12/28/2009 4:52PM

Tons to cover

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Last week, we mentioned that Bob Baffert's stable is loaded with intriguing juvenile prospects. 

Over the last nine days, Baffert has sent out five juvenile winners including expected 2-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky (won CashCall Futurity with 83 Beyer) and the undefeated Tiz Chrome (won listed Stuka Stakes with 97 Beyer). 

Let's take a look at the maiden winners:

- Quiet Invader, a $110,000 yearling that resold for $370,000 earlier this year, is a Maryland-bred son of Songandaprayer from the female family of Queens Plate winner Regal Intention.  There are tons of classy influences in this family and Quiet Invader earned an 85 Beyer winning second-out.

- Clutch Player sold for $170,000 as both a yearling and juvenile, and is a son of Malibu Moon.  The second dam was a multiple Grade 3 winner and Clutch Player earned a 97 Beyer winning first-out. 

- Concord Point sold for $70,000 as a weanling, for $220,000 as a yearling, and was a $285,000 RNA earlier this year.  The gray colt is a son of Tapit out of a half-sister to multiple Grade 3 winner Tasha's Miracle.  Concord Point earned a 94 Beyer for his debut win.

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Baffert is hot, but it's possible there's no one on more of a roll than Steve Margolis at the Fair Grounds.  Margolis is currently 10-27 at that meet with seven seconds and four thirds (37% winners, 77% ITM).  Two lightly-raced three-year-olds, Country Day and Cash Refund, have caught the eye.  The former relished the slop in an off-the-turf optional claimer on December 17, earning a 106 Beyer while Cash Refund returned from injury to up his record to 3 out of 4 with a win in a 'n2x' optional claimer last week.  Cash Refund earned a 110 Beyer Speed Figure in April and his only loss came when three-quarters of a length shy to Capt. Candyman Can in the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs.  A son of multiple Grade 3 winner Swept Away, Cash Refund is a sprinter to watch in 2010.

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Proudinsky outdueled Loup Breton to win the Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap at Santa Anita on Sunday.  A five-time graded winner, Proudinsky has been a beacon of consistency when healthy since arriving from his native Germany in 2006.  The main story of the San Gabriel may have been the last-place finish of the popular Lava Man, returning from serious injury and a long layoff. 
"He had a gash on his hind right tibia when he came back, but I don't think that caused anything," said Lava Man's trainer, Doug O'Neill.  "It looks like he hit the side of the gate leaving there.  He just got tired.  We'll talk with the [owners] and Dr. Doug Herthel and see how he comes out of it and just put our heads together and see what's the right thing for Lava Man."

Proudinsky 
Proudinsky succesfully defends his San Gabriel title.
(Benoit Photo)
 

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Speaking of solid turf runners, The Usual Q. T. keeps on trucking.  A gelded son of Unusual Heat trained by underrated horseman James Cassidy, the Usual Q. extended his winning streak to six with a hard-fought score in the Grade 3 Sir Beaufort Stakes.  The winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on November 29, The Usual Q. T. has only earned one triple-digit Beyer during his run.
"He loves to run, he loves to win, and he's very game," said winning rider, Victor Espinoza.  
"He's been fabulous," exclaimed Cassidy.  "I'm leaning towards the Sunshine Millions now (January 30, Gulfstream Park).  The San Marcos (January 18, Santa Anita) might come up too quick."
Gallant Son, unraced since the Santa Anita Derby due to chips in both knees, lived up to his name with a courageous runner-up effort.

The Usual Q. T. 
Business as "Usual" in the Sir Beaufort
(Benoit Photo)
 
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Baffert couldn't work his magic with Acorn (Grade 1) winner Gabby's Golden Gal in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita.  Beset by physical issues since a poor run on July 4 at Belmont, Gabby's Golden Gal was overbet to 5-2 favoritism, and faltered to seventh after prompting the pace. 
Evita Argentina, a seven-furlong specialist who packs quite the stretch wallop when the pace works to her favor, kicked home to win by two under Joel Rosario. 
"She likes it when she can close, when she has pace in front of her," said winning trainer, John Sadler.  "Even Ventura couldn't close too much in the Breeders' Cup because there was no pace."
Evita Argentina became the fourth runner from the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint to win next-out.

