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Updated on 09/15/2011 2:04PM
A CLOSER LOOK at Bay Meadows races on 9/22
2nd Bay Meadows
Broke his maiden over this strip and 3 races with winners have been pretty good; question is whether he has enough early speed to hang with Risky Twilight from the bell; chance to last into the number chasing the speedy favorite.
Mild rally this level when receiving a wide journey; we know it took 9 starts to break the maiden, but toss the DNF line and this one simply has not run a bad one; will need some serious running shoes to upset Risky Twilight, but should be included 'underneath'.
Dueled through very quick fractions in much tougher spot last time and plunges to lowest claim price in career; should be very tough to catch at this reduced level and Lucky Delusion and Big Al T do not appear to be able to match strides with this guy early; drops below the July claim price and if he clears these, the race is probably over; the pick to wire these.
Runneup this level 1st time off the claim, making a clear lead; question is what transpires if Risky Twilight beats him to the front as the only start where he didn't make the lead was his worst try in 3 career attempts; if the favorite scratches, he will be the speed, but seems an uphill climb if Risky Twilight stays in.
Big Al T
Del Mar invader drops and slips into a non-winners of 2 field; off the pace type primed for this going long with much better; Baze 2-0-0-0 riding in tougher spots and gets back on today; beaten favorite over this track when behind quicker; should enjoy this company, but probably overbet off the drop and with Baze, leaning towards others.
Away since May and winless since '99; seems much better going long and this seems like an obvious prep for longer; best spot in career, but could use a race and more distance.
3rd Bay Meadows
The amount of 2nds stands out and in last came out late and was placed 2nd after narrowly winning; can't fault that he is an honest, hard knocker, but the ability to score wins continues to elude him; Baze back on and he certainly holds the cards with class and tactical speed; probable favorite trying to end seconditis.
Set very fast splits at Del Mar, not saving much for the drive; he should be able to control things with the favorite Worthy Deed breathing down his neck from the outset; if new pilot Tohill can allow him to settle on the front end through moderate fractions then this one should be tough to catch; been well supported at the windows lately and figures to be playing catch me if you can; the pick to hold everybody off.
Last 3 lines solid and deserves some serious respect here; became a new horse when placed back on the lawn (12-1 upset win at Hollywood Park); has a nice kick and would be helped along if somebody pressed French Packet from the bell; one to fear.
Winning streak ended when placed back on the turf; seems a better dirt horse at the moment despite a so-so effort last out on today's surface; would like better on main track.
The Santa Rosa upset maiden win did not translate well when far back at Del Mar vs. winners; like the dam's sire for turf, but in 2 previous attempts on grass did not fare well; would be a surprise.
On the board in last 4 on the main track and trying to transfer good form to new surface; was all out to win 19 days ago on a surface we know he likes; this is a step up from the win with turf the dilemma.
4th Bay Meadows
Filly showed enough in her unveiling to warrant 4-5 favoritism back in June at Hollywood but now emerges from the worst outing of her career; class relief for a $20K tag could make a difference today for capable connections; Harvey is back aboard and was in the saddle in prior when filly pressed a :45 half before weakening; can't be eliminated.
Checked while tiring at a big price in her debut and now tries similar with a pair of improved interim drills on the tab; 2nd time out maidens are known to advance and this lass' chances could be aided if she can somehow clear early; needs some improvement.
Last pair have been improved tries for filly who handled Lava Lil easily last out; nearly graduated at the fair 2 back against slightly lesser but this group may not be much tougher than that $12.5K collection; contender boasts the most consistent recent form of these so could a firster be her main concern?
That certainly was a non-descript unveiling at Pleasanton and now filly lands in for a tag 2nd time out almost 3 months later; outdrilled 26 runners in preparation for this to confront modest competition; improved zip with the hood added may lead to a better performance at a price under the returning Frazier.
Firster is by a sire who accounted for the Grade 1 Strub during a solid career (32-6-8-0, $501,615); half sibling to 4 winners led by Emerald Prospector (76-10-9-13, $49,837) posted her best work recently and attracts Alvarado here; this certainly isn't the toughest debut spot.
