I hate my real job sometimes. I work every weekend and miss all the live racing action, then when I finally get a chance to sit down and youtube the races I am too beat to do a decent blog. So here I am 4 days late with the weekend wrap show. It ain’t too pretty, and not a reflection of my usual handicapping, as you’ll find in the weeks to come.
Some people complained of the quality of the field here, said the Gr1 status was laughable, but hey, those glorified allowancers gave a helluva run. Frost Giant, 40-1, trained by the traina non grata Rick Dutrow, won a hard-fought stretch duel with Larry Jones’s Solar Flare. Frost Giant took the lead after a good break, set the opening quarter in 24 and change with Solar Flare second. NAughty New Yorker charged up on the rail to grab the lead at the half and held it into the turn, where Frost Giant and SOlar Flare again made moves for the lead. At the top of the stretch, Solar FLare was a half-length in front with Frost Giant running hard in second. It looked like Solar Flare would get it, but in deep stretch, Frost Giant found another gear. He drew even again with Solar FLare and drew off to win by a half length. Damascus and Dr. Fager they aren’t, but it was a fun race anyway. Frost Giant is a 5yo son of “Iron Horse” Giant’s Causeway, and he is owned by IEAH Stables. Frost Giant will be one of the racers going off all meds but Salix this fall, so I am interested to see how his career progresses from here. I had Frost Giant to show in this race, with Solar FLare on top and AP Arrow to place. Close, but no cash. The main reason I had Frost Giant on my radar at all, aside from his trainer, is that he shares a name with a virtual racehorse from an old fantasy racing game I used to play. That Frost Giant was the “sire” of some “great” virtual thoroughbreds!
The stretch drive of the Mother Goose was a mess – aside from winner Music Note. The blue-blood filly by AP Indy out of a Sadler’s Well mare easily made off with the field of 4 because she was the only one who was runnng a straight line. In Music Note’s wake, Proud Spell had a rough time of it after a stumbling start. Shuffled all the way back to 3rd at one point, she burst through on the rail beside Never Retreat, only to bump that filly before the wire. Proud Spell got a DQ to 3rd. Another losing ticket for me! W00T!
At Hollywood, things weren’t much better for me. My “can’t lose” pick, Daytona, lost badly to another huge longshot, Whatsthescript. Whatsthescript blew by pacesetter Storm Military to win by 1 and 14 lengths. Daytona looked great laying second most of the way, but in the stretch he just lost his run. It was a little surprising, so I hope no physical problems caused it. The winner was one of 4 stakes winners last weekend for trainer John Sadler. He also trained A Gleam winner Dearest Trickski, my 3rd choice who beat Magnificence and Intangaroo (my win pick). Sadler’s other winners were Emmy Darling (off my radar) in the Landaluce stakes for 2yo fillies, and Black Mamba in the Beverly Hills stakes on turf for classic-distance running fillies. Sadler is new to me, but he’s on my list now of people to pay attention to when their horses run.
Thank goodness TVG has the Hollywood signal. I was able to catch the ESPN coverage of the Hollywood Gold Cup, but I wonder if casual observers knew what race they were watching — all the talking heads could find to discuss was BIG BROWN!!! Big Brown wasn’t even running Saturday! Most of the pre-race coverage consisted of the Belmont excuse train, from the missed Winstrol injection to the loose shoe to the non-sweating to the lone gunman on the grassy knoll! I flipped from ESPN to TVG several times during the Gold Cup show because ESPN spent too much time dumbing down the proceedings. TVG knows there are new fans, too, but they actually spent their airtime talking about the horses who were actually in the race they were actually broadcasting that day!!
What a race, too! Mast Track, owned, bred and trained by Bobby Frankel, pulled off a wire-to-wire upset in the Gold Cup over Go Between and Student Council. The only similarity to the Belmont was the Da’Tara-like performance of the winner. Soft early fractions kept Mast Track fresh for a super stretch drive. Go Between threatened, but could not catch the son of Mizzen Mast. The old man, Perfect Drift, was never in it and finished 7th. Maybe they can card a race just for the old guys, like Lava Man, Perfect Drift and Evening Attire.
I’ll have my Independence Day Stakes picks tomorrow!!