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Jockey Luis Saez won 11 races last week to reclaim the lead in the jockey standings. Five of Saez's victories came on Saturday's Summit of Speed preview card, including the main event aboard Big Drama in the Ponche Handicap.
Defending champion Manoel Cruz had a pretty good week himself, riding six winners, but he could not keep pace with Saez, slipping to second in the standings after they had drawn even at the beginning of the week. Apprentice Angel Moreno rode five winners in the same period, sharing top honors with Saez on Thursday, when they each recorded a hat trick on the eight-race program.
Rodolfo Garcia was the only trainer to post three victories during the week. He won two races Friday and the finale Sunday with maiden claimer Issues Echo.
Thursday, June 10: The main track was fast, the turf firm, and horses on or near the lead dominated on the dirt. In the six main-track races, Bold Ana was the only winner who rallied from as far back as two lengths off the pace at the quarter pole. She also was the lone winner who was not on the lead by the time the field reached the eighth pole.
Pride of Mambo turned in a big effort winning her never-won-two-lifetime condition under a $10,000 tag. Her final time of 1:06.79 for 5 1/2 furlongs was .40 seconds slower than Doctor Garrett needed to dominate open, $6,250 platers later on the card.
Friday, June 11: Heavy rain hit just before the first race, forcing all three scheduled grass races over to a sloppy and sealed main track that mostly favored horses close to the pace and perhaps a bit off the inner rail. It did, however, yield a couple of come-from-behind winners. Wild Rate in the opener and Lord Robyn in the feature made up a good deal of ground out in the middle of the track to win races that collapsed late.
A pair of 4 1/2-furlong maiden 2-year-old races were won on the lead: the first for $16,000 claimers in a slow 54.98 and the finale by second-time starter Put It On a Jet, who survived a stretch-long battle to defeat the hot firster My Sunshine Gal in a race that went in a solid 53.70 for high-priced juvenile filly claimers.
Saturday, June 12: A fast main track favored horses on or near the pace although it seemed to be deeper down near the rail. No grass racing for the second straight day.
Of the 13 main-track races, five were won wire to wire and six were won from just off the pace. Nine of the winners were on the lead at the eighth pole. The only closers to find the winner's circle were Authority Rules in the 8th and First Passage in the U Can Do It Handicap.
Sunday, June 13: Speed and stalkers dominated once again over a main track dampened by early morning showers. Three of the four scheduled turf races were moved to the dirt, with the Blazing Sword remaining on a yielding grass course.
Nine of the 10 main-track races were won by horses on the lead or within 1 1/4 lengths of the front at the quarter pole. The lone exception was the 21-1 Seattle Zipper, who rallied from five lengths back approaching the stretch to upset the third race. Favorites took a beating on the card; the odds-on Set the Trend was the only one to win.
The best performance by a 2-year-old here last week was turned in Saturday by Pretty Extravagant, the filly who rallied from just off the pace to score an easy debut win for trainer Bill Kaplan. It was the first five-furlong 2-year-old race of the session. Pretty Extravagant, a daughter of With Distinction, completed the distance in 59.51 seconds, nearly a full second faster than Alley Oop Oop's winning time in the male split of the race an hour later. Pretty Extravagant is eligible for the Florida Stallion series, which begins Aug. 7 with the $75,000 Desert Vixen.
El Simon entered Sunday's sixth race having won once in 46 starts. He also was moving into a new barn, having been transferred to trainer Andy Williams after finishing sixth, beaten eight lengths, in a claiming race five weeks earlier. Despite his dismal record, El Simon actually opened as the betting favorite. Even more surprisingly, he cruised to an easy lead and was never seriously threatened en route to a five-length victory. His cause was aided when the 4-5 Gimmeawinkpoppy walked out of the gate about eight lengths behind the field.
Following up on last week's edition of key races, we add the following three events. To qualify, a race must produce at least three next-out winners.
May 22, 4th race: Wins by Authority Rules and Took It From Him on Saturday made this mid-level conditioned claimer on the grass a four bagger. Also-rans Smart Kiddo and Be Welcome have already returned to win their next starts.
