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Jun 25, 2004

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


         When analyzing a race a handicapper must always be looking for where the value will come from. The ninth race on June 18th had the look of a race that would offer value. A New York bred allowance race for NW1X with a field of 12 horses made this race one to look at when looking for value. There was no standout on paper and the favorites definitely had some knocks against them.

            The post time favorite was a horse shipping in from Delaware Park off his debut win versus open company. That win came over a sloppy track which he was running over today but this race would come over a different racetrack, for a trainer who has not run a horse at the meet, and the horse does not show any activity since his race on June 5th. The race could also be too close to that race, less than two weeks apart. The second choice, TOMAHAWK CHOP, has not been seen since a debut win on April 24th. It was more than a month since that horse was back on the track and only showed three works in two months. The third choice in the race MUMBLES also had knocks against him. It took him nine starts to break his maiden so he would be a tough proposition to take after losing again first try against this company.

            An interesting horse in this race was ICICLE CHARLIE, who was coming off a fifth place finish most recently at the newly formed distance of 7 ½ furlongs against a very solid field of statebreds. His five races this year if you take a long look were not that bad, in fact it made him one of the contenders in here. His first race of the year was a romping maiden win over the inner track at Aqueduct. In his next two starts he was caught up in pace duels (at longer distances) into the stretch before tiring late to finish evenly. In his fourth start of the year in a restricted stakes race he made a very strong run from 8th into second running his second quarter in about 23 seconds while racing wide. He tired to finish 8th behind a promising prospect in WEST VIRGINIA. His last start, as stated earlier was against a solid field of statebreds and again he made a solid middle move while racing wide only to finish an even fifth late. A maintenance breeze six days earlier had this three year old  fit and ready to roll. The turnback to seven furlongs should also make that middle move even more effective at the shorter distance. After a torrential rainstorm prior to the race the track came up sloppy, but it didn’t stop ICICLE CHARLIE from stalking the pace in fifth and then coming with a strong late run to score going away. That was not a surprise to us in that this horse had shown that he had ability and class as evidenced by his races this year. The most surprising thing was that he was sent off at 41-1, paying $84 to win $30.80 to place and $19.20 to show. Not a bad way to end your Friday.

           

            In other news we may have seen the new leader in the Filly and Mare division. SIGHTSEEK stalked the pace and took over for an easy score winning by a geared down three and a quarter lengths win in the Ogden Phipps Handicap on June 19th, 2004. STORM FLAG FLYING was an all out second while PASSING SHOT got up for third. The 4-5 favorite in the race, AZERI, set the pace before fading badly to fourth. Her trainer D. Wayne Lukas felt that she didn’t like the Belmont surface, the reason for two bad races over that strip. However, she is not the same horse and should once again be retired before something happens to her on the racetrack.

 



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