Evita Argentina 
Evita Argentina scoots home in the La Brea.
(Benoit Photo)

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Baffert came a bit closer with beaten favorite Misremembered in the Grade 1 Malibu.  A game runner-up when last seen going nine furlongs in the Clark Handicap (Grade 2) at Churchill Downs, Misremembered was making his sprint debut in the Malibu, and he simply may have needed more ground to work with.  He saved ground every step, and grinded out the place behind gate-to-wire winner M One Rifle, yet another California-bred.  M One Rifle was mired in the far outside post position, but was ridden masterfully by jockey Mike Smith.  Smith made the lead, backed down the pace, and had plenty left in the drive.  
"I'm so proud of the way he's been improving," said Smith.  "At the quarter pole, I asked him to run and he just dropped down and gave it to me.  When we headed for home, I asked him for a little more and he was right there for me.  He ran super."
"I've been trying to win the Malibu my while life," said 75-year-old winning trainer, Bruce Headley.  "Mike did a masterful job.  He reminds me of Shoe (Bill Shoemaker).  That's why I ride Mike Smith.  The outside post was definitely an advantage.  The inside's always the worst.  I'm pretty sure we'll keep him sprinting."

M One Rifle 
M One Rifle fires his best shot in the Malibu.
(Benoit Photo)

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Oh, almost forgot about the cherry on top of the Santa Anita sundae:

Zenyatta 
The reflection of perfection, Zenyatta, poses majestically in the winner's enclosure.
(Benoit Photo)

All quotes courtesy of Santa Anita Press Department

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Here are the top 25 winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week:

Here are the lifetime past performances for this week's top winning Beyer runner:

Download Sweet Repent

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Dan,
Would like to hear what you think of your horse, Backtalk. I know he ran well earlier in the year, but I don't have those PPs for back then anymore and I've been trying to piece together his record. :)
Annie

Backtalk was the early leader of the division after winning the Bashford Manor and Sanford, but he didn't really progress from a speed figure standpoint since his debut on June 11.  I liked the professionalism he showed in some of his races as he didn't mind racing in behind horses and forgiving handicappers may draw a line through his last two races (tough outside post in Hopeful, synthetic surface in Breeders' Futurity).  He has a nice pedigree and is in the capable hands of trainer Tom Amoss so we shall see.

Here are his past performances:

Download Backtalk

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I always wondered what happened to Achilles of Troy. . .
Kat

Achilles of Troy entered stud in 2008 and currently stands at Mid Life Crisis Thoroughbreds in Kentucky.

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When I purchase something listed in the DRF Store from Amazon, does The DRF get a cut
from that sale?
chicago gerry

I'm told that there is a wholesale arrangement between Amazon and DRF.

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Dan,  what do you think of the following horses and their chances of winning the Derby?
Ricky Tick
Onethreesevenbox
Setsuko
Thousand Excuses
Captain Bodgit

It's hard to assign chances of winning the Derby in December so I won't even try.  Ricky Tick, a $27,000 yearling by Macho Uno out of $216,112 earner Skip Trial Miss, won his third lifetime start on December 19 at Fair Grounds.  That race resembled a tremendous turnaround in form as he was beaten 7 1/4 lengths in his career debut at Louisiana Downs, and was 17 3/4 lengths behind the winner at Churchill Downs on November 8.  I'd like to see him do it again before I get too excited about him. 
Onethreesevenbox, a gelded homebred son of Oratory won his second lifetime start on December 20 at Fair Grounds, but only earned a 45 Beyer for his win.  He obviously has a long way to go before he can be seriously considered as a graded horse.
Setsuko won his maiden in his fifth start at Hollywood Park on December 17, but he didn't really impress me visually in the stretch that day.  He's by Pleasantly Perfect from the family of Souvenir Copy so he has the pedigree to be "any kind." 
Thousand Excuses was a $1,000 RNA as a yearling, but has run well in both starts against New York-bred competition for Michael Maker.  He's by Millennium Wind, a sire that should get some stout runners, but the jury is out until he faces stiffer competition. 

