Friday morning quick picks

Ed Fountaine in today’s New York Post reports that Godolphin is considering running Music Note in the Travers on August 23rd. While I have written here repeatedly that I have no trouble with fillies running against colts, I don’t see why you’d make this move. (Railbird has a different opinion.) In a development that I wouldn’t have predicted or foreseen, the feminist activism of my youth has returned when it comes to horse racing: I don’t think that a Music Note victory in the Travers is any more significant or impressive than a Music Note victory in the Alabama. The Alabama is the second-oldest race for fillies in the country; it’s run at the same distance as the Travers; and the current crop of three-year-old fillies would, I dare say, offer better competition than the current crop of three-year-old colts, Big Brown perhaps notwithstanding (reserving judgment on that until late Sunday afternoon). If Music Note runs, the Alabama will be the best race of the meet.

Sherry Ross writes in today’s Daily News about Edgar Prado’s ride on Ice Cool Kitty on Wednesday.

The right rein on Precise Lady’s bridle broke, and was flapping loose, giving
[jockey Javier] Castellano almost no control over his galloping horse…Seeing the
trouble his fellow rider was in, Prado urged his filly to keep pace with the
runaway. With the whip in his right hand, he smoothly reached under Precise
Lady’s neck and flipped the rein up so Castellano could grab it.

Did it cost Prado the race? Perhaps, but Prado is quoted as saying, “It was more important to see nobody hurt than winning the race.” Check out the head-on replay at Cal Racing: Saratoga, race 9, July 30th.

The Pink Sheet is a Saratoga tradition, a racing supplement printed on pink paper that’s included with the Saratogian for the racing meet. This year, the Pink Sheet includes a barn journal in which regular Saratogian racing writer Mike Veitch daily covers the stable of trainer Jim Bond. Wednesday morning’s Pink Sheet included the story of Prominent, a $120,000 filly available yesterday for a $25,000 claiming tag. It’s a realistic look at the risky nature of buying racehorses, and not without its sad overtones, as Prominent has not lived up to her name. She ran second.

The Blood-Horse reports that a grudge match between the jockeys and a Texas middle-school basketball team has been scheduled for August 7th, to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. In last year’s game, whose proceeds supported Andrew Lakeman, the jockeys won 44 – 39. Below is a slightly-edited report of the game that I wrote a year ago; the Blood-Horse seems to think that the jockeys could be in trouble this year:

Though the jockeys defeated the 5th graders last year, the boys are one year
older, four inches taller, and ready for a rubber-match.

Not exactly sure how this is a rubber match, but maybe a second game was played that I don’t know about.

Jockeys vs. fifth graders, August 9th, 2007

Just returned from the basketball fundraiser put on by the Race Track Chaplaincy of America for Andrew Lakeman, in which a team of jockeys took on a 5th grade AAU team from Texas with a record of 105-3.

Twelve stables (Stonerside Stable, Circle E Racing, Padua Stables, IEAH Stables, West Point Thoroughbreds, Lael Stables, WinStar Farm, Dogwood Stable, Darley Stable, James Scatuorchio, and Earle Mack) each donated $5,000, and donations were taken at the door. The jockeys wore specially designed, sleeveless silks to represent the stables that contributed.

Participating jockeys: Herbie Castillo, Pedro Morales, Garrett Gomez, Eibar Coa, John Velazquez, Javier Castellano, Kent Desormeaux, Pedro Cotto, Shaun Bridgmohan, Channing Hill, Mike Luzzi, and Norbert Arroyo. Edgar Prado, Fernando Jara, and Ramon Dominguez, dressed in street clothes, joined the team on the bench for moral support. Todd Pletcher was the coach, and Angel Cordero, Jr. appeared to play the assistant’s role.

In the crowd: Bill Mott, Christophe Clement, Shug McGaughey, Cot Campbell, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, Kiaran McLaughlin, Pat Day, Andrew Lakeman’s mother, and Sam the Bugler, who played the national anthem.

It was a close game throughout, but the jockeys never trailed and won 44 – 39. Eibar Coa and Kent Desormeaux rocked; they dominated most of the game, with some help from Mr. Arroyo. At various times, Coa and Desormeaux faked; dribbled behind their backs and between their legs; passed behind their backs, and leapt acrobatically to get the ball to the basket. Desormeaux in particular played a fairly aggressive game; at no point was there any suspicion that the jocks might let the kids win. The jocks dominated on the inside game, but the kids had great technique and outdid the jocks from three-point range and on the foul line.

It may have been the only game in history in which the crowd was rooting for the grown-ups to beat the kids.

John Velazquez, who was unseated from yet another mount on today’s card, didn’t log an exceptional amount of time in the game tonight…poor skills, or Coach Pletcher making sure that his go-to guy didn’t get hurt?

Several jocks didn’t make it to the floor much, but were put in by Coach Pletcher when the game was in hand; hope these Grade I-winning jockeys didn’t feel too bad about making an appearance during garbage time.

9 thoughts on “Friday morning quick picks

  1. Please help.I went to the calracing site but the only tracks available were CA tracks. How do I get Saratoga to come up on the menu?Prado is the classiest guy out there and I would love to see that race.Thanks.

  2. Click “horse,” type in “Ice Cool Kitty,” hit “Search” (not just “enter”, or you’ll get nowhere), and Ice Cool Kitty’s races will come up.I am hoping to get to the Hall of Fame induction to see Prado get in on Monday morning…if I do, full report to follow!

  3. If music note runs in the travers she’s not running against the boys, she’s running in race with less restrictions than the alabama, the travers you only have to be three, in the alabama you have to be 3 and a filly. That’s why it’s something worthwhile. I think this crop of 3yo fillies towers over the boys (Big Brown withstanding), but when you compete in a restricted race, which the alabama is you aren’t displaying that. I’d like to see Music note in the Travers because the Travers is more important than the Alabama (not a boys/girls thing, but a company thing)

  4. Hmm…but it’s sort of the same thing, isn’t it? It’s considered a better race because colts can race in it, right? The Travers is “more important” because the company is colts?If the Alabama were sex- but not age-restricted, don’t you think that racing against three-year-old colts would still be considered “better” than racing against older fillies/mares?

  5. I saw that move by Prado on the local racing recap show (Thoroughbred Action)… it reaffirmed my love for Prado (besides when he snickered at me and Swifty recently).I would love to see Music Note in the Travers, but I concede your points about the Alabama. A victory in the Travers may not be more significant or impressive but isn’t the purse bigger in the Travers? I also think each race comes with it’s own bragging rights… the competition will be tougher in the Alabama and if she runs there it will certainly be the best race of the meet but beating a bunch of colts has it’s bragging rights too, and sadly, as Patrick illustrates, people *think* the Travers is more important because of the “company”.I just added a poll at GbG, I know how Brooklyn Backstretch is voting!

  6. all good points–ask yourself this-where do you want to see Music Note run???-what would be more exciting to you-for me I want to see her run in the Alabama. I love the Travers and all but I love watching the Alabama at the Spa and I am more juiced up this year for the Alabama than the Travers.

  7. Well you’re changing the point of your argument a little by coming up w/ this hypothetical, but it’s like comparing the Travers w/ the Go For Wand which was the 2nd billed race to the Whitney. Again that makes sense as the G4W has one restriction compared to the Whitney which has none. The travers brings w/ it a lot of baggage as being the Summer Derby.

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