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Blog - GAMBLING

Photo of Midnight Lucky courtesy of Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs.

For all of the hoopla surrounding the Kentucky Oaks, the distaff version of the Kentucky Derby generated a perplexing outcome.

Amidst a field of 10, filled with the division’s stars, the winner turned out to be a 38-1 longshot named Princess of Sylmar, generating quite a quandary.

Was Princess of Sylmar the real deal or were several of her rivals simply overhyped?

Part of the answer could come Monday thanks to the $300,000 Acorn Stakes.

Two of the disappointments in the Oaks, Midnight Lucky and Close Hatches, will attempt to rebound in the shorter, one-turn mile for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park.

Of the two, Midnight Lucky offers more hope for a revival.

A decisive winner of the Sunland Park Oaks, Midnight Lucky set the pace in the Kentucky Oaks but faded in the stretch and finished fifth as the 3-1 second choice. As uninspiring as that might sound, a brilliant 1:10 4/5 workout at Churchill Downs on May 20 gives off hope that Midnight Lucky can return to her winning ways for trainer Bob Baffert.

Her ability to press the pace, which was on display in her first two starts, should also come in handy in a race loaded with speed.

Close Hatches, meanwhile, came into the Oaks undefeated in three starts but was never a threat and wound up seventh. Since then, a lethargic :54 2/5 seconds workout at Belmont on May 19 did little evoke confidence she can grab more than a minor share of the purse.

CLOSE HATCHES

Close -Hatches -David -Alcosser -Hero

Photo courtesy of David Alcosser/NYRA

Beyond them in a competitive field of six, Kauai Katie sat out the Oaks in favor of stablemate Dreaming of Julia, who was fourth as the beaten 3-2 favorite. Her forte, though, is sprinting and she looms a major factor in the Acorn, even if seven furlongs might be more ideal for her.

Cue the Moon also deserves some respect despite finishing a distant third to Dreaming of Julia in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. The 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon has been training sharply for her first start in nearly two months and could sneak into the picture at the end.

Ehalt’s selections

1. Midnight Lucky

2. Kauai Katie 

3. Close Hatches

4. Cue the Moon

$300,000 Acorn Stakes

Monday, Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:17 p.m. ET

3-year-old fillies, one mile (dirt)

PP

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1

Kauai Katie (KY)

J.R. Velazquez

T A Pletcher

2

Momentary Magic (KY)

L. Saez

H J Bond

3

Let Me Entertain U (KY)

J.L. Orgiz

T Albertrani

4

Cue the Moon (KY)

J. Castellano

H J Bond

5

Midnight Lucky (KY)

R. Napravnik

B Baffert

6

Close Hatches (KY)

J. Rosario

W I Mott

All runners carry 121 pounds

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

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