08/04/2007 1:30PM



--A few notes on Friday's Day 9 card:

Race 1: Great Point won this $25k N3L claimer, a far cry from where he was early last year: I did a double take when I realized this was the same horse who was flying at Barbaro in the final yards of the 2006 Holy Bull on a sloppy track. He was claimed here for $25k and moves from the Zito to Contessa barn.

Race 2: The stewards posted an inquiry and looked at taking down winning Tagg firster Rebounded for swerving into Smarteralex at the quarter pole but served justice by leaving the result alone. Horses have been taken down for less, but the incident did not affect anyone's placing and Smarteralex was probably finished when he had to check.

Race 3: Trainers Gary Contessa and Douglas Jacobson must really like Shaky Town or really not like each other. Contessa claimed him from Jacobson for $40k June 3. Jacobson claimed him back for $50k June 17. Contessa claimed him back for $45k here.

Race 6: Races 2 and 6 were split divisions of the meet's first grass route for 2-year-olds, and the fractional and final times of the two races were far apart:

*Race 2: 50.02, 1:14.64, 1:44.71
*Race 6: 47.38, 1:12.10, 1:43.13

So which race do you like better: The 6th, which was run 1.58 seconds faster, or the 2nd, where they came home in 30.07 as opposed to 31.03?

Race 8: Hats off to Burmilla, now undefeated in four career starts and a Grade 2 winner after wiring this edition of the Honorable Miss, but this was daylight robbery. She somehow was allowed to walk to the lead with an opening quarter in 23.01 on a day when claimers and 2-year-olds posted first quarters of 22.20 and 22.64. The race was as good as over.

I went through today's card at Siro's this morning and with any luck you can still listen to it here. A couple of other thoughts:

--Looking at Dr. Pleasure's pp's in the 7th race, which show his last two starts as distant finishes behind Bernardini in last year's Jim Dandy and Travers, made me think about Bernardini for the first time in many months. His career was so brief that he's out of mind, but let's not forget what a seriously good racehorse he was. He went from maiden to Preakness winner almost as suddenly as Curlin; his consecutive victories in the Preakness, Jim Dandy, Travers and JC Gold Cup comprised a terrific run; and he hardly disgraced himself running second to Invasor in the Breeders' Cup Classic with a less-than-ideal ride and trip. How much more exciting would the handicap division be this year if he were still around?

--I hurried through a recitation at Siro's of Todd Pletcher's record in Grade 1 races for 3-year-old fillies this year but the results are so staggering that they bear repeating. The Test is the 10th Grade 1 race in the division this year, and Pletcher has won 7 of the 9 run so far, with four different fillies:

Las Virgenes--Rags to Riches
Santa Anita Oaks--Rags to Riches
Kentucky Oaks--Rags to Riches
Acorn--Cotton Blossom
Mother Goose--Octave
American Oaks--Panty Raid
CCA Oaks--Octave

The other two? He lost the Ashland by a neck with Octave to Christmas Kid, and he did not have a starter in the Prioress, won by Test favorite Dream Rush. Pletcher can make it 8 for 10 if he upsets her with Cotton Blossom.

If you throw in the G2 Black-Eyed Susan, which he won with Panty Raid, Pletcher swept both the old (Ky Oaks--BE Susan--CCA Oaks) and new (Acorn-Mother Goose-CCA Oaks) versions of the filly triple crown this year.

And all that doesn't even include winning the Belmont Stakes against colts with Rags to Riches.