Saturday, June 5, 2010

Drosselmeyer Upsets The Belmont; Southdale Scores At Woodbine

All year long punters have backed Drosselmeyer who in four races went to post three times as the public's choice winning once in a $37K Allowance at Gulfstream. The once-hyped horse had many doubters, myself included, going into Saturday's Belmont Stakes but the son of Distorted Humor proved himself the best stayer of the bunch to notch WinStar Farm's second Triple Crown event of the season.

Drosselmeyer gives trainer Bill Mott his first Triple Crown win upsetting the Belmont at 13-1

My own choice, the miniature Make Music For Me, did not handle the sandy Belmont surface. In fact, I believe it was Caton Bredar who reported in ABC's much maligned (at least on Twitter) broadcast that the horse reacted poorly to the musical stylings of Jasmine Villegas who belted out a rendition of Empire State of Mind as the horses paraded in front of the grandstand and noted that MM4M was noticeably overheating loading into the gate. It's an excuse I'll take with a grain of salt - I was also quite bothered by the music and even the network cut to commercial during the performance.

Drosselmeyer a deserving winner of the Belmont Stakes

(Dianne Boothe/EquiSport Photos)

As expected, First Dude set most of the pace of the 1 1/2-miles Belmont while jockey Mike Smith kept the long-striding Drosselmeyer outside for the run down the backstretch never letting First Dude out of his sights. Drosselmeyer would make a four wide move on the final turn and wore down First Dude before holding off a late charge from Fly Down. It was an impressive victory for a horse that had recently failed to fire. Let's hope that Drosselmeyer will continue this success in key events at Saratoga later this summer.

Other key winners on the Belmont Stakes card include D'Funnybone in the Woody Stephens; Bribon in the True North; Proviso in the Just a Game; Champagne d'Oro in the Acorn and Winchester in the Manhattan Stakes.

Champagne d'Oro celebrates in the Acorn Stakes

Belmont bettors take note - There is a pick six carryover of $930,495 into the June 9 card at Belmont Park, starting with race 4 at 2:36 p.m. EDT.

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While the world focused on Belmont Park, there was plenty of exciting racing at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. Along with both the Nassau and Eclipse Stakes there was also a key event for Queen's Plate contender Artic Fern.

First up was Artic Fern, the Mike Keogh trained fellow, who has proved to have plenty of speed running on the engine in 2010. With the Queen's Plate fast approaching, Artic Fern would try a new strategy on this day. In a six horse field routing a mile and a sixteenth, Artic Fern was content to stalk the lead of True Metropolitan through fractions of 24.1, 48 and 1:12. As True Metropolitan led the field through the final turn, jockey David Clark asked Artic Fern for more and his charge responded easily dismissing the field in a time of 1:44.3.

Artic Fern stalks to success at Woodbine

I'll have a bit more on this horse, as well as Keogh's Mobil Unit, later this week.

Woodbine's sixth race was the running of the Nassau Stakes in which jockey Chantal Sutherland rode Simply Splendid to a splendid victory. Simply Splendid took over in the stretch and courageously turned away a rallying Miss Keller to win by half a length in a time of 1:34.23. Rainbow View got up for show money. Congratulations to trainer Gail Cox on an important win.

Simply Splendid captures the Nassau Stakes in a thrilling finish

I spent much of 2009 following Southdale as he went through the paces on the path to the Queen's Plate. The strapping son of Street Cry, out of a Saint Ballado mare Pinafores Pride, showed much talent only to fall at the final hurdle to a shoulder injury suffered in the Plate Trial where he finished second by a neck to eventual Queen's Plate champ Eye of the Leopard.

Southdale keepin' cool on the Woodbine backstretch

Owners Rod and Margaret Ferguson demonstrated a marked amount of patience waiting for their colt to heal and after a string of impressive works, the Ian Black trainer colt easily won his 2010 debut on May 8th sprinting six furlongs in 1:08.2. Southdale's start in Saturday's Eclipse Stakes would see the lightly raced fellow take on champion Fatal Bullet, well regarded Mast Track and the tough Ice Bear.

Southdale is now a Stakes winner!

Under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson, Southdale raced mid-pack through slow fractions as favoured Fatal Bullet and Gerry Olguin led through splits of :25.17, 49.62, and 1:13.45. Southdale surged towards the leader on the final turn, reeled in Fatal Bullet in mid-stretch and then held off Stunning Stag who was closing well on the outside under Eurico Rosa Da Silva. Southdale crossed the wire first in a time of 1:43.77 and galloped out well in front of Stunning Stag and third-place Fatal Bullet.

Southdale is two-for-two in 2010

Congratulations to the connections of Southdale on an impressive victory. This blog wonders what the big horse might accomplish if set loose on the turf this summer.

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Plenty more exciting racing at Woodbine on Sunday as the in form Dark Cloud Dancer tries a mile and an eighth turf allowance in Sunday's third race. To see the entries, please CLICK HERE.

Sunday will also see a field of eleven sprint six furlongs on the lawn in the Bold Ruckus Stakes. A bevy of these three year-olds have been considered as Plate contenders at some point but are now sprinting on the turf. To see the entries, please CLICK HERE.

Bold Ruckus Stakes
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer
1 Bold Canadian (ON) 3/G L L Contreras 117 S M Asmussen
2 Dashing Tom (ON) 3/C L T Pizarro 117 R Baker
3 Legal Review (ON) 3/C L P Husbands 121 M E Casse
4 Abruptly (ON) 3/G L G Olguin 117 D C MacRae
5 Knave of Hearts (KY) 3/G L O Moreno 117 D Cotey
6 It's Time Bear (ON) 3/G L E Ramsammy 117 R Baker
7 Arepeatee (ON) 3/G L E R Da Silva 119 R P Tiller
8 Mobil Unit (ON) 3/G L J C Jones 117 M Keogh
9 Grittani (ON) 3/C L E Wilson 119 J A Ross
10 Doctor Jack (ON) 3/C L J McAleney 117 I Black
11 Race for Gold (ON) 3/C L C Sutherland 119 R P Tiller

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For those readers that might have missed the race with North America focusing all weekend on the Belmont Stakes, Workforce romped the Epsom Derby in record time. Greg Wood reported in The Guardian:

Victory was never in doubt from the moment Moore and Workforce mastered At First Sight with a quarter of a mile to run. At First Sight, a 100-1 chance, was supposedly running as a pacemaker for Jan Vermeer and Midas Touch, the other two-thirds of Aidan O'Brien's team, but he briefly seemed to have slipped his field at the top of the stretch, and only Workforce was able to close the gap. "I was worried he might have gone too soon," Sir Michael Stoute, Workforce's trainer, said, but with a smile that suggested it had never crossed his mind.

Workforce all play in the Epsom Derby

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As always, readers can keep up-to-date with the latest horse racing news on the Woodbine News page.


Andrew said...

Southdale is a beauty!

I also think we will see him reach the wire first in a couple of more stakes before the meet is out.

Thanks for pointing me in his direction Keith.

Ernie said...

Southdale's an exciting horse