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Spa Day 10: 8/1/11
1:15 pm: After Coil's victory in yesterday's Haskell, there have now been nine Grade 1 races for the 3-year-old males of 2011...and nine different winners: Dialed In (Florida Derby). Toby's Corner (Wood Memorial), Midnight Interlude (Santa Anita Derby), Brilliant Speed (Blue Grass), Archarcharch (Arkansas Derby), Animal Kingdom (Kentucky Derby), Shackleford (Preakness), Ruler on Ice (Belmont) and Coil (haskell). Since the next two G1's on the calendar are the Secretariat on the grass and the King's Bishop at seven furlongs, neither likely to draw any of the year's precious G1 winners, we'll have 11 different G1 winners from 11 races by the time the gates open for the Travers here Aug. 27.
Putting the pre-Triple Crown "prep Grade 1's" aside, it's only the fourth time since 1996 that we've had four different winners of the Derby, Preakness, Belmont and Haskell (champion 3-year-old males highlighted in yellow):
I suppose the good news is that in 2000 (Fusaichi Pegasus, Red Bullet, Commendable, Dixie Union), 2006 (Barbaro, Bernardini, Jazil, Bluegrass Cat) and 2007 (Street Sense, Curlin, Rags to Riches, Any Given Saturday), a 3-year-old ended up winning the Breeders' Cup Classic (Tiznow, Curlin) or running second (Bernardini) and there was no doubt about the champion of the crop. On the other hand, if you've seen a Tiznow, Bernardini or Curlin among the 11 G1 winners this year, you've seen something I haven't.
Shackleford could have taken a clear lead had he hung on in the Haskell, and he sure tried gallantly. He shows up and runs his race every time and is an admirable, old-fashioned speed horse. The problem for him going forward is that the 1 1/4 miles of the Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup and BC Classic may be just outside his scope. Coil is the now horse, with room for improvement and upside, but the Haskell BSF of 96 is as uninspiring as the crop has been in general. Coil, Shackleford and Ruler on Ice may have a Haskell rematch in the Travers, joined by the Jim Dandy runners from Saturday including Stay Thirsty. They may not be legends, but they ought to put on a good show.
1:45 pm: Day 10 features three stakes races, including an excellent G2 Amsterdam; the return of local curiosity Lisa's Booby Trap in the restricted Rachel Alexandra; and a $59,718 pick-6 carryover I just may play.
I find the Amsterdam really tough, and have yet to draw an X through any of the seven entrants. Of the three coming out of the Woody Stephens on Belmont Day, I'm leaning against slop-loving Justin Phillip and giving Travellin Man and Arch Traveller another chance. To Honor and Serve and Wine Police are classy and capable. Redeemed has won three straight. Caleb's Posse is an irresistible turnback. I'll probably carve them up 2/3/2 as ABC's and hope for the best.
I won't be using Lisa's Booby Trap in the Rachel Alexandra. Neat story but I just think she's overmatched and may have a tough go from post 2 going 7f with plenty of other speed in the field. I know it's spitting into the local karmic winds, like leaving out Linda Rice in a turf-sprint stakes -- exactly what a lot of people just did in the 2nd race, where she sent out Ahvee's Destiny to win the Smart and Fancy Stakes at $27.60.
2:25 pm: Okay, let's play:
3:00 pm: New pick-6 handle today was $317,415 on top of the $59k carryover.
3:20 pm: Counterparty, 1-5 favorite in race 5, was away last from the gate and didn't do much running thereafter, struggling home 5th and dousing most pick-6 tickets. She also attracted $68k of the $97k in the show pool, setting up show payoffs of $8.00, $9.80 and $13.20 on the first three finishers.
Precious Soul ($15.80) was my only backup because I thought she was possibly the lone speed. She ended up sitting just off Champagne Run, taking over in upper stretch and pulling clear. I'm alive with only A's the rest of the way -- 1,3,4/3,4,5/3,6/12,13 -- and don't like my position in the Amsterdam especially, but it beats being dead.
Precious Soul is a half-sister to Society Selection, who won the Test and alabama here in 2004. Both fillies were Irving Cowan homebreds trained by Allen Jerkens.
4:00 pm: I'm so pleasantly surprised any time two of my A's run 1st and 2nd instead of 7th and 8th in a turf sprint that I'm not going to complain that 4-1 All Class lasted by a nose over rough-trip 9-1 Strolldownbroadway. Really I'm not.
Lisa's Bobby Trap just opened as the 5-2 co-fave with Buckleupbuttercup for the Rachel Alexandra.
4:30 pm: Lisa's Bobby Trap was finished by the turn and ran last, but I still couldn't get through the Rachel Alexandra, where Kid Kate ($13.00)took over in upper stretch and beat 19-1 Belle of the Hall with Katy Now third and Ailalea fourth.
