First off I’d like to wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. There is no one in the world who loves horses, racing and this sport more than me but please keep in mind that nothing…and I mean nothing….is more important than your family, especially this time of year.
The horses, the racing and the sport will all be there tomorrow so it’s ok if a day or two goes past and you don’t watch or read about any racing.
That said, we will be looking at a pair of races for tomorrow (Black Friday), highlighted by the 2016 Clark Handicap for three year olds and up going nine furlongs that carries a purse of a half a million bucks. The race drew a field of 10 and looks to a fairly wide open contest.
We will also take a look at the 2016 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del-Mar (the Hollywood Turf Cup run at Del Mar?), a marathon 12-furlong event for $200,000 that three year olds and up are eligible for. The race drew seven entrants lead by Ashleyluvssugar
Lastly, just as a reminder I will return Friday morning with a look at about a half dozen key races on Saturday as we wind down 2016.
Friday Nov. 25, 2016
Race: 6 (6PM EST Post)
Hollywood Turf Cup
Ashleyluvssugar– even though this six-year-old gelding was in over his head in the 2016 BC Turf vs the likes of (winner) Highland Reel, Flintshire and Found, he wasn’t completely embarrassed in that race. “He didn’t seem to have his (normal) punch, but of course that was the Breeders’ Cup, so it could be that he just got outrun to a respectable fifth,” said trainer Peter Eurton after the race. By Game Plan (Danzig) he returns to more reason spot here. His speed figures and races show remarkable consistency (last 6 speed figures 100, 102, 103, 102, 102 and 102), 2 for 3 at the distance, never worse than second in three starts over this turf course and, most importantly, he’s already beaten most of horses entered in this race………….Texas Ryano– including the BC Turf, this 5 year old by Curlin has now finished right behind the top choice 4 consecutive times. His speed figures are rising slowly but surely and shows a big last work coming into this. A must use in any exotics betting scenarios……………. Flamboyant– has finished less than 4 lengths behind the top 2 in here twice recently. Looks best of the rest on paper, but this six-year-old gelding is showing beginning signs of cycling out of form.
Race: 11 (5:56 PM EST Post)
|1||Gun Runner (KY)||3/C||L||F Geroux||118||S M Asmussen|
|2||Effinex (NY)||5/H||L||J Alvarado||123||J A Jerkens|
|3||Are You Kidding Me (KY)||6/H||L||A Garcia||119||R L Attfield|
|4||Shaman Ghost (ON)||4/C||L||J Castellano||122||J A Jerkens|
|5||Hawaakom (KY)||6/G||L||M Mena||116||W E Hawley|
|6||Noble Bird (KY)||5/H||L||J R Leparoux||121||M E Casse|
|7||Breaking Lucky (ON)||4/C||L||L Contreras||118||R Baker|
|8||Mr. Z (KY)||4/C||L||R Santana, Jr.||114||D W Lukas|
|9||Hoppertunity (KY)||5/H||L||J R Velazquez||124||B Baffert|
|10||Prayer for Relief (KY)||8/H||L||R Albarado||115||D L Romans|
1) Noble Bird– appears to be back in top form.
Five-year-old by Birdstone wired the field two back in the Lukas Classic at Churchill on Oct 1, then could not have looked better in the Fayette Stakes at Keeneland in his last Oct. 29.
After setting brisk early fraction in the Fayette, he spurted away down the lane to win by almost a half dozen lengths scoring a strong 106 speed figure in the process and coming home the last furlong in a very good :12.3.
The deciding factor in this very well matched field for me was this horse looks to be the lone, dominant early speed…..should make every pole a winning one once again in this spot.
2) Shaman Ghost– responded to first time Lasix in a huge way in coming from behind to run down Frosted (amongst others) in the Grade: 1 Woodward in his last on Sept 3.
