Handicapper's Edge

Return to Home Page

Phone: (800)354-9206
edit.staff@brisnet.com

 
        Printer Friendly Page 
FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2015

Racing Headlines

Ankle injury knocks Leave the Light On off Triple Crown trail

Leave the Light On will be forced to miss the Triple Crown due to an ankle injury (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)

An ankle injury suffered in his most recent workout has knocked Grade 2 winner Leave the Light On (Horse Greeley) off the Triple Crown trail.

Trained by Chad Brown for Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stable and William H. Lawrence, Leave the Light On will have surgery next week at the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington, Kentucky.

"Leave the Light On emerged from his latest workout with an injury to his right hind ankle. It requires surgery and that's probably going to put him on the shelf for a couple months," Brown explained. "It's terrible news for all of us associated with the horse. To already have 10 points in the bank (toward a Kentucky Derby [G1] starting berth), it really stings.

"We always put the horse first and, thankfully, this is not only not life-threatening, it's not even career-threatening," Brown added. "It's a situation where the timing is very unfortunate and you never want these horses to be injured, but this seems fixable. Hopefully, Leave the Light On will recover and be back in big races in the fall."

The three-year-old chestnut had been training steadily at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park's satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, including a five-furlong breeze in 1:00 4/5 on Sunday, January 25. He was being pointed to the $400,000 Fountain of Youth S. (G2) on February 21 at Gulfstream for his three-year-old debut.

Leave the Light On didn't make his career debut until last fall, breaking his maiden by 4 1/2 lengths in his second start at Belmont Park and posting a front-running, half-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen S. (G2) on November 29 at Aqueduct.

"There's a lot of nice races out there and with our program, we always look at the big picture if possible," Brown said. "We try to look at the whole career of the horse. Of course, our first choice was to go to the Derby. That's the race we want to win and everyone wants to win, but not at the expense of the horse. If the horse needs to be stopped on and cleaned up, then that's what we're going to do. Hopefully he has a long, successful career in our barn."

Brown said that he plans to run both Cay Dancer (Danehill Dancer) and Rosalind (Broken Vow) in the $150,000 Suwannee River S. (G3) on the February 7 undercard of the $500,000 Donn H. (G1) at Gulfstream.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Ankle injury knocks Leave the Light On off Triple Crown trail

Leave the Light On will be forced to miss the Triple Crown due to an ankle injury (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)

An ankle injury suffered in his most recent workout has knocked Grade 2 winner Leave the Light On (Horse Greeley) off the Triple Crown trail.

Trained by Chad Brown for Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stable and William H. Lawrence, Leave the Light On will have surgery next week at the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington, Kentucky.

"Leave the Light On emerged from his latest workout with an injury to his right hind ankle. It requires surgery and that's probably going to put him on the shelf for a couple months," Brown explained. "It's terrible news for all of us associated with the horse. To already have 10 points in the bank (toward a Kentucky Derby [G1] starting berth), it really stings.

"We always put the horse first and, thankfully, this is not only not life-threatening, it's not even career-threatening," Brown added. "It's a situation where the timing is very unfortunate and you never want these horses to be injured, but this seems fixable. Hopefully, Leave the Light On will recover and be back in big races in the fall."

The three-year-old chestnut had been training steadily at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park's satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, including a five-furlong breeze in 1:00 4/5 on Sunday, January 25. He was being pointed to the $400,000 Fountain of Youth S. (G2) on February 21 at Gulfstream for his three-year-old debut.

Leave the Light On didn't make his career debut until last fall, breaking his maiden by 4 1/2 lengths in his second start at Belmont Park and posting a front-running, half-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen S. (G2) on November 29 at Aqueduct.

"There's a lot of nice races out there and with our program, we always look at the big picture if possible," Brown said. "We try to look at the whole career of the horse. Of course, our first choice was to go to the Derby. That's the race we want to win and everyone wants to win, but not at the expense of the horse. If the horse needs to be stopped on and cleaned up, then that's what we're going to do. Hopefully he has a long, successful career in our barn."

Brown said that he plans to run both Cay Dancer (Danehill Dancer) and Rosalind (Broken Vow) in the $150,000 Suwannee River S. (G3) on the February 7 undercard of the $500,000 Donn H. (G1) at Gulfstream.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Cutty Shark strikes in Laurel prep for General George

Cutty Shark just got there in his Laurel prep for the General George (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Cutty Shark (Old Fashioned) punched his ticket to next month's $250,000 General George H. (G3) at Laurel Park with a victory in Friday's featured 6TH race, a $47,000 optional claimer/allowance test.

Owned by Leslie Ruth and Barbara Houck, trained by Donald Barr and guided for the first time by Xavier Perez, Cutty Shark was confidently ridden to a narrow neck victory in 1:23 2/5 on the good track for the seven-furlong distance, the same distance as the General George on President's Day, February 16.

It was the fifth Laurel Park score for Cutty Shark, who also finished second in the City of Laurel S. and third in the Fire Plug S. Today he broke sharply, contested the pace between horses and then edged away to win by a neck. The gray gelding paid $5.40 as the 8-5 favorite and improved his career record to 19-5-3-2, $173,486.

"We lost a lot of training days with him because of the weather," Barr explained. "I don't feel like he was at his best today. It was an ad-lib training job but he still ran a 1:23 and he should be better in the General George."

Barr captured the 1995 General George, then a Grade 2, with Who Wouldn't.

Dual stakes victor Extrasexyhippzter (Stroll), who was making his first start since Preakness Day 2014, turned in a very game second and Never Stop Looking (Langfuhr), who won the Fire Plug S. at Laurel on January 3, finished a length farther back in third. All three are possible for the General George.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Cutty Shark strikes in Laurel prep for General George

Cutty Shark just got there in his Laurel prep for the General George (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Cutty Shark (Old Fashioned) punched his ticket to next month's $250,000 General George H. (G3) at Laurel Park with a victory in Friday's featured 6TH race, a $47,000 optional claimer/allowance test.

Owned by Leslie Ruth and Barbara Houck, trained by Donald Barr and guided for the first time by Xavier Perez, Cutty Shark was confidently ridden to a narrow neck victory in 1:23 2/5 on the good track for the seven-furlong distance, the same distance as the General George on President's Day, February 16.

It was the fifth Laurel Park score for Cutty Shark, who also finished second in the City of Laurel S. and third in the Fire Plug S. Today he broke sharply, contested the pace between horses and then edged away to win by a neck. The gray gelding paid $5.40 as the 8-5 favorite and improved his career record to 19-5-3-2, $173,486.

"We lost a lot of training days with him because of the weather," Barr explained. "I don't feel like he was at his best today. It was an ad-lib training job but he still ran a 1:23 and he should be better in the General George."

Barr captured the 1995 General George, then a Grade 2, with Who Wouldn't.

Dual stakes victor Extrasexyhippzter (Stroll), who was making his first start since Preakness Day 2014, turned in a very game second and Never Stop Looking (Langfuhr), who won the Fire Plug S. at Laurel on January 3, finished a length farther back in third. All three are possible for the General George.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Honor Code expected to return in GP Handicap, allowance tabbed for Top Billing

Knocked from last year's Triple Crown trail by injury just two weeks apart, both Honor Code (A.P. Indy) and Top Billing (Curlin) are nearing their four-year-old debuts this winter at Gulfstream Park.

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Grade 2 hero Honor Code is expected to make his return in the one-mile, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on March 7 while Top Billing, unraced since finishing third in Gulfstream's Fountain of Youth S. (G2) last February, is likely to come back in a second-level allowance race.

Both horses are scheduled to work Saturday morning at Payson Park.

Honor Code suffered a slight tear in his right hind upper suspensory and did not race between a runner-up finish behind Social Inclusion in a Gulfstream allowance on March 12 and a one-length victory on November 22 at Aqueduct in his comeback.

"I was tickled to death with his last race. He had trained that way," McGaughey said. "The only thing I was surprised with was that he had trained so aggressive I thought that he might lay up in the race a little closer. I think now that we're getting him stretched out a little bit hopefully he'll place himself a little bit better."

Top Billing cracked a right front cannon bone during a workout last winter following the Fountain of Youth, which was his stakes bow and third start of the year at Gulfstream. In his prior race, the chestnut rolled to a 2 3/4-length optional claiming victory.

"He had a pretty significant injury and the biggest thing I wanted to do was just try to get him back," McGaughey said. "He's ready to run."

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Honor Code expected to return in GP Handicap, allowance tabbed for Top Billing

Knocked from last year's Triple Crown trail by injury just two weeks apart, both Honor Code (A.P. Indy) and Top Billing (Curlin) are nearing their four-year-old debuts this winter at Gulfstream Park.

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Grade 2 hero Honor Code is expected to make his return in the one-mile, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on March 7 while Top Billing, unraced since finishing third in Gulfstream's Fountain of Youth S. (G2) last February, is likely to come back in a second-level allowance race.

Both horses are scheduled to work Saturday morning at Payson Park.

Honor Code suffered a slight tear in his right hind upper suspensory and did not race between a runner-up finish behind Social Inclusion in a Gulfstream allowance on March 12 and a one-length victory on November 22 at Aqueduct in his comeback.

"I was tickled to death with his last race. He had trained that way," McGaughey said. "The only thing I was surprised with was that he had trained so aggressive I thought that he might lay up in the race a little closer. I think now that we're getting him stretched out a little bit hopefully he'll place himself a little bit better."

Top Billing cracked a right front cannon bone during a workout last winter following the Fountain of Youth, which was his stakes bow and third start of the year at Gulfstream. In his prior race, the chestnut rolled to a 2 3/4-length optional claiming victory.

"He had a pretty significant injury and the biggest thing I wanted to do was just try to get him back," McGaughey said. "He's ready to run."

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

'Perfectly well and perfectly happy' Cirrus des Aigles skipping Dubai

European champion and veteran Group 1 hero Cirrus des Aigles (Even Top) will bypass this year's Dubai World Cup card with an aim toward a seasonal debut at Longchamp prior to the Prix Ganay (Fr-G1) at that course on May 3.

The nine-year-old gelding was last seen finishing fourth, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths, in the Hong Kong Cup (HK-G1) on December 14.

"The horse is perfectly well and perfectly happy, just like always," trainer Corine Barande-Barbe said. "After he came back from Hong Kong, we wanted to give him a full month of relaxation.

"To go to Dubai would not give him enough time to be completely at his best, so we have decided to leave it this year. We like to go to Dubai every other year, so it might be we try again next year."

Cirrus des Aigles won the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-G1) in 2012 prior to adding that year's Ganay. He was second to Gentildonna (Deep Impact) in last year's Sheema Classic before reeling off three straight Group 1 victories in Europe: the Ganay over Treve (Motivator), the Prix d'Ispahan over Anodin (Anabaa) and the Coronation Cup over Flintshire (Dansili).

"He's very fresh and enjoying life, but I'd like to get him back for a race at Longchamp in the spring before we think about the Prix Ganay," Barande-Barbe added.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

'Perfectly well and perfectly happy' Cirrus des Aigles skipping Dubai

European champion and veteran Group 1 hero Cirrus des Aigles (Even Top) will bypass this year's Dubai World Cup card with an aim toward a seasonal debut at Longchamp prior to the Prix Ganay (Fr-G1) at that course on May 3.

The nine-year-old gelding was last seen finishing fourth, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths, in the Hong Kong Cup (HK-G1) on December 14.

"The horse is perfectly well and perfectly happy, just like always," trainer Corine Barande-Barbe said. "After he came back from Hong Kong, we wanted to give him a full month of relaxation.

"To go to Dubai would not give him enough time to be completely at his best, so we have decided to leave it this year. We like to go to Dubai every other year, so it might be we try again next year."

Cirrus des Aigles won the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-G1) in 2012 prior to adding that year's Ganay. He was second to Gentildonna (Deep Impact) in last year's Sheema Classic before reeling off three straight Group 1 victories in Europe: the Ganay over Treve (Motivator), the Prix d'Ispahan over Anodin (Anabaa) and the Coronation Cup over Flintshire (Dansili).

"He's very fresh and enjoying life, but I'd like to get him back for a race at Longchamp in the spring before we think about the Prix Ganay," Barande-Barbe added.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Haskell Invitational highlights Monmouth's $3.5 million graded schedule

Led by the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on Sunday, August 2, Monmouth Park has announced a graded stakes schedule worth $3.5 million for 2015.

In addition, the popular bonus programs for owners and trainers will return this season, which begins for the 70th time on Saturday, May 9. Throughout the 58 days of live racing at Monmouth in 2015, all trainers will receive a $300 bonus for every non-state-bred starter regardless of surface. Owners will also receive a minimum of $700 for every non-state-bred dirt starter and a minimum of $500 for every open turf runner.

Haskell Day 2015 will see four of Monmouth's 17 graded events, with the Monmouth Cup (G2), Matchmaker S. (G3) and Oceanport S. (G3) adding to the track's biggest racing event.

Haskell success continued to translate to Breeders' Cup success in 2014, with Haskell romper Bayern (Offlee Wild) going on to capture the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) while Haskell favorite Untapable (Tapit) won the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) en route to champion three-year-old filly honors.

Other highlights of the 2015 racing calendar include the $500,000 United Nations (G1), won in 2014 by eventual champion turf male and older male Main Sequence (Aldebaran), and $150,000 Salvator Mile (G3) on July 5, as well as the $200,000 Monmouth S. (G2) on June 7; the $150,000 Molly Pitcher S. (G3), to be renewed on July 3; and the $150,000 Philip H. Iselin S. (G3) on August 30.

The Red Bank S. (G3) will kick off Monmouth's graded stakes schedule when it is contested on Saturday, May 16.

The 2015 Monmouth Park racing season will run from May 9 through September 27.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Haskell Invitational highlights Monmouth's $3.5 million graded schedule

Led by the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on Sunday, August 2, Monmouth Park has announced a graded stakes schedule worth $3.5 million for 2015.

In addition, the popular bonus programs for owners and trainers will return this season, which begins for the 70th time on Saturday, May 9. Throughout the 58 days of live racing at Monmouth in 2015, all trainers will receive a $300 bonus for every non-state-bred starter regardless of surface. Owners will also receive a minimum of $700 for every non-state-bred dirt starter and a minimum of $500 for every open turf runner.

Haskell Day 2015 will see four of Monmouth's 17 graded events, with the Monmouth Cup (G2), Matchmaker S. (G3) and Oceanport S. (G3) adding to the track's biggest racing event.

Haskell success continued to translate to Breeders' Cup success in 2014, with Haskell romper Bayern (Offlee Wild) going on to capture the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) while Haskell favorite Untapable (Tapit) won the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) en route to champion three-year-old filly honors.

Other highlights of the 2015 racing calendar include the $500,000 United Nations (G1), won in 2014 by eventual champion turf male and older male Main Sequence (Aldebaran), and $150,000 Salvator Mile (G3) on July 5, as well as the $200,000 Monmouth S. (G2) on June 7; the $150,000 Molly Pitcher S. (G3), to be renewed on July 3; and the $150,000 Philip H. Iselin S. (G3) on August 30.

The Red Bank S. (G3) will kick off Monmouth's graded stakes schedule when it is contested on Saturday, May 16.

The 2015 Monmouth Park racing season will run from May 9 through September 27.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Texas Red takes old-school approach in San Vicente

Texas Red will be running late (Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

Call it an old-school approach for Texas Red (Afleet Alex). A 6 1/2-length winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), the well-regarded colt will make his three-year-old debut at seven furlongs when he lines up for Sunday's $200,000 San Vicente (G2) at Santa Anita.

