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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Famous Connections

At Delaware, Unbridled Belles’ little half-brother Stones River won an ugly off-turf Nick Shuk Memorial which, in addition to six pre-race scratches, saw one horse go down (Pickering), one lose his jockey (Termsofengagement) and another one be disqualified (Sir Diamond) for starting the chain-reaction event.

Two races later, X Rated Cat held on for a gutsy second-place finish in a 5f AOC also taken off the turf. His 2-year-old half-sister Elusive Heat worked 4f at Saratoga in 48:15 (10/50) in anticipation of her first start.

Also at Saratoga, Spaniard—half-brother to easy G1 Test winner Indian Blessing—finished a clear second in race 2.

At Woodbine, AP Bear—half-brother of G3 Florida Oaks winner Awesome Chic—made his debut on turf in race 8, finishing fifth to impressive War Lap, son of G1 turf winner Indy Five Hundred.

On Sunday, Phi Beta Mom—full-sister to Teuflesburg—goes 5.5f on turf for Kiaran McLaughlin in race 6 at Saratoga. Even though her speed figures may not warrant it, I’m thinking she has a good chance here. The race also features Dark Sky whose turf credentials are impressive: a full-sister to multiple French G1 winner Nebraska Tornado, and a half to French G1-placed Mirabilis and French G2 winner Burning Sun. For a bit of a price, though, there are two others of interest to me: Kewland, who switches from Polytrack for Mark Casse, and Cocktail Attire who put in a sharp gate work recently for Michael Trombetta.

At Monmouth, Acacia—full-sister of Saturday’s WV Governor’s Stakes winner Zanjero—tries the turf in race 14. She’s been pretty ambitiously-placed this year by Steve Asmussen, including being thrown into the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks against Proud Spell and Indian Blessing just after breaking her maiden. Still, she has finished third in two straight allowance level races most recently, so if this gets rained off the grass she might have a chance.

UPDATE: While Phi Beta Mom showed early speed only to fade to eighth, Dark Sky lived up to her awesome turf pedigree, paying $7.90 win. Cocktail Attire ($9.40 place) got second, resulting in a sweet $65.00 exacta (remember you read it here). Almost had the trifecta, but Kewland was passed late by Dancingcolors ($4.90 show), and finished fourth.

At 16-1, Acadia ($6.80 show) made an impressive late run to get up for third in a photo finish with 2-1 favorite Move Clickly and 9-2 winner Gianna’s Reprized.