Bayern travel plans set; Irish You Well taking shot at Haskell
Irish You Well, who took the Long Branch over the Monmouth strip on July 5, has been stabled at the track since May. As a maiden he took on graded stakes company, finishing third in the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne and the Peter Pan at Belmont Park.
"He's been there for quite a while and he loves the track there," said trainer Wayne Catalano, who conditions Irish You Well for Donegal Racing. "He broke his maiden on it and has been training well over it.
"He was third behind Tonalist and Commissioner in the Peter Pan and they went on to be one-two in the Belmont, so he deserves his shot."
Irish You Well will get a new rider in Jose Lezcano in the Haskell, as that duo will face a field that is expected to include the filly Untapable as well as Albano, Encryption, Just Call Kenny, Medal Count, Social Inclusion and Wildcat Red. The field for this year's 47th renewal of the Haskell will be drawn at noon (EDT) on Thursday.
"There is no question that it's a tough, touch race," Catalano said. "This is a big test for him, but he's been over that surface and he's been running well so everybody wants to give it a shot."
Bramlage, Fallon, Lavin to be honored by Thoroughbred Club of America
Among his best known cases was repairing Personal Ensign's fracture which had appeared to be career-ending. After surgery, Personal Ensign returned to continue her unbeaten career, culminating in a dramatic victory in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff.
A native of Kansas, Dr. Bramlage graduated from Kansas State University and taught at The Ohio State University before moving to Lexington, Kentucky, in 1989 to join Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, where he became a partner in 1992.
Dr. Fallon represents the fourth generation of a family of veterinarians whose connection to Kentucky dates from 1875, when a Scottish-educated veterinarian named Edward Thomas Hagyard was called to Kentucky to consult on a valuable Shorthorn bull. An equine practice grew from that visit.
Third-generation Charles Edward Hagyard was joined in the practice in 1940 by Arthur Davidson and William McGee, which completed the team that for decades was known as Hagyard-Davidson-McGee (now Hagyard Equine Medical Institute).
Dr. Ed Fallon is the son of Dr. Charles Hagyard's sister. He graduated from Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1956, and his son Luke Hagyard Fallon, a fifth generation equine veterinarian, graduated from Cornell in 1996.
In taking his turn of stewardship of the revered old firm, Dr. Ed Fallon was instrumental in bringing about an era of increased efficiency in broodmare management. He utilized and promoted such scientific developments as ovarian palpation to determine pregnancy in mares and use of artificial lighting to stimulate estrous cycles.
Dr. Lavin is the son of well-known racing secretary Allan Lavin and grew up in the sport. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary college in 1962 and for many years was a practitioner and surgeon on the race track. The many honors he received reflect the quality of care he gave to clients and their horses. They include his alma mater's Bellwether Medal for Distinguished Leadership, status as a Distinguished Life Member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and designation as a Distinguished Practitioner of the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners.
Further indication of the respect he has earned within his profession was the AAEP's establishment of the Lavin Cup for Equine Welfare in 1996.
Dr. Lavin has given his time and leadership to many roles, having been president of the AAEP and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, as well as steward of The Jockey Club, trustee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, The Breeders' Cup, and presently as director of Keeneland and as vice chairman of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.
Lavin and his family operate Longfield Farm in Goshen, Kentucky. Lavin's wife, Betsy, serves on the Kentucky Racing Commission, and their sons are involved in bloodstock agency and equine insurance.
Borislow, owner and bettor, dead at 52
Dan Borislow, a communications and technology entrepreneur who was a prominent Thoroughbred owner and bettor, reportedly died Monday from a heart attack after playing a pick-up soccer match in Florida. He was 52.
Borislow most notably owned multiple Grade 1 winner Toccet, who racked up major stakes wins as a two-year-old in 2002, taking the Champagne at Belmont Park, Hollywood Futurity, Remsen at Aqueduct, and Laurel Futurity. Borislow also campaigned in partnership 2005 Queen's Plate winner Wild Desert.
Borislow returned to the racing headlines on May 25 by winning Gulfstream Park's Rainbow 6 jackpot for a record $6,678,939.12, a day before there was to be a mandatory payout on the Pick 6 wager. The amount Borislow invested on that single winning ticket was reportedly $7,603.20.
Borislow made his fortune in telephone communications, first by founding the company Tel-Save and than later inventing the MagicJack device.