Kentucky Derby contenders with two-year-old form are rarely seen in early-season sprints nowadays -- the typical pattern has become two starts at a route. It's been 18 years since the last stakes-winning juvenile, Silver Charm, returned in a one-turn race before capturing the Kentucky Derby. And that race was the 1997 San Vicente.

Texas Red's connections decided upon the San Vicente as the best option despite the fact that he's never won at a one-turn distance. Keith Desormeaux trains and his brother, three-time Kentucky Derby winner Kent, rides.

A well-built bay son of 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex, Texas Red dropped his first two starts sprinting before breaking his maiden going two turns at Del Mar last summer. The Kentucky-bred recorded a non-threatening third behind American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) when making his first stakes attempt, the FrontRunner (G1) in late September, and followed with a 13-1 upset in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, netting a career-best 101 BRIS Speed rating while closing from last to first.

Texas Red will face seven rivals as the likely overwhelming favorite.

Lord Nelson (Pulpit) finished one spot back of Texas Red when fourth in the FrontRunner and earned his first stakes win in the six-furlong Speak Easy at Santa Anita on October 13, posting a 6 3/4-length runaway score. He concluded 2014 with a fifth as the favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs, a race that has already produced next-out stakes winners El Kabeir and International Star, and the Bob Baffert-trained Lord Nelson figures to appreciate the cut back in trip. Rafael Bejarano picks up the mount.

Baffert will also be represented by Punctuate (Distorted Humor). The bay colt colt makes his first appearance since an impressive debut maiden win at Santa Anita in late September and will be ridden by Martin Garcia. Punctuate is out the famous New Mexico-bred mare Peppers Pride (Desert God), who earned more than $1 million and attracted national headlines by winning all 19 career starts from 2005-08.

Serbian Syclone (Wildcat Heir) brings plenty of speed to the mix in his stakes debut. A 6 1/4-length debut winner two starts back, the Peter Miller trainee exits a facile wire-to-wire victory over allowance/optional claiming rivals at six furlongs on December 31. Elvis Trujillo has the call.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Texas Red takes old-school approach in San Vicente

Texas Red will be running late (Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

Call it an old-school approach for Texas Red (Afleet Alex). A 6 1/2-length winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), the well-regarded colt will make his three-year-old debut at seven furlongs when he lines up for Sunday's $200,000 San Vicente (G2) at Santa Anita.

Kentucky Derby contenders with two-year-old form are rarely seen in early-season sprints nowadays -- the typical pattern has become two starts at a route. It's been 18 years since the last stakes-winning juvenile, Silver Charm, returned in a one-turn race before capturing the Kentucky Derby. And that race was the 1997 San Vicente.

Texas Red's connections decided upon the San Vicente as the best option despite the fact that he's never won at a one-turn distance. Keith Desormeaux trains and his brother, three-time Kentucky Derby winner Kent, rides.

A well-built bay son of 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex, Texas Red dropped his first two starts sprinting before breaking his maiden going two turns at Del Mar last summer. The Kentucky-bred recorded a non-threatening third behind American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) when making his first stakes attempt, the FrontRunner (G1) in late September, and followed with a 13-1 upset in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, netting a career-best 101 BRIS Speed rating while closing from last to first.

Texas Red will face seven rivals as the likely overwhelming favorite.

Lord Nelson (Pulpit) finished one spot back of Texas Red when fourth in the FrontRunner and earned his first stakes win in the six-furlong Speak Easy at Santa Anita on October 13, posting a 6 3/4-length runaway score. He concluded 2014 with a fifth as the favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs, a race that has already produced next-out stakes winners El Kabeir and International Star, and the Bob Baffert-trained Lord Nelson figures to appreciate the cut back in trip. Rafael Bejarano picks up the mount.

Baffert will also be represented by Punctuate (Distorted Humor). The bay colt colt makes his first appearance since an impressive debut maiden win at Santa Anita in late September and will be ridden by Martin Garcia. Punctuate is out the famous New Mexico-bred mare Peppers Pride (Desert God), who earned more than $1 million and attracted national headlines by winning all 19 career starts from 2005-08.

Serbian Syclone (Wildcat Heir) brings plenty of speed to the mix in his stakes debut. A 6 1/4-length debut winner two starts back, the Peter Miller trainee exits a facile wire-to-wire victory over allowance/optional claiming rivals at six furlongs on December 31. Elvis Trujillo has the call.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Jerkens reflects on inaugural running of Gulfstream stakes named in his honor

Gulfstream Park on Saturday will host the inaugural running of the $75,000 H. Allen Jerkens, a two-mile turf stakes honoring the Hall of Fame horseman who now calls South Florida his year-round home.

Though he has scaled back in numbers, the 85-year-old Jerkens still has a dozen horses stabled at Gulfstream, where he first arrived to rub horses in 1947. He ran second with All the Way and third with Bold Summit on January 15, and third with Easement on December 10.

"They said they named a race after me," Jerkens said. "Naturally, it makes you feel pretty good. The first stakes race that I ever won in my whole life was two miles and a sixteenth, so maybe that's why they did that."

The son of an Austrian cavalryman, Jerkens won the Display H. on the final day of the 1955 racing season at old Jamaica Racetrack in New York with a son of 1937 Triple Crown champion War Admiral he claimed for $8,000 named War Command.

"Naturally, you look back at things over the years," Jerkens said. "Things were different years ago, but really not that much. You have to have a good horse to win, just like you always used to. It's somewhat the same, even though we think it's not."

Jerkens was the youngest trainer elected to the Hall of Fame at age 45 in 1975, two years after earning the Eclipse Award as top trainer. His career has been one of the most remarkable in racing, having developed more than 160 stakes winners after saddling his first winner at Aqueduct in 1950.

Known as "The Chief" for his experience and horsemanship, and nicknamed "Giant Killer" after upsetting the likes of Secretariat, Kelso and Buckpasser over several decades, Jerkens has saddled more than 3,850 winners.

At Gulfstream, Jerkens' winners include Sensitive Prince (1979) and Devil His Due (1993) in the Gulfstream Park H. (G1) as well as Miss Shop in the 2007 Rampart H. (G2), just to name a few.

"You figure you're lucky to be able to still come out here at my age and be able to be around the horses which I've had all my life, ever since I was a little boy," Jerkens said. "I'm very lucky. Most people aren't that lucky."

Among the horses in Saturday's inaugural running of the stakes are a pair from trainer Graham Motion, who is employing a strategy that would make Jerkens proud.

Taking a page from Jerkens' book -- who is well-known for unconventional training methods that were more common years ago, including racing horses on short rest -- Motion entered Buck Benny (Dynaformer) and Tattenham (Rock Hard Ten), giving both horses their second start in less than a month at the Championship Meet which opened December 6.

"They're doing fine. They both need the distance," Motion said. "Buck Benny ran the other day, but it just wasn't far enough for him, so I was thinking it would set him up for this stake. Tattenham, it's the same thing. It's the distance."

Buck Benny competed only three times in 2014, all between late August and mid-October, and returned January 17 to be seventh after a bumpy start against optional claiming rivals while going 1 1/16 miles. Tattenham also experienced traffic trouble in his most recent effort on January 9. Bumped and forced to steady in midstretch, the five-year-old gelding wound up sixth by 3 3/4 lengths in a 1 1/16-mile claiming event.

"I think this is what they both need, quite frankly, more so with Buck Benny than Tattenham, perhaps," Motion said. "The race that they ran in won't look that good on paper, but I thought they were both good efforts, actually."

Unitarian (Pulpit) steps into the Jerkens after five straight tries in graded stakes, including victory in the Elkhorn S. (G2) at Keeneland last April and recent back-to-back fourth-place finishes in the Red Smith (G3) and W.L. McKnight (G3) handicaps.

"I thought he ran a good, even race. He never stopped trying, which gives you confidence that another half-mile won't hurt him," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "He's a proven horse at a mile and three-eighths, a mile and a half, and he's a big galloper so I actually think two miles might be kind of what he's looking for.

"It's more about the horse wanting to go that far, really, than anything," Pletcher added. "You don't do too much differently. He's got a good foundation of some mile and a half, mile and three-eighths races. You're not looking to do anything real fancy. I think he's the kind of horse that wants to run that far."

Taking a two-race win streak into the Jerkens is the Tino Attard-trained Turkish (Istan). The six-year-old gelding was last seen adding the Valedictory S. (Can-G3), at 1 3/4 miles on Woodbine's Polytrack, to his resume on December 7..

"This horse will go two, two and a half miles, and he never gets tired," Attard said. "I jog him all the way around and he goes nice and easy. But, he's a smart horse. He knows when he's supposed to make the run. If there are two or three horses behind him the last half a mile, he likes to go by himself and then he goes. And, God bless him, he's sound like a dollar."

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Jerkens reflects on inaugural running of Gulfstream stakes named in his honor

Gulfstream Park on Saturday will host the inaugural running of the $75,000 H. Allen Jerkens, a two-mile turf stakes honoring the Hall of Fame horseman who now calls South Florida his year-round home.

Though he has scaled back in numbers, the 85-year-old Jerkens still has a dozen horses stabled at Gulfstream, where he first arrived to rub horses in 1947. He ran second with All the Way and third with Bold Summit on January 15, and third with Easement on December 10.

"They said they named a race after me," Jerkens said. "Naturally, it makes you feel pretty good. The first stakes race that I ever won in my whole life was two miles and a sixteenth, so maybe that's why they did that."

The son of an Austrian cavalryman, Jerkens won the Display H. on the final day of the 1955 racing season at old Jamaica Racetrack in New York with a son of 1937 Triple Crown champion War Admiral he claimed for $8,000 named War Command.

"Naturally, you look back at things over the years," Jerkens said. "Things were different years ago, but really not that much. You have to have a good horse to win, just like you always used to. It's somewhat the same, even though we think it's not."

Jerkens was the youngest trainer elected to the Hall of Fame at age 45 in 1975, two years after earning the Eclipse Award as top trainer. His career has been one of the most remarkable in racing, having developed more than 160 stakes winners after saddling his first winner at Aqueduct in 1950.

Known as "The Chief" for his experience and horsemanship, and nicknamed "Giant Killer" after upsetting the likes of Secretariat, Kelso and Buckpasser over several decades, Jerkens has saddled more than 3,850 winners.

At Gulfstream, Jerkens' winners include Sensitive Prince (1979) and Devil His Due (1993) in the Gulfstream Park H. (G1) as well as Miss Shop in the 2007 Rampart H. (G2), just to name a few.

"You figure you're lucky to be able to still come out here at my age and be able to be around the horses which I've had all my life, ever since I was a little boy," Jerkens said. "I'm very lucky. Most people aren't that lucky."

Among the horses in Saturday's inaugural running of the stakes are a pair from trainer Graham Motion, who is employing a strategy that would make Jerkens proud.

Taking a page from Jerkens' book -- who is well-known for unconventional training methods that were more common years ago, including racing horses on short rest -- Motion entered Buck Benny (Dynaformer) and Tattenham (Rock Hard Ten), giving both horses their second start in less than a month at the Championship Meet which opened December 6.

"They're doing fine. They both need the distance," Motion said. "Buck Benny ran the other day, but it just wasn't far enough for him, so I was thinking it would set him up for this stake. Tattenham, it's the same thing. It's the distance."

Buck Benny competed only three times in 2014, all between late August and mid-October, and returned January 17 to be seventh after a bumpy start against optional claiming rivals while going 1 1/16 miles. Tattenham also experienced traffic trouble in his most recent effort on January 9. Bumped and forced to steady in midstretch, the five-year-old gelding wound up sixth by 3 3/4 lengths in a 1 1/16-mile claiming event.

"I think this is what they both need, quite frankly, more so with Buck Benny than Tattenham, perhaps," Motion said. "The race that they ran in won't look that good on paper, but I thought they were both good efforts, actually."

Unitarian (Pulpit) steps into the Jerkens after five straight tries in graded stakes, including victory in the Elkhorn S. (G2) at Keeneland last April and recent back-to-back fourth-place finishes in the Red Smith (G3) and W.L. McKnight (G3) handicaps.

"I thought he ran a good, even race. He never stopped trying, which gives you confidence that another half-mile won't hurt him," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "He's a proven horse at a mile and three-eighths, a mile and a half, and he's a big galloper so I actually think two miles might be kind of what he's looking for.

"It's more about the horse wanting to go that far, really, than anything," Pletcher added. "You don't do too much differently. He's got a good foundation of some mile and a half, mile and three-eighths races. You're not looking to do anything real fancy. I think he's the kind of horse that wants to run that far."

Taking a two-race win streak into the Jerkens is the Tino Attard-trained Turkish (Istan). The six-year-old gelding was last seen adding the Valedictory S. (Can-G3), at 1 3/4 miles on Woodbine's Polytrack, to his resume on December 7..

"This horse will go two, two and a half miles, and he never gets tired," Attard said. "I jog him all the way around and he goes nice and easy. But, he's a smart horse. He knows when he's supposed to make the run. If there are two or three horses behind him the last half a mile, he likes to go by himself and then he goes. And, God bless him, he's sound like a dollar."

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Take Charge Brandi returns in Martha Washington

Take Charge Brandi closed out her championship juvenile season with a win in the Starlet (Benoit Photos)

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and recently crowned 2014 champion two-year-old filly Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) takes on six rivals while beginning her sophomore campaign on Saturday in the $100,000 Martha Washington S. at Oaklawn Park.

The one-mile contest is a prep for the $150,000 Honeybee S. (G3) on March 7, followed by the $400,000 Fantasy S. (G3) scheduled for April 4, all leading up to the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Before that, though, Take Charge Brandi will be looking to score her fourth straight victory in the Martha Washington after closing out 2013 on a three-race win streak that began in the Breeders' Cup.

Sent off the 61-1 longest shot in that 12-filly field, Take Charge Brandi wired the Juvenile Fillies for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. She proceeded to take the Delta Downs Princess (G3) and Starlet S. (G1) in similar front-running fashion, and that trio of wins was enough for the chestnut miss to garner an Eclipse Award as 2014's top juvenile filly.

Jon Court will take the reins on Take Charge Brandi for the first time in the Martha Washington, which features only two other fillies with prior stakes experience.

Perfect Fit (Majesticperfection) ran second in the Trapeze S. at Remington Park in her black-type bow on December 14 under Clifton Berry, who retains the mount on Saturday. The Bret Calhoun pupil was eighth in her debut prior to breaking her maiden by 4 3/4 lengths and taking an optional claimer by two lengths, all at Remington.

Sarah Sis (Sharp Humor) is one of three in the field with a 2015 start already under her girth. The dark bay lass was a neck runner-up in the January 15 Dixie Belle S. in her first start since taking an allowance at Keeneland in October by 4 1/4 lengths. Conditioned by Ingrid Mason, Sharp Sis romped by 11 lengths at Arlington last August in her career debut before finishing second in the Arlington-Washington Lassie S. about three weeks later. Julio Felix has the call in the Martha Washington.

Indian Annie (Indian Charlie) and Sweet Corinna (Corinthian) both showed up in an Oaklawn optional claimer on January 17, running one-two. The Steve Asmussen-trained Indian Annie, whose dam is a half-sister to champion Uncle Mo, finished 4 3/4 lengths in front of her rival and keeps Ricado Santana Jr. in the saddle. Sweet Corinna, from Mark Casse's shedrow, will be ridden by Channing Hill for the second straight time.

