We will be looking at three more races this weekend in our Horse Racing Races of the Week, co- highlighted by the Cashcall Futurity (for two-year-old colts) and the Starlet Stakes (for two-year-old fillies) both at Los Alamitos Racecourse in California, both at 8 ½ furlongs and both for $300,000 purses.
We will also be taking a look at the Louisiana Champions Classic at Fair Ground Race Track in Louisiana. The nine-furlong, $150,000 race drew a field of six.
I was originally going to preview four races but decided to “scratch” the 2016 Springboard Mile at Remington Park in Oklahoma. I mean, I looked at that race for about two hours this past Tuesday night and of the 12 entered, I was only able to eliminate three horses. Any one of the nine left could win that race and I would not have been surprised.
Listen, when races come up that tough? I pass. I’ll watch it as a fan and takes notes for down the road. Besides, there are thousands of races over the next several months that we can play; we don’t have to dance every dance.
Saturday Dec 10, 2016
Race: 9 (4:21 PM EST Post)
Louisiana Champions Day Classic
Sunbean– is an astounding 16 for 26 in his career, an eye popping 7 for 10 over this surface and 3 for 5 this year. This stretch running son of Brahms (I’m a huge fan of the Danzig line) seems to be back in peak form after missing 55 weeks of action. I like the fact he can handle any surface also as he’s won on fast tracks, turf and is 2 for 2 in the off going………. looks best…………Mobile Bay– looks to me as clearly the one to beat as he will be taking a sizable class drop in this spot. Good looking four-year-old colt has been knocks head with some pretty tough customers and has held his own while registering speed figures that should put him among the vanguard in this race. After “killing it” last year (13-6-3-3), he has not come back as strong this year (10-2-2-0) and, more importantly, he had every chance to get by the top pick two races back and couldn’t………. The Pickett Factor– is another who had an amazing 2015 while winning six of eight starts but clearly has not come back in the same form this year while winning just once in six tries. Another handsome animal, this four-year-old gelding is 1 for 1 over this surface, running a very strong 95 speed figure in the process and is batting .500 in his career (7 for 14). However, he was beaten fair and square by the top pick in his last two races. I saw no excuses for him in either race and I’m not sure how he is going to “make up” the 3, 4, or 5 lengths difference there is between him and the top pick right now…………. Honorable Mentions: I don’t think Mageez should 12-1 on the morning line as I think that’s a little too high for him especially in such a short field. I mean this stretch running colt, by the gorgeous Musket Man, has been on the board in 11 of 13 starts in his career, including 7 of 8 on the board this year and first or second in 4 of 5 starts over this surface. Although he’s never seen a nine-furlong race before, with his running style, the added distance should only help…. long-shot possibility??
Los Alamitos Racecourse
Race: 6 (5:58 PM EST Post)
|1||Dangerfield (KY)||2/C||L||D Van Dyke||120||D F O’Neill|
|2||Bobby Abu Dhabi (KY)||2/C||L||N Arroyo, Jr.||120||P Miller|
|3||Mastery (KY)||2/C||L||M E Smith||120||B Baffert|
|4||Show Me Da Lute (KY)||2/C||L||M Garcia||120||B Baffert|
|5||Irap (KY)||2/C||L||M Gutierrez||120||D F O’Neill|
1) I really liked Mastery from the first time I saw him, which was on Oct 22 when he buried a field of maidens by 4 ½ lengths while stopping the clock in 1:09.2 for six furlongs and scoring a 93 speed figure.
I liked him even more after his second start (Nov 22) where he won the Grade: 3 Bob Hope Stakes. Although this $425,000 colt by Candy Ride only won by 1 ¾ lengths and regressed slightly in the speed figure department, it should be noted that he came home the final furlong in a very strong :11.3 while only under mild pressure from jockey Mike Smith.
Moreover, he is one smart cookie and, most importantly, his long, flowing, efficient stride is poetry in motion. Bottom line here is this horse is giving every indication he is a super-star in the making and, even though this will be his first try at the route distance, he towers over this field.
“We definitely have big plans for him if he continues to move forward” owner Everett Dobson said this past week. “(Trainer) Bob (Baffert) is high on him,” Dobson added.
“Every time I talk to him, he says he’s doing everything as good and professional as a horse of his age can be doing it. He never took that step back so many can take, both physically and mentally. It’s rare when it doesn’t happen.”
“He’s fun to watch run because he’s so professional,” Dobson continued. “He has a huge stride length and that’s always encouraging when you’re looking to get a mile and a quarter.”
Wait a second…. isn’t the Kentucky Derby a mile and a quarter? Pretty obvious about Dobson and Baffert’s plans for this colt…isn’t it? Listen, from what I’ve seen so far, I don’t blame them for thinking that way.
