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Monday, July 14, 2008

Rockin' the Fort

After the morning rain subsided and the clouds broke, my driveway doppler was telling me to head up to the Fort for the big race. The $500K Prince of Wales, second leg of the triple crown. I arrived just before the 5th race to a packed parking lot and a beautiful sunny 75 degree day in lovely Southern Ontario. No bridge issues to deal with and customs was a breeze, which it should be when traveling solo in a completely empty car! As it was only my second trip to the Fort, the crowd was very big. I laughed when I saw the James Bond Racing Stables horse van with the 007 jockey silks moniker on the side as I thought it may be a good omen for my boy Pewter, but alas he burned out on the final turn after leading the first six furlongs. I found a nice bench in the sun by the paddock, to read the form, suck down a Blue and take in the sights before the big race. I took a couple pictures of Eibar Coa as he boarded his mount in the 6th, the favorite Sheba (#1 horse below), who was here to ride Harlem Rocker. No Todd Pletcher sightings, as I figure he probably stayed on the Atlantic Coast with Unbridled Belle, scheduled to run in a G2 at Delaware Park.

The lines were long for both beer and betting, but I found a nice tucked away vendor and used my twinspires phone account to avoid the windows, so I was able to take in more of the sights. I hit a small exacta in the 7th, just messing around, and was then all set for the big race. I had thrown out Not Bourbon earlier in the day. That was a pretty easy play, as it was his first time on dirt. I can't understand if you point a horse for the Canadian triple crown and you know that the second leg is on dirt, why you wouldn't give him a try on it before the big race. Harlem Rocker, the morning line second choice, appeared to be taking most of the money at the windows and went off as the favorite at 4/5. He looked terrific in the paddock as did Deputyiformer, who I thought would run a better race than he did.

James Bond's Pewter shot off to the early lead and held it for six furlongs. Not Bourbon was around for a little while, but tired in the stretch and had nothing on this beautiful day. At the top of the stretch, the Rocker made his move and a glorious one it was. He held off a late challenge by 21-1 East End Tap (Jen Morrison of the Toronto Star had him third) and triumphed by nearly four lengths to the roar of the Fort Erie crowd. Pletcher's star showed he is a fast dirt horse and we should see more of him this summer, either in Saratoga at the Travers (where Pletcher will have a full barn) or maybe at the Haskell at Monmouth. Here's hoping he tries the Travers and some of the American classic competition, he seemed to do well with plenty of rest and coming back in three weeks or so for the Haskell may be asking too much. I think everyone at the track saw a pretty good horse win, and should see more good things from him in the future.


Handride said...

great post great pics, wish i had been there

SaratogaSpa said...

Always love to read the first party accounts on a day at the Track !

Jen Morrison said...

hi Equispace

I was at the Fort too (we have the same titelf ro our blog posts today)
good race for sure...
not bourbon wound up the favourite actually....hope h's all right.

Geno said...

Thanks Handride and SS!

Jen: Sorry we didn't get a chance to meet. And you're right NB must have taken some late money..per the charts he was at 1.1 and HR was at 1.15..thanks for the correction! And re: the title..great minds think alike..haha.

Cangamble said...

Wow, we had three bloggers from the TBA show up at the same track.


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