In the Money

Horse racing insight that's loose on the lead

Del Mar Debutante key race for 2-year-old filly division

August 31st, 2013

By J.J. Hysell

The $300,000 Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante should answer some questions about the early shape of the 2-year-old filly division. It could also provide a sneak peek to top contenders in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park, although it is good to keep in mind this race is on synthetic and most of these contenders have yet to try dirt.

Baffert's Awesome Baby is the favorite

Baffert’s Awesome Baby is one of three entries for the trainer

All eyes are on a Bob Baffert-trained filly – what’s new? – Awesome Baby, a daughter of Awesome Again whose debut on August 4 was one of the most impressive for juvenile fillies this West Coast season. She boasts scintillating speed, both in the mornings and on race day. Her bullet six-furlong work over the surface on Aug. 25 drew quite a bit of attention. The interesting aspect of this race is the presence of several speed types who should challenge this favorite, including She’s A Tiger. The key will be holding her speedy advantage for the seven furlongs.

Concave, a daughter of Colonel John for trainer Doug O’Neill, is a study in contrast to Awesome Baby. The Sorrento winner prefers to come from off the pace and catch a target, which she has successfully done twice. She’s mastered two different surfaces and appears to be a very talented prospect. Note the jockey switch from Mario Gutierrez, who is aboard the other Reddam entry Sprouts, to Patrick Valenzuela, plus the addition of three pounds. She’s had one six furlong work since the Sorrento.

After winning her first two races, She’s a Tiger – three-quarter sister to sharp sprinter Smiling Tiger – met her match in Concave in the Sorrento, but she didn’t give in easily. The addition of blinkers and a switch to rider Gary Stevens are notable. Although her speed figures don’t match that of Awesome Baby, she set blazing fractions in the Landaluce at six furlongs and lasted. This is a filly who might be even better on dirt, so a sharp performance is all she needs to set up for Santa Anita in November.

California-bred Sprouts, the pride of sire Square Eddie, is riding a three-race win streak for trainer Edward Freeman. She’s proven versatile, rating off the pace in her lone open company stakes win, the Cinderella. She’s held off pace pressure before, but it’s a tough assignment if she tries to go with Awesome Baby and She’s a Tiger. Will be interesting to see how she handles the stretch out from five and a half furlongs.

Fascinating, a half-sister to Bodemeister and a $1,300,000 purchase, is just that. One of a trio for Baffert, she is a quality filly whose destiny is likely routing. She showed marked improvement in her last race and in both efforts she made up ground in the latter stages of the race. She should show improvement at seven furlongs, but look out for this one when she goes beyond a mile. She’s also one to watch when she lands on dirt.

Secret Compass, another Baffert runner, looks like the sneaky “other Baffert” in this scenario. That was a solid fourth-place debut considering how far back she was midway through the sprint. The daughter of Discreet Cat was positioned closer to the pace last out and improved. The outside post could be to her benefit with the added distance. Joe Talamo takes over for Martin Garcia, who rides Awesome Baby.

Bajan is a tough filly who ran an impressive second to eventual Best Pal winner Albert’s Hope in her debut, and that rail was no easy spot. Her refuse-to-lose demeanor was revealed next out when she outdueled Southern Sunshine, the Peter Miller trainee she meets again here. She has the benefit of a win at six and a half furlongs.

Garrett Gomez returns aboard Southern Sunshine, the half-sister to Den’s Legacy who is seeking her first win.









Successful Dan attempts to make his own mark

August 30th, 2013

By J.J. Hysell

Wise Dan, the strapping chestnut reigning Horse of the Year, is one of the most accomplished horses currently in training.

He’s won eight straight races and 11 of his last 12, hops from track to track with ease and trains like an equine example of perfection. Throw whatever you want at him – not humans nor nature can halt his force, as shown in the Firecracker at Churchill Downs in June. He forged his way out of a traffic trap, ran at full speed with a hedge in his hindquarters, stumbled and still found his way home first on the soggy, mushy turf.

