FASTEST PLATE TRIAL AT 9 FUR. BUT BEYER IS LOW
(and HARLEM IS ROCKED )
Eibar Coa didn't know what to think as he continued walking by the press corps after the Plate Trial Stakes yesterday.
The New York based jockey had come in to ride his hero, the undefeated HARLEM ROCKER in the $150,000, 1 1/8 mile test and the pair were 1 to 5.
We questioned the horse's presence at Woodbine, his first trip at 2 turns, the Polytrack. Why did he pass up the Preakness? The Ohio Derby? Why did an assistant make it sound like the colt's training was just average?
Well, a huge amount of money was bet to show on the horse.
He looked just fine in post parade.
But after breaking a step slowly and racing 3 wide around the first turn, things started to go the wrong way.
The pace was slow, 48 and change, but that did not seem to be the excuse.
"I still thought I could go past but he never picked up the bit," said Coa.
"The only thing I can think of is that he didn't handle the Polytrack."
If this was the colt that was going to give BIG BROWN a challenge, perhaps Mr. Brown is not that invincible next Saturday.
In one of the more stunning results at Woodbine in recent years, Harlem Rocker, THE Harlem Rocker who might have raced in the Preakness Stakes against Big Brown, floundered while the flashy colt with the big heart, NOT BOURBON, held off a charging SOLITAIRE to win the Trial.
A tiny Plate field just ballooned to perhaps double-digits.
The race was run in fast time - the fastest TRIAL SINCE 1980 when the race was moved to 9 furlongs.
But the 1:49.73 was awarded only an 88 Beyer Figure.
Nevertheless, NOT BOURBON with his aptly named sire, Not Impossible, shocked not only his Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield but also his rider Jono Jones.
"I didn't think he could go 7 furlongs," said Jones after the race. "But Roger has done an amazing job with the horse."
Attfield credited Jones just as much, citing the work the rider has done with the hot-headed colt.
"Jono felt that he could have moved a little bit later than he did too - if they went a bit farther. He's a dead fit horse,now I just have to keep him happy for 3 weeks."
Attfield has won 7 Plates and one more would tie him with Harry Giddings Jr. who won 8 Plates in the early 1900s.
Not Bourbon's sire is deceased. His dam is the millionaire BOURBON BELLE, who won or placed in 26 stakes races, mostly sprints.
Many people exclaimed that SOLITAIRE would be favoured for the Plate off of his big effort in just his 2nd career start. Owned by Bill Clifton, the Victory Gallop-Ring Star, Great Gladiator colt was closing fast and just about caught up to the Bourbon.
Trainer James Bond talked up the horse on THE SCORE show earlier in the day.
Solitaire was bred by Windways Farm - which bred 2006 Plate winner Wild Desert.
SEBASTIAN'S SONG ran a big race as well in a 3rd place finish. The Cherokee Run colt made an early move in the race, 3 wide to take a clear lead before tiriing.
He is owned by Centennial Farms (Niagara) and trained by Alec Fehr.
The stable also has NIAGARA THUNDER heading to the Plate and JAVIAR CASTELLANO is confirmed to ride that colt.
A maiden race earlier in the card put JUNGLE BREW into the Plate picture.
The gorgeous Milwuakee Brew colt didn't win - he was a fast closing second after trailing a very slow pace - but in 2 starts he has made a strong impression.
Trainer Brian Lynch was pointing the Stronach Stables colt to the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie and not the Plate but with the failure of Harlem Rocker, perhaps Jungle Brew will represent the stable on Plate day.
TOP PLATE CONTENDERS
TOOK THE TIME
WOODBINE OAKS SUNDAY
After the Belmont dust settles, it will WOODBINE OAKS day at Woodbine.
This Thursday is the draw for post positions.
A field of 9 to 12 is expected with GINGER BREW the heavy favourite for Stronach Stables.
The chestnut Milwaukee Brew miss will have a stablemate in the race too - Money My Honey.
TOP OAKS CONTENDERS
MONEY MY HONEY
The wagering at Woodbine was $3.1 million - a grand total of $6.1 million for Saturday and Sunday.
That's good considering a nasty strike by Ontario Lottery security blocked the track entrances for several hours and there were a lot of unhappy racing fans.
Freshman sire TOMAHAWK had two more starters at Woodbine yesterday - they finished 1-2. LONG PANTS wore down the very fast COSTALIVIN to win the 4 1/2 furlongs dash in 52.09. Long Pants is owned by Kingfield Racing, Doug Anderson and Rita Eskudt and trained by Catherine Day Phillips.
Champion CATCH THE THRILL was very game in an allowance win on yesterday's card. The A.P. Indy filly had not won since she was a 2yo and was making her season debut for Sam-Son Farm. Incredibly, the filly paid $21.
BOLD EXECUTIVE bombers BOLD MANEUVER, trained by longshot specialist Gail Cox, and PROMOTION TIME finished 1-2 in a maiden allowance turf event at 7 furlongs. Bold Maneuver is out of the Black Tie Affair mare Lusty Affair and was bred by Mark and Norman Casse.
AT RUIDOSO DOWNS...KUBA A NOQUA won the Aspen Cup Stakes with an 84 Beyer Figure for 1:10.20 at 6 furlongs.
The Ontario bred is by Marquetry out of Baby Millie by Gallapiat and was bred by Sue Foreman.
The filly has been through 3 sales - Steve Attard was listed as buyer at Woodbine two years ago for about $40,000, then Foreman sold her that fall in Kentucky for $30,000 and last spring she sold for $42,000 by Eisman Equine in Florida.
The filly has won 3 of 5 races.
And in response to some comments - KING'S SILVER SON was euthanized after a race on Woodbine's Polytrack on Sunday...and ARRAVALE was making her first LOCAL start of the year, a correction from yesterday's post. THOROUGHBLOG regrets the error.