Commanding Curve among 10 entered in Curlin
Life in Shambles, a stablemate and frequent work companion for Belmont Stakes hero Tonalist, will likely be on or near the early lead from post 10. Beaten just a head in his stakes bow in the May 17 Sir Barton, the Christophe Clement pupil set a demanding tempo in the June 7 Easy Goer and paid for it late. The gritty gelding wound up third to Kid Cruz and Legend, who could square off in the Jim Dandy (Kid Cruz has the August 2 West Virginia Derby as another possibility). Joel Rosario, aboard for both of his stakes attempts, will guide Life in Shambles from the outside post 10.
The Kid Cruz formline is also represented by Joint Custody and Spot. Joint Custody placed behind Kid Cruz in the Private Terms and Federico Tesio in his home state of Maryland. Venturing to Delaware Park for the Grover (Buddy) Delp Memorial, Joint Custody was outdueled by Tiz'naz, but rebounded with a convincing win in the off-the-turf Stanton in his latest. He renews rivalry with Tiz'naz, who comes to Saratoga off a dismal seventh in the July 5 Long Branch at Monmouth. As the only two stakes winners at a mile or more in the field, Joint Custody and Tiz'naz are the co-highweights at 123 pounds.
Spot made an auspicious start for new connections -- owner Joseph Moss and trainer Nick Zito -- in the Swale at Gulfstream Park, stunning the hitherto unbeaten No Nay Never. But the well-bred son of Pulpit hasn't managed to hit the board in four ensuing races. His best result in that span was his most recent, a closing fourth to Kid Cruz in the July 5 Dwyer, and he could be on the verge of another move forward. Note that Spot gets a rider switch to Jose Ortiz.
The Chad Brown-trained Cousin Stephen aims to fulfill his early promise. Stamping himself as one to watch when crushing an Aqueduct maiden last November, he was the 8-5 favorite in a loaded allowance at Gulfstream in January, but wound up fifth to Commissioner and Top Billing. Cousin Stephen exited that loss with a lung infection. He was back on track in the Sam F. Davis, finishing a battling-on third, but flopped in the Tampa Bay Derby and headed to the sidelines. The Proud Citizen colt made a winning return in a June 16 Parx allowance, where he led throughout before holding on by a desperate nose, and now he gets Hall of Famer John Velazquez in his corner.
Charge Now has always inspired hopes as a half-brother to 2010 Kentucky Derby hero Super Saver. The Bill Mott colt captured a Gulfstream maiden and promptly wired an entry-level allowance at Belmont, earning his way into the Grade 3 ranks in the Iowa Derby. But Charge Now never got involved after breaking slowly and trudged home seventh in the Prairie Meadows slop. The son of Tiznow is eligible to make amends.
Protonico is another blueblood who is likely better than his lone stakes result, a sixth in last fall's Nashua. By Giant's Causeway and out of an A.P. Indy mare, Protonico has won both of his other starts. He romped in his debut at Delaware, captured a Belmont allowance most recently in his first outing for Todd Pletcher, and keeps Javier Castellano in the saddle.
Viva Majorca and V. E. Day are stepping up to face stakes rivals, but both have the right profile to make an impact. Viva Majorca, a Marylou Whitney homebred, trounced a Gulfstream maiden by 12 lengths and rolled to a 3 1/2-length allowance win at Churchill Downs. Although he has raced only in sprints so far, the son of Tiago is bred to prefer a route. V. E. Day comes off two straight wins at Belmont for Jimmy Jerkens, in a sloppy, off-the-turf maiden and a turf allowance at this trip. The English Channel colt's preferred surface is yet to be determined, for he is untested on a fast main track.
Sky Kingdom, Soi Phet top 11-horse Cougar II field
The only one in the 11-horse Cougar II field with a victory over the Del Mar Polytrack is Soi Phet, who is actually undefeated in three outings over the surface. All three occurred against allowance company at the 2013 meet, and the Leonard Powell charge recently scored his first stakes win taking the $101,000 Bertrando for California-breds at Los Alamitos.
Longview Drive, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, exits a one-length victory in the $100,000 Oak Tree Handicap at Pleasanton, which followed a head loss against Grade 3 company in the All American over Golden Gate Fields' Tapeta track.
