01/23/2012 10:45AM

Trip Notes: Lecomte Stakes, Palos Verdes Stakes, and more

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fair Grounds
Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap (race 7)

Mr. Vegas continued his love affair with this turf course, winning for the 3rd time in as many tries since moving here from Illinois this meet – but he had to survive an objection and inquiry to get this first stakes win. The gelding used his speed to bounce right out to clear lead, was able to set modest splits while keeping a clear lead, did drift out nearing the 16th pole forcing Dubious Miss to steady, and kept on gamely to the wire to hold a clear lead. The stewards ruled his drifting out didn’t affect the order of finish, and it looked like the right call. The Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap Feb. 25 may be next. Dubious Miss bided his time, came with a solid, steady rally, had to steady when the winner came out in front of him and couldn’t get to the winner. Certainly he was forced to check in the lane but it didn’t look like he was going to catch the winner anyway. Strike Impact stalked the pace, tried to make a run at the winner into the lane but didn’t have enough. Suntracer, the heavy favorite, was last early and could make only modest headway.

Fair Grounds
Lecomte (race 11)

The Louisiana path to the Triple Crown begins in earnest here and Mr. Bowling became the first to establish himself on that trail with a game victory, but the blanket photo showed the relative competitiveness of the top finishers here. Mr. Bowling sat midpack early, steadily advanced to be in a good spot just off the pace on the far turn, pounced into the lane and kept on doggedly to fend off a hard-trying Z Dager. Z Dager, coming off a smart local maiden win, handled the big step up in class well as he stalked the pace, got shuffled back on the far turn (which may have cost him the race), came out for room into the lane and finished well. This was a promising first stakes try. Shared Property, 6th as the favorite in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland Oct. 8, was freshened and came back with a smart run as he sat back while wide, continued wide with a strong run into the lane that made him look very scary. However, he couldn’t sustain his bid in what was still a good try. His run looks even better when you consider he had the worst of the draw, the extreme outside post 13.  These 3 could all be back for the Grade 2 Risen Star here Feb. 25. Dan and Sheila, favored off big debut win at GP last month, was very slow into stride and finished well, though he never really was a threat. Ted’s Folly, coming off 6 straight wins at Remington, lagged back and was unable to make any headway. Same for Exfactor and Seven Lively Sins, neither of whom was a factor.

Santa Anita
Palos Verdes (race 8)

Race lost some luster when recently named 2011 sprint champion Amazombie scratched after overnight rains. He will instead point for the Grade 2 San Carlos Feb. 25. That gave Frumious a chance to continue his late bloom. The 6-year-old, who suffered a suspensory injury early in his career, was later gelded and even ran for a $40,000 claiming tag as recently as December, made the most of his chance. Despite the presence of other significant speed (Courtside, Euroears), Frumious, coming off 2 smashing wins in December, was able to outrun those rivals to set dizzying splits, rode the speed bias, opened up into the lane and drew off to win with ease. Amazombie would have needed everything to catch this guy. That match-up may not be seen for a while as Frumious may point to the Group 1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai March 31, a race that may also lure top sprinter The Factor. That could be fun. Galientos chased the winner from the start, tried gamely to keep up, was unable to do so but got to the wire before Mensa Heat, who closed well from last. Today saw one of the most significant pro-speed biases Santa Anita has seen in a long time. Euroears sat back, made a mild bid into the lane but was no factor in his last career start. Courtside, the favorite, chased the pace but gave way in a disappointing effort.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Santa Anita
La Canada (race 8)

Trainer Ron Ellis has top-class sprinter Teddy’s Promise and may have discovered an up-and-coming router in Include Me Out, as the daughter of Include moved to this longer game and reveled in it, scoring her first stakes win. She lagged back early off the solid pace of May Day Rose and Tiz Flirtatious, swung wide into the lane and blasted home, taking over and drawing off to win with ease. On the strength of this there’s no reason she shouldn’t go for the Grade 2 Santa Maria against elders Feb. 18. Great Hot ran her race but it just wasn’t good enough. She stalked in 4th, made a nice run into the lane but was no match for the winner. Tiz Flirtatious, previously unbeaten in her first 3 starts, though all against statebreds, dogged pacesetter May Day Rose from the start, couldn’t keep pace with Great Hot into the lane and surely had no answer when the winner went storming past. May Day Rose set the pace under pressure but gave way readily once headed into the lane in a disappointing run. At this stage of the game she may prefer a shorter trip.