Excuse the lack of cohesive thought, but lots of little things on my mind today.
I’m glad to hear that Garrett Gomez escaped with only some missing teeth, cuts and bruises when 2-year-old Back at You attempted to jump the inner rail in the Eddie Logan at Santa Anita on Saturday. Unfortunately, that meant he missed his ride on Bsharpsonata in the G1 La Brea and, even though she acquired the talented Rafael Bejarano, it was a hard-ask for Bsharpsonata to adjust to him on such short notice—she finished third behind Indian Blessing and Ginger Pop. The bad news about his ride was that Bejarano took her three-wide around the final turn and she has shown a preference for riding the rail; the good news was he took her wide because if she had been inside she may have fallen over Indyanne as that one broke down on the rail in the stretch. Fortunately, it appears Indyanne will survive to become a broodmare—fingers crossed for her and her connections.
Indian Blessing’s win—her fifth lifetime G1, and third this year—not only solidifies her position as top female sprinter this year, but also her potential for the 3-year-old filly Eclipse. If the TBA rankings-by-points mean anything, then Indian Blessing not only was the top 3-year-old filly, but finishes runner-up to Zenyatta for horse of the year. Hey, she danced every dance this year, never finishing worse than second in 9 races, with six wins from 6f to 8.5f. Following the La Brea, according to trainer Bob Baffert, Indian Blessing will be pointed to the six-furlong Dubai Golden Shaheen, in which she will face males. And he said his main goal for her in 2009 will be the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Not the Filly and Mare Sprint, at seven furlongs, but the six-furlong Sprint, against males. I, for one, can’t wait!
Back to the Eddie Logan, I did have a nice win bet on Flashmans Papers ($14.20). Question: is he the first U.S. stakes-winner by young Aussie sire Exceed and Excel? I believe so.
On HRTV on Saturday, why was it necessary for Laffit Pincay to say it was “good” to see Patrick Biancone back on the Santa Anita backstretch? There is nothing good about a trainer like Biancone who has been blackballed in France and Hong Kong, and is now coming back from, what was in essence, a one-year suspension here for the discovery of cobra venom in his barn. This is most definitely not a trainer that has been missed. Unfortunately, until the sport takes drug misuse seriously, we are stuck with him. That doesn’t mean prominent announcers need to go out of their way to suggest everything is just peachy-keen, though. However you look at it, Biancone is bad for the sport.
Mountaineer’s New Year’s Eve Stakes is going to be run on...December 30. Okay, so they don’t normally run on Wednesdays, and it falls on that day this year, but still it seems odd. Looking over the entries, I’ll be rooting hard for 8-year-old mare Afleet Angel (a Foolish Pleasure descendent, of course) who has enjoyed a banner year, with four wins and only one out-of-the-money finish in eight tries. For a hunch bet, though, it might be wise to put some money on All Giving whose last two races were close up finishes in the Witches Brew on Halloween and the Cornucopia just before Thanksgiving—love the holiday theme there.
Also on Tuesday, at Philadelphia Park, race 3 is a MC $25k which features 3-year-old Persuasion who hasn’t won yet in eight tries. However, his breeding (Cherokee Run, out of the A.P. Indy mare Alluring—daughter of multiple G1 winner Educated Risk) just screams turf to me, or at least an all-weather surface try. This is his lowest level yet so if he can’t win here...you’ll probably see him at Penn National next. The real odd-ball in this race, though, is 7-year-old Big Silverman who comes in off more than a year break, and has yet to win in 31 starts. In fact, he’s only finished third twice, and that was at least three years ago. Actually, I’m really concerned about this horse (yes, he’s not a gelding) running. He’s worked out six times since October, slow and very slow each time, plus in the three races he ran last year, he lost by a combine total of 52 lengths! Whether he loves to run or not, some horses are just not cut out to be racehorses—and he is obviously one of them.