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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Xtra Heat's Boys, and Update from Down Under

4-year-old Southwestern Heat’s 2008 return in Monmouth’s John McSorley Stakes was disappointing, but understandably so considering his tough placement. As usual, he took the early lead and held it around the final turn, but then it went downhill, as he tired in the stretch to finish last of eight. Still, it was only his first outing since last October, and only his second attempt at turf. It was also his first race for new trainer Tony Dutrow and new jockey Jose Lezcano. The 19-1 winner Rouse the Cat finished just .09 seconds off the track record, and all the other runners had run multiple times this year, so I’m willing to forgive this effort. Still, I don’t see Dutrow improving upon Tim Salzman thus far….

Salzman still trains Xtra Heat’s 3-year-old son X Rated Cat and that one won impressively at Delaware on Monday, by 5 lengths. The race was taken off the turf, and Pablo Morales was up for the easy allowance victory over the wet fast surface.

The race prior featured Unbridled Belle’s baby half-brother, Stones River, recent subject of trainer Larry Jones’ first failed drug test. Once again he won easily with a late drive. I really like this colt and wouldn’t be surprised to see him soon in stakes company.

Winning Color’s recent winning filly Ocean Colors is now in training at Saratoga—can’t wait to see her in one of the 2-year-old stakes there. She’s nominated for the G3 Schuylerville on July 23.

G1 winner Buzzards Bay has been retired. Stud plans for the 6-year-old are not finalized, but you can bet him won’t get too much attention—there’s not a lick of Northern Dancer or Mr. Prospector in him. Instead, you’d get a stud who’s bred 5 x 4 to Ribot; his sire Marco Bay is descended from Tom Fool and Damascus, while his dam is by a very minor son of Alydar and a Arts and Letters’ mare. Solid but not flashy—the kiss of death these days for breeders, unfortunately.

Down Under, top trainers were recently asked what horse they would most like to have in their stable for the spring carnival (this fall in the Northern Hemisphere). While most picked 3-year-old Weekend Hussler who has won six G1 races this past season, Randrick trainer Anthony Cummings (son of legendary trainer Bart Cummings) who campaigns Turffontein and Dealer Principal, wants to add Curlin to his stable. Guess there are others who believe they can turn Curlin into a successful turf campaigner.

On her website, Gai Waterhouse is reporting that 2-year-old colt Sebring is back in training and looking bigger and stronger than ever. Very exciting! After wheeling off five consecutive victories (including two legs of the Australian juvenile Triple Crown), Sebring finished second by a short head to the filly Samantha Miss in the G1 Champagne Stakes before going on hiatus.

Finally, some of you may have missed this little tidbit as it was tucked deep in a DRF article on Solano. The incomparable race mule Black Ruby, who at 16-years-old has already won 70 races, will run again this summer, her final year of competition.