07/02/2012 8:59AM

Trip Notes: Shoemaker Mile, Triple Bend, Iowa Derby, and more


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Belmont Park
New York Stakes (race 9)

Mystical Star showed she may indeed belong with the big girls on turf as she posted an upset here. She finished 3rd in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay but was DQ’d as she broke the gate open before the start of that race. Here she minded her manners, broke alertly to go right out to the lead, set modest splits under pressure from Hit It Rich, kept that girl at bay throughout, edged away some into the lane and had enough to keep top-class Aruna at arm’s length. Aruna was slow into stride, bided her time at the back, swung into the lane and finished well but couldn’t get to the winner. Hit It Rich dogged the winner from the start but couldn’t keep up when it mattered. Banimpire, a Euro, stalked the pace but weakened. This was her first start in the U.S. and first action since last October so she can certainly improve.

Belmont Park
Dwyer Stakes (race 10)

Teeth of the Dog may have earned himself a shot at the best 3-year-olds with a game tally. After finishing 3rd in the Grade 1 Wood and 5th in the Grade 1 Preakness he easily won the Easy Goer here June 9. He stepped back up in class for this and passed the test as he hounded pacesetter Morgan’s Guerilla from the start, moved up to challenge that foe and grab a short lead turning for home, finally put that foe away in the final furlong but had to dig deep to fend off the hard-charging Fast Falcon, the same horse who ran 2nd to him in the Easy Goer. Fast Falcon sat last early, came with a strong sustained run but just ran out of ground, though he got a lot closer this time than in the Easy Goer. He was much the best of the rest, too (6 lengths). Morgan’s Guerilla set the pace under constant pressure, battled gamely to midstretch but then gave way.

Monmouth Park
Eatontown Stakes (race 11)

Silver Screamer won her last 2 starts of 2011, was gone a while and won 1 of her 2 starts back this spring and here she got her first taste of stakes company and obviously liked it. Claimed for $65,000 just over a year ago the filly used her speed to chase pacesetter Marquet Madness, took over into the lane when that gal hit the brakes, quickly established a clear lead and really didn’t have a nervous moment in the final furlong. Heavenly Landing stalked the pace, gamely took after the winner into the lane and to the line but just couldn’t close the gap. Unbridled Humor likewise stalked and stayed on decently. Ruthenia, the favorite, sat back and made only modest headway.

Churchill Downs
Bashford Manor (race 6)

Circle Unbroken, smart winner of his debut here last month, gave his ailing trainer Simms a 2nd straight win in this, though he had to survive a claim of foul. The son of Broken Vow stalked the pace, bided his time on the turn, moved up to challenge between horses in the lane, grabbed the lead and edged clear. Positively, another impressive maiden winner here last month, got squeezed back early to last but steadily advanced and came with a nice run. Special Jo, romping winner of his debut here May 25, set the pace under pressure, opened a bit turning for home but couldn’t fend off the top 2. Roman’s Avenue, a son of Ky. Derby hero Street Sense who won his debut win here May 27, lagged back, was in tight going down the backstretch and never made a move after that.

Arlington Park
Chicago Handicap (race 8)

Freshened after finishing a so-so 4th in the Grade 3 Whimsical at Woodbine April 22, her first start of the year, Kitty in a Tizzy got back on track and notched her first graded win. The daughter of  Tiznow stalked in 4th early, moved closer going down the backstretch, went after the leaders into the lane, went on past the tiring pacesetter and gamely held off hard-charging favorite Maude S. The latter sat well back early, was still 7th turning for home, came off the rail when straightened away and finished well. Ariana D likewise lagged back and finished decently. Honey Chile opened up early while setting a brisk pace but weakened from those efforts.

Prairie Meadows
Iowa Oaks (race 7)

Uptown Bertie continued her strong form, notching her 3rd win in her last 4 starts and her first graded win. The daughter of More Than Ready, making her first local start after a smart win last month, bided her time early toward the back, steadily advanced, came with a  strong run on the far turn and into the lane to blow the race wide open, and had more than enough to keep favored Ice Cream Silence at bay. The latter was in front of the winner from the start, stayed there going to the far turn, didn’t accelerate as quickly as that foe but doggedly kept after Uptown Bertie even if she was no match in the lane. Emona was last early and finished with good energy.