May 22, 5th race: Three of the top-five finishers from the bottom-level maiden claimer won next out, led by race winner News Carrier, who returned to capture a low-level conditioned claimer two weeks later. Runner-up Charmed Affair and fifth-place finisher Bea's Treasure won their maidens last weekend.
May 20, 2nd race: Three of the top five from this starter allowance for fillies and mares came right back to win their next starts: winner Pink Gloss, runner-up Street Appeal, and fifth-place finisher Archmani.
May 29, 7th race: Alpha Glitter (3rd), Wild Rate (5th), and Flyin Trey (6th) wasted little time coming out of this high-priced maiden claimer on grass to graduate. Alpha Glitter and Flyin Trey came back one week later to win for $25,000, and Wild Rate dropped to $16,000 company to win last weekend.
Recent workouts for several of the 2-year-olds launching their careers Saturday.
Greatest Dream: Held her own in a set of three from the gate June 3 along with stablemate Pretty Extravagant, who won a similar maiden special weight race last weekend. Rail draw is the main concern.
Sylvia's Tempo: Has shown a nice turn of foot in each of her two gate works, including a bullet three-eighths May 29 in company with stablemate Pleaseandthankyou, who won his debut under a $40,000 claiming tag Saturday.
Run Kitten: Beat a set of four from the gate May 15, working a fast quarter before galloping out three-eighths in a tick over 37 seconds.
Run Binky Run: Has some speed but tired under pressure through the final furlong of her June 11 gate drill while equipped with blinkers.
Andersonstate: Culminated a series of fast works, including a pair of bullets, with a swift three-furlong drill and a half-mile gallop out Sunday with Cruz aboard.
Laila's Choice: Finished third of three from the gate May 20 but blew out a nice three-eighths in 36-and-change under mild pressure Tuesday.
Casino Mick: Worked in company with another unraced stablemate, Youhaveafriendinme, from the gate June 10, both going an easy half in 50.17.
Premier Rate: Showed improved speed blowing out from the gate Tuesday while best of a set of three into the turn.
Vee's Accolade: Second-best behind a speedy rival in his debut, he came back with a solid half-mile pole work Saturday, going an easy half in 49.56 before galloping out five-eighths in a sharp 1:02.62.
Prince of Danger: New York-bred posted a bullet pole work Monday, eight days after showing nice speed going a half-mile in his lone trial from the gate.
Rough'n Royal: Like many of the other new faces in here, he has a pretty good turn of foot. He galloped out a half-mile in 49.88 in his gate drill May 29. One of many promising youngsters in this very competitive lineup.
HORSES TO WATCH
Trainer: David Fawkes
Last race: June 12, 6th
Finish: 2nd by 1/2
Baby brother of Big Drama should have won his debut, succumbing in late stretch to a more experienced rival after taking up sharply in the opening furlong and finishing along what appeared to be a deep rail. For those with short memories, Big Drama lost his debut and then won his remaining five starts at 2.
Trainer: Joe Calascibetta
Last race: June 12, 9th
Finish: 1st by 1 3/4
This lightly raced 3-year-old filly couldn't have won her last two starts any more easily, including the Leave Me Alone Stakes in which jockey Manny Cruz never let her run a jump for six furlongs, yet she still covered the distance faster than the boys 30 minutes later in the Unbridled Stakes. Would expect she will have little trouble defending her home turf in the Azalea on Summit of Speed Day.
Trainer: Jose Pinchin
Last race: June 12, 11th
Finish: 6th by 6
Just draw a line through her effort in the U Can Do It Handicap. She failed to show her best speed when bogged down in deeper going along the rail, got shuffled back in traffic midway down the backstretch, and never had a chance after that.
Trainer: Luis Duco
Last race: June 13, 6th
Finish: 3rd by 5 1/4
Not only did this 3-year-old absolutely lose any chance when he broke more than a half-dozen lengths behind his field under an inexperienced apprentice, he also wound up steadying in traffic once recovering to join the pack and failing to change leads through the stretch. Despite all that, he managed to finish third of eight and should certainly merit another chance against the same kind next time.