Is On Fire
Friday, September 6, 2019

    Mike Mulligan's website has always seemed to kick it up a few notches on holiday weekends when the elite runners are competing from coast to coast. Labor Day's trio was no exception and they deserve more than a little mention, but not before noting what happened on the following Wednesday, normally a light racing day when many of the major tracks are dark.
    BBB had just nine runners on its three-pronged list of first-time starters, other BBB scored horses to consider, and stakes horses. Two of the entries were scratched, leaving seven possibilities. Here's what happened to the seven:

    In the first-timer department, Me and Mr. C made his debut at Delaware Park for Williston's Stonehedge Farm and was sent off at odds of 7-1. This, despite the fact that the colt is a son of leading freshman sire Khozan, who had been hot as a pistol with nine winners and a stakes-winner, six of the winners bred by Stonehedge Farm and five still owned by the farm. Me and Mr. C became No. 10, making a monster run down the lane and winning by two lengths, but if they had gone another furlong, it would have been 15. 
    Among the BBB horses to consider, Gotaheadache won at Colonial in her third start and paid $13.80, and Muchmorethanthis won in his second start and paid $5.60.

    In stakes company at Indiana Grand, Corruze was moved up from second place to first after a disqualification and paid $31.40 in the $200,000 Caesar's Stakes, while Amandrea finished second at odds of 8-1 in the $200,000 Indiana Grand Stakes.  

    Back to the weekend: BBB got off to a lukewarm start on Friday before exploding for a million-dollar day on Saturday. On Friday, first-timer Freewheeler, a $430,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida March 2-year-old, won by 5 1/4 lengths at Saratoga despite racing greenly the entire trip. He paid $12. At Woodbine, Bonnie Lee paid $10 after winning by 1 1/2, and at Del Mar, Georgian Road broke his maiden by 5 1/4 and paid $5.20.  

    On Saturday, after scratches there were 42 BBB runners left to compete and at day's end, nine had won, eight finished second, four third and two fourth. The big splash came in the stakes department led by Snapper Sinclair, a $180,000 OBS April product who captured the $750,000 Tourist Mile Stakes at Kentucky Downs for his fifth victory, good for a paycheck of $440,640; it raised his career total to more than $1 million.

    Also at Kentucky Downs, 2-year-old Peace Achiever paid $12 after winning the $500,000 Gainesway Farm Juvenile Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths and collecting $294,840. It was his fourth start. 

    There were two good winners at Colonial Downs, too, including a 3 1/4-length score by first-time starter Four Wheel Drive in the $100,000 Rosie's Stakes in which he defeated five last-out winners and earned $60,000. Doc Boy also collected $60,000 for his victory in the $100,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Kitten's Joy Stakes. 

    There were also four second-place stakes finishes: Inspiressa in the Gr. I Del Mar Debutante in just her second start ($60,000); Jais's Solitude (lost by a head) in the Gr. III, $250,000 New Kent County Virginia Derby at Colonial ($50,000); Ask Bailey in the $500,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Kentucky Downs ($95,800); and Fujairah in the $117,500 Sharp Susan Stakes (by 3/4s) at Gulfstream ($19,200).

    The four stakes victories totaled $855,480 in purse earnings, and added to the four seconds ($225,000), BBB's selections collected $1,080,480 in just those eight stakes on Saturday. 

    There were many highlights on Sunday, not the least of which was Big City Bob winning the Sapling at Monmouth Park and paying $54.20, with Mischevious Alex finishing third, three-quarters of a length behind. Arlington Park first-timer Judy's Way romped by 6 1/2 lengths and paid $32.40, Billy Batts finished second by a head in the Del Mar Juvenile, first-timer Media Blitz was second by a nose at 9-1 at Del Mar; and Magical Anna won by four at Timonium and paid $4. At Saratoga, I'llhandalthecash won by two and paid $8.30, combining with My Galina for a $16 exacta. 

    Monday's stakes-winners were Spun to Run ($5) in the $300,000, Gr. III Smarty Jones; Jeltrin ($12.20), by 7 3/4 in the $150,000 Cathryn Sophia; and Engage ($11.20) in the $100,000 Bensalem, all at Parx Racing. Wrecking Crew finished second in the $300,000, Gr. I Del Mar Futurity, and there were five other seconds and thirds in stakes. Among the other winners, at Saratoga, first-timer Gouverneur Morris scored by nine lengths and paid $3.30, and Primal Destiny won at Remington Park and paid $17.40. 

    BBB is cruising along on all cylinders, and handicappers who don't pay attention to the first-timers in particular, are doing themselves a great disservice. 
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