Declaration of War wins Queen Anne as Animal Kingdom disappoints
The Royal meeting at Ascot kicked off Tuesday with a rousing success from Declaration of War, who garnered his first Group 1 win by taking the Queen Anne Stakes for trainer Aidan O'Brien and his jockey son Joseph.
Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner and 5-4 Queen Anne favorite following his convincing two-length score in the Dubai World Cup, never fired in the one-mile straightaway, weakening to 11th of 13 runners in his likely career finale.
Declaration of War's victory was a stunning triumph for part-owner Joseph Allen, who bred the three-year-old son of War Front and now owns 40 percent of him in a Coolmore partnership involving Messrs Magnier, Tabor and Smith.
"I'm in bliss! It's my first win at Ascot, it's a wonderful day, my wife's here and I could not be happier," Allen said. "And I have great partners.
"I bred the sire of this horse, War Front, and I still have this colt's dam, Tempo West, who has a filly foal full-sister to this horse at foot. She is now back in front to War Front.
"This is a very difficult game to really sustain yourself. As I was once told, to stay ahead you need great partners, and these guys (Magnier, Tabor and Smith) have been in the game a long time and add so much to it. I think this horse now has a great future at stud, but where he stands I will leave to John Magnier, who knows so much more than I do."
Winner of the Group 3 Diamond at Dundalk in his juvenile finale, Declaration of War opened 2013 with an easy tally in the April 14 Heritage at Leopardstown, but the bay colt was only fifth in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 18.
"We always thought the world of this horse," Aidan O'Brien explained. "He had a very easy run the first time at Leopardstown and we thought he was ready for a Group 1, but obviously he wasn't. I hadn't trained him hard enough for it. He is a big powerhouse capable of taking training and I didn't get that right. Joseph found out in the Lockinge he had a lot of speed, and we rode him that way today."
"I was going very well and I went into the gap -- it got a little bit tight but I was going exceptionally well," Joseph O'Brien said. "He quickened up and idled when he got there.
"We thought that he was a very good horse going into Newbury, when we were a little bit disappointed, but we had a few things and Dean, who rides him out, and all of the lads in the yard have done a great job. I have a few nice rides for the week and it's nice to start off on a good foot."
Asked if the winner might take in the Eclipse Stakes next over 10 furlongs, O'Brien said: "No, I would rather see him go back in trip, rather than up in trip. He traveled very strongly today."
Aljamaaheer finished about a length behind the winner in second, and it was another half-length to Gregorian in third.
Next under the wire came Elusive Kate, Trade Storm, Libranno, Chil the Kite, Penitent, Sovereign Debut, Trumpet Major, Animal Kingdom, Monsieur Chevalier and Gabrial.
Graham Motion expressed his frustrations with Animal Kingdom's performance.
"I am disappointed obviously," the conditioner stated. "Johnny (Velazquez) had to fight him a little bit early, which made me worry, and said at the half-mile pole he started to ask him to run and there wasn't much there. He said it rode a bit softer than it walked but I cannot really use that as an excuse.
"I would say that is probably it for the horse (last run). I think the experience has been tremendous and if I ever had the opportunity to do it again then I would absolutely. Animal Kingdom trained great -- I was really happy with him. This is what I always cautioned. It is so different -- the fact that he was keen early and he did not really have any cover. He is used to being tucked in and when you are out in the open like that, it is a different ball-game.
"He was keen and just didn't relax. When I let him down, he gave me no run at all," Velazquez added. "He just didn't have it at all today."
Animal Kingdom broke from the far outside post.
"I think the draw (13) made it very awkward for him to be honest," Motion said. "I didn't anticipate it would be but I think in hindsight it was. I am sorry it did not work out -- it is disappointing for everyone. There was such a good reception for him. It would have been great to see him do his stuff but he clearly didn't today.
"I always had reservations about what we were dealing with -- it became a very awkward post (draw) and Johnny had difficulty getting him to settle early. I think that it is probably what hurt Animal Kingdom the most. If he had been drawn in the middle it would have been easier.
"I don't want to offer too many excuses. I am sorry it has ended this way, we are deflated. A lot of effort has gone into this -- David Lanigan and his crew and our crew -- it has been a lot of work. That's racing; everyone was predicting him to win but they have to run the race."
