In this week’s Horse Racing Race of the Week, we will be taking a closer look at the 2014 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California on Saturday where a field of six has been assembled to go seven furlongs for $200,000.
Honestly, I think the bigger race is Monday’s $300,000 Southwest Stakes at OaklawnPark but, since I like putting up my reports on Thursday nights/very early Friday mornings, it makes it very difficult to break down races run on Mondays. (It’s hard enough to do a Sunday race).In fact, at this writing the field hasn’t even been drawn yet. Regardless, keep an eye on it, there will be some Kentucky Derby candidates running in it for sure.
On top of the San Vicente and the Southwest, other notable races being run this weekend include the El Camino Real Derby (another race I flirted with making the Race of the Week) at Golden Gates for three year olds going a mile and an eighth. Tamarando, based off his consistency and multiple stakes wins, clearly looks like the one to beat in that race.
Over at Laurel Park, the feature race is the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Stakes, which is a seven furlong sprint for three year old and up fillies and mares. That race is a very good starting place in looking for a leader in the female sprint category and this year’s running came up very strong with Villette, who has won 4 of her last 5, Centique, who has won 3 of her last 4, Flattering Bea who passed a remarkable 9 horses from the quarter pole to the wire in her last race (at Laurel in Nov.), More Than a Cruise, who shows 11 on the board finishes out of 13 starts and My Wandy’s Girl, who is taking a pretty big drop in class, all looking like threats to win. If I had to play it (and I won’t touch it, too wide open), I might go with La Verdad, who after coming fourth in her racing debut, reeled off 5 straight “by daylight” wins, with one or two of them being blow outs.
Laurel will also run the General George Handicap on Monday, which is another seven furlong sprint for three year olds and up for $250,000 but once again, at this writing, the field has yet to be drawn.
Lastly, be sure to catch the fourth race at The Fair Ground on Sunday where Samantha Nicole, a full sister to the great Rachel Alexandra, will be making her racing debut.
She will be taking on five other rivals in a mile and seventy yard Maiden Special Weight race. She is trainer by Steve Assmussen and will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik.
Speaking of great mares family’s , Eblouissante, a 5-year-old half sister to the great Zenyatta, ran a disappointing second Thursday at Santa Anita, beaten 1 1/4 lengths under Mike Smith at odds of 3-5.
The mammoth mare was making her first start since finishing sixth in Shuvee Handicap at Saratoga on July 20.
Facing four others, Eblouissante led into the stretch but began to weaken late and was passed by Macha, who won by 1 1/4 lengths.
“She just got a little tired at the end,” said trainer John Shirreffs “Mike said she put herself in the race a little early. She was a little keen and she didn’t finish.”
Shirreffs didn’t indicate what plans may be in store for Eblouissante down the road.
Santa Anita Park
Race 5 – 2:30 PM
San Vicente Stakes (Grade: 2)
|1||Grazen’s Hope||3/C||L||M Garcia||118||S Miyadi|
|2||Rprettyboyfloyd||3/R||L||B Blanc||118||D E Breuer|
|3||Papa Turf||3/C||L||J Talamo||118||J M Kasparoff|
|4||Roger Rocket||3/C||L||C S Nakatani||118||B Baffert|
|5||Cherubim||3/C||L||M E Smith||118||S Callaghan|
|6||Kobe’s Back||3/C||L||J Rosario||118||J W Sadler|
1) Rprettyboyfloyd– is still a maiden I know, but he’s had two career races and in both of them he’s demonstrated strong closing runs.
In his debut on Jan 4, he made up almost eight lengths in the last quarter mile to finish second to the now highly regard Bayern (who smashed an allowance field, that included Tap It Rich, by 15 lengths yesterday) in a fast time (1:22.2).
In his second race, he broke slowly but was coming with a full head of steam late to miss by a half length to another horse that looks to have a bright future in Chelios.
I’m a little concern that seven panels isn’t far enough for him, but I’ll tell you this much, he meets no such rival as Bayern in this race….edge in wide open horse race.
2) Kobe’s Back– has only run is stakes races through his brief three race career and shows a good, albeit distant; second to champion Shared Belief two starts back.
Draw a line thru that last race where he was beaten a country mile….he stood no chance after clipping heels with another horse early in that race.
