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Bookends

A place Big Brown will never seeWhile the Travers and the Pacific Classic mean that the weekend (and the country) will be bookended with G1 races, let’s not overlook Wait a While’s second win in the Ballston Spa yesterday. The victory, her 11th win in 22 starts, makes her look positively old-school compared to the boys now running on dirt.

The easy joke about the Travers this year looks like a $40K allowance race for non-winners of three, but a look at the past performances shows that most of the horses in the field actually do have at least 3 wins. The problem is that many of those wins are either from their 2-year-old season or are from not-terribly-competitive allowance races. Nevertheless, one of the horses I expect to do well tomorrow has been following precisely that path — Mambo in Seattle is probably the best-bred horse in the race, but has yet to face tough company. (Of course, it might be said of this year’s 3-year-old males that such a thing does not really exist – but I digress).

Harlem Rocker and Macho Again both look dangerous, and I would love to see some redemption for Tale of Ekati; it’s not often that Barclay Tagg talks up one of his own horses, so perhaps he’s finally coming into his own. Pyro could make a comeback, but I can’t say I expect much from Court Vision or Colonel John. Court Vision seems to have peaked at two (and looks as if he’d prefer the turf), while I’m not sold on Colonel John away from his California base — although he should be one to watch come Breeders’ Cup time.

And speaking of California, the Pacific Classic should be interesting; Surf Cat, Go Between, Awesome Gem and Student Council are getting all the coverage, but I don’t like to discount McCann’s Mojave in California (especially at a price) and I am intrigued by longshot Delosvientos, winner of the Brooklyn Handicap. He’s been under the radar since his owner/trainer is a Seventh Day Adventist who won’t run the horse on Saturdays, but he seems talented and I like his sire, Siphon, as well as the fact that he is out of a Cryptoclearance mare. Given his peculiar schedule, it’s hard to know where he fits in, but it should be interesting to watch.

It’s a busy weekend all around with the Personal Ensign (it’s hard not to like Ginger Punch, even at what is a new distance for her) and the King’s Bishop is very competitive, with J Be K, Visionaire, Kodiak Kowboy et al. lining up. I’ve always felt Spring House was under-rated, and he should get a chance to shine in the Del Mar Handicap.

And as to why we aren’t seeing Big Brown in the midsummer Derby (or even stepping up to face older horses), it seems his connections are set on the ‘stakes’ race they’ve had Monmouth Park cook up for him:

“This is a race we’re looking to make as easy on Big Brown as it could possibly be,” Iavarone said.

You don’t say.

Here’s hoping Mambo in Seattle is developing into the Next Big Thing…

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