Dawn Approach rebounds in roughly-run St James's Palace
Dawn Approach is trained by his breeder, Jim Bolger, and is part-owned by him and Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation. Asked if he was surprised when Bolger announced he wanted to run the chestnut colt in today's race so soon after Epsom, Sheikh Mohammed said, "Yes, but Jim bred the horse and knows him very well, so when he said he wanted to run the owner was happy to support him. The biggest risk is not taking any risk. Today has proved to me that this horse is the best miler in the world."
Bolger said, "It's the nature of the sport to take chances and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. Sheikh Mohammed was a very willing risk taker and I'm delighted he was."
A stewards' inquiry looked into an incident between the two- and one-furlong marker when several horses were knocked sideways, including the first two, and Bolger said, "He was fortunate to survive that, but he did and the rest is history. He's very tough and hardy. I'm very happy, and relief plays a part in it, but I knew he wouldn't let me down."
Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, reacted to Dawn Approach's gutsy win over Toronado.
"It is fantastic. Jim (Bolger) called every shot there and got it absolutely right. It was a magnificent call on his part because it is the big race of the week," Crisford said. "It was a high-risk strategy and he pulled it off.
"Dawn Approach has achieved a phenomenal amount as a racehorse -- an unbeaten champion two-year-old, a Guineas win and success in the St James's Palace Stakes. He is now destined for great things ahead at stud. I hear he got a hefty bump and knew that the stewards' inquiry did not involve him.
"I am sure we will stick to this trip with Dawn Approach and we will look at the championship mile races around Europe and farther afield."
"When I pulled him out, I have gone there with plenty of horse but received a serious knock from the inside," jockey Kevin Manning said. "There was then some contact with the horse on the outside. I thought I had everything very much covered when I pulled him out. He got to the front and was not headed all the way to the line. He is a very gutsy and determined horse."
Toronado had to settle for second place after Dawn Approach was announced the short-head victor. This was after interference inside the last two furlongs when Glory Awaits drifted to the stands side forcing Magician, Mars, Dawn Approach and Toronado wide.
Richard Hannon, who trains the High Chaparral colt, commented afterwards, "That's racing. At least he's back! He's a very good horse.
"It was a shame really that there was that interference otherwise I think we would have got it. The winner went on to us and knocked us into the middle of the track. I don't think it was the winner's fault he got a knock and it concertinaed onto us."
Toronado is entered for the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on July 6 and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood July 31, as is Dawn Approach, and Hannon added all options are open.
Sole Power edges Shea Shea in King's Stand
Ireland's Sole Power, an 8-1 chance in Tuesday's Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, vanquished raiders from farther afield, the 11-4 favorite Shea Shea from South Africa whom he caught close home and beat a neck, while Australia's Shamexpress finished ninth, 4 1/4 lengths adrift of the winner.
Johnny Murtagh came with a late run which was timed to perfection on Sole Power, who is trained by Edward Lynam.
"I am very proud of Sole Power," Lynam said. "If he could beat Shea Shea, he was going to win but I didn't think he could beat Shea Shea. Johnny Murtagh is the best trainer riding!"
Johnny Murtagh, who started combining training and riding earlier this year, added, "Forty winners at Royal Ascot -- I am really proud of it. It's brilliant meeting and, as a jockey, this is where you want to be performing -- it makes the Monday to Fridays a lot easier, when you can come to a meeting like this and ride great horses for good people. I have just been one of the lucky ones.
"I get on well with this horse and I know what he likes. Eddie told me to ride him like I normally ride him -- 'ride him like you own him!' he said. Sole Power has a great turn of foot but he is very willing and, if he gets going too early, he runs out of steam so you have to time it to the best.
"Sole Power has had a lot of seconds but he deserved this victory -- it was a top-class field. He is more relaxed than he has been before -- he gives me the impression he is really enjoying his racing.
"Eddie knows how to get Sole Power spot on for these big days. There was always an excuse with his seconds last year. He has run a lot of good races but when you are a 100-1 winner of Group 1 you are kind of put in a pigeon hole but he showed what he can do today."
