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Talamo Time

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It didn’t take long for super-apprentice Joe Talamo to become the meet’s leading rider, winning the opener with odds-on dropper RUN FOR DESSERT for Art Sherman. He went on to score with FLEET CAROLINE in the 5th and NATURAL PHENOMENON in the 6th, giving him a hat trick on his first day riding on Cushion Track. And he might have scored a fourth if SPY ALY had a place to run through the stretch in the 3rd. Day 1 gave us a few wacky results, which resulted in a Pick Six carryover of more than $101,000. Let’s recap the day and see how the main track and turf played:

1st) Big dropper ‘DESSERT saved ground inside from second flight, angled outside the leader into stretch, came away in mid-stretch; 2nd) WORTHY CAUSE rallied wide and pulled away in mid-stretch after racing mid-pack early to outclass maidens. She had never set foot (raced or worked) on the Cushion Track in the past; 3rd) WHATWEREWETHINKING, making her first start on turf, pulls off the $106 upset for Clinton Potts and Molly Pearson, rallying from well off the pace, splitting horses in deep stretch, then proving best in the final 50 yards; 4th) Another big price as first-time gelding AREUTRUE drops back into a maiden claimer to pull off the $39 upset; 5th) ‘CAROLINE, making her turf debut, takes heat inside, then dominates through the lane to win her third straight (dating back to Nov.’06); 6th) NATURAL PHENOMENON wears down soft-tripper YOUHADYOURCHANCE near the wire to score as the 3/2 favorite. Like ‘CAUSE earlier, he had never set foot on the Cushion; 7th) CHARM THE GIANT rallies wide from far back to run past SOHGOL (my selection at 13-1). Lightly-raced ‘GIANT wins her third race over this course and sixth lifetime; 8th) LIL NUGGET, making her first start for Marty Jones and first vs. Cal-breds (why had her previous connections run against open company in her first eight starts?), gets through inside to outkick the favorite through the final furlong. Fair track, fair turf. And previous experience over the Cushion was not mandatory. Sounds good to me.

What wasn’t good was my blank-o on opening day. Not the way to start a meet but what can you do? I purposely tried to beat favorites WORTHY CAUSE and NATURAL PHENOMENON because they had no synthetic track experience. I just missed with RED OPAL in the 3rd, scratched into the wrong horse in the 5th, made a good pick with longshot SOHGOL (second best) in the feature and had no excuse in the finale. We’ll snap back tomorrow.

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