OCTOBER 17, 2012
by John Mucciolo
A pair of Grade 3 events on the lawn topped the week of racing at Belmont Park.
Knickerbocker H. (G3): Phipps Stable's homebred BOISTEROUS (Distorted Humor) rebounded from a rare dull performance with a strong late showing, winning by two lengths. The Shug McGaughey trainee endured 1 1/8 miles on the "good" turf in 1:50 under the guidance of Jose Lezcano.
Athenia S. (G3): Phillips Racing Partnership's homebred LA CLOCHE (Ghostzapper) commenced her run approaching the turn for home and powered clear to a 1 1/4-length winner under Junior Alvarado. The Jimmy Toner pupil stopped the teletimer in 1:45 for the 1 1/16 miles.
A total of 38 races were held at the Elmont, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 32 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 58 percent of the wins during the week. From 20 races on the main oval, seven animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (35 percent), while three of the 18 races on the lawn were taken all the way on the front (17 percent).
The bettors were in good shape until Sunday, when just one favorite and one second choice came through on the nine-race card. Prior to that, the top two betting choices came through in 20 of 28 races (71 percent).
Speed on the main oval was solid, with six wire-to-wire winners from 16 races up to Sunday. We also witnessed a handful of winners who were well positioned and close to the pace early on.
Of the three winners who led all the way on the lawn, one came in a route on the inner, with the other pair sprinting on the outer oval at seven furlongs.
HORSES TO WATCH
2ND -- IRSAAL (More Than Ready) was very impressive to us in this spot, taking over at will in early stretch and widening his stride late in a powerful 6 1/4-length score in his second lifetime try. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee may not have beaten much in this off-the-turf contest, but he has a powerful physique, moves well, and we think he has a very bright future.
4TH -- The well-backed MISS PATRICIA (Indian Charlie) tracked in third, took over in midstretch and inched clear to a solid two-length tally at first asking in this one under Ramon Dominguez. This Richard Dutrow trainee came home in a solid final quarter-mile and could be a nice one.
4TH -- MISCHIEF MAKER (Cape Town) was much the best in this one and could be of stakes quality going forward for conditioner Bruce Brown. The three-year-old filly showed a nice closing punch to take this race going away and might be equipped to handle a stretch out in trip, as well.
5TH -- LONG RIVER (A.P. Indy) was six lengths clear of third behind a winner we think highly of in this one, and we'll tab the juvenile colt to win soon for McLaughlin. He could be any kind going forward and is bred for greatness.
8TH -- WINE BURGLAR (Rock Hard Ten) was next to last after the opening half-mile, but rallied big down the lane and just missed in a solid runner-up performance in this one. The juvenile filly should continue to move forward off this for trainer Bob Hess Jr.
2ND -- GEISHA GAL (Agnes Tachyon) proved tons the best for trainer Bill Mott, sweeping to a big lead in early stretch and striding home a fine winner under Alvarado. Second last time, the improving sophomore miss will be tough with winners right back with even a slight step forward from this.
4TH -- SOUPER SPEEDY (Indian Charlie) looked a bit tired in the closing yards of this one, but gets a lot of credit for running big in his first try as a three-year-old. The Tom Albertrani charge had to need this and should improve next time, especially with a bit more ground to work with.
9TH -- KID KATE (Lemon Drop Kid) ran down a clear leader in the stretch to win this one in fairly impressive fashion for conditioner Chad Brown. The hard-trying five-year-old showed a lot more early foot than in most of her prior races, and the tactic paid off as she wasn't left with so much to do. She fits just right with this type.
A Look Ahead
Saturday is New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park, with seven stakes races on tap for New York-bred runners, led by the $250,000 Empire Classic.
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