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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Howdy, 2008!

Tim Salzman, trainer of Southwestern Heat, won the first stakes race of 2008 in North America—the $100K Tropical Park Oaks at Calder, with the Pulpit filly Bsharpsonata. Eric Camacho was up for the victory, which paid $7.40. She’s now 2 for 3 on the turf, including a victory in the 8.5f Selima Stakes at Laurel, but apparently she’ll be moving back to the dirt, aiming for Gulfstream’s G2 Forward Gal (February 9) and G2 Davona Dale (March 2).

In the fourth at Aqueduct, a half-brother of G1 winner Balto Star, the Todd Pletcher-trained (and oddly-named) Duke of de Buqe easily won—by nearly 10 lengths—a maiden special weight event at 8.32f, paying $13.80. The Toddster wasn’t quite as fortunate with his other promising three-year-old, Fort Drum, who finished second in race 7; that race was won by longshot Judge William ($46.80) with bug Carol Cedeno up. Go Carol! However, Pletcher’s duo of Cowboy Cal ($3.40 win) and Why Tonto ($10.80 place) took the first graded stakes race of 2008—the G3 $100K Tropical Park Derby at Calder.

I’m not sure what Rick Dutrow’s excuse will be this time for Oprah Winney—probably the sloppy track—as the favorite couldn’t hold the lead against Control System and Karakorum Starlet in the Interborough Handicap, finishing nearly 10 lengths back from the winner. At least he doesn't have Alan Garcia to blame this time.

Congratulations to apprentice Jermaine Bridgmohan who had three winners at Aqueduct—American Senor ($19.60) in race 1, Rite Moment ($4.40) in race 3, and Tzipi ($49.20) in race 6. Another impressive bug, Arnaldo Bocachica won three at Charles Town—Zavata’s Example ($3.80) in race 1, Spell Me ($14.40) in race 2, and Ian’s Rocket ($4.80) in race 4. At Fair Grounds, Jamie Theriot got his new year off to a good start, with three winners—Kissindustingoodby ($10.00) in race 3, Extra Exclusive ($3.80) in race 6, and Houghton Regrets ($21.40) in race 9. However, the best start appears to have been at Portland Meadows where Joe Crispin won the first three races—with Blue Sky Holiday ($2.60), Sonic Swiss ($5.40) and Typhoon Aaron ($2.80) respectively—followed by additional wins in race 5 (Destined for Drama, $10.00) and race 8 (Musical Wine, $3.20); in addition to those five wins, he also got a place in race 6 (Sultana’s Secret, $4.60) and a show in race 9 (Shezabigsecret, $2.60). Wow!

In race 9 at Fair Grounds—an 8f NW1x allowance race on dirt—the second place finisher was It’s A Danzig ($4.60 place) who I previously mentioned sold at the November Keeneland Breeding Stock Sale for a mere $45,000. His new owner, Joe K. Davis, placed him with Steve Asmussen who looks to get this now-four-year-old back on track. Hey, he earned $8,000 on that purchase price today!

Another notable change-of-trainer to mention: La Traviata, who was with Patrick “The Cobra” Biacone last year and raced in the name of Francois Parisel in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, is now in training with…Todd Pletcher. No surprise there, as her owners (Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith) often utilize The Toddster. The now-four-year-old filly worked 4f on Monday at Hollywood Park in 49.60 (40/78). Other notable Gulfstream workouts on the last day of 2007 included Einstein going 6f in 1.11:80 (1/2), while the half-sister of Bit of Whimsy, Kristi With a K, traveled 5f in 59:80 (1/44). At Calder, Mach Ride worked 3f in 34:80 (1/19).