2) Dangerfield– has clearly improved with the stretch out to route distances.
Good looking colt by Into Mischief really didn’t show that much talent in his first three races, which were all sprints.
Trainer Doug O’Neill then put him in the mile and 70-yard Oak Tree Juvenile, where he won by 4 ¼, then shipped him to Delta Downs where he finished third in the Grade: 3 Delta Downs Jackpot. Again, both of those races were far better than his first three…. looks marginally best of the rest.
3) Show Me Da Lute– is also trained by Baffert and wired a field of maidens in his debut on Oct 29.
Colt by the hulking Midnight Lute has worked very well subsequently and has the oh-so-important experience at the route distance under his belt.
That said, it should be noted he got off with soft early fraction in his one and only race/win and, on paper, that won’t be the case on Saturday as there is 3-4 others in here who have good early speed.
Honorable Mention: Bobby Abu Dhabi– won a three pronged early pace duel but was life and death to hold on late in his 6 ½ furlong winning debut. Chestnut colt by Macho Uno will be stretching out two more furlongs in this spot and going from maidens to a Grade: 1 race, which I think is asking a lot. I’m sure he’ll take some money at the windows but I think they are asking just a little too much from this guy in this spot.
Los Alamitos Racecourse
Race: 8 (6:58 PM EST Post)
|1||Go On Mary (KY)||2/F||L||D Van Dyke||120||D F O’Neill|
|2||Union Strike (KY)||2/F||L||G L Stevens||120||C Dollase|
|3||Tapped (KY)||2/F||L||K J Desormeaux||120||J Hollendorfer|
|4||Mopotism (KY)||2/F||L||M Gutierrez||120||D F O’Neill|
|5||Sandy’s Surprise (KY)||2/F||L||S Gonzalez||120||D F O’Neill|
|6||Abel Tasman (KY)||2/F||L||J Talamo||120||S Callaghan|
|7||American Gal (KY)||2/F||L||M E Smith||120||B Baffert|
|8||Fact of Life (KY)||2/F||L||S Elliott||120||B Baffert|
|9||Berned (KY)||2/F||N Arroyo, Jr.||120||T Albertrani|
1) American Gal– ran maidens off their feet in her debut in August and came back towards the end of October to wallop a stakes field while basically being pulled up late.
As impressive as those two races were, her race in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly race was probably her best race yet even though she got beat as the 9/2 favorite.
If you have no life like I do, watch the BC Filly race again…it was a complete nightmare for her but you must also note she made a mind boggling two big runs (most horses just have one run) at two different points in the race.
First off, this filly by Concord Point missed the break and is forced a ridiculous 7 wide on the first turn…..enter run #1 where she somehow gets herself into striking position down the backside.
On the far turn, she caught a little bit of a break (sarcastic) where she was only 5 wide at that point and enter run #2 where she is able to wrestle third away from another filly down the stretch.
“She probably lost the race at the break. It was halfway a slip and a stumble,” said jockey Mike Smith, who gets the return ride. “I mean, we were way, way out there in the first turn. I had to make a decision to gun her to get better position or go way wide.”
“I was surprised that she hung in there and was willing to make a fight of it and run well until the end,” Smith added. “Nine times out of 10 a horse is done after that. Not taking anything away from the winner, but you can make an argument that if she got away good, she would have won the race”.
“It was all a new experience for her and she ran really well. If she moves forward from that race at all, she’s going to be tough.”
After all those shenanigans this filly was beaten a total of four lengths and I’ll go ahead and tell you, I totally agree with Smith……she wins that race with just a slightly better trip.
She doesn’t meet nearly the quality of competition here and that Nov 29 work (6F- 1:11.4) signals to me she is holding form and probably sitting on another big race.
2) Union Strike– is clearly American Gal’s main rival based off that very impressive upset win in the Grade: 1 Del Mar Debutante back on Sept 3.
Moreover, you can go ahead and throw out her run in the BC Juvenile Filly race as she too did not exactly have a good trip.
Filly by Union Rags completely missed the break, had to steady down the back side in which she took exception to (she starting “fighting” jockey Martin Garcia) and then was forced four wide on the turn for home. In the end, she checked in sixth beaten 9+ lengths in a race that probably cost Garcia the mount as the great Gary Stephens will be taking the leg up on Saturday.
She should have gotten a lot out of that race and her work patterns coming into this are excellent.
3) Berned– launched a very nice three wide move on the turn in her last but her rider had to “slam on the brakes” and check, losing all the momentum.
This $550,000 Bernardini filly gathered herself and re-rallied and, in the end, missed by just three quarters of a length in the Grade: 3 Tempted at Aqueduct.
