Monday, July 11, 2011

Custard The Dragon, Big Jim, and See You At Peelers, Knocks Em' Out Of The Park!

*  Just when you thought you could count out Big Jim and Phil Hudon, they come back in the Meadowlands Pace elimination and SLAM one out into left field!  Hudon guided the Western Ideal phenom right to the lead after a 27.1 opening quarter, and after that, the remainder of the field seen Jim's "heels" cross the wire in 1:50.0 flat.  "He was awesome," said Hudon, who will be making his Meadowlands Pace debut.  "He paced right to the wire.  It's going to be an interesting final."

*  Custard The Dragon also impressed as he fought off a late challenge from NA Cup entrant, Foreclosure N, as they headed for the wire in 1:50.2.  Dragon's driver, Montrell Teague, will become the youngest driver in a Meadowlands Pace final.  The colt is trained by his father, George Teague Jr., who is no stranger to the Meadowlands Pace, when he won in 2007 with Southwind Lynx.

Custard The Dragon (Left) & Big Jim (Right), winning their Eliminations.  Lisa Photo

Other horses "kicking their heels with joy" over the weekend were:

Dreamfair Eternal (set a new Canadian track record in 1:50.3); Peach Martini (new career best in 1:55); Look Cheap (new career best in 1:51.2); Tamarind; Watermelonwine; Kashs Caviar; See You At Peelers (established a new speed standard for her age, sex and gait, and kept her career record unblemished after 19 starts); Miss Kaylee Em (new career best in 1:56.4) Count Speed; Mach It Paid; Jezzy; Leader Of The Gang; Time To Roll; Pet Rock; I Fought Dalaw; Anthonyskywalker; Junior K; Fantaddy; Outlawpositivcharg and Oakmont.

Marc St. Louis Jr. was "back on track" Sunday, winning 5 of the 11 races on the program at Dresden Raceway.  Winning horses were: Lyons Ruby, Aint No Dollatable, Laura Mae, Four Starz Dice, and Late Bloomer.  St. Louis pushed his win totals to 116 for the year and 687 lifetime with his five-win performance.

*  Last week I blogged about racing without shoes or with glue-ons, and posed the question, "Could the harness industry ever adopt this concept?"  On Saturday night, at Georgian Downs, Strand Hanover proved that this concept may indeed be the route that trainers and owners will begin to adopt.  Strand Hanover went wire-to-wire, winning the $119,000 Masters Stakes for older pacers, providing driver J.R. Plante with his biggest thrill yet.  In the winner's circle, trainer Rene Allard commented that Strand Hanover had some problems with his feet a while back (among other problems), so in turn, they pulled his shoes, and gave him, and his hooves, some time off.  Not wanting to re-visit any more hoof issues, they decided that the race on Saturday night would be the perfect time to allow the five-year-old son of Modern Art, to wear GLUE-ONS!

Strand Hanover   Lisa Photo

*  In Thoroughbred action, Bob Baffert stole the show in the Hollywood Gold Cup when both his entrants, First Dude and Game On Dude, battled at the wire to overtake heavy favorite, Twirling Candy.  First Dude was eventually declared the winner and the race was his biggest career victory.  Baffert said, "It's like that line, 'I don't know who won, but I know I did'", paraphrasing Charlie Wittingam.  This is Baffert's third Hollywood Gold Cup win following Real Quiet in 1999, and Congaree in 2003.  As an added note, jockey Chantal Sutherland was the first female to have a mount in the Hollywood Gold Cup -- and she nearly won it while riding Game On Dude!

First Dude (Left) goes by Game On Dude (Right) and Twirling Candy

Other headlines:  Making his U.S. debut, European invader, Cape Blanco denied champion Gio Ponti a third straight victory in the $600,000 Man o' War.  The two-time reigning turf champion, Gio Ponti was attempting to become the first horse to win the Man o' War three consecutive times but was compromised by a wide trip.  "He was getting over the ground great," Dominguez said.  "I had a great trip, saving as much ground as possible, and my horse gave me a good turn of foot, but it was not enough."

"Turn of foot" - This is a common term, used in British racing.  A horse with a good "turn of foot" has prompt acceleration; the ability to quicken its pace at a moments notice.

Gio Ponti won the Man o' War in 2009 and 2010 (Shown)   Coglianese photos

*  View From The Racetrack Grandstand blogs, "Theres Too Much Damn Racing"  A topic that needs much discussion! 

Stay safe, keep your hooves on the ground, and keep reaching for the wire!

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