This four-year-old colt, by the wickedly fast Ghostzapper, normally runs in the mid-to high 90’s speed figures but recorded a 106 in his last with “FTL.” So, the question is…..does he “bounce” off that effort or does the Lasix take him to another level? I have to almost rule out the “bounce” theory being it’ll be 10 weeks from that last start and he posted a bullet work (5F- :59.4) last week.
Batting .500 in his career, he is clearly the main danger here and I’m not surprised at all if he lands in the winner’s circle.
3) Gun Runner – is a three-year-old taking on elders in this spot but proved to me that won’t matter all that much this late in the year after his enormous effort in the BC Mile in his last.
In the BC Mile, this colt took command of the race with a big, sweeping four wide move at the top of the lane, he had a clear lead in mid–stretch but was gunned (no pun intended) down in deep stretch by a peaking out Tamarkuz.
In fact, this colt by Candy Ride’s last two efforts were big including a “just missed” winning the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby by a fast closing half a length in the race before.
Hoppertunity– continues to do what he does best, put up “trips” speed figures and always brings home a check. Note he was a neck shy of finishing third in BC Classic behind California Chrome and the freakish Arrogate in his last…. never off the board over this surface and distance…. could better this rating……………Effinex- showed little in the aforementioned BC Classic in his last and I believe this horse’s best days are behind him. That said, horses are sometimes like boxers where some do have one big “fight” left in them…..which might be the case here………….Hawaakom– has hit the board in 15 of his last 21 starts dating back to last year. He can’t seem to beat the top pick (0 for 3 against him) but does deserve a mentioning here………..Breaking Lucky– probably didn’t care for the “wet” surface in the Lukas Classic in his last as his prior four efforts in NY and Canada were all very good……could be “laying in the weeds” here.
By: Gerard Apadula
Director of Equine Operations and Development
Knights of the Round Stable Thoroughbred Racing Team
2016- Record: 83-207 = 40%
2015- Record: 67-180 = 37%
2014- Record: 29-73 = 40%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces
**** Tourist, who won this year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile in stakes-record time, has been retired from racing and will stand stud at WinStar Farm, where he was born.
Owners WinStar, Gary Barber, and Adam Wacthel have partnered with Don Alberto Corp. on the stallion career of the son of Tiznow who will stand for a fee of $12,500 stands and nurses.
“It’s a special feeling to bring Tourist home to stud after winning the fastest Breeders’ Cup Mile in its 33-year history,” said WinStar president Elliott Walden. “When you think about all the great milers—from fillies like Miesque, Goldikova, and Tepin, to horses like Lure, Royal Academy, Cozzene, and Wise Dan—that have participated in the Mile, it makes us extremely excited to launch the next chapter of Tourist’s career.”
**** In a heartbreaking story, super talented 2-year-old colt Not This Time has been retired from racing after his runner-up performance in the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita with a career-ending soft tissue injury to his right front leg.
“It’s a real shame to see him leave the barn before we got to see him fulfill his enormous potential, because there’s no doubt in my mind he was as good of a Kentucky Derby contender as there is out there,” said trainer Dale Romans. “I told (owner) Dennis (Albaugh) he better stay in on him as a stallion because he’s going to be the next Danzig. This horse is the real deal. Spooky good, like I’ve said before. He looks the part, he had the mindset for it, he had the talent and turn of foot. There’s just nothing missing with him.”
Taylor Made Stallions has acquired 50% of the son of Giant’s Causeway from owner and breeder Albaugh Family Stable, and will stand the colt at its farm near Nicholasville, Ky., for $15,000 stands and nurses. “Not This Time has it all, and was arguably the best 2-year-old in 2016,” said Taylor Made’s Duncan Taylor. “He just oozed brilliance, from the moment he trounced maiden company by 10 lengths, to his 8 3/4-length decimation of the competition in the Iroquois. He even ran the fastest Ragozin number in the field in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, despite coming out of the race with the injury. As a matter of fact, Not This Time’s 4 3/4 Ragozin is the fastest in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile since Uncle Mo in 2010”.
This one hurts readers, this colt could run!