Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Sunday, September 08, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/08/2013 #
  • Solitary Ranger (Four Footed Fotos)

In Today’s Notes: Lofty Long Range Goals for Solitary Ranger; Lassie Fillies Could Rematch in Alcibiades; Ninth Race on Thursday to Employ Alternate Finish Line

After overcoming a 19-week layoff, considerable increase in distance and being a maiden to win Saturday’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity, Susan Moulton’s Solitary Ranger is ready for more challenges.  The son of freshman stallion U S Ranger is now under consideration for the Breeders’ Cup, according to trainer Wayne Catalano. 

“He looks pretty good today,” said Catalano.  “We’ll probably look at the Breeders’ Futurity after this.  We liked him all along.  He’s been breezing very well.”

While which Breeders’ Cup race – the Juvenile or Juvenile Turf – to which he will be aimed is still undecided, Catalano did seem to lean toward the latter.  “I think we’ll be eventually trying the turf with him.  But, right now, our main goal is to get him to the Breeders’ Cup.”  The win was Catalano’s third in the event since 2009. 

Windy Hill Farm’s runner-up Whyruawesome exited his 5½-length loss well, according to trainer Anne P. Smith.  The colt will also look at a possible race at Keeneland.  Both the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity on the Polytrack main course and Grade III Bourbon Stakes on grass will be considered. 

“He came out of it in pretty good shape.  Not too bad at all,” Smith reported.  “The owners would like to try him on the turf next.  There’s a good chance we’ll take him to Keeneland.”

Though overjoyed at her first stakes-placing as a trainer, the first-year conditioner Smith also expressed a little disappointment with how things unfolded.  At the top of the stretch, Whyruawesome seemed poised to overtake eventual winner Solitary Ranger, but failed to switch leads and maintain momentum. 

“It’s a little aggravating.  In the mornings he swaps easily – it’s almost robotic.  But, he’s a young horse and ran well,” Smith explained. 

Curtis Green’s High Roll, the fifth-place finisher who went off as the slight 3-1 favorite over Whyruawesome and Solitary Ranger, exited his disheartening race well.  “That horse was disappointing to me,” trainer Jimmy DiVito reported.  “He might just be a sprinter.

“I left it up to (jockey) Francisco (Torres) on deciding to go for the lead or not.  Perhaps that was a mistake – we probably should have gone to the front,” DiVito continued.  “Sprinting is probably better for that horse.  His half-brother (2012 Futurity runner-up Muppet Man) was a sprinter and I should keep him in sprints for now.”

Team Valor International’s Irish import Captain’s Affair exited his fourth-place finish in good order.  According to Team Valor International’s Bradley Weisbord, the new acquisition will head to new trainer Rick Mettee’s barn in Maryland and look to return in grass races after not handling the Arlington Polytrack well. 

The Listed $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie produced a thrilling finish a lot of mixed emotions on Saturday.  While Holmark Stables II’s She’s Offlee Good brought her ownership team an exciting win by two lengths, Eclipse Thoroughbred Parterns’ Battlefield Angel’s difficult trip produced a great deal of frustration for her connections. 

“She had a rough trip, but was only beaten three lengths.  Go back and look at the race – nothing went right for her,” said trainer Wayne Catalano.  “She stumbled a bit and had traffic the whole way.  We don’t know where she’ll go now, but most likely it will be Keeneland.”  Both She’s Offlee Good and sixth-place Battlefield Angel will be considered for the Grade I Alcibiades Stakes on Oct. 4 at the Lexington, Kentucky oval. 

Another who did not have the best racing luck was Curtis Green’s race favorite Maria Maria, who weaved her way between fillies to finish third at 5-2.  “There was just too much traffic in that race,” trainer Jimmy DiVito reported.  “It was a terrible trip.” 

The daughter of Curlin was coming off an auspicious win in maiden special weight company in late July and boasts a stamina-rich pedigree being out of a With Approval mare.  “I think she’ll run much better next time around two turns and she’ll be better as she runs farther,” explained DiVito. “She’s much better than that race.  She never got clear sailing. We are going to Keeneland with her after we see how she comes out of this.

Thursday’s ninth race, a conditioned $5,000 claiming race that drew a field of 12 and carded to be run at a mile and a sixteenth on the Polytrack, will end at the alternate finish line located at the sixteenth pole after starting at the regular finish line.

Since the beginning of this season, races at a mile and a sixteenth have been run with a short run to the first turn while ending at the regular finish line.  However, in order to accomplish this field size had been restricted to nine.  As such for the balance of the meet, races carded with nine or less will be run ending at the regular finish line while races carded with 10 or more will end at the alternate finish line.

In an age where field size is vitally important to the health of the industry, to card races restricted to just nine starters makes little sense.  This revised policy will allow mile and a sixteenth races to be carded with as many as 12 starters and to allow for mile and a sixteenth turf races that are moved to the Polytrack to be run at the mile and a sixteenth distance without forcing outside horses to scratch should the remaining field size be greater than nine.

Arlington’s television department, on-air team and social media platforms will make every effort to remind bettors as to which start/finish will be employed on mile and a sixteenth main-track races.