07/01/2013 9:28AM

Trip Notes: New York, Iowa Derby, Shoemaker Mile, and more


Saturday, June 29, 2013

New York (race 8)

The revolving door that is the turf distaff distance division continued to turn as this time it was Starformer who jumped up and posted a big upset. This gal was once a proven commodity as she’s a multiple Grade 3 winner. However, she came into this off two not-so-hot outings but she did have excuses and it was her tactical speed that got her back on track. She stalked in 3rd while Mystical Star set the pace, pressed by Anjaz. She went after the leaders into the lane, grabbed the lead and opened up some ground so that while three others came home strongly she had pretty much already put the situation to bed. Lady of Shamrock, a Southern California raider, sat back as is her custom, was still well back turning for home and blasted home but it was too late. Ditto Dream Peace who as the favorite sat back with Lady of Shamrock, pitched wide into the lane, had to steady briefly but recovered to finish smartly. Minakshi stalked the pace, got shuffled back turning for home but finished decently. Tannery, who just won the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay on very soft ground over many of these, bided her time, came with a  threatening run into the lane but then hit the brakes hard, making you wonder if something went amiss. 

Victory Ride (race 9)

Race complexion changed with likely heavy favorite Kauai Katie scratched to await the Grade 1 Prioress at Saratoga July 27. Baby J, a well-beaten 3rd in an optional claimer here June 14, took advantage as the daughter of J Be K used her speed to go right into a duel with Bridgehampton, appeared on the losing end of that battle when Bridgehampton pulled away some into the lane, but kept to her task gamely to rally again, reel in Bridgehampton and edge past in the final furlong. This may have earned her a shot at the Prioress, though obviously the water will be much deeper there. Bridgehampton dueled with the winner from the start, looked to have taken control when she took the lead in midstretch, but was unable to fend off Baby J in the final half-furlong. Fusaichiswonderful, the favorite, was last early, moved up nicely to seem in a good spot sitting 3rd behind the two dueling leaders going to the far turn, but was unable to make up any ground thereafter.

Eatontown (race 11)

The only prior time Laughing raced on this course she won the Grade 3 Matchmaker last year. Well, apparently she has developed quite a fondness for this place as she came here after over eight months on the bench and beat a quality field. She stalked in 3rd while heavy favorite Dayatthespa set the pace, moved up to challenge that foe into the lane, finally got the better of Dayatthespa and was edging away late. She’ll likely defend her Grade 3 Matchmaker title here July 28. Dayatthespa, the 2-5 favorite as she’s a Grade 1 winner and coming off a romping return win at Belmont May 5, went right out to the lead, set brisk splits under some pressure from Peggy Joyce, dispatched with that foe into the lane but was immediately tackled by Laughing, battled with that rival but finally succumbed in the final yards in a good try. Ruthenia, who just won a stakes on this course May 26, was last early in the small field, still last turning for home and finished with good energy to close the gap though she never really seemed a big threat to the top two.

Bashford Manor (race 7)

A large thunderstorm opened up on the track earlier on the card and turned the main track into a sea of slop. Then this race was delayed to due to lightning. Debt Ceiling, a winner of his first two starts, both in Maryland, showed he could take his shown on the road as he reveled in the slop to win easily. He broke well to sit 3rd early but then unleashed a strong wide run to surge to the lead, open up a commanding lead and hold on comfortably. He might now head to Saratoga for the big 2-year-old program there. Hollywood Talent was prominent early as well, was no match for the winner, though he kept to his task well and closed the gap in the final furlong. My Corinthian took the lead out of the gate, was no match for the winner when that guy surged to take control, and then stayed on evenly to be a clear 3rd. D’cajun Cat, the heavy favorite off a romping debut win here June 1, was 4th early and not too far away, but never really mustered a run.

Firecracker Handicap (race 9)

It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty but reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan did what he had to do to prevail on a course made bog-like by the heavy rains. For him, though, footing doesn’t matter and here he stalked while bottled up inside as Seruni set the pace under pressure from Ol Army, moved closer as the race progressed, was still trapped along the rail, but bulled his way through when room materialized along the hedge into the lane. He bumped with Seruni and the hedge but gamely kept to his task and drew away late. It wasn’t a powerhouse performance but it was more than enough. Lea, stepping well up in class after winning 4 of his last 5 including his first start of this year on a sloppy main track here June 1, stalked the pace while just outside Wise Dan, couldn’t accelerate as quickly as that rival but kept to his task well. He may point for the Fourstardave as well. Seruni set the pace under pressure, bumped with the winner as he was tiring and weakened in the final half-furlong. This race was run in a downpour.

Prairie Meadows
Iowa Oaks (race 6)

Fiftyshadesofhay had little trouble validating the heavy favoritism that was accorded her after a game Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan win and stamped herself a potential big player in the 3-year-old filly distance races coming up this summer. Showing tactical speed to avoid getting hung out to dry from her outside post, she was able to sit 2nd while So Many Ways set the pace, moved up eagerly and seemingly on her own turning for home, grabbed the lead and drew off to win comfortably. Seaneen Girl was just behind the winner early, couldn’t accelerate with that rival but kept on grinding to prove 2nd best. So Many Ways bounced out to the lead, set a modest pace, tried to battle back when hooked by the winner but couldn’t keep pace and then weakened enough in the final yards to lose 2nd, though she was far clear of the others.

