Balooga Bull made it 6-for-6 with a display of natural speed that made his competition look slow in the $30,000 Golden Boy Stakes at Assiniboia Downs on Friday night as he continued his march towards the $75,000 Manitoba Lotteries Derby on Monday, August 6.
It was thought there might be enough speed in the race to take some of the starch out of Balooga Bull early in the four-horse field with rivals Pleasant Closing and Samurai Slam both having ample quickness of their own, but the lead was never in doubt from the outset as Balooga Bull used his classier version of speed to take the lead from the gate. After that the Golden Boy was basically over.
Balooga Bull relaxed on the lead and was a length in front after a quarter in 22.80. He then increased his margin to 1 ½-lengths on the turn and got the half in 45.80 before opening up a 3 ½-length lead into the stretch and getting the five-eighths in 59.40. He simply coasted home after that to defeat Pleasant Closing by 2 ¾-lengths. The final time for the six furlongs over the fast strip was a quick 1:10.80 and there was probably a little left in the tank this time. Not a lot, but enough to show us that he was too good for this bunch.
Both Pleasant Closing on the inside and So Shiny on the outside were in perfect position to take a run at the winner in the stretch, but while they were giving their best Balooga Bull was running away from them. Despite what the final margin of victory says, this Golden Boy was never close.
Leading rider Paul Nolan did the steering for trainer Ardell Sayler and owner Paul Brandt, as Balooga Bull enhanced his perfect record and increased his earnings to $98,148.
Belmont Stakes Simulcast Saturday
The good horses are always a pleasure to watch and we’ll get more of the same on Saturday in the both the local La Verendrye Stakes and the simulcast of the 144th Belmont Stakes. The La Verendrye is more wide open than it looks on paper and the Belmont Stakes should give you the price you want despite the sad defection of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another with a tendon injury.
The Belmont Stakes goes as the 11th race at Belmont Park on Saturday and you can catch the live simulcast of this classic race at the Downs. We’re thinking it’s a three horse race despite the fact that 11 runners will be competing for the $1 million purse at a grueling 1 ½-miles. Our pick will be Union Rags, but Dullahan and Paynter will make him work for it.
Both Union Rags and Dullahan will get major rider switches to top New York jockeys for the Belmont. Union Rags will have the services of John Velazquez, who won the 2007 Belmont Stakes aboard Rags to Riches, and Dullahan will get the services of Javier Castellano, who finished second in last year’s Belmont with Stay Thirsty. Paynter will also have the services of a Belmont-winning jockey in Mike Smith, who was victorious in the race in 2010 aboard Drosselmeyer.
Union Rags comes into the Belmont off a brutal trip in the Kentucky Derby in which he was shuffled back early, steadied on the first turn, checked on the final turn and again steadied in the stretch. He also returns to the scene of his greatest triumph, the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes, which he won by an impressive 5 ¼-lengths last year at Belmont Park.
Dullahan also had some trouble in the Kentucky Derby early before making a wide run to finish third beaten 1 ¾-lengths. We’re thinking that with a better trip in the Derby Union Rags would have finished on par with Dullahan, which makes this Belmont a tough race to pick. Union Rags has been training well for the race, but Dullahan has also been training lights out, as evidenced by his recent sizzling work of 45.80. That work should put him closer to the pace this time, which should be controlled by Paynter.
Trained by Bob Baffert, who won the Belmont Stakes in 2001 with Point Given, Paynter finished fourth beaten only 3 ¾-lengths in the Santa Anita Derby by Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another. That was only his second lifetime start, and he has since come back to finish second in the Derby Trial in the slop at Churchill Downs and romp in a Pimlico allowance race.
We’re thinking Paynter will take care of the other speed in the Belmont and then be taken on by either Dullahan or Union Rags somewhere on the final turn or in early stretch. Whichever one of Dullahan or Union Rags takes on Paynter first has to be careful however, as he will likely put up a fight and set the race up for the other. Of course, there’s always the chance that Paynter could wire the field.
We couldn’t find a legitimate longshot in the race after the defection of I’ll Have Another, so we’ll likely take Union Rags to win over Dullahan and Paynter and key those three in the Superfecta in what should be a great race.
Triple Crown Merchandise Draws, 54th Birthday Celebration
There will be Triple Crown merchandise draws on Saturday at the Downs, along with Crown Royal drink specials and chocolate chip horseshoe-shaped cookies! And the Downs' 54th birthday celebration during live racing Saturday evening will send three entrants in a draw to the Winner's Circle to watch the race from a new vantage point and receive a photo of themselves with the winning horse!
Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7 p.m. Saturday, June 9, 2012