07/25/2007 1:05PM

Opening Day Double


As I said yesterday, I don't believe in omens, so I'm not going to take the bizarre first race of Saratoga 2007 as a portent of either an aesthetically ugly or personally lucrative meet. It's hard to crow amid an accident.

Forget the Judge ran second by a head at 11-1 with 6-5 favorite Massoud off the board, setting up a highly haveable $160 exacta and $1844 triple. Yay, but there's a big asterisk: Massoud fell in upper stretch after rankly dueling for the lead, also causing Lieutenant Danz to fall. Preliminary eyewitness reports are that everyone's okay except the people who backed the underlaid favorite, but I'm trying to follow the early races from the house via Capital OTB TV and there haven't been any updates.

Massoud, a 7-year-old who had spent his entire career in trainer Graham Motion's barn, was claimed for $35k by David Jacobson (son of the (in)famous Buddy Jacobson), who has been assembling a stable in New York under Diane Balsamo's training but starting today is himself listed as the trainer of record.

The second race, the traditional opening-day baby race, had four late scratches, often a sign that there's word around the backstretch that the field includes a monster you don't really want to run against. The toteboard said the same thing about Sargent Seattle, a Vindication firster from Robsham/Hough, the same connections that unveiled Discreet Cat here two summers ago. The $475k yearling ran down narrow favorite Bold Trust on the turn and drew off impressively in 1:03.47 for 5 1/2 furlongs -- impossible to quantify until they run some more dirt races but probably a big fig. For those of us who revere Seattle Slew, it's nifty to see one of his last sons at stud getting off to such a hot start.

Okay, time to go over to the races. Quick question: Could the Angel Cordero Jr. bobblehead below, the Thursday giveaway here, possibly look any LESS like Cordero?