western Wishful Thinkers are at it again....Please run Smiling Tiger & Twirling Candy on DIRT in a G1 come Breeders Cup Day @ CD.......It'll make it an early X-Mas present, 'cause there is 2 sure throw-outs to make my day easier........
GunBow More than 1 year ago
Curt V: Did you miss the memo that Santa Anita went back to DIRT last December? Twirling Candy won the gr.1 Malibu, with Smiling Tiger 2nd, on dirt. The field for the Malbu was solid with Noble's Promise. Twirling Candy also won the gr.2 Strub on dirt. As for Smiling Tiger, I don't know how any one can suggest he can't run on dirt. In addition to the Malibu, Smiling Tiger ran a good 3rd, as a 3 year old, in last year's Breeder's Cup Sprint. That race was on DIRT, in a G1, in a Breeder's Cup race. Smiling Tiger is a year older, and his Triple Bend was better than his Hollywood Park races last year, suggesting he is faster now than last November. Smiling Tiger has also won the gr2 San Carlos on dirt and the gr3 Count Fleet on dirt. His poor race in the Churchill Cap' was a complete throw-out because he was stuck in traffic repeatedly through the stretch, and to make matters worse was on the "dead" rail. Seriously folks, why are we still questioning whether Smiling Tiger can dirt. He can, and has done so on multiple occassions. That's not the question. The question is whether he is faster than Big Drama, Trappe Shot and others in a loaded division.
hialeah More than 1 year ago
GunBow: (always enjoy your input) But look at the Smiling Tiger record (God I feel like O'Reilly). Yes, oh really. He has 3 Gr-1 wins of which two at are at Hol and one on whatever they used last yr at Del Mar (where have you gone Don Bingo?). He is 4 for 12 elsewhere with 6 shows. Make of that what you will. I had the Malibu Ex(multiple times) and that's the only time I wagered on him (full disclosure). Has to show more (on dirt) for me to embrace. That is all. Thanks and gd lck!
alan levy More than 1 year ago
Smiling Tiger, showed besides Twirling Candy, that he's probably the best older sprinter in the country, and if healthy will be tough to beat in the BC Sprint. Rosario gave him a great ride, cannot have any trouble on the lead.
BillM More than 1 year ago
With all due respect Mr. Watchmaker, I believe Smiling Tiger's performance at CD on Derby Day was due to the jockey staying in behind Captain Cherokee(#4) too long, not the "dead rail" so many handicappers are proclaiming. Around the eighth pole, there appeared to be plenty of room for Smiling Tiger to go through between Capt. Cherokee and Delong Road (#9), the jock either didn't see it or wouldn't do it, then it looks like Smiling Tiger basically ran up on the heels of Capt. Cherokee, but did finish full of run. Take care.
richard barton More than 1 year ago
SamG More than 1 year ago
No mention of Flat Out?Weird.Unless he turns out to be a one hit wonder the rest of the division is in deep trouble.Kudos to Utah,hope you were all over him. I don't know the math but Overdriven would've won the Futurity by what,about 20 lengths?Guessing they wanted to get a race into him before trying stakes. Agreed that Goldikova is probably not shaking in her hooves but hey,consider the source.