11/24/2012 12:14PM

Holidayfest with a Side of Carryover


12:15 pm: If you like Grade 1 and 2 stakes racing, and New York-bred maiden juveniles on the turf, have I got a carryover for you.

Aqueduct's Holidayfest card Saturday begins with a two-day $109,248 pick-6 carryover, and the sequence of races 5-10 consists of four G1 or G2 stakes -- the G2 Demoiselle (race 6), G2 Remsen (7th), G1 Cigar Mile (8th) and G1 Gazelle (9th) -- sandwiched between a pair of turf routes for statebred juvenile maidens.

Three scratches from the Demoiselle (Miss Patricia, Conconut Shrimp and Ruby Lips) and two from the Cigar Mile (Associate, Jersey Town) have left fields of just 4 and 5 for those races. So no show or superfecta betting on the Demoiselle and no super on the Cigar. Perhaps anticipating the short Demoiselle lineup, track officials eschewed an all-stakes lineup for the $250k guaranteed late pick-4, which instead consists of the Remsen, Cigar, Gazelle and one of those maiden turfers.

The Gazelle is the last Grade 1 race in new York until the Wood Memorial (or maybe the Carter on the same card) next April, but it's not going to be a Grade 1 much longer unless NYRA finds a better place on the calendar for a Grade 1 race restricted to 3-year-old fillies. The field of seven includes a single graded stakes winner of any kind, and her graded triumphs came in Puerto Rico.

Thanksgiving weekend is way too late for a Grade 1 race restricted to 3-year-olds. Personally I'd like to see the Gazelle moved to the Wood Memorial card and be New York's big prep for the Kentucky Oaks, a suggestion made by commenter Yuwipi in this space more than a year ago (update: and by commenter gowanusbaseball even earlier).

Here are my early thoughts on the meat of the Pick-6 sandwich, the four stakes races. Back later with tickets and other observations.


12:40 pm: Can't remember the last horse to lose consecutive starts at less than 2-to-5, but that's what Revolutionary has now done.

After closing like a rocket to be third in his debut at Saratoga Sept. 3, Revolutionary was 0.35-to-1 when he returned for an Oct. 28 maiden race. The 2-year-old War Pass colt ran well but ran into Little Distorted, a Michael Mareina firster who posted a winning Beyer Speed Figure of 101 beating Revolutionary by 2 1/4 lengths.

In today's second race, for 2-year-old maidens at a mile, Revolutionary was"1-to-4" (wish NYRA would get rid of that awkward and unpopular odds point) and broke behind the field. He steadily advanced while pinned to the rail thereafter, but after a big middle move flattened out badly and just lasted for third by a neck while far behind 9-2 Orb and 49-1 Freedom Child.

Orb, a Phipps/McGaughey Malibu Moon-Statue of Liberty colt, pulled a Revolutionary of his own two starts back. Coming off a fast-closing third in his Saratoga debut, he was sent off at 7-10 in his next start at Belmont and finished far up the track. Today, Orb ran the mile in 1:38.73 on what does not appear to be a particularly quick track.


1:00pm: Rebounding from Revolutionary, Pletcher sent out 2-year-old Tale of the Cat firster Forty Tales ($4.80) to a winning debut in the 3rd. The $80k yearling ran down 21-1 Randi Persaud firster Street Prince in 1:11.85 for 6f.


1:30 pm: Here's the pick-6 play:


My final dilemma was whether to make my backups B's vs. C's in the Demoiselle and Gazelle. I decided to back up Emollient with Unlimited Budget instead of putting two or three others in the B column behind Dance Card and Book Review for two reasons: While Emollient has a 20-point BSF edge, I'm nervous that a)Nobody coming out of Emollient's big win is running back to that figure (see chart at right) and b)Emollient is adding aluminum pads today.

I seem to be living dangerously in the first leg by barely including 3-1 favorite Aprettydixie as a C. She has stopped going shorter in all four career starts and I just don't see her lasting on the lead on the stretchout.


2:00 pm: Ick. Another masterful ride from Dominguez on 6-1 Hope for Tomorrow, just lasting over the belated charges of The Lady Says Yes and Adriatic Dreams, leaves me all-A thin the rest of the way. Hope for Tomorrow triple carryover?

Unlimited Budget opened 3-5 over Emollient and is favored in the 5-6 double ($28.40 vs. $30.00), though Emollient is the clear choice in the 4-5-6 pick-3 ($124.50 vs. $213.50).


