Ask and ye shall receive…X Rated Cat is entered in the sixth race at Laurel on Saturday, a $28,000 MSW over six furlongs. Unlike his distance-limited half brother Southwestern Heat, this dark brown two-year-old should be able to get a little farther, thus starting him out at six furlongs seems appropriate. He has three posted workouts this past month:
08/04/2007-LAUREL PARK-Four Furlongs-Dirt Fast-47:60 Handily
07/21/2007-LAUREL PARK-Three Furlongs-Dirt Fast-36:00 Breezing
07/14/2007-LAUREL PARK-Five Furlongs-Dirt Fast-1.01:00 Handily
Unfortunately, he is not a secret, being set by odds-makers as the 3-1 morning line favorite. Still, I will be curious to watch his performance.
Looking over the condition book for the newly opening Presque Isle Downs, I found two nice races for Southwestern Heat, although neither is a perfect fit. On September 3, the first race is the $100,000 Tom Ridge Labor Day Stakes for three-year-olds, over 6 furlongs—right age group and decent distance, but would still prefer shorter. On September 15, the third race is the $175,000 Karl Boyes Memorial Northwestern PA Stakes for three year olds and up, over 5-1/2 furlongs—perfect distance, but against older horses? I am not sure he is ready for that yet. I still like the $150,000 Turf Monster Handicap, for three-year-olds and up, over 5 furlongs on the turf—perfect distance and surface, but still there is that element of older horses…
Chelokee is done for the year with an ankle “issue,” but apparently will return as a four-year-old. According to trainer Michael Matz, “Our alternatives were to either inject him or give him some time off, and we elected to give him the time off and bring him back as a handicap horse.” How refreshing to actually think of the horse’s good health achieved naturally rather than loading him up with drugs!
Unfortunately for the handicap division this year, another leader has bitten the dust, as G1 Stephen Foster Handicap winner Flashy Bull is being retired due to an injury apparently sustained during the July 28 Whitney. Other TBA bloggers (including The Last Filly and Handride) have summed up this situation from a racing fan’s point-of-view far better than I could, so I will leave it at that. Another disappointment, and surely not the last "necessary" retirement we will see this year, I am sure.
Pregnant mare Sabellina, is nominated for the $100,000 Yaddo Stakes at Saratoga on August 18. She finished sixth last out, in the July 27 Dinner Diamond Stakes, but she wasn’t that far back at the end so it appeared to be a decent showing.
Among the nominations for the G1 Alabama is Tough Tiz’s Sis, and I hope her connections are serious about running her here after several pullouts in recent months (from the Delaware Oaks on July 14, and then the Clement Hirsch this past weekend). She's one that I enjoyed watching earlier in the year, and would like to see her return to top-form against the class three-year-old fillies.
Curious about the entire hubbub regarding Maimonides, I watched the race replay at Calracing.com—wow! Impressive! Under a handride by Rafael Bejarano, he got a little nudge in the stretch and just cruised—so smooth. Trainer Bob Baffert has indicated his next start could be the G1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga on September 3, where he will likely meet Ready's Image.
As remarkable a race Maimonides ran, at Del Mar this week, One Hot Wish was horribly disappointing in the Sorrento Stakes. Although early on she was very much in contention, when the field rounded the final turn, the two-year-old filly had nothing left, finishing next to last behind Tasha’s Miracle. Hopefully, One Hot Wish doesn't turn out to be a One Race Wonder.
Well, I was on hiatus this week from blogging because I have been preparing for...tada!...my first trip ever to an actual racetrack. No, not Saratoga or Del Mar, or even Laurel or Monmouth. Two betting friends and I are driving 2-1/2 hours down to lowly Charles Town on Friday morning, where we will enjoy simulcast betting all day long, and live racing beginning at 7:15 p.m. It has been nearly two months since our local off-track betting facility closed down and I have not yet made the plunge into online wagering, so needless to say, I am so totally in handicapping withdrawal! I have printed out past performances for Friday’s races at Saratoga, Laurel, Arlington, Ellis Park and Del Mar, and my yellow highlighter, red flair marker and black ink pen are loaded and ready! I will have pictures and results on Saturday…woohoo!