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Showcase of Upsets
--New York Showcase Day at Belmont Saturday was a bloodbath for chalkplayers. In the eight stakes races for statebreds, seven favorites lost and an eighth was (justifiably) disqualified. Nobody picked six, and the two pick-fours paid $6,807 and $11,460.
*The $100k Maid Of The Mist for 2-year-old fillies ended with the same 1-2 finish as the Gimma Sept. 23, but this time Expect The End (Precise End) beat Meriwether Jessica by 5 3/4 lengths rather than a nose. IEAH/Dutrow claimed the winner out of her winning debut at Churchill Downs for $25k last May and she has now won three straight statebred stakes.
*The $100k Sleepy Hollow for 2-year-old males saw the defeat of 3-10 favorite Big Truck. This is the colt that trainer Barclay Tagg said might be the best of his 2-year-olds a few weeks ago, strong words considering he also handles G2 Futurity winner and BC Juvenile entrant Tale of Ekati. After that pronouncement, Big Truck seemed to work awfully hard to win his second start at 3-5, and here he hung badly after a perfect trip. Second-time starter Giant Moon (Giant's Causeway) successfully stretched out from 5 to 8 furlongs, fighting off Big Truck through the stretch and then holding off a late bid from 30-1 Coastal Drive -- making his first start for Dutrow since being claimed out of a $25k Monmouth maiden-claimer in August.
*In the $125k Iroquois for filly sprinters, 14-1 Karakorum Starlet(Skip Away) and 24-1 Mama Theresa finished a neck apart in that order and 6 1/2 in front of favored Ice Cool Kitty.
*Tagg made it to the winners' circle with Cute Cognac (Hennessy) in the $75k Office Miss for 3-year-old turf fillies, a two-length winner over 26-1 Them There Eyes, with a pair of 35-1 shots filling out a $47k superfecta.
*Rewrite (Editor's Note), owned by the late P.G. Johnson's daughters Karen and Kathy, won the $150k Ticonderoga for older grass fillies in a three-way photo over Factual Contender and Latitude Forty, with J'Ray a late-running fourth as the favorite.
*Ferocious Fires, 5-for-5 but unraced since last November, was placed first after being bothered in the stretch by bearing-out favorite Stormin Normandy in the $125k Hudson Handicap for older sprinters. Stormin Normandy, who led from the start as the 2-1 favorite for Rick Dutrow, held on by a neck but was placed second (after an inquiry and foul claim) to Ferocious Fires (Lite the Fuse), trained by Tony Dutrow.
*Al Basha (Aljabr) ran down fellow 3-year-old and maybe-best Spurred in the final yards to beat their elders in the $150k Mohawk on the grass. Spurred made an early move to wear down favorite Red Zipper in a long stretch drive but had nothing left to fend off Al Basha's late surge.
*Dr. V's Magic, a 3-year-old son of Raffie's Majesty-Treasure always trained by Dominic Galluscio, held off Who What Win by half a length to win the $250k Empire Classic at 15-1. If the pedigree and connections sound vaguely familiar, it's because last year Galluscio sent out Dr. V.'s Magic's his now-5-year-old full brother, Organizer, to win the same race at 22-1. Favored Naughty New Yorker got going too late and stuck on the inside and settled for a distant fourth.
The last race of the day was a statebred allowance race and there was just one pick-six ticket alive, to 12-1 Striking Rizzi, who finished 11th. So there will be a $63k carryover into Sunday's closing-day card at Belmont, where there will be a mandatory payout even if no one picks six. The pick-six sequence is a snapshot of what much of the fall meeting felt like on a regular basis: It includes five grass races, four of them at a mile or less, two of them restricted to statebreds.
The featured King Cugat Stakes at a mile on the turf for 2-year-olds is unrestricted, but 8 of the 13 entrants are New York-breds. There are some slight Breeders' Cup connections in the race as several in the field are coming off defeats against Prussian or The Leopard, who are pre-entered in Friday's BC Juvenile Turf. The King Cugat field also includes two Juvenile Turf also-eligibles unlikely to get into that race: Why Tonto and Cannonball, 7th and 9th respectively on the BCJT A-E list.
--The two richest races in North America Sunday are at Woodbine:
2:59 EST, Woodbine race 5, G1 $1 million E. P. Taylor, 3+ fillies, 1 1/4m-T
Mrs. Lindsay, a 3-year-old Theatrical filly who has made all six of her career starts in France, is the 2-1 ML favorite off a last-out victory in the G1 Prix Vermeille at Longchamps. (Passage of Time, third in that race, has been pre-enetered in the BC F&M Turf.) German-bred Four Sins, a G2 winner at The Curragh last time out, is the second ML choice at 4-1. Safari Queen heads the American contingent and Hostess is worth a look at 12-1 ML odds.
4:05 EST, Woodbine race 7, G1 $2 million Canadian International, 3+, 1 1/2m-T
Nine of the dozen entrants were bred outside the United States and the field includes horses who made their last starts at Ascot, Baden-Baden, Deauville and Newbury. Good luck. Sunriver will take them as far as he can on the lead, and the 3-1 ML favorite to run him down is Germany's Quijano, a winner of 12 of 15 career starts. Irish Wells, who split Dylan Thomas and Dr. Dino when second in the G1 Prix Ganay last April, is a little interesting at 8-1.
