While I am away, VFTRG contributor Joe F., offers his observations on various topics this early September day.
It looks like the Quillen won’t be as bad as last year when a five-horse field was all they could conjure up. Cheddar dominated with a record mile as the 1/2 favorite while Foiled Again, who had won the previous two editions, finished second at 8/5.
This time around there are two short elimination fields featuring Foiled, third in the CPD final as well as his elimination; Michaels Power, who seems to be regaining his form of last year; Clear Vision, who just finished second in the CPD; and Gold Cup & Saucer winner, Escape The News. Heston Blue Chip, who has wandered off the path laid out for him by Ken Jacobs and Linda Toscano, is also entered.
Burke has been a big supporter of this race, sending Foiled, Clear Vision, Atochia and Won The West to Harrington during the last few years. He has been handsomely rewarded for that support, too.
Casie Coleman has Vegas Vacation and Lucan Hanover racing back in Saturday’s Simcoe, after competing in the Cane five days earlier. The Captain is also staked to that race but will apparently be resting until his non-appearance in the Jug. Wake Up Peter, the Captain’s companion, is not eligible to the Simcoe, although this is the sort of race where he could thrive. Odds On Equuleus, new to the Alagna barn, isn’t staked to the Simcoe either. Looking forward to seeing Vegas and Sunshine Beach test each other in one split and Fool Me Once and Lucan in the other.
Four of the Captain’s seven wins this year are by less than a length and he has a nose loss to Sunshine Beach. Trainer Tony Alagna and handler Myron Bell keep preaching the company line that this is the sort of colt that only goes enough to win, and no more. The loss in the Battle was a very strong effort and Monday’s Cane win was the same, but this is a weak sophomore class so I think we need to see more. The Meadowlands is dark but that hasn’t stopped Team Gural from working themselves into a frenzy over Captaintreacherous, and most of those at HRU and DRF are also giddy over the colt. In his post Cane interview Justin Horowitz asked Myron Bell to slot the colt historically, a task Bell was too smart to tackle. Yeah, he’s right behind SBSW, ahead of Niatross, Albatross and Bret. I have no interest in being the skunk at the garden party (yes I do) but I’ll be convinced when The Captain overcomes a bad draw during his non-appearance in Delaware. Yes, when he gets stuck with the eight post in the first heat and simply circles the field, then I’ll know he’s an all-time great.
For the sophomore pacers, in the open realm, it’s the Simcoe this weekend, the Jug on the 19th and Lexington at the end of September, beginning of October. However, the sire stakes finals for programs like Pennsylvania and New York present a dilemma for some. The PA Stallion Series final is Saturday at The Meadows. Ron Burke’s talented Ultimate Beachboy is eligible for that. He certainly impressed while winning the Battle consolation II and in his subsequent start at Pocono. The PASS top tier final is a week from Friday at The Meadows. These colts may have to choose between this race or the Jug but none of the top ten point getters would be much of a threat in Ohio anyway. Fool Me Once tops the points list for the NYSS final at Yonkers on September 25. He could have been a player in the Jug but he isn’t eligible. The speedy Art Major colt is staked to the Bluegrass and Tattersalls. The NYSS final is the same day as the Bluegrass, which he’s eligible to, but he can race in the Tattersalls the following week, if that’s the plan.
Not sure what Team Treacherous will do with their charge if he skips the Jug. There are 26 days between the Cane and the Bluegrass. Maybe they could bring him to Delaware and have him lead the post parade, let folks get a look at him. Vegas, Lucan, Sunfire and most of the rest are staked to the Jug and will probably race in it.
Here Comes William, the Dragon Again colt who won the Metro consolation at 7/1 for Pierce the other night, drew the two in the Stallion Series two-year-old final at Pocono on Friday.
Somwherovrarainbow tried the Lynch and the Valley Forge, but most of her starts have involved beating up on the PASS set. It’s a little unusual for the Dan Patch winner to be transformed into a SS filly, but she’s the leading point getter in her division and will probably face Nikki Beach, Charisma and Novascotia Hanover a week from Friday in the final.
San Pail qualified last week and Goo went his second qualifier Tuesday. What will this lead to? The Credit Winner is Friday and they won’t make that. San Pail is staked to the Allerage, a month from now, and I guess that’s a possibility, then there’s the BC at Pocono. Goo isn’t staked to the Allerage, although he can be supplemented to it, and then it would be on to the BC. Odd ducks managing both of them so who knows what will happen.
The Credit Winner, which is Friday at Vernon, should be a good race. The top five in the division, Sevruga, Market Share, Intimidate, Herbie and Wishing Stone are all entered. Do you burn a nasty pace and try to take something out of Intimidate before he hits the stretch, or do you back it down and make him outkick you? Same dilemma Frank Ervin wrestled with whenever Bret faced Vic.
Casie Coleman’s Dragon Again filly, Scandalous Hanover, was supplemented to Monday’s Shady Daisy and won. The purse was $122,000 and the supplemental penalty was only $7,500. (entry fees are also involved.) That amounts to about 6% of the purse, which is half of what most races charge.
This seems to be the trend. A few years ago Rocknroll Heaven’s connections paid $60,000 to supplement him to the Messenger. This year that would cost half as much, or about 6% of the $450,000 purse. The BC and Allerage races, among others, are still up in the 11 or 12% range, but things are changing. Good thing or bad? It depends on who you ask. Two-year-old races are still disinclined to allow folks to buy in.
The folks at Yonkers have also made it cheaper to stake a colt to the Messenger or a filly to the Lady Maud, and the results are very encouraging. Last year there were 26 colts and 39 fillies nominated to these races, while this year there are 66 colts and 71 fillies staked to them. Could the Messenger be the final piece in a Triple Crown bid by Captaintreacherous? Unlikely. He isn’t eligible and probably won’t start in the Jug either….Nitelife is not staked to the Lady Maud.
The Canadian Sportsman’s Dream Stable contest, which entails choosing six two-year-olds and four Three-year-olds in the spring and trying to out-earn everyone else, is very popular, drawing several hundred entries annually. Having Captaintreacherous in one’s stable offers a big edge this year. In fact, as of the latest count, which was prior to this past weekend, there are only six players in the top 100 who do not have The Captain in their stable. Going further, there is only one in the top 80 without him. That individual, who is defying the odds in a serious way, is Jim Fielding. He’s making up for his lack of The Captain’s earnings, which outpace Bee’s by more than $482,000, with Father Patrick, Somwherovrarainbow, Bee A Magician, Sunfire Blue Chip, Corky and Ali Blue. Give this man a prize right now. Wow!
He’s Watching, the $3,000 American Ideal bargain, and Melmerby Beach, Brent MacGrath’s green SBSW colt, are the buzz kids of the freshman pacing division. In the process of vacuuming up piles of NYSS loot, He’s Watching broke Heston Blue Chip’s mark at Buffalo, knocked a full second off the Vernon Downs standard for two-year-old pacers and set a WR at Tioga. Unfortunately he isn’t staked to anything, not even the BC, which doesn’t allow freshmen to buy their way in. Melmerby Beach has been racing in the more modest confines of Nova Scotia, but in his first start at Mohawk the other night for Paul MacDonnell, he cruised to a seven length :52.4 win that portends big things down the road. He is staked to the BC, but not the Governor’s Cup.