02/27/2013 3:33PM

Unbridled's Note, Baffert at Oaklawn

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UNBRIDLED'S NOTE doesn't receive much press, but he's one of the more versatile runners in the country. 

A half-brother to Spoken Fur, winner of the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes and Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, Unbridled's Note has triumphed on both wet and fast dirt, but really seems to enjoy the downhill turf course at Santa Anita.  After finishing second behind MIZDIRECTION in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, he finished third in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on the main track and followed that race up with a good-looking win in the Joe Hernandez Handicap going down the hill on February 23. 

Jockey Corey Nakatani felt that Unbridled's Note really gutted out the victory.  "Sometimes they’re not on their game, and today he wasn’t on his best and he was still able to get the job done," said Nakatani. "The turf was a little soft, had a lot of cut to it and he kept switching leads on it. He’s better with a little bit of a target but the pace scenario just didn’t pan out like I thought it would. He ran a tremendous race either way.”

Trip handicappers began to follow Unbridled's Note after a traffic-filled journey when third, beaten only a half-length in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga last summer.  Trained by Steve Asmussen, Unbridled's Note has won from on the lead, as in the Joe Hernandez, or from off the pace.  He earned a 104 Beyer last week and has plenty of options in upcoming months.

*As for Mizdirection, she successfully stretched her speed to one mile in the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes.  Despite grabbing a left front quarter, Mizdirection went right to the top, rated beautifully and came home in 23 1/5. 

"Mike (Smith) said he kind of got her to settle, and grabbed a pretty good-sized quarter off that foot, too, so we’re going to have to go to work on that after the race," said winning trainer Mike Puype, "It’s a testament to how tough she is."

*Following SUPER NINETY NINE's dominant victory in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes, trainer Bob Baffert improved his lifetime record at Oaklawn Park to 17 for 29 (58%, $3.32 ROI, 13-21, 61% winners, 90% ITM in graded stakes).

Among his big winners are Bodemeister (Arkansas Derby), Plum Pretty (Apple Blossom Handicap), Secret Circle (Southwest Stakes, Rebel Stakes), The Factor (Rebel Stakes) and Lookin At Lucky (Rebel Stakes).  Over the past five years, Baffert is 9-14 (64%, $4.11 ROI) with 3-year-old males at Oaklawn. 

*There's still life in old TRES BORRACHOS.  The 8-year-old went over the million dollar mark in earnings with a courageous gate-to-wire tally in an allowance race at Santa Anita on February 22. Sent hard from the gate by Garrett Gomez, Tres Borrachos dueled with KEY DECISION through splits of 22.50 and 45.52 in the one-mile event.  Key Decision eventually backed out to finish last, but Tres Borrachos kept battling.  He was passed in the stretch by the underachieving HOORAYFORHOLLYWOOD, but roared back along the inside to win by a head.  It was Tres Borrachos' first win since the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap in 2011.

*SAHARA SKY is the hottest sprinter in Southern California after taking the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes on February 23.  He earned an identical speed figure (102) as in his previous start, a similar rallying win in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes on January 19.  Sahara Sky's lifetime form is a bit dirty due to racing on synthetic and turf on seven occasions (record of 7-1-0-4).  On dirt, he is 7-5-2-0 and he will attempt to sweep the meet's major sprint races in the Potrero Grande on April 6.  The Met Mile on Memorial Day may be a long-term goal.

