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Santa Anita: Flashback, Goldencents go head-to-head in San Felipe
By Jay Privman
ARCADIA, Calif. – Like a couple of hawks, Flashback and Goldencents have circled their prey for months at Santa Anita.
Goldencents won the Sham in January, Flashback the Robert B. Lewis in February. They are considered California’s two leading prospects, at present, for the May 4 Kentucky Derby, and on Saturday, they will meet for the first time in the Grade 2, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes, a race with implications far beyond determining who is best in the West.
The San Felipe, race 7 on a nine-race card that begins at 12:30 p.m. Pacific, is worth 85 points – with 50 going to the winner – under the Derby eligibility system put in place this year by Churchill Downs. Both Flashback and Goldencents already have won at the San Felipe distance of 1 1/16 miles. And both have shown an ability to rate off the pace and still win.
But this should be the first time both will be forced to sit, in a two-turn race, behind what figures to be a scalding pace, with the fleet Salutos Amigos stretching out off fast-paced sprints.
Salutos Amigos also drew outside Flashback and Goldencents, who are next to one another in posts 2 and 3 in the eight-horse field. The run to the first turn, with Salutos Amigos likely crossing over and Flashback and Goldencents vying for advantageous positioning, should make for great theater.
“Julien’s going to have to play the break,” said Bob Baffert, the trainer of Flashback, who will have regular rider Julien Leparoux aboard.
Flashback, Baffert said, is “going to get tested this week.”
“He’s going to have to run. It’s a tough field. It’s going to be fun to watch,” said Baffert, who also will send out longshot Carving, who is co-owned by his wife, Jill.
Flashback has raced just twice. He won his debut sprinting against maidens at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 8, then was able to set a soft pace before kicking clear in the Lewis on Feb. 2.
“He’s had two easy races,” Baffert said. “He didn’t have to run hard last time. He needs some toughening.”
He should get it here.
Goldencents has won 3 of 4 starts – all with jockey Kevin Krigger – while racing at four different tracks. This will be the first time he has raced at the same place twice. Goldencents went straight to the front in his first three races but sat second in the Jan. 5 Sham before pouncing.
“I loved it,” said his trainer, Doug O’Neill. “Kevin did a great job getting him to drop the bridle. He got him to relax a little bit, and he galloped out strong. The biggest thing we need from him is to be able to shut it off and pick it up to be a big-time horse.”
Salutos Amigos used his keen speed to defeat maidens going six furlongs Feb. 9. This will be his stakes debut and his first start around two turns. While a victory would be an upset, there is no doubt his presence adds intrigue to the race.
Will he be in front?
“I would imagine,” said his trainer, Eric Guillot. “He’s the fastest horse,”
Salutos Amigos has raced twice this meet, both times with blinkers, since returning from a layoff of nearly seven months.
“I think the blinkers have helped a bunch,” Guillot said. “I’m going to cut them back a bit for this race, from a half cup to a French cup, so he can have more peripheral vision.”
Hear the Ghost, like Salutos Amigos, is trying two turns for the first time. After winning his debut at Hollywood Park on Dec. 15, he was second in the San Pedro here Jan. 21. Both those races were at six furlongs.
Carving was a distant fourth in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate on Feb. 16. He has finished out of the money all three times he has raced in graded stakes.
Kochees, a debut winner on the hillside turf course, was fourth in a first-level allowance last time out Jan. 31, but that race has been live. The winner, Super Ninety Nine, came back to win the Southwest at Oaklawn Park while runner-up Code West was a close second in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.
Tiz a Minister and Omega Star were first and second in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes on Jan. 26. This is the first graded stakes for both.
Too bad for GC and O'Neills barn. I'm sure this post won't be popular, but I had some hope for all the connections. The duel in the stretch was too much for the favorites here. Now Hear the Ghost.
Kochees... Too bad Jay won't let me post my FPS ratings...
