01/14/2013 12:40PM

Trip Notes: San Fernando, Hal's Hope, and more


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fort Lauderdale (race 10)

Race complexion changed when likely favorite Dominus scratched the morning of the race. Mucho Mas Macho, who rallied for 2nd in the Grade 2 McKnight at Calder Nov. 24 at 39-1, showed that race no fluke as he jumped up and posted a big upset ($85.20). As is his custom he bided his time early, sitting well back. He remained there to the far turn, edged closer, swung wide into the lane and came home full of run to just get up. Tiz Sardonic Joe, another longshot, stalked the pace, moved up to challenge into the lane and looked like the winner until Mucho Mas Macho nailed him in the final strides. Big Blue Kitten, coming off a smart comeback win here Dec. 8 and 3rd in last year’s Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, lagged back, commenced his run into the lane, had to wait while behind a wall of horses, found a seam and came through but it was too late. Nikki’s Sandcastle, the favorite, sat back, came wide into the lane and started his run but flattened out. Sky Blazer had a brutal trip. He stalked the pace along the rail, tried to move closer on the far turn, ran into traffic, pulled back, angled out to try to make another run but was again blocked and had to steady and that was pretty much it.

Santa Anita
San Fernando (race 7)

Trainer Bob Baffert has insisted Fed Biz is extremely talented and is the real deal, and the 4-year-old validated that confidence with a big bounce-back victory. Coming off a so-so run in the Grade 1 Malibu, he bounced right out to set the pace, took pressure from Handsome Mike, rebuffed that rival going into the far turn, was immediately tackled by Tritap and gamely outdueled that foe to the line. This would appear to have him back on track, meaning the Grade 2 Strub here Feb. 2 figures next and then perhaps the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 2. Tritap stalked in 3rd early, moved up to challenge Fed Biz turning for home, gamely stayed after him all the way but just couldn’t get past. Guilt Trip lagged back and finished full of run but just too late. Battle Force, making his first start on grass, sat back, came with a threatening run into the lane but couldn’t sustain it. Handsome Mike dogged Fed Biz early but faltered to 5th, making for a 3rd straight dull outing. It may be back to the drawing board for this Grade 2 winner. Mile High Magic, the tepid 4-1 favorite, was away very slowly, was climbing and seemingly very uncomfortable going into the first turn, was well back, and eventually eased. He was reported to be okay afterward.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hal’s Hope (race 10)

Csaba continued his ascent as he made it 4 straight wins – but this wasn’t as easy as his last 3 romping victories. The son of grass champ Kitten’s Joy bided his time early while Good Morning Diva and Associate dueled through hot splits. He steadily advanced and came home gamely along the inside to just outnod 3 tough foes. Pool Play broke slowly, as usual, lagged well back sitting last while far behind the field, was still well back turning for home, pitched wide into the lane and finished strongly but just missed. Pants On Fire stalked the pace, moved up to challenge for the lead into the lane but couldn’t quite outfinish the top 2. Soldat lagged back, came with a strong threatening run into the lane but couldn’t quite sustain it.

Santa Anita
San Gabriel (race 8)

Jeramino was a sharp 2nd in this last year but he went one better this time as the 7-year-old powered home to take the top prize. He bided his time early, sitting last. He remained there to the far turn when he commenced his run, swung out into the lane and blasted home to grab the lead and draw clear. This sets him up for another crack at the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile here March 2, a race in which he ran 4th last year. Temple’s Door stalked the pace, moved up to challenge into the lane but was no match for the winner. Chosen Miracle, coming off a wire-to-wire win in a Hollywood grass route Dec. 8, bounced right out to make the running as expected, tried to battle back when challenged late, was no match for the winner and just lost 2nd in the final strides. Slim Shadey, the favorite, bided his time, made a mild bid turning for home but fell away. He may not be quite as sharp as he was here a year ago.