TWO SCRATCHES FORM TURF RACES, LORD NELSON OUT OF SPRINT
Canadian entrants have a couple less rivals to get past after scratches from Breeders’ Cup races. SUEDOIS pulled up during a gallop on the grass on Thursday and was vanned off with a stress fracture, He was to meet Calgary Cat in the Turf Sprint. METABOSS also suffered a leg injury while galloping on the grass.
LORD NELSON, a favourite for the Spring, cut his leg and was scratched and retired yesterday and he was meeting Noholdingback Bear from Bear Stables in the 6 furlong Sprint.
RYAN MOORE, Candid comments on his mounts for Friday
“You could argue that he hasn’t really gone on from his excellent July Stakes second to Mehmas, but he could no more than win his Group 3 by four lengths and he looked as if he was ready for a step up in trip when fourth in the Middle Park. His pedigree suggests 1m on fast ground will play to his strengths, and he should give me a good spin here.”
– Ryan on Intelligence Cross
THURSDAY BREEDERS’ CUP NOTES
by Peter Mallett – on site at Santa Anita!
Wednesday was sunny and warm and the weather folk have promised 25+C but today with more sun. They project 25Cs for the weekend; for a visitor from the Great White, about perfect!
We have racing here today, not just talking and writing about it; it’s back to the grind, finding winners and managing money. I expect the main course today to play the way it has all meeting. You can expect grooming of the surface by the track super to speed things up Friday and Saturday.
I was on the main track again Wednesday after the works and the harrowing had been completed: the base is harder than I expected. I won’t be surprised if we get the Santa Anita speedway of several previous visits by Saturday. The turf racing today will be around a 30 ft fence; but turf races Friday will be on the inner rail for the first time since October 8.
Walking the Turf course – I actually got over to the turf course just before noon Wednesday. Maybe Security was on a lunch break or were chasing down a backstretch worker who had ignored the many PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG signs!! I have never been on a turf course like this one. There are no blades standing to measure; they just lie there and curl over making a thick matt. This the Bermuda? The course hadn’t been watered this morning but there was still moisture in the surface; perhaps overnight dew or maybe an overnight watering….but it was still wet. I took one shoe off and put my foot down several times; the surface is springy. The base is certainly not as hard as many had thought; based on the running times. No wonder the Euros who dared to come, seem so pleased. The divots that come up do not go deep and are smaller and shallower holes than I have seen on other turf courses.
I had my first good look at Arrogate today, but to be honest I had expected him to more imposing. He is lean and fit to be sure and looks quick but I am less sure that he will be the stalker or first run closer I had been looking for. Those who get up early enough to see California Chrome insist that he is the imposing one and has never been better. I still haven’t managed to see him in the flesh. I had been was hoping to get even with him for putting several beats on me but Saturday may not be the day. You can check out pictures of both of them at the Cindy Pierson Dulay web site, www.Horse-Races.net. But I finally got to see the Chrome moving today but it was a video of him moving Tuesday. It is on You Tube via Racing Post.
Many of us back east are inclined to think of west coast racing as a closed-off self-contained, insider’s racing world. Not so! A visitor to the grandstand has no problem engaging with the local punters. In fact they are interested in what you think of the track, how it is playing and which if any of the shippers figure to do well against their best.
But in 2016 we visitors have encountered a new skepticism about the shippers. West coast horsemen and the local players have had a pretty fair decade of going east and bringing home the money. It all started with Zenyatta and just kept going. Even with American Pharoah attending to his broodmare responsibilities, the locals will be anticipating an all-Golden State Breeders’ Cup Classic Superfecta using the Arrogate, Chrome, Hoppertunity, and Melatonin. “We are ready….bring on your Frosted!”
Or what about an all-Golden State Tri in the Distaff! Who do you like best: Songbird, Stellar Wind or Beholder? Yes the west coast racing community has had a pretty fair decade, and they don’t think it’s over!
I spent some time yesterday with Ed Grey of the Gulfstream Park publicity staff. Ed is on the Breeders’ Cup notes team here covering Pletcher, Motion and Rodriguez horses. The notes he and other members of the team are available to members of the media and are used in their own reports. That keeps the traffic around the barns to a minimum. Ed mentioned that Chad Brown will likely have upwards of 250 horses in training this year in South Florida, the significant expansion of his stable is on going.
It’s time to talk about Todd Pletcher’s runners at Santa Anita. He has starters in seven Breeders’ Cup races and several of them are likely to draw plenty of support especially from east coast bettors. Why not, the Pletch is headed for the Hall of Fame; he has been a perennial leader in NYRA races and money won for over a decade.
But in Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup races he has not shown the kind of dominance. My records show him as having one win from 39 starters in Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup races. The only winner was in 2012 Juvenile, Shanghai Bobby. The Pletcher operation excels with two year olds but at Santa Anita even his two year olds just get pieces: the fillies and the colts, have just that single win but 4 seconds, 4 thirds and 3 fourths from 20 two year old Breeders’ Cup starters here. All but 8 of those two year olds were coming off a major Belmont prep. I’ll take Pletcher horses seriously in superfecta boxes but there will be no keying them on top.
On paper Pletcher’s best shot this year is in the Juvenile where he has two runners: the recent winner of the Futurity, Theory and the very fast, 2nd place finisher in the Champagne, Syndergaard. Theory is light on racing experience with just two starts and has never raced beyond six furlongs. He would have to be something very special to overcome that limited racing experience and trying a mile and a sixteenth for the first time.
In the one turn, one mile Champagne Syndergard was pressured every step through a very swift 46 flat middle half mile. He disposed of the early challenger entering the stretch and still had enough left to engage Practical Joke who had waited to mid turn to launch his run. It was a desperate battle to the wire that Practical Joke won. Impressive, yes; but I remain skeptical about Belmont raced two-year olds transferring their Belmont experience to the tighter, shorter stretch Santa Anita. It will be a surprise to see the first two in the Champagne battling to the finish again. You have been warned!
In Juveniles run on Santa Anita dirt the locals have won 5 of the six races and also took 1 of the two Juveniles run on the synthetic! Advantage home team: 6 of 8! That puts locals Klimt, Term Of Art, and Gormley in play. However I was impressed with the late run Not This Time put in winning the Iroquois on CD mud. It may have been a one of but if it was real he gets a place on my super ticket.