Monday, February 22, 2010

Gold Medal Prep

Did anyone watch the hockey game last night? Unreal display of goaltending by Ryan Miller thwarting a relentless attack with Canada trying to find an equalizer late in the third period of a 5-3 loss.

Canada must beat Germany on Tuesday to make it to the quarterfinals to face a solid Russian team. Expect Canada to soundly thump Germany with Roberto Luongo in goal instead of Martin Brodeur who looked shaky last night.

If ever a team needed an extra game to get sorted out, it's the Canadian men's hockey team. Team USA can celebrate winning the prep but it could be an entirely different outcome when the race is on the line.

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Readers who took note of my video preview of the Risen Star Stakes were rewarded with a $7 winner as Discreetly Mine led at every call for jockey Javier Castellano to win handily. (It should be noted, that I took none of my own advice as I was unable to wager while on a getaway to Montreal - more on that in tomorrow's post.)

Trained by Todd Pletcher - who could end up filling a quarter of the field for the Kentucky Derby - Discreetly Mine won the sprint to the first turn over Tempted To Tapit and never looked back. With the above pair racing in front of a stalking Northern Giant, Discreetly Mine was able to carve out easy fractions.

Favoured Drosselmeyer loomed dangerous going into the far turn but Discreetly Mine took advantage of conserved energy putting away Tapit running off to a length and a half victory. Tempted To Tapit held for place with Northern Giant and Drosselmeyer filling the superfecta.

While Discreetly Mine looked much the best, it must be noted that he was not pressed for early fractions as expected by Tempted To Tapit. This lack of pace could provide an excuse for LeComte winner Ron The Greek who finished sixth.

Canadian-bred Hotep finished tenth in an evenly run race appearing to clip heels in the stretch run though nothing reported officially as of yet.

Discreetly Mine wins the Risen Star - Hotep finishes 10th

The Fountain of Youth Stakes provided a tough test for Kentucky Derby contenders Eskendereya, Jackson Bend and Buddy's Saint but the result may prove to be a false positive as 9/5 Buddy's Saint was bumped from contention on the first turn when jostled by Aikenite.

Eskendereya overtook the lead from front-running Lost Aptitude with ease by the three furlong mark and refused to break under pressure from Jackson Bend. The son of Giant's Causeway exploded into the final turn and romped through the stretch to win by eight and a half lengths. Jackson Bend held for second.

Reports indicate that Buddy's Saint came out of the race well. Whether or not he will face off against Eskendereya in the Florida Derby remains to be seen.

Eskendereya wins the Fountain of Youth in a romp

Connemara started slooooooow but closed wide on the second turn under jockey Russel Baze, overtaking the lead in midstretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths over hard-charging Haimish Hy.

The G3 win improved Connemara's standing in Pletcher's deep stable of 3-year-olds which includes Eskendereya, Rule, Super Saver, Discreetly Mine and Interactif.

Connemara survives a bumpy start to win the El Camino Real Derby

Conveyance, trained by Bob Baffert, continued his unbeaten run with a solid win in the mile Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Though this was a shorter race than the other Derby preps of the weekend, the Southwest Stakes helped launch Denis of Cork (2008) and Old Fashioned (2009) onto the contender list.

Conveyance led from the get go racing quick fractions of 22.78 and a half in 46.25 with Dryfly and Cool Bullet chasing in vain. Turning into the stretch, Conveyance hugged the rail and put away his stalkers while Dublin launched a wide run from well back into a short Oaklawn Stretch. With the wire looming, Conveyance dug in and held on for the win but readers who take the time to watch the video will come away impressed with the turn of foot shown by a closing Dublin.

Conveyance convincing in the 1M Southwest Stakes

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Rahy's Attorney had a tough turf test on Saturday taking on the brilliant Courageous Cat in the Canadian Turf at Gulfstream. As noted in Friday's post, Courageous Cat came into the event from a narrow defeat to Goldikova in the Breeders' Cup Mile .

Jet Propulsion set the early pace with Courageous Cat stalking comfortably. Rahy's Attorney, a horse often seen on the lead here at Woodbine, was rating well mid-pack for jockey Rob Landry.

Into the stretch, Courageous Cat assumed the lead and held off a frantic late charge from Cherokee Artist. Rahy's Attorney would finish ninth, though beaten less than seven lengths in a competitive field.

Courageous Cat wins the Canadian Turf - Rahy's Attorney 9th, beaten 6 1/2 lengths


While Hotep was a disappointing tenth in the Risen Star, there were other potential Queen's Plate contenders stepping forward over the weekend.

The brilliantly named Who We Gunna Call (He's a Ghostzapper...get it?) broke his maiden as the even-money choice going 1M40 at Tampa Bay Downs. Tahquamenon led the field as Who We Gunna Call, Who's There and Chabichou followed closely for some six furlongs before making their moves with Who We Gunna Call assuming the lead. Chabichou tried in vain, but Who We Gunna Call was determined and held strong to break his maiden. Who We Gunna Call is bred by Adena Springs, owned by Castle Peak Farm and was ridden by Daniel Centeno for trainer William Phipps. Click here to watch the race video.

Weekend workouts for Queen's Plate contenders:
*Big Red Mike worked 3F in 36.90 on the dirt at Palm Meadows Training Centre on Feb 18th
*Grittani worked 3F in 37.80 on Payson Park dirt track Feb 20th
*Dixie Trouper worked 4F in 48.60 on Feb 21 at Santa Anita on Pro-Ride
*Forever Awesome worked 4F in 50.90 on a firm turf at Palm Meadows.

Please click on this link for more info on 2010 Queen's Plate contenders.


Valerie, proprietor of the brilliant Foolish Pleasure blog chimed in with a typically astute comment last week regarding 3yo Derby contender Odysseus and 2009 Canadian Triple Crown campaigner Keino West:

Keino West on a sunny Woodbine afternoon

"Keith, I didn't know if you knew this, but 3yo colt Odysseus who posted an excellent 15-length (near track record) allowance win at Tampa Bay on Wednesday (and is on my top 10 Derby contenders list) has a connection to a horse I remember you liked last year: Keino West. Odysseus' 1/2 sister is Vanetta Hill, Keino West's dam. Frankly, that's one element that fascinated me about him early on."

Odysseus looked stunning in that Tampa Bay win. Check out the video for yourself below.

Odysseus triumphant at Tampa Bay Downs

Check back tomorrow for crucial info regarding my weekend getaway to Montreal...and for more local racing news be sure to visit the SnowBirds and Woodbine News tabs at the top of the page.


Teresa said...

Were it not for Team Canada's (in this case misplaced) respect for Brodeur's reputation and ego, he'd have been--rightfully--pulled after the third goal, or the second period. As so many wins have rested squarely on Brodeur's shoulders, a Team Canada defeat will also.

Keith - TripleDeadHeat said...

The coach was in a tough position. He can't risk alienating Brodeur and causing a riff in the team...

However, with elimination games upcoming i suspect Luongo gets first call from here on out until proven wrong.

And I do not mean to knock an excellent win by Team USA, but I think it's early to write off Canada yet.

SaratogaSpa said...

No second guess here. Good game, and it is really NHL vs. NHL and on any given night any NHL team can win.

The_Knight_Sky said...

It wasn't so much that Discreetly Mine won on the Pletch-on-the-Stretch angle but the fact that just about every one knew it was coming and paid a measly $7.00 to win.

Now I'm sure "everyone and their mother" reads Triple Dead Heat before going to the races.

I'll go out on a limb and predict at least one double-digit win this spring from the tandem of Drosselmeyer and Buddy's Saint.