The Rich Get Richer
THE RICH GET RICHER
By JOHN PIESEN
Late last month, this venue warned you that jockey Dominguez would finish strong at Saratoga. And so he did. Especially so on Labor Day when he rode six winners from seven mounts.
Here we are two weeks later and we're going to issue the same warning.
On Saturday, RD rides nine at Belmont Park At least five of the nine will be favored, including both stakes -- Dealbata in the Noble Damsel, and Samitar in the Garden City, the most innocuous Grade One we'll ever see.
And, on Sunday, with main rival Johnny V. at Woodbine, Ramon has eight calls at Belmont, virtually all live.
That's 17 calls in two days for the country's top whippersnapper. We'll make the over-under eight.
You know that Johnny V. is not going to downtown Toronto to catch the Blue Jays. He's at Woodbine primarily to ride Wise Dan, a major Horse of the Year contender who will be 3-5 in the $1 million Woodbine Mile.
So that he won't spend the whole day watching Yanks-Rays in the jocks' room, JV also will ride in three other six-figure stakes - Smart Sting in the Canadian Stakes, Gung Ho in the Ontario Derby, and Musketeer in the Northern Dancer.
Needless to say, all will be major players.
Speaking of jockeys - as also predicted in the space a month back -- Bejarano has been officially named by trainer Baffert to ride Game On Dude from here on, replacing the lovely Chantal. Bullet Bob sure isn't going to let a pretty face cloud his judgment. Oh, yes. Game On Dude will be the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
The next three weekends will go a long way to determine the makeup of the BC fields: the many grass stakes this weekend at Belmont and Woodbine; the Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion at Philly Park on Sept. 22, the biggest day in the history of the Pha, and Super Saturday Sept. 29 at Belmont.
One BC race I'm looking forward to is the Juvenile Fillies. At this point, we're looking at a Big Three of Executiveprivilege (Baffert); Show the Way (Maggi Moss) and Dreaming of Julia (Pletcher).
Dreaming of Julia, a daughter of A.P. Indy, ran off the ol' TV screen winning the Meadow Star last
Sunday at Belmont under Johnny V by 16 1/4 lengths. This filly is so good that one New York tabloid handicapper had her as the best bet on SATURDAY.
There was a touch of irony here.
Meadow Star, trained by Hall of Famer Leroy Jolley, made her claim to Fame by beating Lite Light by the dirtiest nose you'll ever see 20 years back in the Mother of all Mother Gooses.
Two decades later, they run a stake named for Meadow Star, and ironically it produced the most uncompetitive race in the century-plus history of New York Racing.
As noted, Julia's winning margin was 16 1/4 lengths. The other margins were 12 1/4 lengths, 12 3/4 lengths, and 25 lengths.
The Mad Bomber was conspicuous by his absence. NFL opening day you know.
Speaking of A.P. Indy, the old boy is still hitting 'em out of the park.
Check out Saturday's fifth at Belmont.
There is a 150K first-starter from the Sheiks named Long River. He is by A.P. Indy and the first foal of Round Pond, one of the great racing fillies of our (or any) generation. You'll recall she won a slew of stakes at Oaklawn Park for John Servis, a year after Smarty Jones, and after Servis got fired by owner Rick Porter, she won the Breeders' Cup Distaff for Mike Matz, a year before Barbaro.
At 12-1 no less, great news for the loyal followers on John Piesen online or the hotline at 1-888-612-2283.
Long River will be a price from post five five in a field of nine in the fifth, a six-furlong maiden-special for 2-year-olds.
Right alongside Long River in the gate (post four) will be a Team Phipps colt named Overwhelming. First time out, he was dead on the board at 9-1 in a seven-horse field, got left (natch) from the one-hole, and did good to finish fifth.
And how's this for pedigree?
Overwhelming is by the Larry Jones-trained Hard Spun, the top sire of 2-year-olds nationally, out of Oh What a Windfall, the Alabama winner for Neil Howard.
The favorite in the race is no pedigree slouch either.
That would be Nevada, a closing second in his Saratoga debut for the Toddster.
This 375K purchase is by Tapit out of the unraced Ominous Cat, a daughter of Storm Cat.
Bettors will note that Nevada, who had a wide trip in his debut, goes from Rosie to Johnny V.
Oh, yes. There's another Tapit firster in the race.
His name is Normandy Invasion, and Rick Porter (who owned Round Pond) bought him for 230K.
You get the point. This is the best maiden race of the New York season.
The Mad Bomber is kicking himself for missing Dreaming of Julia, but fortunately he didn't over-react on Wednesday.
The Bomber laid off the sixth at Belmont, but that can not be said for some Bomber wannabees.
Sandy'z Slew, sent off at 1-2 under Johnny V in the maiden-special for New York-breds, backed up to last of eight on the turn, and stayed there, beaten a combined 25 lengths. What's more, Leilani's Ticket, the only other horse to take action, checked in fifth at 7-2.
Oh, the humanity.
Oh, the super!
James Jingle won the race at $29.60 under Prado, who's not ready for the scrap heap just yet, and the second, third and fourth finishers were 12-1, 14-1 and 60-1, combining for a 20K super, and double-digit show prices.
Fortunately there were only 2,819 eyewitnesses to this disaster.
And who knows trainer Michael Mareina?
Talk about out of nowhere.
At the Belmont spring meet, Mareina went 5-1-4 from 15 starters. Thus far this autumn young Mike is merely 2-for-2.
Is this the next Gasper Moschera...or a one-hit wonder. Kind of like my Buccos.
And when was the last time that a nearby 250K race failed to attract a single New York rider?
But that's the deal Saturday at the Pha when none of the 10 horses in the President's Cup attracted a New York guy or gal.
Rosie has won four straight on Cantonic, but Saturday she's staying at Belmont, and Pennington gets the call from trainer Maker in the nine-furlong grasser.
On the other hand, jockey Lopez gives up his usual four-five Monmouth winners to ride longshot Freud's Honor for Gregg Sacco. Worth noting is that Paco rode this horse once before, in a Monmouth optional-claimer, and finished a troubled fourth.
The favorite will be Woodbine shipper Stormy Lord, and this 5-year-old millionaire no doubt will take some catching under new jock McAleney.
They all are taking catching on the Belmont main. One week into the meet, and speed is king. Just have to find the right speed.
Finally, here are my weekly Horses to Watch list from Belmont:
RUNAWAY JIM -- The veteran gray is rounding back to form.
BAJAN RHYTHM -- Nailed on the wire by a 20-1 bomber.
TEN ED -- A winner every jump but the last.
SLASH FIVE -- Was Mareinized. Won't be a maiden long.
RACE PALACE -- Was caught widest from outside post.
ROSIE MY WAY -- Second to longer-priced barnmate.
FAST AND STRONG -- Raced widest as odds-on favorite.
REIN KING -- Had to be hard-used from one-hole.
BLACK ACE - Parisella has him thinking Crafty Starlet.
ROYAL CURRIER -- Look for this guy to drop in class
Thanks for tuning in. Check out my selections this weekend, have a great sports weekend, and see you back here next Friday.
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