Old Time Hockey, winner of the La Jolla Handicap over the Del Mar turf two years ago, tries a synthetic surface for the first time in the Cougar II. Hero of the Florida Cup Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs in April, the gelded son of Smarty Jones recently rallied for fourth in the American Flag at Los Alamitos after a slow start.
Other notables lining up in the Cougar II are Peruvian Group 1 winner Lideris, a distant fifth in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in his U.S. bow, and the Grade 2-placed American Blend, who debuts for trainer John Sadler after being claimed for $75,000 at Santa Anita on June 15.
Harpoon takes stab at turf sprint in Quick Call
The Quick Call will be a significant turnback in distance for Harpoon, but Pletcher believes his colt may get a favorable setup.
"There's a lot of speed in the race, so he should be able to come from off the pace," the trainer said. "It's a small field, so we're taking a shot. He's shown hints of having talent and we thought his sprint on the turf last time was good."
Harpoon, 7-2 on the morning line, will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post 2.
Favorite Tale has been pegged as the 5-2 favorite in his first turf attempt. The Guadalupe Preciado trainee has faltered in his two forays into graded stakes company, but has been far more effective at this level. Victorious in the Gold Fever at Belmont in the spring, he comes off a tough-beat second in the July 5 Oh Say at Delaware Park. Rosie Napravnik picks up the mount on the Tale of the Cat gelding, who figures to transfer his early speed to the turf.
Escapist, a half-brother to multiple Grade 3 winner Clearly Now, has won both of his career starts in turf sprints. He will add to the hot pace in his stakes debut, along with Good Bye Greg, unbeaten in his two starts on Polytrack, and Pure Sensation, second to Favorite Tale in the Gold Fever two back and another trying turf for the first time. Choctaw Chuck, winner of the Tom Ridge on Presque Isle's Tapeta, and Glacken Too have also shown some early foot on occasion.
As usual, the Thursday card features a steeplechase. Bill Pape's Bluegrass Summer, the reigning novice steeplechase champion, returns to the races against a full field of contenders for the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes at 2 1/16 miles over national fences.
Trained by Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard, Bluegrass Summer won an optional allowance at Saratoga last year and will be making his first start since finishing fourth in the Supreme Hurdle last November. He will be coupled in the wagering with Anne Pape's Fog Island, who is trained by Richard Valentine and will be ridden by Robbie Walsh. Valentine also entered Gil Johnston's Awesome Pearl.
Jack Fisher entered Schoodic, last year's three-year-old champion. The homebred Tiznow gelding fell from the unbeaten ranks over fences when third in the Marcellus Frost. Reigning champion jockey Paddy Young has the mount.
Willie McCarthy, the current leading jockey, has the mount on Top Striker, who opened the year with a victory in the Carolina Cup on March 29. He subsequently finished third in the Queen's Cup MPC 'Chase near Charlotte on April 26. Trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. tightened Top Striker with a third on the Belmont Park turf on July 4.
Saratoga will be the proving ground for several imported hurdlers including the Irish-bred Saint Jerome; Gmac, who made his U.S. debut with an allowance hurdle in May, and Bob Le Beau, an Irish hurdler who will be making his first 2014 start under Jack Doyle. Bob Le Beau will be coupled in the wagering with Kingdom.
Completing the field are Tempt Me Alex, winner of the Iroquois Steeplechase's Bright Hour Stakes, and Sporty, third in the Bright Hour.
Lake George draws Sassy, Daring fillies
The daughter of More Than Ready projects a stalking trip from her outside post 7.
In light of A Little Bit Sassy's disqualification from an apparent Grade 3 victory, Daring Dancer rates as the lone graded winner in the field, a distinction that makes her the 123-pound highweight. The Graham Motion pupil took her first three career starts by daylight, capped by a Grade 3 trophy in the April 17 Appalachian at Keeneland in her reappearance.
Daring Dancer lost her perfect record last time in the May 25 Wonder Again at Belmont Park, where she was a nonthreatening fifth as the 4-5 favorite. The Wonder Again turned out to be the key prep for the Belmont Oaks Invitational, with Minorette and Sea Queen reversing their exacta from the Wonder Again. Daring Dancer hopes to rebound here with regular rider Alan Garcia.