Paddy Power, whose mother Sabena owns Sole Power, commented, "It's amazing and a very special day. What a ride Johnny Murtagh gave him, to win his side by as far as he did. I have to say that we did kind of fancy Sole Power but it's so special to have it actually happen.
"It's so special for Mum especially, Dad as well and the Lynams, who did such a great job getting him here in great nick. I can't tell you how good it is -- it's amazing, so it is!"
Sole Power's late blitz landed the King's Stand, but the teams behind runner-up Shea Shea and Pearl Secret had no reason to feel crestfallen.
Shea Shea was saddled by trainer Mike de Kock who felt his horse would have been helped had he been given company in the closing stages of the race -- he and the winner finished on opposite sides of the track.
"I was on the wrong side behind the wrong horses," jockey Christophe Soumillon said.
"After all he's been through, there's no disgrace in being beaten," de Kock said. "It's disappointing to be beaten, but our horse has acquitted himself well and I'm very proud of him and the team that prepared him. "We all like to win, but we didn't and that's that."
Shea Shea is entered in Saturday's Golden Jubilee Stakes, and de Kock did not rule out a challenge.
"We'll see how he pulls out in the morning and may take our place on Saturday, but the door's still open," he said. "Christophe said he didn't have a hard race -- he hit the front and was idling, that's why I say it would have been great to have a horse take him on in front."
David Barron trains Pearl Secret for Qatar Racing, although the horse had not run since last year's Nunthorpe Stakes. Barron said, "To say I'm quite happy with him is an understatement. He's a horse who needs decent ground with a bit of give and doesn't want rattling ground. The two races we could have gone for before this race at Sandown and Haydock were not suitable because of the ground. He doesn't need soft ground, just a bit of ease.
"He looked good last year (when winning four races), but he wasn't taking on the class of horses he was taking on here. To have run as well as he has is very pleasing, and he's done well physically, so I hope he keeps going that way. He'll be unlucky not to win one of these.
"He's entered in the Golden Jubilee, but personally I wouldn't be in favor -- he's just had his first run of the season and he didn't have an easy race. The decision will be left to Sheikh Fahad. The horse is in all the Group 1 sprints over five and six furlongs."
Danny O'Brien, trainer of Shamexpress, said, "He was only average today. He has not been beaten out of sight -- three or four lengths. He was probably a bit soft in the last 100 (meters).
"He chased Shea Shea but was just average in the last furlong. We will probably stay -- we are here now and the horse seems in good order -- and try him over six furlongs in the July Cup at Newmarket.
War Command romps in Coventry
A stunning performance by runaway winner War Command in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes made it four wins for Irish trainers on the opening day of Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
The son of War Front was completing a double on the day for the team behind Queen Anne Stakes winner Declaration of War, namely trainer Aidan O'Brien, part/owner and breeder Joseph Allen, and the Coolmore triumvirate of Messrs Magnier, Tabor and Smith. However, O'Brien's son Joseph finished unplaced this time on favorite Stubbs, and it was another Ballydoyle stalwart, Seamie Heffernan, who rode the winner. In third was another O'Brien runner, Sir John Hawkins, the mount of Ryan Moore.
Allen, who lives in Florida, but is visiting Royal Ascot with his wife Annette, said, "This is surreal -- it could not get better than this. I did not expect the first winner (Declaration of War) because he was so disappointing on his previous run in the Lockinge Stakes, but this is a horse I have always liked.
"He's had a few issues -- he had a splint at one point -- but he's come around and what he did today was scary. His dam, Wandering Star, has a US Ranger filly foal at foot -- I bred and raced US Ranger with the same team."
"I've been involved with horses for 35 years, and this is the highlight. To win two major races on the first day of Royal Ascot is a dream."
War Command was given quotes of 5-1 for next year's Two Thousand Guineas, and 10-1 by Ladbrokes.
"The winner went too fast," said Richard Fahey as his second-placed charge, Parbold. "We wouldn't have beaten the winner anyway but (jockey) Tony (Hamilton) thought he was better for another two or three lengths. In race riding you make a decision and decide who the fancied ones are and you go that way Today it didn't happen.
