Great weekend of racing this past weekend. There was some amazing and exciting talent on display and with really only one disappointment. (more on that later.)
Now that all the Breeders Cup prep races are completed, I will start focusing in on the big day more and more as we get closer. Again, look for my “Introduction to the 2010 Breeders Cup” this week. It should help you get a little more familiar with the who’s and what’s of that weekend.
Now, let’s recap this past weekend:
|Abu Dhabi First Lady S. (Grade I)|
Keeneland- Saturday, Oct 9th- Purse $400,000. For Fillies And Mares, Three Years Old And
I knew Proviso was the class of this race and she won it but I have to admit, she made me nervous. When they reached the top of the stretch she had 1 of 10 horses beaten. Jockey Mike Smith moved her slightly outside for some running room and this horse absolutely exploded down the stretch and ran past the entire field in a very impressive performance. I suspect she might posed quite a challenge for Goldikova come the Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare race.
“I knew she was in with a shot, but I knew she’d have to do some running to do it,” Mott said of the stretch run. “Mike got her out clear. The last eighth of a mile she was in high gear and got the job done. A beautiful mare. She’s been good from the beginning of the year ‘til right now. That’s four grade I (wins) this year, and she’s as good as they get.”
“She’s my turf Zenyatta,” Smith said of Proviso. “Praise the Lord.”
Wasted Tears, as expected, led the way past mid-stretch before faltering. C.S. Silk, Gotta Have Her and Fantasia all closed like shots for a blanket 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishes.
Proviso earned $240,000 for her ninth win in 22 races and boosted her earnings to $1,705,473. She paid $4.60, $3.20 and $2.10. C. S. Silk returned $13 and $8.40 and completed a $79 exacta. Gotta Have Her paid $4.40 to show.
|Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (Grade I)|
Keeneland- Saturday Oct 9th- Purse $400,000. For Two Year Olds.
J.B.’s Thunder pulled off the 5-1 upset by going all the way in this race. I mean, I have to tell you what I said in my preview he didn’t look all that imposing on paper….still doesn’t…but he won and that’s all that matters.
J.B’s Thunder broke first and set a slow pace (24, :48.,3 and 1:13.40) so he had plenty left for the stretch drive. “I had a feeling he’d leave on his toes today. He had been so sharp,” Stall said. “He had a chance to school around here and get comfortable. Obviously he did, and Shaun just took it to ‘em.”
In spite of his win, Trainer Al Stall said running in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs “is very much 50-50 at best.”….“We’ll probably go to Fair Grounds and point for the Delta (Downs) Jackpot (gr. III) or the Lecomte “(gr. III).
Santiva closed well in the stretch to finish second by a nose, with Willcox Inn third. The final time was 1:44.12. My pick, Major Gain recovered from a hard bump at the half-mile pole to launch a bid before tiring to 5th.
J. B.’s Thunder paid $13.60, $7.20 and $5 and keyed an $80 exacta. Santiva, returned $7.80 and $5.20 in his stakes debut. Willcox Inn, was $5.60 to show.
|Shadwell Turf Mile S. (Grade I)|
Keeneland, Saturday Oct. 9th- Purse $600,000. For Three Year Olds And Upward
Man, what a race from Gio Ponti. He was 5th most of the way around, drew even with the leaders in mid stretch and just glided away from them from there……ears pricked and all. (When a horse has his ears pricked while running generally speaking it’s a sign he is looking or is focused on something other than the race).Which, in a way, could be bad but most of the times its great…..in other words, Gio Ponti knew he had it under control and was just cruising. It was a very impressive race from him albeit he only wo n by 1 length.
“There is no doubt in my mind that he’s the best turf horse in the country. I believe he’s got 22 starts; he’s won half of them, and he’s a remarkable horse,” trainer Christpoher Clement said. “(Choosing a Breeders’ Cup race) is a pretty good problem to have. I’m going to sleep on it tonight, and I’m sure (owner) Mr. (Shane) Ryan will have an answer for me tomorrow or the next day.”
Long shot Society’s Selection closed from back to get 2nd and at 18-1 and 3rd betting favorite Courageous Cat was 3rd
Gio Ponti paid $3.60, $2.60, and $2.10 as the favorite while Get Stormy, who had won seven of his last eight coming in, finished fourth, followed by Enriched and Acting Zippy.
|Champagne S. (Grade I)|
Belmont Park, Saturday Oct 9th- Purse $300,000. For Two Year Olds
Uncle Mo was named my owner Mike Repole not because he has an uncle named mo, but for when any team has momentum in a game it’s called having “Uncle Mo’ on your side. Well, it turns out that this horse appears to be aptly named….he has all kinds of momentum going right now after his lights out win in the Champagne
Uncle Mo broke well and was gunned straight to the lead by jockey John Velasquez. However, they soon found themselves engaged in a pitched battle for that lead when 22-1 long shot I’m Steppin’ Up decide he wanted the lead also. Together the ripped off fractions of 22.2, :45.4 and 1:10.2. They turned for home, I’m Steppin’ Up began to fade and I found it interesting as to how Uncle Mo would react with 9-1 shot Mountain Top rallying on the outside and picking up the chase…I started to think ‘would he wilt from the early pressure?’ …well….he answered that question very quickly as he pulled away from Mountain Top and the rest of the field to win by 4 ½ easy lengths. Did I mention it was almost 10 lengths back to the 3rd place horse? (I’m Steppin’ Up held 3rd)
“The other horse was right next to him and he got a little strong, but I didn’t want to choke him down,” Velazquez said. “So I just did give and take with him and tried to get him to come back to me a little. Even though he went pretty fast he was doing it comfortably.