Allowance heroine High Dollar Woman (Super Saver) and maiden winner Cape Town Stevie (Stephen Got Even) complete the Martha Washington field.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Take Charge Brandi returns in Martha Washington

Take Charge Brandi closed out her championship juvenile season with a win in the Starlet (Benoit Photos)

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and recently crowned 2014 champion two-year-old filly Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) takes on six rivals while beginning her sophomore campaign on Saturday in the $100,000 Martha Washington S. at Oaklawn Park.

The one-mile contest is a prep for the $150,000 Honeybee S. (G3) on March 7, followed by the $400,000 Fantasy S. (G3) scheduled for April 4, all leading up to the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Before that, though, Take Charge Brandi will be looking to score her fourth straight victory in the Martha Washington after closing out 2013 on a three-race win streak that began in the Breeders' Cup.

Sent off the 61-1 longest shot in that 12-filly field, Take Charge Brandi wired the Juvenile Fillies for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. She proceeded to take the Delta Downs Princess (G3) and Starlet S. (G1) in similar front-running fashion, and that trio of wins was enough for the chestnut miss to garner an Eclipse Award as 2014's top juvenile filly.

Jon Court will take the reins on Take Charge Brandi for the first time in the Martha Washington, which features only two other fillies with prior stakes experience.

Perfect Fit (Majesticperfection) ran second in the Trapeze S. at Remington Park in her black-type bow on December 14 under Clifton Berry, who retains the mount on Saturday. The Bret Calhoun pupil was eighth in her debut prior to breaking her maiden by 4 3/4 lengths and taking an optional claimer by two lengths, all at Remington.

Sarah Sis (Sharp Humor) is one of three in the field with a 2015 start already under her girth. The dark bay lass was a neck runner-up in the January 15 Dixie Belle S. in her first start since taking an allowance at Keeneland in October by 4 1/4 lengths. Conditioned by Ingrid Mason, Sharp Sis romped by 11 lengths at Arlington last August in her career debut before finishing second in the Arlington-Washington Lassie S. about three weeks later. Julio Felix has the call in the Martha Washington.

Indian Annie (Indian Charlie) and Sweet Corinna (Corinthian) both showed up in an Oaklawn optional claimer on January 17, running one-two. The Steve Asmussen-trained Indian Annie, whose dam is a half-sister to champion Uncle Mo, finished 4 3/4 lengths in front of her rival and keeps Ricado Santana Jr. in the saddle. Sweet Corinna, from Mark Casse's shedrow, will be ridden by Channing Hill for the second straight time.

Allowance heroine High Dollar Woman (Super Saver) and maiden winner Cape Town Stevie (Stephen Got Even) complete the Martha Washington field.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Well-matched fields line up in Las Virgenes, Santa Anita stakes

Achiever's Legacy is but one of Jerry Hollendorfer's five entries in the Las Virgenes (Benoit Photos)

While Saturday's Martha Washington S. at Oaklawn Park appears to be a one-sided affair with the presence of Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway), the $400,000 Las Virgenes S. (G1) going a mile at Santa Anita Park has drawn an evenly-matched field of 10.

There is no real standout in the Las Virgenes, which like the Martha Washington offers points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), and the race features quite a few who have finished behind Take Charge Brandi in recent months.

One of those is Maybellene (Lookin at Lucky), and the Bob Baffert pupil could go off a narrow favorite based on her three-quarter length third in the Starlet S. (G1) last out on December 13. Take Charge Brandi fended off the 15-1 Maybellene in the lane of that 1 1/16-mile contest but won't be around this time. That could leave the way clear for the bay lass to secure her first stakes victory. Rafael Bejarano has the return call.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will saddle half the Las Virgenes field, including Achiever's Legacy (City Zip) and Majestic Presence (Majestic Warrior) who were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Starlet.

Achiever's Legacy entered that contest off a 1 1/4-length win at Del Mar in the Desi Arnaz S., which had Maybellene in second and fellow Las Virgenes starter and Hollendorfer trainee Light the City (Street Sense) another neck back in third. Majestic Presence faced Take Charge Brandi in her past three outings, finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), third in the Delta Downs Princess (G3) and then fourth in the Starlet. The chestnut lass was also fourth in the Chandelier S. (G1) last season.

Also in with a chance Saturday is Callback (Street Sense), runner-up in the Santa Ynez S. (G2) on January 3 for Baffert.

Trainer Mark Casses has maiden winners Mio Me (Eskendereya) and Miss Mandate (Pioneerof the Nile) entered, while John Sadler sends out Suva Harbor (Rockport Harbor). Hollendorfer's remaining two entries -- Glory (Tapit) and Lutine Belle (Bellamy Road) -- complete the Las Virgenes field.

Secret Circle's last win came in the 2013 BC Sprint (Breeders' Cup Ltd.)

There are two other graded contests scheduled for Saturday at Santa Anita. Kicking off the stakes action will be the $200,000 Palos Verdes S. (G2) sending six older runners sprinting six furlongs.

The race features 2013 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) hero Secret Circle (Eddington), who finished a half-length second while going for a Sprint title defense three races back. The Baffert trainee, who was second in this race last year, filled the runner-up spot in the Cigar Mile H. (G1) after his Breeders' Cup try and closed out 2014 with a close fourth in the Midnight Lute S. (G3) behind Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction), who brings a two-race win streak into this one.

Bing Crosby S. (G1) winner Big Macher (Beau Genius), Grade 2 victor Wild Dude (Wildcat Heir) and Conquest Two Step (Two Step Salsa), a neck second in the recent Malibu S. (G1), are also entered. Stakes debuter Chief Lion (Wildcat Heir) rounds out the field.

Sandwiched between the Palos Verdes and Las Virgenes is the $200,000 Arcadia S. (G2) going a mile on the Santa Anita turf. Nine were entered, including Kaigun (Northern Afleet), who closed out his four-year-old campaign with a win in the Seabiscuit H. (G2) at Del Mar on November 28. The chestnut gelding spent part of last year knocking on the door against Grade 1 rivals, running second in the Woodbine Mile (Can-G1), Manhattan S. (G1) and Maker's 46 Mile S. (G1).

Home Run Kitten (Kitten's Joy) is looking to add a second graded score to his resume in this contest. The David Hofmans-conditioned four-year-old captured the Eddie D. S. (G3) in late September and was last seen rallying for a neck second in the Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) over course and distance. Play Hard to Get (Purim) is stretching out in this spot after finishing fourth in the about 6 1/2-furlong Daytona S. (G3) on the downhill turf in his stakes bow, and Grade 3 winner Avanzare (Grand Reward) has some experience on Santa Anita's green as well thanks to a third-placing in the City of Hope Mile (G2) last fall.

The Arcadia is finished out by multiple Grade 3 veteran Za Approval (Ghostzapper), Brazilian Group 1 winner Baccelo (Northern Afleet), Grade 3 victor Edge of Reality (Lawyer Ron), Grade 1-placed Talco (Pivotal) and El Nino Terrible (Malibu Moon).

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Well-matched fields line up in Las Virgenes, Santa Anita stakes

Achiever's Legacy is but one of Jerry Hollendorfer's five entries in the Las Virgenes (Benoit Photos)

While Saturday's Martha Washington S. at Oaklawn Park appears to be a one-sided affair with the presence of Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway), the $400,000 Las Virgenes S. (G1) going a mile at Santa Anita Park has drawn an evenly-matched field of 10.

There is no real standout in the Las Virgenes, which like the Martha Washington offers points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), and the race features quite a few who have finished behind Take Charge Brandi in recent months.

One of those is Maybellene (Lookin at Lucky), and the Bob Baffert pupil could go off a narrow favorite based on her three-quarter length third in the Starlet S. (G1) last out on December 13. Take Charge Brandi fended off the 15-1 Maybellene in the lane of that 1 1/16-mile contest but won't be around this time. That could leave the way clear for the bay lass to secure her first stakes victory. Rafael Bejarano has the return call.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will saddle half the Las Virgenes field, including Achiever's Legacy (City Zip) and Majestic Presence (Majestic Warrior) who were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Starlet.

Achiever's Legacy entered that contest off a 1 1/4-length win at Del Mar in the Desi Arnaz S., which had Maybellene in second and fellow Las Virgenes starter and Hollendorfer trainee Light the City (Street Sense) another neck back in third. Majestic Presence faced Take Charge Brandi in her past three outings, finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), third in the Delta Downs Princess (G3) and then fourth in the Starlet. The chestnut lass was also fourth in the Chandelier S. (G1) last season.

Also in with a chance Saturday is Callback (Street Sense), runner-up in the Santa Ynez S. (G2) on January 3 for Baffert.

Trainer Mark Casses has maiden winners Mio Me (Eskendereya) and Miss Mandate (Pioneerof the Nile) entered, while John Sadler sends out Suva Harbor (Rockport Harbor). Hollendorfer's remaining two entries -- Glory (Tapit) and Lutine Belle (Bellamy Road) -- complete the Las Virgenes field.

Secret Circle's last win came in the 2013 BC Sprint (Breeders' Cup Ltd.)

There are two other graded contests scheduled for Saturday at Santa Anita. Kicking off the stakes action will be the $200,000 Palos Verdes S. (G2) sending six older runners sprinting six furlongs.

The race features 2013 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) hero Secret Circle (Eddington), who finished a half-length second while going for a Sprint title defense three races back. The Baffert trainee, who was second in this race last year, filled the runner-up spot in the Cigar Mile H. (G1) after his Breeders' Cup try and closed out 2014 with a close fourth in the Midnight Lute S. (G3) behind Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction), who brings a two-race win streak into this one.

Bing Crosby S. (G1) winner Big Macher (Beau Genius), Grade 2 victor Wild Dude (Wildcat Heir) and Conquest Two Step (Two Step Salsa), a neck second in the recent Malibu S. (G1), are also entered. Stakes debuter Chief Lion (Wildcat Heir) rounds out the field.

Sandwiched between the Palos Verdes and Las Virgenes is the $200,000 Arcadia S. (G2) going a mile on the Santa Anita turf. Nine were entered, including Kaigun (Northern Afleet), who closed out his four-year-old campaign with a win in the Seabiscuit H. (G2) at Del Mar on November 28. The chestnut gelding spent part of last year knocking on the door against Grade 1 rivals, running second in the Woodbine Mile (Can-G1), Manhattan S. (G1) and Maker's 46 Mile S. (G1).

Home Run Kitten (Kitten's Joy) is looking to add a second graded score to his resume in this contest. The David Hofmans-conditioned four-year-old captured the Eddie D. S. (G3) in late September and was last seen rallying for a neck second in the Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) over course and distance. Play Hard to Get (Purim) is stretching out in this spot after finishing fourth in the about 6 1/2-furlong Daytona S. (G3) on the downhill turf in his stakes bow, and Grade 3 winner Avanzare (Grand Reward) has some experience on Santa Anita's green as well thanks to a third-placing in the City of Hope Mile (G2) last fall.

The Arcadia is finished out by multiple Grade 3 veteran Za Approval (Ghostzapper), Brazilian Group 1 winner Baccelo (Northern Afleet), Grade 3 victor Edge of Reality (Lawyer Ron), Grade 1-placed Talco (Pivotal) and El Nino Terrible (Malibu Moon).

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Catalina Red faces class check in Sam F. Davis

Catalina Red puts his two-for-two mark at Tampa on the line (S V Photography)

Winner of the Inaugural and Pasco at Tampa Bay Downs this meet, Catalina Red (Munnings) will face a deeper cast of rivals while he stretches out to two turns in Saturday's $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

The Chad Stewart-trained colt will break from the rail against 11 foes in the 1 1/16-mile event with Daniel Centeno.

Catalina Red placed in his first three starts, including two on turf, at Gulfstream Park and Gulfstream Park West before breaking his maiden by a 7 1/4-length margin in the December 6 Inaugural at six furlongs. He came back with a hard-fought neck decision in the seven-furlong Pasco on December 27 and was flattered when runner-up X Y Jet (Kantharos) came back to finish a half-length second in last Saturday's Hutcheson (G3) at Gulfstream.

Ami's Flatter (Flatter) ships into Gulfstream for trainer Josie Carroll following a fast-finishing second in the January 3 Mucho Macho Man, his first attempt against winners and only his second career outing. The bay colt will attempt to keep improving off the encouraging performance with a returning Luis Contreras.

Ocean Knight (Curlin), a 4 1/4-length debut winner at Aqueduct December 13 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, merits respect in his stakes debut. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be in for the mount. Todd Pletcher will be represented by recent maiden scorer Royal Son (Tiznow), who was elevated to first via disqualification at Gulfstream on January 8. John Velazquez rides.

Other runners include stakes runner-up Brother Bobo (Kantharos); Bears Personality (Awesome Again), who returns to action for conditioner Reade Baker after concluding 2014 with a pair of easy wins at Woodbine; My Johnny Be Good (Colonel John), 14-length runaway winner over allowance/optional claiming opponents at Tampa on December 28; and smart Tampa maiden winner Bandages (Any Given Saturday).

Eleven sophomore fillies were entered for the $100,000 Suncoast at a mile and 40 yards. Juvenile stakes winner A.P.'s Glory will attempt to bounce back from a fourth-place showing as the favorite in the December 27 Gasparilla at Tampa. Chris Emigh takes over the reins for Jimmy DiVito.

Irish Jasper (First Defence) and Huasca (Tiz Wonderful), the top two respective finishers from the Gasparilla, both return in the Suncoast. The overflow field of 11 includes one also-eligible.

The $150,000 Endeavour (G3), a 1 1/16-mile turf affair for fillies and mares, will also be offered. Testa Rossi (Dr Fong), a smashing 3 1/2-length winner of the Florida Oaks (G3) over the course in her 2014 debut, will return to Tampa for trainer Chad Brown. She makes her first appearance since a disappointing seventh as the favorite in the Mrs. Revere (G2) last November.

The 14-horse field also contains Hard Not to Like (Hard Spun), who will make her first appearance since upsetting the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland last April. The six-year-old mare sold for $1.5 million at the Keeneland November sale and makes her first start for Christophe Clement. Multiple Grade 3 heroine I'm Already Sexy (Ready's Image) can't be dismissed from consideration and Grade 1 queen Rosalind (Broken Vow) will be seeking a turnaround in form after concluding last season with four consecutive unplaced finishes.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Catalina Red faces class check in Sam F. Davis

Catalina Red puts his two-for-two mark at Tampa on the line (S V Photography)

Winner of the Inaugural and Pasco at Tampa Bay Downs this meet, Catalina Red (Munnings) will face a deeper cast of rivals while he stretches out to two turns in Saturday's $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

The Chad Stewart-trained colt will break from the rail against 11 foes in the 1 1/16-mile event with Daniel Centeno.

Catalina Red placed in his first three starts, including two on turf, at Gulfstream Park and Gulfstream Park West before breaking his maiden by a 7 1/4-length margin in the December 6 Inaugural at six furlongs. He came back with a hard-fought neck decision in the seven-furlong Pasco on December 27 and was flattered when runner-up X Y Jet (Kantharos) came back to finish a half-length second in last Saturday's Hutcheson (G3) at Gulfstream.

Ami's Flatter (Flatter) ships into Gulfstream for trainer Josie Carroll following a fast-finishing second in the January 3 Mucho Macho Man, his first attempt against winners and only his second career outing. The bay colt will attempt to keep improving off the encouraging performance with a returning Luis Contreras.

