I hope you are all are having a nice holiday weekend. I spent most of yesterday working in the yard since we got one of our five days of sunshine in the Puget Sound region. I think the next one will occur sometime around the Fourth of July.
On to some bullets point on yesterday's races and tomorrow's Met Mile:
- A couple of really outstanding stakes races yesterday, beginning with Keertana beating the boys in the three-way photo finish with Bearpath and Guys Reward in the Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs. Out West, Ryehill Dreamer (IRE) nosed out Sidney's Candy in a photo in the American Handicap at Hollywood Park.
- It's tough to get a read on how good the field was in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron at Arlington Park yesterday, but Pachattack looked about as good as a horse can look in winning that race six lengths over runner-up La Gran Bailadora. Pachattack was making her first start back in North America after running at Newmarket on the 1,000 Guineas undercard.
I don't know how much of an impact Pachattack will have in the Ladies' Classic division given her affinity for turf/synthetic surface, but she is certainly good on the plastic.
- I haven't been able to come up with any good ideas about tomorrow's Met Mile at Belmont Park. Here are some random thoughts I had on a few of the contenders:
I like the form of Soaring Empire but he's come up short to Tackleberry twice in his last two starts.
Aikenite is another that's in good current form but he strikes me as a bit too inconsistent a a mile to make me really love him in this spot. He's won at the distance at Belmont before, but he's generally been better at seven furlongs than at a mile.
Caixa Eletronica...can't argue with his last two efforts, including a really nice win in the Westchester, but he's clearly facing the best group of his career and he's never shown an ability to beat horses of this class (even though he beat Haynesfield in that race, he sat in a perfect spot off an quick early pace). Perhaps he's a new horse at age six, but I'm skeptical unless he's on the board at something like 15/1, which he won't be.
If Ibboyee employs the closing style that we've seen in his last two races, he could have a shot to pick up some pieces in the final furlongs. If he's closer to the pace, which was his running style for most of 2010, I think he'd be up against it.
Haynesfield looks awfully nice in this spot, especially after getting a race under his belt in the Westchester on April 30th. If he can build off that race and run back to his form from last fall, he should have every chance at a win.
I suppose we can probably toss that Charles Town race for Tackleberry given the pretty miserable conditions on the track that day. If you do that, you're left with a gelding that loves to win wire-to-wire. Other than that race at Charles Town in the slop, Tackleberry has run his worst races when he's been pressured into a quick pace in the early stages. If Stormy's Majesty and Rodman are able to pressure Tackleberry into quick splits out of the gate, it's possible he'll crack.
I suppose that Haynesfield will be my selection in this spot, provided he's not hammered down to a ridiculous number by the time they load them into the gate. Soaring Empire interests me a bit at 6/1.