“Wise Dan is a pleasure,” trainer Charlie LoPresti said. “Wise Dan is a very, very sound horse. He’s very easy to train. He’s an overachiever. You don’t have to breeze him very often. You don’t have to have him on a set schedule, because the way he gallops and trains in the morning, he puts so much into it that he keeps himself fit.”

In fact, LoPresti – not one to make headlines boasting about the exploits of his runners – doesn’t hold back when it comes to his stable star.

LoPresti hopes Successful Dan can reach his potential in the Woodward.

LoPresti hopes Successful Dan can reach his potential in the Woodward.

“Wise Dan’s so brilliant – and I don’t mean to brag about him and I don’t want to sound too cocky – but I don’t see many horses beating him right now the way he is.”

While Wise Dan garners the spotlight with ease, his older half-brother from the same barn can’t seem to catch a break. Successful Dan’s racing legend is a stark contrast to that of his sibling, littered with injuries, a disqualification in one of his most monumental races and just plain bad luck.

Suspensory injuries have thwarted Successful Dan’s momentum three times in his career. After winning the Fayette at Keeneland in his 4-year-old season, he got his chance on the big stage in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. The day before the Clark, Wise Dan was a footnote when he won an allowance race at Churchill Downs. Successful Dan was the headliner this day; bettors made him the favorite.

The race was a melee of shifting and bumping and shuffling, and in the end, although Successful Dan and jockey Julien Leparoux crossed the wire first, they would not be awarded the trophy. Giant Oak was named the winner after stewards declared interference by Successful Dan. “It was a bad call,” LoPresti said after the race.

One year later, Wise Dan took that trophy that Successful Dan couldn’t, and Successful Dan wouldn’t race again until April of 2012 because of injury.

Just when it seemed “the other Dan” had drifted off the racing radar, his second wind at the age of six blew a message of vitality. He won his first race off the 16-month layoff, but that wasn’t the time to serve notice.

That would come in the Grade 2 Alysheba on Kentucky Oaks Day, in front of a multitude of cameras, with the racing world’s eyes fixated – just like little brother, who twelve days earlier had set a track record at Keeneland in the Ben Ali Stakes. Successful Dan ran the greatest race of his career yet, powering past future Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned, setting a track record of his own and reclaiming his status in the division.

“This is one of the best horses I’ve ridden so far in my career,” Leparoux exclaimed after the race.

Still, the Grade 1 prize eluded him. Wise Dan has six.

What better spot to try than the Graveyard of Champions as a 7-year-old. In the Whitney at Saratoga, Successful Dan would meet up with familiar foes Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man, rival Ron the Greek and newcomer Cross Traffic. This time, however, his trouble appeared before the race.

As the field headed to the track, Successful Dan suddenly balked at something. He tossed his head, reared and flipped on his side, losing Leparoux. He quickly bounced back up and, after a pre-race warm-up, it was determined he was fine to race.

The incident surprised LoPresti. The elder Dan was never a problem child; just unlucky.

“He has never, ever done that,” he said. “I think I had him pretty sharp for that race. I don’t really know why he did it.”

Whether the wind was knocked out of him or he just needed to get into rhythm, Successful Dan languished in the back of the field until the stretch run. Csaba retreated. Fort Larned backed up. Running six wide with his head slightly cocked toward the grandstand, older brother looked like he just might do it. He got a little too close to Mucho Macho Man and had to check, interrupting his momentum. There was only Cross Traffic to catch.

Successful Dan came up short, losing by three-quarters of a length.

“Every time that he has come into his own and really started to show the kind of horse he is, there’s always something that goes wrong with him,” LoPresti said. “We had him really good the year they took his number down in the Clark. It just seems like everything’s gone against him.  We had him really good for this race in the Whitney, and then I was kind of kidding my nephew when he walked through the paddock. I said, ‘Well, we finally got him there,’ because we didn’t get him there last year. Then I walked away and I went for the grandstand, looked up and there that (incident) happened to him. So it just seems like he’s kind of a hard luck horse.”

Successful Dan will try again for a Grade 1 honor in Saturday’s Woodward at Saratoga. Hardship hasn’t hindered his resolve.

