Racing is underway at Mohawk. Here are a few notable absentees from the eligible lists for upcoming stakes races. The battle between To Dream On and Bee A Magician is one everyone has been looking forward to. Bee beat Dream in the Peaceful Way but the latter was dominant in the BC. To Dream On also won the Bluegrass, ISS, Merrie Annabelle and Reynolds, while Bee took the Wellwood, Champlain and OSS Super Final. Dream is by Credit Winner and Bee by Kadabra, so there will be conflicts between opens and SS races all year. Unfortunately To Dream On has not been nominated to next week’s Casual Breeze. Time To Kill and Fashion Athena weren’t nominated either.
Rockin Amadeus, Wake Up Peter and Dedi’s Dragon are three of the colts not nominated to next week’s SBSW.
To Dream On has been staked to the Elegantimage, which takes place the week after next. The purse for that race has been reduced by 35% this year. Time To Kill and Fashion Athena weren’t nominated to that one.
Division kingpin, Wheeling N Dealin, is not on the eligible list for the Goodtimes, which takes place the same night as the Elegantimage. Dontyouforgetit, Royalty For Life, Aperfectyankee and Major Athens are other notable absences. That purse has been cut by a quarter.
Feeling You, Cookie, Royal Cee Cee and Rebeka Bayama are not on the list for the Roses Are Red which takes a 12% haircut this year.
Now that the USTA has partnered with the Daily Racing Form in an effort to promote 41 stakes races at 15 different tracks, the revamped Grand Circuit and the Hambletonion Society can’t help but be folded into the equation. That being the case, it seems like this is an ideal time for industry insiders to step up and decide on an updated Triple Crown for both gaits. Advertising and supporting individual stakes races is all well and good, but the sport needs a long term series to focus on, something that will provide some structure to the season long promotional campaign they are putting together.
When Fred And Ginger picked up Kingcole in :48.1 in a leg of the TVG a couple of weeks ago some were surprised. It should be noted that 14 months ago Fred And Ginger went the second fastest qualifier ever in the sport when he beat stablemate Foiled Again in :48.4 at The Meadowlands. Shark Gesture’s :48.2 is the only one that tops it.
San Pail has been absent for 13 months, ever since losing to Windsong Geant in an open at Woodbine. For all the accolades that come his way, he’s a one-year wonder at this point. Maple Leaf wins in 2009 and 2010 are the only significant open wins he has that were not in 2011. He earned 43% of his lifetime bankroll that year. One great year out of six doesn’t confer any sort of racing immortality. I’m sure he’ll waltz into the Canadian HOF if he retires tomorrow, but off of what he’s accomplished thus far he shouldn’t be anywhere near Goshen.
The Zweig did away with divisions last year; the top nine earners in a given year go for the advertised purse while the next nine race in a consolation. Last year the colts went for $400,000 and the fillies for $170,000, while the two consolation races carried purses of $80,000 and $40,000. The Battle of Brandywine, Valley Forge and Colonial follow this format and it makes for better races that serve as more attractive betting vehicles. The latter three move to Pocono this year.
As far as I know, the restrictions on four-year-olds breeding are part of a two-year program that will come under review at that time. I’m not sure what metrics they’ll use to evaluate the new rules but anecdotal evidence thus far certainly points to it being a success. To this point, Archangel’s connections were the only ones to get a name player an exemption. Good for him; he probably would have had his reputation seriously damaged this year anyway. If Captaintreacherous turns into a superstar his connections may be reluctant to bring him back next year, but Gural will certainly want him in the TVG and Maturity. That should be interesting.
After Hypnotic Blue Chip had a very successful season in 2010, justifying the $325,000 Fran Azur paid for him, McDermott predicted Division honors for him in 2011. He won the Spring Pacing Championship at Woodbine and little else.
Last year trainer Sam DePinto predicted that his charge We Will See, who had a great year in 2011, would pace the fastest race mile ever, eclipsing Holborn Hanover’s :46.4 mark. WWS won twice last year, with a season’s record of :48.2.