10/29/2012 9:38AM

Trip Notes: Fayette, Bold Ruler, Pocahontas, and more

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Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012

Belmont
Turnback the Alarm (race 8)

After many a close call, Afleeting Lady finally got her first graded stakes win. The 5-year-old stalked pacesetting All Due Respect from the start, edged closer turning for home, moved up to challenge that rival into the lane, got the better of her, and drew clear for what turned out to be a fairly easy win. The Grade 2 Falls City at Churchill Downs on Nov. 22 – a race in which she ran second last year – may be next and would probably be her final start before being retired to the breeding shed. All Due Respect bounced right out to the lead, set a solid pace, tried to battle back when hooked by the winner in midstretch, couldn’t stay with that foe, but kept on well for second. Nefertiti lagged back, was still last turning for home, but finished decently, though she was never a factor. R Gypsy Gold, the 5-2 favorite, stalked in fouth but never mustered a run. Arena Elvira, the defending champ, isn’t the same mare as she was sluggish early, made a mild move into the lane, but then gave way.

Belmont
Bold Ruler (race 9)

Buffum found the 1 1/8 miles and Grade 2 company too much to handle in the Suburban here when last seen July 7, but off a freshening, with a drop, and a move back to a better distance, the $1.2 million son of Bernardini got his first graded stakes win. He was sidelined this summer with a quarter crack, hence the layoff since the Suburban, and his trainer Albertrani said he couldn’t find the right race for Buffum’s return. Well, this was it. He bounced right out to the lead, set solid splits while under some pressure from Associate and Little Drama, appeared in trouble when those two came to him turning for home, but he found another gear, shot clear again, and got the win. Another attempt at the deepest end of the pool may be next as Albertrani said he may try the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 24. Little Drama chased the winner from the start, seemed poised to challenge and go by into the lane, but couldn’t keep pace when the winner shot clear again. Associate, likewise, dogged the winner from the start and gamely kept after him. He just wasn’t good enough. Caixa Eletronica, the favorite, lagged back, as is his custom, made a decent move into the lane as if he was going to get involved, but then quickly gave way in a disappointing effort.

Keeneland
Fayette (race 9)

Newsdad, who has done so well on turf (Grade 2 winner) and did romp in an allowance race here a year ago, validated his love for this track with a big effort to post the mild upset. He lagged well back early, was still well back turning for home, but pitched very wide in the lane for clear sailing and blasted home to not only pass his rivals but actually draw off and win fairly comfortably. Nikki’s Sandcastle stalked the pace, moved up to challenge into the lane, couldn’t finish with the winner, but kept on gamely to get second. Take Charge Indy, making his first start since finishing poorly (19th) in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby while getting hurt, went right out to set the pace, battled back gamely in the lane, and only succumbed in the final half-furlong. This was a nice comeback and may set him up well for a crack at the Grade 1 Clark at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24. Salto, the favorite, chased Take Charge Indy from the start, made a run at that rival into the lane, but couldn’t sustain his run. Middie, so effective on Polytrack previously, sat midpack, made a threatening move into the lane, but flattened out. While he loves the footing, this level may have been a smidge beyond him.

Santa Anita
Autumn Miss (race 8)

There’s no doubting Lady Ten’s heart, and it was on display again here as she notched her fourth win in her last six starts and her first graded stakes win. The daughter of Rock Hard Ten sat just off pacesetting Via Carina, moved up to challenge that foe into the lane, took command and opened up, but then had to work hard to stave off the hard-charging Customer Base. Off this, they may consider taking a shot at deeper waters like the Grade 1 Matriarch at this distance on the Betfair Hollywood Park turf Nov. 25. Customer Base, a close-up fifth to Lady Ten (one length) in a stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 17, bided her time while well back early, still had a lot to do turning for home, unleashed a strong run, but just couldn’t get past the stubborn winner. Charm the Maker, likewise, sat back and finished well, though this was basically a two-horse race in the final furlong. Open Water, competitive in a couple recent Grade 1’s, sat midpack, seemed poise to pounce, but her run never materialized. Vionnet, coming off a strong win here, sat back while saving ground, cut the corner as she started to make a run into the lane, but ran into traffic and had to steady hard to lose all chance. She wasn’t going to win, but would have been much closer.

Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012

Churchill
Pocahontas (race 8)

While Executiveprivilege, Dreaming of Julia, and Kauai Katie have grabbed most of the 2-year-old filly headlines, Sign looks to throw her hat in the ring as the daughter of Pulpit, a monster winner of her only start at Saratoga this summer, showed she’s the real deal with another impressive tally, this time versus winners and where they happen to hold the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. The filly broke a bit slowly and then fought with her rider some when she took hold. She finally settled while behind a number of foes, but was still within striking range, moved closer on the turn, cut to the inside into the lane, and surged through to grab the lead and draw clear to win in stylish fashion. The Grade 2 Golden Rod here Nov. 24 is likely next. Gal About Town, easy winner of her only two starts at Monmouth and Keeneland, grabbed the early lead, relinquished it when La Song took control for a bit, retook command on the turn, tried to fight back when the winner came to her, and while no match for that foe, stayed on decently for second. The Golden Rod could be next for her as well, though she has some work to do if she’s to compete with Sign. Cloudy Vow stalked the pace, tried to rally with the winner while outside, couldn’t keep pace with that foe, and flattened out a bit in the lane. Seasoned Warrior, who chased some of New York’s best this summer, was last early, still last going to the far turn, swung wide and started a mild run, but was unable to sustain it.

Churchill
Iroquois (race 10)

Uncaptured, who showed he may have been Canada’s top 2-year-old before faltering in the Grade 3 Grey at Woodbine on Oct. 7, rebounded and then some beating a promising bunch here and stamping himself the real deal. The son of Lion Heart bided his time early, had to steady going to the far turn but recovered quickly, steadily advanced on the turn, came with a smart run into the lane, grabbed the lead, and drew off to win as much the best. The Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club here Nov. 24 figures next. Positively bided his time, came with a strong wide run on the turn to look very dangerous, but was no match for the winner through the lane. Still, it was a decent run by a horse whose sire (Distorted Humor) has produced a Kentucky Derby winner (Funny Cide). Overanalyze, the heavy favorite coming off a romping win in the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park on Sept. 30, stalked the pace, got shuffled back going to the far turn, swung wide for the stretch drive, but made minimal headway while never being a threat in the lane. This was somewhat of a disappointing effort for a horse some had originally ballyhooed as a legit Breeders’ Cup Juvenile threat. Pataky Kid, easy winner of the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity and fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity, was well back early after hopping at the start and made decent headway in the lane, though he was never a factor.