2:30 pm: With two MTP, it was still Unlimited Budget at 4-5 and Emollient at 6-5, but the late money (which these days means virtually all the simo money, not last-minute sharpies at the track) made Emollient 4-5 and Unlimited Budget even-money for the Demoiselle.

Unlimiteed Budget ($4.10) led every step of the way in a tepid 1:52.16, but enjoyeed a tactical advantage at every turn under a strong ride from John Velazquez. Emollient tried to stay close but was boxed in (I know, in a four-horse race) most of the way down the backstretch on a rail that may not be the best place to be today. Velazquez kept her down there by opening the rail for Emollient and Junior Alvarado, but they couldn't or wouldn't get through, Unlimited Budget opened daylight again around the turn, and Emollient switched to the outside. She was gaining late but couldn't get there.

"The inside is slower, so I wanted to keep [Emollient] inside a bit," said Velazquez. "I wanted to keep her down in there and make her try to get by me there.”

Unlimited Budget, a $475k 2-year-old purchase by Mike Repole last March, is a Florida-bred daughter of Street Sense. The Demoiselle was the third stakes victory in three days for Repole and Pletcher, who tokk the Fall Highweight with Caixa Electronica Thursday and the Super Mario with Notacatbutallama yesterday. Pletcher also took Wednesday's Stardusk with Channel Lady.

Repole/Pletcher still have Overanalyze and Micromanage in the upcoming Remsen and Stay Thirsty in the Cigar Mile.


3:05 pm: Overanalyze won the Remsen by a nose over Normandy Invasion in a race where the runner-up loked like a certain winner down the stretch.

Overanalyze stalked Delhomme from the start and they were running 1-2 in that order in upper stretch as Normandy Invasion launched a furious rally up the rail before moving out for the stretch drive. He was gaining on the top two with every stride but just as he drew even with that pair his momentum seemed to wane, and Overanalyze fought back from the middle of the trio and prevailed in a head-bobber as Delhomme settled for third.

Overanalyze, a $300k Dixie Union yearling, was the lone graded-stakes winner in the field, having won the G2 Futurity at Belmont Sept. 30 after running fourth in Shanghai Bobby's Hopeful. (Will the Graded stakes Committee now consider restoring the Hopeful to a G1, as it has already yielded the winners of this year's Futurity, Champagne, Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Remsen?) He then headed to Churchill Downs and ran a distant third in the Iroquois to Uncaptured, the favorite in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club later this afternoon.

The final time of the Remsen was 1:50.13, more than two full seconds faster than the Demoiselle:

Remsen: ......23.99...48.07...1:12.54...1:37.45...1:50.13



3:30 pm: Three in a row for Repole/Pletcher as Stay Thirsty wore down and nosed out a gallant Groupie Doll to win the G1 Cigar Mile.

No excuses for anyone. Buffum and Coil set a contested but mild pace with Groupie Doll behind them on the outside and Stay Thirsty surprisingly far back early. Turning for home, Groupie Doll collared the two leaders, but didn't put them away the way she usually does against fellow filly sprinters, only edging ahead. Stay Thirsty finally got into gear and drew even with the filly, and their noses were going up and down to the wire. The final time was 1:35.47.

Stay Thirsty, second to Flat Out in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last month, was winning for the first time since taking the Jim dandy and Travers as a 3-year-old last year. He now heads off to stud, along with the scratched Jersey Town and yesterday's Clark winner, Shackleford. A nice trio of tough guys whose best moments were pretty good. 

As for Groupie Doll, it's great that she came for the race and ran so well, but even if she'd won the bob I don't think she was going to unseat Royal Delta as champion older filly or suddenly become a serious Horse of the Year contender. She should, however, be a unanimous chopice as champion filly or mare sprinter.


4:00 pm: Dance Card scored a box-to-wire victory in the G1 Gazellefor 3-year-old fillies despite drifting out late.

My Wandy's Girl, the Puerto Rican sensation, chased her from second throughout and tired late, getting caught by 22-1 Sea Island for second at the wire. Book Review, the 9-5 second choice, made a brief bid entering the stretch turn but faded thereafter.

Dance Card, now a winner of four straight after running second to Book Review in her debut May 20, was making her graded-stakes debut today. The 3-year-old Tapit filly, a $750k purchase as a 2-year-old last year, races under the Godolphin banner and is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

Your willpays, and yes, they're all covered in the pick-6:


Final thought: The time of the Gazelle (1:50.39) was about a length and a half slower than the Remsen (1:50.13), and I think the latter is going to come up a pretty strong race for 2-year-olds going a mile and an eighth in November. Overanalyze, Normandy Invasion and Delhomme all could have bright futures.