“I just think that this particular horse, we’ve been through so much with him, ” LoPresti said. “I would like for everybody to see that he is as good a horse as I’ve said all along. It would mean a great deal for me to see this horse win (the Woodward). He has a special place in all our hearts.”






Fort Larned out of Woodward Stakes

August 29th, 2013

NYRA reported Thursday that Fort Larned will scratch from Saturday’s Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga.

Trainer Ian Wilkes said the issue with Fort Larned is “not serious, possibly a pulled muscle,” NYRA reported.

Wilkes said Fort Larned, fifth in the Whitney in his last start, remains possible for the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 28.


Entries: Woodward Stakes

August 28th, 2013

Here is the lineup for Saturday’s Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga:

Fort Larned

Fort Larned

1. Ron the Greek (J. Castellano/B. Mott)

2. Successful Dan (J. Leparoux/C. LoPresti)

3. Fort Larned (B. Hernandez/I. Wilkes)

4. Flat Out (J. Alvarado/B. Mott)

5. Paynter (R. Bejarano/B. Baffert)

6. Mucho Macho Man (E. Prado /K. Ritvo)

7. Alpha (J. Velazquez/K. McLaughlin) (blinkers on)

Analysis: 2-year-olds to Watch

August 27th, 2013

ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: August 22 – August 28

(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)


Conquest Titan (colt, Birdstone – Miner’s Secret by Mineshaft) – He’s one of three runners to emerge victorious out of a key race at Churchill Downs (June 30) won by Candy Dandy (Base Case Scenario, Dunkin Bend). After finishing fourth as the heavy favorite in that test, he followed up with a commanding front-running win on synthetic in the Swynford Stakes at Woodbine. Tuscan Getaway (Stroll) challenged early, but not for long, as this Mark Casse trainee extended his lead in the stretch and finished the seven furlongs in 1:23.64. It will be interesting to see the path he takes since he appeared to move up on the surface switch.

*Bon Accord (turf) (colt, Showing Up – Best Regards by Street Cry) – He’s 2 for 2 at Calder after powering home off a very fast pace in the Calder Turf Dash Stakes, his first try on turf. His other win was over a sloppy track. The Antonio Sano runner has yet to face top Florida-based competition, but he did best a field of 11 and mastered traffic issues in his third start. He’s still a question mark on fast dirt; in his lone start at Gulfstream he finished last. Interesting to note sire Showing Up switched to turf after finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby and rejuvenated his career, winning prestigious races such as the Secretariat Stakes and the Hollywood Derby.

*My Brown Eyed Guy (gelding, With Distinction – Brown Eyed Woman by De Niro) – The talk of the Florida juvenile circuit, this Kathleen O’Connell runner keeps winning in his preferred front-running fashion. He hasn’t trailed a horse in his three wins from four career starts at Calder. Most recently, he topped the competition while stretching out to seven furlongs in the Florida Stallion Affirmed Stakes.

*Scandalous Act (filly, Act of Duty – Seductive Lady by Langfuhr) – Kathleen O’Connell is dominating the Calder 2-year-old scene. This Florida-bred filly has tallied two straight stakes wins, most recently the Florida Stallion Susan’s Girl Stakes at seven furlongs. Like her stablemate My Brown Eyed Guy, she favors running on the lead from the start. Her combined winning margin from the two stakes wins: 16 1/4-lengths. O’Connell also has Secret Kitten (Discreet Cat), a multi-surface winner who is 2 for 2 after winning the Catcharisingstar Stakes on turf.

*Brothersofthetime (colt, Bob and John – Hostility by Devil His Due) – The Florida-bred was tested in the late stages of the one-mile Seacliff Stakes by 18-1 shot East Hall (Graeme Hall), but he narrowly prevailed to record his third win in four starts. He was all out to hold off the challenger, but he was also wide on the turn.

Architecture (filly, Dixie Chatter – Harmony Creator by Yankee Gentleman) – This British Columbia-bred is two for four with two seconds and tallied her second straight stakes win in the CTHS Sales Stakes at Hastings.


