Saturday, September 13, 2008
OLD FOES EARN MUTUAL RESPECT IN ASHLEY T. COLE ‘CAP
Trainers Tom Bush and Angel Penna Jr. have the star horses among nine entered for Sunday’s 33rd running of the $100,000-added Ashley T. Cole Handicap with Banrock and Al Basha, respectively.
Just which one of those stars will shine brightest is anyone’s guess and you’re not going to get much help from either Bush or Penna.
“The horse that won at Saratoga, that’s the horse to beat,” Penna said of Bush’s West Point Handicap winner Banrock. ”And, he’s getting better.”
Countered Bush: “Angel’s horse didn’t run his race up at Saratoga for whatever reason, but he is a very dangerous horse.”
“The timing of his races has been good this year,” Bush said. “We gave him the winter off and he has come back fresh. He is doing well, and there is some rain in the forecast for Sunday, and that won’t hurt him a bit.”
Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux again has the mount on Banrock for the Ashley T. Cole in which he will carry top weight of 121 pounds.
Like Banrock, Bembridge Farm’s Al Basha has done well at Belmont Park and well at the Cole distance. Penna believes the 4-year-old Aljabr colt will have a much better showing on Sunday than he did in his fifth-place finish as the West Point favorite.
“His last race is a throw-out as far as I’m concerned,” Penna said. “Those first three weeks at Saratoga, there was a lot of rain and that made for an extremely yielding course. He has won on soft turf before – when he won the Mohawk last year, it was on soft turf – but nothing like that course. Plus, there are much tighter turns on the course at Saratoga. He’s not a big horse, but he is not particularly athletic. He needs room, like he has at Belmont.
“When you have a decent horse like him and he doesn’t run his race, you look to find answers. After the West Point, we went over him thoroughly and found nothing wrong. So, it had to be the yielding course and the tight turns that made him uncomfortable. You could tell he wasn’t comfortable and this is a horse that will try his eyeballs out every time.”
Al Basha will get a six-pound break in the weights from Banrock.
Classic Pack, runner-up in the West Point, is a salty player and gets a new jockey here in Richard Migliore.
Stepaside, trained by Tom Voss, won both of his starts at Saratoga this summer, and picks up the services of jockey John Velazquez, who is nearing 4,000 career victories.
My Man Lars was third in the West Point and turns back after running an even fourth at 11 furlongs at Saratoga on August 22.
Gimme Credit pressed the pace before finishing fourth in the West Point. Logic Way has narrowly won two of his last three starts, but takes a big step up here. Hammock, who woke up to show speed in his last start, and Key Event, making only his second start after more than a year off, complete the field.
The field for Sunday’s 33rd running of the Ashley T. Cole Handicap:
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.
1. Hammock Richard Schosberg Rajiv Maragh 114
2. Gimme Credit Tim Hills Eibar Coa 116
3. Logic Way Richard Dutrow Jr. Edgar Prado 114
4. Classic Pack Ramon Hernandez Richard Migliore 115
5 Banrock Tom Bush Kent Desormeaux 121
6. Stepaside Tom Voss John Velazquez 114
7. Al Basha Angel Penna Jr. Cornelio Velasquez 116
8. Key Event Daniel Foster Rudy Rodriguez 116
9. My Man Lars George Weaver Javier Castellano 115
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