Prairie Meadows
Iowa Derby (race 7)

Looking Cool, coming off a dull run (9th) in the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill,  bounced back and then some as the son of Candy Ride posted the upset while notching his first graded win. He bided his time in 5th, moved closer into the lane while staying out in the clear, continued on doggedly and just got up in the final yards. He may not be ready for the likes of Orb, Oxbow and Palace Malice but this shows he can do some damage in the right spots. Betweenhereandcool stalked in 3rd while Our Double Play set the pace, moved up nicely in the lane, looked as though he might win with just a few yards to go only to get nailed late. Bashaar got pinched back at the start to be last early, remained there down the backside, started a run on the far turn and finished decently. Manando dogged pacesetter Our Double Play from the start, moved up to challenge into the lane but couldn’t sustain his bid and flattened out.

Prairie Meadows
PRM Cornhusker Handicap (race 8)

Prayer for Relief, sent off the heavy favorite off two sharp 2nds in Grade 3’s at Lone Star this spring (both times defeated by the sharp Master Rick), bided his time early, steadily advanced while staying in the clear, angled further out into the lane, powered past leader Taptowne and drew away late. He doesn’t want anything to do with the handicap division’s best but if they pick the right spots for him he can surely make some hay. And the next such spot, according to his trainer, may be the Governor’s Cup at Remington Aug. 17. Taptowne stalked while Silver Max set the pace, went after that foe into the lane, wrested the lead from him, tried to go with the winner in the final furlong and was tons the best of the others (5 1/4 lengths). Silver Max, best known for his turf prowess but coming off a 9 1/2-length romp in the slop in a stakes at Churchill June 1, bounced right out to the lead, was pressured by Taptowne, succumbed to that pressure in the lane, stayed on for 3rd but was no threat to the top two in the final furlong.

Chicago Handicap (race 7)

Cozze Up Lady bided her time while saving ground as Flower Spell opened up a clear lead while setting a solid pace. Cozze Up was asked for run into the lane, responded nicely and wore down the leaders. Queen’s Award stalked the pace, made a run in the lane but couldn’t finish with the winner. Aubby K, favored off two straight big dirt wins (Grade 2 Inside Information, Grade 1 Humana Distaff) but was trying synthetic for the first time and didn’t seem to relish the footing. She sat midpack, was still there turning for home and made only modest headway. This result may mean a return to dirt. Flower Spell broke through the gate prior to the start, broke sharply when the real racing began to establish a clear lead, still had a clear lead to the eighth pole when she suddenly backed out of it.

Betfair at Hollywood Park
Shoemaker Mile (race 3)

As expected, Obviously used his speed to dominate the proceedings here and confirmed his status as the game’s No. 2 turf miler (behind only Wise Dan). Coming off an easy win in the Grade 2 American Handicap here, he once again bounced right out to a clear lead, extended it down the backside, setting brisk splits while still looking quite relaxed and comfortable, saw the others creep closer, but then kicked on strongly for home and played keep-away to the line. Considering he only missed the course mark by .27, it seems he could have cracked it had he been asked. The Grade 2 Del Mar Mile Aug. 25, a race he won narrowly last year while setting a course record, figures his next target. Za Approval, a solid East Coast raider coming off two straight Grade 3 wins, bided his time, tried to make a run at the winner into the lane but never really was a danger. Wilkinson was 2nd early, tried to put pressure on Obviously turning for home but was no match. Jeranimo, the defending champ, was last early and could make only modest headway. But once Obviously made the lead comfortably and dictated tempo the rest were just running for 2nd.

Betfair at Hollywood Park
Triple Bend Handicap (race 9)

Centralinteligence gave Comma to the Top a real scare when 2nd to that foe in the six-furlong Grade 3 Los Angeles here May 27. An added furlong here helped Centralinteligence turn the tables and notch his first Grade 1 win. After finishing 6th in this race last year he was sidelined over 10 months after surgery to have chips removed from right knee. Here he used his speed to sit not far off pacesetter Comma to the Top, went after that foe into the lane, got the better of him and kicked clear, in the end winning quite comfortably. He’ll reportedly get a summer break and shoot for Santa Anita in the fall to prepare for a shot at the BC Sprint. Comma to the Top ran another courageous race. He broke on top to set the pace but was hounded first by Cyclometer, then by favorite Jimmy Creed and finally by the winner, and it was that challenge he finally couldn’t rebuff. Morning Line, making his first start in 13 months, sat back, came with a nice run into the lane and while he couldn’t sustain it enough to challenge the top two stayed on well for 3rd. Rail Trip, making his first start in 8 months, broke slowly, was last early and made modest headway to finish 5th. Camp Victory, the defending champ, bided his time in 5th but never made a move. Jimmy Creed, the favorite, stalked the pace, loomed ominously on the far turn but gave way readily, as if something may have gone amiss. It was reported later that he lost his left front shoe.