The other "daring" filly, Daring Kathy, invades from Gulfstream Park for trainer David Fawkes. Undefeated since switching to turf back in March, she has dominated the May 10 Honey Ryder and the June 15 Starfish Bay in wire-to-wire fashion. The dangerous front runner picks up Hall of Famer John Velazquez for her graded debut.
"I like her a lot in there; she's the lone speed," Fawkes said. "I drew the 1 post. Johnny is riding. He's good, right?
"For the kind of filly she is, she's got a bigger foot for a Wildcat Heir and on the flatter side. "I'll be honest, before she ran (on turf), it was the owners' (Steve Laymon and John Eaton) idea to run on the grass, and I dragged my feet because she would be more valuable on dirt."
Also likely to show some early foot is Speed Seeker, who crushed a June 8 maiden at Woodbine by 7 3/4 lengths in her premiere. The Joan Scott trainee takes a significant class hike in just her second career start.
Brown's two entrants are both European imports who have yet to finish off the board. Sweet Acclaim was third to Miss France and Lightning Thunder in last September's Oh So Sharp at Newmarket, a result that looked even better when those fillies ran one-two in the May 4 One Thousand Guineas. By that point, Sweet Acclaim had already settled in stateside. Runner-up to Daring Dancer in her American debut in the Appalachian, she has subsequently placed in the May 18 Wait a While and the June 21 Wild Applause, both at Belmont.
"This filly kind of got a wide journey last time and hung out a little bit," Brown said. "Hopefully, we can save a little ground this time, and hopefully she can handle the stretch-out to a mile and a sixteenth. She's never been this far. I love the way she's training. She's come in here with a nice series of workouts, so we're optimistic she's going to run well."
Little Journey didn't bring such a golden formline with her from France, but she has continued her reliable profile in the United States. In her first start for Brown in the Edgewood, she finished third to A Little Bit Sassy and Istanford, who has since gone on to defeat males in the Arlington Classic and just added the San Clemente Handicap to her line. Little Journey tried Grade 1 company in the May 31 American Oaks at Santa Anita, checking in third to Room Service, and drops back in distance at the Spa.
"I like the timing of the race, putting her back into a Grade 2 also," Brown said. "In a perfect world, I wish this race was a little farther, but I think she's versatile enough to cut back and handle the distance."
Duff One has been well beaten in her four most recent stakes attempts, but she was second in last summer's P.G. Johnson on Saratoga's Mellon turf.
Estimate (Monsun), the five-year-old mare who captured the 2013 Gold Cup (Eng-G1) at Royal Ascot for Queen Elizabeth II, has tested positive for morphine following her second-place finish in the 2014 renewal of the Gold Cup on June 19. On July 17 the British Horseracing Authority announced that a number of post-race samples, obtained from recent race meetings, had been found to indicate the presence of morphine, which is a prohibited substance on race days. Five horses, under the care of various trainers, were affected. "I can confirm that one of those horses was Estimate, the five-year-old filly trained by Sir Michael Stoute and owned by The Queen," said John Warren, the Queen's bloodstock and racing adviser. "Initial indications are that the positive test resulted from the consumption of a contaminated feed product. Sir Michael is working closely with the feed company involved to discover how the product may have become contaminated prior to delivery to his stables. As the BHA investigates this matter, including potential links between the different cases, Sir Michael continues to offer his full co-operation. There will be no further comment until the BHA announces its considered findings. Her Majesty has been informed of the situation."...
The New York Racing Association's historic Saratoga Race Course will unite with racetracks across the country on Saturday with autograph signings, photo opportunities and the first jockey foot race in 20 years at the Spa as part of the first Permanently Disabled Jockeys' Fund (PDJF) Day Across America. Every jockey riding at Saratoga on Saturday will be available during a one-hour autograph session outside the silks room beginning at 11:30 a.m. (EDT). For a $5 donation to the PDJF, fans can receive autographs from Hall of Famers and rising stars alike, including John Velazquez, Edgar Prado, Javier Castellano, Rosie Napravnik, Rajiv Maragh, Jose and Irad Ortiz Jr., Julien Leparoux, Taylor Rice and Joel Rosario. Later in the day, a field of 13 jockeys will break from the starting gate and compete in a one-half furlong foot race on the main track. For a $5 donation, guests will be able to "bet" on their choice and be entered for a chance to win a VIP Day at the Races for two on Travers Day, August 23 along with other prizes. Filiberto Leon won the last jockey foot race at Saratoga in a photo finish over Velazquez in 1995. Post position for the jockey race will be drawn on Wednesday, July 23. "PDJF is not just an industry acronym or letters on a ball cap," said Velazquez, chairman of the Jockeys' Guild and a PDJF board member. "This organization is dedicated to improving the lives and welfare of men and women who face lifelong challenges due to their disabilities. They can no longer complete or provide adequately for their families. PDJF Day Across America is an opportunity to educate our fans about the PDJF and emphasize the importance of raising funds"...