I like omega star in this one
Just thought I would share my "feet-per-second" calculations for this. The number in parentheses is the number of furlongs that corresponds to the FPS calculated for that race segment. Just so you know, I am subtracting 44 FPS from each as I don't like to deal with any values below a "2-minute lick". One can easily multiply the number of furlongs times the corresponding FPS and sum to get the amount of "work" the horse performed during the course of running the race. Carving: (4) 10.2, (2) 9.2, (2) 7.5, (1) 3.7 Total: 77.8. Making second start of the season; not exactly a trouble-free trip. Got to within 1.5 lengths as the stretch call. Even though he appears "slow", I think he rates some consideration. Flashback: (2) 9.7, (2) 8.6, (2) 11.3, (2.5) 8.5 Total 80.9 Only beat 3 horses. However, I have seen these short fields get run in this way. Someone takes the lead while the others hang back. When the racing starts in the later segments, the leader who never was threatened has quite a bit in the tank and nobody can get by. That's obviously what happened here, when you see the 3 FPS increase in the 3rd quarter. He seems tough, but beatable; he definitely won't have the easy fractions in this one. Goldencents: (2) 11.8, (2) 11.9, (2) 10.5, (2) 5.6 Total 79.3 Limped home in the last quarter. I prefer that they run above 50 FPS in this segment; he didn't. I think he will be in the hunt, at least for awhile. The last number doesn't flatter his chances in the last segment. Kochees: (2) 10.7, (2) 11.2, (2) 10.9, (2) 6.7 Total 78.9 Like his first 3 quarters in terms of consistency, but they are a little slow for this. This one will be overlooked. Came out of a race where he was within 3 lengths of Code West (who just missed by a hair in the Risen Star 2 weeks ago). Couldn't have been serious in last, as was just coming off Maiden win at first asking; paid boxcars too. May just blow by this bunch late...as will be serious in this one versus his last one...and pay boxcars again only more so. Hear the Ghost: (2) 14.7, (2) 13.2, (1) 8.4, (1) 8.9 Total 73.2 Typical sprint. I like his last 2 furlongs. This one is an unknown. He's a Ghostzapper and I don't like to go on breeding but these are dangerous. I notice he worked twice at 7 furlongs. Don't discount him. Tiz a Minister: (2) 7.9, (2) 10.3, (2) 12.0, (2) 9.9 Total 80.2 Circled the field... I don't like his first quarter, but the rest are stellar. What's left? I wonder. I think the race will be over by the time this one gets going. If the race goes the way I think it will...and if he has anything left...he may get up for 3rd. Salutos Amigos: (2) 15.9, (2) 13.7, (1) 8.5, (1) 6.7 Total: 74.5. Will be the rabbit, but without a hat. Should drive Flashback crazy trying to catch this wascal. Omega Star: (2) 11.5, (2) 11.7, (2) 9.6, (2) 7.1 Total: 80.0 A better approach than Tiz a Minister. This horse could run better than last, but probably will wind up an also ran. Analysis: Hard to fault Flashback, but he won't get easy fractions here. Goldencents only beat 4 horses in the Sham and his last quarter was poor; with the early speed portrayed by the others, he may wind up as an also ran. Looking for a big surprise from Kochees, or possibly Hear the Ghost. Leaning toward Kochees...
another over rated group of SoCal horses. Can't wait for the horses from the East to go to the Derby and demolish this weak group
Another impressive bunch in a SoCal Derby prep. Goldencents, Flashback, and a bunch of also rans. It must be bad when Tampa puts on a better stakes race than Santa Anita.
The day I saw Shanghai Bobby, just get past Goldencents back east, then Goldencents coming off the fence and going back after Shanghai, I had a feeling this was a very good horse. That saying, I think his speed is maybe his one chink in his armour ! You always get these quick sprinters in races like this, testing the waters, but also, softening up the real horse's, in this case Goldencents. Ive said it before, and Ill say it again, I think this horse is more tuned to being a really good sprinter or miler. I hope Doug isnt pushing just to have another Derby horse. I like Omega Star to run past them all !
flashback doesnt need the lead at all he will win comfortably
no derby winners in this group. i dont think the west coast is going bring much to the the triple crown races this year period
So Goldenscents fans, have you been taking notice that the last couple of races, Krigger has had to start whipping the horse to a pulp very early into the final turn to get him to the wire? How much farther do you see that getting a horse that can ONLY win on his engine? hmmmmm.....Keep your money in your pockets, you didnt find the Derby winner yet.
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