Ocean Knight (Curlin), a 4 1/4-length debut winner at Aqueduct December 13 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, merits respect in his stakes debut. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be in for the mount. Todd Pletcher will be represented by recent maiden scorer Royal Son (Tiznow), who was elevated to first via disqualification at Gulfstream on January 8. John Velazquez rides.

Other runners include stakes runner-up Brother Bobo (Kantharos); Bears Personality (Awesome Again), who returns to action for conditioner Reade Baker after concluding 2014 with a pair of easy wins at Woodbine; My Johnny Be Good (Colonel John), 14-length runaway winner over allowance/optional claiming opponents at Tampa on December 28; and smart Tampa maiden winner Bandages (Any Given Saturday).

Eleven sophomore fillies were entered for the $100,000 Suncoast at a mile and 40 yards. Juvenile stakes winner A.P.'s Glory will attempt to bounce back from a fourth-place showing as the favorite in the December 27 Gasparilla at Tampa. Chris Emigh takes over the reins for Jimmy DiVito.

Irish Jasper (First Defence) and Huasca (Tiz Wonderful), the top two respective finishers from the Gasparilla, both return in the Suncoast. The overflow field of 11 includes one also-eligible.

The $150,000 Endeavour (G3), a 1 1/16-mile turf affair for fillies and mares, will also be offered. Testa Rossi (Dr Fong), a smashing 3 1/2-length winner of the Florida Oaks (G3) over the course in her 2014 debut, will return to Tampa for trainer Chad Brown. She makes her first appearance since a disappointing seventh as the favorite in the Mrs. Revere (G2) last November.

The 14-horse field also contains Hard Not to Like (Hard Spun), who will make her first appearance since upsetting the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland last April. The six-year-old mare sold for $1.5 million at the Keeneland November sale and makes her first start for Christophe Clement. Multiple Grade 3 heroine I'm Already Sexy (Ready's Image) can't be dismissed from consideration and Grade 1 queen Rosalind (Broken Vow) will be seeking a turnaround in form after concluding last season with four consecutive unplaced finishes.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

The Great War debuts for Ward in 96Rock

The Great War (center) was a solid fourth in the BC Juvenile (Breeders' Cup Ltd. Photo)
Last seen finishing a creditable fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) for Aidan O'Brien, The Great War (War Front) will make his first start for Wesley Ward in Saturday's $75,000 96Rock S. at Turfway Park. The 6 1/2-furlong dash is a stepping stone to the track's marquee Kentucky Derby (G1) prep, the March 21 Spiral S. (G3), with the March 1 John Battaglia Memorial serving as the in-between prep.

The Great War is making a homecoming of sorts, having been bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm. The close relative of multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Departing (War Front) was sold for $1 million as a yearling at Keeneland September.

Racing for Coolmore principals Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier in partnership with Joseph Allen, The Great War got off to a quick start as a juvenile at Ballydoyle. The precocious colt won his first two starts at Tipperary and the Curragh, respectively, before a disappointing fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Norfolk (Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot. He was subsequently a subpar sixth in the July S. (Eng-G2), an encouraging second in the Curragh S., and a better-than-appears 11th under 128 pounds in a lucrative event at Doncaster.

The Great War turned the corner with a 3 1/2-length coup in the September 28 Blenheim S. back at the Curragh, earning a crack at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. In his first attempt on dirt, and beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, he chased the wickedly fast pace and held on determinedly for fourth.

Considering how well Juvenile third Upstart (Flatter) performed in last Saturday's Holy Bull (G2), and that Juvenile fifth went on to miss narrowly in both the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), The Great War is entitled to run up to his reputation here. He has been training forwardly over the Turfway Polytrack, and has drawn in the middle of the field in post 6. Albin Jimenez has the call.

Trainer Mike Maker is double-handed with Gulfstream Park shippers Serious Talk (Forestry) and Two Step Temper (Two Step Salsa). Unbeaten Serious Talk debuts for the barn off a $35,000 claim, while Two Step Temper seeks better luck after a pair of tough trips on turf.

Candy Charger (Candy Ride), 10th behind Dortmund (Big Brown) in a Churchill Downs allowance two back, exits a front-running allowance score at Turfway. Milwaukee Mist (Milwaukee Brew) bested the well-bred Musical Score (Unbridled's Song) in a local maiden January 3, while Worth the Gamble (Van Nistelrooy) just rolled to a 2 1/4-length decision here January 16. Worth the Gamble was previously second to Runhappy (Super Saver) in his eventful maiden romp.

Also worth a look is Draw Nigh (Elite Squadron), who has won or placed in his three career tries on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs. A three-length maiden winner there in June, he was third in the September 25 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile S. The Jim Rankin runner has not raced since capturing a second-level allowance at Mountaineer November 22.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

The Great War debuts for Ward in 96Rock

The Great War (center) was a solid fourth in the BC Juvenile (Breeders' Cup Ltd. Photo)
Last seen finishing a creditable fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) for Aidan O'Brien, The Great War (War Front) will make his first start for Wesley Ward in Saturday's $75,000 96Rock S. at Turfway Park. The 6 1/2-furlong dash is a stepping stone to the track's marquee Kentucky Derby (G1) prep, the March 21 Spiral S. (G3), with the March 1 John Battaglia Memorial serving as the in-between prep.

The Great War is making a homecoming of sorts, having been bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm. The close relative of multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Departing (War Front) was sold for $1 million as a yearling at Keeneland September.

Racing for Coolmore principals Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier in partnership with Joseph Allen, The Great War got off to a quick start as a juvenile at Ballydoyle. The precocious colt won his first two starts at Tipperary and the Curragh, respectively, before a disappointing fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Norfolk (Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot. He was subsequently a subpar sixth in the July S. (Eng-G2), an encouraging second in the Curragh S., and a better-than-appears 11th under 128 pounds in a lucrative event at Doncaster.

The Great War turned the corner with a 3 1/2-length coup in the September 28 Blenheim S. back at the Curragh, earning a crack at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. In his first attempt on dirt, and beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, he chased the wickedly fast pace and held on determinedly for fourth.

Considering how well Juvenile third Upstart (Flatter) performed in last Saturday's Holy Bull (G2), and that Juvenile fifth went on to miss narrowly in both the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), The Great War is entitled to run up to his reputation here. He has been training forwardly over the Turfway Polytrack, and has drawn in the middle of the field in post 6. Albin Jimenez has the call.

Trainer Mike Maker is double-handed with Gulfstream Park shippers Serious Talk (Forestry) and Two Step Temper (Two Step Salsa). Unbeaten Serious Talk debuts for the barn off a $35,000 claim, while Two Step Temper seeks better luck after a pair of tough trips on turf.

Candy Charger (Candy Ride), 10th behind Dortmund (Big Brown) in a Churchill Downs allowance two back, exits a front-running allowance score at Turfway. Milwaukee Mist (Milwaukee Brew) bested the well-bred Musical Score (Unbridled's Song) in a local maiden January 3, while Worth the Gamble (Van Nistelrooy) just rolled to a 2 1/4-length decision here January 16. Worth the Gamble was previously second to Runhappy (Super Saver) in his eventful maiden romp.

Also worth a look is Draw Nigh (Elite Squadron), who has won or placed in his three career tries on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs. A three-length maiden winner there in June, he was third in the September 25 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile S. The Jim Rankin runner has not raced since capturing a second-level allowance at Mountaineer November 22.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

In brief

Due to the winter weather, including low temperatures and high winds expected to produce a wind chill well into the single digits, live racing at Charles Town for Friday night, January 30, has been canceled. Live racing is slated to resume Saturday evening at 7 p.m. (EST)...

Saratoga Dreamer was picture perfect in Friday's Rego Park -- once the gates opened, that is (NYRA/Joe Labozzetta/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Peter Deutsch's Saratoga Dreamer (Elusive Quality) was reluctant to load in Friday's $125,000 Rego Park S. at Aqueduct, needing a blindfold to finally enter the gate, but proved best at the end of the six-furlong inner track affair by a neck under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. The Christophe Clement-trained colt may have not wanted to enter the gates, but had no trouble exiting and settling into a midpack spot while stalking the front runners just off the rail. Saratoga Dreamer angled a bit farther out and was three wide entering the stretch before running down Regal Minister (Posse) to stop the clock in 1:12 4/5 over the fast dirt. "I broke good and he put me in a great position," Ortiz said. "I didn't have to use my horse in the first part of the race, just saving him for the end. He finished good. One thing I like about Christophe Clement is that he trains the babies very good; he puts them behind horses to take some dirt. I was very confident with the dirt, and when I asked him he kicked in." Saratoga Dreamer paid $8.70 as the 3-1 second choice while making his first start on dirt. The three-year-old chestnut previously broke his maiden by 2 1/4 lengths sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on Saratoga's green in August and followed up with a troubled eighth-place run over Woodbine's yielding turf in the one-mile Summer S. (Can-G2) on September 13. "The horse had trained spectacularly on the dirt in Florida," Clement said by telephone from Florida. "I was thinking about a race here for him, but it got canceled. I saw this race and was able to get him up there to run in it. Before he ever ran, he trained so well on the grass I felt I had to run him on the grass. The second time, I tried stretching him out to a mile but he acted up badly behind the gate. He probably wants to sprint at this stage. He'll come back to Florida for a freshening and return to New York in the spring." Saratoga Dreamer now boasts a 3-2-0-0 career mark having banked $120,603 in earnings...

Bob Baffert has not ruled out the February 7 San Antonio (G2) for San Pasqual (G2) winner Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday). "It's either that or the Donn (G1)," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "The San Antonio would set him up for the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) (on March 7)." The Donn will be run at Gulfstream Park on the same day as the San Antonio and both races are expected to attract deep fields, with California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) and Shared Belief (Candy Ride) confirmed for the San Antonio; and Lea (First Samurai) and Commissioner (A.P. Indy) among the Donn probables...

Pam and Martin Wygod's homebred Prospect Park (Tapit) looks bound for bigger targets after romping by 5 1/4 lengths in Friday's 3RD race at Santa Anita. While the 1-2 favorite The Gomper (Sky Mesa) sputtered in fourth, Prospect Park deftly split rivals in the stretch and coasted home. The Cliff Sise Jr. trainee negotiated the fast-track mile in 1:35 3/5 beneath Kent Desormeaux. A pair of also-rans from the Sham S. (G3), St. Joe Bay and Rockinatten (High Cotton), finished second and third, respectively. Prospect Park was coming off a maiden score over Cyrus Alexander (Medaglia d'Oro) on December 27. Previously placed behind One Lucky Dane (Loolin at Lucky) and Bronze Star (Tapit), the promising sophomore has earned $86,570 from his 5-2-1-1 line...

Delta Jackpot (G3) winner Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense) worked four furlongs in :47 3/5 at Santa Anita Thursday as he continues preparations for his 2015 bow in the March 7 San Felipe (G2). The colt is unbeaten in three career starts for trainer Jim Cassidy...

Fair Grounds darling Gantry (Pulpit) is likely to be retired, according to conditioner Ron Faucheux. The eight-year-old gelding was last seen winning a 5 1/2-furlong turf allowance at the New Orleans oval on December 11. Scratched from the $60,000 Bonapaw S. on January 3 with an ankle issue, he has not been on the worktab since his victory. "We're leaning toward retiring him," Faucheux said. "He has an enflamed ankle joint. He's sound on it and we could give him some time and bring him back, but he's eight years old and we may just play it safe." Owned by Brittlyn Stable, Gantry has recorded seven stakes wins, including five at Fair Grounds. A two-time winner of the Thanksgiving H., his biggest victory thus far was in the $400,000 Smile Sprint H. (G2) in July 2012.  He has a career record of 11-6-3 from 27 starts, a 6-4-0 record from 11 Fair Grounds starts and was a contestant in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) in 2012. If retired, he does so with $848,331 in career earnings...

Back on the Fair Grounds worktab Thursday morning was Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) runner-up Top Decile (Congrats), who negotiated a half-mile in :49 1/5 over the fast dirt for trainer Al Stall Jr. An uncharacteristic sixth in the Silverbulletday S. after being bumped at the break and forced to race wide throughout that mile-and-70-yard contest, the chestnut filly is possible for the $175,000 Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) at the New Orleans track on February 21. It is assumed that her goal after that event may actually be the $500,000 Ashland S. (G1) on April 4 at Keeneland -- over a track she has shown she relishes when a game second in last year's Alcibiades S. (G1) -- in lieu of the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) one week prior on March 28. Speaking of disappointments from the Silverbulletday, Grade 2 heroine West Coast Belle (Tapit) exited her fourth-place finish in fine order, with trainer Wayne Catalano saying she was simply outrun by victress I'm a Chatterbox (Munnings) but should have been second. The previously undefeated gray filly is to stay local for now while her connections decide her next step toward a possible Kentucky Oaks (G1) start...

With a bankroll of $2,430,790 from only 14 career starts, Secret Circle (Eddington) has more than paid his way for owners Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman. But equine or human, the aging process eventually creeps up, which is why Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will have blinkers on Secret Circle when he runs in Saturday's Palos Verdes (G2). The six-year-old horse is coming off a fourth-place finish as the odds-on favorite in the December 27 Midnight Lute (G#). He won the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 2013 and was second in last year's edition. The only previous time he ran in blinkers was as a two-year-old, capturing the defunct Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint in 2011. "We worked him the other day with blinkers on and we thought he worked better with them," Baffert said of the equipment change. "He was a little bit more focused. Sometimes when they get older they lose a little interest. I don't know if it made a big difference, but put it this way; it's not going to hurt him. When he was a two-year-old, he'd go too fast early. Now he's not going fast enough early." Trainer Jeff Bonde will send out committed front-runner and 2-1 morning line favorite Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction), who has failed to make the lead at some point only once in 13 career starts: "He's a very quick horse. He makes his own race."...

Trainer John Sadler will be a busy man Saturday at Santa Anita. He has horses entered in five of the nine races, including Talco (Pivotal) in the Arcadia (G2) at one mile on turf. The stretch-running French-bred was a close fifth in the Mathis Brothers Mile (G3) last out, but was compromised breaking from the extreme outside post position (10) and steadying at the three-eighths marker. "He had a lot of trouble the other day," Sadler said of Talco, who has made up ground late in each of his four U.S. starts, all graded stakes. "We hope he gets a good trip this time." Sadler also sends out Suva Harbor (Rockport Harbor) in the Las Virgenes (G1), in which he'll fly solo against five entered by Jerry Hollendorfer and two each by Bob Baffert and Mark Casse. "She's doing good," Sadler said of the daughter of the late Rockport Harbor, in her first stakes race after two straight victories against lesser, one a maiden allowance test on turf, the other a one-mile overnight race on dirt. "She's going up in class but she's run well every time. We're ready to go." On Sunday, Sadler sends out Bench Warrant (Street Boss) in the San Vicente (G2) at seven furlongs against Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red (Afleet Alex) and five other three-year-olds with Triple Crown aspirations. Bench Warrant will be making his first start on dirt, having won at about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf on January 15 before running a distant fourth to Dortmund (Big Brown) in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) on December 20. "He wasn't really ready for that," Sadler said of the Los Al race. "But it's good for him to be in the San Vicente, going under a mile."...