Whoever told you that Murtagh is 0-55 is flat out wrong. Two BC wins with Kalanisi and Ridgewood Pearl.
Bill, if they're bringing Murtaugh I hadn't heard of it. Jamie Spencer has been his rider all year. He was the 0 for life reference.
Andrew_Carpenter, not trying to stick my nose into your handicapping, but you might want to factor Excellent Art's jockey into the recipe. He might be a major player in Europe, but he's been a disaster traveling here. I'm told he's 0-55. All this with the ML favorite? Shame, because he looks like a really good horse, and in a race where almost all seem to have one hole or another.
Courtesy of Eurohorse.co.uk October 20, 2007 from Woodbine, Canada Top Euros Ask and Quijano loom large in Canadian feature First Time Euros - 7th Race Woodbine: ASK is expected to go off shorter than is indicated at the morning price of 6/1. Subject has retuned this year with two excellent wins which should not be downplayed because they were Group 3 events. ASK returned to the races in May in a big effort against top runner Scorpion only to come down with an infection that he fought off to win on his reappearance last month. Conditioned by Sir Michael Stoute, subject should be covered up mid pack and would be expected to make a prolonged late run to take this event, with the German entrant being his biggest threat. QUIJANO is a solid German invader with a stellar overall record that puts him into the mix here in a big way. Jumped in against and bested the popular German Derby winner in last as that one went off the 2/1 choice to finish second. The fourth horse that day was Youmzain which came back to run an absolute blinder to just miss in the Arc two weeks ago. Just a little bit of cut in the ground and this one could have a big say in the final outcome. HONOLULU has surely disappointed of late and has had little or no excuse for not getting closer in his last two. Received tremendous betting support only to falter when it counted against the popular winner of the St. Leger, the John Gosden trained Lucarno. Subject can surely stay the trip but has shown he is perhaps more one paced than he would need to be to take this race but stands an outsider’s chance in any case. ORACLE WEST turns up in the form of the German horse and we would not be surprised to see this one finishing very far adrift of said Quijano again. Long time between wins for this gelding but we plan to at least have a look in the parade as Johnnie Murtagh has been riding superbly and took a big race just yesterday at Newmarket a double digits. Subject runner has run credibly against some very good horses in the past and a case can be made for a minor award at long odds. IRISH WELLS faces some pretty classy individuals in his three losses just before his last winning start. The runner up finish to Arc winner and current BC Turf favourite Dylan Thomas fairly speaks volumes. Saddex and Mandesha are top individuals while Mountain High just missed a short head yesterday in a cracking good effort in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket. With a decent break should be placed in good stalking position from early on can certainly be a threat late for a share of the prize. Selections: 9 – 12 – 6 – 4 more at www.eurohorse.co.uk
STEVE, Will you be at the BC Handicapping Forum at MTH on Thursday night? Do you think it is worth the $30 price? Of course, aside from the fact that you get a copy of EXOTIC BETTING!
I can't believe the money in supplemental fees being pumped into the Mile. Three paying 15%, and one paying 9%. That's a lot of cash. Adding the pre-entry and entry fees of $20k and $30K it looks like the purse will swell to over $4 million. Can I be correct? With 54% to the winner the 15%er's are essentially getting 6-1 on their horse purse money wise. Running second is about breakeven. Anything else a money burner. I'm no math whiz kid but in a race where there seems to be a hole in almost every runner I'd be tempted to find something elso to do with my $300k. I'm sure glad we have sports people to kick up the money and make the show what it is.
I am a regular reader who prefers to not enter discussions. However, I humbly need something I have Monmouth stats years old but nothing this year and the track has changed. My stats show that even the great Dylan Thomas (come and gone)(6 G1 wins) will be seriously comprimised if he draws post 9 or out later this week. I would appreciate having 2007 stats for turf plus sprit and longer dirt. E--mail as above.
Steve, While handicapping today, I noticed the following: at Laurel in race 9 #10 Jeux de Danse last ran on Sept 22 in the 4th race at one mile on the turf at Belmont winning by 1 and 3/4 and garnering a beyer # of 81 in a time of 1:37 and2.On the same date in race 1 Tobruk ran the same distance over the same turf course and ran 2nd beaten 3 and 3/4 lenghts in a time of 1:35 and 3 with a beyer of 82.What do you make of this discrepancy? Thank you, Peter Kreutzer Jeux De Danse won for fun Tobruk got a less than judiciuos ride to say the least and got beat on the wire
Excellent Art and Jeremy-Euro hopefuls grade out well enough for the BC MIle, but have never run on a Left Handed course. In a full field, it is certainly asking alot, especially if they are hung out wide. Excited about the Hong Kong funds fueling this race. Any opinion either way. Thanks.
Steve, You mentioned that you were not impressed with Discreet Cat's effort in the Vosburgh. By my calculation,his first half mile was the fastest that he has ever run.What am I missing ? Thanks, and see you at Monmouth. BC