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Hollday Weekend Notes
Here's a link to a handy page on this site that, if you're like me, you didn't even know existed: a sprawling table of all the weekend stakes results, with Beyers when available and links to charts and some replays.
---The two biggest figs among the holiday weekend's 15 graded stakes were in six-furlong races at Belmont: Lucky Island's 113 winning the G2 Tom Fool Friday and Indian Blessing's 109 winning the G1 Prioress Saturday. Both get a small asterisk for coming over wet tracks but both winning performances were powerful ones by very good racehorses who showed an added dimension.
Lucky Island, who might be the best sprinter in training this side of Benny the Bull, won the Bold Ruler in his previous start after rating early and waiting for room, but in the Tom Fool he took early command from Tasteyville and then kicked clear late.
Indian Blessing got an oustanding ride from John Velazquez, who said he simply "rode her like she was the best horse." Drawn inside the other speed in the race, Indian Blessing was outsprinted early, took to the outside on the turn and powered to a 4 3/4-length victory. Pencil her in as odds-on in the Test Aug. 2, the second Saturday of Saratoga (which opens in a mere 15 days.)
---If you watch only one replay, make it Saturday's Cash Call Mile at Hollywood, and decide for yourself which is more incredible: the way that Ventura (#2, Juddmonte green and pink) snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, or that she almost won the race after fighting Garrett Gomez just about every step of the way.
---Mint Lane, whose 106 Beyer winning the Postponed Stakes at Belmont June 13 was the highest in a route this year by any 3-year-old male except Big Brown's Kentucky and Florida Derbies, returned to win the Dwyer Sunday at 3-5 but earned only a 95 this time. Some might ascribe the decline to the dreaded bounce, but the fractions of the two races may have been the difference. Mint Lane led all the way in both races but set much faster fractions over a slower track in the Dwyer and was visibly tired late:
Postponed: 23.99, 47:49, 1:11.70, 1:36.21, 1:42.67
The Dwyer: 23.55, 46.59, 1:11.01, 1:37.34, 1:44.29
If you break it down into the first two half-miles and the final sixteenth, it looks like this:
Postponed: 47:49, 48.72, 6.46
The Dwyer: 46.59, 50.75, 6.95
Pace handicappers who make a pace as well as a final-time speed figure for races would say (in pace/final terms) that Mint Lane ran something like a 96/106 in the Postponed and a 107/95 in the Dwyer.
Jim, Rajiv Maragh was trying to win a race (unlike Arboleda). Some say he knocked Spa Princess off-stride. I really don't think he did to any appreciable degree. Hey, bumping is part of turf racing. If you watch the replay, the bump actually jolts Arboleda back to life... what? I'm in a race? there isn't another lap? in that case, I better start scrubbing. While Hill's ride wasn't intentional, you can't do that and not be DQed. Everyone says they want the results to stand if there's no reason to think the order would be different. Well, that bump didn't prevent Spa Princess from a better finish, and Oniyone would've unfairly been 3rd had there been no DQ. I'm not saying Channing Hill is to blame, but the stewards can't let that stand. Just my opinion, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.
C: So you can't cut a horse off but knocking him offstride is ok? are you kidding? that makes no sense. what happened sunday was worse than hill's dq. go watch both races again. hill's was unintentional and maragh's was intentional.
The New York Stewards are inconsistent... I thought the stews finally had it figured out at Saratoga last year when they had seemingly decided to leave horses up unless it was ABSOLUTELY CLEAR an infraction had been committed and it was CERTAIN a horse had been cost a placing. That's the standard I want them to use. Their seeming resolve went out the window about three-quarters through the Saratoga meet when they made that bad call in a grass race. I forget the names of the horses but I think it was a Kimmel trainee, the favorite, who was a stumbling second under the wire as the winner bore in. The incident had no effect on the order of finish but the horse stumbled and it was the favorite so they took the winner down, completely against the tack they had adopted. Since then they have gone back and forth. I for one just want to see then leave horses up unless the evidence another horse has been cost a placing is incontravertable.
NYRA stewards have zero creditability. A couple of posters have stuck up for them and then Thursday afternoon they go and give days to Maragh for a non-DQ and then take down a horse in the 7th with very simular circumstances. I wonder if jockeys are taking notice(COA) and will ride differently. Coa, in the Admiral Bird race on the 4th, acted as if seen a mouse when the Admiral looked cross-eyed at him.
I agree that the DQ in the 7th was ridiculous "if" the standard is whether or not infraction impacted the final result. The winner was obviously much the best and the steadied horse was obviously going to finish 3rd...end of story. There is no consistent standard and that's the problem.
