Saratoga Springs, NY--August 9, 2007

Dear Diary,

Ive got this hypothetical Im mulling over. All the possible scenarios leading up to the Breeders Cup Classic which--and Ill take a winter book price right now--in my view will be won by a three-year-old.

I know, youre thinking thats big limb youre stepping out on. Well, there is a four-year-old named Lawyer Ron whos going to be formidable, yes? Especially if he underscores his record breaking Whitney with a score in the Woodward closing weekend here.

Although the division this week lost Stephen Foster winner Flashy Bull to retirement via a cracked sesamoid, Corinthians gotta run in the Woodward, or so Jimmy Jerkens was saying the other morning over at Oklahoma. And hes no empty stall.

Forget Curlin and Rags to Riches for a moment and riddle this:

Lets say Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense wins the Travers and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but loses the Classic. Now lets say that Haskell winner Any Given Saturday wins the Brooklyn Handicap and the Breeders Cup Classic.

Whos Horse of the Year?

Before you answer, recall that Street Sense beat him a nose in Tampa and finished well ahead of him in Louisville. Think about it. Its a tough call.

The Curlin camp has been quiet since the colt finished third in the Haskell, in what can only be described as a disappointing effort. Not for the win, necessarily. The winner was certainly sharper and with a conditioning edge. But he should have won this place photo.

In any event, well see where he goes. Would be surprised if the leading three-year-olds dont meet again until the final weekend of October at Monmouth Park.

In what was his first of three workouts for the Travers, Street Sense worked a half mile in the mud yesterday morning in :49 3/5, a work truncated from five furlongs because of the wet track. In typical SS fashion, his final quarter was a zippy :23 2/5. Expect something faster next time.

He showed that he handled the mud OK, said trainer Carl Nafzger.

Soon after he worked, Lady Joanne, pronounced Joan-ie--dont ask, its a Kentucky thing--went the same distance in :49 2/5. The three-year-old filly won her Alabama prep here like breaking so many sticks and we havent seen the best of her yet, Nafzger said, a pretty scary thought.

Were not expecting that shell meet Rags to Riches in the Alabama unless that filly does something extraordinary in the mornings leading up. The likely targets for the Belmont heroine are the Gazelle or Ruffian. The latter is against elders, of course.

Meanwhile, Todd Pletcher has decided on the Brooklyn Handicap vs. older on Sept. 22, also at Belmont Park. You just knew it would be all about the spacing, and there are five weeks from Brooklyn to Classic.

Were not even half way done here and already the fall prep season is looming.

P.S., diary, think Id vote for Street Sense given the scenario above. But I wouldnt feel comfortable about it.


* * *

The G2 A.P. Smithwick Memorial: The traditional prep for the Grade 1New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap was a hell of a horse race. With Preemptive Strike setting a controlled pace, favorite Mixed Up would have his stretch work cut out for him. But he sprinted home strongly beneath fist-pumping Danielle Hodsdon to win by a half length, giving Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard his third win in 12 runnings of the Smithwick. Mixed Up (158) spotted eight pounds to the runnerup and 12 to the four remaining rivals. Hell be a tough out un the Turf Writers but might have to spot them even a few more pounds. Sheppard also will be looking for an unprecedented 13th victory in that race. Good show.

Second Race: Experience the difference in state-bred juvenile sprint. Myakka got all the late money, and the purse money, sprinting away from the group at the three-eighths pole to win by daylight. Newcomer runnerup was maneuvered off the rail by Ramon Dominguez but remained inside through the running. The filly was tipped outside inside the eighth pole and finished very nicely for the place; she wont be a New York bred maiden for long.

Third Race: This non-winners of three other/than at 1-1/16th miles over good turf would have passed for a stakes anywhere else. In fact, winning Criminologist was entered in one on the Haskell undercard but scratched awaiting this. While everyone saw the flying finish of Sky High Flyer--a horse to watch next time--Criminologist was clearly best. She saved ground at no time, was forced to move probably sooner than Edgar Prado wanted, put the leader away and withstood everyone else, including Sky High, getting Shug McGaughey off the duck. Another terrific finish at the worlds best race meet.

Fourth Race: Rick Dutrow had My Fair El all wound up and she beat maiden claimers like a poor stepchild. Her speed was dominating throughout, then she drew off. Ivory Star was well meant on the tote and completed the exacta. First-timer Foxy Patty finished well too late in a useful debut; follow.

Fifth Race: Good races put in by all the money finishers. Winning Moon Ala Mode stretched her undefeated turf record at one mile to 3-for-3 with a strong finish up the fence for the Mike Hushion/Channing Hill team. Party Jones saved ground throughout despite an outside post but shook loose too late; she finished faster than the winner to no avail. Meanwhile, pacesetting Quick Comeback was pressed on the lead through and held on tenaciously; bet the second and third finishers back next out.

The Lady DAccord: Overnight stakes for three-year-old state-bred fillies was a good one between the first two finishers. Cammys Choice, making first start for Kiaran McLaughlin, outbroke the field but was quickly joined on her inside by Talking Treasure. The fillies raced on even terms for the final half-mile before the inside filly gamely prevailed. Not sure theres anyone better than JV when involved in speed duels. He doesnt rattle, and always seems to assert himself at just the right moment.

Seventh Race: Two winners from his last two starters for Mrs. Gerry, Angle Penna Jr.-trained English Colony took the lead midstretch but was driving hard to last over fast finishing Ever a Friend. Darley/Godolphin second-choice entry both have every chance in the lane and each hung, no excuses.

The Statue of Liberty: Yet another gate incident as two fillies broke through, with Twistaway running off necessitating a stewards scratch. Meanwhile, favorite Laurentide Ice raced terribly thereafter. She probably should have been excused from the race as well. In the running, Tishmeister was cleverly rated off the pace of longshot leader City in the Clouds, middle-moved and withstood the rally of second choice Dont Mind Me.

Ninth Race: Last week, Lhotse Quality drifted the length of the stretch, her poor action blowing a big lead. Not today. Straight as a string through the lane for Rick Dutrow and was never in danger of being caught by Jets Only, the strong choice until she met the Dutrow filly. Whatever the circuit, Dutrow doesnt miss a beat. Third finisher Prime Obsession showed marked improvement with addition of blinkers; note.