Blast off on Lunar Rocket
LUNAR ROCKET seemed so much a winner on last that, even a furlong out, it's hard to believe Omar Walker actually thought he would have caught her at the wire aboard LOTTERY TICKET two Saturdays ago at 1100 metres.
Fitznahum Williams' LUNAR ROCKET left the gate like a scared hare, ripping splits of 23.1 and 34.2 down the backstretch, pressed by LOTTERY TICKET's stablemate, BLUE MOON, who pushed her into 46.1 off the home turn.
Even so, LUNAR ROCKET opened up three lengths on BLUE MOON and set sail for home in a five-furlong split of 58.2 but, alas, LOTTERY TICKET, under a determined ride from Walker, closed fast inside the last half-furlong to grab her at the wire in 1:05.4.
Going a half-furlong shorter in Wednesday's eighth race, LUNAR ROCKET again faces BLUE MOON and Dwight Chen's LIKE A LADY, who saw action in the betting at 2-1, but was blinded by the speedsters and finished down the track.
CAUSE SOME PROBLEM
BLUE MOON was drawn alongside LUNAR ROCKET, post 10, but now breaks from the one hole, drawn alongside MISS MYRTLE, who could cause her some problems if sufficiently recovered from the lameness which afflicted her when last raced on October 6.
LUNAR ROCKET gets a plum draw, post nine, exactly where she broke from when blitzing rivals last time out. Trainer Williams has committed the cardinal sin of asking the filly to carry five more pounds than she ought to by replacing Dane Dawkins with Robert Halledeen, suggesting some displeasure with the apprentice's ride.
However, BLUE MOON never allowed LUNAR ROCKET to settle on the lead and stayed on for third, proving she could have stolen the race herself had Dawkins allowed her to.
Halledeen is, of course, among the top jocks around. His timing is almost impeccable, nine times out of 10, and he is super cool, even in the toughest of races.
The reduced distance, great draw and Halledeen's cool head should make up for the unnecessary weight LUNAR ROCKET will carry.
PROUD PRESIDENT, who chased home KING D on October 17, has been refitted with a tongue tie and appears her main threat, especially being a decent colt among fillies.