04/29/2013 9:31AM

Trip Notes: Derby Trial, San Francisco Mile, and more

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Belmont
Westchester (race 9)

Flat Out may not be a major player at the top of the handicap ranks elsewhere any longer but it’s a different story at Belmont as the 7-year-old continued his love affair with this track, making it 4 wins in as many tries. Shortening up to a mile he had no trouble at all, biding his time in 4th while favored Cross Traffic set a brisk pace, though he wasn’t nearly as far off the lead as is his custom. He moved closer while staying wide in the clear on the turn, appeared in trouble when Cross Traffic re-established a clear lead, but doggedly kept after that foe through the lane and finally got the better of that stubborn rival late. Off this there’s no reason at all he shouldn’t next take a swing at the Grade 1 Met Mile here May 27. Cross Traffic, favored off a two romping wins at Gulfstream to start his career, lost a heartbreaker. He bounced right out to a clear lead, set a solid pace, saw Flat Out edge closer on the turn, spurted away as though he might win, battled back gamely when challenged by the winner into the lane and only succumbed in the final yards while much the best than the rest (11 1/4 lengths). It couldn’t have helped that he stayed on his wrong lead through the lane. The Met Mile figures to be a rematch of these 2. Rattlesnake Bridge stalked the pace and stayed on evenly while no threat to the top 2 in the lane. Big Screen, coming off seemingly a breakout win on Aqueduct’s inner March 23 (110 Beyer) chased Cross Traffic early but gave way and may have been exposed class-wise.

Churchill
Derby Trial (race 10)

Trainer Todd Pletcher ran 1-2 with Forty Tales and Capo Bastone, but right after the race it seemed neither had designs on the Run for the Roses as both may be best suited to the one-turn game. Forty Tales bided his time early, came with a strong run and gamely, if only just, outfinished his stablemate. Capo Bastone was last early after lunging at the start, still well back turning for home, but finished strongly to just miss while well clear of the rest (3 lengths). Ruler of Love stalked the pace and finished evenly. Titletown Five stalked the pace, loomed a threat into the lane but flattened out. It would appear his Derby aspirations went up in smoke here.

Lone Star
Texas Mile (race 9)

Master Rick invaded for the first time and showed again that in the right spot he can do some damage. The Grade 2-placed runner was coming off a big optional claiming win at Oaklawn Feb. 28. He stalked the pace of Good Lord in 4th, moved closer while wide on the far turn, was set down and finished strongly to surge past the leaders and win going away. Prayer for Relief, the slight favorite, dogged pacesetter Good Lord from the start, took over in midstretch but had no answer for the winner’s charge in the final furlong. Good Lord set a solid pace while under constant pressure, tried to battle back when first hooked by Prayer for Relief into the lane but weakened once headed. Donoharm, who beat Master Rick in a couple Oaklawn stakes earlier this year, seemed in a great spot stalking in 3rd but then gave way readily as if something might have gone amiss.

Golden Gate
San Francisco Mile (race 6)

Tigah got away from some of the Southern California bigshots and the move paid off as he notched his first graded win. He succeeded despite not having the best of trips, too. He was very slow into stride, remained content toward the back of the pack, began to pick it up on the far turn, swung very wide to keep in the clear as he hit the gas and powered home to just get up in the final strides. Off this you could see him try the big boys again, maybe in a race like the Grade 2 American at Hollywood May 25, also at a mile on the turf. Summer Hit continued his excellent form. A winner of 6 of his first 9 including his last 2, he again used his speed, went right to the lead, took pressure from Coach Bob, dispatched with that foe turning for home, opened up a lead into the lane, but just got nailed in the final strides while clear best of the rest. Gallant Son, 2nd in this last year, appears good as ever at age 7 as he sat midpack, came with a threatening run into the lane but couldn’t sustain it. Hudson Landing, the defending champ, lagged back while saving ground and never really mustered a run. He went into last year’s race a bit sharper than this year and may have lost a step or 2.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Betfair at Hollywood
Wilshire Handicap (race 8)

Halo Dolly was coming off consecutive losses at Golden Gate but she’d run well while finishing 2nd and 3rd there. Here she stalked pacesetter Little Emily, surged past that tiring foe into the lane to grab a clear lead, and wasn’t ever really in danger thereafter. This makes her 2 for 2 on this course. It doesn’t necessarily mean she’s ready for Lady of Shamrock, Mizdirection or Tiz Flirtatious, but she might still try deeper waters next in the Grade 1 Gamely here May 27. Lady of Shamrock is pointing for that as well. Long Face, 4th in the Grade 2 Santa Ana at Santa Anita March 24, lagged back, was still toward the back into the lane before finishing smartly, though she never really appeared a threat to the winner. Moone’s My Name, a sharp 2nd in her U.S. debut at Santa Anita April 7, was away slowly to be last from the start, remained there to the top of the lane and finished with decent energy. Purim’s Dancer, coming off a string of sharp turf sprints, was alongside Halo Dolly stalking the pace but weakened when the real racing began. After this a return to sprinting may be in the cards.