Multiple stakes king Sunbean (Brahms) worked an easy five furlongs over Fair Grounds' fast main track Thursday morning in 1:03 for trainer Ron Faucheux ahead of a possible title defense start in the $200,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship at Delta Downs on February 7. That 1 1/16-mile contest could function as a prep for the $400,000 New Orleans H. (G2) back at Fair Grounds on March 28, a race Sunbean finished third in last year...

Cobalt irregularities have been detected in three Thoroughbreds and six Standardbreds in the State of Queensland, Australia, according to Racing and Sports. The three Thoroughbreds flagged come from three different stables but Racing Queensland said it would not release names unless B samples revealed cobalt levels above the permitted threshold. Despite these instances, Racing Queensland's General Manager of the Stewards and Integrity Operation, Wade Birch, insisted cobalt is not a widespread problem in the state. "The results of our analysis for cobalt are consistent with what we are seeing generally within this sport and others where a small amount of participants are experimenting with practices they believe will deliver an advantage," he stated. Birch said the samples of the horses in question would be split and sent for referee analysis. These samples were taken between September 2013 and last June. Birch also revealed samples taken from Group 1 races at least year's winter carnival and the Magic Millions raceday earlier this month were clear...

Belle Gallantey (After Market), triumphant in last year's Beldame Invitational (G1) and Delaware H. (G1), makes her second start of the year when lining up against four rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Ladies H. going 1 1/8 miles over Aqueduct's inner dirt. The Rudy Rodriguez-trained six-year-old closed out 2014 with a ninth-placing in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) and faded to fifth in the Affectionately S. on New Year's Day over the inner track. The chestnut is 2-3-0 from 10 starts on the surface and brings Manuel Franco along for the ride Saturday. Penwith just missed in the Affectionately by a nose and boasts a pair of Grade 2-placings on her resume. The Kiaran McLaughlin pupil keeps Fernando Jara aboard. Completing the Ladies H. field are dual Grade 3-placed Moment in Dixie (Dixieland Band), second in the Wintergreen S. on January 3 at Turfway Park; Grade 3 runner-up Shayjolie (Indian Charlie), fourth in the Affectionately; and stakes debuter Holiday's Jewel (Harlan's Holiday)...

Interim statistics released by the Australian Stud Book show Coolmore Stud's Pierro (Lonhro) as the busiest sire in the country in 2014, with 220 mares covered. As of January 26, the stud book has 509 stallions recorded as standing for 2014, with a completed forecast of 563. In 2013, 621 stallions stood in Australia. Current records show 18,673 mares covered, with a forecast of 19,117. In 2013, 20,191 mares were covered. Given the forecasted final figures, Jacqueline Stewart, Keeper of the Australian Stud Book, has projected a 2015 foal crop of 13,616, down 3.3 percent from the 2014 final foal crop estimate of 14,081. The current stats also show a continued increase in the prominence of Australian-bred stallions. Of the top 20 stallions by coverings, 18 were Australian-bred, and Australian-bred stallions were responsible for 72 percent of the total coverings, compared to 70 percent in 2013. There were 39 shuttle sires that covered 24 percent of mares compared to 23 percent in 2013. Twenty-five (5 percent) of stallions covered books of 150 or more, compared to 23 (4 percent) in 2013, while 230 (45 percent) covered less than 10 mares. "I believe that although there will be a decrease in coverings in the 2014 season, it is a marginal decrease in the context of the current economic conditions and worldwide trends," Stewart said. "The Australian breeding industry is remarkably resilient and the rationalization in the numbers of stallions and broodmares resulting in a decrease in coverings is an economic reality, not systematic of any inherent frailties in the breeding industry."...

Godolphin will be the principal sponsor of the Irish Stud and Stable Staff Awards, which have been founded in association with Racing Post to recognize and reward the hard work and dedication of stud and stable staff and acknowledge their contribution to the racing industry. The awards will be held April 14 at the Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge and are divided into 10 categories with total prizes of €70,000. The winner of each of the five main categories (Leadership Award, Rider/Groom Award, Head Lad/Girl or Traveling Head Lad/Girl Award, Stud Employee Award and Administration Award) will receive a cash prize of €5,000 and a trophy, with an additional €4,000 to the winner's yard or stud, and the two runners-up will receive €500 each. The winner of each of those categories will be nominated for the Irish Racing Excellence Award, which could earn them an additional €5,000 and €5,000 for their yard or stud. The winners of the four other categories (Dedication to Racing Award, Lifelong Learning Award, Ancillary Services Award and Racecourse Grooms' Canteen Award) will each receive €2,500 and a trophy. "Horse Racing Ireland warmly welcomes the sponsorship by Godolphin of the Irish Stud and Stable Staff Awards," said Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of HRI. "Irish stud and stable staff are admired the world over and form the backbone of our industry. It is great to see their dedication and skills being recognized by Godolphin in such a tangible and generous fashion." The winners will be chosen by a selection panel of individuals representing the Irish Stable Staff Association (ISSA), Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), the Irish Racehorse Trainers' Association, The Racing Regulatory Body and the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association. Nominations are open until March 18 and can be made by anyone within the industry. Forms will be distributed by ISSA and HRI...

Fair Grounds will hold a special celebration for four-time leading rider Rosie Napravnik on February 21. "Rosie Day" will coincide with Louisiana Derby Preview Day, a day on which Napravnik captured three editions of the Mineshaft H. (G3) and three runnings of the Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) -- including two with subsequent Kentucky Oaks (G1) winners Untapable (Tapit) and Believe You Can. From 12:30-2 p.m. (CST), up to 500 fans will be able to purchase a commemorative photo for $10 that can be personalized and autographed by Napravnik while supplies last. All proceeds from the sale of autographed photographs will benefit a pair of Napravnik's favorite charities. First post for Louisiana Derby Preview Day is 12:30 p.m. The live race card will be headlined by the $400,000 Risen Star S. (G2), $175,000 Rachel Alexandra S. (G3), $125,000 Mineshaft H. (G3) and $125,000 Fair Grounds H. (G3)...

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company will hold its 2015 March Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17-18. The under tack show will be held over three sessions from March 11-13. Both sale sessions will start at 11 a.m. (EST) and the under tack sessions will begin each morning at 8 a.m. "With just over six hundred horses in the catalog, two sale sessions will be more beneficial for both buyers and sellers," OBS President Tom Ventura explained. "Three under tack sessions provide flexibility to adapt to weather conditions and affords buyers more time in the afternoon to evaluate potential purchases. The extended under tack format was well received last year." The catalog will be online early next week on the OBS website at obssales.com. The sortable master index, which also includes the supplemental entries, provides access to pedigree updates occurring since the catalog went to press. Current information about OBS sales, consignors and graduates is now also available via social media sites Facebook and Twitter. A link on the homepage directs users to either site. As always, the sale will be streamed live via the OBS website, which will also feature sales, updated hourly during each session. For more information regarding the March Sale, please call 352-237-2154.

In brief

Due to the winter weather, including low temperatures and high winds expected to produce a wind chill well into the single digits, live racing at Charles Town for Friday night, January 30, has been canceled. Live racing is slated to resume Saturday evening at 7 p.m. (EST)...

Saratoga Dreamer was picture perfect in Friday's Rego Park -- once the gates opened, that is (NYRA/Joe Labozzetta/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Peter Deutsch's Saratoga Dreamer (Elusive Quality) was reluctant to load in Friday's $125,000 Rego Park S. at Aqueduct, needing a blindfold to finally enter the gate, but proved best at the end of the six-furlong inner track affair by a neck under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. The Christophe Clement-trained colt may have not wanted to enter the gates, but had no trouble exiting and settling into a midpack spot while stalking the front runners just off the rail. Saratoga Dreamer angled a bit farther out and was three wide entering the stretch before running down Regal Minister (Posse) to stop the clock in 1:12 4/5 over the fast dirt. "I broke good and he put me in a great position," Ortiz said. "I didn't have to use my horse in the first part of the race, just saving him for the end. He finished good. One thing I like about Christophe Clement is that he trains the babies very good; he puts them behind horses to take some dirt. I was very confident with the dirt, and when I asked him he kicked in." Saratoga Dreamer paid $8.70 as the 3-1 second choice while making his first start on dirt. The three-year-old chestnut previously broke his maiden by 2 1/4 lengths sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on Saratoga's green in August and followed up with a troubled eighth-place run over Woodbine's yielding turf in the one-mile Summer S. (Can-G2) on September 13. "The horse had trained spectacularly on the dirt in Florida," Clement said by telephone from Florida. "I was thinking about a race here for him, but it got canceled. I saw this race and was able to get him up there to run in it. Before he ever ran, he trained so well on the grass I felt I had to run him on the grass. The second time, I tried stretching him out to a mile but he acted up badly behind the gate. He probably wants to sprint at this stage. He'll come back to Florida for a freshening and return to New York in the spring." Saratoga Dreamer now boasts a 3-2-0-0 career mark having banked $120,603 in earnings...

Bob Baffert has not ruled out the February 7 San Antonio (G2) for San Pasqual (G2) winner Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday). "It's either that or the Donn (G1)," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "The San Antonio would set him up for the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) (on March 7)." The Donn will be run at Gulfstream Park on the same day as the San Antonio and both races are expected to attract deep fields, with California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) and Shared Belief (Candy Ride) confirmed for the San Antonio; and Lea (First Samurai) and Commissioner (A.P. Indy) among the Donn probables...

Pam and Martin Wygod's homebred Prospect Park (Tapit) looks bound for bigger targets after romping by 5 1/4 lengths in Friday's 3RD race at Santa Anita. While the 1-2 favorite The Gomper (Sky Mesa) sputtered in fourth, Prospect Park deftly split rivals in the stretch and coasted home. The Cliff Sise Jr. trainee negotiated the fast-track mile in 1:35 3/5 beneath Kent Desormeaux. A pair of also-rans from the Sham S. (G3), St. Joe Bay and Rockinatten (High Cotton), finished second and third, respectively. Prospect Park was coming off a maiden score over Cyrus Alexander (Medaglia d'Oro) on December 27. Previously placed behind One Lucky Dane (Loolin at Lucky) and Bronze Star (Tapit), the promising sophomore has earned $86,570 from his 5-2-1-1 line...

Delta Jackpot (G3) winner Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense) worked four furlongs in :47 3/5 at Santa Anita Thursday as he continues preparations for his 2015 bow in the March 7 San Felipe (G2). The colt is unbeaten in three career starts for trainer Jim Cassidy...

Fair Grounds darling Gantry (Pulpit) is likely to be retired, according to conditioner Ron Faucheux. The eight-year-old gelding was last seen winning a 5 1/2-furlong turf allowance at the New Orleans oval on December 11. Scratched from the $60,000 Bonapaw S. on January 3 with an ankle issue, he has not been on the worktab since his victory. "We're leaning toward retiring him," Faucheux said. "He has an enflamed ankle joint. He's sound on it and we could give him some time and bring him back, but he's eight years old and we may just play it safe." Owned by Brittlyn Stable, Gantry has recorded seven stakes wins, including five at Fair Grounds. A two-time winner of the Thanksgiving H., his biggest victory thus far was in the $400,000 Smile Sprint H. (G2) in July 2012.  He has a career record of 11-6-3 from 27 starts, a 6-4-0 record from 11 Fair Grounds starts and was a contestant in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) in 2012. If retired, he does so with $848,331 in career earnings...

Back on the Fair Grounds worktab Thursday morning was Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) runner-up Top Decile (Congrats), who negotiated a half-mile in :49 1/5 over the fast dirt for trainer Al Stall Jr. An uncharacteristic sixth in the Silverbulletday S. after being bumped at the break and forced to race wide throughout that mile-and-70-yard contest, the chestnut filly is possible for the $175,000 Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) at the New Orleans track on February 21. It is assumed that her goal after that event may actually be the $500,000 Ashland S. (G1) on April 4 at Keeneland -- over a track she has shown she relishes when a game second in last year's Alcibiades S. (G1) -- in lieu of the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) one week prior on March 28. Speaking of disappointments from the Silverbulletday, Grade 2 heroine West Coast Belle (Tapit) exited her fourth-place finish in fine order, with trainer Wayne Catalano saying she was simply outrun by victress I'm a Chatterbox (Munnings) but should have been second. The previously undefeated gray filly is to stay local for now while her connections decide her next step toward a possible Kentucky Oaks (G1) start...

With a bankroll of $2,430,790 from only 14 career starts, Secret Circle (Eddington) has more than paid his way for owners Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman. But equine or human, the aging process eventually creeps up, which is why Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will have blinkers on Secret Circle when he runs in Saturday's Palos Verdes (G2). The six-year-old horse is coming off a fourth-place finish as the odds-on favorite in the December 27 Midnight Lute (G#). He won the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 2013 and was second in last year's edition. The only previous time he ran in blinkers was as a two-year-old, capturing the defunct Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint in 2011. "We worked him the other day with blinkers on and we thought he worked better with them," Baffert said of the equipment change. "He was a little bit more focused. Sometimes when they get older they lose a little interest. I don't know if it made a big difference, but put it this way; it's not going to hurt him. When he was a two-year-old, he'd go too fast early. Now he's not going fast enough early." Trainer Jeff Bonde will send out committed front-runner and 2-1 morning line favorite Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction), who has failed to make the lead at some point only once in 13 career starts: "He's a very quick horse. He makes his own race."...

Trainer John Sadler will be a busy man Saturday at Santa Anita. He has horses entered in five of the nine races, including Talco (Pivotal) in the Arcadia (G2) at one mile on turf. The stretch-running French-bred was a close fifth in the Mathis Brothers Mile (G3) last out, but was compromised breaking from the extreme outside post position (10) and steadying at the three-eighths marker. "He had a lot of trouble the other day," Sadler said of Talco, who has made up ground late in each of his four U.S. starts, all graded stakes. "We hope he gets a good trip this time." Sadler also sends out Suva Harbor (Rockport Harbor) in the Las Virgenes (G1), in which he'll fly solo against five entered by Jerry Hollendorfer and two each by Bob Baffert and Mark Casse. "She's doing good," Sadler said of the daughter of the late Rockport Harbor, in her first stakes race after two straight victories against lesser, one a maiden allowance test on turf, the other a one-mile overnight race on dirt. "She's going up in class but she's run well every time. We're ready to go." On Sunday, Sadler sends out Bench Warrant (Street Boss) in the San Vicente (G2) at seven furlongs against Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red (Afleet Alex) and five other three-year-olds with Triple Crown aspirations. Bench Warrant will be making his first start on dirt, having won at about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf on January 15 before running a distant fourth to Dortmund (Big Brown) in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) on December 20. "He wasn't really ready for that," Sadler said of the Los Al race. "But it's good for him to be in the San Vicente, going under a mile."...

Multiple stakes king Sunbean (Brahms) worked an easy five furlongs over Fair Grounds' fast main track Thursday morning in 1:03 for trainer Ron Faucheux ahead of a possible title defense start in the $200,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship at Delta Downs on February 7. That 1 1/16-mile contest could function as a prep for the $400,000 New Orleans H. (G2) back at Fair Grounds on March 28, a race Sunbean finished third in last year...

Cobalt irregularities have been detected in three Thoroughbreds and six Standardbreds in the State of Queensland, Australia, according to Racing and Sports. The three Thoroughbreds flagged come from three different stables but Racing Queensland said it would not release names unless B samples revealed cobalt levels above the permitted threshold. Despite these instances, Racing Queensland's General Manager of the Stewards and Integrity Operation, Wade Birch, insisted cobalt is not a widespread problem in the state. "The results of our analysis for cobalt are consistent with what we are seeing generally within this sport and others where a small amount of participants are experimenting with practices they believe will deliver an advantage," he stated. Birch said the samples of the horses in question would be split and sent for referee analysis. These samples were taken between September 2013 and last June. Birch also revealed samples taken from Group 1 races at least year's winter carnival and the Magic Millions raceday earlier this month were clear...