Truce in Pecos
Debut runner is by a graded turf winner of $410,981 and a half to 3 winners; best sib is Squire Busby (7-2-0-0, $25,000); 9/5 drill was a decent one although Siberian Paradox may prove the more precocious firster; may need grass and/or more distance to put her best foot forward.
5th Bay Meadows
Gets full marks for trying but he has not been able to hold on for a win in a while and last time, after giving away a short lead in the stretch, he caused some interference and was demoted from 3rd; is competitive at this level but yikes! - what about that fast guy directly to his outside? Might face a tricky pace test so let's look for others.
Fresh gelding moved to the turf for the first time since last fall in his latest and he was given shrewd tactics in that event, stealing away to a big lead and having enough to hold on for the win; lightly raced guy might be the 'speed of the speed' in this starter allowance but there is a sprinter who is stretching out in field; he might have a tougher time leading all the way in this race but remains a contender.
Classy fellow benefited from a great ride in his latest it seems as he camped in the back of the pack behind a good pace and then rushed past his rivals for his first win in a while; he meets similar and has speed to run at again; can double up.
His sire loved the grass as a stakes performer overseas and in N.A. but the dam was unplaced in 6 grass starts; 'Ernie has been away for a month but was in good form before the short break as he won a starter event with a good stalking trip; the pace will be fast in his turf debut; minor share.
British Columbia-bred has little grass breeding and has not been in great form for a while; his Bay Meadows debut came in a quickly run sprint and he was outrun; he gets rider change and is in deep.
Hold Down The Fort
Consistently good gelding has had a short vacation and has traveled west for his debut on this course; he was in good form this summer in Texas and his late rally is his best weapon; he will have speed to chase and should be included in exotics at least.
I'm a Jewel
Came off a short summer break last time but he was sluggish from the beginning and never recovered; he drops a bit in class to the starter allowance class ($12,500) and he was claimed for this price in June; smaller share predicted.
Sky Strider Ran well at this level on the turf 2 starts ago when he had Hogans Alley behind him but he had traffic trouble in his latest and that might have had a negative affect on his performance; he is capable although a bit win-shy.
5-year-old is a winning machine with 7 scores since last year and he's a fresh runner with only 2 outings this year; of course, it didn't take him long to win this year as he won his opener with an aggressive style but he seemed to 'bounce' a bit or regress off that race last time; if he doesn't get caught chasing what might be a very fast pace this time, he'll be a factor in the late stages.
Snuck into the starter allowance class last time but he had traffic trouble and was moved up to 3rd as Hogans Alley caused some problems; the winner of that race is also in this field; it's been a while since he's won and this is a tough field so consider him for a minor share.
6th Bay Meadows
Koriner having memorable early-meet skein; has this colt primed with series of local works that signal readiness; rail draw not always the best spot for 2yo premiere; but ensures that Lopez will commit early; expecting good things from freshman sire; intrigues the most of the firsters.
Will improve with experience and the increase in distance; rebounded from Sacramento drubbing with sprightly 1:01 at Golden Gate; yet entrymate Frisco Cat may prove to be the whiz kid in this entry; next time.
Second the way around often an immediate precursor to diploma; increased by the fact that he made a bid for all down the stretch; has added two solid maintenance works at Pleasanton; if he can pressure the other speed to fold, Alvarado is home-free; the main threat.
Here Comes Baby
Steady longer works will entice some; Carr's 55 percent ITM amassed this early in the meet impresses; but still fear the multitude of gate speedsters shuffle this colt back from the middle; be a learning experience from there; can't support.
Lookn At the Wire
Pleasanton dud hard to like; Golden Gate a.m. activity offers hint of better things to come; but Cool Lake faced Sharp Park here 17 days ago and would have left this colt in the dust - and yet Cool has his work cut out for him here; not today.
Gate works should have him on edge; note his :47.2 on Sept. 7 has the edge over Goodnews Bay's :47.8 two days later; Bonde likely to heat up at some point; but think experience prevails today; wait just one & tab trip for now.
