03/11/2012 11:10AM

Creative Cause, Bodemeister, and Other Saturday Happenings

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Saturday stakes thoughts:

There was much to like about both Creative Cause’s victory and Bodemeister’s runner up performance in the San Felipe. Creative Cause had to go four to five wide on the far turn, and you would have to think his win margin would have been appreciably larger than the three-quarters of a length it was had he spent as much time in the stretch tending to business as he did gawking at the grandstand. As for Bodemeister, he did the dirty work pressing the early pace. Okay, so the pace wasn’t all that fast. But pressing the pace is still doing the dirty work. Midnight Transfer also ran creditably finishing third after being much farther back early than expected, although he clearly didn’t stay in the final furlong.

I’ll say right up front that I am not crazy about the Tampa 3-year-olds. It is clear, though, that a better post position (he broke from the one hole), and the addition of blinkers certainly played big roles in Prospective winning the Tampa Bay Derby, especially the blinkers. Prospective was in the game earlier, and he made his move earlier, both classic effects of blinkers on. Still, you have to wonder how strong this race could have possibly been when Golden Ticket, coming off an off-the-turf maiden win over a short field in the sixth start of his career, finished second, less than a length shy of taking it all. As for favored Spring Hill Farm, as expected, he did not get the perfect trip he received in his first two starts, and he struggled home fourth.

One other thought about the Tampa Bay Derby: I do understand the reasons given for Take Charge Indy being scratched. Having to break from post 10 and run over a Tampa main track that can be tricky for horses who have never raced on it before is not ideal. But sitting out the Tampa Bay Derby in favor of the Florida Derby, in which you will have to face Union Rags, and maybe El Padrino, and maybe Alpha, too, and having a race like that now being your only opportunity to collect the graded earnings you need to get into the Kentucky Derby … well, it makes me wonder. All I know is, if Take Charge Indy was capable Saturday of coming close to duplicating his second to El Padrino in his first start this year, he would have won the Tampa Bay Derby by open lengths.

With the way Mucho Macho Man cruised up to Tackleberry late on the far turn in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, I thought I was going to have to pull out the “monster” label. Tackleberry was making his first start in almost 10 months, and Jackson Bend, the other big player in the race, was not firing. It looked for a moment that Mucho Macho Man was going to blow this race wide open. It didn’t happen. Some credit should go to Tackleberry, who was very game off the long layoff. But while Mucho Macho Man’s win was good, it wasn’t as big as it looked like it was going to be.

Zagora just oozes class, and she has an enormous brush in her. She showed both again winning the Hillsborough.

I wish I could be more optimistic about Ever So Lucky’s third, beaten seven lengths as the 6-5 favorite, in the Swale Stakes, but I can’t.

It might be time to take Alternation a little more seriously in the handicap division. Yes, the speedy Tapizar was taken in hand and conceded the early lead to him in the Razorback, a lead that Alternation never relinquished. But when a stone-cold closer like Alternation wins with a running style that had previously been completely alien to him, it’s noteworthy, and a very good sign.

On Fire Baby, the filly who remains on the fringes of the Kentucky Derby discussion, was much better winning the Honeybee than her two length win margin would suggest.

Drayton Nay More than 1 year ago
Creative Cause was a bit sloppy and not ready to take on Union Rags. Not yet anyway.
Lee Davis More than 1 year ago
What about Dulahan M.W Thoughts???
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello M.W. , I truly believe you are One of the ( TELL IT LIKE IT IS ) horseman that we have writting today . Yes , there are afew grat ones still doing so , but you are my favorite ! You may think I may be One of your stupidest FANS for saying what I think , but I feel so strong about what I feel . BODEMEISTER I believe should not be headed TOWARDS the KENTUCKY DERBY . I think BODEMEISTER looked awesome thru-out much of the race , but I did not like what I saw 70 yards from the finish , and the gallop-out got worse . I believe Baffert might be asking abit too much too soon out of this bright COLT . I am a huge fan of Bafferts Racing as well . I know Baffert is a very wise - smart horseman . As we all well know . But knowing their son BODE and BODEMEISTER being named after their son - maybe the Trainer / Owner are doing things now just to have hope in the KENTUCKY DERBY . I just dont see BODEMEISTER Performing well enough in the SANTA ANITA DERBY . I think a big bounce is in the making , and I would not like to see this in BODEMEISTER , a fine looking COLT ! I WOULD THINK WAITING FOR THE PREAKNESS WOULD BE PERFECT TIMING and race BODEMEISTER IN A DIFFRENT RACE - Not the SANTA ANITA DERBY . I Do Not Think BODEMEISTER Is Ready At All As Of Yet . O . K . Mike , let me have it ! Tell me that I am crazy
Walfred More than 1 year ago
I' m hoping Creative Cause, Hansen, and Union Rags stay healthy because that will make it a great Kentucky Derby. Creative Cause seems like he'll love the mile-and-a-quarter. He's gallop out was exceptional too.
Mike Bilinskas More than 1 year ago
I didn't like Ever So Lucky's race either, but he gets another shot for me, especially without Joe Bravo up next time
Vin More than 1 year ago
Creative Cause took advantage of a great trip , as good horses do.
Yuwipi More than 1 year ago
LIked the way Creative Cause moved to the leaders, but they've got to get this horse straightened out. He sling shot off the turn is way too much of a ground loser. Was not as impressed with the filly in Arkansas as you were, but I've come to know that your observations are usually more astute than mine. Thanks for the run down.
Don Passidomo More than 1 year ago
MW: What were your after the fact thoughts of Swale? Think Gemologist is running at GS on Friday in allowance, to avoid the big Oaklawn rumble? Good move if so....Don
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Hi Mike, Thanks for all the updates. Let's not be too harsh on Mucho Macho Man as he was turning back to a one turn mile and that can always be tricky. 3M did what he had to do and looks to be set-up for a big year in a Handicap Division that needs a shining star. Fits the bill (it sez here). I believe it's OK to get excited by Zagora as well. Classy 5 yo mare (always loved the Green Dancers). Thanks as always.