Lexington, KY. Here’s your 2008 Lane’s End winner, passing the clubhouse following the break. As I get ready to leave Lexington later today, I offer a quick recap of Saturday’s Turfway races…with apologies to anyone who reports regularly on this beat, for my poaching on my one-day visit.
Race 2: I got there just before post for this race and essentially missed it, but I’m happy to report that Helen Pitts got a win with her only entry on the card. Lady Yankee paid $5.80 to win.
Race 6: I bet mostly maiden races today (my favorite) and found a lot to like here. Clearly Veiled Prophet was the class of the race, but I looked for ways to beat him: he hadn’t raced since his first start on August 23rd, when he was third with a “good finish outside” at Saratoga. He also, obviously, had never raced on a synthetic track, so I thought that perhaps the layoff and new surface would make him vulnerable. Umm…nope. He won by a length and a quarter, in pretty nice fractions for a first race back. I wasn’t even close with my picks.
Race 9: I didn’t bet this race, but was awed by the performance of Pola’s Place. Watching the race on a tableside monitor, I watched her go to the lead and set fractions of 21.4 and 44.3, figuring that she was cooked and would give way in the stretch. She did look beat but dug in, found another gear, and sped home in 1:10.1, paying $15.6o. She was just awesome to watch.
Race 11: So much to like! I’ve been a fan of A to the Croft since Saratoga last summer, and I consider the BC Juvenile a throw-out, given the track condition. You can’t really tell here because of the blanket (Saturday was the coldest day I’ve ever spent at a racetrack, and please remember that Aqueduct is my home winter track), but she looked great: fit, energetic, reasonably calm. I thought she might need a race, having been off since then, so I boxed her with Maren’s Meadow and Valentine Fever. Unhappily, A to the Croft was third; happily, I had the exacta; unhappily, I didn’t bet the triple. I almost never bet triples, but I liked all three of these horses, and the tri paid $317.40. Ouch. I’m not sure that A to the Croft can run with the top three-year-old fillies, but I’m not sure that she can’t, either, given her seconds to Irish Smoke, More Happy, and Country Star last year.
Race 12: Tough beat on this one. Had Adriano to win, but deliberated about my exacta box horses. I had Adriano and Cannonball for sure, but Halo Najib or Turf War? Turf War or Halo Najib? I threw out Halo Najib based on quality of competition; liked the form of both of these horses on synthetic, but Turf War’s races seemed more significant than a win at the OBS. Oops.
Overall, I finished about $20 ahead, which covered my bar bill. An upcoming post will detail the overall Turfway experience, including a very pleasant meeting with our colleague Ryan of Graded Stakes Blog.