***

You can find the latest "Under the Radar" column here:

http://www.drf.com/news/kentucky-derby-under-radar-power-broker

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Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (2/18/13 - 2/24/13):

1. UNBRIDLED'S NOTE - 104 - Joe Hernandez Handicap - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
2. N. F.'S DESTINY - 102 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
2. SAHARA SKY - 102 - San Carlos Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - Santa Anita
4. SUPER NINETY NINE - 101 - Southwest Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
4. TRIUMPH AND SONG - 101 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
6. CIAO BELLA - 100 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - Gulfstream
6. OILISBLACKGOLD - 100 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
6. TRES BORRACHOS - 100 - Alw 65000C - 1 Mile - Santa Anita
9. GOOD LORD - 99 - Super Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Tampa Bay
9. SAGINAW - 99 - Hollie Hughes Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
11. DATA LINK - 98 - Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Gulfstream
11. MIZDIRECTION - 98 - Buena Vista Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
13. AIN'T NO OTHER - 97 - Sensational Star Stakes - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
13. GALLANT SON - 97 - Albany Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
13. MARK VALESKI - 97 - Mineshaft Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Fair Grounds
13. OPTIMIZER - 97 - Fair Grounds Handicap (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Fair Grounds
13. ORB - 97 - Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
18. AU MOON - 96 - Clm 12500(12.5-10)N3L - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Fair Grounds
18. JAVERRE - 96 - General George Handicap - 7 Furlongs - Laurel
18. LIVE LIVELY - 96 - Davona Dale Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
18. WAGSON - 96 - Clm c-(30-25)N2L - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
22. CITY OF WESTON - 95 - OC 75k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
22. IVE STRUCK A NERVE - 95 - Risen Star Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Fair Grounds
22. MANITO - 95 - OC 25k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - Laurel
25. HUMBLE SMARTY - 95 - Nodouble Breeders' Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
25. LATE STARTER - 94 - Clm c-(35-25)B - 1 Mile (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
25. MOON PHILLY - 94 - Maryland Racing Media Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Laurel

*UNBRIDLED'S NOTE's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*WAGSON was claimed for $30,000 by trainer Allen Milligan from Steve Asmussen.

*LATE STARTER was claimed for $35,000 by trainer Bruce Brown from David Jacobson.

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Dan, will you please post the pp's for I'll Have Another, Animal Kingdom and Super Saver? Thanks
Dan, earlier I asked for the pp's of the past three Derby winners. Will you please add Big Brown and Mine That Bird on? I'm trying to find out what these Derby winners have in common. I believe that if a horse has a lot in common with past winners it's a pretty strong angle. I don't see something that the past five winners had in common being a coincidence or a fluke.
Brandon Layer

The past performances for the five Derby winners are available at the bottom of this blog post.

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Does anyone know when or if INDY'S ILLUSION will be returning from the witness protection program?
Leonard Indelicato

It shouldn't be long now.  He has worked three times this month, including a half-mile breeze in 50.22 yesterday morning.

***

Congrats to JONATHAN for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise. 

PENN NATIONAL RICK'S WEEKLY SCORESHEET IS AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

Penn National Rick selected Saturday's Gotham Stakes from Aqueduct as this weekend's race.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

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 GIVE YOUR NAME OR BLOG MONIKER AT THE END OF THE HG PLAY AND/OR ANALYSIS.
 
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.

***FROM SCOREKEEPER PENN NATIONAL RICK***

I read some entries on here and there are some people who put their heart out on their picks(such as DavidM9999) and give you great analysis on who they like and why and then there are others who elect not to give any reasoning behind their entries. The rule I will implement EFFECTIVE 3/1/13 will be... any entry without ANY analysis will be ignored. We are not asking you to put out a novel, but again a sentence or two. Also, I will put communication out when Dan puts out new blogs.
My intent is not to be jerk on this, but what's fair is fair. I'm not taking away from this week or past winners regarding all of this, but we do need to make the change.
If you have any questions/conce­rns...please send an email to FORMBLOG@DRF.CO­M and it will get forwarded to me.
Thank You!
Rick

REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATE THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).

Best of luck to all.

***

Will be back Saturday with the HG analysis and some weekend thoughts. 
You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

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Unbridled'sNote.pdf656.31 KB
FiveDerbyWinners.pdf82.77 KB
Copy of Formblog Risen Star 2-22-13.xls20.9 KB
HGGOTHAM.pdf297.56 KB