07/24/2012 12:41PM

Pacific Ocean, Royal Delta, Kauai Katie, Acclamation, etc.


Pace made the race in the Grade 3 James Marvin Stakes on opening afternoon at Saratoga. 

PACIFIC OCEAN, cooked in a wicked speed duel on Belmont Stakes day in the Grade 2 True North Handicap, found no early opposition in the James Marvin and his rider, Joel Rosario, took full advantage.  Rosario sped Pacific Ocean clear of his nearest challenger and ticked off slow fractions of 23.19 and 46.67.  Understandably, Pacific Ocean had plenty left for the final three-eighths to post the 103-Beyer score. 

In the True North, Pacific Ocean rattled off splits of 21.80 and 44.58.  Going ten lengths slower to the pace call this time around certainly helped his cause and harmed the chances of the late-kickers. 

Curiously, Ramon Dominguez, the rider of third-place finisher CROSSBOW, opted to rate his mount off Pacific Ocean.  Dominguez utilized similar tactics, to no avail, in the True North, but the strategy was understandable that day considering the hard-hitting up front.  This time, Dominguez conceded the lead to Pacific Ocean and Crossbow would not go by when in with a chance turning for home. It's possible that Crossbow is simply a need-the-lead type. 

*Trainer Tony Dutrow may have gotten away with a theft by dropping multiple stakes-winner RUSH NOW in for a $60,000 tag at Monnmouth on Sunday.  Rush Now prompted an easy pace en route to a visually-impressive score.  Perhaps the gelding received the confidence boost needed to successfully compete in stakes competition again, but he is at his best when allowed to dictate moderate splits at middle distances. 

*The margin was only a neck but ROYAL DELTA, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2011, showed dogged determination in winning the Grade 3 Delaware Handicap on Saturday.  She gave between three and 12 pounds to all in the 1 1/4-mile heat, and chased a break-neck pace (22.87, 45.70, 1:09.80) set by LOVE AND PRIDE.  Royal Delta advanced with the classy AWESOME MARIA on the far turn, gave that foe the cold shoulder and made the lead with 5/16ths of a mile to run. TIZ MIZ SUE, a Delaware horse-for-course in receipt of nine pounds and cleverly ridden by Joe Rocco Jr., made a strong late bid but Royal Delta always found a little bit more when jockey Mike Smith needed it.  This was a classy performance from last year's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic winner, who may be bound for the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga on August 26.

*It didn't take long for trainer Todd Pletcher to make an impression with a juvenile at Saratoga.  KAUAI KATIE, a daughter of Malibu Moon that sold for $90,000 as a yearling and $490,000 in March, whistled by 12 lengths on opening day under Rosie Napravnik.  Kauai Katie is out of a More Than Ready mare, More Than Pretty, that won a stakes at five furlongs on turf at Churchill Downs.  Kauai Katie's 3-year-old full sister, Winding Way, is now perfect in two starts for trainer Carla Gaines after taking an entry-level optional claimer over the Del Mar polytrack on Saturday with a 97 Beyer. 

*ACCLAMATION won his seventh in a row in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar on Saturday.  The winning streak dates back to May 14, 2011 and all of the victories have come in Grade 1 or Grade 2 races.  Acclamation looked the dominant speed on paper and he walked the dog on the front end through fractions of 24.97 and 49.00.  Although a comfortable winner, Acclamation drifted out considerably in the stretch and didn't show the same finishing kick that he often displayed when a Horse of the Year candidate in 2011. 

*Speed handicappers had to be thrilled with QUESTING's victory in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks as she was the only filly in the race with a previous triple-digit Beyer on her card.  Questing ran hard all the way as she chased longshot YARA through solid fractions, but she wandered badly in the stretch and may be tested at the 10-furlong distance of the Grade 1 Alabama later this summer.

*RIDING THE RIVER was stopped several times in the stretch of the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday, but he overcame the traffic trouble to post a good-looking victory.  Trained by David Cotey, Riding the River may be one to follow on grass this summer in Canada.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (7/16/12 - 7/22/12):