Tried to make surprise gate speed in debut count; but was reeled in as he slowed approaching wire; and the rise to special weights lands him in the toughest 2-year-old diploma dash so far this meet; bit cool to his chances to finish these off; later.
Hollendorfer's key pilot Baze to Wild Celebration - hmm; believe three of the seven with experience have the edge on the firsters; he's definitely one of the three, having raised his game in first start off the claim for top barn; but return works on the slight side; tricky call at the expected short price.
Cat sports consistent series of debut works; still not sure he can sink his claws into these; young sire had excellent freshman crop last year, led by Spectacular Cat; long 6f work intrigues; but overall, colt not quite as compelling in debut as some; yet entry offers two-for-one exotics potential; consider for a slice.
Devil You Say
Tried some bedeviling speed at Sacramento; with 2yo's, if you can break :45 in your debut, even over a glib surface, you'll be graduating soon enough; followed up with strong sub-minute 5f blowout at Golden Gate; Frazier in go-for-broke mode might give 'Mango a real fight; tab.
Ran straight to his odds at Del Mar; back in a month with useful 4f breeze added; more importantly, Baze comes aboard; pilot change could point 2yo in the right direction; but with wide trip and no proven gate speed, more than a slice would surprise.
7th Bay Meadows
How many shots are you going to give him? can't drop any lower while best finish came in the mud; doesn't have the speed to clear this group and doesn't have the stalking ability to even stay close; we see plenty of others with a strong upside and that's something this guy hasn't had in a long time if ever; the good news is that he's always strong odds; afraid that's not good enough.
Has only beaten one across the line in short career; still, he's not a proven loser like many of these so you can't just toss him; drop into claimers can only help and we love youngsters with speed but this guy lands in a spot full of speed and that's just bad luck; should be able to hold the rail but we'd still want a good price to take a shot.
Looks a little like Whataterm but with with much better early speed; needs an early breather or he'll simply fall apart as that is the norm; any chance for soft fractions? NO; pop and stop looks almost assured at least without some key declarations.
New sire was a SW at age 2; all 3 siblings are multiple winners including Down Town (10 for 48); dam winless; trainer capable with firsters while luring Baze says volumes; faces little to boot; live firster.
Showed stalking ability against better at Turf Paradise; broke slowly in last but still ran great; expect this guy to revert to stalking tactics and get a near perfect trip behind all the speed; firster next door might be trouble but this guy figures a better price; our hero.
Not much play in debut and then ran to his odds; time off not the best of signs; the good news are those recent sharp works; as we said before, not a proven loser and that alone keeps him in the game.
Huge odds the norm which is always nice especially for a horse who's shown some talent; should get a great pace to chase and that's a bit unusual for cheap maidens; should pass more than a few late; in our exacta.
Likes to finish 2nd so can't blame any who think today is finally the day; of course, that won't help his backers that have been burned as the chalk at least 5 times previously; back to sprinting which might actually help as this guy is a proven closer in a race full of speed; show bet for gandma but after that.......
Speed with more speed means what? trouble Johnny; did run great in 2nd career start so maybe history will repeat itself; now as for last.....needed the race off the long layoff????? don't see a good trip and that means there is always next time.
Hello; if this guy simply repeats his debut then wouldn't that be good enough to win? you would think so but on the other hand how come he couldn't get it done in his last 2? let's say he didn't want to go a mile 2 back; what about last? you got us; no more Warren who rides Snowshoe Flyer; shot but running out of chances.
Nice to see Warren land here; outside post to press the speed ain't half bad but today's pace still a big problem; failure to finish 2 back is scary; last was sooo good that the chance for a bounce is more than possible; no lockola.
8th Bay Meadows
Frankel charge needs pace to run at; if he gets it, he's capable of a monster performance; trainer has always liked this guy and knows he's one of the best with an honest pace; been a long time between drinks but his Grade 1 win in second start in this country gives him the credentials; veteran was getting to the winner in the Del Mar Handicap in last, will be rolling late again.
Sign of Hope
He faced a good one in European finale; El Gran Papa has gone through most of his conditions, won the Dallas Turf Cup and was third in the Grade 3 Arlington the end of July; repeatedly proven off the bench, one can't discount anything from this barn; Solis up; look out.
