10/03/2011 12:05PM

Trip Notes: Oak Leaf, Clement Hirsch, Nashua replays and more


Saturday, Oct. 1 | Sunday, Oct. 2

Tempted (race 3)

Trainer Larry Jones already has Havre de Grace and may have another smart filly in the making as his Believe You Can impressed in victory. Believe You Can bided her time in 4th, moved up nicely on the outside, took over into the lane and drew off to win well. She probably earned a shot at the Grade 1 BC Juvenile Fillies with this win. Perennial Song dueled with Select Cat, ran that filly into submission, tried to battle back when hooked by the winner but couldn't keep up while best of the rest. Georgie's Angel, the favorite, was a bit disappointing as she got a great trip stalking the pace, seemed poised to pounce into the lane, but came up empty when asked.

Nashua (race 7)

Vexor, the longest shot in the field, coming off a 42 3/4-length loss in the Grade 1 Hopeful on a sloppy track, showed the slop may have been the excuse as he bounced back to post the upset here. He dogged pacesetter Trinniberg (who was 2nd in the Hopeful) from the start, moved up to challenge that rival into the lane, finally got the better of that rival and was edging away late. Trinniberg showed good speed, as he'd done in the Hopeful, to set the pace. He was under constant pressure from Vexor, battled gamely when hooked by that rival into the lane but just couldn't quite stay with him late. Seeker stalked the top 2 from the start, tried to make a run at them into the lane but couldn't get involved. She Digs Me, the favorite off a big Grade 3 Sapling win at Monmouth last month, broke slowly and never really picked up a foot in a disappointing effort.

Miss Grillo (race 8)

Pure Gossip, sent off at 23-1 after a modest 4th in a stakes at Saratoga last month, showed turf may be her game as he put up a superb performance to dominate here in a way that belied her odds. She stalked the pace, bided her time, found room to angle out at the head of the lane and then just blasted past her rivals to win in a romp. Royal Bonnie sat midpack, came with a run into the lane, veered inward from the whip, forcing Bourbonstreetgirl to steady, and kept on well for 2nd, though she was no match for the winner. She was DQ'd and placed 4th for interfering with Bourbonstreetgirl. Mystic Mama was last early, still last turning for home, pitched wide into the lane and finished well, though she was never really a factor. Bourbonstreetgirl likewise sat back, came with a run on the inside but had to steady when Royal Bonnie came into her turning for home. Alaura Michele, the heavy favorite, stalked the pace, was asked for run on the far turn, but didn't have a response.

Pilgrim (race 9)

Shkspeare Shaliyah continued his ascent and successfully managed the jump from maiden win to Grade 3 winner with a strong finish. As in his first 2 starts, the son of top-class turfer Shakespeare showed no speed, sitting last. He stayed there to the top of the lane, swung very wide and blew past the field while mainly under a hand ride. Kitten's Kid was just in front of the eventual winner, like that foe bided his time, made an early run to surge to the lead by midstretch but just couldn't fend off the winner. Fantastic Song stalked the pace and finished well as the favorite. Captain Webb set the pace under pressure and gave way just a bit in the final furlong. Morning-line favorite State of Play scratched.

Santa Anita
Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship (race 4)

Not that any further evidence was required but Acclamation confirmed he's surely the best grass horse out West – maybe the best horse out West period – with another convincing win. As usual he used his speed but he showed that with maturity he's by no means speed-crazy. He had to steady early but was content to stalk Make Music for Me. He sat just off that rival to the far turn, surged past as the field went into the lane and gamely kept defending champ Champ Pegasus at arm's length the rest of the way. No reason they shouldn't think about the Grade 1 BC Turf – though obviously the presence of Cape Blanco and any other big Euros makes that water pretty deep. Champ Pegasus moved forward nicely, as after a long layoff and so-so return at Del Mar he got back to his preferred trip, stalked the pace and gamely chased the winner through the lane. He managed to edge closer but just couldn't get to him. Imponente Purse was just behind Champ Pegasus early, didn't seem to be going anywhere, but found his best stride late to get 3rd though he was never a threat.

Santa Anita
Oak Leaf (race 8)

Weemissfrankie won the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and confirmed that form and that she is indeed a major player for the Grade 1 BC Juvenile Fillies with another impressive tally here. Making her first start on dirt and first route, the daughter of Grade 1 turf route winner Sunriver bided her time in 5th, swung out leaving the far turn and put in a strong, sustained run to roll past the others. Candrea, impressive winner of her first two starts, dogged pacesetter Self Preservation from the start, took the lead in midstretch and battled gamely to the line but couldn't fend off the winner. Charm the Maker stalked the pace, made a strong threatening move into the lane, but couldn't quite sustain it. This was just her 2nd start so she still has a bright future. Self Preservation, previously 2nd to Weemissfrankie in the Del Mar Debutante, showed more speed to set the pace but was under pressure from the start and weakened from her efforts.