In this week’s Horse Racing Race of the Week, we will be taking a closer look at the Saturday’s Penn Mile at Penn National Racecourse in Grantville, Pa. The race is for three year old turf horses and carries a purse of $500,000. Bobby’s Kitten has been installed as the 8/5 morning line favorite.
I was going to do the $200,000 Critical Eye Stakes at Belmont Park but changed my mind about mid-week.
Since yours truly and his partners at Knights of the Round Stable will be entering a horse in that race, I thought maybe it would be deemed some sort of conflict of interest. So, I’ll just make a mention of it and move on.
Its Saturday’s the seventh race and we’ve entered our recently acquired six year old mare Princess Mara.
“Princess” as we like to call her, is by Leroidesanimaux and will be breaking from the extreme outside post (#9) with Taylor Rice taking the reins for us once again. Rice, who has been aboard her in her last two races (which were both wire to wire scores), will have several options with this mare when the gates open as she is extremely tactical and can adapt to any pace scenario and surface. Princess Mara is listed at 15-1 on the morning line.
However, Princess will have her hands full with the likes of La Verdad, who has won seven of nine career starts including a six furlong, graded stakes win in her last (the Distaff, April 19), getting the distance in 1:09 flat and registering a very strong 99 speed figure, multiple stakes winner Sunny Desert, who has won eight of her last 10 races and west coast invader Macha, who is the proverbial dark horse in this race. This filly, by Majestic Warrior, doesn’t show all that much as far as wins go of late, (just two in the past year) but I’ve seen time and time again how a change of scenery could turn a horse’s form around. I believe this filly could be sitting on a big race.
While on the subject of my personal stable, also keep an eye on Street Thug in the seventh race at Belmont on Sunday. Yet another new acquisition, this five year old by Street Sense will be facing a field of nine others going a mile. We are calling an audible and switched from regular rider Cornelio Velasquez to Rosario Montanez, who rides regularly at Parx Park near Philadelphia, but recently moved his tack here and won a race for our trainer Pat Quick last week.
One other key race this weekend is the Grade: 1 American Oaks at Santa Anita. The race will be run at 10 furlongs on the turf for three year old fillies only and for $350,000.
Nashoba’s Gold is a multiple graded stakes winner already on the turf while winning three of only four races in her career. The filly, by Smart Strike, looms large on paper.
Room Service is coming off a dead heat win in the prestigious Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in her last race. The filly by More Than Ready came from last and ran past the entire field to finish in a “tie” while seven lengths in front of the rest of the field.
Other major threats to win include French invader Little Journey, who has never been off the board in eight career starts and ran very well (third) in her US debut on May 2, Sweet Bliss has never run a bad race either in her short (four race) career and finished right behind Nashoba’s Gold in her last race and ditto for Diversy Harbor, who hasn’t run a bad race yet either.
Penn National Racecourse
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Penn Mile Stakes
One Mile (Turf)
|1||1||Global View||3/C||L||G L Stevens||122||T F Proctor||5/2|
|2||2||Sing the Dream||3/C||L||W P Otero||116||C Crane||50/1|
|3||3||Laddie Boy||3/C||L||C Landeros||116||C Peery||15/1|
|4||4||Bobby’s Kitten||3/C||L||J Castellano||122||C C Brown||8/5|
|5||5||Storming Inti||3/C||L||A Garcia||122||C C Brown||3/1|
|6||6||Mr Brioni||3/C||L||K Carmouche||116||R Allen||30/1|
|7||7||Coastline||3/C||L||S Elliott||116||M E Casse||10/1|
|8||8||Divine Oath||3/C||L||C P DeCarlo||116||T A Pletcher||6/1|
1) Bobby’s Kitten– is a speedy son of Kitten’s Joy and I found four reasons why he should win on Saturday afternoon with all four reasons being based off his last race, the April 1 Grade: 1 Bluegrass Stakes. In fact, you can completely draw a line straight thru that race and ignore it.
One, in that Bluegrass jockey Javier Castellano tried putting this horse in a “headlock” thru the opening half mile and it backfired completely. The horse spent more time (and all of his energy) fighting Castellano’s restraint rather than focus on the race. This colt kind of reminds me of Game On Dude, where neither like to be restrained early and you just have to let him run (at a reasonable pace) early. I believe Castellano learned his lesson in the Bluegrass and will revert back to the “let him run early” tactics.
Two, the Bluegrass was also run on Keeneland’s synthetic surface, one this colt had never run on before. In this race, the colt switches back to his preferred surface (turf)….this, in my mind, is key.
Three, the Bluegrass was a Grade: 1 with some elite three year olds in that race. The Penn Mile is not graded and, albeit he’ll be facing some tough opponents, this has to be considered a drop in class.
Four, he cuts back in distance a furlong. If he’s going to be on the lead, and I suspect he will after listening to trainer Chad Brown, he will definitely appreciate the shorter distance.