Havana (colt, Dunkirk – Missy Turtle by Kyle’s Our Man) – One of the most impressive debut performances by the touted Todd Pletcher juvenile armada at Saratoga was delivered by this gray colt. He was challenged early by eager rival Kendall’s Boy (Sky Mesa), but drew off in the later stages of the five-and-a-half furlong test. His final time of 1:02.64 just missed the track record (1:02.51) and he didn’t appear very taxed by the effort. His pedigree is a bit of an adventure, as he’s by new sire Dunkirk, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes in his short but classy career. His dam is the little-known Missy Turtle, an allowance winner at Philadelphia Park. Her sire, Kyle’s Our Man, won the Nashua and the Gotham and raced 13 times in an 8-month span. Dunkirk is off to a quick start with five wins from 21 of his first-crop runners. Kendall’s Boy is also one to watch from this race for trainer Tom Amoss.

Crown Queen (turf) (filly, Smart Strike – Delta Princess by A.P. Indy) – She didn’t win, but this third-place finish from off the pace was the type of debut you’d want to see from the half-sister of champion Royal Delta going 1 1/16-miles on grass at Saratoga. The educational experience of navigating through the traffic of a 10-horse field and settling behind pace setters Hillhouse High (Exchange Rate) and eventual winner Zinzay (Smart Strike) will be a benefit for her going forward. Turf could be her game, but that’s also a versatile pedigree. Also keep an eye on Nighttiming (Pioneerof the Nile) from this race, as the well-regarded filly had a rough start in which she lunged and spotted the field several lengths.

Sweet Daddy (turf) (colt, Scat Daddy – Candy Doll by Dushyantor) – This proved to be one of the “wow” debuts of the weekend at Indiana Downs for trainer Tom Amoss. Apprentice Dylan Davis smartly moved this newcomer through traffic in the turf sprint, and he responded by forging his way between horses like a pro. He showed no fear riding the rail for a bold move to seal the win in :57.79 for five furlongs. Intriguing pedigree screams turf and there’s substantial distance influence on the dam side through the Sadler’s Wells line.

Bardstown (ridgling, Stormy Atlantic – Forest Lady by Woodman) – Trainer Bob Hess is looking forward to big things from this New York-bred, who was a sharp second in his debut at Del Mar. Bardstown angled out into the stretch and rallied, but he couldn’t catch the impressive winner I Earned It Baby (Hard Spun). I Earned It Baby is also a prospect to watch, particularly on synthetic and turf, finishing the six furlongs in 1:10.01 for trainer Jerry Quinn.

Mei Ling (filly, Empire Maker – Lochinvar’s Gold by Seeking the Gold) – Appealing pedigree and a notable third-place finish for this Michael Hushion trainee, who closed the gap on the swift pace after a wide trip in the Saratoga sprint. She should appreciate more distance. Also to watch from this race are Potosi’s Silver (Badge of Silver), the Todd Pletcher runner who endured a miserable trip in which she was bumped hard at the start and also squeezed in on the rail. She wasn’t deterred and held on for second behind winner Gracer (Exchange Rate).

Ide Be Cool (colt, Ide – Cool Climate by Bowman’s Band) – This Louisiana-bred overcame a stumbling start in his debut and managed to remain close to the hot pace before taking over in the stretch. A solid time of 1:10.87 for the six furlongs against state-bred company.

Chad Brown has two on the watch list this week.

Chad Brown has two on the watch list this week.

*Bobbys Kitten (turf) (colt, Kitten’s Joy – Celestial Woods by Forestry) – The top two finishers of this race emerged from a key Saratoga race on turf won by Base Case Scenario (July 27). Bobby’s Kitten, third in that debut, bounced back with a head-turning wire-to-wire win at 1 1/16-miles for trainer Chad Brown. The most impressive aspect of his win was his natural cruising speed and the manner in which he separated himself from the field so easily in a route race. Stroll to Victory (Stroll), second in the key race, was a good second again and should move forward.

Ziggy the Great (turf) (colt, Langfuhr – Michele the Great by Distorted Humor) – Sharp debut by this New York-bred, who displayed a competitive spirit when he drove past the experienced Ainteasybeinggreen to win by a neck. He proved he can rate and won’t back down from a challenge.