Belle Gallantey (After Market), triumphant in last year's Beldame Invitational (G1) and Delaware H. (G1), makes her second start of the year when lining up against four rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Ladies H. going 1 1/8 miles over Aqueduct's inner dirt. The Rudy Rodriguez-trained six-year-old closed out 2014 with a ninth-placing in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) and faded to fifth in the Affectionately S. on New Year's Day over the inner track. The chestnut is 2-3-0 from 10 starts on the surface and brings Manuel Franco along for the ride Saturday. Penwith just missed in the Affectionately by a nose and boasts a pair of Grade 2-placings on her resume. The Kiaran McLaughlin pupil keeps Fernando Jara aboard. Completing the Ladies H. field are dual Grade 3-placed Moment in Dixie (Dixieland Band), second in the Wintergreen S. on January 3 at Turfway Park; Grade 3 runner-up Shayjolie (Indian Charlie), fourth in the Affectionately; and stakes debuter Holiday's Jewel (Harlan's Holiday)...

Interim statistics released by the Australian Stud Book show Coolmore Stud's Pierro (Lonhro) as the busiest sire in the country in 2014, with 220 mares covered. As of January 26, the stud book has 509 stallions recorded as standing for 2014, with a completed forecast of 563. In 2013, 621 stallions stood in Australia. Current records show 18,673 mares covered, with a forecast of 19,117. In 2013, 20,191 mares were covered. Given the forecasted final figures, Jacqueline Stewart, Keeper of the Australian Stud Book, has projected a 2015 foal crop of 13,616, down 3.3 percent from the 2014 final foal crop estimate of 14,081. The current stats also show a continued increase in the prominence of Australian-bred stallions. Of the top 20 stallions by coverings, 18 were Australian-bred, and Australian-bred stallions were responsible for 72 percent of the total coverings, compared to 70 percent in 2013. There were 39 shuttle sires that covered 24 percent of mares compared to 23 percent in 2013. Twenty-five (5 percent) of stallions covered books of 150 or more, compared to 23 (4 percent) in 2013, while 230 (45 percent) covered less than 10 mares. "I believe that although there will be a decrease in coverings in the 2014 season, it is a marginal decrease in the context of the current economic conditions and worldwide trends," Stewart said. "The Australian breeding industry is remarkably resilient and the rationalization in the numbers of stallions and broodmares resulting in a decrease in coverings is an economic reality, not systematic of any inherent frailties in the breeding industry."...

Godolphin will be the principal sponsor of the Irish Stud and Stable Staff Awards, which have been founded in association with Racing Post to recognize and reward the hard work and dedication of stud and stable staff and acknowledge their contribution to the racing industry. The awards will be held April 14 at the Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge and are divided into 10 categories with total prizes of €70,000. The winner of each of the five main categories (Leadership Award, Rider/Groom Award, Head Lad/Girl or Traveling Head Lad/Girl Award, Stud Employee Award and Administration Award) will receive a cash prize of €5,000 and a trophy, with an additional €4,000 to the winner's yard or stud, and the two runners-up will receive €500 each. The winner of each of those categories will be nominated for the Irish Racing Excellence Award, which could earn them an additional €5,000 and €5,000 for their yard or stud. The winners of the four other categories (Dedication to Racing Award, Lifelong Learning Award, Ancillary Services Award and Racecourse Grooms' Canteen Award) will each receive €2,500 and a trophy. "Horse Racing Ireland warmly welcomes the sponsorship by Godolphin of the Irish Stud and Stable Staff Awards," said Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of HRI. "Irish stud and stable staff are admired the world over and form the backbone of our industry. It is great to see their dedication and skills being recognized by Godolphin in such a tangible and generous fashion." The winners will be chosen by a selection panel of individuals representing the Irish Stable Staff Association (ISSA), Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), the Irish Racehorse Trainers' Association, The Racing Regulatory Body and the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association. Nominations are open until March 18 and can be made by anyone within the industry. Forms will be distributed by ISSA and HRI...

Fair Grounds will hold a special celebration for four-time leading rider Rosie Napravnik on February 21. "Rosie Day" will coincide with Louisiana Derby Preview Day, a day on which Napravnik captured three editions of the Mineshaft H. (G3) and three runnings of the Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) -- including two with subsequent Kentucky Oaks (G1) winners Untapable (Tapit) and Believe You Can. From 12:30-2 p.m. (CST), up to 500 fans will be able to purchase a commemorative photo for $10 that can be personalized and autographed by Napravnik while supplies last. All proceeds from the sale of autographed photographs will benefit a pair of Napravnik's favorite charities. First post for Louisiana Derby Preview Day is 12:30 p.m. The live race card will be headlined by the $400,000 Risen Star S. (G2), $175,000 Rachel Alexandra S. (G3), $125,000 Mineshaft H. (G3) and $125,000 Fair Grounds H. (G3)...

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company will hold its 2015 March Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17-18. The under tack show will be held over three sessions from March 11-13. Both sale sessions will start at 11 a.m. (EST) and the under tack sessions will begin each morning at 8 a.m. "With just over six hundred horses in the catalog, two sale sessions will be more beneficial for both buyers and sellers," OBS President Tom Ventura explained. "Three under tack sessions provide flexibility to adapt to weather conditions and affords buyers more time in the afternoon to evaluate potential purchases. The extended under tack format was well received last year." The catalog will be online early next week on the OBS website at obssales.com. The sortable master index, which also includes the supplemental entries, provides access to pedigree updates occurring since the catalog went to press. Current information about OBS sales, consignors and graduates is now also available via social media sites Facebook and Twitter. A link on the homepage directs users to either site. As always, the sale will be streamed live via the OBS website, which will also feature sales, updated hourly during each session. For more information regarding the March Sale, please call 352-237-2154.

Results

NORTH AMERICAN NON-GRADED STAKES RESULTS

REGO PARK S., AQU, $125,000, 3YO, 6F, 1-30.
4—SARATOGA DREAMER, c, 3, Elusive Quality--St Francis Wood, by Irish River (FR). O-Peter Deutsch, B-Aynsford Holdings, LLC (NY), T-Christophe Clement, J-Irad Ortiz, Jr., $75,000.
5—Regal Minister, c, 3, Posse--Dattts Regal, by Mr. Greeley. O-DATTT Stable, B-DATTT Farm, LLC (NY), $25,000.
1—Drama King, c, 3, Nobiz Like Shobiz--Winters Bell, by Winter Glitter. ($13,000 2014 OBSJUN). O-Lady Luck Stable, B-Gerald Reid (NY), $12,500.
Also Ran: Breakin the Fever, Agent Van Alden, Deficit Hawk, Chasing Bubbles.
Winning Time: 1:12 4/5 (ft)
Margins: NK, 4 1/4, 2HF.
Odds: 3.35, 5.20, 14.70.

Features

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

JANUARY 31, 2015

J&B Met: A Clash of the Underdogs

by Liesl King

Racing seems to be an equal mix of hard luck and fairy tale stories. For the casual observer, Cape Town's biggest race, the J&B Met (SAf-G1) over 10 furlongs at Kenilworth Saturday, is seemingly a two-horse race, if the betting is to be believed. At 15-10 and 16-10 there is very little between number 2 Futura (Dynasty) and number three Louis the King (Black Minnaloushe).

Both are four-year-olds, both are colts, both are bay, both have a merit rating of 116 and both will be carrying the top weight allowed of 132 pounds. One is by local sire Dynasty and the other by American import Black Minnaloushe. Yet there is so much more to Saturday's epic clash, for behind each of these two bay colts lies a tale that is so incredible it reads like a Hollywood script.

Louis the King is the not the biggest of boys, but what he lacks in stature he makes up for in presence, and with his signature bushy forelock he is instantly recognizable. First offered for sale at the KZN Yearling Sale in Durban, Louis the King went through the ring without a hand being raised. The auctioneer tried hard, but the bay colt out of the Rich Man's Gold mare Pamushana was eventually waved out, with the damning words "no bid" recorded behind his name.

Despondent, his breeder Philip Kahan headed for the car park, where he happened to run into an old acquaintance, Epsom-born and five-time champion trainer Geoff Woodruff. Woodruff had not come to buy yearlings; he was simply dropping off a parcel for a friend. On enquiring how the sale had been, Kahan regaled him with the story of his friendless colt.

"What do you want for him?" A chance remark, and yet unbeknownst to either, the start of something magical for both Woodruff and the plain bay colt. R60, 000 (US$5,172), the answer came. "OK I'll take him," Woodruff replied. A glance at the pedigree page, a shake of hands and without having ever seen the horse, Woodruff was Louis the King's new owner.

The rest, as they say, is history. Woodruff found Louis the King the perfect owner in Mr. Louis van der Vyver and in 2014, Louis the King, the horse nobody wanted, became only the second horse in South African racing history to win the Triple Crown. Louis the King would go on to add the Summer Cup (SAf-G1) over 10 furlongs to his collection of trophies, prompting Woodruff to add, "there is nothing in his pedigree to suggest he could stay, you know. I think it is down to his demeanor -- he just switches off."

The other bay colt is Futura, by Dynasty, sire of the moment and sire of 2014 Horse of the Year Legislate. His dam, Scribblin' the Cat (Badger's Drift) happens to belong to stud manager Guy Murdoch, and hence Futura had an extraordinary upbringing. Conceived at Gary Player's Stud in the Karoo, he was born at Yellow Star Stud in Kwa-Zulu Natal and then raised at Mauritzfontein Stud in the Northern Cape, where Murdoch currently resides. A fair bit of traveling for one so young and Futura's challenges were far from over.

Foals are fragile creatures and retained meconium at birth, a bad bout of diarrhea and a mom whose milk supply was extremely limited, would have meant the end of many a foal. Fortunately, Futura was made of sterner stuff, for after some dedicated care with milk powder and special formulas, the little colt pulled through, only to develop strangles at six months of age.

Today, Futura is a beautiful bright bay, with six victories, including the Champions Cup (SAf-G1) over nine furlongs and the Queen's Plate (SAf-G1) over a mile behind his name. The colt that was never expected to make it has never been out of the first three in 10 starts and today he is joint-favorite for race of the season.

Futura will be ridden by Bernard Fayd'Herbe while Louis the King will have the services of champion jockey Piere Strydom. Drawn in barriers 9 and 8, respectively, the two colts and their jockeys are sure to keep a beady eye on each other as the race unfolds. With a merit rating of 109, seven points behind the two colts, their nearest rivals are the evergreen Gold Onyx (Black Minnaloushe), carrying 129 pounds and drawn in barrier 14, and Woodruff's other two charges Tellina (Silvano) (barrier 3) and Killua Castle (Churchill Downs) (barrier 10). Trained by Sean Tarry, Gold Onyx is a solid campaigner, as his recent third in the Queen's Plate will attest, while Tellina and Killua Castle are no slouches either.

Of the rest, the five runners from Justin Snaith's stable could all hit the board, but the pick of the bunch is probably Arion (Silvano), easy winner of the Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Handicap (SAf-G2) over nine furlongs, while Dynamic (Dynasty) ran a sharp second in the 2013 Cape Derby (SAf-G1) over 10 furlongs on this card before being sidelined with a tendon injury.

HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

JANUARY 30, 2015

by Dick Powell

For those of us that watch and wager on the Aqueduct inner dirt track, it is reminiscent of the old joke about the two old ladies that go to the Catskills for the weekend. They get back and compare notes about their experience and one complains about how bad the food was and the other says, "Yeah, and such small portions."

Right now, Aqueduct has bad racing and not enough of it. Three- and four-horse fields have been shockingly prevalent and little hope is in sight.

As bad as it has been, Gulfstream Park on Saturday got to see what Aqueduct fans have been privileged to watch on a daily basis when Jose and Irad Ortiz Jr. took down the two biggest stakes races on the card.

Saturday's headline race was the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) and the betting public settled on Frosted (Tapit) as the 3-to-2 favorite with Irad in the irons. Next in the betting was the New York-bred Upstart (Flatter), who was right behind at 21-to-10 with Jose. Going into the race, the Holy Bull looked more wide open but the public had it right.

Jose made the decision to stalk the pace and decided he would rather lose ground than get stuck in traffic. With a modest pace of :24.52 and :48.82, it turned out to be the right choice as he was able to keep an eye on pacesetter Bluegrass Singer (Bluegrass Cat).

The pace was still modest and Jose was not going to let anyone get the jump on him so he made his move around the far turn and engaged Bluegrass Singer. With the slow pace, it looked like there might be a decent duel to the wire but Upstart was tons the best and drew off to win by 5 1/2 lengths. Irad had Frosted in behind after being bumped at the start and was able to finish a decisive second and completed the Ortiz brothers sweep of the Holy Bull.

Upstart took 1:43.61 to cover the 1 1/16 miles and earned a career-best BRIS Speed rating of 105. Considering that he ran 34 feet farther than the runner-up, it was as a good a performance that we have seen from this class of sophomores and the timing of the race now gives trainer Rick Violette lots of options on how to proceed forward.

Frosted should come out of it much-improved and will get better with more racing and distance. He was bumped hard at the start and was not able to race close to the pace. Can't say that anyone else in the field will have a major impact in the division.

One race after the Holy Bull, the seven-furlong Forward Gal (G2) was run and this race really should have been called back as it was a very rough, and unfair, start. Longshot Momoeamaria (Quality Road) was completely unprepared for the start as she was leaning on the gate with her head cocked sideways when the latch was sprung. The official chart of the race shows five other fillies were bumped at the start in separate incidents.

After a strong pace duel among Enchantress (Malibu Moon), Ekati's Phaeton (Tale of Ekati) and Seduire (Elusive Quality), Birdatthewire (Summer Bird) began to pick up horses from the back of the pack. When By the Moon (Indian Charlie) forged to a brief lead for Jose at the top of the stretch when the speed backed up, here came his brother Irad down the middle of the track to win going away by 3 1/4 lengths.

Trained by Dale Romans, Birdatthewire only had a maiden win at Churchill Downs to her credit beforehand and was dismissed at 12.40-to-1 odds. She stopped the teletimer in a slowish 1:24.92 and only earned a 94 BRIS Speed rating. Considering her stout pedigree and that the Forward Gal was a turnback in distance, it was not a bad effort and she should be much better back at two turns

Sunday's eighth race at Gulfstream Park was an interesting handicapping scenario. A maiden special weight for three-year-olds going seven furlongs, it attracted a field of 13, 10 of which were first-time starters.

The 10 first-time starters all came from the usual connections you see down at Gulfstream in January but it was hard to separate one from the other. The public settled on Fast Moon (Malibu Moon) from Todd Pletcher and Johnny Velazquez as the 9-to-5 favorite and there were six starters at single-digit odds.

A friend of mine, whose opinion I respect, told me earlier in the day that he liked Zia (Munnings), one of the three that had already raced. I looked at him and even though he was winless in six starts, the first five came up in Canada on turf or synthetic. He made his dirt debut last out here and was a game third, earning a strong BRIS speed rating. So I said, why not, and made a decent win bet on Zia.

