Market Quote caused quite a stir on Sunday at Santa Anita. The three-year-old daughter of After Market stood still in the gates for a good 3 seconds in her debut over a mile on grass, but then made a Zenyatta-like move to win with Joe Talamo up. Considering how fast the Santa Anita course typically is, it was a very impressive performance for a horse making her first start. Congrats to trainer John Shirreffs and owner/breeders Martin and Pam Wygod on their “good one!”
Handicapping was done lightly this weekend, but fruitful— much more so than last weekend where I finished in the red (losing money as opposed to the usual gain of $15-20 on average or at least breaking even). The handicapped race of the week nailed the exacta of Teeth of the Dog, Fast Falcon in what was a really thrilling rendition of the Dwyer (II), despite a LOT of handicappers out there insisting Unstoppable U was fresh for the test. I hope to see both of these colts try the Travers (I). Additional wagers were won on a runner-up Juddmonte Empire Maker colt named Input at 14-1 (usually I don’t wager on undercard races, but this one offered great value and was super strong in this race) over at Belmont, top pick Camp Victory at 10-1 in the Triple Bend (I), and Hansen in the Iowa Derby (III).
The highlight of the summer no doubt has to be the Saratoga meet, the star attraction being the Travers Stakes (I) held in late August. Michael Matz trainee Teeth of the Dog proved his mettle again on Saturday while winning the Dwyer (II) in a test that determined his talent as well as his fortitude. The biggest question that determined who I wound up picking, Teeth of the Dog or Fast Falcon for the win, was whether or not the Dog was really 5 pounds better than that sharp runner-up of the Easy Goer. People tend to discount weight imposts now that no one gets a 10 or 15 pound break like they did in the old days, but they’re still important in certain races. Rewatching the Easy Goer footage, Teeth of the Dog did not endure the best trip and was rolling in the stretch. I don’t think Fast Falcon would have caught him had he moved earlier. Thus, you can imagine my fright when the Dog went to the early speed and was charged by Fast Falcon in the stretch, with the win being settled by a dramatic duel. Oy! Teeth of the Dog has some class, all right. Watch replay below
Unless I’m feeling good about a particular horse, I usually stray away from the sprints. However, with word out about trainer Mike Mitchell’s brain tumor, I felt a major power play brewing in the wide-open Triple Bend (I). Mitchell’s daughter is engaged to jockey Julien Leparoux, and with regular Joe Talamo aboard a talented darkhorse in Camp Victory, it was a no-brainer pick at 10-1. The Factor would be a bold favorite with his flashy speed, but with so many inconsistencies to his record, he was a hard sell off his Dubai crumble. Smiling Tiger also failed to impress me racing on Belmont Stakes Day, so he was also out. For a while it looked like the rail-running The Factor would keep burning oil right to the wire but in came Camp Victory! With competitive speed numbers, the underdog from a recovering trainer put the pedal to the floor in the stretch and established one of the most memorable sprint wins I’ve seen so far this year. While the New England Patriots couldn’t pull off an emotion-based win in the Super Bowl, don’t count out racehorses and their jockeys. Watch replay here