Horse Racing: A Closer Look at the 2013 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park; News and Notes

In this weekend’s Horse Racing Race of the Week, we go back to Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California for the 2013 CashCall Futurity for two year olds. The $750,000, mile and sixteenth event drew a field of 13 and will be spearheaded by the unbeaten and, so far, untested Shared Belief and Tap it Rich, who was beaten less than four lengths in the Breeders Cup Juvenile last month. The CashCall will be part of a three headed monster stakes day which includes the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup and $150,000 Native Diver Stakes.

The CashCall was run as the “Hollywood Futurity” from 1981 until 2007 when the name was changed to the CashCall Futurity under a sponsorship arrangement with founder of the CashCall consumer lending company, J. Paul Reddam of I’ll Have Another fame.

Regardless of the name, the race has an outstanding list of past winner in such a relatively short period. Those names include the ill fated Roving Boy (1982), Snow Chief (1985), who would eventually be beaten in the Kentucky Derby as the favorite the following year but would bounce back to win the Preakness, the ever popular Best Pal (1990), the great A.P Indy (1991), Afternoon Deelites (1994), who veteran jockey Kent Desormeaux would later say was “the fastest horse he ever rode”, 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet (1997), the titanic Point Given (2000), the speedy and game Lion Heart (2004), the talented Pioneerofthenile (2008) and Lookin’ at Lucky (2009) who would be one of only a handful of horses to win champion two year old and three year old awards.

More recently, Comma to the Top (2010- see below), and last year’s winner the oncoming Violence, who we never saw the best of because his career was cut short by injury.

The field for the Hollywood Turf Cup drew weak if you ask me. Of the six that are entered there are no real standouts. If I were to bet it, my best guess would be Artic North, who ran huge at some 30-1 odds to be beaten less than three lengths in the Red Smith Handicap in New York a few weeks ago or the late running Lucayan, who bombed in his last race in Canada but seems to relish the California tracks.

The Native Diver will be much better race, at least that’s the way it seems on paper. Hear The Ghost clearly looks to be the one to beat but the speedy Blueskiesandrainbows is always a threat, Setsuko, at six years old , is still going strong, former Triple Crown contender Rousing Sermon has won two of his last three and I won’t be surprised if Drill runs well either.

 

HollywoodPark – Saturday, December 14, 2013

Race 9 – 4:35 PM  

CashCall Futurity (Grade: 1)

Purse $750,000. For Two Year Olds

One And One Sixteenth Miles. (All Weather Track) 

 

PP

Horse

A/S

Med

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

1 Electric Eddie 2/C L A Delgadillo 121 B D Cecil
2 Tamarando 2/C L R Bejarano 121 J Hollendorfer
3 Bond Holder 2/C   M Gutierrez 121 D F O’Neill
4 Candy Boy 2/C L G L Stevens 121 J W Sadler
5 Tap It Rich 2/R   M E Smith 121 B Baffert
6 Shared Belief 2/G L C S Nakatani 121 J Hollendorfer
7 Even Echo 2/C L F F Martinez 121 M K Cho
8 Brother Soldier 2/C L E A Maldonado 121 C Dollase
9 Karma King 2/C L J Talamo 121 C Dollase
10 Poker Player 2/C   V Espinoza 121 W M Catalano
11 Sheikinator 2/C L R Albarado 121 K G McPeek
12 Rankhasprivileges 2/R L M Garcia 121 K G McPeek
13 Kobe’s Back 2/C L J Rosario 121 J W Sadler

 

Analysis:

1) Shared Belief- dusted maidens in his Golden Gates debut as he won by 7 while getting 6 furlongs in very quick 1:09 flat.

He was then purchased privately by Marty Wygod (for an undisclosed amount) and came back to romp by almost 8 lengths in the Grade: 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes over this very surface. The sleek looking Candy Ride gelding completed the 7 furlongs in smoking 1:22 flat and recorded a strong 99 speed figure in that race as well.

“He’s training well, and we expect a good effort,” new trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said yesterday (Thursday). “At the very least, he deserves a chance to run in a race like this. It’s a much tougher race. It’s his biggest test.”

He has the perfect running style (pace stalker) for the large field that this race drew, he’s proven he likes the track surface and you can not ignore those two monster back to back work outs coming into this (Dec 1 and Dec 9, both 6F- 1:12.3).

