3-10. Well we finally dipped below a 50% hit-rate for the first time this meet, but we still lead all public handicappers with our 50-win total.
It was a flukey afternoon -- you could have nibbled around the edges like we did, or, with a little luck, you could have easily picked up six or seven winners (although none of the public handicappers we follow -- which is virtually all of them -- did any better than we did). And for the first time this meet we experienced handicapper's regret: Maybe two or three times during a meet we see a horse in the afternoon that completely escaped us during the handicapping process. Sunday that horse was Dancal in the 7th. We left it out of our mix -- but, while perusing the PP's in the minutes before the race, that jumped out as an obvious mistake. The horse was trained by the red-hot Todd Pletcher. First-time Lasix. And if you threw out the UAE dirt form this winter and went back to the mare's South African races you would have seen she was a stakes winner and had performed well against males in a G2 stake. At 9-1 she was too good to pass up. Still, our top pick Vespers just missed gaining the win by a head bob at the wire.
Other disappointments for us on the afternoon: We had kind of a quirky pattern-play going in the 3rd with half of the Contessa entry -- and that one scratched. Doh!
Otherwise, winners on top in the 2nd (3.90), 4th (6.00), 6th (3.90). Plenty of chalk. Also, a cold exacta in the 2nd ($7.30/$2 -- more chalk dust). And our top two flip-flopped in the 7th for the $15.00 exacta with our third choice completing the $35.40 tri. There were some other gimmicks and picks in there using the plays but for the most part Sunday was, as stated earlier, a flukey afternoon (an 80-1 shot completed the 5th race exacta and a 45-1 shot won the nightcap, so there were some nearly "unhandicappable" runners hitting the board).
On-track, the predicted intermittent t-storms never materialized and it turned out to be a nice, albeit steamy afternoon. A crowd of 65,346 attended, and even though that number was inflated by T-shirt loving "spinners", the crowd was still one of the largest so far this season. Spotted on-track, WFAN radio host Mike Francesca.
And some of the luster was taken off of the Travers as both Empire Maker and Funny Cide lost their respective prep races. Jerry Bailey might have waited a tad too long to make his move with Empire Maker, just failing to get up at the wire to catch pace-setter Strong Hope. After the race winning jock John Velasquez got a rousing round of applause from the appreciative crowd all along his walk back to the jock's room. And minutes later all eyes on the grounds turned towards the TV monitors to watch the Haskell from Monmouth. But disappointment reigned as hometown hero Funny Cide was a well-beaten third.
Off-track, traffic seemed remarkably congested well after the last race -- until we realized it wasn't post-race traffic, it was pre-Bon Jovi traffic heading to the concert at SPAC.
Hall of Fame inductions take place this morning. Entering the Hall this year: Trainer Sonny Hine, jockey Mike Smith, and horses Precisionist and Dance Smartly. The ceremony is held around the corner from the National Museum of Racing at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion on East Avenue. The public is invited to attend. Admission is free and things get underway at 10:30am.
And from 2:30-3:30pm there will be a jockey autograph session by the jockey silks room.
Cimarron Rain...Won't have to be much to beat this bunch.
Rodeo Sass...A repeat of the Beyer from two back is probably enough to take this -- but would feel better if the trainer wasn't on an oh-fer.
Key Oui Two...Trainer does OK first-time out of the box.
Dr Boo Boo Better.
Certification...Has been going OK against better for the red-hot Pletcher. Drop and a fast track might do the trick.
Fleet Aint...Should be rolling late.
Swept In Three...Will try to take them all the way.
Pletcher entry...The guy is off to a great start at the meet and he's excellent with the 2YOs.
Cat On A Rail...Gorgeously bred firster from Lukas/Overbrook could be any kind.
Kim's angel...Like the sire.
Miss rodeo...Ran third in a decent debut. Any improvement off of that effort will make her tough against this weak bunch.
Zat Darn Cat...Finished in front of top pick last time -- but this one has less room for improvement having already started twelve times.
Hope Anew...Youngsters can often move forward in leaps and bounds second time out. This one will have to -- but early speed last time was encouraging.
Acceptable Venture...Just missed in a nice open company stake at Turfway earlier this year. Has been solid when facing state-breds. Bailey onboard.
Manhattan Express...Should be closing late.
My Legal Alien...Also should be doing best running at the end.
Moonlight...Tough trip for a debut win -- but the nice works and Bailey onboard are intriguing.
Menifeeque...Expect better as the Mott trainee moves to turf.
Fiddlers Fancy...Decent debut and eligible to improve.
On dirt: Moonlight, Fiddlers Fancy, Rising tide, Menifeeque, Please Take Me Out.
Actcellent...Drops in for a tag off of a solid winning effort -- just wish Jerkens would go to a more experienced jock.
Multiple Wins...Back to favored trip and surface.
Bo's Sister...Wouldn't be a surprise to take it all but trainer is off to a slow start here.
Stroll...5-3-1-1 on turf including a stake win last time and a win over this course last year. Bailey/Mott reunited.
Hidden Truth...Should be able to attend to the pace and then make a run in the lane.
Saint Stephen...Clement turfer is improving with every start -- could be ready for this test.
On dirt: Christine's Outlaw, Colita, Saint Liam, Awesome Time, Kissin Saint, Supervisor.
Rich Coins...Trainer is off to a nice start at the meet. This one is on improve since being claimed. Done well before on the track and at the trip.
Dutrow entry...One will be scratched. Strike the Brass is preferred off of two solid wins coming into this.
Threat Of Victory...Trainer is 2-2 at the meet. This one hasn't missed a check recently at this level. Plenty of speed to contend with however.
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