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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, July 15, 2023 – Three graded stakes on the Saturday docket, two featuring short-priced most-probably-win favorites and the other a wide open turf mile. Most notably, the Diana, which Chad Brown will try to win for a eighth time, is the first Grade 1 of the meet.

All races off the turf Friday and we’re not aware a record of scratches has been kept but today’s 39 scratches off the program has to be in contention for some kind of record. Hopefully, Saturday’s Grade 1 Diana and Grade 3 Kelso remain on the turf.

Day 2 Quick Hits: The opener came off the turf but made no difference to debuting Concerti, showing good speed throughout, was challenged, and had no serious challenge in deep stretch; Book of Wisdom, on the hard chase much of the way, tired late as if next time will be the right time; tab…

Dreamlike found this group to his liking and has developed nicely since making a gallant money finish in the Wood Memorial. Had to love the excellent turn of foot displayed leaving the furlong grounds; ready to get serious now, even off a maiden win. Todd Pletcher has decisions to make…

It was only a three horse field and Blue Devil shook loose early but made an excellent main-track debut in this off-the-turfer . Re-broke soon after straightening away to win by a short pole. Jeff Hiles has a runner here, whatever the surface; won like a repeater; note.

Featured Coronation Cup scratched down to four after it it rescheduled to the main track which favored speed types today, namely Unified Alliance, well prepared by Tom Morley and aggressively ridden by Javier Castellano, his second stakes at the meet.


Our Trip Feature offering Saturday is the G3 Sanford, chosen because trips can be most illuminating with lightly raced young horses, meaning, if not today, someday in the near future… It’s also instructive since handicappers can notice improvement—or not—from race to race. In post order, then, the SANFORD STAKES:

CALL THE CAVALRY (8-1): Very good speed from the barrier, chased the pace into turn dropping back, restrained while track at 5/16s, re-broke leaving furlong grounds, won ridden out/driving.

JIVE (12-1): Speed from the gate while bearing in, asked and moved 3-wide approaching mid-turn,  lugged in greenly, driving win gamely nearing finish.

DICKENS (8-1): Asked to keep pace throughout while racing professionally, stalking 3-wide on turn, driven out through stretch, in hand nearing wire.

YO YO CANDY (15-1): Tardy break outrun early, inside at turn, stalked 3-wide angled out 4-wide into lane, greenly stretch lugging in, left lead in lane.

FACTOR U AND ME IN (30-1): Big speed from dirt in 2-furlong straightaway bearing in greenly early, clearly best at end, but how meaningful?

RAMMING SPEED (15-1): Tapeta Track. Speed from gate then took back professionally, angled out on the move with no urging into stretch, left lead while handily in deep stretch, leggy, looker, classy-acting.

TRIPLE TREA (10-1): Tapeta Track. Outrun from gate, urged while behind horses 3-wide turn, far back, finished well 5-wide all stretch, driven out but ears pricking nearing finish, wow finish from young horse.

HIS RIGHTS (30-1): Big horse was outrun from gate dropping far back, big move on turn angling 7-wide with momentum into lane, driven out.

GOLD SWEEP (3-5): Always looked a winner racing 3-4 wide throughout, ready to pounce on lead into lane, finished well easily all stretch, much the best maiden score in Tremont, big future?

MARKET STREET (12-1): Showed speed while pushed hard from gate, left lead throughout stretch run.

The Skinny: Experience and proven ability make this favorite unbeatable on paper. Looking to key him over Dickens, Triple Trea and Ramming Speed… In the Diana Brown Invitational, In Italian (2-5) looks more certain that Gold Sweep. If there is exotic money available, the value may be if Rev Rover (12-1) can edge out Marketsegmentation (4-1) for the place… Speedy race shape favors Annapolis (8-5) and Casa Creed (5-2) in the Kelso. Of the speeds in the G3 mile, prefer Big Everest (5-1).

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3 Responses

  1. 54 horses in 10 races. In this day and age, there is no point in watching any of it. Take a nap, then bet a baseball game on Friday evening. A race with 3 horses ? Beginner or longtime player, nobody can take that seriously. No excuse for the number of scratches even with every scheduled turf race moved to the main track.

    I could have watched “racing” from Saratoga today, but I chose to cut grass and trim weeds in my back yard.

  2. Philosophically we generally are on the same page DM, and while I only made a small play in the feature race on the longest price–finished last of four–I did watch, going to school for subsequent starts. There’s always something to learn.
    While at Newsday, I wrote often about NYRA’s too-lenient scratch policy. Yesterday was a good example of how nothing has changed. But we continue trying to make the good fight.
    Hoping there was no rain overnight or we’ll get more of same today–but I would expect both graded turf stakes to remain on grass–too many big outfits incurring wrath otherwise.

    1. A potential new fan looks at an 11 horse race that turns into a 3 horse race and wonders why those 8 scratched horses can’t run on a muddy dirt track.

      The typical person who works in the racing industry will blame that potential new fan for not understanding how the sport works.

      Meanwhile, another old fan dies and a new fan does not replace him.

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