Lastly, maybe that star marking right smack dab in the middle of his face is a sign of things to come.

 

Is Shared Belief a "star" on the rise?

Is Shared Belief a “star” on the rise?

2) Tap It Rich – broke slowly in his racing debut and was forced 3 or 4 wide on the turn for home yet absolutely exploded down the lane to win by 4 ¼ conclusive lengths.

Then, in just his second lifetime start, he finished fifth, beaten just 3 ¼ lengths in the Breeders Cup Juvenile after having to go 6 wide on the final turn.

From there, this $510,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Tapit recorded a :46.3 half mile work (second best of 36 who worked that distance that day), followed by three more long, stamina building works.

Future Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who is winning at a 17% clip at the meet, takes the reins again for trainer Bob Baffert, who is winning at an eye popping 34% clip at this meet and who will be gunning for his seventh win in this race. (Liaison 2011, Lookin At Lucky  2009, Pioneer of the Nile  2008, Real Quiet 1997, Captain Steve 1999, and Point Given   2000)….no other trainer comes close.

 

3) Bond Holder- this bay colt by the gorgeous Mineshaft has shown textbook improvement since his debut back in July.

His career has really taken off in his last three races, which include a good, late running second vs. maidens, followed by a 2 ½ length win in the Grade: 1 Forerunner Stakes (where he rallied from 8th position early on) and, in his last race, he spotted the field, which just so happened to be the Breeders Cup Juvenile, 13 lengths and made up 10 of them to finish on even terms with Tap It Rich.

“Man, he’s doing really good,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “I thought he ran huge in the Breeders’ Cup. He made up a lot of ground. Three quality horses beat him, and none of them are in this race.”

A few other things that caught my attention and that I like… his durability as this is his seventh start in 6 months (including 4 in 6 weeks), that 1:12.3 work last week and jockey Mario Gutierrez, who I still swear, has ice water running thru his veins.

Honorable Mentions:

Tamarando is a stretch running son of Bertrando who is an uncoupled stable-mate of the top pick and has already won a Grade: 1 race (The Del-Mar Futurity, Sept 4). He comes into this after mowing down the field (came from last to win) in the $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes in his last. He recorded a strong 5 furlong work (1:00) for this and has a white hot jockey (Raphael Bejarano, winning at 27% clip) and trainer (Jerry Hollendorfer, winning at a 23% clip)….big threat… especially if he gets a fast early pace in front of him. Poker Player failed miserably in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf, but unleashed powerful late runs to win his 2 prior races, including a Grade: 3 race at Keeneland….long-shot possibility. Rankhasprivileges came with a menacing run on the far turn in the Delta Downs Jackpot Million in his last but flattened out in deep stretch and was beaten almost 8 lengths. However, he returns to the synthetic surface on Saturday …a surface in which he won his last (and only) start over. 

 
Record: 18-57 = 32%

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 Little Bets N’ Pieces

 

**** 2012 CashCall Futurity winner Comma to the Top has been retired but will remain with trainer Peter Miller as a stable pony.

“That day he won the Futurity gave us our biggest thrill,” said Miller. “It was pouring rain and there was a long delay in the paddock for a shoe repair, but he won easily.”

Miller added Comma to the Top “will need training” to learn his new job.

“It usually takes about six months,” Miller said. “You have to re-break them and get them used to a different saddle.”

Comma to the Top ends his career with 14 victories in 33 starts and earnings of $1,349,406.

Comma to the Top has a new job

Comma to the Top has a new job

**** Three time Grade: 1 winner Flat Out has also been retired, according to owner Art Preston with stallion plans pending.

The now 7-year-old Florida-bred finishes his career with a 9-5-5 record from 29 starts and earnings of $3,645,383.

Amongst his major wins were the 2013 Cigar Mile, and back-to-back runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2011 and 2012. (He was third in the Gold Cup this year).

“He’s one of those horses that had an excellent career with some problematic situations, but he always came back to prove himself,” Preston said. “He’s been the most interesting horse I’ve ever owned and the longest campaigner we’ve had as well. I’d have to rank him number one among the most exciting horses I’ve raced.”

Preston, who generally avoids the breeding aspect of the sport, said he plans to support Flat Out in his second career.

