Regular readers will notice some cosmetic changes to this blog today—the first in over three years, since I first began “Foolish Pleasure.” Hopefully it’s a cleaner look with all the regular features intact, including links to free past performances, a listing of recent performances by Foolish Pleasure descendants, and, most importantly, links to other excellent horse racing blogs including terrific recent additions Pennsylvania Thoroughbred, Reaching for Roses, Turf Beat and The Unretired Racehorse. Comments and constructive criticism appreciated, as always.
After such exciting—not to mention emotionally compelling—racing over the past several days, I remain flabbergasted that the sport of horse racing is unable (or is it unwilling?) to capture a greater audience. How can folks watch all that (artificial) reality-crap television, yet show no interest in real, honest-to-goodness drama? Blame and Quality Road provided us with a spectacular ending to the G1 Whitney, while Zenyatta stayed on the West Coast (and raced against her own sex) to remain undefeated at 18-0 by winning the G1 Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar. How about Champagne d’Oro—once again dismissed by bettors at 5-1—winning the G1 Test in convincing style? She could be a serious contender in the 7f Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Trainer Bill Mott—one of the sport’s truly “good guys”—won his 4,000 race with Mystic in race 7 at Saratoga. At Monmouth, one of my favorite 2-year-olds, Twelve Pack Shelly won the Colleen Stakes, while four races earlier a first-time starter, juvenile filly Pomeroys Pistol, put on a stellar maiden effort to win impressively.
On Friday at Saratoga, 9-year-old Always First won the John’s Call for trainer Tom Voss—who trained the stakes’ namesake John’s Call! Arguably the most poignant story is that of Lisa’s Booby Trap, a $4,500 blind-in-one-eye filly seemingly possessed with the soul of owner/trainer Tim Snyder’s dead wife and partially named after a Florida strip joint, who captured the Loudonville Stakes. If watching that race, knowing the backstory, didn’t bring tears to your eyes, you must be heartless. Folks like Tim Snyder and Bill Mott—and their horses—are what make horse racing, to me, the greatest sport on Earth.
On Sunday, in race 2 at Saratoga, Todd Pletcher sends out first-timer Hysterical Cat, by red-hot freshman sire Bluegrass Cat, out of the Distorted Humor mare Then She Laughs who trounced a field of eight others in her maiden effort at two. His second dam Dances With Quack also drew off to win her first 2-year-old start by five lengths so if history is any indicator he should be a major threat. Bustin Rocks’ undefeated half-brother Bustin Stones won his maiden effort in dominating fashion, but didn’t run as a juvenile. Not sure how much of a factor he’ll be here, but the son of Hook And Ladder has worked well in advance for Bruce Levine. The other one to consider as a longshot chance is Rudy Rodriguez-trained Rudy Rudy Rudy, a Sharp Humor colt out of the Relaunch mare Definition—a 2-year-old winner in her own right. His half-sister Dehere Miss won her juvenile debut, as did another half-sister Let’s Dance Nance.
Race 4 features some bluebloods, including a daughter of G1 heroine Flute by Maria’s Mon named Classy Touch. Second-out is Nicky’s Way, daughter of classy broodmare Bunting. However, the most highly-bet is likely to be another Pletcher trainee, Summer Laugh, a daughter of G1 Personal Ensign victress Summer Colony by Distorted Humor. However, her full-sister Summer Humor failed to win until stretching out over a mile; this may be too short. My real interest is drawn to three fillies: Time Counts, Sassy Strike and Sovereign Crisis. Time Counts is a half-sister to juvenile G3 winner Rated Fiesty and Fiesty Ex, both whom won their 2-year-old debuts, as did their dam Fiesty Countess. She should improve off her maiden effort in June. Ken McPeek-trained Sassy Strike is a first-timer with promise; she’s out of the Concerto mare Phyllis Sassy Girl who won her 2-year-old maiden start by four lengths. Sovereign Crisis is a half-sister to G2 Demoiselle runner-up Elusive Lady who lost her Saratoga debut, but came back to win at Belmont next out. By precocious first-time starter sire Congrats, Sovereign Crisis is trained by Chad Brown, who’s won with nearly half of his Saratoga starters so far.