“In his second race, he was second best, and in his third race, he clipped heels, so he’s had a couple of excuses,” trainer John Sadler said. “I’m anxious to get him started this week. He’s doing really well.”
Debut win was impressive and has been absolutely scorching up racetrack in the mornings recently….he should bounce back strong and run well Sunday afternoon.
3) Grazen’s Hope– is now two for two in his short career with both wins coming by daylight. His works are good, he steps up in class but that step is the next logical one, plus he’s won at longer distance, so the cut back here should help his cause.
Papa Turf is just 1 for 5 in his career but ran a strong second to the highly touted Indianapolis in his last. If he runs back to that race, he could be a serious menace in this spot. Cherubim blew the doors off a maiden field while winning by 3+ lengths and finishing six furlongs in a quick 1:08.2 in his Santa Anita surface debut (but was the second race in his career). “He was on the inside and it was his first time out,” trainer Simon Callaghan said, referring to Cherubim’s eighth-place finish in his debut Nov. 24. “I’m not really sure why he didn’t run well on the synthetic (his first race), but we always felt he was a really good horse and he really showed it last time.”….He would also pose a serious threat if he runs back to that last race. Roger Rocket broke slowly in his racing debut but came roaring down the stretch to get up by a head…stretches out in distant and step way up in class but could run a surprisingly good race especially if he gets a fast early pace…which he just might.
2014 Record: 4-9 = 44%
2013 Record: 20-59 = 34%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces
**** 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and dual Grade: 1 Stakes winner Plum Pretty both produced their first foals at Timber Town Farm near Lexington, Ky. this past week.
Wayne Sweezey, who owns Timber Town with his wife, Cathy, said both foalings went “very normal” as Havre de Grace delivered a filly by Tapit just after midnight last Friday with Plum Pretty foaling a colt by Distorted Humor just 24 hours prior.
“Both foals were large, and I’m happy to say that they are both beautifully made,” Sweezey said. “The mares foaled without any problems, and Mandy Pope is over the moon.”
Pope, who owns Whisper Hill Farm, purchased Havre de Grace and Plum Pretty as broodmare prospects in November 2012. Havre de Grace was bought for $10 million at Fasig-Tipton and Plum Pretty was purchased at Keeneland for $4.2 million.
Havre de Grace and Plum Pretty are both scheduled to be bred to War Front this year.
**** 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man ripped a half-mile in :46.4 (out five furlongs in :59.2) last Sunday in a visually impressive work. No race has been selected yet as the strapping chestnut’s next race.
“He looked great,” said trainer Kathy Ritvo. “It’s hard to say too much else. He worked very good today. He’s very happy and doing really well.”
Among the races being considered for Mucho Macho Man are the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap March 8, and the $10 million Dubai World Cup March 29 at Meydan.
“We chose today to start working him to be able to have both races as options and let him tell us basically what race is going to be best,” said racing manager Finn Green, for Reeves Thoroughbreds, who own the horse. “We can use this work for either race; we haven’t decided yet. We’re in a very good place. He’s provided us with a very good place.”
**** 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Chriselliam was euthanized last Friday in Newmarket, England, as a result of a foot infection, according to England’s media racing authority “Racing Post”.
“She went up for surgery earlier today (Feb. 6) and they found the infection had spread and she had to be put down,” trainer Charles Hill told the newspaper Feb. 7. “It was progressing into the pedal bone. She has had the problem for a month and during that time every effort has been made to resolve it but unfortunately it was uncontrollable. The vets were unable to get the infection under control with the antibiotics.”
The filly recorded three wins and a second from six starts last season and earnings of $729,684.
**** 2013 BelmontStakeswinnerPalace Malice will make his 2014 debut in the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap March 8 at GulfstreamPark, according to Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell.
“This mile race is a logical debut for the colt who wintered in Aiken and seemed to thrive on it. We shipped him to Todd Pletcher on Jan. 7, and he has been pleased with his progress. He has several five-eighths (works) under his belt, and Todd says he is as enthusiastic as ever.” Campbell said.
“We are looking at the New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds on March 29, so this race is an ideal prep. We considered going to New Orleans for the Mineshaft Stakes on Feb. 22, but that would have necessitated two trips. More time and staying home makes more sense.”