Regarding the dq in the 7th at belmont on Thursday.I see that there are already complaints coming in on the blog.I was at Belmont yesterday and the moaning and crying from the bettors who had the favorite could be heard thru out the place.My take on it,and I had no involvement in the race,was that Deewanee(the 4) was never going to beat Oniyome(the 2),however she was checked and lost momentum which cost her second place.If the 4 runs second there would have been no dq, but since the foul(and it was a foul)cost the 4 a placing the dq was justified.If you have any doubts just watch the replay or read the chart notes .
Taylor Donnelly, I don't think the 2 situations were that similar. I'm not a steward, but would've made similar calls in these recent races if put in their position. For what it's worth, here's the way I saw each case: 1) Proud Spell was taken down because of Saez's antics, as I've said before. I agree with Steve, however, about punishing the rider instead of the public. 2) At first glance, Admiral Bird's takedown appeared somewhat borderline, but there was enough there to think he may have cost Coa's mount 2nd. Don't forget, there was a jockey's objection in that race... when I watched the head-on, I wondered if Garcia (accidently) hit Doc N Roll in the face with his whip. It looked that way because Doc N Roll sharply ducked to the rail while Garcia was using the left-handed whip. 3) Catty Madeline-- already discussed. 4) Hill's mount quite clearly cut off Desormeaux's... I think Desormeaux's reaction was genuine and not an acting job. I'm sure he isn't too keen on the idea of being trampled or flung into the lake. Judging from the head-on, I'm not so sure that Oniyome's rump didn't make contact with Deewanee's head. What's the difference between Catty Madeline and Oniyome/Admiral Bird? Side-to-side bumping is almost never as severe or dangerous as cutting in front of another horse. Bumping often looks serious, especially when there's a domino effect of horses being carried out. Most of the time, however, bumped horses don't lose that much forward momentum. I think that could be said of Spa Princess. In short, I think bumping (from the side) is the most overemphasized form of trouble. On the hand, when a horse drifts over directly in front of another horse, that's trouble. There's a risk of clipping heels, which is extremely dangerous. In NASCAR, you often see drivers cut each other off with a few inches to spare. You just can't do that on horseback, though. Even if there's no contact, horses can get spooked by such moves, which can result in a chain-reaction spill. When a horse is cut off, it usually causes the horse/rider to steady and lose their stride and probably some position. I'm surprised so many people think Hill's takedown was unjustified. There seems to be a tendency to look at veteran riders like Desormeaux and Coa as "teacher's pets" who have the stewards wrapped around their finger, but ask yourself if you'd feel the same way if Desormeux cut off Hill and was not DQed. You can't do that.
On Thursdays DQ at NY 2 observations. 1- I do not think Hill should get days, I only saw the run though the stretch and I don't think Hulk Hogan could have kept that horse from lugging in. 2- It appeard to me Desomeaux did not pesevere with his mount. He knew if he finished 2nd it would be a no call like Sunday, if he fades it now becomes questionable, if it caused him a position(very likley) either way he gets 2nd money. So, IMO he took care of the horse, and maybe has something left for next time. I know the owner and trainer appreciated it.
For Don_Reed: I am a regular player of Australian Racing. They don't give equipment changes, wraps nothing in the program.You have to hope that they give you equipment changes with the early scratches, on occasion after say the 3rd race is over the announcer with quickly run through the changes in the next race. One thing I have learned 1st ,2nd. or 3rd off a layoff is generally not good unles it's one of the big dogs, Waterhouse, Hawkes, Ryan, Snowden or those guys. 4TH RACE after the layoff is usually when they sit on a big one.
At Australia's Nowra Course (07/11/08): In Race 1, Busta Kahuna ($79.10) & Wrist Cracker ($19.20) ran 1-2. The least adventurous bettors scored, with the exacta paying $4,522.90. The triple tripped ($3,578.90, with "All" 3rd). And the super wasn't (the "everybody into the pool" $2,096.90 - w/ "All" in 3rd & 4th - amounted to less than 50% of the Exacta Niagara). Later on, kangaroos barged onto the course & held up the start of the 3rd race for some 15 minutes, severely testing the patience of the testy race caller ("Get a gun & fire it into the air!") & vocal fans before finally vacating the premises. However, the aggravation this created was infinitesimal - in comparison to what recently occurred at Belmont after NYRA's inexplicable Proud Spell DQ. The moral of the story is that the pre-race marsupials charging at you at 40 miles an hour are far less dangerous than the sedentary zebras reviewing the post-race video-tapes.