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Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Day of Champions, and Soon-To-Be Champions

A Champion for the Ages...Invasor

Is it just me, or were the camera angles used to cover the Dubai races dizzying? Too tight to the leaders and not enough wide shots. For knowing virtually nothing about most of the horses running, my picks weren’t too bad, although, of the $12 I actually spent placing bets, I only made back $2.80:

Godolphin Mile: Spring at Last (win)who I bet to place, thus my $2.80 :)
UAE Derby: Asiatic Boy (win)
Golden Shaheen: Friendly Island (place)who I bet to win
Sheema Classic: Sir Percy (fourth)
Duty Free: Admire Moon (win), Seihali (fourth)
World Cup: Premium Tap (place) who I bet to win, Invasor (win)

In the Duty Free, I was very disappointed in my betting pick English Channel, whom John Velazquez said “got in the gate and fell asleep.” Lava Man went to the lead with the mare Iridescence, but in the stretch faded to last. Corey Nakatani appeared very, very dejected after the loss.

Invasor was magnificent in the World Cup, as was Premium Tap as the two were clearly the best, battling down the stretch. Discreet Cat finished LAST, a complete non-contender throughout the race. Bullish Luck finished third, 10 lengths behind Premium Tap.

I love the name Vengeance of Rain! If I had followed my gut reactions to names, I would have placed money on him…dumb, I know. However, he paid $22.20 in winning the Sheema; Oracle West ($22.40) placed, leading to a $910.20 exacta. With the Irish horse Youmzain ($8.00) showing, the $2 trifecta paid $11,937. Wow!

The Pan American Handicap came out just as I suspected, with Jambalaya and Hotstufanthensome coming in one-two, clearly the best of this field. A 24-1 longshot, Fri Guy was third, with Ramazutti fourth. Dynatonia was a non-entity, finishing ninth, just behind Lima Papa who, sadly, was vanned off the track.

Dry Martini was scratched from the Skip Away. A.P. Arrow finished just a head in front of 16-1 long shot Rehoboth, with Political Force hanging on for third along the rail. Palladio (23-1) was closing hard in stretch to finish fourth, but it looked like he was impeded in stretch run by Touched by Madness who bore out into the middle of the track and in the head-on view looks to have bumped Palladio twice. Nothing was noted in the race notes afterward except that Touched by Madness "altered course to the outside in midstretch." Oh well, maybe next time for Palladio. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on him. Frankly, in my personal opinion, A.P. Arrow didn’t look all that impressive. Definitely beatable with some better horses running against him.

In the Florida Derby, Scat Daddy pulled up eye-to-eye with Stormello as they came off the final turn and said “See ya later” to win "fully extended" over Notional and fast-closing Chelokee. Stormello finished fourth. Damn! The first quarter was in 23.05, with Stormello leading Adore the Gold, Scat Daddy and Chelokee. The half mile finished in 46.78, the ¾ mile in 1:10.82 and 1:35.92 for the mile. The final time was 1:49. Adore the Gold was among the leaders, and in the final turn moved off the rail to go around Stormello, but Scat Daddy was there instead and obviously Adore the Gold had nothing left as he faded to eighth, finishing ahead of Johannesburg Star who was BADLY beaten in this race. Watching them load into the starting gate on my little computer screen, didn’t it seems like many of them had bandaged legs? I noticed Stormello had one, and Adore the Gold had both back legs bandaged, didn’t he? Any significance there? Maybe Stormello's journey in from California and late arrival on Thursday may have tired him out? No excuses, but I'm very disappointed. I have him on my short list of Derby favorites, but may have to reconsider that. Also, can Adore the Gold even make the Derby field now due to lack of graded stakes earnings? Chelokee earned himself $100,000...will they have to enter him in the $1 million Arkansas Derby in two weeks to get enough to enter the Derby? How about the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (also in two weeks), or do they wait an additional week for the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes, which is held just two weeks before the Derby and offers a lot less prize money than the other two options? Should be interesting because Chelokee looked real good.

I guess the big story out of Gulfstream for the day was Edgar Prado winning 6 of the 12 races; he also had 1 place finish, and 1 show. Wow! According to the track announcer, he nearly tied Jerry Bailey who holds the record with 7 victories in one day.