Saturday happenings …

Lots of interesting races Saturday, both with  thoroughbreds and harness racing. Most of it concentrated at the Gulfstream and Santa Anita.

 First off at Gulfstream Park, in race 6 the Robert LaPenta owned, Farish bred, Nick Zito trained Cool Coal Man stamped himself as a legit Kentucky Derby contender after winning a N2x for 3Yo going 1m 1/8th. He didn’t do it in very fast fashion, and the Beyer will probably only be 78-84 range at a quick glance. I like the fact that he settled off a very solid pace after being headstrong in a graded stakes debut. He also finished well enough going that distance after being off since November. Zito has to be happy with this  effort as it forms a perfect foundation to build upon this spring. Maryland connections Gary Capuano and Travis Dunkelberger were represented in this race with what was shaping up to be Maryland’s only Triple Crown hope and unfortunately he didn’t fare too well.

In the Sunshine Millions Sprint, Benny the Bull ( would have been the play of the day had I had time to get to a computer ) stamped himself as the top contender for the BC Sprint. I know it is early, but this guy seems to have developed a stalking gear, which is a huge advantage over the deep closing style he once used. He pulled himself into position on the turn just as he did in the DeFrancis at Laurel in November. Mach Ride once again fails to fire his best shot outside of Calder, this was be no means a poor effort and it may come back high Beyer wise, but he just doesn’t seem as sharp over other surfaces. Santana Strings ran 2nd here at 45-1, the longest shot on the board. I still cannot see how this horse runs 2nd, perhaps I’ve become paranoid or a pessimist when it comes to these performances but this dude had shown nothing that would lead anyone to believe he was a contender in here, not even to hit the board … and look who is trainer is … The two front running synthetic/California horses took it on the chin, but Tropic Storm looks to have a future, he wasn’t cut a break from the outside post and still ran decent.  Finallymadeit finally ran a bad one, I guess he had a right to after the year he endured. Hopefully they cut him break and hopefully the break doesn’t come one race too late.

 In the SM Oaks, American County led gate to wire with longshots rounding out the trifecta.  Asmussen favorite Blitzing did no running.

 Newly crowned Eclipse award winner Ginger Punch returned to the races in powerful fashion, winning by six with ease. Frankel claims she is in even better shape this year, which could mean trouble for everyone else.

War Monger looked like a winner for the last half mile of SM turf and didn’t disappoint when they turned for home overpowering the field. I have been on this horses band wagon since his MSW and N1x efforts and I feel has a huge year in-front of him.

The disaster continues in Arcadia, California but they did manage to run on Saturday, though they cancelled today again. The surface is ridiculous, as made apparent but a 3Yo colt setting the world record for 6F.

 The first SM race at Santa Anita was the Filly and Mare sprint and I knew after watching this one just to put the bullets away as I have most of the meet. They went 20.2 and 43.1 and the winner never looked like she might stop nor did anyone from the back look like they might make up ground. I originally thought this was ridiculous, but I didn’t know what was coming. Congrats to Dearest Tricksi.

Quite a Bride held off Nashoba’s Key in the SM F&M Turf. More a result of Gomez outriding Talamo than Quite a Bride being the superior animal. Talamo decided to drop 4.5 lengths off a half mile in 50.2 and that sealed the deal. They ran the last furlong in 12.1 and I’m not sure anyone could make up the length and  a half lead that Quite a Bride had.

The laugh-er of the day came in the SM Dash, a race in which Bob Black Jack set the world record for 6 furlongs going 1o6.2. The half mile fraction was comical also, 42.2.  The 1 – 2 finishers ran 1 – 2 around the track going those fractions. 

 The SM Classic looked like a race run on conventional dirt. Everyone seems to have a fair chance. Problem is it took fractions of 45.0 and 108.0 going 1m 1/8th for the front runners to fold. Go Between won from off the pace for Gomez/Mott. Celtic Dreamin ( my selection in an online handicapping contest I play in ) ran 2nd at 11-1. The 9-10-11 runners after a quarter mile ran 1-2-3.

 At the Meadowlands last night, Panaramic Art ran his streak to 18 wins in  a row. Read more about it by clicking on the link.

Also at the Meadowlands Mr Feelgood capture the Presidential final, the first big Free For All pacer race of the year.

 Bonehead ride of the day award could go a few ways. Mike Smith’s ride on Now Victory in the SM Classic was a head scratcher, the horse had appeared to pull a bit but than settle. Mike decided that the 1/2 split of 45 flat wasn’t fast enough and he decided to prompt the issue 4 wide down the backstretch. Not to be outdone, Gabriel Saez decided to run 4-5 favorite honest man into submission dueling head and head with the 2nd longest shot on the board in the Maxiim Gold Cup last night at Sam Houston. Joe Talamo gets a call based upon his gem aboard Nashoba’s Key, getting way too far off a dawdling pace on a horse that has shown tactical speed in the past. Last but not least, Anna Napravnik at Laurel on For Kisses in the Nellie Morse. She let her charge fall to last place behind a opening quarter of 25.0 going a one turn mile. That wasn’t the last of it, For Kisses was pulling her way between horses into the stretch when Anna got her completely shut off and stopped full of run. The official chart call was “shut off with run”.  The only ride here that I had any money invested in was Anna’s.

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One Response to “Saturday happenings …”

  1. Matthew Clapp Says:

    I can’t wait for the World Equestrian Games. We’re getting ready for it here in Lexington, KY. I’ve just published a book about horses and horse farms in this area of the world, Horse Farms & Horse Tales of the Bluegrass.

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