Tattersalls has finalized the dates for Books 1 to 3 of the forthcoming October Yearling Sale. Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, Europe's premier yearling sale, will take place over three days from October 7-9. The catalog features the only qualifiers for the five-race £1,300,000 Tattersalls Millions series, and is expected to number around 480. Book 2 will also take place over three days, October 13-15, and is expected to number 820 lots. The revamped Book 3 will follow on immediately after Book 2 with approximately 550 yearlings to sell on October 16-17. The sale on October 17 will take place over two sessions before and after Future Champions Day at Newmarket's Rowley Mile. All yearlings in Book 3 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale will be eligible for the all new £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes. "The new date for Future Champions Day has created challenges for us this year in accommodating the huge demand from so many British and Irish breeders for places in all three books of our October Yearling Sale," Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony said. "We believe, however, that the slightly revised format, with Book 2 reduced to three days and Book 3 increased to two days, will benefit both vendors and purchasers. The new £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes attached to Book 3 of the October Yearling Sale has already been very well received, and Books 1 and 2 continue to enhance their positions as Europe's premier yearling sale and Europe's most popular yearling sale respectively."...
Mark Roberts, General Manager of Adena Springs South, and a key member of the Adena Springs team that has earned 30 Eclipse or Sovereign Awards for racetrack success, has left Adena Springs to return to breaking and training Thoroughbred racehorses, his true passion. A native of Florida and an alumnus of Eastern Kentucky University, Roberts is also a founding partner of Central Kentucky-based Hidden Brook Farm, under whose banner he will form his breaking and training operation at Adena Springs South. Roberts had been with Frank Stronach's operation for 18 years at Adena Springs South in Florida, where he oversaw the breaking and training of up to 175 Adena Springs horses annually. During Roberts' two-decade tenure in Florida, Adena Springs earned 16 Eclipse Awards as outstanding owner or breeder, and amassed more than $200 million in on-track earnings, primarily with horses broken and trained under Roberts' watch. "My years at Adena Springs have been like attending Grad School at Harvard," Roberts said. "To have had a part in the formative careers of Hall of Famer Ghostzapper and Awesome Again, Breeders' Cup winners Macho Uno and Perfect Sting, Grade 1-winning millionaires Wild Rush and Golden Missile, and the many other top horses that came through this program, made my years with Frank a very rewarding experience. I am extremely grateful to Mr. Stronach and his family for providing me with access to such world-class horses and facilities, but the truth is, I have really found myself missing the action and camaraderie of the racetrack. That is where I began my Thoroughbred career and that is where I would like to be 10, 20, even 30 years from now."...
Bright Thought (Hat Trick) and No Jet Lag (Johar), two also-rans from last year's Breeders' Cup Mile (G1), attempt to recover their old form in Wednesday's $90,000 Wickerr at Del Mar. Bright Thought set a short-lived world record for 1 1/2 miles on turf in the 2013 San Luis Rey (G2), but was later sidelined by a splint injury. Unplaced in four of five outings since his return, the Jorge Gutierrez charge gets class relief as well as a cutback in trip to a grassy mile. No Jet Lag, who upset last October's City of Hope Mile (G2) at odds of 13-1, has failed to hit the board in his three ensuing starts. Trainer Simon Callaghan has freshened him in the wake of a sixth in the Arcadia (G2) on February 1. Like Bright Thought, No Jet Lag has been training forwardly for this lower-key assignment. Barocci (Deep Impact), last seen finishing third to No Jet Lag in the City of Hope, makes his comeback for John Sadler here, and the import is still looking for his first U.S. stakes win. Other contenders include multiple Argentinean Group 1-placed Safety Belt (Easing Along), an allowance winner in his latest for Ron McAnally, as well as fellow recent allowance scorers Rangi (New Approach), Boyett (Sharp Humor) and Lil Bit O' Fun (Langfuhr)...