Fast Moon went to the front and dueled with 57-to-1 longshot Chiding (Blame). Paco Lopez had Zia in behind the leaders but the pace slowed noticeably with the second quarter run in :24.10 and now he had nowhere to go when Javier Castellano pulled up next to him aboard Fine Instincts (Tale of the Cat).

Zia stayed trapped in the pocket into the homestretch and when Castellano was not going to let him out, Lopez decided to veer to the outside, push Fine Instincts out of the way to get running room and run down Chiding in the shadow of the wire.

Sirens, red flags, alarms, and whistles went off, as there was a steward's inquiry into Lopez's actions and a claim of foul by Castellano against Lopez. Gulfstream showed the pan shot and head-on replay repeatedly and even though I am looking at a decent score, there was no way the stewards could leave Zia up.

And, yet, they did and maybe it makes up for the times when horses were taken down when they should not have been but it was a terrible call. They ruled that Castellano, aboard Fine Instincts, came in and caused the bumping but that is not how it looked to me. Go back and look at the chart for race eight on January 25 at Gulfstream Park and you will see how many bad trips there were from start to finish.

Results

NORTH AMERICAN ALLOWANCE RESULTS

OP, 8TH, ALW, $60,500, 4YO/UP, 1M, 1-30.
6—STREET STRATEGY, c, 4, Street Sense--Spoken Softly, by Notebook. ($30,000 '12 KEESEP; $425,000 2013 OBSAPR). O-Iron Horse Racing LLC (Clark), B-Glencrest Farm LLC & Darley (KY), T-Randy L. Morse, J-Calvin H. Borel, $36,300.
3—Lasting Impact, g, 5, Broken Vow--Eye Dazzler, by Boundary. O-N P H Stable and B Square Stable, B-Lee Lewis (KY), $12,100.
5—Big Money Speaks, g, 4, Save Big Money--Gentle Rachel, by Lost Opportunity. O-Bobbye Stipe, B-Bobbye Stipe (OK), $6,050.
Winning Time: 1:38 1/5 (ft)
 
SA, 3RD, AOC, $58,000, 3YO, 1M, 1-30.
1—PROSPECT PARK, c, 3, Tapit--Quiet Romance, by Bertrando. O-Wygod, Pam and Martin, B-Pam & Martin Wygod (KY), T-Clifford W. Sise, Jr., J-Kent J. Desormeaux, $34,800.
3—St. Joe Bay, c, 3, Saint Anddan--Dream Ride, by Honor Glide. ($60,000 2014 OBSJUN). O-Altamira Racing Stable and Bernsen, David A, B-Bonnie Heath Farm, LLC (FL), $11,600.
4—Rockinatten, g, 3, High Cotton--Suite Ten, by Rock Hard Ten. ($35,000 '13 OBSAUG; $40,000 2014 OBSAPR). O-Bada Beng Racing LLC, Besecker, Joseph E, Keh, Steven and Pasqual, Gerardo, B-John B Penn (FL), $6,960.
Winning Time: 1:35 3/5 (ft)
 
LRL, 6TH, AOC, $47,000, 4YO/UP, 7F, 1-30.
3—CUTTY SHARK, g, 4, Old Fashioned--A Sea Trippi, by Trippi. ($38,000 '12 KEESEP; $70,000 2013 FTMMAY). O-Ruth, Leslie and Houck, Barbara J, B-Bridlewood Farm (FL), T-Donald H. Barr, J-Xavier Perez, $26,790.
2—Extrasexyhippzster, c, 4, Stroll--Extra Sexy Psychic, by Freud. O-Kirwan Equine Group, Inc and Hipps, Ed, B-Toni M Kirwan & Edward Hipps (PA), $9,870.
8—Never Stop Looking, g, 6, Langfuhr--Stop Looking, by Dr. Adagio. O-Somraj Singh, B-Gustav Schickedanz (ON), $5,170.
Winning Time: 1:23 2/5 (gd)
 
LRL, 7TH, AOC, $45,000, 4YO/UP, 6F, 1-30.
6—NEGRITO, g, 4, Wildcat Heir--White Ruffle, by Vigors. O-Germania Farms, Inc, B-Jacarie Farm (FL), T-Timothy J. Tullock, Jr., J-Jevian Toledo, $25,650.
8—Tiger Tank, c, 4, Tale of the Cat--Minidar, by Alydar. ($125,000 '11 KEENOV). O-Robert S Evans, B-Estate of Edward P Evans (VA), $9,450.
1A—Cho Time, g, 5, Burning Roma--Cho Chang, by Unaccounted For. O-MCA Racing Stable LLC, B-Harold Queen (FL), $4,950.
Winning Time: 1:10 2/5 (gd)
 
GP, 9TH, AOC, $43,800, 3YO, F, 5FT, 1-30.
4—SPANISH PIPEDREAM, f, 3, Scat Daddy--Doc's Leading Lady, by Doc's Leader. ($125,000 '13 FTKJUL). O-Hat Creek Racing, B-Hurstland Farm, Inc & James H Greene Jr (KY), T-Wesley A. Ward, J-Rafael Manuel Hernandez, $25,200.
1—Katie's Kiss, f, 3, Kantharos--Sydney's Kiss, by Boston Harbor. O-Stonestreet Stables LLC, B-Barbara & A Francis Vanlangendonck (FL), $9,600.
3—Perpetual Novena, f, 3, Majestic Warrior--Viola Blew By, by Omega Code. ($75,000 '13 OBSAUG; $80,000 2014 OBSMAR). O-Rick Shanley, B-Albert & Teresa Davis (FL), $4,800.
Winning Time: :55 4/5 (fm)
 
LRL, 8TH, ALW, $43,386, 4YO/UP, F/M, 7F, 1-30.
10—MISS MOONSHINE, m, 5, Malibu Moon--Shiny Sheet, by Press Card. ($70,000 '10 KEENOV; $56,000 '11 FTMOCT). O-Country Life Farm, B-Haymarket Farm LLC (KY), T-Michael J. Trombetta, J-Julian Pimentel, $23,940.
5—Bonita Luna, m, 5, Graeme Hall--Story of Glory, by Honour and Glory. ($1,900 '10 OBSOCT; $8,500 '11 OBSAUG; $16,000 2012 OBSJUN). O-Shale Wagman, B-Mr & Mrs Lloyd H Carnes (FL), $8,820.
3—Lovable Lady, f, 4, Not for Love--Summer Notebook, by Notebook. O-Samuel H Rogers, Jr, B-Mr & Mrs Samuel H Rogers Jr (MD), $6,006.
Winning Time: 1:25 1/5 (gd)
 
FG, 5TH, AOC, $40,000, 4YO/UP, F/M, 1M 70Y, 1-30.
7—CALI STAR, f, 4, Street Cry (IRE)--Graeme Six, by Graeme Hall. ($175,000 2014 KEENOV). O-Walden, Jr, Ben P and Taylor, Larry, B-Besilu Stables, LLC (KY), T-Alice G. Cohn, J-Francisco C. Torres, $24,000.
1—Comfort Level, f, 4, Mizzen Mast--Yes Beth, by Deputy Commander. O-Klein, Richard and Bertram, B-Reklein Stables (KY), $8,000.
6—Golden Finish, f, 4, Chestertown Slew--Ponche de Leona, by Ponche. O-Carole A Rio, B-John D & Carole A Rio (FL), $4,400.
Winning Time: 1:44 1/5 (ft)
 
FG, 4TH, AOC, $38,000, 3YO, F, A1MT, 1-30.
5—PACIFIC PINK, f, 3, Private Vow--Truly Romantic, by Robyn Dancer. ($11,500 '13 ESLOCT; $90,000 2014 OBSAPR). O-Keith Plaisance, B-Brandon Adcock (LA), T-Edward J. Johnston, J-Robby Albarado, $22,800.
6—Saturdaynightbling, f, 3, Any Given Saturday--Madam Bling, by War Chant. O-Frederick, Gill, Lastrapes, Kyle and Cormier, Ken, B-Gill Frederick, Kyle Lastrapes & Ken Cormier (LA), $7,600.
1—Escalady, f, 3, Lion Tamer--Shenanigan Cat, by Tale of the Cat. O-Picard Thoroughbreds Racing Stable LLC, B-Picard Thoroughbreds Racing Stable, LLC (LA), $4,180.
Winning Time: 1:41 2/5 (fm)
 
FG, 8TH, ALW, $38,000, 4YO/UP, A1MT, 1-30.
2—AQTAAR, g, 7, Smart Strike--Ashraakat, by Danzig. ($3,000 2011 KEENOV). O-Peitz, Daniel and McCrocklin, Tom, B-Shadwell Farm, LLC (KY), T-Daniel C. Peitz, J-James Graham, $22,800.
1—Nolangrant'skitten, g, 7, Kitten's Joy--Single Goer, by Easy Goer. O-Ramsey, Kenneth L and Sarah K, B-Kenneth L & Sarah K Ramsey (KY), $7,600.
3—Five Green Stars, g, 5, Five Star Day--Thin Green Line, by Greenwood Lake. O-Team Block, B-Team Block (IL), $4,180.
Winning Time: 1:39 (fm)
 
DED, 8TH, ALW, $33,700, 4YO/UP, 1M, 1-29.
1—GREEN JUICE, g, 6, Langfuhr--Creativity, by Notebook. ($50,000 '10 FTKJUL). O-Maggi Moss, B-Miller Thoroughbred Farm LLC (KY), T-Chris Richard, J-Gerard Melancon, $19,200.
9—Farmerville, g, 4, Richter Scale--Very Gifted, by Gift of Gib. O-Chad White, B-Chad White (LA), $8,100.
7—Gold Rock, g, 5, Rock Hard Ten--Toast, by Seeking the Gold. ($75,000 '11 KEESEP). O-Holyfield, Thomas L and Tony M, B-John Foster (KY), $3,520.
Winning Time: 1:39 4/5 (ft)
 
PEN, 5TH, AOC, $31,616, 4YO/UP, 1M 70Y, 1-29.
8—SLINGER, g, 6, Hard Spun--Binavicar, by Vicar. O-Robert A Derr, B-Randy Bloch, et al (KY), T-Timothy C. Kreiser, J-William P. Otero, $18,240.
9—Holy Snip, g, 6, Ecclesiastic--Scotch Dancer, by Carnivalay. O-Gama Racing Stable, B-Gary J Brockmeyer & Marcia L Wolfe (PA), $7,296.
2—Peasant, r, 7, Awesome Again--Abby Girl, by Meadowlake. O-James C Wolf, B-Adena Springs (KY), $3,344.
Winning Time: 1:41 4/5 (ft)
 
CT, 8TH, ALW, $27,000, 4YO/UP, 1 1/16M, 1-29.
8—SHARP RAZOR, c, 4, Real Estate--Trellis, by Baederwood. ($9,500 '12 FTMOCT). O-Cross Creek Farm, B-Maurice F Casey DVM (WV), T-Jeff C. Runco, J-Arnaldo Bocachica, $16,080.
2—Trouble X Two, g, 5, Redattore (BRZ)--Sugar 'n Oats, by Seattle Song. O-Tom Schafer, B-Horacio Lugo (CA), $5,360.
6—Shanghai Daddy, g, 5, Scat Daddy--Ju Ju Bean, by Siphon (BRZ). ($30,000 '11 FTMOCT; $32,000 2012 OBSJUN). O-Ray M Pennington, III, B-Nancy L Terhune (WV), $2,680.
Winning Time: 1:46 2/5 (ft)
 
CT, 7TH, ALW, $27,000, 4YO/UP, 6 1/2F, 1-29.
1—LUCY'S BOB BOY, g, 6, Flatter--Love for Lucy, by Not for Love. O-Michael Furr, B-Robert W Furr Sr (WV), T-Sandra A. Dono, J-Arnaldo Bocachica, $16,140.
(DH) 3—Allegheny Jack, g, 7, Reparations--Allegheny Red, by Roanoke. O-E Clinton Lowry, B-Dr & Mrs E C Lowry (WV), $4,035.
(DH) 4—In the Fairway, h, 5, Posse--Royal Sweep, by End Sweep. O-Coleswood Farm, Inc, B-Coleswood Farm, Inc (WV), $4,035.
Winning Time: 1:17 3/5 (ft)
 
SUN, 9TH, ALW, $25,750, 4YO/UP, 6F, 1-30.
2—HE'S A BLING, g, 4, Too Much Bling--Prado Lady, by El Prado (IRE). O-Kelley, Skyler, Aldrich, Allen J and Mansor, Tom, B-Kathryn I East (TX), T-Ruben Payan, J-Enrique Portillo Gomez, $15,360.
8—Down to the Wood, g, 4, Into Mischief--U K Trick, by Tricky Creek. ($27,000 '12 KEEJAN). O-Rogelio Carrasco, Sr, B-Richard A Sturgill (KY), $5,632.
6—Big Sugar Soda, c, 4, Ready's Image--Squeakums, by Fusaichi Pegasus. ($45,000 '12 KEESEP). O-Robison, J Kirk and Judy, B-Bellevue Farm (KY), $2,560.
Winning Time: 1:08 4/5 (ft)

Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather

SPOT PLAYS

For Saturday

TRACK   (RACE) HORSE, MORNING LINE
Aqueduct   (2nd) Stone Crab, 3-1
    (8th) Pebble Beach Baby, 6-1
Charles Town   (4th) Shadows of Love, 4-1
    (6th) All Dun, 3-1
Delta Downs   (6th) Top Cat Girl, 3-1
    (9th) McGary, 4-1
Fair Grounds   (6th) Tale of Beaucette, 7-2
    (8th) More Than Less, 4-1
Golden Gate Fields   (2nd) Pulpit Hanna, 4-1
    (3rd) Elle Woods Too, 3-1
Gulfstream Park   (3rd) Pleasantly Miranda, 7-2
    (10th) Hereditary, 3-1
Laurel Park   (3rd) A.P. Holiday, 3-1
    (5th) Brush Creek Honey, 7-2
Mahoning Valley   (5th) Octibbeha Warrior, 3-1
    (8th) Billions Boy, 9-2
Oaklawn Park   (4th) All About Ashley, 4-1
    (7th) Royal Marine, 3-1
Parx Racing   (1st) Riverwalk Weekend, 7-2
    (10th) Burn Permit, 3-1
Penn National   (1st) Colmont Kid, 3-1
    (7th) Star of Magic, 9-2
Sam Houston   (2nd) Pontiff, 9-2
    (8th) Star of Beauty, 5-1
Santa Anita   (1st) Swiss Heart, 3-1
    (9th) Nakamoto, 9-2
Tampa Bay Downs   (7th) Lake Drive South, 3-1
    (12th) Penelope Perfect, 3-1
Turfway Park   (4th) Zambian, 4-1
    (7th) Rejoice and Repent, 5-1

