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IT'S CURLIN DAY!
Scott Blasi, assistant trainer to Steve Asmussen, was on hand to receive the key to the city by the mayor Scott Johnson in anticipation of CURLIN DAY today at Saratoga.
The marketing of the race has been decent, ads at least in the industry papers, and there should be a good crowd at the Spa.
(photo is of Curlin getting a bath at historic Saratoga last week by WENDYU on ww.flickr.com)
The son of Canadian-bred Hall of Famer Smart Strike looks like a lock 'on paper' for his Saratoga debut - most of his 8 rivals are overmatched:
A.P. ARROW - Loves Saratoga, but was blasted in the Whitney. He has been sluggish and uninterested lately.
LOOSE LEAF 0 Won a stake at this distance at Saratoga last year..just came off a long long layoff to win his saratoga return with a career best beyer Figure by a nose; bounce, bounce, bounce.
PAST THE POINT - Like Loose Leaf, he came off a layoff and ran a career best race. He was 2nd to Loose Leaf in a Spa stake win last year.
DIVINE PARK - He's a good one and out of an ASCOT KNIGHT mare. Has not been seen since May, has never been past 1 mile, 70 yardsw, but if he could ever come off the shelf with that 112 Beyer monster, he would be scary.
DR.D.F.C. He has won every-other-outing in his last few. A New York bred who has never run higher than 92 on the Beyer scale.
OUT OF CONTROL - Grass horse? Lately anyway. He has a win and a 3rd on Santa Anita dirt. he has not won since October.
WANDERIN BOY - Tough old guy had a freshening time and won a sprint at the Spa with a 109 Beyer last time; he is the speed threat sent out by tthis year's upset artist, Nick Zito.
Looks like CURLIN, DIVINE PARK and WANDERIN BOY mix.
Send in your comments and e-mails before or after Curlin's race!
ONTARIO COLLEEN TODAY AT WOODBINE
One mile on the grass for 3yo fillies and the $150,000 Ontario Colleen is a wide open event.
It is the 30th running of the race.
The favourite will be Wonder Where staks winner NORTHERN KRAZE (Aljabr) who ran the race of her life to win the 1 1/4 WW after a hard stretch drive.
Some may think she will regress a bit off that peak effort - if she does a little bit, there will be many gals around her to steal away the prize.
FORESTRY'S MAGIC has something to prove at the distance but was super-strong 2 strats ago in a turf sprint win.
VERDANA BOLD has trie dgrass once and she was cooked on the pace so look for her to come from off the pace; Tyler Pizarro seeks his first stakes win as a jockey.
SUGAR BAY is well bred for the grass but also has something to prove at the distance.
LIKETY LEMON may be all set to put things together as she returns to her home grass course.
CREATIVE DESIGN is the best of the 2 shippers, coming in with some super turf outings and an 88 Beyer Figure.
WOODBINE YEARLING SALE
STAKES ON MONDAY, SALE ON TUESDAY (and next Saturday)
Six stakes for sales graduates will line the pockets of those who buy at the local sale, many of th same local faces but DAILY RACING FORM (and Thoroughblog) report that Steve Asmussen is planning a trip up to the sale for Tuesday so check out the cabadian-bred babies.
"It will be mostly a look and see to get a feel for the horses up there, but I could be buying," said Asmussen. "[Ontario-breds] are totally lacking from our stable.
"Something that I learned is that there a very big difference [in purse money for Ontario-bred versus non-Ontario-breds]."
Certainly the 10% bonus for Ontario breds that was launched this year, is a great incentive. That amount will be 20% in the years to come.
The select session offers a wide range of stallions that should appeal to all buyers.
YESTERDAY AT WOODBINE
Some notes from yesterday's card - outside ralliers still have a teeny weeny edge.
Just in time for the YEARLING SALE, some sales graduates turned heads yesterday. STRANGER THINGS (Domasca Dan), bred by Gardiner Farms, won her maiden by 7 lengths in her 2nd start with a 79 BEYER.
The $5,000 purchase by Mark Casse was recently purchased by K K Sanngara and Lorne Richards.
DASH IT DARLING piled another $38,000 into her saddle bags with an allowance win. The Harlequin Ranches filly, a $35K purchase trained by Reade Baker, has won over $160,000 in 12 races (3 wins).
Homebreds who won yesterday include Rood Woods' KING EDDIE (Raj Waki) who was up in the last strides to beat out 83 to 1 shot Clarkstoncharm (bred for grass, making turf debut).
Wayne Gillis' MOONSHINE TALKER (Talkin Man) is a delicate sort but won his 3rd race off the layoff and 5th career start at the age of 5 dfor $32,000 in race 4. Scott Fairlie trains.
And Audre Cappuccitti homebred ZAP IT (Cat's at Home-St. Noras) won his debut fotr $23,500 in race 1 with a last furlong zap tho the wire.