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Mott back at the Rock, this time with Song for Annie
SALEM, N.H. - Two weeks ago Bill Mott saddled Hap for a smashing win in the Rockingham Park meet's biggest race, the $200,000 New Hampshire Sweepstakes. On Wednesday he will be back in town with Song for Annie, who will be favored to win the $75,000 Rockingham Park Breeders' Cup Handicap.
The Rockingham BC, at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, drew a field of eight fillies and mares, and will serve as a prelude to the $100,000 Spicy Living Sweepstakes Handicap at nine furlongs Aug. 5.
Song for Annie, a Live Oak Plantation homebred, will carry top weight of 120 pounds and is out to rebound from a last-place finish in the recent Just a Game Breeders' Cup at Belmont.
A 5-year-old Sultry Song mare, Song for Annie showed her usual early speed in that mile turf contest, but the 45.60-second opening half-mile proved too much, as she backed up steadily through the stretch.
Song for Annie scored in the Hillsborough at Tampa Bay going the distance of this race in March, and late last year took the Furl Sail at a mile on the Fair Grounds' turf course.
Step With Style looks to have the best chance to catch Song for Annie. A 4-year-old Gulch filly owned and bred by the Moyglare Stud Farm, she is a nose shy of a perfect record after three starts this year.
Step With Style began her campaign with a four-length win in Suffolk's My Fair Lady at a mile and 70 yards on the turf, followed that with a win in an off-the-turf mile allowance at Belmont, and then just missed to Tiger Babe in a mile turf allowance last out at Belmont. She has a come-from-behind style of running, which will be useful if Song for Annie gets caught up in a speed duel.
Iwantaneightkaret may engage Song for Annie. A locally based Joann Bertolino homebred, she has proven speed and a slate of 2-2-1 in five starts over this course.
- Bruce Zagnit
Canterbury: Bleu Victoriate can repeat
SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Twelve geldings will line up for the $35,000 Blair's Cove Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf contest for Minnesota-breds.
Bleu Victoriate, horse of the meet following his victory in last year's Blair's Cove, may be favored to repeat in this year's running. A 5-year-old Doug Oliver trainee, he hasn't won in three starts this year and finished eighth behind American Spirit in the Brooks Fields Handicap last time out. He did show improvement in that race, however, and may be rounding into top form.
R.D. Williams has been named on Bleu Victoriate, who will break from post 9.
All Rumor may be ready to spring another upset in this year's Blair's Cove. Trained by Kevin Danger, he pulled off a shocker capturing the Blair's Cove at 25-1 in 1999. Perry Whetstone will ride.
Speed has proven an asset over a turf course that hasn't had any rain in several weeks. Not So Fast Brutus and Crocrock are two runners who are likely to try and capture the Blair's Cove with front-running efforts.
Eclectic has turned in several efforts over the Canterbury turf course that suggest he could be a factor in his first start of the year. Bobby Walker takes the call aboard Eclectic, a son of Bucksplasher.
The race is named in honor of the Minnesota-bred who captured Churchill's Bashford Manor and Arlington's Stars and Stripes. A son of Bucksplasher trained by Noel Hickey, Blair's Cove also won six stakes events at Canterbury from 1988 through 1990.
- David M. Miller
Pleasanton: Color Me Special on rise
PLEASANTON, Calif. - Color Me Special, who posted a convincing victory in a Bay Meadows allowance race May 30, may be sharp enough to come right back versus slightly tougher in the $40,000 Pleasanton Senorita Stakes at the Alameda County Fair
The Senorita is a mile and 70-yard race for 3-year-old fillies. Six entered.
Color Me Special, trained by Chuck Jenda, has finished behind Playdemrocks, who is also in the Senorita, three of the four times they have met, including the last time they met May 2. On that day, Color Me Special was getting to Playdemrocks at the end but finished second by a neck.
Since then, Color Me Special has won impressively, while Playdemrocks has not started. The appeal of Color Me Special is her improving pattern. Her last five Beyer Speed Figures, in order, are 57, 65, 66, 77, and 80. Jenda has given her two strong recent seven-furlong works, and she looks ready for another strong effort.
The main threat may actually be Gifted Daughter, a sprinter with speed and the rail who may be able to get an easy lead and steal the race. She has been sprinting well, finishing second or third in her last four starts, all at six furlongs. In her lone mile race March 15, she finished second in a first-level allowance race. Steve Specht trains Gifted Daughter.
Playdemrocks also obviously figures strongly, as does Planoncometbebopin. Playdemrocks, from the Bill Morey stable, has been a consistent campaigner, and beat Color Me Special fair and square last time as the 2-1 favorite. Morey has kept her fit with a solid series of works since her last start two months ago. She also has two strong works over this track, which may help her, and Russell Baze, who was aboard for her May 2 victory, is back today.
Planoncometbebopin has won two of her four career starts, and was third in an allowance race on the grass most recently. Jenda also trains her.
* The Alameda County Fair set an all-time wagering record with a total handle of $4,497,290 Sunday. It broke the record of $4,437,086 set on last year's Hollywood Gold Cup day.
- Dale Omenson
Thistledown: Unbridled Time back
NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Unbridled Time makes his second consecutive start on his native soil when he matches strides over nine furlongs with nine of his Ohio-bred 3-year-old peers in the 34th running of the Cleveland Gold Cup at Thistledown
Unbridled Time, who is owned by Robert and Beverly Lewis and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, was purchased for more than $1 million as a yearling. Unbridled Time began his career last year with two runaway victories, including the WHAS Stakes at Churchill Downs. He failed to won in his next 11 starts spanning more than a year before winning the Green Carpet Stakes at River Downs going 1 1/16 miles over state-bred company last time out.
Greta Kuntzweiler again has the mount.
Taylortwofeathers and Blame It on Ruby should offer Unbridled Time his sternest challenge.
Taylortwofeathers prepped here for this race with a front-running tally in a mile and 70-yard allowance race June 22 and was second to Unbridled Time in the Green Carpet, setting the pace until the eighth pole. He is unbeaten over the this track, having won the 1 1/16-mile Summit Silver Cup here May 5. His regular rider, William Otero, once will ride for trainer Tim Hamm.
Blame It on Ruby was third in the Green Carpet and a little improvement off that effort could make him a solid factor. Jeffrey A. Johnston will ride for trainer Austin K. Smith.
- Chuck Scaravilli