Other than 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan running in the 2013 Woodbine Mile at Woodbine in Canada on Sunday, it’s a rather quite weekend in the sport of Horse Racing this weekend. I thought about making the Woodbine Mile our feature race but with Wise Dan listed as the 2/5 morning line favorite, that race looks way too easy. So, I chose the 2013 Garden City Stakes, with Emollient installed at the 3/1 morning line favorite, at Belmont Park in New York as our feature race and it’s definitely an understatement in saying that the Garden City is a much tougher race to try to figure out.
The Woodbine Mile, for a million dollar purse, will be run as the 10th race on the Woodbine card. Wise Dan looks to lay over this field and, on paper, looks like he should win it by a colossal margin.
The Garden City boasts an impressive list of past winner, which include Life at the Top, the great Personal Ensign, win machine and the gorgeous Sky Beauty and champion Perfect Sting amongst others, but really the Garden City will forever stand out in my mind after the 2011 version.
In that year’s running, the gray 3 year old filly Winter Memories, who went off as the (almost) even money favorite, executed perhaps one of the greatest come from behind victories I’ve even seen in all my 34 years of watching the sport.
The Amazonian by El Prado broke well and was fourth in the early going but was quickly shuffled back to seventh after the first half mile. As they turned for home, she was trapped behind a wall of horses. Those traffic problems continued for her at the top of the stretch and past the three sixteenth pole as well.
As the entire field of eight, tightly bunched, swept past the eighth pole and with Winter Memories looking more and more hopelessly beaten, jockey Javier Castellano could not wait any longer and tipped Winter Memories to the outside. He then set her down for the final furlong.
Like Winter Memories was shot out of a cannon, she nothing short of rocketed past the field …passing all seven of her rivals in less that a furlongs to get up to win by a neck.
Here it is again, it’s truly remarkable.
Belmont Park – Saturday, September 14, 2013
Race 9 – 5:47 PM
Garden City Stakes (Grade I)
For Fillies Three Year Olds
One And One Eighth Miles. (Turf)
|1||1||Emollient||3/F||L||M E Smith||122||W I Mott||
|2||2||Discreet Marq||3/F||L||G K Gomez||122||C Clement||
|3||3||With Sugar On Top||3/F||L||I Ortiz, Jr.||116||K P McLaughlin||
|4||4||Alterite||3/F||L1||J R Velazquez||116||C C Brown||
|5||5||Concise||3/F||L||E S Prado||116||H G Motion||
|6||6||Summer of Fun||3/F||L||J Rocco, Jr.||116||G Weaver||
|7||7||Effie Trinket||3/F||L||L Saez||116||R A Violette, Jr.||
|8||8||Precarious||3/F||L||C H Velasquez||116||H J Bond||
|9||9||Praia||3/F||L||J Alvarado||116||K G McPeek||
|10||10||Watsdachances||3/F||L||J Castellano||118||C C Brown||
|11||11||Caroline Thomas||3/F||L||J Bravo||120||B Tagg||
1) Discreet Marq– has finished on the board in 8 of 9 career starts on the turf including 5 wins with 2 being vs. graded stakes competition.
She comes into this riding a three race winning (unbeaten) streak for new trainer (grass master) Christopher Clement.
Dating back to May 27, she won the Grade: 2 Sands Point (over this very turf course) while be allowed to lope along on a slow early pace (:25.2 for the first quarter and :49.4 for the half).
But it was really her next race that jumped out to me. In the July 4 Eventail Stakes (for NY State Breds), she blazed thru early fractions (:22.4, :45 and 1:09) and had more than enough left when she turned for home as she finished the last 2 ½ furlongs in :32 flat while drawing away from her competition by over 6 lengths.
Believe it or not, that wasn’t the turning pint for her. The next race (which was her last one), her connections sent her out to Del Mar (California) and she not only won the Grade: 1 Del-Mar Oaks but did so by showing a new phase to her game….she rated off the early pace. The filly took a stalking position early before taking over at the quarter pole and held sway to win by three quarters of a length.
“We taught her in the morning to relax a little bit,” said Clement, a two-time Garden City winner. “Her race in California was an impressive performance. I’m running her back quicker than I thought I would, but she’s come back and trained great.”
The fact that she can now either be the early leader and play catch me if you can or come from behind should give her a tactical advantage….nice 5 furlong move about 10 days ago should set her up for a good performance on Saturday afternoon and I’m giving her a slight edge to win in nothing short of a wide open contest.
2) Emollient– those of you who know me, know I do not like inconstancies in a horse and this horse is plagued with them….in fact, she’s downright nearly impossible to figure out.
Listen to her last 5 races (all in 2013)…won an optional $75,000 claimer race by three quarters of a length, finished fifth, beaten 30 lengths in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, blew out the field in the prestigious Ashland Stakes (won by 9 as much the best), beaten 21 lengths in the Black Eyed Susans then comes back to win her grass debut in a Grade: 1 race at Hollywood Park…huh??…what?….talk about being all over the place.
To make it easier, in the aforementioned 5 races here are her Speed Figures (in order to the races above) 86, 64, 97, 58 and 87.
So as you can see, I’m not quite sure what to make of her. She was supposed to get some R & R after that California race but evidently not according to trainer Bill Mott
“We planned on giving her the time, even before I saw her” after the race, Mott said. “She was maybe a little light coming out of the race in California, but she’s put the weight back on and looks really good.”