Appreciating (turf) (filly, Sky Mesa – Hello Barbara Sue by Dehere) – While the other runners were struggling, this Mark Casse trainee with the speedy turf/synthetic pedigree was just getting into stride, driving past the field in a hand ride to win the seven-furlong test at Woodbine. She’s half-sister to multiple stakes winner Buddy’s Humor. A definite for the virtual stable.

Tamazula (filly, Two Step Salsa – Sleeping Bird by Strong Hope) – One of three recent winners for buzz sire Two Step Salsa, this Florida-bred filly was kept closer to the pace in her second start at Arlington Park, and she responded with a speedy win on the synthetic. The Armando De la cerda runner finished the five-and-a-half furlongs in 1:04.87.

Kellys Endeavour (filly, Kodiak Kowboy – Kelly’s Discovery by Cherokee Run) – What an impressive debut by the Pennsylvania-bred at Penn National. She romped by seven lengths in an effortless performance and crossed the wire in :58.69 for the five furlongs.

Sky Painter (turf) (filly, Street Cry – Skylighter by Sky Mesa) – The Kiaran McLaughlin barn has had an outstanding second half of the Saratoga meet, and this filly’s debut is one of the highlights. Last at the start, she embarked on a fast finish and caught favorite Super Sky (Sky Mesa), a half-sister to Princess Arabella and the heavy favorite, in the stretch. She was green at times but appeared to gain focus with a target in view. Her dam, Skylighter, was campaigned by Graham Motion and won the Indiana Oaks and the Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes.


Cinmars Dance (colt, Cindago – Martika Tianna by Dance Brightly) – This California-bred boasts a long, fluid stride and looked quite impressive when he closed from last to third at 33-1 in his debut in the claiming ranks at Del Mar. The Eric Kruljac trainee, who wasn’t claimed, had the benefit of a swift pace, but he also made a bold move to split horses and was moving the best after the wire.

When I’m Calling U (filly, Northern Afleet – Indian Love Call by Cherokee Run) – A wide post in a five-and-a-half furlong test almost always spells doom, but this Steve Sherman runner made an impressive trek to finish second in her second start. She was tenth heading into the stretch but made a six-wide move on the synthetic to close ground. Second in two starts – including a loss to the talented She’s a Tiger (Tale of the Cat) in her debut – she won’t be a maiden long.

Cause Im a Bigshot (filly, Giant’s Causeway – Unbridled Ridge by Unbridled’s Song) – She launched a rally after stalking mid-pack and just missed second behind Antiquity (Pulpit) and Silver Sails (Henrythenavigator) at 15-1 in her debut in sprint at Del Mar. This Mike Mitchell runner looks perfectly tailored for more distance and could also move up on turf with that classic pedigree.

Da Burn (filly. Forestry – Firetrail by Defensive Play) – This Washington-bred emerged from a key race won by ITM Watch filly Charismata (Curlin) and followed up with an eye-catching 12-length romp at five-and-a-half furlongs. She finished in a solid 1:03.81. Her dam, Firetrail, won two stakes at Emerald Downs at a mile.

Stay in Front (turf) (filly, War Front – Grand September by Grand Slam) – This Chad Brown runner with the standout grass pedigree hit the gate at the start of her debut in a turf sprint at Saratoga and still managed to finish third, losing by about three-quarters of a length.

Dylan Ward (colt, Artie Schiller – Dami by Dynaformer) – He rated nicely and made a wide move when urged, finishing third in his debut going seven furlongs on synthetic at Woodbine. Pedigree suggests he could appreciate a stretch out and would also excel on turf.

Sine Metu (gelding, Rebellion – Villacora by Pulpit) – There’s something about this Ontario-bred that says future winner. He’s a late closer with a standout pedigree who likely just needs to stretch his legs at a longer distance, and he also boasts a running style suitable for distance races on turf. Sire Rebellion won the Ack Ack Stakes, the Commonwealth Stakes and was second in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile despite a bad start that left him last until the stretch run.

