JC / Railbird

Races/Results Archive

Weekend Notes

– Trainer Carla Gaines and jockey Joe Talamo had a very good afternoon at Del Mar, pairing up for three wins, including one in the feature. Boxed in on the rail by Victor Espinoza aboard Balance, unbeaten Nashoba’s Key made up ground fast over the Polytrack stretch to win the Hirsch going away. “I was so confident,” said Talamo after. “She has a kick that is out of this world” (Blood-Horse). Final time for the race, the first for Nashoba’s Key over the surface, was 1:48.29. The four-year-old filly is now 6-for-6.
– Any Given Saturday looked fantastic scoring his first G1 victory in the Haskell at Monmouth today, accelerating with ease in the stretch and finishing 4 1/2 lengths ahead of Hard Spun. Favored Curlin, making his first start since his hard-fought nose loss to Rags to Riches in the Belmont, was third, which didn’t please Steve Asmussen. “He ran the worst race of his career and we have to find out why,” the trainer grumbled after (DRF). With the Travers three weeks away, it’ll be interesting to see what news come out of Asmussen’s barn about Curlin’s condition and schedule, as it will be to hear whether or not Any Given Saturday will run at Saratoga. Trainer Todd Pletcher would only say after the colt’s decisive win that the Breeders’ Cup was a target.
– Dream Rush followed up on her win in last month’s Prioress with another stakes victory on Saturday in the Darley Test at Saratoga. It was a nice race for her, but an even better one for runner-up Boca Grande, a filly who showed promise winning the Demoiselle last year, then returned to run sixth in the Forward Gal, her first race as a three-year-old, and finished third in her last, the Mother Goose. By A.P. Indy, out of Country Hideaway — a full sister to BC Distaff winner Pleasant Home and a member of a very classy female family that includes champions Sky Beauty and Gold Beauty — Boca Grande may well be a late blooming talent.
– Bob Baffert’s unraced $4.6 million Vindication colt Maimonides, scratched from an opening day start at Del Mar, could debut at Saratoga as early as this Wednesday (DRF). The two-year-old belongs to Ahmed Zayat, who withdrew his stock from Del Mar in a huff last week after an argument with track president Joe Harper over the Polytrack surface.

Octave Wins CCAO

– At Belmont, Rags to Riches understudy Octave won an unexciting renewal of the Coaching Club American Oaks, tracking pacesetter Folk’s ambling fractions of :23.91, :48, 1:12.25, and 1:36.47 before drawing away at the eighth pole to win by half a length over the late closing Lear’s Princess, who may have earned a Saratoga start on the strength of her stretch run. “Our filly ran a great race,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “Maybe we’ll have to look at the Alabama now” (Blood-Horse).
The CCAO was Octave’s second Grade 1 win in a row; the Todd Pletcher-trained filly took the Mother Goose easily last month. She’s now won the first two legs of the Triple Tiara. To claim the third, she’ll have to start in the Alabama.
– A bizarre incident in Belmont’s sixth resulted in Pasqualina being declared a non-starter when she left the gate without rider Alan Garcia, who appeared to reach out for the right side of the stall at the break. Garcia came off the horse, slammed into the gate, and fell to the ground; Pasqualina chased the rest of the field around the track. Both jockey and horse were apparently fine, with Garcia riding his remaining mounts for the afternoon.
Poor Fleetheart. The filly was thoroughly schooled in her first turf and stakes try at Del Mar today in the Osunitas Handicap. Breaking from the outside, another first for her, Fleetheart was positioned well off the pace through the first three quarters, looking uncomfortable the whole time, then found herself squeezed between two rivals at the top of the stretch. She finished last, losing her first race in five starts. Kris’ Sis won, paying $9, while even-money favorite Double Trouble finished third.
– Add to your watch list: More Happy. The two-year-old filly by Vindication, trained by Bob Baffert, debuted in Del Mar’s fourth today, which she won in a quick 1:05.7 by a neck over Foxy Danseur. More Happy is first-crop sire Vindication’s third winner from eight starters.
– Dreaming of Anna, sent off as the 3-1 third favorite, won the Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs (BRIS).