Who was he facing in Europe?; winner of last returned to run fourth in a Group 2 affair; place horse 8/19 of last year has lost twice since and is 4 for 15 career for a $168k bankroll; this guy hails from a very cagey barn and works are solid; only beat 3 horses at Haydock, but that's a demanding, tricky course; upset special.
Very close to least likely; runner was handled rather easily in restricted company, now tries Graded action; wide last time, runner did show a bit of speed two back; case could be made for him to fall into nice spot in paceless race; could get a piece.
At least he's won on the course; dead last at the beach three back, he was 4 wide in last pair; tough for just a maiden winner to beat a field like this that has a couple of half a million dollar earners lined up; lack of speed another concern; will need race of his life.
Was sitting right off the pace early when posting last win for this rider; that will likely be the strategy today with not much speed in the cast; Silvano exited Arl. Million to run second as the beaten chalk in the Grade 1 Man O' War; erase Chicago fiasco last time; many horses didn't handle the going; the only Grade winner this year in the bunch, catch him to cash.
9th Bay Meadows
Back Stage Whirl
Del Mar invader added blinkers and trounced 25k maidens; the speed figure was weak and the competition was soft for the level, but this filly is seemingly going the right way now for a solid barn; can't be counted out.
Dueled for the lead to the stretch, opened up, then was tagged late and finished second in a similar spot, so she's an obvious major threat right back; she was 10-1 that day, so the main question is whether she will repeat that effort.
Round and Flyin
Don't know why this filly is in here, as she was not able to keep up with 'Whirl in a 25k maiden race last time and is now facing winners.
Former speedster completely changed her tactics last time, dropping far back and then closing with a rush to finish third, less than a length behind 'Gossip, in a similar spot despite racing wide; this filly was a 40k claim down south by Hollendorfer in July, and the big effort was almost certainly no fluke; major player.
Down the River
Dueled for the lead and faded to fifth in a fast race going a mile at this 32k starter level most recently; the time before, she set the pace and finished second going a mile, and that was the first 2-turn race of her career; we like horses dropping back from a 2-turner or two to a sprint, and this one is getting Baze today and is also well-drawn near the outside; she can sprint and we make her strictly the one to beat.
Finished second twice at this level on the fairs, and then had traffic trouble and finished fourth in an allowance race at Sacramento; obviously fits with this kind and will be a major threat on one of her better days; her one-for-15 record is a bit of a concern, but she's perfectly drawn on the outside.
10th Bay Meadows
Marker Down Versatile sort won wire to wire at Pleasanton, then rallied from well off the pace to finish second in a restricted 6,250 race here; that was a solid and deep field for the level, but so is this field; Baze stays with him and he's one of several obvious strong contenders in this field.
Dueled for the lead and held on to finish third in a sprint versus a notch tougher, and now stretches out again; this 4yo showed he could get a mile when he won a 6,250 NW2 in June, but his 2 subsequent mile races have been distasters: he bolted on the turn in one and then broke slowly and showed nothing in the other; sometimes, horses run their best 2-turn race the first time; this one is a definite contender but there is some question of whether he really wants 2 turns.
The Man Himself
Raced forwardly throughout and finished third at this level, a length behind 'Down; obvious contender again today as that was a good field for the level; obviously wouldn't be any surprise if he reversed his decision with 'Down, but on the other hand we can't find any reason to predict that he will.
Dropped to 6,250 NW2 level and won at 3-5, but he had a perfect trip and was probably lucky to beat the runnerup, who had a rough trip; he's taking a pretty good step up from the NW2 level into this field, but he certainly rates as a contender.
Hollendorfer nosedived this one-time SoCal allowance horse to the 4k level last time, and he posted a solid win, responding to challenges in the stretch and inching away at the end; he's taking a big step up today, but with his back class it might not be that big of a step for him; the win should boost his confidence and he rates as a major contender.
Unconscious Bets Has been racing well versus slightly softer on the fairs and must be respected in his current form; however, this is a good field for the level and we prefer most of the others.