Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Cry and Catch Me scratched with fever
By David Grening
Daily Racing Form
OCEANPORT, N.J. -- Cry and Catch Me, winner of the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita, was scratched out of Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies after developing a temperature, trainer Bob Baffert said Wednesday.
Baffert said Cry and Catch Me had a 101.3-degree temperature Wednesday morning, so he just walked her around the shed row at his Monmouth Park barn. He took the filly's temperature again at 11 a.m. and it was 102 degrees.
"She doesn't look sick, her vital signs and everything look good, but it's 102 and going up," Baffert said. "It's very disappointing."
Cry and Catch Me, a daughter of Street Cry, is owned by Nita Connelly, Christopher Connelly, and Sasha Borland.
Cry and Catch Me's defection reduces the Juvenile Fillies field to 13 and moves A to the Croft, who drew post 14, in one spot.
Baffert will still have a good chance to win the Juvenile Fillies with Indian Blessing, the Frizette winner who is the 3-1 morning-line favorite.
Proctor accustomed to long odds
Purim might have won the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile the last time he raced, but he still is a 20-1 shot on the morning line for the Breeders' Cup Mile. In trainer Tom Proctor's brief Breeders' Cup history, that's not really a long price.
Proctor has sent two horses to the Breeders' Cup before: Indy Groove finished sixth in the 2004 Distaff at 48-1, and One Dreamer was victorious in the 1994 Distaff, paying $96.20 to win.
"I thought she had a big shot," Proctor said.
Not that he would have said it before the race. Proctor, the son of the trainer Willard Proctor, is a big man with a booming voice, but he clams up when it comes to making predictions. You know he has opinions - and you know he's not going to give them out.
"They put them in the gate to run them, and there's no use talking about it much before," Proctor said.
For years, Proctor trained privately for the Glen Hill Farm of Leonard Lavin, but a couple years ago he opened a public stable. The transition has gone well, thanks in great part to horses like Purim and Therecomesatiger, but there have been other issues.
"I hate losing," Proctor said. "That's been the problem with me becoming a public trainer. I win a lot more races now, but I get beat more, too, and I don't like it."
Purim, a son of Dynaformer owned by E.J. Suckley, won his first three races and was beaten a nose in the 2005 American Derby, but breathing problems cropped up and got steadily worse.
"The breathing always compromised him some," Proctor said. "He got to where he was sounding like a bad muffler."
Proctor has been around plenty of bad breathers. There are equipment changes to be tried and various surgeries that are hit and miss. Proctor isn't averse to doing something, but experience has hardened his realism.
"I'm an open-minded skeptic," he said. "I'll try things, but I don't necessarily think they're going to work."
Late this spring, Purim had two operations on his throat, one called a tie-forward, the other a myectomy.
"I was pretty much hopeless about it," said Proctor, "but the owner kind of overruled me. I wanted to retire him, being a little more knowledgeable about these things."
So far, the breathing corrections have held, and Proctor's training has taken over. Purim's progression through the late summer and fall has been deftly handled: a seventh in the seven-furlong Play the King at Woodbine, a win in a restricted Arlington stakes, and then his peak, the neck win in the Shadwell.
The questions now are many: Can Purim pair up top efforts? Will he handle a tighter course? What if the turf is wet?
Proctor doesn't want to hear it.
"Hey, we already put up the $50,000 to run, so there's no use worrying about that now."
Local resident Scatuorchio seeks first BC win
As a resident of nearby Rumson, N.J., owner James Scatuorchio is more excited than usual for this year's Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park. Scatuorchio, who turned 60 two weeks ago, will have two chances to show off for his friends and family, with English Channel in the $2 million Turf and Icy Atlantic in the $2 million Mile.
"Very excited," said Scatuorchio, a retired Wall Street executive who has owned horses on his own or in partnership for 25 years. "Especially with English Channel, who's become a little bit of a local favorite with two wins in the [United Nations] back to back."
In winning the United Nations over this course the last two years, English Channel has lowered the Monmouth turf course record each time.
Scatuorchio said he has at least 40 friends and family members coming to Monmouth for the Breeders' Cup.
"I got about 40 tickets total," he said. "I stopped at that, that's enough. The rest of them are on their own."
This will be English Channel's third straight try in the Turf. He finished fifth in 2005 and third in 2006. Scatuorchio said he plans to retire English Channel after this race.
Scatuorchio has yet to win a Breeders' Cup race. In addition to English Channel, Scatuorchio has run Icy Atlantic (11th in 2006 Mile), More Than Ready (fifth in 2000 Sprint), and Scat Daddy (fourth in 2006 Juvenile).
Track celebrates its Breeders' Cup ties
Fans entering the track grounds will be hard-pressed to miss all the huge purple banners that commemorate Monmouth Park's longstanding connections to the Breeders' Cup.
No, Monmouth has never hosted a Breeders' Cup before - but plenty of BC winners have raced here during the same calendar year, a historical tie-in that track officials thought would be worth flaunting. Among the great horses honored on the banners, complete with the names of the race they won at Monmouth and the BC race they won later that year, are Lady's Secret, Alysheba, and Black Tie Affair.
Bob Kulina, vice president and general manager at Monmouth, said the fact the track is hosting its first Breeders' Cup presented an opportunity to showcase some of its proud racing history.
- additional reporting by Marcus Hersh and Marty McGee