North American Maiden Winners
After Market--House of Humor by Distorted Humor; CONJO DANCER, f, 3, DED, Mcl 10000, 1-29, 1m, 1:45 3/5. B-Nuckols Farm, Inc. (KY.). $3,500 '13 KEESEP.
Albert the Great--Kimbalee by Tricky Creek; GREAT STARLENE, f, 3, PEN, Mcl 7500, 1-29, 6f, 1:13 1/5. B-Dorado Circle Stables LLC (PA.).
Diabolical--Accomodate by Pleasantly Perfect; CONTRADICTION, f, 3, SUN, Msw, 1-30, 6f, 1:10 2/5. B-Spence, LLC (NM.).
El Corredor--Blue Hills (MSW$309,029), by Cure the Blues; DEFONDO, g, 3, FG, Msw, 1-30, 6f, 1:10 3/5. B-Mr. & Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone (VA.). $55,000 '13 FTKJUL; $29,000 '13 KEEJAN; $170,000 2014 FTMMAY.
Kipling--Delamination by Silic (FR); DARIEL, f, 3, AQU, Mcl 20000, 1-30, 5 1/2f, 1:07 . B-Pope, Marc & Pope McLean Jr. (KY.). $8,000 '13 KEESEP; $35,000 2014 OBSAPR.
Lucky Pulpit--Domasco Lake by Meadowlake; ANOINTED WATERS, g, 3, GG, Mcl 32000, 1-30, 1m, 1:39 4/5. B-Mr. & Mrs. Larry D. Williams (CA.). *1/2 to Swiss Lake Yodeler (G3P $278,608).
Mass Media--Lake Victoria by Meadowlake; MEDIA PERKS, g, 3, TAM, Mcl 16000, 1-30, 6f, 1:12 1/5. B-Steve Tucker (FL.).
Mr. Nightlinger--Frangipanni by Cape Town; OKIE BLACKBIRD, c, 3, GG, Mcl 8000, 1-30, 5 1/2f, 1:05 3/5. B-Andrew Yaffe (OK.).
Northern Afleet--Hishi Once More by Touch Gold; MOZAMBIQUE GOLD, f, 3, GP, Mcl 75000, 1-30, 1 1/16mT, 1:41 2/5. B-Masaichiro Abe (KY.). $65,000 '13 KEESEP.
Sir Whimsey--Control Issue by Officer; TAKE ISSUE, f, 3, AQU, Mcl 25000, 1-30, 6f, 1:14 2/5. B-Turtle Bird Stable & Toby Sheets (NY.). ***FIRST WINNER FOR SIRE.
Sky Mesa--Broadway Debut by Unbridled's Song; SUPER SAKS, f, 3, OP, Msw, 1-30, 6f, 1:10 1/5. B-Kennelot Stables Ltd (KY.). $80,000 '12 KEENOV; $250,000 '13 FTSAUG.
Stephen Got Even--Family Effort (MSP$252,855), by Goldlust; PROM DRESS, f, 3, GP, Mcl 50000, 1-30, 1m, 1:41 3/5. B-Dr. Frank Batten (NC.).
Two Punch--Potomac Bend (G3), by Polish Numbers; JACKSON P, c, 3, LRL, Msw, 1-30, 5 1/2f, 1:04 4/5. B-Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dutrow Thoroughbred Ent, Inc. & Rebecca Dav (MD.). $37,000 '13 FTMSEP; $87,000 2014 FTMMAY.
Bernardini--Dubai Belle by Mr. Prospector; FLAG ON THE PLAY, g, 4, AQU, Msw, 1-30, 6f, 1:13 2/5. B-Darley (KY.). *1/2 to Little Belle (G1 $666,395).
Curlin--In My Glory by Honour and Glory; ABSOLUTE HONOUR, g, 4, GG, Mcl 20000, 1-30, 6f, 1:11 2/5. B-Charles Lo (KY.).
First Samurai--Brilliant Thunder by Thunder Gulch; TELEPATHY, g, 4, GG, Mcl 12500, 1-30, 1 1/16m, 1:45 3/5. B-Tailwind Racing, Inc. (KY.). *1/2 to Swiss Current (SW $294,937).
Ghostly Moves--Dancing Hadif by Hadif; DANCE FOR YOU, f, 4, SUN, Mcl 7500, 1-30, 5 1/2f, 1:05 . B-Sam F. Henderson (NM.).
In Summation--Roger's Sue by Forestry; SUM UP, c, 4, GP, Msw, 1-30, 7 1/2fT, 1:29 2/5. B-SF Bloodstock (FL.). *1/2 to Turbulent Descent (MG1 $1,211,640).
Not for Love--Polo Ridge by Wild Rush; MR. ITKINS, g, 4, SA, Mcl 50000, 1-30, 6f, 1:09 4/5. B-Mr. & Mrs. Charles McGinnes (MD.). $70,000 '12 KEESEP; $235,000 2013 BESMAY.
People's Choice--Ghazi Strip Dancer by Ghazi; A. P. BRANNIGAN, g, 4, OP, Mcl 12500, 1-30, 6f, 1:13 3/5. B-Tony W. Williams (AR.).
Pollard's Vision--Miss Alphie by Candi's Gold; TWENTYTWENTYVISION, g, 4, SA, Msw, 1-30, 1m, 1:36 . B-Peter O. Johnson (KY.). *1/2 to Alphie's Bet (G3 $303,670) *1/2 to Unusual Heatwave (MSW $488,752).
Roman Ruler--Minstrel Show by Tale of the Cat; ROAMING RULER, f, 4, DED, Mcl 10000, 1-29, 1m, 1:44 2/5. B-Windways Farm Limited (ON.). $7,000 '12 KEEJAN.
Roman Ruler--Theme Song by Dixieland Band; SILENT RULER, c, 4, SA, Mcl 20000, 1-29, 1m, 1:38 . B-Janis R. Whitham (KY.). $40,000 '12 KEESEP.
Tale of the Cat--Throw to Home by Grand Slam; RADIANT RUBY, f, 4, OP, Msw, 1-30, 6f, 1:11 4/5. B-Blandford Stud (KY.). $55,000 '11 KEENOV; $100,000 '12 FTKJUL; $135,000 2013 FTFMAR.
Big Brown--Wonder Lady Anne L (G1$459,488), by Real Quiet; WUNDAHOWIGOTHERE, m, 5, LRL, Msw, 1-30, 5 1/2f, 1:04 2/5. B-IEAH Stables, Andrew Cohen, & Jachlen Farm (KY.).
Bob and John--Positioning by Boundary; BOBROVSKY, g, 5, LRL, Mcl 8000, 1-30, 6f, 1:13 1/5. B-Fifty Seven Farm, Inc (KY.). $15,000 '11 FTKJUL; $25,000 '11 FTMOCT; $3,000 2014 FTMDEC.

Features

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

JANUARY 31, 2015

J&B Met: A Clash of the Underdogs

by Liesl King

Racing seems to be an equal mix of hard luck and fairy tale stories. For the casual observer, Cape Town's biggest race, the J&B Met (SAf-G1) over 10 furlongs at Kenilworth Saturday, is seemingly a two-horse race, if the betting is to be believed. At 15-10 and 16-10 there is very little between number 2 Futura (Dynasty) and number three Louis the King (Black Minnaloushe).

Both are four-year-olds, both are colts, both are bay, both have a merit rating of 116 and both will be carrying the top weight allowed of 132 pounds. One is by local sire Dynasty and the other by American import Black Minnaloushe. Yet there is so much more to Saturday's epic clash, for behind each of these two bay colts lies a tale that is so incredible it reads like a Hollywood script.

Louis the King is the not the biggest of boys, but what he lacks in stature he makes up for in presence, and with his signature bushy forelock he is instantly recognizable. First offered for sale at the KZN Yearling Sale in Durban, Louis the King went through the ring without a hand being raised. The auctioneer tried hard, but the bay colt out of the Rich Man's Gold mare Pamushana was eventually waved out, with the damning words "no bid" recorded behind his name.

Despondent, his breeder Philip Kahan headed for the car park, where he happened to run into an old acquaintance, Epsom-born and five-time champion trainer Geoff Woodruff. Woodruff had not come to buy yearlings; he was simply dropping off a parcel for a friend. On enquiring how the sale had been, Kahan regaled him with the story of his friendless colt.

"What do you want for him?" A chance remark, and yet unbeknownst to either, the start of something magical for both Woodruff and the plain bay colt. R60, 000 (US$5,172), the answer came. "OK I'll take him," Woodruff replied. A glance at the pedigree page, a shake of hands and without having ever seen the horse, Woodruff was Louis the King's new owner.

The rest, as they say, is history. Woodruff found Louis the King the perfect owner in Mr. Louis van der Vyver and in 2014, Louis the King, the horse nobody wanted, became only the second horse in South African racing history to win the Triple Crown. Louis the King would go on to add the Summer Cup (SAf-G1) over 10 furlongs to his collection of trophies, prompting Woodruff to add, "there is nothing in his pedigree to suggest he could stay, you know. I think it is down to his demeanor -- he just switches off."

The other bay colt is Futura, by Dynasty, sire of the moment and sire of 2014 Horse of the Year Legislate. His dam, Scribblin' the Cat (Badger's Drift) happens to belong to stud manager Guy Murdoch, and hence Futura had an extraordinary upbringing. Conceived at Gary Player's Stud in the Karoo, he was born at Yellow Star Stud in Kwa-Zulu Natal and then raised at Mauritzfontein Stud in the Northern Cape, where Murdoch currently resides. A fair bit of traveling for one so young and Futura's challenges were far from over.

Foals are fragile creatures and retained meconium at birth, a bad bout of diarrhea and a mom whose milk supply was extremely limited, would have meant the end of many a foal. Fortunately, Futura was made of sterner stuff, for after some dedicated care with milk powder and special formulas, the little colt pulled through, only to develop strangles at six months of age.

Today, Futura is a beautiful bright bay, with six victories, including the Champions Cup (SAf-G1) over nine furlongs and the Queen's Plate (SAf-G1) over a mile behind his name. The colt that was never expected to make it has never been out of the first three in 10 starts and today he is joint-favorite for race of the season.

Futura will be ridden by Bernard Fayd'Herbe while Louis the King will have the services of champion jockey Piere Strydom. Drawn in barriers 9 and 8, respectively, the two colts and their jockeys are sure to keep a beady eye on each other as the race unfolds. With a merit rating of 109, seven points behind the two colts, their nearest rivals are the evergreen Gold Onyx (Black Minnaloushe), carrying 129 pounds and drawn in barrier 14, and Woodruff's other two charges Tellina (Silvano) (barrier 3) and Killua Castle (Churchill Downs) (barrier 10). Trained by Sean Tarry, Gold Onyx is a solid campaigner, as his recent third in the Queen's Plate will attest, while Tellina and Killua Castle are no slouches either.

Of the rest, the five runners from Justin Snaith's stable could all hit the board, but the pick of the bunch is probably Arion (Silvano), easy winner of the Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Handicap (SAf-G2) over nine furlongs, while Dynamic (Dynasty) ran a sharp second in the 2013 Cape Derby (SAf-G1) over 10 furlongs on this card before being sidelined with a tendon injury.

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.

Announcements

Help Wanted

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.

Features

HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

JANUARY 30, 2015

by Dick Powell

For those of us that watch and wager on the Aqueduct inner dirt track, it is reminiscent of the old joke about the two old ladies that go to the Catskills for the weekend. They get back and compare notes about their experience and one complains about how bad the food was and the other says, "Yeah, and such small portions."

Right now, Aqueduct has bad racing and not enough of it. Three- and four-horse fields have been shockingly prevalent and little hope is in sight.

As bad as it has been, Gulfstream Park on Saturday got to see what Aqueduct fans have been privileged to watch on a daily basis when Jose and Irad Ortiz Jr. took down the two biggest stakes races on the card.

Saturday's headline race was the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) and the betting public settled on Frosted (Tapit) as the 3-to-2 favorite with Irad in the irons. Next in the betting was the New York-bred Upstart (Flatter), who was right behind at 21-to-10 with Jose. Going into the race, the Holy Bull looked more wide open but the public had it right.

Jose made the decision to stalk the pace and decided he would rather lose ground than get stuck in traffic. With a modest pace of :24.52 and :48.82, it turned out to be the right choice as he was able to keep an eye on pacesetter Bluegrass Singer (Bluegrass Cat).

The pace was still modest and Jose was not going to let anyone get the jump on him so he made his move around the far turn and engaged Bluegrass Singer. With the slow pace, it looked like there might be a decent duel to the wire but Upstart was tons the best and drew off to win by 5 1/2 lengths. Irad had Frosted in behind after being bumped at the start and was able to finish a decisive second and completed the Ortiz brothers sweep of the Holy Bull.

Upstart took 1:43.61 to cover the 1 1/16 miles and earned a career-best BRIS Speed rating of 105. Considering that he ran 34 feet farther than the runner-up, it was as a good a performance that we have seen from this class of sophomores and the timing of the race now gives trainer Rick Violette lots of options on how to proceed forward.

Frosted should come out of it much-improved and will get better with more racing and distance. He was bumped hard at the start and was not able to race close to the pace. Can't say that anyone else in the field will have a major impact in the division.

One race after the Holy Bull, the seven-furlong Forward Gal (G2) was run and this race really should have been called back as it was a very rough, and unfair, start. Longshot Momoeamaria (Quality Road) was completely unprepared for the start as she was leaning on the gate with her head cocked sideways when the latch was sprung. The official chart of the race shows five other fillies were bumped at the start in separate incidents.

After a strong pace duel among Enchantress (Malibu Moon), Ekati's Phaeton (Tale of Ekati) and Seduire (Elusive Quality), Birdatthewire (Summer Bird) began to pick up horses from the back of the pack. When By the Moon (Indian Charlie) forged to a brief lead for Jose at the top of the stretch when the speed backed up, here came his brother Irad down the middle of the track to win going away by 3 1/4 lengths.

Trained by Dale Romans, Birdatthewire only had a maiden win at Churchill Downs to her credit beforehand and was dismissed at 12.40-to-1 odds. She stopped the teletimer in a slowish 1:24.92 and only earned a 94 BRIS Speed rating. Considering her stout pedigree and that the Forward Gal was a turnback in distance, it was not a bad effort and she should be much better back at two turns

Sunday's eighth race at Gulfstream Park was an interesting handicapping scenario. A maiden special weight for three-year-olds going seven furlongs, it attracted a field of 13, 10 of which were first-time starters.

The 10 first-time starters all came from the usual connections you see down at Gulfstream in January but it was hard to separate one from the other. The public settled on Fast Moon (Malibu Moon) from Todd Pletcher and Johnny Velazquez as the 9-to-5 favorite and there were six starters at single-digit odds.

A friend of mine, whose opinion I respect, told me earlier in the day that he liked Zia (Munnings), one of the three that had already raced. I looked at him and even though he was winless in six starts, the first five came up in Canada on turf or synthetic. He made his dirt debut last out here and was a game third, earning a strong BRIS speed rating. So I said, why not, and made a decent win bet on Zia.

Fast Moon went to the front and dueled with 57-to-1 longshot Chiding (Blame). Paco Lopez had Zia in behind the leaders but the pace slowed noticeably with the second quarter run in :24.10 and now he had nowhere to go when Javier Castellano pulled up next to him aboard Fine Instincts (Tale of the Cat).

Zia stayed trapped in the pocket into the homestretch and when Castellano was not going to let him out, Lopez decided to veer to the outside, push Fine Instincts out of the way to get running room and run down Chiding in the shadow of the wire.

Sirens, red flags, alarms, and whistles went off, as there was a steward's inquiry into Lopez's actions and a claim of foul by Castellano against Lopez. Gulfstream showed the pan shot and head-on replay repeatedly and even though I am looking at a decent score, there was no way the stewards could leave Zia up.

And, yet, they did and maybe it makes up for the times when horses were taken down when they should not have been but it was a terrible call. They ruled that Castellano, aboard Fine Instincts, came in and caused the bumping but that is not how it looked to me. Go back and look at the chart for race eight on January 25 at Gulfstream Park and you will see how many bad trips there were from start to finish.

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.

Announcements

Help Wanted

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.