Prairie Meadows
Iowa Derby (race 8)

On paper Hansen dominated his rivals – and that’s the way it worked out on the track as well. Coming off a 9th-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, last year’s 2-year-old champ bounced right out to the lead, was able to set modest splits and blew the race open into the lane, winning in hand. He wasn’t facing much but at least he won the way you’d like to see him win. Hero of Order stalked the winner in 3rd early, kept to his task but was no match for the winner. Macho Bull was last in the small field, still last into the lane and plugged along to get 3rd.

Prairie Meadows
Cornhusker Handicap (race 9)

Fort Larned provided more proof that if you let a good horse have his way up front you’re asking for trouble. Fort Larned, who has been knocking heads with the top older horses, broke alertly, went right out to a clear lead, set modest splits, saw the field draw closer turning for home but then spurted away again and was never really in any danger in the lane. Successful Dan, the heavy favorite, sat 4th early, tried to make a run at the winner into the lane but was no match while clearly best of the rest. Awesome Gem stalked the pace and stayed on decently. Shadowdancing, the 2010 winner of this race, chased the winner from the start but weakened from those efforts. Headache, last year’s winner, broke slowly to be last early and never really picked up a foot at any point.

Betfair Hollywood Park
Triple Bend Handicap (race 6)

Camp Victory posted a very popular upset as his trainer Mike Mitchell lay in a hospital bed recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor. Camp Victory, 2nd in this last year, was coming off pair of 3rds in graded stakes in his only 2 outings this season. He bided his time early while heavy favorite The Factor was pushed through hot splits by Italian Rules and last year’s winner Smiling Tiger, pitched out into the lane and took full advantage of a softened-up The Factor, storming past that foe and blasting clear late. The Factor ran superbly considering this was his first start since he failed to threaten in Dubai March 31 and that he was hounded into fast splits. He dispatched with the other speed types but was no match for the winner while much the best of the rest (5 1/4 lengths). Mobilized was last early and finished with good energy but was no threat. Smiling Tiger pressed the pace, loomed into the lane but weakened. Centralinteligence stalked and gave way.

Betfair Hollywood Park
Shoemaker Mile (race 9)

Jeranimo showed again this is his favorite course as he  made it 3 for 4 here in notching his biggest win. He sat well back early while Little Mike was pressured into fast splits by Liberian Freighter, was still last turning for home, swung out for clear sailing and blasted the final furlong to roar past his rivals and win fairly easily. Suggestive Boy, a multiple Group 1 winner from Argentina making his first U.S. start, showed what the fuss was all about. He sat a few lengths off the lead, came through with a smart run between horses, looked as though he might be the winner inside the eighth pole until Jeranimo went storming past. A most encouraging first U.S. try. Little Mike set a brisk pace while pressured through and gamely held 3rd. Mr. Commons sat back with Jeranimo, made some headway but didn’t pack the same punch. That’s 3 straight losses so could it be he’s been overrated?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Belmont Park
Bed o’ Roses Stakes (race 9)

Derwin’s Star was claimed for a mere $10,000 as a 2-year-old and has gone on to bigger and better, though nothing better than this. She stalked the pace in 4th, came with a strong run into the lane, took over, drew off and didn’t have an anxious moment from the eighth pole to the wire. Catch a Thief stumbled badly at the start to be last early, but came with a steady energetic run though she was never really on the winner’s radar. C C’s Pal, the favorite, dogged pacesetter Catinatree into submission by the top of the lane but had no answer for the winner’s charge and lost 2nd in the final strides.

Churchill Downs
Firecracker Handicap (race 7)

Race was delayed about 45 minutes as a strong storm blew through the area just before the 5th race. Those heavy rains also turned the course into a bog and that played right into the hands of Guys Reward, who relished the footing and got a dream trip to post the mild upset. He was notching his 3rd straight win as he continued his love affair with this course (now 5 for 9). He stalked in 3rd while Night Party set modest splits, edged closer on the turn, swung out into the lane, moved up eagerly to challenge, took over and drew off to win well. Seruni, who ran 2nd to Guys Reward in the Opening Verse here last month, filled that spot again as he was closest to Night Party early, made his run in tandem with Guys Reward, stayed with that rival for a while but couldn’t keep pace in the final furlong. Night Party set modest splits, tried to battle back when hooked on the turn but weakened. Turallure, the heavy 7-10 favorite, sat back as is his custom, looked poised to make a run on the far turn but then had to steady sharply when boxed in, losing his momentum and he was unable to get going again.