Lightly raced Kiss Moon (Malibu Moon) heads an overflow field of 14 entered in Wednesday's $200,000 Indiana Grand S., which shares the card with the $100,000 Girls Inc. of Shelbyville, Shelby County S. at Indiana Grand. Kiss Moon finished fourth last out in the Regret (G3) at Churchill Downs before being elevated to third via the disqualification of winner A Little Bit Sassy. That filly floated Aurelia's Belle, winner of Saturday's Arlington Oaks (G3), across the track and interfered with Kiss Moon, who was bumped, shut off and forced to check hard. The David Vance trainee was unable to factor in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (G1) but did place in the Fantasy (G2) and Honeybee (G3) over the spring. Kiss Moon will have Rodney Prescott in the irons for the first time since taking her maiden debut at Turfway Park last December. Also lining up in the one-mile turf contest for sophomore fillies are Ice for the Lady (Flatter) and She's Offlee Good (Offlee Wild), whose respective win and third-placing in the Northbound Pride Oaks were enhanced on Saturday after that race's runner-up, Stellaris, finished second in the Arlington Oaks. Earlier on the card, another oversubscribed field of 14 distaffers has been entered to go 1 1/16 miles on the grass in the Girls Inc. of Shelbyville, Shelby County S. Sister Ginger (Student Council), winner of last year's Indiana Grand and a neck second in the Opelousas S. most recently, will break from the rail and face off against Opelousas winner Malibu Yankee (Malibu Moon), Grade 3 veteran Via Villaggio (Bernardini) and the respective top three from the Ellis Park Turf S. -- Honey Hues (Henny Hughes), Gal About Town (City Zip) and Faerie Queene (Pure Prize)...
One month into Arapahoe Park's pioneering Race-Day Medication-Free Incentive program has produced three bonuses that will be paid to trainers who have won with horses that did not compete with race-day medication. The winners have represented two of the three racing breeds at the Aurora, Colorado racetrack -- Thoroughbreds and Arabians. "We've made the program available, and we're happy to have some horsemen take advantage of it," said Bruce Seymore, Executive Director of Mile High Racing and Entertainment, the parent company of Arapahoe Park. "We hope more people get on board with what we believe is the future of racing, and we're going to expand it next year, too." The Race-Day Medication-Free Incentive program, which was launched on June 27, rewards trainers who win at Arapahoe Park with a horse void of any race-day medication with a $1,000 bonus per victory to be paid from a special fund created by Mile High Racing and Entertainment. The program encourages trainers to go beyond the letter of the law that permits only Lasix, phenylbutazone ("bute"), flunixin, and ketoprofen on race day in Colorado. The bonuses will be paid out at the end of the season that concludes on August 17.
For Wednesday or Next Raceday
DEL MAR NOTEBOOK
JULY 23, 2014
by John Mucciolo
A pair of graded races on the lawn headlined the opening week at Del Mar Race Course.
Eddie Read S. (G1): Braly Family Trust's TOM'S TRIBUTE (Lion Heart) got the jump turning for home and held a nice one at bay late in securing a 1 1/4-length victory for trainer James Cassidy. The four-year-old colt sped nine panels on the firm turf in 1:46 under the guidance of Mike Smith.
San Clemente H. (G2): Ike Thrash et al's ISTANFORD (Istan) broke slow, rushed up to the front and never looked back in posting a facile 2 1/2-length tally for conditioner Mike Stidham. The three-year-old filly traveled one mile on the firm lawn in 1:33 3/5 under Rafael Bejarano.
From a total of 40 races held at the Southern California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 30 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 48 percent of the wins. From 26 frays contested on the Polytrack oval, seven animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (27 percent), while two of the 14 grassy tussles went all the way on the lead (14 percent).
The main oval was very speed and rail prominent during the first few days of the week, but we thought it was a bit more balanced over the weekend. Last season during opening week, 48 percent of the main-track races resulted in wire-to-wire winners, compared to the 30 percent this campaign. But we still prefer inside speed going forward.
Turf racing on this new course was pretty fair we'd say, with speed and late runners equally capable of rolling home in first place. We know the oval is very firm, but so far so good with the changes to the re-configured surface.
