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Hit It A Bomb closes like a train: Stopchargingmaria takes the Distaff - Tom Krish

Posted on - 31 Oct 2015

Hit It A Bomb closes like a train: Stopchargingmaria takes the Distaff - Tom Krish
It was an Irish horse that landed the first blow on Friday at Keeneland as the Breeders’ Cup weekend got under way. The Juvenile Turf (1600 metres) had 14 runners. Betting centered on Airoforce, Cymric and Hit It A Bomb.
Hit It A Bomb, two for two in his career, was coming out of post 14. That draw was an enthusiasm-dampener. The first turn comes up quick. If you do not leave and get position, you will have a lot of ground to make up. Cymric left and took third going into the first turn. Airoforce, favorite at post time, was seen tracking Cymric. Ryan Moore was 14th and last and was, at least, 15 lengths behind the leader going down the backstretch.
The pace was fast and the front horses began to weaken in the last 300 metres.  Airoforce was making headway. Cymric was one-paced and had no response when asked. War Front, coming wide as they turned for home, had a task that seemed beyondhim . Ryan Moore took dead aim on the leaders and set Hit It A Bomb alight. The Aidan O’Brien trainee closed with a rush and it became evident in the last 100 yards that Hit It A Bomb would win. Airoforce got first run but could not match Hit It A Bomb’s final thrust. Birchwood ran on gamely to be third. The margins were a neck and a neck. The time was 1 38.86. Hit It A Bomb returned $16.80 on a $2 ticket.
In the post race press conference, trainer O’Brien said that a lot of credit should go to jockey Moore.  “After he won a Listed race at Dundalk, I was convinced that he deserved to take a chance in the Breeders’ Cup.”
Liam’s Map opened at 1/9 and eased to half money race time in the Dirt Mile.  Liam’s Map, coming out of post three, was a bit slow leaving. Time after time, when jockey Javier Catellano made a move, he was blocked. Castellano chose to go outside in the last turn and found Lea had taken a three-length lead with less than 400 metres to go. Liam’s Map, making his final career start, responded and ran down Lea to register a popular success.
In the press conference, I asked. “Liam’s Map was checked repeatedly. It was like an engine being turned on and shut off not once, not twice but three times. Would you consider this his most impressive win?”
Here is the reply.” Most certainly it was. Castellano did not panic. Liam’s Map knew there was a job to do. He did it well. I hope the breeders take note of this.”
Lea was second and Red Vine took the show spot. The winning margin was two and one half lengths. Lea was three and one quarter ahead of Red Vine.  The time was 1 34.54.
Next was the Juvenile Fillies Turf over 1600 metres. Catch A Glimpse, coming off a smart win in the Natalma Stakes at Woodbine, was confidently handled by FlorentGeroux. Catch A Glimpse had to work hard to stay up front and opened up a clear advantage early in the lane. Alice Springs, saving ground, was blocked when trying to move to the outside. In the stretch, jockey Moore tried to get through along the fence. Catch A Glimpse, under a sustained Geroux drive, held on. Nemoralia, coming from behind, was  third.
Catch A Glimpse won by three parts of a length. A head separated Alice Springs and Nemoralia. The time was 1 39.08. Catch A Glimpse was a 6/1 chance.
I asked Mark Casse, trainer of Catch A Glimpse, if the BC race was a long term target. “I knew all along she was good. That win in Woodbine’s Natalma boosted my confidence. She showed courage today. Generally speaking, I go on a race by race basis,” trainer Casse replied.
The Distaff over 1800metres (dirt) had 14 runners. Stopchargingmaria, trained by Todd Pletcher, was held up and was wide all the way. Jockey Javier Castellano had the most left when it mattered. He won by a neck over Stellar Wind and Victor  Espinosa. There was contact in the lane and there was an inquiry/objection but the result stood. Wedding Toast, prominent all the way, retreated once the race took a serious turn.
The Distaff was run in 1 48.98. Stopchargingmaria paid $16.20. She beat Stellar Wind by a neck and the latter was three and one half lengths ahead of Curalina.
I asked the Racing Manager for the winning connections this question. “Last time at Saratoga, Stopchargingmaria went to the front, led under pressure and yielded. Was a conscious decision made to race off the pace today?”
The response. “Yes and no. We knew there was speed in the race. The option was to sit off a likely fast pace. On the other hand, we were ready to go to the front if nobody else wanted to. It all worked out well today.”
There are nine BC races on Saturday. Post time is 11 AM for the first race. The second race in the card is the first  BC race.
It is 10 50 P M Eastern Time on Friday as I finish typing this report. There is another long day on Saturday.
I will have one more piece about Saturday’s races. I hope you have enjoyed reading my stories.
October has been a hectic month. There is a harness racing event I need to take care in November in Chicago. After a visit to Seattle to visit my grand daughter, daughter and son in law, we’ll return to Chicago on December 2. On December 6, we leave for our winter stay in India.
Let me thank the RWITC for letting me write. It has been a privilege.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author's personal views.)  

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