Saratoga Springs, NY--July 27, 2007

Dear Diary,

The conventional paths to the Breeders Cup received a challenge from an unlikely venue yesterday when Louisiana Downs jumped into the fray big time. On its face, that might not seem significant until you consider:

The Super Derby, the tracks premier event, has produced twice as many winners of the Breeders Cup Classic, four, than has the storied Travers. In all, seven three-year-olds have defeated their elders on racings greatest day.

Further, four Super Derby winners finished second in the Classic and three others came back to win the Classic as four-year-olds.

Go figure.

Clearly, the management at the Bossier City track has gotten very aggressive and they want to be a major player on the Breeders Cup fall prep calendar.

In order to gain national attention, Louisiana Downs will double the Super Derby pace to $1 million if any of the Triple Crown race winners; Street Sense, Curlin, or the filly, Rags To Riches, shows up on September 22.

And the timing is ideal by todays standards; five weeks from prep to goal.

Toward that end, the track is offering four turf races for a purse of $200,000 each. The interesting races are the Sunday Silence for juvenile colts and the Happy Ticket for juvenile fillies.

Obviously, these races accommodate the new Breeders Cup turf events carded for two-year-olds for the first time this year. The third Saturday in September will be the richest day of racing ever at Louisiana Downs.

Somebody down on the bayou has their thinking cap on. Good for them.

* * *

The new Win And Youre In Breeders Cup format gets underway this afternoon with three Grade 1s, the Diana, Go For Wand and Whitney, and the Grade 2 Alfred Vanderbilt. Every one is highly competitive. There is a guaranteed $500,000 Pick Four available on the all-stakes sequence beginning with the seventh race. The races will be seen on the ABC Television Network nationally from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., EDT.

* * *

Rags To Riches has returned to Belmont Park following two days of testing at New Bolton Center. She will be seen next week by Dr. Paul Thorpe, attending veterinarian for owners Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.

A decision regarding her future will be made at that time. Trainer Todd Pletcher is hopeful the filly can still make the Alabama.

At this point, well be happy to see her back at the races, period. Theres been a lot of smoke but no ones hollered fire. Not yet, anyone.

* * *

Kent Desormeaux was fined $500 for inappropriate use of the whip aboard Stolen Star on Thursday. We viewed the Desormeaux tapes and thought the final whip stroke that struck the fillys face was inadvertent.

The stewards didnt see it the same way, obviously.

* * *

A field of six was drawn for Sundays Travers prep, the Jim Dandy. From the rail out: Sightseeing (10-1), Flashstorm (15-1), Street Sense (2-5), Cowtown Cat (20-1), Tiz Wonderful (9-2) and C P West (6-1).

Guess Mr. Pletcher decided on a Haskell run for Any Given Saturday.


First Race: Spirit Of Gulch came running down the center of the track late to take the opener, well spotted off the maiden win by Gary Contessa, in a rather mundane claiming affair.

Second Race: Juvenile maidens supplied more drama than youd expect. Winner Lauries Lion ran off with Javier Castellano in the post parade, was pulled up after reaching backstretch chute at which point Castellano jumped off. Castellano remained off the gelding for almost 10 minutes before remounting then was a game wire winner at double-digit odds. So much for rule requiring that a horse carries his weight from paddock to start First-timer Tribolet made disappointing debut for Pletcher, whos now officially off to a very slow start in defense of his five straight Spa training titles.

Third Race: Like Now was sure happy to get out of Delaware, stalking the pace of Master Of Disaster before taking the lead at head stretch and drawing away late; favorite City Weekend was extremely disappointing and without excuse.

Fourth Race: Very weak field of maiden fillies, three-year-olds and up, went to Steve Asmussens Sequoia Queen in a field no one wants to see run back until racing shifts back to downstate. Favorite Scarlet Love never raised a hoof.

Fifth Race: No matter how firm the turf course, even in short sprints, splits of:21.39, :44.04 and :55.75 are going to get you beaten, more often than not. Mix in a horse with an excellent turn of foot and well timed encouragement and you get Emirates to Dubai at even money drawing away. Her clocking of 1:01.71 missed the course record by 60/100s. Pacesetting Guns Drawn, making her first start off a lengthy absence, set those fractions and tired; follow progress. A natural double for Garrett Gomez

Sixth Race: Gomez gets a natural triple with Rewrite with another well timed late move performance to take the Dinner Diamond, an overnight stakes for state-bred fillies and mares. Only this time, the pace was soft, allowing Half Heaven and Iron Goddess to hang around for a share. Note that Iron Goddess and Sabellina raced while in foal, a fairly common occurrence in this sport. The latters late run was seriously compromised by the slow pace.

Seventh Race: On paper, he fractions were supposed to belong to the undefeated Calder shipper, Flankers Lady. The crowd thought so, too, and bet her down to 7-2 late. They forgot about the California shipper, More Angels, both literally and figuratively. She easily secured the lead from the Florida filly and held off the wide-stalking Dixie Dawn, who refused to switch to her right correct lead through the stretch. Kiaran McLaughlin filly was 8-1. Ouch!

The Lake George: Fourth for Gomez and a second for Christophe Clement (Rewrite) as Rutherienne, as is her style, comes from the clouds to win this Grade 3 for three-year-old fillies. Post 10? No problem when youre in the zone; GG up the fence like breaking so many sticks. Lady Attack, up in class, made a strong late run to narrow the winners margin late and Sharp Susan was a good third with a change-of-pace rally run. Note how both fillies are spotted next time out.

Ninth Race: Trainer Bruce Levine doubles after benefiting from a skillful ride from Eibar Coa, who raced close up behind a soft pace, took the lead soon after entering the stretch to remain clear. Calvin Bo-Rail altered course up to the fence for the place but the one to watch out of her was third finisher A Millions Demons. Saving ground throughout beneath Fernando Jara, she was steadied along entering far turn, angled extremely wide soon after entering the straight and finished with a rush, at 26-1. Double ouch! Ill be betting her back, hopefully at decent odds vs. the same bunch.

Bias Report: Track Fast, played honestly. Turf: Firm, normal, closer's edge.