Trainer John Sadler came out of the blocks well for the meeting, as did Gary Sherlock, who saddled a pair of big-priced winners. We'll keep an eye on both during the upcoming week of racing.
HORSES TO WATCH
3RD -- HAIL MARY (Old Topper) was a sharp second in her first run since the fall and this filly should be very tough next out with one under her belt. The Phil d'Amato trainee was outmoved in early stretch but never gave up and re-rallied to make a race of it late.
5TH -- KOKALTASH (Haafhd) was last early and had a ton to do at the top of the lane, but this Euro import showed a nice turn of foot to be an encouraging third behind a loose-on-the-lead winner under Brice Blanc. Tab the four-year-old colt for success in the U. S. with expected improvement for Darrell Vienna.
7TH -- CINMARS DANCE (Cindago) showed little speed but a nice turn of foot on an oval where closing types had little chance during the opening week. The Eric Kruljac trainee was heavily bet from a big morning line and showed why in this sharp third.
3RD -- BOOZER (Unusual Heat) handled the stretch out in trip with relative ease for Mark Glatt, pressing the pace and taking over in the lane en route to a facile allowance score beneath Rafael Bejarano. The gelded four-year-old came home in race horse time and will edge closer to a stakes try with another like this.
6TH -- PURE TACTICS (Pure Prize) broke slowest of all from the rail but was soon well spotted, and his win in the latter stages of this turf dash was easier than it appears on paper. The stakes winner is back in fine form and is poised for a return to black-type company.
1ST -- KANTUNE (Kantharos) swept to the front turning form home and had a nice edge late, only to be rundown by a Baffert firster in a sharp debut performance. The Mark Casse-trained colt should surely be graduating with improvement from this debut run.
IRON FIST (Tapit) was last to the top of the lane on a speed-favoring surface, so his late rally to be a clear fourth might be a lot better than it looks for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. We think the expensive sort could have a nice future, as he is bred to run a lot longer than five panels.
5TH -- BENCH WARRANT (Street Boss) received clear sailing along the rail en route to a first-out tally for trainer John Sadler, but we thought this was a nice field of prospects and to see a juvenile rally like he did was impressive. Keep an eye on this one all summer, as he should be making noise in the stakes ranks.
9TH -- MY CONQUESTADORY (Artie Schiller) burned some of ours, as well as others' money in this affair, but the Mark Casse trainee gave up ground every step of the way and we thought she did well to be third. We love this miss and hope she progresses this season the way we think she will.
2ND -- TIGAH (Dalakhani) was last early but began to pick up momentum nearing the top of the lane, and the class dropper did the rest in a solid claiming score under Corey Nakatani. The graded winner has lost a step or two, but he could be a nice claim for Barry Abrams as a level that suits him just fine.
4TH -- Hollendorfer unveiled a nice prospect to watch in TARA'S TANGO (Unbridled's Song), who lived up to the billing in a swift debut sprint win on this main oval. Bet down to 6-5 odds, the juvenile miss contested the lead before pulling away late, getting five panels in a wicked :57 2/5.
6TH -- Sadler got another fine maiden winner in SHYSHEISNOT (Tribal Rule) who blew past the leader in late stretch like a good thing. The sophomore filly didn't set the teletimer on fire, but she did close into a biased oval and looked to have plenty left in the closing stages and through the wire.
8TH -- Baffert's LUMINANCE (Tale of the Cat) was no stranger at the tote board and showed why, as the juvenile filly made a big move in early stretch and glided home a most impressive winner. The two-year-old prospect proved she can run from behind horses and really could be any kind.
A Look Ahead
The weekend feature at Del Mar is Sunday's Grade 1, $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap. Also slated in the graded ranks are the Grade 2, $200,000 San Diego Handicap on Saturday, and Friday's Grade 3, $100,000 Cougar II Handicap.
Top Speed/Class ratings
TOP BRIS CLASS RATINGS
(through July 21, 2014)
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.
A horse racing website is currently hiring for part-time positions as a Customer Service Representative in Lexington, Kentucky. Must be available nights and weekends. Some weekdays may also be available. Computer literacy required, horse racing knowledge and customer service experience a plus. To schedule an interview, email or send your résumé to the following: Nancy.Kanaval@brisnet.com, P.O. Box 4097, Lexington, KY 40544.