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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday Potpourri

Between shopping for a new car and reading the last Harry Potter book, I am only now catching up with racing news. Some weekend races played out as suspected, with Cosmonaut and Octave winning, while Dreaming of Anna impressed me with her Virginia Oaks’ win, and Bit of Whimsy somewhat disappointed (Bees scratched, unfortunately). Circular Quay laid a big goose egg in the Virginia Derby…what does Pletcher do with this horse now? Did those works with Rags to Riches before and after the Derby badly demoralize the little guy? Since he certainly appears to have no affinity for turf (even after Pletcher worked him over it for over a month), I’m not sure even the Toddster knows what to do with him next. I know it won’t happen, but maybe the Tabors should consider changing trainers…?

Two-year-olds Ready’s Image and The Roundhouse are confirmed for the G2 Sanford Stakes on Thursday, but Pletcher chose for Sea Chanter to pass on the G2 Schuylerville and stick with turf, aiming her for the much-less prestigious non-graded $60,000 Tippett Stakes at Colonial Downs this coming Saturday. Glacken’s Girl is also skipping the Schuylerville, in favor of the August 15 G2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga.

My infatuation, Southwestern Heat, is entered in Saturday’s six-furlong $55,000 Oh Say Stakes at Delaware! He’s the 9-5 morning line favorite, as he has met and beaten every other horse in the six-horse field except for 8-1 shot Vista Moon, so I hope he can win this one with his blistering early speed. He has never run at Delaware, but the track bias highly favor his running style.

With the news today that Laurel Park’s fall meet will see a large reduction in stakes races and purses (11 stakes cancelled outright and 16 other stakes with purse reductions), plus no bonuses to Maryland-breds for winning open stakes, I wonder how many horsemen will move their horses to the newly-opening, purse-rich Presque Isle or even Philly Park? Believe me, I take no pleasure in seeing Maryland’s racing suffer, but that state’s loss is PA’s gain (in the form of better racing, I hope). While it will be quite a drive (about 3-1/2 hours), I do plan on making at least one trip to Presque Isle Downs this September, and look forward to seeing a higher quality of horse (hopefully) due to the generous purses.

Also good news for bettors today: 10-cent superfectas will be offered on the Breeders’ Cup races at Monmouth Park this fall. OK, good news for some of us, as doubtlessly those betting at tracks and at OTW facilities will have to deal with longer lines by those imbeciles who actually bet numerous individual combinations of four horses at 10 cents a pop. However, those of us forced to bet online (due to our lack of ready access to tracks or OTW facilities) will love the availability of this bet!

First, it was Street Sense and Hard Spun, then Epsom Derby winner Authorized. Now, another top horse has been gobbled up by Darley Stud, Japan’s grade 1 (and UAE $5 million Dubai Duty Free) winner Admire Moon (End Sweep-My Katies, by Sunday Silence) who was purchased for a reported $33 million. No word on his immediate future as either a racehorse or stud, but Sheikh Mohammed will reportedly be granted an owners’ license in Japan by year’s end and could race him under his own colors if he so chose. No details have been revealed, but it is believed that Hard Spun sold for $15-$20 million, and will stand for a stud fee of $70,000. The purchase price of Authorized is rumored to be £10 million (around $20.6 million). While no prices have been announced for Street Sense, considering the other rumored prices, a purchase price of $25-30 million is not unreasonable. Already, speculation is that his projected stud fee will be $100,000, probably about the same as his sire Street Cry who will surely see an increase next year considering the success of numerous offspring on both dirt and turf.

Just to keep updated, maiden runner Four Acres lost his 71st straight race on Saturday, finishing last in the eight-horse field in race 3 at Suffolk Downs.