07/09/2012 10:14AM

Trip Notes: Hollywood Gold Cup, Suburban Handicap, and more

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Belmont Park
Victory Ride (race 8)

Emma’s Encore, still with allowance conditions left, stepped well up in class, got her pace and posted a big upset over the previously unbeaten Agave Kiss. Emma’s Encore sat 5th while Agave Kiss and Jamaican Smoke sizzled early, steadily advanced to the far turn, swung out into the lane and powered past her rivals to win going away. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, she’s trained by legendary ‘giant killer’ Allen Jerkens. Jamaican Smoke dueled with heavy favorite Agave Kiss, got the better of that rival, fended off Tu Endie Wei into the lane but all that work left her gassed for the final. Tu Endie Wei stalked the pace, gamely went after Jamaican Smoke, was no match for the winner but kept to her task well. Agave Kiss dueled but gave way badly in a disappointing effort.

Belmont Park
Suburban Handicap (race 9)

Today it was Mucho Macho Man’s turn and he reached back and came up big to get the victory. He stalked pacesetter Trickmeister through hot splits, had no trouble going past that rival into the lane, quickly opened up and didn’t really have a nervous moment thereafter. Nice as this was, you get the feeling these East Coast handicap horses are a good, evenly matched bunch who are simply taking turns. Hymn Book bided his time in last from the start, was still there turning for home, put in a smart rally but never really threatened the winner while clearly best of the rest. Trickmeister set a hot pace, under pressure, couldn’t go with the top 2 in the lane but kept on well for 3rd. To Honor and Serve stalked the pace, loomed dangerously turning for home but then had no punch. This is a 2nd straight so-so outing and you have to wonder about him now. Stay Thirsty was well back early and never mustered a run in a dull outing. Three of his 4 wins have come at Saratoga so maybe the move there will help – maybe.

Monmouth Park
Monmouth Cup (race 10)

Rule, making his first start since last Oct. 8, came back firing and now tosses his name in the East Coast handicap debate with smart tally. He dogged pacesetter Sloane Ranger from the start, moved up to challenge that foe on the turn, battled gamely with that rival, finally putting him away in deep stretch before edging clear. Flat Out, making his first start in 5 months and first for Bill Mott, bided his time early, as is his custom, was shuffled back to last turning for home while inside, swung out for room and finished decently to just get 2nd though he never was a threat to the winner. Sloane Ranger was hounded from the start by Rule, battled back gamely when challenged by that rival turning for home, was still there to deep stretch before weakening.

Monmouth Park
United Nations Handicap (race 11)

Turbo Compressor made it 3 wins in 4 starts as he used his speed again to dominate the proceedings. He bounced right out to a clear lead, saw the field edge closer turning for home, but spurted away again and kept to his task to keep hard-trying Air Support at bay. Air Support, who was 2nd to Turbo Compressor at Colonial Downs, bided his time, came with a nice run into the lane, closed the gap on the winner but didn’t really scare him. Al Khali sat 4th, moved up to look dangerous turning for home but didn’t sustain his bid. Slim Shadey, the favorite, was well back early and failed to make a run. Brilliant Speed likewise was well back early and never made a move. He’s been quite disappointing this year and it may be back to the drawing board for him.

Calder Race Course
Carry Back (race 8)

Fort Loudon made it three straight wins and notched his first graded stakes win as he used his versatility to show more speed and pressure Trinniberg from the start. He doggedly kept after that foe, challenged him into the lane and got the better of a long hard stretch battle. He’s now 7 for 10 at Calder. Trinniberg, coming off a strong win in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens, did nothing wrong in defeat. As usual he used his speed, bounced out to make the running, took pressure from Fort Loudon from the start, battled back gamely when hooked by that foe into the lane but just couldn’t quite keep up in the final strides. These 2 ran faster (1:10.57) than distaff sprint champ Musical Romance did while winning the Princess Rooney (1:10.92) and nearly as fast as top older sprint Gantry did in winning the Smile (1:10.52). Angelofdistinction lagged back and made decent headway to get 3rd though he was no factor as this was strictly a 2-horse race.