I’m going to try to beat her on Saturday but make no mistake, if this good looking filly by the awesome Empire Maker runs back to that Ashland race (97 speed figure) she wins this easily….but the question is which Emollient shows up? The 97 speed figure one or the 58 speed figure one?
3) Summer of Fun– grabbed the show spot charging hard late from 11th position in the 2012 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf at an eye popping 43-1, which in turn, gave us a hint of her ability.
She came back in 2013 to wallop a field of optional claimers before being nosed out in a $100,000 stakes race at Pimlico in May. Unfortunately, she came out of that race with a bruised foot and was sent to the sidelines.
She came back again in the Aug 10 Auntie Mame Stakes at Saratoga and, after being forced 6 wide at the quarter pole, recorded another win.
Dark bay filly by Include shows a monster 6 furlong work (1:12.3) last week for this which has trainer George Weaver feeling confident.
“It would not surprise me if we won the race,” Weaver said Thursday. “I respect the competition, but based on how my filly has trained over the winter, how she’s really come along and developed as a 3-year-old, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. We all hope to get Grade 1 horses. I’m hoping she stacks up well with them.”…going by the speed figures she’s recorded in her last 3 races, she stacks up just fine Mr. Weaver.
Alterite has been running against quality fields in France and has been holding her own….big threat here if she takes to American soil (or turf in this case). Watsdachances is a stretch running filly who is also 8 for 9 on the board in her career including finishing right behind the top choice on May 27 and followed that race up with a pair of “just misses” vs. Grade: 2 foes (she was actually second in her last via disqualification)….should be coming late once again. Concise is an interesting long-shot at 15-1. This daughter of the gorgeous Lemon Drop Kid, and trained by Graham Motion, was floundering in Great Britain before being shipped to New York in July. So far, she’s had two races in the states and in both races, she closed like the proverbial freight-train to get second and fourth. Listen, stranger things have happened…and if you’re a long-shot player, this is your horse.
Record: 17-44 = 39%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces
**** Good luck to stable-mate East Coast Express in today’s (Friday) second race at Belmont Park. “Ecie” will be facing nine others and drew the #4 hole. She is also listed as the 5-1 third choice in the wagering….Run hard and straight Ecie and please come back safe.
**** With dual Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta most likely wrapping up her racing career after starts in the Sept. 28 Beldame Invitational and the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, (albeit owner Ben Leon Jr. and Besilu Stables has not completely ruled out running her in 2014) it isn’t too soon to begin discussing options for her future as a broodmare, according to her connections.
According to Fabricio Buffolo, racing manager for Besilu, a trip abroad could be in her future.
“We’re not excluding America; there is a chance she could stay here,” Buffolo said. “But if she goes to Europe, because the trip is a long trip, we might breed her, then wait one year. She’d have her first foal, then we could cover her again and bring her back to America.
“Or, we could do the other way around—if we weren’t going to have her go to Europe right away, we could have a couple foals here and then send her over.”
“Of course we’re going to do a lot of work by the end of the year to determine the cross for her, but we really want to stress that we’re going to be open to different options,” Buffolo said. “If we think there’s something really interesting to do here, and there’s a horse that could really work with her pedigree-wise and physically, we’ll consider that. But we’re thinking maybe Europe would be an interesting thing to do.”
Buffolo mentioned Galileo, a four-time champion sire in Europe and his son, super-horse Frankel as possibilities.
“Frankel was an exceptional horse; he’d be a horse we’d think about, and then there are a couple others that are interesting,” Buffolo said. “Obviously, the Galileo cross has had a lot of success.”
Buffolo then backpedaled slightly by adding: “We want to wait until the Breeders’ Cup and then see what the plan will be with her, we know it’s likely she will retire; it’s not 100% but the chances are bigger she will retire. After the Breeders’ Cup, we’ll think more about the stallion.”
**** Street Sense the only horse in history to win both the Breeders Cup Juvenile (2006) and the Kentucky Derby (2007) will return to the United States to resume stud duties (He stood the 2013 season in Japan) in 2014, Darley America last Friday.
Charlie Boden, Darley’s head of sales in America commented, “Street Sense received tremendous support from top breeders during his first five seasons here in America and also last year in Japan. His progeny on the track, as we had hoped, have had a wonderful year”.
**** I Want Revenge, the pre-race favorite for the 2009 Kentucky Derby before he was forced to scratch the day before due to an ankle injury, will enter stud in 2014 at Pauls Mill near Versailles, Ky., it was announced last Friday.
“I Want Revenge is a game-changer” Ben Walden , owner of Paul’s Mill said “He had freak talent as a racehorse and is the best-made horse conformation-wise that I have ever retired to stud. His Wood Memorial (which he won by 8 1/2 lengths) win was truly unforgettable.”
A stud fee will be “announced shortly” Walden added.
**** I mentioned last week that Champion Groupie Doll’s race last Monday will tell the tale as to whether she needed her first race of the season or may have lost a step in her transition from 4 year old to 5 year old.
She left no doubt in my mind that she needed that race because she won the $400,000 Presque Isle Masters Stakes in track-record time for 6 1/2 furlongs at Presque Isle Downs.
Owned by trainer William “Buff” Bradley, Groupie Doll ran down Purely Hot to win by 1 ½ lengths in 1:14.4.
“She won this race impressively last year, but in slower time,” said jockey Rajiv Maragh, Groupie Doll’s regular rider. “But this year she set a track record. She might be even better than last year; she’s definitely not slower.”
Buff Bradley said he planned to follow the same path as last year: the Masters and the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland before she tries for a second consecutive win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Park.
Thanks for Reading….