“Once we hit the three-eighths pole he kind of let go of the bit and relaxed. And then when I asked him at the quarter pole he was there. The instant I asked him he accelerated. He really did surprise me in how quickly he picked it up. He galloped out really well.”
Said trainer Todd Pletcher: “He’s just such a talented horse; he’s able to do things other horses can’t do, The sky’s the limit. I don’t see how a horse could start a career more impressively than he has. His maiden was as good as I’ve seen, and then to come back and run 1:34 2/5 in the Champagne is unbelievable. His times have been exceptionally fast; he gets stronger as he goes along.”
“The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile would be the obvious goal. He’ll ship to Churchill Downs (Oct. 26) and have one work over the track.”
|Juddmonte Spinster S. (Grade I)|
Sunday, Oct. 10th- Purse $500,000. For Fillies And Mares, Three Years Old And Upward.
The longest shot in the field at 23-1, Acoma overcame the outside post in the field of 10 for jockey Alan Garcia to win by a half-length. You got me on this one…..I didn’t think she had a chance.
Acoma took the lead as the turned for home and never looked back. She lit up the tote board paying $49.60, $23.40, and $11.80. Milwaukee Appeal, coming off a third-place finish in Monmouth Park’s Molly Pitcher Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 29, returned $15.20 and $7.60, rounding out a $550.60 exacta. The $2 trifecta with (my pick) Hot Cha Cha ($2.80) third, was worth $3,107.40…..wow.
“Possibly this could be her last race,” Carroll said about Acoma. “She’s been a great filly for us. This is her first grade I (win) and my first grade I (win). To do it together at Keeneland for Helen (Alexander) and her mother, Mrs. Groves, and the whole staff at Meadowbrook Farm is absolutely special.”
Little Bets N’ Pieces:
* Top 3 year old filly Devil May Care will be out of action for a while. She contracted a non-contagious form of hepatitus. “She’s on an antibiotic…the filly looks and acts fine, but she continues to carry an elevated liver enzyme count,” said owner John Greathouse.
* 1993 Champion Older Horse Pleasant Tap was euthanized a few days ago. He was suffering from that dreaded hoof disease laminitis. The 23-year-old son of Pleasant Colony is represented as a stallion by 53 stakes winners and the earners of more than $51.5 million. I have good memories of this horse. I had a pretty good amount of money on A.P. Indy in the 1992 Breeders Cup Classic and when A.P. Indy took the lead in that race Pleasant Tap was “coming with giant strides on the inside” and I thought he was going to beat me……he didnt…..A.P. Indy held on and won but he gave me quite a scare that day. Also, years later when I went to Lane’s End farm for a visit, he (Pleasant Tap) was very much a gentleman and we became fast friends.
* The resurfacing of the track at Santa Anita has begun. They are removing the synthetics and putting back traditional dirt. Plans call for installation of the dirt surface to be completed by about Dec. 1, said project manager Ted Malloy. Horses are expected to be allowed to begin training Dec. 5 for the Santa Anita winter meeting, which opens Dec. 26.
* Quality Road worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 this past weekend. It was also announced that at the conclusion on his racing career (this year) he will be retired to stand stud at the aforementioned Lane’s End farm.
* Couple of other horses on the work tab: Godolphin Stable sent out Gayego to breeze four furlongs in :47.2, the second-fastest of 46 works at the distance. Three Chimneys Hopeful (gr. I) runner-up Stay Thirsty, who covered five furlongs in 1:02, grade I winner and sprint hopeful Bribon went a 1/2 mile in :48.4
* Lastly, I went to go see the new “Secretariat” movie the other night. It was a good movie but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t so into the sport and the horse himself. For me, there were too many inconsistancies…..like say when Secretariat wins the Belmont? the scene was clearly not Belmont Park (in fact it was Keeneland), That wasn’t Aqueduct either…not sure where it was but it looked like they just went to some random stable and stuck an “Aqueduct” sign up there, No mention at all of Riva Ridge who by her (Mrs. Tweedy) own admittance says was her favorite horse. After all, he was really the one who saved the farm and the race call of the Belmont Stakes was all wrong…..in fact, only 1 or 2 sentences where correct. I guess all that doesn’t matter….the movie was really about Mrs. Tweedy and her guts and will.
* Even with the whole Sidney’s Candy disappointment, I went 3 for 6 this weekend. I now stand at 29-76 (38%).
See you next week and thanks for reading,