06/03/2013 11:25AM

Trip Notes: Californian, Affirmed Handicap, and more


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Aristides (race 5)

Scatman, previously successful on fast dirt and synthetic, showed he can handle slop just fine, too, as the 4-year-old relished the off going to notch his first graded stakes win. In 2012, he was on the Kentucky Derby trail until a dull ninth in the Grade 1 Blue Grass. Here, he stalked as Rothko and Jasizzle dueled through brisk splits, moved closer while on the outside turning for home, went after those two in the lane, and was able to wear down Jasizzle in the final yards. This guy has won routing and sprinting, too, so he’s quite versatile. Nice as this was, it still figures to be a reach for him to take on the game’s top sprinters, but this shows he can surely do some damage in the right spot. Jasizzle dueled early with favorite Rothko, finally got the better of that rival only to be immediately tackled by Scatman, and couldn’t fend him off late. Rothko, the defending champ, held a narrow early lead while dogged by Jasizzle into brisk splits, was still in the thick of it in midstretch, but weakened in the final furlong.

Betfair Hollywood Park
Californian (race 8)

Clubhouse Ride had the misfortune of running into Game On Dude, one of the top two or three older horses in training, in his last three starts and ran second each time. Well, he was faced with no such rival this time, and that was the difference as the son of Grade 1/Group 1 winner Candy Ride legitimized his (and Game On Dude’s) form with a smart tally. He fell into a great trip sitting third as Batti Man and Blueskiesnrainbows volleyed for the lead through modest splits. He remained there to the top of the lane, pounced on those tiring rivals, got first run on the others, opened up, and really didn’t have a nervous moment in the final furlong. The Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6 figures next, with another potential meeting with Game On Dude. Liaison, the favorite off two big stakes wins including the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy here May 4, sat a few lengths behind Clubhouse Ride, was asked to go after that foe into the lane, doggedly chased him, but couldn’t close the gap while easily best of the others. He figures to come back in the Gold Cup as well. Oilisblackgold was behind the top two early, made a decent run into the lane, and while no threat to the top pair, stayed on well for third. He reportedly will try the Gold Cup as well. Kettle Corn lagged back, but could only pass tired foes.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Betfair Hollywood Park
Affirmed Handicap (race 8)

Tiz a Minister has shown flashes of big-time ability (rallied strongly for third in the Grade 2 San Felipe) but a not-so-hot fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby (beaten 12 1/2 lengths) took him off the Derby trail, and then he was a non-threatening third in the Snow Chief here April 27 as the favorite. Well, he had one of his ‘on’ days as he notched his first graded stakes win and stamped himself a big player for the Grade 2 Swaps here July 4. As is his custom, he displayed no speed. He sat last early, was still last turning for home, began his run on the turn, moved to the inside, and continued this strong, sustained rally to get up for the win. Den’s Legacy, who has knocked heads with some of the division’s best, lagged back, came with a smart run through the lane, but couldn’t outfinish the winner. Manando, the favorite off a smashing win here May 3, went right to the lead, held a clear advantage turning for home, was still clear by midstretch, but then weakened in the final furlong and had no answer when the top two came to him. The top three may all return in the Swaps, which surely figures to attract some other tough customers. Broadway Empire, who earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure when second in the Came Home (a sprint) here May 11, chased Manando from the start but weakened from those efforts. He was being asked for a lot here in just his second start (tougher, routing for the first time) and maybe it was all just too much, too soon.