Social Icons

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday Saratoga

On Thursday at Saratoga, the first race—the $70k Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes over the hurdles—would normally hold little interest for me, except one of the jumpers will be a former flat racer who once caught my attention. A former Michael Matz trainee, Bee Charmer was last seen early on the lead in the G3 Elkhorn at Keeneland in April, before fading in the stretch to finish last behind Dancing Forever and nine others. Shortly after, he was transferred to Richard Valentine and entered his first hurdle race at Colonial where he promptly unseated his rider. Next time out, though, he must have figured it out because he won a 2-1/4 mile race over six others by 20 lengths. My affection for him dates back to last October when he was just beaten by Transduction Gold in the G3 Sycamore. He didn’t finish in the money often as a flat racer—only 6 times in 18 races—but I’ll be rooting for Bee Charmer to succeed in his new career.

Race 2 features the regally-bred 2-year-old Fast Draw (Gone West), whose dam Bright Candles was multiple G1-placed as a 3-year-old, and has excelled as a broodmare. Among his siblings: full-brother Grand Slam who won the G1 Champagne and G1 Belmont Futurity at 2. Although he’s already raced (finishing a game third going 6f), I’m not sold on him yet. The likely post-time favorite will be either Todd Pletcher’s Keep’em Movin Dan (Distorted Humor-Queen of Money, by Corporate Report), a $875,000 Fasig-Tipton purchase last August who had a sharp gate work on Saturday, or the Steve Amsussen-trained Valiancy (Tale of The Cat-Sobinka, by Sadler’s Wells) who looks to only get better with more distance. I like both horses a lot, especially Pletcher’s first-timer, but will take a long hard look at Insider (Out of Place-Doe River, by Kris S.), sent out by Patrick Kelly, for a piece of the exotics. I know there’s some buzz about West Point Thoroughbred’s Tapit’s Brew—mostly based on his $280,000 Ocala sale price this past March, compared to his rather modest pedigree—but the "lowly" home-bred Insider is inexplicably pulling me. Sometimes you don't ask why...

On Saturday, some notable jockey appearances at lower-tier tracks. Arguably the best jockey in America, Garrett Gomez makes a rare appearance at Mountaineer, riding Salinja (Speaker’s Cup), Better Than Bonds (Governor’s S.), Miss Lombardi (Senate President’s S.) and Cherokee Artist (Derby), all for Graham Motion. Also at Mountaineer for West Virginia Derby Day: Calvin Borel, Julien Leparoux, Shaun Bridgmohan, Gabriel Saez and even Todd Kabel in from Woodbine. On Claiming Crown Day at Canterbury Park, New York-based Channing Hill ships in to ride Gallo Del Bar (Emerald S.) and R Clear Victory (Jewel S.) for Steve Asmussen. So, if you get a chance, stop by to watch the big boys ride.


Gogirl Racing said...

Hi, Valerie!

Love your blog, it's got a lot of useful information. Thanks for your support, take care!

Jenny (Gogirl Racing)