1.  PACIFIC OCEAN - 103 - James Marvin Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs - Saratoga
1.  RUSH NOW - 103 - OC 60k/N3X - 1 Mile - Monmouth
3.  FIDDLERS PATRIOT - 102 - Willard Straight Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Saratoga)
3.  ROYAL DELTA - 102 - Delaware Handicap (G2) - 1 1/4 Miles - Delaware
5.  CSABA - 101 - El Kaiser Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Calder
5.  GOOD LORD - 101 - Don Bernhardt Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Ellis
7.  KAUAI KATIE - 100 - Md Sp Wt 80k - 5 Furlongs - Saratoga
7.  SPECTACULAR SKY - 100 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 7 Furlongs - Calder
9.  ACCLAMATION - 98 - Eddie Read Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
9.  BOOK REVIEW - 98 - Alw 82000N1X - 7 Furlongs - Saratoga
9.  IT'S NEVER TO LATE - 98 - OC 35k/C - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
9.  QUESTING (GB) - 98 - Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga
13. NUMB LIPS - 97 - Primal Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Calder
13. RIGBY - 97 - Clm 20000 - 6 Furlong - Saratoga
13. WINDING WAY - 97 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
16. COWGIRL KNOCKOUT - 96 - Alw 7500s - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
16. RIDING THE RIVER - 96 - Nijinsky Stakes (G2-C) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Woodbine
18. DUST AND DIAMONDS - 95 - Dashing Beauty Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
18. ESSENCE HIT MAN - 95 - Bold Venture Stakes (G3-C) - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
18. PRO'S PAL - 95 - OC 15k/N3R - 6 Furlongs - Finger Lakes
18. PURE TACTICS - 95 - Alw 25220NC - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Louisiana
22. AKKADIAN - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - Del Mar
22. SMOKEY LONESOME - 94 - Clm c-(40-35) - 1 Mile (Turf)_ - Del Mar
24. CABO CHICO - 93 - Alw 4000s - 6 Furlongs - Sacramento
24. EXCLUSIVE STRIKE - 93 - Hcp 16000s - 1 Mile (Turf) - Monmouth
24. GLOBAL POWER - 93 - Sussex Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Delaware
24. HUDSON LANDING - 93 - Mt. Rainier Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - Emerald
24. MY BEST BROTHER - 93 - Oceanside Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Del Mar
24. SHREWD ONE - 93 - Alw 82000N1X - 7 Furlongs - Saratoga

*The lifetime past performances for PACIFIC OCEAN and RUSH NOW are available at the bottom of the blog post.

*SMOKEY LONESOME was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Ron Ellis from the barn of Art Sherman.


Please check out the latest video production from Jessica Pacheco, Racing Analyst at Arlington Park.  It's Part 9 of the "Behind the Silks" video series following jockey Tim Thornton through his ups and downs at this year's Arlington meet.

In this episode, "blue" is the theme - starting with Tim's dog, Jake, a Blue Heeler. After spending some time with Jake, we learn the story behind Tim's blue boots, and take a tour of the Arlington Park jock's room. Tim then introduces us to Blue Knott, Arlington Park's Starter, and we find out more about how the starting gate and the gate crew operate.




Please take a peek at the new blog from our friend, Laura Ross, featuring pedigree profiles of stakes-winning juveniles, analysis of first-crop and other sires, and comments on the Del Mar 2-year-old scene



am going to shamelessly plug something new I found at DRF today. If I register my name and email, I get a free copy of your Spa Babies every weekday of Saratoga racing. Of course I have to remember to check it and register everyday and I'll have to pay for the info on the weekends, but I think DRF made a good decision with this promotion. There are going to be many happy readers of Spa Babies.
Can I ask you for a special favor? When you write your reports, could you please put the sire name and the dam name next to the entrant's name? Sometimes you mention the sire and dams' names within the body of the article and sometimes you don't. For example, It's nice to know that the baby is a half to Ruler on Ice, but then my next question is, "Whose your Daddy?" I love your reports and find them very thorough!

Thanks for the kind words.  I'll add the names of both the sire and dam beginning with Friday's report.


Dan, hello. I will like to know the BSF assigned for Hon. de Leon, who was a debut winner on the second race of July 12th at Belmont. This horse is owned by a fellow countryman and we will be keeping an eye on him. He looked great easily disposing of a good group of Maidens.

Hon. de Leon, a 3-year-old son of turf champion English Channel, received an 81 Beyer Speed Figure in winning his debut on dirt at Belmont on July 12.  A $10,000 purchase in 2011, Hon. de Leon is a half-brother to Grade 3 turf winner Humble and Hungry.  Richard Dutrow Jr. trains Hon. de Leon.


Congrats to Anderson for winning last week's HandiGambling exercise. 

Penn National Rick's scoresheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

Let's go with Friday's eighth race from Saratoga for this week's HandiGambling event.


Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.

Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.

In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please.
I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are. I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

Best of luck to all.

PacificOcean.pdf615.68 KB
RushNow.pdf62.14 KB
Copy of Formblog Contest Del Mar 7-20-12.xls39.5 KB
HGCURLIN.pdf203.38 KB