08/12/2013 10:28AM

Trip Notes: Fourstardave, La Jolla, Monmouth Oaks, and more


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fourstardave Handicap (race 10)

Non-firm turf, some decent rivals and a big weight load, but none of it bothered reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan as he thoroughly dominated his rivals to easily defend his title. The issue really never seemed in doubt, even if the margin wasn’t jaw dropping. He bided his time in third, saving ground while 3-year-old King Kreesa set a solid pace, angled off the rail into the lane and had little trouble moving past King Kreesa and edging clear. John Velazquez never moved on him and never asked him for more than he seemed necessary. Last year he went from here to the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and his connections have said he’ll follow a similar path this year. Owner Charles LoPresti added that the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in October is also an option. King Kreesa bounded out to the lead, as expected, tried to battle back when Wise Dan came to him, and while overmatched by that foe proved much the best of the rest. Lea stalked in second, couldn’t go with the winner into the lane but kept on decently to hold third.

Monmouth Oaks (race 11)

Seaneen Girl has spent some time with the division’s elite, but didn’t meet anyone of that caliber here and it showed as she dominated the proceedings. She dogged pacesetter Makayla’s Angel from the start, took over from that tiring rival on the turn and just expanded her margin from there. This was a nice bounce-back after a dull in the Grade 3 Arlington Oaks July 20, and while she’s had success on synthetic this may be proof she’s better on dirt. She’ll likely show up next where the big girls don’t. Mr Hall’s Opus was slow into stride, bided her time while well back, steadily advanced and kept to her task decently to get second, though she was never on the winner’s radar. Lucky Rag Doll stalked the pace, tried to make a run at the winner into the lane but was no match for that foe and flattened out some to lose second in the final strides.

Gardenia (race 8)

Devious Intent, coming off a nice second in a sprint stakes at Paririe Meadows June 28, showed considerable courage posting the 15-1 upset in the race, which marked the return of distaff sprint champ Groupie Doll. Devious Intent dogged pacesetter Magic Hour from the start, put her head in front in midstretch and battled gamely to the wire to just edge that tough rival. Magic Hour went right out to the lead but was pressured throughout by Devious Intent, kept to her task gamely even after that foe put her head in front and stayed on smartly in a fine try. Groupie Doll, making her first start since running second to the boys in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct last Nov. 24 and then being freshened after not really acting like herself earlier this year, stumbled at the start, didn’t seem to settle, finally got into a rhythm, made a threatening run turning for home but couldn’t sustain it. Still, not a bad return effort. Trainer Buff Bradley said three more races are on her ledger for this year – the Grade 2 Presque Isle Masters next month, Grade 3 TCA at Keeneland in October and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint defense Nov. 1.

Del Mar
La Jolla Handicap (race 8)

Nice way for rider Garrett Gomez to reappear on the scene as he guided Dice Flavor to a come-from-behind upset win here. Unlike his third in the Grade 2 Swaps at Hollywood July 4, Dice Flavor he showed no speed at all, sitting well back from the start. He remained well back turning for home, didn’t appear to be going anywhere but then blasted home to get up in the final yards. Surely off this the Grade 1 Del Mar Derby at 1 1/8 miles on turf Sept. 1 will be next. Den’s Legacy sat behind runaway pacesetter Rosengold from the start, took over from that faltering rival into the lane, stayed on gamely but couldn’t quite fend off the winner. Pure Loyalty sat midpack and finished with good energy. Freakin Rocket, the favorite, stalked in third, loomed a big threat into the lane but flattened out. Could be he’s been asked for too much too soon.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Adirondack (race 9)

It took an assist from the stewards to get Designer Legs this Grade 2 win and make her a perfect 3 for 3, but it was the right call as she got moved up to first via a DQ. She stalked early in fourth early after getting knocked almost sideways by Who’s in Town, moved closer into the lane, got knocked around pretty good by Who’s in Town and couldn’t overcome that finishing just behind that rival on the line. However, the stewards deemed Who’s in Town guilty for the bumping, hence the change in the order of finish. The Grade 1 Spinaway here Sept. 1 figures next. Thank You Marylou got knocked around at the start, stalked the pace and finished with interest. Fiftyshadesofgold, the heavy favorite, bumped early with Thank You Marylou, moved to the inside, cut the corner to try and make a run at the lead but had to steady hard when in tight, waited for room, found it and loomed a big threat again only to get tightened up again by Who’s in Town in deep stretch. Who’s in Town ran a nice race to gamely lead all the way, but she bumped rivals at the start and more conspicuously bumped rivals in deep stretch, and was DQ’d to fourth. Sadly, Charmed Hour broke down in her right fore and had to be euthanized.

Saratoga Special (race 10)

Corfu, coming off a smart debut win here July 25, showed courage in successfully negotiating the step up in class. He bounced right out to the lead, set sharp splits and gamely kept to his task to just outnod tough rival Wired Bryan. The Grade 1 Hopeful here Sept. 2 figures next. Oddly enough, for all his success in 2-year-old races here, this was Todd Pletcher’s first win in this race.  Wired Bryan chased Corfu from the start, kept after him doggedly through the lane and was getting to him but just ran out of ground, losing a tough photo. The Hopeful figures next for him as well. Danza was a bit slow into stride, was still well back turning for home, but finished with good energy in a promising run. Candy Dandy, the heavy favorite, stalked the pace while seemingly in a good spot but came up empty when it mattered.

Del Mar
John C. Mabee (race 8)

Tiz Flirtatious confirmed she’s blossomed into the western United States’ top turf distaffer with a powerful victory here. A Grade 2 winner and Grade 1 placed, Tiz Flirtatious bided her time early while Journaliste set dawdling splits. She moved closer turning for home while staying wide and in the clear, surged to a clear lead into the lane and never had a nervous moment thereafter. The Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon here Sept. 2 figures next. Lady of Shamrock sat second behind Journaliste, tried to go with the winner into the lane, was no match for that foe but continued on well to be second. She figures to come back in the Yellow Ribbon as well where she’ll surely be hoping for a better pace scenario. My Gi Gi sat back with the winner and finished with decent energy. Customer Base stalked in the third while inside but never mustered a run.