“Bobby’s Kitten is more likely to be in front of the other horse(s) (early),” Brown said, who wins at a strong 29% clip with horses that haven’t raced in between 46 and 90 days. This will be Bobby’s Kitten first race in 49 days.
2) Global View– appears to be Bobby’s Kitten’s main rival based on his enormous win in his last race (the American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs, May 3) and his 4-3-0-1 career turf record.
This $500,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Galileo broke towards the back of the pack in the American Turf Stakes but began circling the field on the far turn. He then put it in another gear down the stretch to get up for the neck win while running the last five sixteenths of a mile is a tremendous :28.2…(I would have been impressed with around :30)…it was a very impressive performance.
Those two things being said, a closer look shows me his one and only defeat on the turf came at the hands of Bobby’s Kitten (in an allowance race, back in March at Tampa Bay Downs). In fact, he was beaten fair and square, however one could argue Bobby’s Kitten might have gotten away with some soft early fractions that day.
The truth is he’d be my top pick if this race was just a little bit longer (8 ½ or 9 furlongs would be ideal) but a flat mile plays better for Bobby’s Kitten than this colt.
“Sure, I’d prefer it to be a little longer, but the race is called the Penn Mile,” trainer Tom Proctor said.
3) Storming Inti– has never been off the board in six career turf races (6-3-1-2) and just once in eight overall races (8-4-1-2).
I mentioned Global View won the American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs in his last race, well, in order to do that he had to run down this colt in deep stretch.
In fact, this horse had a clear two length lead turning for home before yielding way grudgingly late.
With The American Turf Stakes being at 8 ½ furlongs, this colt by Story Atlantic also gets the benefit of a cut back in distance and it should help his cause greatly.
The top three make for a good looking three horse exacta box.
Devine Oath broke his maiden (first time out) on the turf in January, then came back a little over a month later to motor past high priced optional claimers (also on the turf) down the stretch. His connections then switched him to the synthetic surface and bounced him into the (Grade: 2) Lexington Stakes where, after breaking badly, he still ran very well to finish second. Bottom line is he could wind up being a menace to that three horse exacta box I spoke of earlier. Coastline has never run on the turf before but ran a pair if good races on the synthetics, suggesting he might take to the turf. Like the top pick, you’ll need to draw a line thru his last race (also the Bluegrass Stakes) as he, too, will be dropping in class off that race….big work coming into this (May 25- 5F- 1:00.1) and could go well on Saturday at some probably high odds too.
2014 Record: 11-29 = 38%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces
**** I saw this video of 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome galloping two miles at Belmont on Memorial Day and wanted to share it.
Said assistant trainer Alan Sherman: “The track was a little deeper today but he got over it fine, all systems (are still) go.”
**** 2014 Risen Star Stakes winner Intense Holiday has been retired from racing because of a condylar fracture of his right hind leg.
The colt by Harlan’s Holiday, who I thought might pose a strong threat to California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes next week, underwent surgery on Memorial Day by Dr. Patti Hogan.
Afterward, Hogan said: “The fracture was mended but it was advised he be retired from racing”.
Breeding plans are underway for Intense Holiday, who was 12th in the 2014 Kentucky Derby
“This injury was more frustrating than most because, after a disappointing finish in the Kentucky Derby, Intense Holiday underwent a thorough veterinary exam, including nuclear scintigraphy and digital x-rays,” said Dr. Foster Northrop, primary veterinarian for owners Starlight Racing. “All of his results came back clean and he was shipped to Belmont Park where, by all accounts, he had been training very well.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Intense Holiday had been training well toward the Belmont.
“Intense Holiday seemed to come out of the Kentucky Derby as well as he had any of his prior races and he was training remarkably well at Belmont Park when the injury occurred,” Pletcher said. “It’s an unfortunate thing. He was a solid grade II winner, showed up every time, ran against the best of his generation, and I believe that as the season went on he would’ve had an excellent chance to be a grade I winner. These types of blows are never easy to take but this one was particularly confounding.”
Intense Holiday retires with a record of 2-1-1 from nine starts and earnings of $551,900.
**** Here’s a rarity for you, not one, but two white Thoroughbreds will opposed each other in an allowance race at Belterra Park (formerly River Downs) in Ohio today (Friday).
Chief White Fox, a four year old, and Wear the Mask a three year old, are entered in the seventh race, a six-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up who have never won two races.
I looked it up and up until 2006 there have only been a total of 36 white thoroughbreds registered in the history of the sport…just thought it was kind of interesting to have two in the same race….I’m sure the exacta pool will take a lot of money in that race.
**** …aaaaand finally in the “This Has Nothing to do with Horse Racing Section”, did you folks see that cat who saved the little boy from a dog attack? You probably did being this video took some 20 million hits on Youtube, but here it is again….I thought this was astonishing…