Willy Beamin keeps streak alive
SARATOGA SPRINGS Apparently, Willy Beamin likes long walks on the beach.
And the rest of the field in the $150,000 Albany let him get away with it.
Running the slowest fractions of his 10-race career, Willy Beamin won his fifth straight race in what may have been a tune-up for Saturday’s Grade I $500,000 King’s Bishop, in which he also is entered. Trainer Rick Dutrow had mentioned the idea of bringing him back three days later for the Travers, but owner James Riccio said after the Albany they had decided to cut back in distance to the big sprint for 3-year-olds on Travers Day.
“You know, he won at seven-eighths, and the Travers came up pretty tough,” Riccio said. “Not that the King’s Bishop isn’t. At least we’ve won at seven-eighths, we’ll come back and maybe we’ll get lucky.
“Hopefully, as long as he comes back the right way and Rick says, ‘Let’s do it,’ then we’ll do it. It’s all up to Rick.”
Willy Beamin wired the field, covering his first quarter mile in 24.56, his next quarter in 24.97, his third quarter in 24.52. He drew away in the stretch of the 11⁄8-mile race for state-breds to win by 61⁄4 lengths.
If he runs in the King’s Bishop, he will be cutting back to the distance at which he won the $125,000 Mike Lee at Belmont in his previous race.
Willy Beamin was claimed for $25,000 March 23 at Aqueduct, the win that started his streak of five. When the speed figures for the Albany get to the barn, Riccio said he’ll know better how he feels about running Saturday.
“When we get the numbers tomorrow, the next day, we’ll see how confident we are,” he said. “If he ran the right kind of number today, I would say I’d be confident that he’ll show up. I’m not going to say we’re going to win or anything like that. But he’ll show up. And you know what? To be here on Saturday is a great day. For a [$25,000] claimer? Why not, right?”
At the end of the eighth race, Bluember collapsed just before the wire, flinging jockey Ramon Dominguez over his head and past the wire. Coming up behind the fallen horse, Cornelio Velasquez reacted quick enough to get his mount, Money in Motion, to sidestep around Bluember but in doing so, fell off Money in Motion.
Dominguez was able to jog off the track, Velasquez walked off. Money in Motion was tracked down on the Clubhouse turn and escorted back, seemingly in fine condition. Bluember, trained by Mechanicville native Chad Brown, had a brace put on his right front leg and was loaded on the equine ambulance.
Bluember fractured both sesamoids in the leg, and was euthanized. It is the second fatality in as many days of racing, both on the dirt, and fourth fatality of the meet. The first two of the meet happened on the turf.
‘NICK’ OF TIME
Little Nick, the horse who was spooked and bolted through the entry gap Saturday morning, colliding with Jackson Bend in a training mishap, ran in the second race and was overtaken by Jess Not Jesse in the stretch.
Little Nick showed the field the fast way around the bend, but Jess Not Jesse sprang into action to earn his third win in as many tries at this track, each of those wins coming over 51⁄2 furlongs of turf. Little Nick faded to finish fourth.
LONGER RACE, SHORTER ODDS
Steeplechaser Spy in the Sky jumped up as a 25-1 surprise winner in the Grade I $100,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial here Aug. 2 over 2 1/16 miles, and he’ll return today as the 5-1 third choice in the Grade I $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup over 23⁄8 miles.
While favored Divine Fortune had no late kick in the Smithwick, jockey Danielle Hodsdon got Spy in the Sky wide around the final turn and, although the chestnut gelding lost some ground after the final jump, held on by a nose over Left Unsaid.
It was his first win since March 2010.
Left Unsaid comes back as the favorite today at 5-2. He has finished second in his last three starts, each of them after long layoffs. His start in the Smithwick was his first since the Grade II Marcellus Frost in May 2011. Before that, his previous start was in May of 2010, which came off a seven-month layoff.
Despite the time away from the track, Left Unsaid is 3-6-3 from his last 14 starts, and he’s 1-2-1 in his four career starts here.
The top five runners in the Smithwick are entered in the New York Turf Writers Cup, with Divine Fortune returning at 3-1 after a fifth in the Smithwick. All Together and Decoy Daddy were third and fourth and both are entered again.
The 2010 winner of the Turf Writers Cup, Sermon of Love, will try to take it again, as will 5-1 Demonstrative (winner of the Jonathan Kiser Novice here July 26), Nationbuilder and Charminster.
HERE AND THERE
Winner of a turf sprint in the seventh race, Coach A. J. is named after Brooklyn Nets coach Avery Johnson. . . .
In the fifth race, Brown saddled both the winner and runner-up, as Bourbon Twist and The Lady Says Yes ran 1-2.