"He is entered in several large two-year-old sales races and it would be hard not to run him in them."
Olly Stevens and his wife Hetta trained their first Royal Ascot winner in their debut season when Extortionist landed the £60,000 Windsor Forest Stakes for two-year-olds.
The victory completed a 152-1 double for jockey Johnny Murtagh, who had won the King's Stand Stakes on Sole Power earlier on the card. On this occasion, Murtagh wore the colors of Qatar Racing, a partnership involving the Al Thani brothers of Qatar. They own Robins Farm, which is the Stevens' base near Chiddingfold in Sussex.
The winner, a 16-1 shot, is a son of Dandy Man, a first-season sire.
"It feels fantastic -- Hetta and I have dreamed of this all our lives, but this win is testament to David Redvers (who is piloting the Qatar Racing project with Sheikh Fahad Al Thani), to Sheikh Fahad and all the team. It was David who picked out the horse as a yearling and I'm so glad we can repay Sheikh Fahad's faith in us," Stevens said.
Extortionist won his first race, but was only fourth at York next time out. Stevens said, "He came back from Nottingham with a sore shin and I had to swim him in to his race at York, where he was four lengths below his best. I was furious with myself that day, but put him away after that and we've known he was always a fast horse. Next could be the July Stakes and we'll work away from there."
"It worked out well and I got a nice tow into the race the horse did very well -- he went to the start very well and behaved well in the stalls," Murtagh said. "He was a little bit keen for the first half a furlong but as soon as I got in behind Kieren Fallon (on board Haikbidac) he settled lovely and he was always going to win when I pulled him out with a furlong and a half to go. He responded well and was very generous -- it was a good win for the team. I think he will improve for this. He was impressive on his first start but blew up on his second but he will improve again for this."
There was a sting in the tail for Murtagh, who received a two-day ban for use of the whip when winning on Extortionist. The stewards found he used his whip above the permitted level. His ban is on July 2-3.
Al Kazeem, Camelot highlight Prince of Wales's
Few would have expected the four-year-old campaign of Camelot to have suffered so early a setback, but there was no fluke in the way Al Kazeem brushed him aside in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh on May 26. The two will renew their rivalry in Wednesday's Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Al Kazeem's defeat of Camelot could be viewed as an upset, but the five-year-old son of Dubawi was not winning out of turn last time, having impressed in his two prior starts. Sidelined since winning the Group 2 Jockey Club at Newmarket in May 2012, Al Kazeem returned to the races this year with an easy tally in Sandown's Group 3 Gordon Richards on April 27.
"He came out of the Curragh race in great nick and showed everyone how exciting this season could be," jockey James Doyle said. "He's always been pretty good, but he improved massively from three to four and I think he has done again. His mentality is fantastic and the way he relaxes in his races makes my job easier."
Aidan O'Brien revealed after Camelot's latest reversal that he had taken it easy with last year's English Two Thousand Guineas and English and Irish Derby hero so far this season and he has applied some extra pressure in the interim.
"We've been looking forward to him and this will be his big test, mid-summer," the trainer commented. "We've been very happy with him since the Curragh and this is the main target. He had a setback in the winter and we've been taking him along gently and slowly building him up.
"We're happy that Al Kazeem is running again, because we can gauge Camelot then and whether he is making the progression we hope he is going to."
Like Elusive Kate in the Queen Anne Tuesday, John Gosden is pitching another filly into the deep end on her seasonal comeback in The Fugue. Winner of the Group 1 Nassau S. at Goodwood in August, the four-year-old filly will be making her first start since a troubled third in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Maxios arrives in the Prince of Wales's on the back of a career-best success in the Group 1Prix d'Isaphan at Longchamp May 26 and the half-brother to Bago has hit a rich vein of form of late, having won the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt on April 7 and finished second in the Group 1 Prix Ganay on April 28.
No Godolphin representative can be safely ignored in the race in which they hold the record of five wins, but last year's Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club runner-up and Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano scorer Saint Baudolino has major improvement to find following a fourth in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 on Meydan's Tapeta surface.
