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Jul 02, 2010


By: John Piesen


Last Saturday's five-filly Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park clearly was not the Mother of All Gooses (the '91 renewal in which Meadow Star nosed Lite Light will forever hold that distinction), but the $250,000 stake, won by Devil May Care as the $3.80 chalk... did provide the Quote of the Year, as well as the Rabbit of the Year.

The quote:

Moments after Canadian shipper Biofuel finished third as the 5-2 second choice, a NYRA press person rushed up to trainer Reade Baker, and asked him for his take on his filly's performance.

Baker's response?

"Everything went right... until she missed the break."

Maybe this doesn't rack quite up there with "... otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?' But for our purposes, it will have to do.

Maybe someone should have told Mr. Baker, who rarely races in New York, that horses breaking from post one going long at Belmont have about as much chance as Mrs. Lincoln's husband had that night.

Baker plans to bring Biofuel back from Canada for another crack at Devil May Care in the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 31 at Saratoga, which, sad to say, has been pared from a mile and a quarter to a mile and an eighth.

Now, the rabbit:

It was pointed out on this venue last Friday that Pletcher, having three of the five runners in the Mother Goose, would be tempted to run Katy Now, the least accomplished of the three, as a rabbit for Devil May Care.

They can protest until blue in the face, but the strategy worked to perfection.

Kentucky shipper Connie and Michael for sure would have been seriously dangerous if permitted to make an uncontested lead.

(Full disclosure: I was hoping that Connie and Michael would because I made her the best bet (at 5-1) on the red-hot John Piesen Hot Line (888 612 2283) - hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.)

Sure 'nuf, Kent Desormeaux busted Katy Now to the top, thus leaving jockey Maragh (on Connie and Michael) two options: 1) attempt to outrun Katy, or 2) arm-wrestle Connie back, thereby taking her out of her game.

Maragh chose option No. 2, but the damage was done. Katy had done her job to perfection, and Devil May Care passed the two from the outside, and beat Connie a length and a quarter.

Hey, it was The Toddster's 43rd birthday. Why shouldn't be get a 250K present?

As for Ken McPeek, the trainer of Connie and Michael, it was a case of thank you very much. On Monday, the filly was transferred by owner Anthony Bonamo to trainer Dom Schettino.

Schettino will have some tough shoes to fill. McPeek had purchased Connie and Michael for $80,000 out of a Keeneland yearling sale, and the daughter of Roman Ruler went on to compile a 2-1-1 resume from five starts, including two graded-stakes placings, one of them a Grade One.

The Oaks will be a beauty if the top three from the Mother Goose go, and, even more so if by any chance pision leader Blind Luck ships from California for the race.

Another 3-year-old filly came down from Canada to the Metropolitan area for a Saturday race, and she had no better luck than Biofuel.

Like Biofuel, Bay And Bay broke dead-last in the Boiling Springs Handicap on the Monmouth Park turf, and was forced into a seven-wide trip before rallying for second as the favorite to Strike It Rich, who wired the field.

(Note: Speed is very useful in Monmouth stakes. More than 50 per cent of that track's stakes have been won on the lead.)

Look for Brian Lynch, Bay and Bay's Woodbine-based trainer, to commence winning races for new owner Carolyn Hine, Sonny's widow.

And look for Alan Garcia, buried outside aboard Bay and Bay, employ different tactics this Saturday when he rides Regal Ransom for the Sheiks in the $300,000 Suburban Handicap, the highlight of Belmont Park's three-day holiday weekend.

Like the Mother Goose, the Suburban has - alas - been cut back from 10 to nine furlongs, and the highweights (?) will be I Want Revenge at 119 pounds, and Regal Ransom at 118.

Where have you gone, Tommy Trotter?

The 4-year-old Regal Ransom has had his ups and downs during a career that has carried him back and forth across the pond several times. One of the ups was a wire-to-wire victory in the Super Derby last Fall at Louisiana Downs, beating the celebrated Blame.

His rider that day?

Richard Migliore.

Regal Ransom should be fit for his return. He's had nine works over the track, notably three-quarters in 1:11, and five-eighths in :58 4/5.

The Suburban also will mark the return to action of I Want Revenge, who, when last seen under silks, overcame a ton of trouble to win the 2009 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. That performance stamped IWR as the Kentucky Derby favorite, but he was injured the morning of the race, and was forced to scratch.

Will we see the old I Want Revenge on Saturday when he returns from a 14-month layoff for new trainer Rick Dutrow?

Let's be perfectly honest about this:

Your guess is as good as mine.

On Tuesday morning at Belmont, I Want Revenge drilled a half-mile in :48 3/5, his final work for the Suburban.

Joe Talamo will be in from southern California for the call on Saturday.

Trainer Dutrow meantime is his usual confident self.

"My horse is working good, and acting good," Dutrow told Binocs after the work, "... we're ready."

In addition to Red Ransom and I Want Revenge, the Suburban lineup will include Convocation, Tizway, Hold Me Back and Timber Reserve, all at 115 pounds, and Land of the Giants and Eldaafer at 114.

Finally, an anonymous on-line blogger has posted a list of his top five and worst five racing moments of the half-year.

Second on his "worst" list is the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park because Rachel Alexandra blew off her showdown with Zenyatta.

Too bad the blogger wasn't there that day at OP. Even without Rachel, Team Zenyatta provided one of the great racing days of this year, but of any year.

Personally, my top moment was when Noble Promise made the lead at 25-1 turning into the homestretch in the Kentucky Derby.

And my worst moment was a split-second later when Super Saver showed up on the inside.

Thanks for tuning in. Good luck, check out the JP Hot Line, and see you back here Frtiday for a look at the holiday weekend action.

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