12/05/2011 10:35AM

Trip Notes: Native Diver, Bayakoa replays


Saturday, December 3

Native Diver Handicap (race 8)

Kettle Corn continued his ascent and apparently has a love affair with the Hollywood synthetic track as the son of Candy Ride made it 2 for 2 on this track and notched his first stakes win. A winner now of 3 of his last 4, Kettle Corn bided his time off favorite Tres Borrachos’s modest pace, made a smart run along the inside into the lane to challenge that rival and got the better of him in the final half-furlong. Off this win and with his love of synthetic footing his connections mention the Group 2 Godolphin Mile in Dubai March 31 as a potential target – but that would represent another big step up in class. Tres Borrachos, who has done his best work here as well (3 of his 4 wins), went right out to a clear lead, was able to set modest fractions, came off the rail some in the lane which allowed the winner a path through, gamely battled back but couldn’t quite stay with him. Tweebster chased Tres Borrachos from the start, kept to his task well all the way to the line but just wasn’t good enough. Rescue Squad, an Eastern raider who had done very well on synthetic footing, lagged back and never made a move in a disappointing effort.

Sunday, December 4

Bayakoa Handicap (race 8)

Ellafitz is something of an enigma, but when she’s on, as she was here, she’s capable of huge efforts and she stamped herself a potential big player in the distaff division out West that may not have a clear leader now with Blind Luck retired and Zazu on the sidelines. Her main issue is she seems a need-the-lead type – when she clears off early she can run big but when challenged early or unable to set the pace she doesn’t seem the same filly. She got things her way this time, as she bounced out of the gate right to a clear lead, dictated tempo though modest splits, kicked clear into the lane and never really had a nervous moment thereafter. The Grade 2 Santa Maria at Santa Anita Feb. 18 is her long-term goal. Miss Mittagong stalked in 3rd, kept to her task but never really was able to frighten the winner. Bauble Queen was just behind Miss Mittagong from the start, got ahead of that rival turning for home as though she might be a threat, but couldn’t sustain her run. City to City, the favorite, lagged back and never really mustered a run. Ditto Washington Bridge, the defending champ.