“I’m going to do that for sure; I’m making a plan to breed some mares to him and it should be a lot of fun.”

 

Flat Out retires

Flat Out retires

**** 2013 Breeders Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man breezed three furlongs at GulfstreamPark last Saturday morning, getting the distance in :37.3.

“We just let him stretch his legs out a little bit,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said. “He was off the rail. It went good.”

“He was very happy. He was bouncing around,” said Ritvo, who added she expects him to breeze again this weekend.

 

"M3" has his first work in preparation for his 2014 racing debut

“M3″ has his first work in preparation for his 2014 racing debut

 

**** Probable 2013 three year old champion Will Take Charge could make his first start as a 4-year-old in the Feb. 8 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park, trainer D. Wayne Lukas said early Thursday from Oaklawn Park.

Lukas said owner Willis Horton has been in negotiations for a possible partial sale of Will Take Charge to a breeding farm and that a deal “appears imminent”.

“I’d certainly hope they (the media) take a close look at him for Horse of the Year,” said Lukas. “We took everybody on at their racetrack, on their terms, in their arena. I do know that some people are planning to vote for him.”

“We’re tracking him every day now just to keep him from tearing the barn down,” Lukas added. “We’ll map out a program real soon, but right off the top of my head we’re going to look at the Donn, probably with the Santa Anita Handicap after that. There’ll be all the logical races down the road – maybe the Pimlico Special, the Whitney, and of course we’ll make a return to the Breeders’ Cup our year-end goal.”

Lukas also said his 2014 Kentucky Derby hopeful Strong Mandate will likely make his 3-year-old debut in the Feb. 17 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn. “I’ll probably run him three times (before the Derby), as opposed to four.”

 

Probable 2013 three year old champion Will Take Charge

Probable 2013 three year old champion Will Take Charge

 

**** The purse for the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown series, has been raised to $1.5 million from $1 million, the Maryland Jockey Club announced Thursday.

It is the first purse increase for the Preakness since it went from $500,000 to $1 million in 1998 with the race being run on May 17 in 2014.

“The Preakness Stakes is the centerpiece of a terrific stakes program that weekend,” Tom Chuckas said, who is president of the Maryland Jockey Club. “Seventeen of the 26 races on Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan days are stakes. With this increase the total value of our stakes program over the two-day period is nearly $4 million.”

2014PreaknessStakesLogo298

 

**** Top 2013 three year olds Normandy Invasion and Itsmyluckyday have returned to training in Florida to prepare for their respective 4-year-old campaigns in 2014.

Itsmyluckyday, who won several stakes races this year and was second in the Preakness Stakes, is nearing his first breeze for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.

“He made a big splash last year at Gulstream and was fortunate to finish second in the Preakness and then got injured in the race after that,” Plesa said. “He’s back in training now and he’ll probably have his first work at the end of this month. He’ll run sometime at the Gulfstream meet.”

If you recall, Itsmyluckday was pulled up in the Pegasus at MonmouthPark (won by Verrazano) and was later diagnosed with a pelvic fracture.

“Certain injuries, you say to yourself, ‘You hope he comes back.’ What he had was pretty black and white,” Plesa said. “They get over it, they heal 100% and there are no side effects. Lucky enough for him, as much time as we’ve lost, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter because we can see that he’s getting closer to where he’s going to be working and then running.”

Normandy Invasion, who was a late running second in both the Remsen Stakes and Wood Memorial, is also back in training with Chad Brown at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida. The Tapit colt was laid up since the summer when a deep abscess in his front hoof was discovered.

“He just started back galloping a couple of weeks ago, and he’s about ready to breeze,” Brown said. “We’re just taking it day by day. We’ll let him tell us when he’s ready.”

“Normandy actually spent the summer and fall over at WinStar Farm, and they got him started for us and sent him to Palm Meadows in terrific shape,” Brown said. “He’s a horse that has shown a lot of talent. He’s had his fair share of bad luck and a couple bumps in the road, but at the end of the day he’s a really nice horse with a lot of talent and we’re happy to have him back. I think that he’s moving really well right now under tack, and we’re anxious to get him back breezing.”

Normandy Invasion (#9) is on the comeback trail

Normandy Invasion (#9) is on the comeback trail