Calder Race Course
Azalea (race 9)

Another Romance continued her ascent, winning for the 4th time in her last 5 starts, and doing it in flashy style going last to first. She sat far off a strong pace of Exclusively Maria and Citizen Advocate, found her top gear into the lane and ran down the tiring leader Citizen Advocate, just as she’d done in the June 9 Leave Me Alone. Citizen Advocate, in her first start with blinkers, opened up a huge lead into the lane but got nailed late. This time she dogged Exclusively Maria early, took the lead going to the far turn, and edged clear into the lane. Redbud Road stalked the pace, moved up to challenge Another Romance going to the far turn, but couldn’t quite stay with that rival. Say a Novena stalked but gave way.

Calder Race Course
Smile Sprint Handicap (race 10)

Gantry showed his good 3rd behind top-class sprinters Shackleford and Amazombie in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs no fluke as he dismantled this bunch and stamped himself a potential big player in top sprints the rest of the year. He stalked the pace of Artefacto early, moved up to challenge that rival into the lane, dispatched with him with ease and drew off to win comfortably. Indiano pressed the pace early, sucked back a bit to sit 4th, was still there into the lane and could make only modest headway to narrowly get 2nd while no threat to the winner. Close It Out was last early, steadily advanced and finished decently, just missing 2nd by a nostril. Apriority sat back, came with an early run to look dangerous on the far turn and into the lane but flattened out. He may not be the horse he once was.

Calder Race Course
Princess Rooney Handicap (race 11)

Musical Romance, a close 2nd in this last year, went one better to notch another Grade 1 win, but it wasn’t easy for the reigning distaff sprint champ. She broke slowly but had the speed to get position stalking in 3rd while Golden Mystery opened up to set a brisk pace. She bided her time, went after that foe into the lane, got past in deep stretch and looked gone but had to keep to it to fend off hard-trying Nicole H. Nicole H sat back early, steadily advanced to be just behind the winner turning for home, kept to her task doggedly and closed the gap on the winner but just couldn’t get to her. Nakano sat midpack and finished with good energy though she was never really a threat. Bouquet Booth stalked in 4th but never mustered a run.

Thistledown
Ohio Derby (race 8)

On paper Prospective seemed to hold the aces and that’s the way it worked out on the track. The colt stalked in 3rd in the small field, edged closer going to the far turn, swiftly took command, opened up into the lane and won comfortably. Politicallycorrect set the pace under pressure from Z Rockstar, tried to go with the winner when that foe made his move on the far turn, couldn’t keep up but was clear best of the others. Z Rockstar dogged pacesetter Politicallycorrect from the start but weakened from those efforts.

Betfair Hollywood Park
Royal Heroine Mile (race 8)

Quiet Oasis couldn’t quite handle top-class Belle Royale in the Grade 1 Gamely but didn’t face that rival here and cut back to what may be a better distance and the reward was a game tally. She’s been a bit of her own worst enemy by failing to relax early in other races, but didn’t have that problem here as she relaxed a bit better and sat 5th early. She bided her time, swung out into the lane and finished strongly to win the 3-horse photo. Mega Dream chased pacesetter Briecat from the start and kept to her task doggedly to just miss in the photo. Briecat bounced out to a clear lead, battled back when hooked but just wasn’t good enough in a fine try. All Star Heart, the favorite, lagged back, seemed to start her move going to the far turn but then flattened out to run last in a disappointing effort.

Betfair Hollywood Park
Hollywood Gold Cup (race 9)

Baffert dominated with a 1-2 finish with Game on Dude and Richard’s Kid, and history was made as Chantal Sutherland became the first female jockey to win this race. Game on Dude was terrific. He dogged pacesetter Spud Spivens from the start, moved up easily to challenge that foe going to the far turn, took command without being asked, opened up, was asked for run when Richard’s Kid came at him and responded nicely to win fairly comfortably in the end. Richard’s Kid lost nothing in defeat. He broke slowly, bided his time to the backstretch, then began a long, sustained run, scared the winner into the lane but couldn’t get to him in a fine try. Baffert ran 1-2 in this race last year as well. Kettle Corn lagged back and made decent headway but was no factor.