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Nov 30, 2012

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


                              The final graded stakes races in New York were run on Saturday November 24th with two grade I races and two Grade II races. Let us take a look at those four stakes.

               The first Graded stakes of the day was the Grade II Demoiselle, a race for two year old fillies run over 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $250,000. Unfortunately with three scratches in the race there were only four horses left. The favorite in the race was EMOLLIENT, a Bill Mott trainee with one win and one second from two starts. She was coming off a maiden win back on September 30th but she was adding two aluminum pads for this race. She was sent off at 4-5. The second choice in the race was a Todd Pletcher trainee who was a big winner in her debut run at 7-1 just about two weeks earlier on November 9th. As the gates opened, UNLIMITED BUDGET and jockey John Velazquez went to the lead with EMOLLIENT racing in second while down inside. The fractions of the race were 24:1, 48:3, 1:13 and were set by UNLIMITED BUDGET. At one point jockey Junior Alvarado tried to move inside the leader but couldn’t get through and then checked a bit losing valuable ground. Into the lane UNLIMITED BUDGET still held that lead but EMOILLIENT showed her class as well fighting her down to the wire to finish a game second in a final time of 1:52. Both of these two year old fillies have bright futures ahead and can’t wait to see them next year.

               The next race was the Grade II Remsen, a race for two year olds run over 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $250,000. The favorite in the race was the Todd Pletcher entry of MICROMANAGE and OVERANALYZE. When the gates broke, the other Pletcher trainer and 5-2 second choice DELHOMME was sent right to the lead with OVERANALYZE in close pursuit. They lead through fractions of 23:4, 48, 1:12:2 and they stayed that way into the turn. The third choice in the race, NORMANDY INVASION started to make a big move into the lane and looked like a sure winner in midstretch but OVERANALYZE and jockey Ramon Dominguez battled back to score by a nose over NORMANDY INVASION, it was another ¾’s of a length back to DELHOMME, who was over 16 lengths clear of the fourth horse. The final time of the race was over two seconds faster than the filly division, in 1:50. Should be interesting going forward to see how these horses progress as three year olds but with a two turn, 1 and 1/8th miles race under their belts definitely helps.

               The first of two Grade I’s was next. The Grade I Cigar Mile, run at one mile with a purse of $350,000. With two scratches there were just five horses that went postward with GROUPIE DOLL going off as the even money favorite on the basis of her five race winning streak and her blowout win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. As the race unfolded, BUFFUM and COIL battled for the early lead through fractions of 23:4, 47, 1:11, with GROUPIE DOLL sitting a perfect trip in third. STAY THIRSTY, the second choice in the race at 5-2 didn’t show his normal early foot turning back in distance and breaking from the rail going a mile but he found a spot in fourth. As they moved into the lane GROUPIE DOLL took over the lead with STAY THIRSTY in close pursuit. Those two would battle it out to the wire with STAY THIRSTY getting up to score by a just a nose over a very game GROUPIE DOLL in a final time of 1:35:2. That was the third win in a row for the Todd Pletcher barn and owner Mike Repole and the fourth win for Ramon Dominguez. STAY THIRSTY will be retired to stud now and this was a big win for his stud career. GROUPIE DOLL, was very game in defeat and put up a great effort against the boys with just a three week turnaround. Looking forward to seeing her next year.

               The Gazelle was the next race and was the final Grade I race of the year in New York. It was a race for three year old fillies, run over 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $350,000. A field of seven went postward with DANCE CARD going off as the slight favorite at 8-5 over BOOK REVIEW who was sent off at 9-5. Right from the start, DANCE CARD went right to the lead with MY WANDY’S GIRL in close pursuit through fractions of 23:4, 48:3, 1:12:3. As they approached the top of the stretch DANCE CARD started to drew away through the lane but she drifted out the whole stretch to score by four lengths in a final time of 1:50:1. SEA ISLAND closed well through the lane to get up for second over MY WANDY’S GIRL at 22-1 while BOOK REVIEW didn’t do any running checking in fifth. That was Ramon Dominguez’s fifth win for the day ending a big weekend for him, Todd Pletcher and Mike Repole. 

               Ramon Dominguez is taking a month off because of a sore foot and will return on December 26th. The inner track will open on December 12th, officially signaling the beginning of winter for the New York racing fan.



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