M S C Jet (filly, Da Stoops – Scheing E Jet by Unbridled Jet) – This New Jersey-bred had an excuse in her debut, as she didn’t care for the rail post and brushed the gate, resulting in an awkward start. She drew the widest post in his second start and fared much better, tracking off the pace and taking command to win the five-furlong test at Monmouth in :58.94.

Naughty Holiday (filly, Harlan’s Holiday – Mrs. Coolidge by Quiet American) – Last until the stretch run, this David Fawkes trainee – debuting against experienced foes – made up substantial ground to finish second to La Marquesse (Cowtown Cat) in a sprint at Gulfstream.

Poker Player (turf) (colt, Harlan’s Holiday – Revel in the Win by Red Bullet) – One to watch next out as he made a nice late move for fourth in his debut at one-mile on turf at Arlington.

Shiva Ryan (turf) (colt, Tapit – Desert Queen by Wavering Monarch) – He was slow out of the gate in his debut against mostly experienced foes, but he gathered steam in the late stages of the one-mile test at Calder to finish third.



Analysis: 2-year-olds to Watch

August 20th, 2013

ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: August 15 – August 21

(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)


Wesley Ward

Wesley Ward has a serious turf runner in globetrotting No Nay Never

*No Nay Never (turf) (colt, Scat Daddy – Cat’s Eye Witness by Elusive Quality) – After conquering Keeneland and Royal Ascot, this top-ranked juvenile turf runner – trained by Wesley Ward – took his game to France last weekend in the six-furlong Darley Prix Morny at Deauville. With David Flores aboard, the colt took control of the pace and extended his lead to the wire for another impressive victory, his first Group 1 win. He topped previously unbeaten filly Vorda by a length. Although she couldn’t catch the winner, Rizeena, daughter of Serena’s Storm, rallied sharply for third.

No Nay Never was slated to be back in Kentucky by Tuesday. He will be a top contender if he targets the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Replay via YouTube:

*Del Rio Harbor (gelding, Harbor the Gold – Bahati by Horse Chestnut) – His peers just can’t keep up with him. This Washington-bred is three for four with two stakes wins after an eye-catching win in the W.T.B.O.A. Lads Stakes at Emerald Downs for trainer Doris Harwood.

*Cloud Harbor (colt, Rockport Harbor – Fragrant Cloud by Smokester) – This Henry Dominguez runner proved his versatility in a gutsy Gold Rush Futurity win, pushing his record to two for two. He came from off the pace and outdueled Ima Happy Strike (Smart Strike) in the stretch for a 20-1 upset win. He won his debut in front-running fashion.


*Burning Warrior (gelding, A.P. Warrior – Burning Woman by Carson City) – We knew he was one to keep an eye on when he romped by more than 11 lengths in his debut. This Louisiana-bred firmly put himself on the radar with a dominating front-running win in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile Stakes. The Henry Dunn runner was never asked and crossed the line in 1:10.47 for the six furlongs. What’s interesting is he boasts a pedigree that suggests he could carry this speed; in both races he’s set swift internal fractions. Dangerous.

New Year’s Day (colt, Street Cry – Justwhistledixie by Dixie Union) – He couldn’t reach winner Indexical (Latent Heat), but what a sharp debut from this Bob Baffert runner. Last at the start in the field of nine going five-and-a-half furlongs at Del Mar, he was put to a rally by Garrett Gomez and closed fast for a good third. Behold the pedigree: a blend of stamina and speed with multi-surface possibilities. He’s out of Justwhistledixie, winner of the Davona Dale and the Bonnie Miss Stakes.

Graham Motion-trained Divorce Party is owned by Qatar Racing

Graham Motion-trained Divorce Party is owned by Qatar Racing

Divorce Party (colt, Broken Vow – Pink Champagne by Awesome Again) – He was one to watch coming out of a likely key turf race at Saratoga and showed marked improvement on the switch to Delaware dirt. He broke slow and spotted the field of seven a few lengths, but as soon as he was asked, he powerfully looped the entire field and proved much the best in this second start. A definite for the virtual stable, and don’t count out this Graham Motion runner if he returns to turf.

