09/13/2011 7:30PM

Trip Notes: Bowling Green, Super Derby, Kentucky Cup Turf, more


Saturday, Sept. 10

Belmont -- Bowling Green Handicap
Grassy may not be ready to take on the likes of Cape Blanco or Gio Ponti, but he showed here he can certainly do damage in the right spots. The 5-year-old son of El Prado, already a Grade 2 stakes winner, comfortably stalked the pace while staying in the clear, surged up to take the lead late, and was quickly wrapped up on, so the margin (half-length) may not indicate he was really much the best. No reason he shouldn’t try the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on Oct. 1 as the only imposing hurdle there would be if Cape Blanco indeed invades the United States a third time. Center Divider dogged pacesetter Sal the Barber from the start, took over into the lane, battled back gamely when the winner came to him, but couldn’t quite keep up. Bold Hawk showed signs of his old class as he lagged back and finished well. Sanagas, the favorite off a strong win in the John’s Call, was last much of the way, finished willingly, but left himself with too much to do and was also up against it trying to close off very slow splits.

Louisiana Downs -- Super Derby
Prayer for Relief continued the embarrassment of 3-year-old riches for Bob Baffert (The Factor, Coil, Midnight Interlude) with an impressive victory here, proving again the value of speed. The multiple graded stakes winner bounced right out to a clear lead, was able to set dawdling splits, appeared in some danger when a couple rivals came to him into the lane, but he had plenty left and spurted away to win fairly easily. With the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic still fuzzy as to its relative strength, there’s no reason this guy’s name shouldn’t be added to the mix. In fact, Baffert came out and said that big race would be this guy’s target. Awesome Bet lagged well back, came with a strong run into the lane, briefly looked very dangerous to the top pick, but then couldn’t keep up when that rival rebroke in the final furlong. Populist Politics, likewise, sat well back, moved strongly in tandem with Awesome Bet to also look dangerous, but like that rival couldn’t keep up with Prayer for Relief when he found another gear late. Alternation, the Grade 2 Peter Pan winner, sat midpack but never really mustered a run. Meistersinger, a winner of 3 of his past 4, including a 10-length romp at Delaware Park last month, got exposed a bit as he stalked the pace inside but gave way.

Presque Isle  -- Presque Isle Downs Masters
Musical Romance, a neck shy of being a Grade 1 stakes winner at Calder earlier this summer, continued her good form, notching her fourth win in her past six starts. Here she showed her versatility again, exhibiting more speed to be just behind a couple dueling speedsters, moved into contention into the lane, and doggedly kept to her task to get to the line before a couple late-charging gals. She’s not Breeders’ Cup eligible, so her trainer Kaplan wasn’t sure where she’d go next, though he said he’d likely look at Keeneland. Ariana D was last early and still last turning for home, but pitched extremely wide into the lane and blasted home to just miss in a fine try. Shotgun Gulch sat well back early with Ariana D and like that rival swung very wide into the lane and put in a strong late run, but it just wasn’t quite enough. Beat the Blues lagged back but never made a move.

Kentucky Downs -- Kentucky Cup Turf
A significant drop in class was just what the doctor ordered for Rahystrada. Not that this was an easy spot, but it was surely softer then the Grade 1 Arlington Million he just tried, and in which he was far from embarrassed when fifth, beaten less than four lengths by world-class Cape Blanco and Gio Ponti. The veteran always looked the winner, stalking the pace, taking over turning for home, and surging clear for the easy win. His trainer Hughes didn’t have a specific next-race in mind, but his goal was for his stable star to become a millionaire. Odds On was last early, content to lag back to the far turn, but then came with a strong run to get second, though he was never really a threat to the winner. Miami Deco, likewise, lagged back and finished decently. The race was marred when Formaggio, who was stalking the pace along the inside, suddenly fell, dropping his rider (who seemed okay as he was quickly up on his feet). It took a while (nearly 10 minutes) to catch the horse who ran off into the infield.

WATCH REPLAY: Kentucky Cup Turf »

Arlington -- Arlington-Washington Lassie
Rocket Twentyone, a romping winner in her debut on dirt at Prairie Meadows last month, showed she could also handle synthetic footing and a significant step up in class as the daughter of Indian Charlie posted the 16-1 upset. While she lagged back and finished strongly to win her debut, this time she showed more speed, chasing pacesetter Essence of Bubbles from the start. She seemed in trouble when that foe still held a clear lead at midstretch, but she kept to her task doggedly and wore down that rival. Considering she’s handled both dirt and synthetic, her connections have options for her next start. Essence of Bubbles went right to the lead, opened up going to the far turn, looked the winner when still three lengths clear at the eighth pole, but then got weary and just couldn’t quite get to the line before the winner. Ann of the Dance was well back early and finished well. Always Here Too, the favorite off a big Ellis Park maiden win, sat back, moved closer going to the far turn as if she was going to be a factor, but then gave way.

WATCH REPLAY: Arlington-Washington Lassie »

Arlington -- Arlington-Washington Futurity
Shared Prosperity, a son of Scat Daddy who was so impressive winning his debut at Ellis Park on July 30, validated that run and then some with another impressive tally. He bided his time toward midpack in the big field, swung very wide into the lane, and finished smartly. He’s now handled dirt and synthetic with aplomb, and the way he won says he belongs in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile discussion. It’s worth noting that he was more than a second faster than the girls. Take Charge Indy, royally bred and the favorite off a big debut win here July 30,  sat back, came with a strong run into the lane, looked the winner when surging to the lead in midstretch, but couldn’t quite sustain his run and got nailed by Share Prosperity. Still, a most encouraging first try versus winners as he was well clear of the rest. Motor City was far back early and finished decently. Twelve Hundred prompted the pace, loomed a threat into the lane, but then gave way.

WATCH REPLAY: Arlington-Washington Futurity »