Monday, May 19, 2008
On Sunday, X Rated Cat, three-year-old son of champion Xtra Heat, broke his maiden at Charles Town. His first race was last August at Laurel where he battled for the early lead, but faded to finish well back behind eventual winner Wonder Mon. In this—his second lifetime race—he didn’t get a great start (the chart caller lists it as “slammed with Easter Jelly Bean”), but he got up in the stretch which was actually nice to see, considering big half-brother Southwestern Heat was merely a one-dimensional speedball (aka, run like hell right out of the gate) until his last race when he actually rated. He is still training for his 2008 debut, posting a five furlong work at the Pha (1:03.03) on Sunday. What was funny about X Rated Cat's race was the race caller at Charles Town called him Xtra Heat as he rounded the final turn...
The best word to describe Big Brown’s victory in the Preakness. While I still loathe, abhor, detest and am totally repulsed in every way possibly imaginable by his trainer Rick Dutrow and owners IEAH (and Kent Desormeaux’s wife is getting on my nerves too), I’m begrudging ready to admit this colt is out of the ordinary. Does that mean I’m ready to hand him the Triple Crown? No. More than anything I’d love to see Casino Drive win the Belmont. Now THAT is a story with real achievement—the same mare birthing three consecutive Belmont Stakes winners, an accomplishment of Mother Nature not chemistry. If, and that’s a big if, Big Brown does win the Triple Crown, can we speak of him in the same breath as Secretariat, Affirmed or Seattle Slew? Hell no!
I was pleased Icabad Crane got third, and, while I didn’t discuss it in my blog, I did write an article for Bettorsworld.com where I did pick Macho Again as one of the top 5 challengers. However, I convinced myself he couldn’t get the distance, thus left him off my only trifecta ticket. I did better in the Preakness undercard, pegging Roshani’s victory in the G3 Gallorette, with soft turf-loving Lady Digby getting second and Valbenny finishing third. Still, it was pretty chalky, with the $1 tri only paying $26.10. The G3 Hirsch Jacobs played out much as I had called it, with Force Freeze battling longshot Indy Joe for the lead, joined mid-way through by Silver Edition, and winner Lantana Mob beating them all late. That $1 superfecta paid $122.10, but I didn’t play it. My biggest score of the day was in the G2 DuPont Distaff as Buy the Barrel ($8.00, $4.80, $3.20), Lexi Star ($6.40, $3.60) and Bear Now ($3.20) paid $102.70 for the $1 tri. The only race I was really off was the G2 Dixie—I actually could understand Pays to Dream there for the win, but never figured Stay Close and super-longshot Ra Der Dean (41-1) beating Salinja, Shakis and Pick Six.