Sep 16, 2005
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD
By: JOE GIRARDI
Opening weekend at Belmont was supposed to be a big weekend, a weekend with many graded stakes that would have a big impact on the Breeders’ Cup at Belmont on October 29th. Well they had the graded stakes, these races will have an impact on the Breeders’ Cup but the races from a betting and quality standpoint were a disappointment. On Saturday September 9th Belmont hosted four Grade I races in four different divisions.
In the Gazelle, a Grade I for three year old fillies run at 1 and 1/8th miles went to IN THE GOLD. This three year old filly by Golden Missile is trained by Nick Zito and was ridden in the Gazelle by Gary Stevens. After finishing third in the Acorn she was given some time off before returning to Saratoga and finishing third in the Test stakes. Her win in the Gazelle was against a questionable field and the final time was great but in a thin filly and mare division she may have a shot if they go with her in the Breeders’ Cup.
In the next race the Garden City Breeders’ Cup on the turf for three year old fillies, there was just a four horse field. MY TYPHOON was sent off as the odds-on choice with LUAS LINE the 9-5 second choice. After stalking the leader into the stretch, LUAS LINE took over from the favorite and drew away for a 1 and ½ length victory. Trainer David Wachman said that he will have to discuss with the owners whether or not they go in the Breeders’ Cup, with the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland as another possibility.
In the Man O’ War Stakes they actually had an 11 horse field with 10 betting entrants. The entry of BETTER TALK NOW and SHAKE THE BANK were the slight favorite at just a little over 3-1. SHAKE THE BANK is used as a rabbit for his entry mate and he did his job again, opening up a long lead down the backstretch to ensure an honest pace and it worked to perfection as BETTER TALK NOW got up for the win by a neck over KING’S DRAMA with RELAXED GESTURE just a half length behind them. BETTER TALK NOW, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf winner will try to defend that title this year at Belmont. It is uncertain whether the rabbit would go in the Breeders’ Cup but so far they are two for two when teamed up.
In the Woodward Stakes the "big race" on the card there was a whopping five horses that entered the starting gate. Even though five horses entered the gate only three had a real chance at winning as there were two rabbits entered to keep second choice, COMMENTATOR occupied. The favorite in the race was SAINT LIAM from the Richard Dutrow Jr. barn, he was coming off a neck defeat to COMMENTATOR in the Whitney up at Saratoga. To avoid COMMENTATOR getting away on the lead Dutrow entered two other horses to serve as rabbits for SAINT LIAM and they did their job. SHOW BOOT (rabbit #1) on the inside of COMMENTATOR and CRAFTY PLAYER (rabbit #2) on his outside went a half mile in 45:2 and ¾’s in 1:10:1. As COMMENTATOR began to tire, Jerry Bailey the new rider on SAINT LIAM made his move to the lead and took over to score as easy as a horse can score. He won by a geared down two lengths with SIR SHACKLETON a closing second. There was another 12 ½ lengths back to COMMENTATOR who was third with another 47 ½ lengths back to the two rabbits, SHOW BOOT and CRAFTY PLAYER respectively. With that win SAINT LIAM has to go back to the top of a very thin handicap division and will now be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. COMMENTATOR on the other hand may also be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup but not the Classic, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint may be his next race instead.
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