There are several good races, and good horses, running this weekend in the sport of Horse Racing, but I will be focusing on the 2012 Man O’ War Stakes at Belmont Park in New York on Saturday, where Treasure Beach has been installed as the early favorite.
Before we get into the Man O’ War, let me first point out the others races, and horses, that bear watching.
Starting off with the $400,000 Delaware Oaks on Saturday at Delaware Park in Delaware, the talented Grace Hall, along with stablemate Singlet, are listed as the 7/5 morning line favorites for the grade: II, mile and a sixteenth event. With a win, Grace Hall could step to the head of the three year old filly division.
Out west at Hollywood Park, Switch will carry top weight of 122 lbs and headline the $200,000 A Gleam Handicap, which will be run at seven furlongs. Switch, who hasn’t actually won a race in 19 months, will probably still take a lot of money at the betting window and I expect a good performance from her. Teddy’s Promise, who breaks from just outside of Switch (the #5 post position), appears to be her main rival.
Also at Hollywood Park, and on the same card as the A Gleam, is the (wide open) American Oaks, for three-year-old fillies on the turf.
Nayarra defeated males to win the Gran Crtierium last October at San Siro in Italy. Although that is her only career win, the three-year-old filly has two other group stakes placings. She was third, beaten less than a length, in the Sakhee Oh So Sharp Stakes (England) last year, and finished second, beaten a neck, in the Lanwades Stud Neill Gwyn Stakes (England) in April.
My Gi Gi has blossomed in 2012. She finished second by a nose in the Senorita Stakes May 5 in her first outing, and then won the Honeymoon by a nose over Lady of Shamrock after being just one for five last year as a two year old.
Lady of Shamrock, who is enjoying a solid year in the California after winning the China Doll Stakes and the Providencia Stakes followed by a second place finish in the Honeymoon Stakes.
But I like Best Present Ever, who has won three straight races, including the Campanile Stakes by five lengths in her last start after winning two of three races to start her career.
Belmont Park – July 14, 2012
Race 8 – 4:34 PM
Man o’ War S. (Grade I)
For Three Year Olds and Upward.
One and Three Eighth Miles. (Turf)
|1||1||Tahoe Lake||6/G||L||E Castro||116||K G McPeek||
|2||2||Center Divider||5/H||L||R Napravnik||116||C C Brown||
|3||3||Point of Entry||4/C||L||J Lezcano||118||C R McGaughey III||
|4||4||Newsdad||4/C||L||J Alvarado||118||W I Mott||
|5||5||Treasure Beach||4/C||L||J P Spencer||120||A P O’Brien||
|6||6||Game Ball||5/H||L||D Cohen||116||N Chatterpaul||
|7||7||Hudson Steele||5/G||L||J Bravo||118||T A Pletcher||
|8||8||Philly Ace||4/G||L||I Ortiz, Jr.||116||C Clement||
1) Treasure Beach- hasn’t won in almost a year, but a closer look at this bay colt by the great Galileo’s past performances show a pretty serious drop in competition. His last race, albeit a ninth place finish, was against a top notch field in the Group: I Queen Elizabeth for an almost $2 million purse. If you look back three more races you’ll find an abysmal fourteenth place finish, but that was in one of the world’s biggest races, the Qatar P de l’Arc de Triomphe.
So, as you can see, he’s been taking on some of the best horses in the world lately. He meets no such rival in this race. Tack on the fact he is trained by the well respected Aiden O’Brien, both of his North American starts were good, closes, handles any type of turf (soft or hard) and he looks like the winner to me.
2) Hudson Steele- Todd Pletcher trainee shows an impressive five wins and two seconds from eight lifetime starts on the turf. In fact, this versatile (can run from on or off the pace) runner has yet to run a bad race in now 11 starts (6-2-1).
I don’t like the fact that he tired in his last at a shorter distance and after setting a slow pace, but if fourth (beaten just 1 ½ lengths) is his worst start? You must respect him.
3) Point of Entry- is batting .500 on the turf after six lifetime starts over it while hitting the board in five of those six starts.
He’s actually won three of his last four races, including his last where he pulled off a mild upset (almost 6-1) in the Grade: 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland.