Flotilla (Mizzen Mast) is set to revert to a mile following her disappointing effort in Sunday's Prix de Diane (Fr-G1) at Chantilly. Only eighth behind Treve (Motivator) as the 2-1 favorite for the 1 5/16-mile classic, the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (Fr-G1) heroine is likely to enjoy a short break before being prepared for the Prix Rothschild (Fr-G1) at Deauville July 28. "She didn't get the trip," trainer Mikel Delzangles told PA Sport Monday. "She was fine this morning. We'll see how she comes back from that and, if everything is fine, she could run in the Prix Rothschild in six weeks, but really it depends on how quickly she recovers from this race."...
Keeneland President & CEO Bill Thomason announced Monday that Amy Gregory, a 30-year veteran of the Thoroughbred industry, has been named the company's Director of Communications. Gregory currently serves as Media Relations Manager at Keeneland, where she provides media relations, public relations and communications expertise for the company's racing, sales and simulcast operations. "Amy is a highly respected communications professional with extensive knowledge of the Thoroughbred industry and Keeneland operations," Thomason said. "Her experience, passion and integrity made her the clear choice to lead our growing communications initiatives." A graduate of the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, Gregory began her career as a writer for the Thoroughbred Record before moving to Breeders' Cup Limited as a communications specialist. She joined Keeneland in 2006 after 18 years with Churchill Downs Inc., where she was Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs and Director of Media and Investor Relations. "Keeneland is recognized globally as the gold standard in the Thoroughbred industry, and I'm honored and thankful to be part of its outstanding team," Gregory said. "For someone who has loved horses and Keeneland her whole life, this is the opportunity of a lifetime." Gregory, a native of Henderson, Kentucky, will begin her new role effective immediately...
Night School, the racing industry's free national online fan education program, offers its first of two "Newbie Tuesdays" lessons this Tuesday, a full-length feature video on the basics of handicapping with a Q&A session to follow. The timing of the Newbie Tuesdays offerings hopes to maximize new fan interactions created at the Triple Crown events this spring. A second consecutive lesson for the game's newer customers will be offered next week and focus on the basics of wagering. The nearly 50-minute video features Horse Player NOW handicappers Joe Kristufek, Brian W. Spencer and Brian Nadeau in a roundtable discussion regarding the keys to handicapping the races. The video also features a line-by-line explanation how to read the past performances, a point-by-point explanation of how to read the television monitors at the racetrack or simulcast outlet, and a special harness handicapping section from Ken Warkentin of Meadowlands. The Q&A will be co-hosted by Kristufek and Caton Bredar of Horse Player NOW and HRTV. "The goal of the Newbie Tuesdays lessons are not only to educate the brand-new or entry-level fan, but also to give experienced horseplayers the tools necessary to help teach their friends that are newer to the game," said Jeremy Plonk, the program's co-creator. "We're all in this together and mentoring is the best way to captivate interest in a fascinating pastime like handicapping the races. We met thousands of eager newcomers at the Preakness and Belmont Stakes on-track fan education events working with America's Best Racing and it's important to act quickly upon continuing their interest." Fans can take part in the class free by visiting any one of the 40-plus websites that provides the Night School lessons each week. The 90-minute live event, which begins at 8:30 p.m. (EDT), is the 16th of 40 lessons offered in 2013. For those who cannot attend live, the Night School archives always are available free, immediately following the session and beyond. The video will be housed at www.youtube.com/horseplayernow after the live event Tuesday. This week's study materials, a comprehensive beginner's guide to handicapping, courtesy of Horse Player NOW, can be found here...