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Annie
Twirling Candy won his only race (an MSW) at Hollywood on 11/14 (race 3).  Don't know what kind of Beyer he got.
Dick W

Twirling Candy received an 85 Beyer Speed Figure. 

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Dan,
Any word on Take Control?  When is he taking a shot at a start?
wilson

Take Control, a beautifully-bred son of A.P. Indy out of Azeri, made headlines as a yearling when he was a $7.7M RNA at the Keeneland September auction.  Earlier this year, he sold for $1.9M, and has been working steadily for trainer Bob Baffert since mid-October. 
His workout on October 28 (4F - 48.40H) at Santa Anita matched up with Baffert's three-year-old colt, Irrefutable, a subsequent debut winner on December 27 with a 90 Beyer. 
The November 15 workout (4F - 47.40H) at Santa Anita matched up with Baffert's four-year-old Total Bull, a colt that made a winning debut two weeks prior with an 89 Beyer.
Three of Baffert's juvenile runners worked five furlongs in 59.80 on November 29 at Santa Anita.  Along with Take Control, Baffert worked Clutch Player, a Malibu Moon colt that won his debut on December 19 with a 97 Beyer, and Excellent News, a Rahy filly that finished
second in the Ifyoucouldseemenow Stakes on December 13 with an 84 Beyer. 
Take Control most recently worked a bullet six furlongs out of the gate (1:11.80H) at Santa Anita on December 23.  Baffert has been on absolute fire with his two-year-olds over the last few months and Take Control has shown ability with his morning work. 
He's one to watch and will make his career debut on Wednesday in the third race at Santa Anita.

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Dan;
Do you plan on playing Santa Anita much this year, and if so, how do you feel about your grasp of the ProRide surface?
Van Savant

I'll probably start playing Santa Anita seriously around the middle of January and I'm looking forward to it.  I'm not concerned about playing the Pro-Ride as there won't be many "dirt" shippers, and most of the horses will have some synthetic form.  I've been comfortable with the synthetic surface at Santa Anita as three of my biggest scores over the past couple of seasons (Air Commander, Turbo Fan, Vale of York) all came there. I'm not going to let the Pro-Ride affect my game.  It's not like the universal handicapping requirements of speed, pace, and form fail to apply here.  They do.  I think some handicappers get psyched out by the surface.  Don't let that happen.  The race is still to the swift.

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Dan,
Speaking of the forgotten, any news on Georgie Boy - that must have been one hell of a quarter crack...
Steve T.

Georgie Boy's comeback was aborted at Del Mar when it was reported that the multiple graded winner became sore while training on the main track.  He has since been turned out with a winter return a possibility.

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Can you post the pps for Alysheba, Susan's Girl, and Slew o Gold?
erin

Here they are:

Download Alysheba

Download Susan's Girl

Download Slew o' Gold

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Dan,
When you get a chance can you post the pp's for these three hard knocking NY Breds..
Crafty Mana, Turning For Home, Gallant Hitter
Thanks Again
pippen0707

Here's what I have for those horses:

Download New York Oldies

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Dan,
Could you post the lifetime pp's for these horses sent to Japan : Geri, Goodbye Halo, King Glorious, Rivlia and Precise End?
Thanks a lot.
sirpercy

Here's what I have for them:

Download ToJapan

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Dan,
I would greatly appreciate the PPs to some Belmont winners:  Swale, Risen Star, Hansel & Victory Gallop.  Thanks in advance!
ABZ

Download Swale

Download Risen Star

Download Hansel

Download VictoryGallop

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#6 Such a Shame looks best.  #5 Destinys Roar can improve on his first outing at TuP.
$100 cold exacta 6-5
I was hoping you could post the following lifetime PPs of some of my favorite horses from the mid-80's to early 90's who ran primarily on the Maryland circuit:
Hooliganism
Little Bold John
Miracle Wood
Montbrook
Thunderbolt
Roo Art
Fobby Forbes
As for this weeks HandiGambling contest, I select race 7 from Aqueduct on 12/30/2009.
Pauly


Here's what I have for those horses (I couldn't find anything on "Hooliganism" or "Thunderbolt":

Download Marylanders

Congrats to Pauly for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  Here are the past performances for this week's race:

Download HG 166

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.  In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. 

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.