Can the Man (colt, Into Mischief – Smolensk by Danzig) – When Bob Baffert names a colt after his son Canyon, it’s wise to take note. He lived up to his billing as the favorite in his debut at Del Mar, tracking right off the pace, making a move in the stretch and maintaining his lead to the wire in the five-and-a-half furlong test. The field was all newcomers, so it’s tough to gauge class level, but he’s by a notable new sire who has had recent success with early runners, particularly up to 1 1/16-miles.

Long Water (colt, Elusive Quality – Round Pond by Awesome Again) – This first-time starter appeared unprepared at the start, and it took him some time, but once he figured out what was happening he really made up ground. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee wasn’t close to winner Strong Mandate (Tiznow) and finished fourth, but he took a lot of dirt in his face and should improve off this effort. A bright future awaits this colt out of multiple graded stakes winner Round Pond.

Demander (colt, Yes It’s True – Bootery by Storm Boot) – This half-brother of Neck ‘n Neck got a solid education in his debut at Ellis Park, weaving his way through traffic to work his way up to fourth in the five-and-a-half furlong test. The Ian Wilkes trainee looked superb on the gallop out. Notable performance from winner Captainof the Nile (Pioneerof the Nile), a first-time starter for William Connelly who topped the more experienced Runkle when he came from off the pace and reeled in that rival in 1:04.79.

Artemis Agrotera (filly, Roman Ruler – Indy Glory by A.P. Indy) – Is this New York-bred as good as advertised in her 11-length debut romp at Saratoga? Or was it a case of a stunned field of newcomers who couldn’t keep up? The Michael Hushion runner set swift internal fractions and stopped the clock in 1:10.53 for six furlongs.

Kohanya (filly, Spring At Last – Potomac Blend by Polish Numbers) – This late closer came within a hair of catching winner Sensible Shoes (Songandaprayer), who had the benefit of a race going into this Delaware Park sprint. Super stride on the Richard Small trainee, who was fifth in the stretch and ended up leagues ahead of the winner on the gallop out.

Aarons Orient (colt, Orientate – Are U Being Served by Jambalaya Jazz) – He had a fight on his hands in his second start at Saratoga when Pure Sensation offered up a duel in the stretch. After a slight hesitation, this Steve Asmussen trainee went right on by his foe and sustained on the gallop out. A speedy final time of :57.69 for the five furlongs. Interesting pedigree appears sprint-heavy at first glance, but some stamina influences on the dam side could be a benefit if he stretches out. He was fourth in his debut, won by Corfu, a race that could prove to be key.

“He’s a very fast horse,” said Asmussen. “Kim Valerio bought him out of OBS off of Bobby Dodd, and he’s been a lovely horse since he came in. Honestly, we were surprised he got beat the first time, but he obviously got beat by a nice horse. . .”We’ll let (him) go back to the track before we do something. I think he’s a stakes-caliber horse, and we’ll find one for him.”

*Divergent View (filly, Congrats – Wasted Wisdom by Gold Fever) – After a good second to Designer Legs in the Prairie Lass Stakes, she followed up with a hard-fought win in a six furlong allowance at Indiana Downs for her second win in four starts. The Tom Amoss runner was all out to hold off her rallying rivals.


*Yodel Up A Storm (filly, Swiss Yodeler – Valley Storm by Moscow Ballet) – We tabbed this California-bred as one to watch after finishing a strong second in her debut in the claiming ranks. She followed up with a solid win against state-bred company and came home in a rapid 1:03.75 for the five-and-a-half furlongs on Del Mar synthetic.

Tribalist (gelding, Tribal Rule – Ultimate Summer by Cee’s Tizzy) – An impressive win for Tamarando (Bertrando), but what a flying finish from this Blake Heap trainee in his debut sprinting at Del Mar. After a slow start, he embarked on a four-wide stretch rally and likely would’ve made second if not forced to check. Takem By Surprise (Bushwacker) offered up some fast fractions and Tamarando took advantage, crossing the wire in 1:03.35 for the five-and-a-half furlongs.