Rev. Doug Eldridge, who served as Turfway Park's first chaplain 37 years ago, has returned to the Northern Kentucky Thoroughbred racetrack to again serve as chaplain. Eldridge's appointment was confirmed June 1 by the Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy (KRTC), a division of the national Race Track Chaplaincy of America. Eldridge replaces Bobby Aldridge, who took the reins from the retiring Tom Farley in December to see the track through its winter/spring meet before his own retirement. With the track open for summer stabling and training, the new assignment ensures a seamless transition and continuity of outreach. "The Kentucky division of the Race Track Chaplaincy is happy to be able to provide a full time chaplain to serve those who live and work at Turfway Park," KRTC president Pam Sears said. "We look forward to Doug developing new programs and creating opportunities to positively affect the lives of those who work in the racing industry. One of Doug's priorities will be to develop relationships both with individuals and organizations within the Northern Kentucky area. We encourage interested groups to reach out to him to become a part of this unique ministry." Eldridge holds services at the track on Mondays at 7:00 p.m. (ET) but ministry also occurs daily in the barns where he meets those who live and work on the backside. The ministry also includes a community center where backside workers can find coffee and conversation and a trailer where residents can obtain clothing, towels, sheets, and personal care items. Eldridge has experience not only in ministry but also in law enforcement. He first came to Turfway Park, then Latonia, during the 1977 winter/spring meet while still a student at Cincinnati Christian University, from which he was graduated in 1978. Leaving Turfway at the end of the meet, he accepted the pastorate at Antioch Church of Christ in Corinth, Kentucky, where he served for three years. From 1980 to 2002, he was a member of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport Police. During his last five years there, 1997 to 2002, Eldridge also served as pastor of Belleview Church of Christ in rural Boone County. He currently is the pastor of the Hebron Church of Christ and continues to volunteer his service as the airport's public safety chaplain and as chaplain to the Hebron Fire Department. Eldridge is available to speak to groups, schools, and churches about his work at Turfway and the needs of the backside community. He can be reached at (859) 393-7756.
On the New York worktab
Ashland (G1) winner Emollient (Empire Maker), a dull sixth in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) last time, completed four furlongs in :50 3/5 over the fast main track at Belmont Park on Monday. The July 13 American Oaks (G1) might be next.
Eblouissante (Bernardini), Zenyatta's unbeaten half-sister who's been sidelined since January, completed her five-furlong move in 1:01 2/5.
Grade 2 veteran Justin Phillip (First Samurai), runner-up in the True North Handicap (G2) last time, went four furlongs in :52 over the fast training track.
Stakes winner Maleeh (Indian Charlie), who suffered his first defeat when sixth in the Bay Shore (G3) last time, logged three furlongs in :36 1/5.
Grade 2 victor Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid), unplaced in both starts this term, worked four furlongs in :49 2/5 over the fast dirt at Saratoga's Oklahoma training track.
Grade 1-placed Cash for Clunkers (Tiznow), sidelined since September, breezed in :49 4/5 over the fast main track at Aqueduct.
On the California worktab
Grade 1 hero Drill (Lawyer Ron), fourth in the American Handicap (G2) last out, worked five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 over the Cushion Track at Hollywood Park on Monday.
Centralintelligence (Smarty Jones), runner-up in the Los Angeles Handicap (G3) for the second straight year, covered six furlongs in 1:13 3/5.
Doinghardtime (Ministers Wild Cat), winner of the Evening Jewel S. and Soviet Problem S. in her last two, smoked four panels in a bullet :47 1/5, tying for the best of 30 works at the distance.
Multiple Argentinean Group 1 scorer Winning Prize (Pure Prize) was clocked in :50.
Multiple Grade 3-placed Manando (Bluegrass Cat), third in the Affirmed Handicap (G3), fired a six-furlong bullet in 1:12 3/5 over the fast track at Santa Anita. He posted the best of six works at the distance.
Stakes victor Super Ability (Langfuhr), a neck second in an allowance last month, covered five-eighths in 1:00 3/5.
Multiple Brazilian Group 1 winner Hawk's Eyes (Public Purse) toured one mile in 1:43 3/5.
On the Kentucky worktab
Multiple Grade 2-placed stakes winner Amie's Dini (Bandini), third against allowance foes when last seen in January, logged four furlongs in :52 4/5 over the good main track at Churchill Downs on Monday.
Multiple stakes winner Sweet Cassiopeia (Five Star Day), second against allowance company last time, sped five panels in 1:00 3/5.
Grade 2-placed Joinem (Johar), sidelined since last July, toured a half-mile in :51 3/5.
On the Maryland worktab
Marshua's River (G3) winner Hard Not to Like (Hard Spun), runner-up in the Gallorette Handicap (G3), breezed five furlongs in 1:02 over the Tapeta at Fair Hill on Monday.
For Tuesday or Next Raceday
JUNE 19, 2013
by John Mucciolo
There was a single Grade 1 affair over the weekend at Hollywood Park.
