07/07/2008 11:27PM

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.