If it’s yesterdays news, does that make it olds?
Regardless, some news and notes from Maryland racing:
- Abel Castellano hit a grand slam of sorts yesterday when he won four races to move to the top of the riding leaderboard. I say “of sorts” because one of the wins, aboard 7-10 Lord Kipling in the second, came via disqualification when Alexis Batista and 8-1 Skip to the North, who had victory all but wrapped up, wandered across the track and cut off Castellano and his mount. Castellano had to steady, his horse did a little bit of a hop step, the inquiry sign went up, the objection sign went up, and soon enough, Skip to the North’s number came down. Too bad, really: Skip’s owner-trainer Richard Sillaman, who won two races in all of 2011, probably could use the win more than Lord Kipling conditioner Jamie Ness, who won 330. Still, kudos to Castellano; he’s been getting a chance to ride some decent horses, and he’s winning races.
- Why, yes, yes I did have Skip to the North in that race, and no, I’m not bitter at all. Not. At. All.
- Pedroia, Franstein, Angels Concerto, and Nightswimming have spent the last couple of months beating up on each other while toiling at the $5,000 level. They all posted yesterday, but it was class-dropping favorite All About Her (4-5) who got the money. Franstein, who led at the stretch call by two lengths, held second, and her nemeses took the third through fifth spots.
- The day featured a pair of second-level allowance races, and both generated strong winning efforts. In the sixth, at one mile, new four year-old Access to Charlie stalked Touch the Birds for a half-mile, disposed of that one, and then held off successive challenges from Omara Devil and All About Alex to earn a hard-fought one length score. At nearly 7-1, Terra Rolla didn’t catch the eye of too many bettors before the eighth, but she made a strong four-wide move to the lead and then held off Floating Alone under what the chart amusingly termed “energetic urging.” She stopped the clock for six furlongs in 1:10 1/5. And her victory got me home in the black – huzzah.
- Bettors showed a lot of what I considered inexplicable love to Jamie Ness-trainee Illusion of Speed in that race, favoring her for quite a while before sending her off as the second favorite at 3-1. I didn’t like her much at all in that spot, and, after looming a brief threat, she faded to a well-beaten third. Later, I learned that it wasn’t so much “bettors,” plural, showing her love as “bettor,” singular. Somebody dropped $800 on the horse — ouch.
- Maidens no more: Parker’s Love, who made his 15th time the charm when he nosed out Gung Ho Bill to win the first race at the $8,000 maiden claiming level; and three year-old Karen’s Saint, who dueled favored Lightning N Hail into submission and drew off to a five-length score.
- Others leaving a condition behind include Access to Charlie (N2X), Myrasira (never-won-two), Terra Rolla (N2X), and Diner Gal (never won two).
- And finally, those looking for evidence that these are sub-optimal days in the Maryland breeding business need look no farther than Saturday’s Dancing Count Stakes — the first stake of the year in the Free State. The six furlong test for three year-olds carries a $75,000 purse, plus $25,000 from the Maryland Bred Fund — a potentially rich payout for a good local-bred horse. But the field of seven includes three Pennsylvania-breds, two from Kentucky, one each from Florida and New York — and not a single Maryland-bred. Only The Camden Comet, by Not for Love, is Maryland-sired. It’s not a pretty state of affairs, and the picture doesn’t improve when you see that three of the trainers, including Chad Brown, who conditions favored (and, in this case, ironically named) Beggarthyneighbor, will make their first start of the year in Maryland in the race. It’s not a particularly accomplished field; no stakes winners, and just three of the horses have even won an allowance race.