Asmussen Reaches In To Take Maiden Claimer Carve; First Samurai Colt Posts Rapid 6.08 FF Winning Debut
By Warren Eves
After watching first time starter Carve kick home to win at first out I went to Oaklawn Park’s third race chart on Jan., 25.
Sure enough Carve had been claimed out of the maiden $30,000 1-mile and a sixteenth. Dropping the claim slip in the box was none other than trainer Steve Asmussen for Michael Lansford.
It may have been only the first lifetime start for the 3-year-old gelded son of First Samuri but the effort certainly impressed this hardened observer.
Owned and bred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, and readied at the Faigrounds in New Orleans, Carve looked every bit like he was worth much more than that his $30,000 maiden claiming tag. When he was urged left-handed mid stretch he kicked home in an eye opening 6.08 final fraction. It’s true the early fractions of the race were on the slow side but there’s no denying trainer Albert Stall probably wishes he hadn’t lost him. Then again, who are we to question the motives of trainer Stall who does so many things right. It would be interesting to know why Carve’s factions didn’t debut him in a straight maiden race.
Carve was hung wide on the first turn. He was always out from the rail making his way down the backstretch. Carve began his run out of fourth to the top of the lane. It wasn’t until Victor Lebron cut him left-handed that Carve took off to win by a widening 4 lengths.
Notes scribbled across my official program–Went to the Fairgrounds on Thursday, Jan., 24 when a number of turf races were carded. Good weather was the order of the day but all those turf races came off. Talked with Charlie “Vagabond” Fay who was working saddling paddock and word was the course was still too soft to allow turf racing. What a shame…………..Same old story in paddock, Keith Desormeaux can be found in the saddling arena looking at legs almost every race. He’s off to a good start in New Orleans this winter………….Fay says his favorites out of the jocks’ room would be Richard Eramia, Mark Guidry and Miguel Mena……………….Went up to the clubhouse level for most of the day. Had opportunity to listen to the babbling of Katie Mikolay, who somehow got the job of post race analysis. She continues to bring absolutely nothing to the table when it comes to insight any bettor might be interested in. Her picks are the same vanilla offering as last year. If you do look at the past performances almost every opinion she offers seems to match the top Beyer numbers in each race. How do people like this get commentator jobs? If Ms. Mikolay were to get off the dime and visit the backstretch and take notes of in the paddock behavior like Maggie Wolfendale in New York, then you”d have something worth watching and listening to. The Fairgrounds is obviously not paying attention to what Mikolay is rambling on about prior to each race…………..How about team Maggi Moss and trainer Chris Richards? Wow! They teamed for another profitable run and win on Jan., 24 at Oaklawn Park when Breckenridge romped off the claim. The eight-year-old gelding was taken for $10,000 off Roger Engel and won nicely. We looked at the race again several days later and wound up using three out of the race for the future. Breckenridge got away clean from post 9 and after 50 yards came in to slam into Brassy And Proud. He settled in sixth. Breckenridge then made this impressive four-wide move around the turn. He gained the lead and won clear and we won’t be surprised if he wins right back. I’m told Richards used to assist one of the Dutrow boys and that’s how Moss wound up with horses with him. Barham, who was second, is also worth a look next out exiting the same race. From post two he veered in sharply to be away next to last. Barham skirted the rail moving to the half and then was locked in while blocked on the turn. He salvaged second in a BTL’d race for sure……….In reviewing the fifth race at Oaklawn on Jan., 24 we noted no claims were made. Trainer Allen Milligan dropped My Time To Star and shortened the Illinois-bred son of Five Star Day up. He broke alert, raced head and head with two other foes, then turned back Moon On Fire’s bid into the lane. The four-wrapper went gamely late and appears to like the Oaklawn Park layout. He could be good for another……………Don’t know what to make of the handy maiden $40,000 claiming winner Devil’s Blush on Jan., 25. The four-year-old filly raced in four wraps, was slow away from the barrier and bumped between foes to trail early. She cruised up in wide path to be fourth. Once in the straight Devil’s Blush took the lead and finished drawing out while trying and reaching. These are the kind of graduation runs which leaves even the most hardened horse handicappers wondering what next?……………………Was not surprised by the outcome of the Holy Bull even though I probably wanted to see Rosie Napravnik win it. I was immensely impressed with Itsmyluckyday when he won his prior race. I liked what his trainer said after his last race. Ed Plesa said he was not going to get too high and they would see what happens. Plesa told jockey Elvis Trujillo not to be wide on the turns. ”I just wanted to see the best horse win the race,” said Plesa to Claire Novak of the Bloodhorse after the Holy Bull. ”I believe that’s what happened today.” ……………….Just to let you know not all improvement efforts make my list of playbacks. For instance the second place effort of Run Withthe Ladies in the fourth on Jan., 25, was an example. She was dropped from state-bred maiden race down to maiden $25,000 when the blinkers were removed. She was jostling an inside foe early while 8th, scooted up between foes to be 5th, and steadied while blocked early in the stretch.