Channing Hill gets his first G1 win aboard the classy First Defence in the Forego (~ RAYMOND)
I didn’t do too much handicapping for today but it turned out to be exacta day at GbG manor! I did the 8th & 9th with a 5 minute look at the Woodward.
The 8th was fantastic, a classy baby race featuring Hello Broadway, a half to GbG fav Nobiz Like Showbiz owned by Elizabeth Valando, trained by Tagg with Coa up. In addition to liking Hello Broadway I also really liked Imperial Council and Fast Draw.
If I did any super noticing this weekend (and I really don’t think I did), it was that Mushka & Country Star, both Empire Makers, were fantastic as 2yos. I thought Imperial Council, by Empire Maker, was training well but it was the Empire Maker thought + looking good in the parade that sold me. Fast Draw had also been training well since his last start and I was hoping he would improve on his 3rd try.
I think the 8th could have been the most exciting race of the ones I watched. Hello Broadway & Imperial Council looked professional dueling in the lane. Just when it looked like Imperial Council, at 20-1, might power on by, Hello Broadway dug in and put his neck in front for the well earned win. The show horse, Ruler’s Vision, is a half to War Pass. Have they officially retired War Pass yet? My exacta would have been oh so much more fulfilling if Imperial Council would have held off Hello Broadway but I’ll be keeping an eye out for both of these classy babies nonetheless.
In the Forego, I really liked First Defence but thought Lucky Island looked pretty hard to beat. I also liked Eternal Star and Ferocious Fires and played all of them in varying priced exacta boxes. I couldn’t believe it when Lucky Island broke so horribly, but he did pour it on and manage to get himself in the race. Annoyingly Greeley’s Conquest blew what would have been an excellent paying exacta by edging Ferocious Fires… damn!! But I was happy to see the classy First Defence really strut his stuff by setting some impressive fractions and winning by 6+ lengths. Also, congrats to Channing Hill for his first G1 win!
In the Woodward I threw out Divine Park, more for the distance than coming off a break, and Out of Control for the surface. I’ve always really liked Wanderin’ Boy and A.P. Arrow but Past The Point was more intriguing to me coming off a win at the distance and having a nice looking prep work. Loose Leaf was also coming off a win at the distance but I didn’t think his works were as nice even though his last race a touch classier.
I put Curlin over all of the above, boxed them all sans Curlin in case the HOY had a (un)Lucky Island like scenario. I also put them all over Curlin (and wouldn’t I have felt pretty darn smart if Past The Point would have held on to win!).
Was it just me or did it look like Garcia and Johnny V. did a bit of race riding in the first turn? It looked like a Divine Park, Curlin, Out of Control ice cream sandwich! Curlin was able to get himself in a good position and like always he came on when asked. Robby looked a little panicky when Curlin wasn’t easily taking over Pass The Point but the Horse of the Year got the job done like the classy pro he is. I’d love to see him back at Belmont for the JCGC next month!
Speaking of Nobiz, Adriano finally came back to form winning the Kent Stakes, a race Nobiz won last year. I was annoyed when Adriano’s connections caught Derby fever after his win in the Lane’s End. It took him until now get back to his best form on the turf, but he came back with classy style winning with an exciting late run get up just in time. Welcome back Adriano, stay classy!