Aug 02, 2006
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD
By: JOE GIRARDI
Wow! There are no other words to use when describing the performance by BERNARDINI in the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes At Saratoga on Saturday July 29th, 2006. Getting away to a good start, BERNARDINI, who was making his first start since his sparkling win of the Preakness stakes two months earlier, made the lead through moderate early fractions over a sloppy/sealed track. He continued to draw away as they hit every pole and by the time they hit the top of the stretch he was in front by seven lengths without ever being asked to run. MINISTER’S BID, who was undefeated in two prior starts, was running in second but struggling to keep up to the powerful leader. HEMINGWAY’S KEY, who finished third in the Preakness Stakes behind BERNARDINI but was off the board in the Belmont Stakes had reached the place spot in deep stretch but couldn’t hold off MINISTER’S BID who re-rallied to reclaim the place spot. But the story was clearly BERNARDINI who went on to score by nine lengths, without ever being asked as he galloped to victory.
His win in the Preakness was controversial because of the fact of the breakdown of Kentucky Derby winner, BARBARO, who continues to put up a fight as he tries to over some his injuries, that many racing pundits believe that race was tainted. This win in the Jim Dandy however was not tainted and the sheer domination has the racing world abuzz that we may be on the verge of a superstar race horse, something racing desperately needs.
SUNRIVER, the third place finisher in the Belmont Stakes was also in the Jim Dandy but after stalking the leaders through the first six furlongs he began to backup and tired to finish a well beaten sixth place finish. However, there may have been en excuse as the only other time he ran over a sloppy track he never lifted a hoof in that race either. If he comes out of the race in good order he may be one to watch when playing exotics in the Travers because barring the unforeseen BERNARDINI is leaps and bounds above the rest of the three year olds right now. Some at this point can will consider him the best horse in the North America and not just the top three year old. Well we may be getting ahead of ourselves but this horse is exciting and will make the rest of the year very interesting to watch.
The following day at Saratoga they hosted the Grade I Go For Wand Stakes for three year old and upward fillies and mares at a distance of 1 and 1/8th miles. The field of six had three Todd Pletcher trainees with the favoritism going to Pletcher’s OONAGH MACCOOL. SPUN SUGAR and POOL LAND, Pletcher’s other two starters were both sent off at 5-1 with POOL LAND slightly lower in odds. The second choice in the race was TAKE D’ TOUR who was riding a four race win streak but those four wins all came in one turn races. After breaking from the outside post, TAKE D’ TOUR never got a breather on the lead battling through solid splits with POOL LAND who raced inside her rival for seven furlongs. OONAGH MACCOOL who was getting a perfect trip in fourth never fired and backed up to finish last. Pletcher’s other trainee, SPUN SUGAR, angled out to take the lead in midstretch but then had to quickly deal with BALLETTO who came from sixth and last to challenge for the lead. SPUN SUGAR dug in gamely and got the bob to score by a nose. BALLETTO, who just missed was more than six lengths clear of the show horse POOL LAND, who was more than three lengths clear of the tiring pacesetter TAKE D’TOUR. NOTHING BUT FUN and OONAGH MACCOOL rounded out the field.
This was only the first week of the Saratoga meeting and there is plenty of more solid racing left to come as the meeting moves on. Good Luck!
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