There is a certain amount of emotional let down after the Breeders Cup, but I just want to remind you …fear not….there are still several more important races to be run this year in the sport of Horse Racing. The Cigar Mile, The Remsen Stakes, The Malibu Stakes, the Delta Downs Jackpot Million and a handful of other important stakes races are all still to be run and we will be looking at them all.
This week we will be taking a look at the Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, New York. The LI Handicap drew a field of eight and will be run at 1 ½ miles on the turf for fillies and mares. New York odds-maker Eric Donovan has installed the regally bred Anjaz as the early 5/2 morning line favorite.
Aqueduct – Saturday, November 9, 2013
Race 8 – 3:43 PM
Long Island Handicap (Grade: 3)
For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One And One Half Miles. (Turf)
|1||1||Inimitable Romanee||5/M||L||C P DeCarlo||114||H G Motion||
|2||2||Anjaz||4/F||L||J Castellano||118||T Albertrani||
|3||3||Aigue Marine||4/F||L||I Ortiz, Jr.||116||C Clement||
|4||4||Tabreed||4/F||L||J Alvarado||115||C Clement||
|5||5||Left a Message||4/F||L||A O Solis||116||T F Proctor||
|6||6||Strathnaver||4/F||L||R Maragh||118||H G Motion||
|7||7||White Rose||3/F||L||J L Ortiz||114||W I Mott||
|8||8||Sheppard’s Pie||5/M||L||C H Velasquez||114||J E Sheppard||
1) Strathnaver– has won 3 of 5 since coming over from Great Britain with all three of those wins coming in dramatic come from well behind style.
I realize it was 7 months ago but I really like that 18-1 upset she pulled in the (Grade:3) Bewitch at Keeneland in April when she came from near last, after being forced 7 wide on the turn for home, to mow her competitors down in the stretch to win by a length.
She scored a 96 speed figure in the Bewitch which is the highest out of anyone in the field.
The problem I’m seeing with her is those two horrendous, almost inexplicable losses sandwiched in between those three wins. (Ok, one of the losses was over a turf course labeled “soft” and perhaps she didn’t like). But still…What give there? I’m not sure but she did bounce back well in her last which was yet another stirring stretch run to get up by a head in the Lady Baltimore Stakes at Laurel Park.
I’m giving her a slight edge to win on Saturday afternoon in probably the most wide open race I’ve broken down all year long.
2) Anjiz– talk about great breeding, this now four year old filly is by Street Cry out of group I winner Playful Act. Playful Act was an English champion and later on brought $10.5 million from Sheikh Mohammed as a broodmare prospect at the 2007 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
That being said, she has not run back to her breeding as her 3 for 11 lifetime record would indicate. Moreover, she is winless in now four starts in the US and just 1 for 8 on the turf overall.
Granted, she had an awful trip in her last race (blocked in twice in the Aug 5 Waya Stakes) a race she probably should have won.
I understand why she is the morning line favorite but with her aforementioned stats, I can’t bet her with much confidence.
3) Aigue Marine– is by super-sire Galileo and shows 8 of 10 lifetime starts on the board including 6 for 7 on the board on the grass.
She came over from France to run a hard charging third in this race last year and, after 4 months off, came back with a dominant win (vs. lesser) and a 5th in the Orchid Handicap at Gulfstream Park.
I’m not quite sure what happened to her in the Orchid. She was in seventh position early and then made a nice 4 wide sweeping move but suddenly flattened out and stopped.
“She’s fresh, coming back off her layoff, but she is doing well,” said Christophe Lorieul, assistant trainer to Christopher Clement, who is running a pair of fillies in this race.
I love her sire, her consistency and that huge 5 furlong work on Oct 27 (5F- 1:00- dogs up) and I expect another good performance.
Left a Message is a late running Mr. Greeley filly that they paid $240,000 for at the Keeneland September yearling sales back in 2010. She has been either first or second in 7 of 12 careers starts and, most importantly, she never been worse than second at this distance. In fact, her two best races to date have been at this 12 furlong distance. Live (semi) long-shot in this spot. I also have to mention Tabreed, Christopher Clement’s other filly in this race. Take a look at that last race (albeit vs. lesser competition). She was dead last at the half mile pole but then unleashed a remarkable late run to pulverize the field. At one point in that race she was 12 lengths behind but wound up winning by 4. That, readers, is impressive. Also note her March 16th race where she, once again, came with a furious late run to miss catching the top choice by less than a length. “We’ll try to stretch her and see what happens,” said Lorieul. “The filly, mentally, is very relaxed. Last time at Keeneland she was at the back and made one run. She’s no problem to rate, so we think a mile and a half won’t be a problem.”…yet another live long-shot.
Record: 18-53 = 34%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces:
**** For those of you who email me and ask me to keep you posted as to when my personal (or ones I own part of) horses are running, (by the way, I’m very flattered by that …thank you all very much) King Kongrats is entered in Saturday’s first race, a Maiden Special Weight, at Aqueduct.
“Double K” completely missed the break in his last race (Sept 18) and trailed through but I/ we haven’t lost faith in him.
