01/16/2012 12:34PM

Trip Notes: Hal's Hope, San Fernando, and more


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hal's Hope (race 9)

Jackson Bend showed his class as the Grade 1 winner, most recently 3rd in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint, had no trouble taking advantage of the class drop with a smart performance here. As is his custom he bided his time early, though this time he stumbled at the start to be sitting toward the back. He steadily advanced on the far turn, swung out for clear sailing when he ran into a wall of horses moving into the lane and powered home to win going away. He stamped himself one to watch again this year in one-turn races along with the likes of Amazombie, Force Freeze, The Factor, Caleb's Posse and others. The Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship Feb. 18 may be next and trainer Zito mentioned the Grade 1 Met Mile as his long-term goal. Sangaree also dropped and did better. He last ran 6th in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile but improved to finish second here, as he was last early, behind the eventual winner. He moved almost in tandem with Jackson Bend though was always behind that runner in a very good effort. Cool Blue Red Hot, making his first start since October and stepping up in class, lagged back, came with a smart wide run but couldn't quite outfinish the top 2. Soaring Empire, the defending champ and making his first start since July off a string of super works, was a bit disappointing as he lagged back, came with a good run into the lane to take the lead at midstretch but then had little left for the final furlong.

Fort Lauderdale (race 10)

Silver Medallion always had ability but really seems to have come into his own since moving back to turf as he upset a number of Grade 1 winners and a Group 1 winner here. Coming off a win in the Grade 3 Tropical Park Handicap, he bided his time at the back, was still well back turning for home, swung very wide into the lane and blasted home to get up in the final strides despite getting bumped by Mutual Trust in the lane. His next start may be the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap Feb. 11 – where he might run into 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. Yummy With Butter set the pace, came out and bumped hard with Mutual Trust in the lane when that rival challenged him, forcing him into the path of Silver Medallion. He stayed on doggedly but couldn't quite fend off the winner. He was DQ'd from 2nd to 6th. It looked like the right call. Hollinger, who was 3rd to Silver Medallion in the Tropical Park Handicap last month, flattered that form with another good showing, as he sat back just in front of the winner, didn't accelerate as quickly but finished well for 3rd and got moved up to 2nd via the DQ. Kindergarden Kid was last much of the way and finished strongly. Mutual Trust, a winner of his first 4 starts including a Group 1 in France and who suffered his first defeat when he ran into the likes of Goldikova last summer, dogged Yummy With Butter from the start, moved up to challenge that foe in midstretch, got bumped hard by that rival into eventual winner and gave way. Flat Out, a Grade 1 winner on dirt and a top older horse who was trying grass for the first time, ran miserably as he chased the pace but gave way badly to finish last. This can't be exactly what they had in mind if they're prepping for the Grade 1 Donn on the main track Feb. 11.

Santa Anita
San Fernando (race 8)

Tapizar provided more evidence on the importance of speed as the one-time Derby hope was the only real speed in this race and he made use of it and played keep away all the way around. After winning the Grade 3 Sham here last January he suffered bone chips in a knee when he faded to 5th as the 3-10 favorite in the Grade 2 Bob Lewis. Sidelined 8 months he came back to win at Belmont Park and run 5th in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Freshened and sent longer, and facing no other speed of note, he bounced right out to a clear lead, set solid splits and really never had an anxious moment as he held a comfortable lead all the way around.  The Grade 2 Strub here Feb. 4 is likely next. Balladry was last the first half of the race and came with a nice finish to just get up for 2nd, though he was never really on the winner's radar. Prayer for Relief, the 2nd choice, stalked the pace, tried to make a run at the winner into the lane but couldn't sustain his run and just lost 2nd in the final stride while far clear of the rest.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Santa Anita
Santa Ynez (race 4)

Reneesgotzip backed up her superb debut win at Hollywood last month with another easy win despite the big step up in class. The daughter of City Zip went right out to the lead, as she did in her Dec. 18 debut, set solid splits while being chased by Rowdy Gal and Candrea, but dispatched with those 2 with ease into the lane and bounded clear to win in a romp. Looks like the West Coast has a real promising 3-year-old filly sprinter/miler in the making and she may try to prove it in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes at a mile here March 3. Made to Love Her bided her time and came with a steady run to get 2nd, though she was never of any concern to the winner. Painted Woman pressed the early pace, dropped back a bit, tried to make a run at the winner into the lane but proved no match and lost 2nd in the final strides. Rowdy Gal and Candrea tried to press the winner down the backstretch but both paid the price as they gave way when their chase proved fruitless.