Wild Caroline (filly, Wildcat Heir – Willie Brook by Montbrook) – Sharp score by the winner Miss Scatalicious (Scat Daddy) at 42-1 at Del Mar, but making her best run too late was this Mike Puype Florida-bred. The first-time starter got off to a tough start and took a while to get into stride on the synthetic surface, but once she got into rhythm, she bypassed rivals and finished fifth. An A-plus gallop out.

Ready’s Legend (turf) (filly, More Than Ready – The Legend Grows by Siphon) – She followed up a last-place showing in her debut with a strong rally at Arlington in her second start at on grass. Positioned last until the stretch run, she gained substantial ground to finish in a dead heat for third behind front-running winner Istanford (Istan). Moderate fractions for the race with a final time of 1:37.22 for the mile.

*Union Hall (colt, Dixie Union – One West by Gone West) – He ran behind He’s Got Talent and Ride on Curlin and encountered a sloppy track before finding the winners’ circle in his fourth start. This nice-looking Bret Calhoun runner was shuffled back in between foes, but re-rallied and pulled away to be much the best in the five-and-a-half furlong race at Remington Park.

Give No Quarter (colt, Tiz Wonderful – Roadtohanna by Not For Love) – This half-brother to the brave Tell A Great Story endured a bumpy start and a stretch duel to finish a close second behind Ready for Action (Ready’s Image) in his debut at Presque Isle. The Graham Motion trainee is a little green but is one to keep an eye on.

Naughtynaughtygirl (filly, Bernardini – Win With a Wink by Dixieland Band) – Toss the Saratoga debut – not only because Bill Mott runners often need a race, but for the fact that she hit the starting gate and was wide during the sprint. This filly with a router’s pedigree could take a few races to get on track, but keep her in mind.

Enjoy the Family (filly, Brother Derek – Enjoy the View by L’Enjoleur) – Nice run from off the pace by this first-time starter to catch the more experienced Concert Pianist (Any Given Saturday) in the stretch. The Tom Proctor runner closed the five-and-a-half furlongs in 1:04.26.

Rockford (gelding, Rock Hard Ten – La Treizieme by French Deputy) – A late-running fourth in his debut in a sprint at Golden Gate, this Bill Patterson trainee is one to watch stretching out or, particularly, if he tries turf.

Miss Woodburn (filly, First Defence – Zamindarling by Zamindar) – It was quite a scene: a wall of tired foes far behind this Florida-bred as she cruised home to break her maiden by more than 10 lengths in her fourth start. The competition in this Thistledown test was likely light, but it could also be the Timothy Hamm runner needed the surface switch from synthetic to dirt.



Baffert: Targets set for Power Broker, Flashback

August 20th, 2013

By J.J. Hysell

Trainer Bob Baffert has set race dates for two of his 3-year-olds.

Power Broker, the Easy Goer winner who was a distant second to Verrazano in the Haskell, is targeting the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 7.

Flashback, a promising son of Tapit whose Triple Crown trail hopes were dashed due to an injury, returned to the work tab on Monday at Hollywood Park. Flashback was on a path to the Kentucky Derby, but he emerged from a second place finish in the Santa Anita Derby with a chip in his knee.

Baffert said Flashback is being pointed to the Malibu Stakes.



Point of Entry working his way back from injury

August 20th, 2013
Point of Entry schooling at Churchill Downs in May

Point of Entry schooling at Churchill Downs in May

By J.J. Hysell

Point of Entry, who had surgery for a condylar fracture in his left hind cannon bone after his win in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap in June, is steadily working his way back.

Trainer Shug McGaughey said in a national teleconference Tuesday that the 5-year-old son of Dynaformer galloped a mile in Ocala for the first time since the injury. McGaughey said he saw video of the gallop and was “very pleased.”

McGaughey said Point of Entry remains on track to return to the Breeders’ Cup in November at Santa Anita.

Point of Entry had won seven of his last eight races before being sidelined. The lone loss during that streak was a runner-up finish to Little Mike in the Breeders’ Cup Turf last year.