Jorge Vargas Jr. will be aboard again for the six furlong sprint on the dirt and will break from post position #3 in a field of eight. Post time is 12:20 PM (EST).
**** 2013 Preakness winner Oxbow has been retired and will stand the 2014 breeding season at Taylor Made Stallions near Nicholasville, Ky.
The son of Awesome Again will stand for $20,000
“We are absolutely thrilled and very appreciative that Calumet Farm has made the decision to stand Oxbow at Taylor Made, along with their plans to support his stallion career,” said Ben Taylor, vice president of Taylor Made Stallions. “To us, Oxbow is the classic, two-turn dirt horse that both the breeders and yearling buyers look for. He was a major contender in every Triple Crown race and is one of the toughest horses I’ve seen in some time.”
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Oxbow retires with earnings of $1,243,500.
“There’s so much to like about Oxbow,” Lukas said. “When we bought him as a yearling he was so athletic that it looked like you could put a saddle on him and run him. He was one tough son of a gun and as durable as they make them. On top of his great pedigree, Oxbow has the most important trait a stallion needs, and that’s his natural speed and ability to carry it over a distance of ground.”
“Oxbow is a special horse,” said rider Gary Stevens, who rode Oxbow in his last five starts. “He has the speed of a sprinter, stamina of a classic winner, and the heart of a champion. And he’s so intelligent.”
**** 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb has also been retired and will stand at Claiborne Farm in 2014.
Stuart Janney III, who co-owns the colt with Phipps Stable, said Tuesday the decision was “made with mixed emotions.”
Orb, by Malibu Moon, will stand for $25,000 live foal, stands and nurses.
“While I believe he would have had a very successful 4-year-old campaign, and Phipps Stable and I would have loved being a part of that, Orb is a wonderful stallion prospect,” Janney said. “We look forward to supporting him and to racing his offspring.”
Orb won the Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth Stakes at GulfstreamPark before the Derby but finished fourth in the Preakness Stakes, third in the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes.
“I was thoroughly amazed at the progress this colt made from January to the first Saturday in May,” said Orb’s trainer, Shug McGaughey. “I was quietly very confident on Derby day, and he proved without a doubt what kind of horse he was in a race of great magnitude”.
“He is retiring completely sound, and while I’m sorry to see him move on, it seems like an opportune time for him to begin his next career.”
Orb earned $2,612,516, with five wins in 12 starts.
“It’s exciting to have a Kentucky Derby winner coming to the farm,” Claiborne stallion manager Bernie Sams said, “and it’s even more exciting when it’s a horse that was raised here for people like Stuart Janney and the Phippses. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
**** Multiple grade 1 winner Ron the Greek, who walloped the field by 6 3/4 lengths in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (Sept 28) in his most recent start, has been sold to an undisclosed buyer overseas according to former owner Adam Wachtel.
The Full Mandate horse was scheduled to run in last weekends Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park but was scratched from the race two days before with a quarter crack in his right front hoof.
“After the Gold Cup we had so many inquiries; last year we debated selling him and we had some pretty interesting offers, but we just felt if we could keep him sound and pick up the right spots for him, there might be some opportunities to pick up some big races,” Wachtel said.
“It really has been an interesting ride,” Wachtel added. “From day one when we bought him, I really felt he was a grade I-quality horse. He’d shown so many signs of it. He’s the perfect Thoroughbred physically; people who have seen him said he might be the best-looking horse they’ve ever seen. It’s not a beauty contest, but to have that big engine he’s got and that big body, (trainer) Bill (Mott) did a great job of keeping him sound.”
Future plans are undecided at this point, but so far the stretching runner has earned $2,704,691 from 29 starts with a 9-5-3 record. His three biggest victories came in the aforementioned Gold Cup, the 2012 Stephen Foster Handicap and the Santa Anita Handicap.
“I believe they’re talking about maybe pointing him to the Dubai World Cup,” Wachtel said. “I’d hoped they would leave the horse with Bill and give him a chance because he’s done such a good job with Ron the Greek, but I don’t think so now. It is our understanding they’re going to race him with an eye on making him a stallion”
**** Grade I winner Graydar has also been retired from racing and will stand at Taylor Made Stallions in Nicholasville, Ky.
His 2014 stud fee will be $15,000 stands and nurses.
“Graydar’s quarter crack that forced us to miss the Breeders’ Cup wasn’t healing like we hoped to be able to make the Cigar Mile or any other grade Is left on the racing calendar,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “He’s among the most talented horses I’ve had the privilege to train. The performance that will always stand out to me was his Donn Handicap (gr. I) win this year. You just don’t see horses turn in a dominant performance on that stage in just their fourth career start”.
“It was very special, and knowing this horse and how brilliantly fast and good looking he is, I’m very excited about his future as a stallion.”
**** ……aaaaaaaand finally in the “This has nothing to do with Horse Racing” category….I was recently at Greensboro Airport in Greensboro, NC and while walking thru the terminal I noticed a Luggage Store inside the terminal.
I couldn’t help but to think “why in the world would you open a luggage store inside an airport”?…. I mean, wouldn’t that be like having your doctor come to your funeral? Sheesh!
Thanks for reading….