Weekend Notes

– Even-money favorite Tiago won the Swaps at Hollywood on Saturday by 2 1/2 lengths after jockey Mike Smith guided the half-brother to Giacomo through an opening on the rail to the inside of pacesetter Desert Code. This was a really nice move by horse and rider: Tiago, settled into fifth, four lengths off the lead, until the field turned into the stretch, could have as easily swung to the outside and taken the lead, but Smith and his willing colt charged through on the rail with confidence (video). “Normally, I would have chosen [to go wide], but a horse like this absolutely loves the fence,” said Smith. “He’ll run through anything, so I wasn’t worried. All he needed was a little room to get his head through and he just goes” (LA Times). Albertus Maximus finished second, Souvenir Slew third. Tiago, carrying the highweight of 122, is the fourth horse to win both the Santa Anita Derby and the Swaps, and earned a 103 Beyer for the 1 1/8 mile race run in 1:48.76.
– Todd Pletcher upset Todd Pletcher in Sunday’s Delaware Handicap. Positioned third, less than a length off the pedestrian pace set by Peak Maria’s Way through the first three quarters, Pletcher’s 8-1 Unbridled Belle drew off easily to win the Delaware Handicap by 7 3/4 lengths (Blood-Horse). The trainer’s much favored Indian Vale finished fifth with no excuse.
– Sunriver proved his first race on the turf wasn’t a fluke by following up on that allowance win with a stakes victory on the grass. The four-year-old went wire-to-wire in the Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont on Sunday, winning by 1 1/4 lengths. Trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunriver would start next in the August 11 Arlington Million.
– Chalk another up for Posse: Bet the Diva became her freshman sire’s 10th winner with a maiden special score at Belmont. The Gary Contessa trainee broke smartly from the gate, took the lead early, and won by 3 1/4 lengths.
Del Mar opening day entries are up and Bob Baffert’s much talked about two-year-old Maimonides, a $4.6 million Vindication colt with several bullet works, is set to debut in race three on Wednesday has been scratched from the day’s third (DRF). Vindication was undefeated in four starts as a two-year-old and named the 2002 champion juvenile; he was retired in early 2003 with a suspensory injury. His first crop is hitting the track now and has so far yielded two winners from seven starters.
– Apprentice Michael Baze, with 73 wins, became the youngest jockey to win Hollywood’s riding title since Hall of Famer Bill Shoemaker in 1950. “It’s unbelievable,” said the 20-year-old of his achievement (LA Times). The Hollywood trainer race was tight to the end, with Jeff Mullins and Doug O’Neill finishing in a tie (Bob Ike).

Scipion Tries Turf

– Friday is a day of firsts for Scipion. Remember him, the A.P. Indy colt briefly on the Kentucky Derby trail after winning the 2005 Risen Star with a giant come from behind move at 10-1? He returns to the track as a five-year-old in Belmont’s eighth, making his first start since October, his first start on turf, and his first start for trainer Christophe Clement. The race is an optional claiming/N2X, 1 1/8 mile on the inner, and while Scipion seems to fit with this bunch, he is a deep closer who hasn’t finished better than second in 11 starts since that Risen Star score. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens sends out a more likely winner, the lightly-raced and quick Tricky Causeway, and Saeed bin Suroor, 15-5-2-1 for the meet, the Brit-bred Centaurus, who breezed a bullet five furlongs on the turf in 1:00.31 on July 8.
– With three more wins this afternoon, apprentice Michael Baze heads into Hollywood’s final weekend at the top of the jockey standings, six victories ahead of fellow bugboy Joe Talamo, winner of one today. But Talamo will have many chances to take the lead before the meet closes: He’s named to ride in every race Friday, in another eight on Saturday, and nine on Sunday, while Baze will ride seven on Friday, four on Saturday, and seven on Sunday.
– Posse starter alert: Miss Triss will try to add to her rookie sire’s 9-for-19 record when she makes her second career start in Arlington’s seventh, a five furlong maiden special for fillies, on Friday.

← Before After →