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Oct 05, 2007

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


            On Saturday, September 22nd Belmont hosted two prep races for the upcoming Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Monmouth on October 26th and 27th. The first prep race was the Grade II Gallant Bloom Stakes at six and a half furlongs for fillies and mares three years old and upward.

            With the newly formed Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint these sprint races for fillies and mares have gained much more significance. In this race, there were five horses that went postward, with CUABA, a Bill Mott trainee going off the slight 5-2 favorite. The slight second choice in the race was PRINCESS JANIE, the only three year old in the race, broke slow and lost all chance finishing fifth and last. GREAT INTENTIONS broke well from the rail and showed good speed into the lane before tiring to finish fourth in her first start since February for the Mike Hushion barn. PUSSYCAT DOLL, a Grade I winner in the last three years was trying to turn things around for Bob Baffert  as she was coming off some disappointing performances over her last three starts. The last horse in the race was JAZZY, an Argentina bred and the eventual winner of the race was making her first start over the dirt. This was her third start in this country, she had a troubled trip second and last out scored in a small turf sprint stakes at Saratoga. She is bred for the dirt and has worked well over the surface and she didn’t let them down with a stalking and pouncing run to score by three quarters of a length. Off this win her connections may take a shot in the Breeders’ Cup with this improving five year old mare.

            In the next race, the Grade II Brooklyn Handicap there was yet another five horse field but in this race there was a heavy favorite, with ANY GIVEN SATURDAY, one of the top three year olds in the country going off at 1-9 over four out-classed rivals. With TASTEYVILLE as the main speed in the race he quickly cleared off down the backside, leading by six lengths over ANY GIVEN SATURDAY who tracked the leader in second. SIGHTSEEING, another three year old who has disappointed this year, raced in third with AWESOME TWIST in fourth followed by yet another three year old HELSINKI, who trailed the field. As TASTEYVILLE set some solid splits they started to close in at the top of the stretch, ANY GIVEN SATURDAY reached the lead in upper stretch and was driven to the wire for a two and a half length win with TASTEYVILLE holding on well for second. HELSINKI, who hails from the Nick Zito barn came with a good run at the top of the lane but didn’t take the turn very well costing him a few lengths as he closed well for third just missing the place spot. This improving three year old is one to watch as the year goes on but maybe next year he can reach his full potential. Although the race looked harder on ANY GIVEN SATURDAY than his connections probably wanted but remember it was just a prep and moving forward to the Breeders’ Cup he has an advantage as he already has a win over the track in the Haskell back in August.         

 

NEWS AND NOTES:

 

DISCREET CAT, who had the racing world on fire last year as he was beating his competition with enormous ease, lost his first race earlier this year in the Dubai World Cup finishing last behind INVASOR, losing by 23 lengths. The following day it was announced that Discreet Cat had a mass of inflamed tissue in his throat plus swelling of the underlying throat wall. It took longer than expected for the issue to be resolved and this is the reason why he is only making it back to the races now. His first start back will be the Grade I Vosburgh Stakes at six furlongs at Belmont on Sunday September 30th. This will not be an easy spot but if they are going to make it to the Breeders’ Cup he will have to be tested. Despite the return at the Sprint distance this does not mean he will be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, they will see how he runs and then make a decision.



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