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Jul 02, 2003

American Turf Club Lead #423

By: Joe Girardi

The final chapter of the NTRA pick three was held on Saturday June 28th. The NTRA had pick threes on three separate days. The pick three consisted of Stakes races from three different tracks that made up the pick three. On June 28th the stakes race were the Grade I Mother Goose (Belmont Park), the Grade II Arlington Classic (Arlington Park), and the Grade II Molly Pitcher (Monmouth Park).           

In the Mother Goose, run at 1 and 1/8th miles there were six horses. For the first time this year the Mother Goose not the Acorn stakes was the first leg of the Triple Tiara, the Triple Crown for three year old fillies.           

The favorite in the Mother Goose was YELL, a filly by A. P. INDY who had one stakes win to her credit, the Grade II Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream back in February. She was coming off a troubled third in the Kentucky Oaks when she had to check sharply on the turn and still finished a good third behind the winner BIRD TOWN. BIRD TOWN, went on to capture the Acorn stakes the day before the Belmont Stakes on June 6th.            

The second choice in the race was FINAL ROUND who was coming off a third place finish in the Acorn behind BIRD TOWN. To date the only stakes that FINAL ROUND had won was the seven furlong La Troienne stakes, a Grade 3.                    

The third choice in the race was ROAR EMOTION, who had won two stakes races, both Grade 2’s and both at this 1 and 1/8th mile distance. Those races however were run around two turns and this race was only run around one turn.             The field was rounded out by SPOKEN FUR ( a Bobby Frankel private purchase), RHUMB LINE and VIRGIN VOYAGE.

After the break, ROAR EMOTION, broke outward but was quickly on the lead with pressure coming from RHUMB LINE, through a swift half-mile of 23, 46:2. At that time VIRGIN VOYAGE made a move up the rail into contention but quickly faded. The favorite YELL was bottled up behind horses, pinned in by SPOKEN FUR, FINAL ROUND trailed the field. As they approached the top of the stretch and the leaders started to fade, Jerry Bailey on SPOKEN FUR made a quick move to the lead and opened up about six lengths by mid-stretch. FINAL ROUND, who made a huge move on the turn into second was beginning to tire as the favorite YELL closed to get up for the place spot.

The final margin of victory for SPOKEN FUR was an impressive five and a quarter lengths, while the final time was a very unimpressive 1:50:2. The last 1/8th of mile took over 13 seconds to negotiate. It could be that SPOKEN FUR just caught a bad bunch of fillies but trainer Bobby Frankel seems to work miracles so we won’t count her out just yet. However, the fillies that were left in her wake leave a lot to be desired.The second leg of the NTRA pick three was the Arlington Classic. There were 10 three year olds in this event but that didn’t stop the two favorites from running 1-2. LISMORE KNIGHT, a Todd Pletcher trainee was coming off an allowance win at Belmont against older horses.

His record of 3 for 5 with 1 second on the turf was impressive and the Pletcher barn has been white hot of late. The close second choice in the race was REMIND, a Bill Mott trainee who was coming off back to back second place finishes in two Grade 3’s at Churchill Downs. With REMIND leading most of the way LISMORE KNIGHT bided his time in fourth while saving ground. The fractions were even throughout, 24:1, 48:4, 1:12:3, 1:36:2 with final time in 1:42:3 over a firm turf. REMIND, who lead into deep stretch could not hold off the late charge of LISMORE KNIGHT who scored by ¾’s of a length. REMIND was second, with GOOD DAY TOO an Ireland invader another half-length back in third.

In the final leg of the NTRA pick three we traveled to Monmouth for a four horse race. SUMMER COLONY, the only horse to ever defeat AZERI and basically three allowance horses would compete in the Molly Pitcher. SUMMER COLONY, who was second in her only other start this year, the Grade 3 Pimlico Distaff got a late start because of surgery on her eye. She finished second in this race last year and was a multiple graded stakes winner. The three horses running with her however left a lot to be desired. SHE’S GOT THE BEAT, New York bred, never competed in a graded stakes race. CALL AN AUDIBLE, could not capture NW3X other than allowance race two back and also never competed in a graded stakes.

The last horse in the race was ALCHEMILLA who had competed in two graded stakes with no luck, a ninth place finish in a race with nine horses and a fourth place finish in a race with five horses. Basically the check was already written to SUMMER COLONY, the only question was how much she would win by. After breaking from the rail Gary Stevens took her back and circled the field to score by three hard fought lengths. SHE’S GOT THE BEAT was second, with CALL AN AUDIBLE third and ALCHEMILLA rounding out the field. SUMMER COLONY will face tougher horses the next time she runs but she just doesn’t look like the same horse as last year.

The NTRA pick three returned $65.50 for $2, not bad considering two favorites won and the size of the fields. We will look forward to more NTRA pick threes throughout the year. 

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