01/09/2012 10:42AM

Trip Notes: Sham Stakes, Daytona Stakes, more


Jan. 7
Marshua’s River (race 10)

Heavenly Landing continued to be a brand new gal since moving to turf as she won for the 3rd straight time in as many grass starts, posting the 19-1 upset in a blanket finish as she took a hefty step up in class. The daughter of Pulpit stepped up to Grade 3 company. She lagged back, appeared in trouble when she had nowhere to go into the lane, finally found room, swung out and rallied strongly to get up in the final stride. La Reinne Lionne follows a similar pattern as the winner as she came into this off 2 straight grass wins. Previously Grade 3-placed she showed that touch of class again while losing a heartbreaker. She stalked the pace, moved to the lead in midstretch and looked like the winner until Heavenly Landing came flying late. Tapitsfly was freshened a couple months and bounced back to form as she was just behind La Reinne Lionne, came with a smart run through the lane and just missed by a nose and a head. Favorites Daveron and Louvakhova were disappointing. Daveron, a Grade 2 winner who last ran 3rd in the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland Oct. 8, was well back early, swung very wide into the lane and finished decently but was never really a threat. Louvakhova, a French raider who was so impressive romping in her U.S. debut, a Calder stakes Oct. 15, stalked the pace but gave way badly, ending up last.


Santa Anita
Sham (race 3)

Out of Bounds validated his smart maiden win at Hollywood last month and propelled himself onto the Derby trail fast track as he handled the big step up in class and longer trip nicely. A son of top-class Discreet Cat and Unbridled Elaine (won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff), he bided his time a few lengths off a brisk pace while saving ground on the rail, moved up nicely on the far turn, got a dream trip as he was able to swing out into the lane and kept on resolutely to reel in Secret Circle and Longview Drive and edge past. They’ll give him some time to recover as the Grade 2 San Felipe March 10 is the next goal. Secret Circle did nothing wrong and showed he can handle at least a mile. Previously unbeaten in 3 starts (all sprints), the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner chased pacesetter Longview Drive through brisk splits, moved up to challenge that rival into the lane, pushed his way to the front in midstretch but couldn’t fend off the perfect-trip winner. While he ran well, it’s dicey whether he wants much more ground than this. Longview Road was hustled to the lead outside Secret Circle, was pushed through fast splits but battled gamely all the way to the line in a good effort. Hierro, much ballyhooed off a big maiden win at Churchill Nov. 9, sat back, made a mild move on the far turn but couldn’t sustain it in a disappointing run.


Santa Anita
San Pasqual (race 8)

Uh Oh Bango continued the game of musical chairs in the handicap division out West with the biggest win of his career. A Grade 3 winner, he broke alertly to stalk the pace of Skipshot, moved up going down the backstretch to pressure that foe, took over from that tiring rival into the lane, edged clear and had little trouble keeping favored Tres Borrachos at bay in the final furlong. The Grade 2 San Antonio Feb. 5 could be next. Tres Borrachos continued his good form with a third straight top-3 finish in a graded stakes. He stalked the pace while right beside Uh Oh Bango, didn’t accelerate as quickly as that rival into the lane, kept to his task but couldn’t get to the winner. He may try to get revenge in the San Antonio. Skipshot bounced right out to set the pace, tried to battle back when hooked into the lane, couldn’t go with the top 2 but gamely held 3rd. Tweebster sat back and could make only modest headway.


Jan. 8
Santa Anita
Daytona (race 8)

Caracortado couldn’t handle Regally Ready in the Grade 2 BC Turf Sprint when 5th to that foe, but a different pace scenario, longer trip and return to his backyard made all the difference. Caracortado was far back off a sizzling pace from the start in the small field. He didn’t appear to be going anywhere as Mr Gruff and Regally Ready went toe-to-toe early but once he came across the dirt crossing he blasted home to inhale his rivals and win going away in most impressive fashion. It showed what many thought going into the Breeders’ Cup – that on his day he can compete with the best turf sprinters anywhere. Victory Pete sat 3rd but was well behind the 2 sizzlers. He was no match for the winner but kept on well to edge past the 2 tiring pacesetters. Mr Gruff and Regally Ready dueled through insane splits and paid the price, fittingly finishing in a dead heat for 3rd.