5:10 pm: Caleb's Posse's, twice the price of any of his six opponents, came chugging down the center of the track to run them all down in the Amsterdam at $27.60. The Posse colt, a Don McNeil homebred trained by Donnie Von Hamel, was turning back to 6.5f after seven stright two-turn races including a victory in the Ohio Derby two starts back.
Six of the 13 in the finale are covered in the pick-6 (4 tickets @$59k to the #12, 3 at $78k to the #1, and one each at $236k to the 2, 10, 11 and 13.) Best chance for a $236k carry into wednesday looks like surprisingly uncovered #6 By M K, current co-second choice at 7-2.
5:40 pm: Ohbabyobeyme ($9.70) ran them off their feet early and had plenty left to win the nightcap over Spa City Lover, completing a $5,245 pick-4 and $78k pick-6 to end Week 2. Racing resumes Wednesday at 1 pm with a 10-race card featuring the John Morrissey for statebred sprinters. Obboyee is 7-5 and Be Bullish 8-5 in a field of 10. Get some rest: 30 days to go.
I know why it happens, but in light of the results in this year's "Big 3-year-old" races, there's no reason to ignore the "prep Grade 1s." Why should Coil's wins in the Affirmed and Haskell carry more weight than Dialed In's Holy Bull/Florida Derby or Archarcharch's Southwest/Arkansas Derby? Technically, Animal Kingdom's Spiral/KY Derby should weigh more than a Preakness win and two Grade 1 runner-up efforts. All three of those horses are out of action largely because of the efforts they put in to win those "prep Grade 1s." Why should they be discounted come election time because Coil or Stay Thirsty or Alternation can come up with one more win and maybe hit the board in the Classic?
If The Factor & Uncle Mo both run in the King's Bishop it will be a better race than the Travers.
That was the 5th win at Saratoga for Ahvee's Destiny. Here are the other wins for horses out of Love Destiny since 2000: SAR 4 2010-09-05 Up for Love; Dominguez, Ramon; Dark Bay or Brown Colt by More Than Ready out of Love Destiny SAR 6 2009-08-09 Ahvee's Destiny; Velazquez, John; Chestnut Mare by Rizzi out of Love Destiny SAR 6 2008-08-18 Ahvee's Destiny; Velazquez, John; Chestnut Mare by Rizzi out of Love Destiny SAR 1 2007-09-02 Ahvee's Destiny; Garcia, Alan; Chestnut Mare by Rizzi out of Love Destiny SAR 4 2007-08-22 Beam of Love; Coa, Eibar; Chestnut Mare by Prime Timber out of Love Destiny SAR 6 2007-08-12 Ahvee's Destiny; Coa, Eibar; Chestnut Mare by Rizzi out of Love Destiny SAR 2 2004-09-05 Accurate; Velasquez, Cornelio; Dark Bay or Brown Gelding by Precise End out of Love Destiny
favorite fluorescent fromage-flavored foodstuffs.....REALLY solid alliteration Steve ..... By the way I think im kind of psyched about the NBC network saratoga coverage ....Thats the most consistent week to week show in years ....Only thing missing are Charlsie and Frank Wright ....Oh and thanks for the blogs ....One of the highlights of the meet for me every year.
"favorite fluorescent fromage-flavored foodstuffs. -SC" Glad to see the alliterative arts are not dead!! Nice work! Now the real question is, if they gave out actual tin cups at Finger Lakes in honor of Tin Cup Chalice, what's in store for us up here on the inevitable Lisa's Booby Trap giveaway day?
Steve C Heading up next tues for my first trip to saratoga..going to mardi gra weds and also thurs and may hang around another day or two..cannot wait to get there and see the spa for the first time..I am a big horse racing buff..to all of you spa regulars..some tips of where to go during and after the races ?/ also let me know what i dont want to miss..getting there tues afternoon or early evening..I got the chix sandwich down on my list..also a good watering hole after a day at the races to go to.Any and all suggestions would be welcome..thnx in advance. Scott
The Curlin was not run in a sea of slop.
Is it possible that Pletcher entered Joe Vann in the Haskell to put a hard race into Shackleford in anticipation of a Stay Thirsty/Shackleford matchup in the Travers? It would seem that sending the horse hard out of the gate in a race with no lack of early speed on paper would not be the wisest strategy if honestly giving the horse best chance to win.
Hi Steve, I agree, Shackleford shows up ready every time. Win or lose, he is just a beautiful running machine. All heart! I have not witnessed him slacking off in any race, he fights to the end. I think the four pounds he spotted Coil, plus it seemed he was moved too early at the final turn for home - he made his move before the turn was completed and it might have compromised his chances of having more left in the tank. A different strategy might be needed if they are going to send him longer distances. In my opinion, he has been the best of the three year olds.
Any word on Stay Thirstys BSF? (I know you said it looked strong, time wise) Just watching his Jim Dandy compared to the Haskell and S.T. having benefited from a race over this track, he will take some beating in the Travers. [Preliminary figure is 106. -SC]