We were smart on Friday. We called favorite Optimistic Steve the “most probable winner.” You could look it up. But the play we strongly suggested was keying longshot Shoplifting second and third with the favorite, and two other logical contenders. They ran 1-2-3-4. We lost a small win play on Shoplifting, but collected a $59 exacta and a $207 trifecta. Life is good.
But in yesterday’s Withers we were wrong at the top of our voice. We thought Divine Park would react to his most effort. Wrong. Only this time he went to the front instead of sweeping from the back of the pack. He’s now 3-for-3 and a graded stakes winner. He might not be Bernardini but he’s very, very good.
C P West just has not developed, maintaining the same level he demonstrated before last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Street Magician chased the winner throughout and backed up through the stretch in a very disappointing effort. Preakness prep? I don’t think so.
Sunday’s Grade 3 Fort Marcy on the turf will bring down the curtain on the Aqueduct spring meet. Belmont opens Wednesday. Licking our wounds from yesterday, we’re not making a selection for the record. Instead, we’ll tell you a story.
Ran into an old friend at Gulfstream this winter, trainer Bobby Ribaudo. He told me it was his first winter in Florida in 20 years. So why the trip? “I have a couple of grass horses I like.” One ran second in a heart-breaking allowances later that day. The other is in today’s Fort Marcy. His name is Grand Couturier.
After a useful French campaign he shipped state-side for a Saratoga Grade 1. He finished third. Subsequently, he was turned over to Ribaudo from trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and after running fourth in a Canadian Grade 2, he was recycled. He makes his four-year-old debut this afternoon.
Javier Castellano ships in to ride him. There are no killers in today’s lineup. If he’s fit, he should win. That’s my story. You’re on your own.
Running Totals: Results (16) 6-4-3 ROI: $38.00