Comes from the Shug McGaughey barn with blue chip bloodlines (Dynaformer-Matlacha Pass by Seeking The Gold), Steps up in company again, but closes and might be competitive on Saturday afternoon.
Philly Ace is very intriguing to me. This gelding by Smart Strike is 2 for 2 this year albeit against far lesser competition. But I especially like that April 12 race on the turf at Keeneland where he was 26 lengths back early but used a sweeping four wide run on the turn for home to win. He is 4 for 8 in his career on the turf and hails from turf trainer specialist Christopher Clemente’s barn…..longshot possibility here?
Judging by Newsdad’s past performances, he looks like he can be competitive vs. graded stakes runners. In fact, he had run four big races in a row before that last race (which was a clunker) with two of those four vs. grade: 2 horses. Bay colt by Arch is trained by Bill Mott and is another who, if your looking for a longshot, might be worth taking a flyer on.
Little Bets N’ Pieces:
**** Lookin’ At Lucky, who shuttled last year to Coolmore Australia, will shuttle to Haras Paso Nevado nearSantiago,Chile, for the Southern Hemisphere breeding season. The two-time champion by Smart Strike is based at Coolmore’s North American farm, Ashford Stud inVersailles, Ky.
Lookin At Lucky, one of my favorite horses thru the years, was champion male at 2 and 3. He won five grade I stakes in those two years including the 2010 Preakness Stakes.
**** 1994 Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Holy Bull has been pensioned from stud duty at the age of 21 and the now white horse will live out his days at Jonabell Farm near Lexington,Kentucky.
Bred by Rachel Carpenter’s, Holy Bull broke his maiden at Monmouth on August 14, 1993, the same day that his owner/breeder died. Later, trainer Jimmy Croll learned that the colt had been left to him, along with Carpenter’s other horses.
After all was said and done, Holy Bull retired to stud with an impressive record of 16 starts and 13 wins while earning $2,481,760, Holy Bull had great success as a stallion, his leading progeny include Macho Uno, the 2000 Breeders Cup Juvenile winner, Grade 1 winner Flashy Bull; and Giacomo, who won the 2005 Kentucky Derby at 50-1 in 2005.
Macho Uno is already doing his part to further the Holy Bull line, having sired Macho Again, Wicked Style, Harlem Rocker and the behemoth Mucho Macho Man, who just won Saturday’s Suburban Handicap.
**** Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse has been retired to Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Kentucky.
“We discovered a non-displaced fragment in his left knee after the Met Mile,” his ownership group for the Posse colt said.
“We were hopeful that some time off would resolve the situation, but recent radiographs have revealed that surgery to remove the chip will mean that he could not return to the racetrack this year. He has proven his brilliance on the track, and now we want to give him a chance to pass on that brilliance in the breeding shed.”
To his credit, the thrilling stretch runner chalked up victories against Shackleford in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, the King’s Bishop Stakes, in which he defeated champion Uncle Mo; and also scored wins in the Amsterdam Stakes and the Ohio Derby.
Caleb’s Posse retired with eight wins from 19 starts and earnings of $1,423,379.
“We are thrilled that Caleb’s Posse is coming to Three Chimneys,” farm owner Robert Clay said. “He was a brilliant miler who traces back to La Troienne. He is a quality individual that will cross well with a variety of pedigrees. We expect him to be a very popular commercial sire.”
A stud fee for Caleb’s Posse will be announced later this year.
**** A total of 29 invitations have been sent out by Monmouth Park in New Jerseyfor 45th running of the $1 million Haskell Stakes on July 29. The listed is headed by Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner up Bodemeister.
Others who were invited include: Alpha, Le Bernardin, Atigun, Liaison, Battle Hardened, Macho Macho, Blueskiesnrainbows, My Adonis, Neck ‘n Neck, Cogito, Nonios, Cozzetti, Paynter, Dullahan, Prospective, Easter Gift, Rousing Sermon, Fast Falcon, Stealcase, Gemologist, Street Life, Good Morning Diva, Teeth of the Dog, Handsome Mike, Tiger Walk, Hansen, Went the Day Well and Holy Candy.