Vanity H. (G1): Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' BYRAMA (Byron) tracked in second behind a clear leader, took the lead in early stretch and rolled home to an impressive 3 1/2-length score in this one under Gary Stevens. The four-year-old filly earned her initial Grade 1 win for John Sadler, running 1 1/8 miles on the main oval in 1:51 2/5.
From a total of 35 races held at the Inglewood, California, racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 26 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 46 percent of the wins. From 24 frays contested on the Cushion Track oval, four animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (16 percent), while two horses went all the way on the lead from 11 turf events (18 percent).
Of the pair of turf wires on the lawn this past week, one came in a route by a favorite, and the other resulted in a long shot leading throughout in a sprint.
Speed was not especially great on the Cushion, but we though the oval played mostly fair with a possible slight edge to late runners who were at least a few paths off the rail.
We witnessed a handful of really fine performances this week and we hope to see the same going forward in the final spring/summer meeting at this historic venue.
HORSES TO WATCH
1ST -- AMAZING HEARTED (Lion Hearted) ran a big one and got up late in defeating what we thought was a very good maiden claiming field today. It took a while for the five-year-old gelding to make his debut, but it looks like the patience was worth it.
8TH – SUANCES LUCK (Suances) cleared the field in a matter of a few jumps and never looked back in dominating this field at overlaid odds. The four-year-old filly is a tough customer when she's on her toes in the early going and we were a bit surprised nobody put a claim in on the lass.
2ND -- SOUTH SOUND (Stroll) really looked the part in a facile debut win and the Doug O'Neill pupil will likely be stakes bound following this triumph. The juvenile filly cost a lot and it looks like money well spent, so far.
3RD -- STREETS OF HEAVEN (Street Cry) was last early on but began to pass horses with virtually each stride on the backside and strode home a fine winner once again in here. Trainer Jorge Periban claimed the consistent elder out of this and the gelding should be a factor right back in a similar spot.
4TH -- JOEANDBETTY'SBABY (Yes It's True) had no chance with the winner in this turf dash, but we really liked the way this one rallied to be a nice second today for conditioner Mike Puype. We'll tab this one for a tally next time if placed in a similar spot, or even a small class drop.
6TH -- TOP KISSER (Old Trieste) went slow to the half, accelerated approaching the final turn and stayed on well in what we thought was a powerful tally in here under Rafael Bejarano. The Jerry Hollendorfer continues to impress and will be stakes bound next time out.
7TH -- PAYNTER (Awesome Again) toyed with a decent little field in here in capping an amazing comeback to the races for conditioner Bob Baffert, who did a superb job of having this one ready. The Grade 1 winner, who battled for his life not very long ago, is an inspirational story and easy to root for.
7TH -- GLORIOUS LUCK (Lucky J H) rolled home a most impressive winner at first asking in this turf dash and could evolve into a very nice one for trainer Carla Gaines.
8TH -- KOBE'S BACK (Flatter) surely left some kind of impression in winning his debut in this stakes spot for Sadler. The $480,000 juvenile purchase went last to first in a flash and was pulling away with ease late like a real nice one. We have no idea this colt can be, but we think he might be a potential juvenile star as the season unfolds.
8TH -- Multiple Grade 1 queen INCLUDE ME OUT (Include) made a fine 2013 debut in this spot when defeating a fine field of sprinters in a race that was just used as a prep for a longer race down the road. The five-year-old could be set for a monster second half of this season for conditioner Ron Ellis.
A Look Ahead
Saturday will play host to the Grade 2, $150,000 Hollywood Oaks, the lone graded race this weekend at Hollywood.
Top Speed/Class ratings
TOP BRIS CLASS RATINGS
(through June 17, 2013)
Note: Figures are for North American-based racing
At a Glance
AT A GLANCE SCHEDULE
*all times Eastern
HANDICAPPER'S EDGE is compiled by Bloodstock Research Information Services. This newsletter may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Copyright 2011, Bloodstock Research Information Services. Information as to the races, race results and earnings was obtained from Equibase Company LLC and is utilized herein with the permission of the copyright owner, Equibase Company LLC.
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