I didn’t get any advance notice from my Virtual Stable, but Southwestern Heat ran in an allowance optional claimer nw2x today at Laurel—thank god, not for a tag! He did what he always does…go straight for the lead, setting a blazing pace (the quarter in 21.86), and he did win by ½ length, but, good god, in the stretch he drifted out into nearly the middle of the track…with blinkers on…and lost all kinds of ground to the rest of the field. This has been going on for quite awhile, so can’t they address this issue in training or with a rider switch? It’s just a shame that he can’t rate well (although it did appear as if he did switch gears today from high to low and then back to high), but I accept that. It is not acceptable, though, that he drifts out like that. Maybe he needs to mature even further, I guess. I’m still sorry that he wasn’t nominated for the 5-1/2 furlong Northwestern Stakes at Presque Isle this coming Saturday—especially since I’ll be there!
I also don’t know how I missed this little tidbit, but Presque Isle Downs’ jockey colony will soon have another prominent member. The DRF reports that Julien Leparoux will be riding weekends at the track, including this coming weekend—that’s per his agent Steve Bass.
In the marquee event on Saturday, he will be riding Mary Delaney who earlier this year looked unbeatable on synthetic surfaces, then lost to Strike Softly at Woodbine before a very disappointing last in the G2 Vagrancy at Belmont. Cornelio Velasquez gets the mount on Shaggy Mane who narrowly lost the grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder in July. Miss Macy Sue won four stakes races this year before finishing fourth at Saratoga in the grade 2 Honorable Miss Stakes in August; Eusebio Razo, Jr. gets back the mount after Prado rode her last. Jeremy Rose rides Miraculous Miss who finished a close third in the grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga recently. Ramon Dominquez rides Smart and Fancy who comes in off three turf stakes, although she has won on dirt too. Wild Gams (with Miguel Mena up) has been up and (mostly) down over the past two years—the high points being a win in the G3 Cicada at Aqueduct last March, and losing by just a neck to Wildcat Bettie B in the G1 Prioress at Belmont in July 2006; her two starts this year have been disappointing. Vestrey Lady (with James McAleney up) comes in from Woodbine where she won the grassy G3 Royal North Stakes at 6 furlongs on August 6. Dale Beckner gets the ride on Coli Bear who last out lost the XtraHeat Stakes by a neck to Wildcat Bettie B. Looks like a nice, competitive race! However, the weekend weather forecast looks very chilly (low 50s) so if you are coming to Erie, wear a warm jacket! That's lake breeze can be very chilly.
Also this weekend, Teuflesberg is entered in the 6-1/2 furlong $75,000 Marfa Stakes at Turfway on Saturday; his primary competition looks to be Off Duty who finished a diminishing neck behind Piratesonthelake and In Summation in the Arlington Sprint Handicap last out.