I hope everyone is enjoying your Labor Day weekend (so far). It looks like there is great weather around the country and some excellent racing action. Below are some quick news and notes from Saturday's and Sunday's stakes races:
- The scratch of Shackleford changed the complexion of the Forego and provided a perfect opportunity for Emcee to stalk right off of Pacific Ocean through moderate opening splits (22.64 and 45.38). I'm not sure he gets a trip like that if Shack stays in the race but it was an impressive win by Emcee.
Jackson Bend? Wow, what a stinker. The Zito colt was my pick in the race and he did little to nothing the entire way around the track. That's a couple of stinkers in a row for this horse and unless there was a huge anti-rail bias yesterday (which I didn't detect), there is no excuse for this flop.
- Dominus goes wire to wire in the Bernard Baruch but, sadly, goes to post at odds of 9/5 instead of those nice 3/1 odds on the morning line. Smooth ride by Julien Leparoux as he milked splits of 24.29, 48.63 and 1:12.26 through the first six furlongs.
- Even though she only won by a nose on the wire, Executiveprivilege was clearly the best horse (in my mind) in the G1-Del Mar Debutant based on the significant ground she lost from start to finish. The Trakus chart has her running 16 feet further than runner-up Beholder, but she ran 60 to 100 feet further than every other horse in the field. So credit to Beholder for a strong effort but the rest of the field wasn't even close to the winner.
There won't be any style points awarded for the end of the Debutante as the final 1/8th of a mile went in a pedestrian 13.38 seconds.
All of the fillies in the Del Mar Debutante raced on Lasix.
- The To Honor and Serve/Mucho Macho Man Woodward Stakes exacta paid a whopping $22.40 for $2. Seriously, I'm really surprised that combination paid that well considering they looked, on paper, to be the best two horses in the field. During Friday's podcast I mentioned that I wouldn't be surprised by a MMM/THAS exacta box coming in. What I AM surprised by is that is paid 11/1. I should have paid more attention to the betting before this race instead of switching between multiple college football games. Opportunity lost.
- A fairly big upset in the G3-Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park where Middie cashes in at odds of 14/1 in a race that has lost a bit of its cache in recent years. The switch to Polytrack by Arlington Park has reduced the importance of this race going towards the Breeders' Cup and, sadly, the fields have suffered.
Post time favorite Prayer for Relief was a well beaten third, chewing up a lot of money from the AP patrons in the process.
- Last year's Arc winner, Danedream (GER), won the Group 1 Grosser Pries von Baden on Sunday morning in her final prep before she defends her title at Longchamp in a month.
- The sixth race at Del Mar featured a very nice looking maiden winner in the form of Goldencents. Sent to the post at 3/2 after being bet down from ML odds of 8/2, the juvenile colt by Into Mischief out of a Banker's Gold mare (Golden Works) went right to the lead from the break, settled in nicely under Kevin Krigger, and then drew off without any urging in the final quarter mile. Goldencents went 22.69, 45.98 and 1:02.51 for the five and a half furlong trip (22.59, 23.29, 10.91, 5.62). Also according to Trakus, Goldencents averaged 40.1 mph in the final sixteenth of a mile, the fastest of any horses on the day.
A bit of credit should go to runner-up Wild Dude; he covered 43 more feet than the winner, went 3,693 feet overall (the longest trip of the field) and was 2 ¼ lengths clear of the show horse, Storm Power. Wild Dude could be one to watch next time out.
The Del Mar Poly played pretty fast on Sunday but there is no doubt that Goldencents was much the best vs. his over-matched rivals. There was a smattering of speed bias talk but the rapid pace of race 7, the Adoration Stakes, saw the early leaders melt down in the late stages, although Rock and Glory held for 5th after doing all the dirty work.
So Many Ways upset 3/5 favorite Teen Pauline in the G1-Spinaway at Saratgoa. The favorite set a quick but somewhat sensible pace for the seven furlong distance (22.29, 45.13) but was no match for So Many Ways in the stretch and faded for third on the wire. Sweet Shirley Mae grabbed the place spot.
So Many ways earned a preliminary Beyer figure of 80; a fairly tepid number.
- My Best Brother took the G2-Del Mar Derby wire-to-wire while running honest fractions the entire way around the track under jockey Martin Garcia. After an opening quarter of 23.17, My Best Brother clicked off fractions of 23.55, 24.01, 24.01 and 12.32 (according to Trakus).
- On Friday night, the highly talented but lightly raced Fed Biz won the ungraded El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar at a mile in a solid 1:35.58 after a long stretch duel with runner-up Jimmy Creed. Fed Biz sat just off the pace for the first ¾ of the race and clicked off splits of 23.56, 23.49, 23.89, before finishing up in 11.94 and 12.50.
Fed Biz broke his maiden and won an allowance raced at a mile on the Santa Anita dirt this winter/spring, so there isn't a concern with his ability to run on a traditional surface. In fact, I'd say he's a pretty versatile colt given that he run off a seven month lay-off and wins a minor stakes race over Del Mar's Polytrack. According to the Daily Racing Form, Fed Biz will likely point towards the Pennsylvania Derby (9/22) or the Indiana Derby (10/6) for his next start.
It seems unlikely that Fed Biz could be a major Breeders' Cup player given his lack of racing over the course of the spring and summer, but at the same time, the defections in the Classic division will present opportunities for horses like Fed Biz to take a shot. We'll have to wait and see if the Classic is ultimately the direction the connections go with this colt because they may want to just shut him down and prepare for a 2013 campaign.
Fed Biz is by Giant's Causeway out of a Wild Again mare (Spunoutacontrol).