-The scratch of Celtic Princess (BRZ) significantly changed the complexion of yesterday's Eddie Read and allowed Acclimation to assert himself on the front-end without a single challenge from the rest of the field.
I can see if you're riding a closer that you have very little chance to do anything about runaway speed, but if you're riding a horse like Smart Bid, a horse with a decent amount of natural speed, and you let a 10 to 12 furlong specialist lope along on the front-end of a Grade 1 race...well, you don't deserve to win. I'm not sure why Edgar Prado was content to sit so far back early on, but it cost him any chance of winning and, in the process, served up the Eddie Read to Acclimation.
Celtic Princess will point to the John Mabee Stakes on August 14th.
-The new $0.50 Pick 5 at Del Mar has gotten off to a nice start in the early days of the meeting. Payouts since opening day:
Not bad at all.
-A very nice early Pick 4 at Emerald yesterday afternoon. A sequence of 4.90/1, 6.00/1, 3.00/1 and 10.80/1 produced a $0.50 Pick 4 payout of $2,682.50.
-For the life of me I can't figure out why Winchester was pounded down to odds of 4/5 prior to yesterday's Stars & Stripes at Arlington Park in a race that was washed off the turf. Winchester had never run over a synthetic surface in his life, and while many turf horses make the transition from Poly to turf fairly effectively, you don't play those horses at 4/5. He ran well to finish 2nd but he never seriously threatened the winner inside the final furlong.
-Given the state of the Classic division this year, any older horse that shows some ability at 10 furlongs against reasonably decent competition could be considered a contender at the Breeders' Cup. Last night Worldly turned in a solid performance in the Prairie Meadows Handicap (video) to win by four easy lengths on the wire. The Prairie Meadows Handicap is an ungraded race and the field was clearly a notch below the top horses in the division, but it was still a solid win for Wordly. At a minimum, he demonstrated that he can put in a solid effort at 10 furlongs.
-The Beyer figure for Jackson Bend's win over a classy field in the James Marvin Stakes at Saratoga on Friday came back at 108. Given the fact that the Marvin was seven furlongs, combined with Jackson Bend's success at longer distances during his career, probably makes him a good fit for the Dirt Mile.
-The third race at Emerald features a couple of interesting first-time-starters in post positions #1 and 2. 1-Havanna Red and 2-Emerald Knight are both Washington-bred sons of Cahill Road. Havanna Red is out of a Just the Time mare (Bou Bou Be Dough), while Emerald Knight is out of a Basket Weave mare (Knight Weave). Emerald Knight is owned by Emerald Downs president Ron Crockett. Both of these horse appear to be well-intended firsters and they are lining up against a field that hasn't shown a ton in their brief careers.
-A bit of sad news on this weekend: Awad, the winner of the 1995 Arlington Million, died of a heart attack at Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky on Saturday. Awad was 21-years-old.