Her speed figured jumped 10 points from her prior race to the Tempted and if she improves again, and adapts to the West Coast surface, she should give a good account of herself..
Abel Tasman– has improved dramatically in each subsequent race. Good looking filly by the fleet Quality Road has won her last two races in almost the same exact way (came with a strong 4 wide move to the lead and “dug in” down the stretch) while beating maidens two back, then handling an allowance field in her last…. love the upward trend in speed figures in all three races thus far (52, 61 and 78) …..could better this rating……………Tapped– took advantage of a fast pace to come from behind to win at first asking for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Filly by super-sire Tapit then battled every step of the way in a stakes race at Golden Gate only to lose by three quarters of a length as the heavy 1/5 favorite in her last. Interesting to note, when given a chance, Mike Smith hops off her to ride the top choice…………Go On Mary– is another who has improved through each of her first three races, if she can get the route distance, and I suspect she can, she might go well in this spot at probably some lofty odds too…………. Sandy’s Surprise– beat maidens “going away” late in her route debut but the slow final time and low speed figure make me hesitate
By: Gerard Apadula
Director of Equine Operations and Development
Knights of the Round Stable Thoroughbred Racing Team
2016- Record: 87-216 = 40%
2015- Record: 67-180 = 37%
2014- Record: 29-73 = 40%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces
**** 2016 Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia has been retired and will be sent to Pioneerof the Nile in 2017, SF Bloodstock’s Tom Ryan announced Dec. 2.
SF Bloodstock purchased the 3-year-old daughter of Street Boss for $1.4 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale from consignor Taylor Made Sales Agency.
The multiple graded stakes-winning filly, who raced for owner Cash is King and trainer John Servis, won six times, including three graded victories, and never finished off the board in nine starts. She retired with earnings of $1,229,720.
“She was very difficult early on,” Servis said. “She was a horse that was high maintenance; (we) had to stop her several times just to get her over the hump and mature enough for what was coming at her.
“Once we got her to the point that we could start breezing her on a regular basis, and she was handling it well, she was all racehorse,” he added. “She ran through a lot.”
**** Multiple graded stakes winner Departing has been officially retired, according to Claiborne Farm, which co-bred and co-raced the War Front gelding with Adele Dilschneider.
Walker Hancock, Claiborne’s president, said Departing is now settling in at the farm’s old stallion barn where Lure and Parading reside.
“He ran a really good race, finishing second in the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes and we were pointing him toward the Penn Mile,” Hancock said. “He started to get a little sore, so we gave him some time off. We were about to start back training again and X-rayed his ankles to make sure he was good to go and saw it was not in his best interest to push on him. He is a 7-year-old gelding who ran hard and earned nearly $2 million, there was no need to push on a horse that is not 100%. He has been too good to us.”
**** Laoban, who posted a 27-1 upset (maiden) win in the 2016 Jim Dandy Stakes, posted a five-furlong workout in 1:00.2 at Gulfstream Park last Sunday.
It was his latest move on his comeback trail from ankle surgery (chipped a bone) during the summer.
Eric Guillot, Laoban’s trainer and co-owner, said the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Dec. 17 is being targeted as his next start.
“I thought it was pretty great,” said Guillot. “Paco (Lopez) didn’t even move his hands. He could have gone in :59 flat, easily. I think the Harlan’s Holiday is a good race to come back in, with it being a mile and a sixteenth. I will get a three-quarter work into him next
Saturday at Palm Meadows and we should be ready to go.”
Guillot is hoping Laoban runs well enough in the Harlan’s Holiday to spark interest from someone with a slot in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Jan. 28.
“If a slot comes available from someone who can negotiate a good deal, it would make sense for me to take the money,” Guillot said. “And you know, I’m all about taking chances.”
**** Texas Red, winner of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, has been retired from racing, it was announced on Wednesday.
Stud plans are pending.
Trained and co-owned by Keith Desormeaux in partnership with Erich Brehm, Wayne Detmar, Gene Voss and Lee Michaels, Texas Red opened his 3-year-old campaign with a runner-up finish in the San Vicente Stakes but he was knocked off the Triple Crown trail with a foot abscess but returned later that year to capture the Jim Dandy Stakes.
Texas Red finished fifth in the 2015 Travers Stakes after that and the Travers proved to be his last race as he was plagued by a cannon bone bruise.
“Texas Red has been a superstar since the moment he walked into the barn,” Desormeaux said. “It was nice to see those expectations come to fruition. He took my career to new heights and I will always be grateful.”
Texas Red retires with three wins from nine starts and $1,767,300 in earnings.