On Saturday I was in attendance at Belmont Park to watch Milwaukee Appeal race to a third place finish in the Shuvee won by Funny Moon. Milwaukee Appeal was making her first start of 2010 and the Woodbine Oaks winner made a good account of herself in tough company chasing home highly regarded place finisher Seattle Smooth.
The daughter of Milwaukee Brew has proven to be effective on both polytrack and dirt though the cuppy Belmont track might have been difficult to tread on Saturday.
"She ran good," said jockey David Cohen following the race. "She seemed to run well on it. I've never ridden her before, or on the poly obviously, but she seemed to handle it well. I'm sure they had her very fit and she ran very well."
Trainer Scott Fairlie was impressed with the mare's 2010 debut.
"I thought it was a great race for her first time out to run third against that kind of company," said trainer Scott Fairlie. "The seasoned horse won it and Seattle Smooth was second and we weren't far behind her. I thought she ran awesome. This will sharpen her up, she was fit enough, but this will give her a little extra edge."
Fairlie expects to try Milwaukee Appeal back at Woodbine in June in the 1M 1/16 Hill N Dale Stakes as the mare moves back to polytrack. The conditioner believes the mare can handle multiple surfaces.
"I think she's good on both," stated Fairlie. "It's really hard to say if she's better on one or the other but the nice thing is she tries on both. It's tough to come up here on a deep sandy track that's drying out today and the wind's blowing, it was a cuppy track today but she ran well."
That she did and given her smart pre-race appearance at Belmont on Saturday, Woodbine punters can expect big things from Milwaukee Appeal this summer.
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While enjoying a day in the grandstand at Belmont, I made a point to sprint back to the simulcast area to watch the Queenston Stakes won by speedy Essence Hit Man.
The Speightstown fellow started well and never looked back in wiring the field. It's worth noting that D's Wando had a bit of a slow start from the gate but when he began his move through the stretch, the Wando colt easily passed tiring foes to get up for third behing Ghost Fleet. D's Wando galloped out nicely, and well in front of Ghost Fleet, so make a note next out when the colt will likely travel two turns.
Hollinger, the Queen's Plate winterbook favourite, finished fourth.
Essence Hit Man wins the Queenston
Regardless of Queen's Plate implications, let's take nothing away from a second consecutive stunning performance from Essence Hit Man. The thrust through the stretch was devastating and he easily dispatched the small field by some six lengths. Though I do not believe he will travel a mile and a quarter, I am very interested in seeing what the Hit Man might do on the turf this summer. The breeding certainly suggests the quality to try the weeds is present.
I interviewed trainer Audre Cappuccitti regarding Essence Hit Man and Joey's Best earlier in the meet. To read the interview and see photos of Essence Hit Man, please CLICK HERE.
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The other race I made a point of checking out on simulcast was the 2010 Preakness Stakes won by Lookin At Lucky. The Bob Baffert colt switched jockeys from Garrett Gomez to Martin Garcia and enjoyed a perfect trip to track down the impressive First Dude in the stretch.
Lookin At Lucky wins the 2010 Preakness
* Check out the horrible start for Dublin and Gomez from the 12 hole. Gomez is a great jockey but his racing luck has been terrible through two-thirds of the triple crown.
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While I'm on a working vacation returning Friday, I will continue to update the site as best I can. Regular features such as Entries/Results and Woodbine News will be updated daily.