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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Maiden Extremes

I enjoy writing about the horses whose careers and modest achievements may never capture broader attention. Smoochie Hoochie is such an animal.

This 5-year-old mare (E Dubai-Hoochie Coochie, by His Majesty) broke her maiden at Colonial Downs on Tuesday—in her 26th attempt. Over the past year, in the six previous races that she actually completed, Smoochie Hoochie has lost by a total of 110 lengths—just over 18 lengths per race—all maiden claiming events, on turf and dirt, at various tracks, from 5.5f to 8.5f. So, why did she win now? Maybe because she was finally dropped down to $5k claimers, after running mostly for $25k—when she was a $7k FTM October 2005 purchase. Talk about an owner in denial. Smoochie Hoochie paid $68.80 for the win with Malcolm Franklin up, in a field of 14.

On the other extreme, at Belmont on Wednesday, some pricey 2-year-old filly maidens make their debuts going 5f. The combo of Kiaran McLaughlin and Alan Garcia send out Genuine Charm, a $350k Keeneland yearling purchase by Dixie Union out of the A.P. Indy mare Alluring—daughter of the great race mare Educated Risk. Mark Henning and Rajiv Maragh team up with Dattt Echo, a $360k Keeneland yearling by Stormy Atlantic out of the Coronado’s Quest mare Rehear; she’s a three-quarters sister to G1 Spinaway victress Mani Bhavan. However, the filly that’s caught my eye is Je Ne Sais Quoi, by Elusive Quality out of the Argentinean multiple G1-placed Southern Halo mare Galeta. She’s a half-sister to G1 Matron runner-up Lokoya, and has posted some extremely fine workouts for Jimmy Toner in anticipation of this start, with Edgar Prado up. With the tragic loss of Sailor’s Cap last month, the Toner stable is owed some good karma.

Finally, for hunch bets on Wednesday, how about Curie (as in dual Nobel prize winner Marie) who runs in race 2 at Charles Town, combined with Uranium (yes, I know it was radium, but...close enough) in race 7 at Arlington?


Frank said...

In fairness to Smoochie's owners -- and cuz I have a soft spot for lifetime maidens that finally escape the condition -- the reason she'd run so many races at MC 25K, rather than cheaper, is b/c a) she's clearly better on grass and b) outside of Colonial, which only runs two months/year, there's no place to find grass for maidens worth less than 25k in the region.

Valerie said...

A fair point, Frank. She is definitely better on turf, but, from a financial point of view, how could they have stayed afloat waiting, having earned (before this victory) less than $69 this year and just under $2,000 in 7 races in all of 2008? At what point could they have gone to Penn National or Philly who seasonally run on turf? It's a tough game.

PEM said...

I don't know of any place where you will see maidens on the weeds for less than 25K in the mid-atlantic, midwest or south-no place I can think of off the top besides Colonial. Don't really follow the action there at Colonial but I think the rider is top 10 up there-she was good enough to garner his attention--although he blew it on a 4-5 shot I owned a couple of years back.

Yeah people do tend to fall in love with the damned things-but in all fairness-if you do own a horse-vanning it elsewhere-sending it to another trainer-I mean sure I guess it makes business sense-or does it? Lets be honest-a $7600 purse? Jesus might as well run at Fairmont Park for that kind of money--but I have a funny feeling that not many trainers at Colonial are working for $30 a day or "on the cuff".

Valerie-don't know if you own any-or have owned any-but owning horses will make some very intelligent folks do some truly moronic things. As I type this I fell pretty secure in saying the ownership group of Smoochie are quite sure she has "broken through" and "figured it out" and is sitting on two or three wins right up to stakes level. But be careful of trying to understand what motivates an owner-it's never easy to figure out-and it can sure be expensive at the windows.