03/26/2012 3:07PM

Trip Notes: Sunland Derby, Vinery Spiral Stakes, Pan American Stakes, and more

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Turfway Park
Bourbonette Oaks (race 9)

In Lingerie may have stamped herself a legit Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks filly as the regally bred 3-year-old filly (Empire Maker out of a Storm Cat mare) put up a scintillating performance. She romped in her debut here Jan. 14 and then was purchased privately by her current connections and transferred to Todd Pletcher. She ran 2nd to the highly regarded Zo Impressive on Gulfstream dirt last time. Returning to this synthetic track she went right out to set a slow pace, took modest pressure from Dancing Solo and Original Kitten, began to edge away on the far turn and then opened up to win in a romp. Dancing Solo, another Gulfstream invader and like the winner trained by Pletcher, chased the winner from the start, kept after her through the lane but was no match for that rival, though she was much the best of the rest (5 1/2 lengths clear). Toxis lagged back and made decent headway though she was never a factor. More Than Love, the 2nd choice, stalked the pace but then gave way readily.

Turfway Park
Vinery Spiral Stakes (race 10)

Last year Team Valor and trainer Graham Motion used this race as a springboard for Animal Kingdom, who won here and then captured the Kentucky Derby. They’re hoping history repeats itself and the first step was taken care of as Went the Day Well looked very good in giving his connections back-to-back wins in this race. He sat midpack between horses while biding his time, sat inside behind the pacesetters while traveling very nice, came with a smart run turning for home, grabbed the lead and won comfortably. He’s by Derby runner-up Proud Citizen and has already handled dirt as he broke his maiden on Gulfstream’s main track March 3. Holiday Promise and Heavy Breathing gave trainer Todd Pletcher a 2-3 finish. Holiday Promise lagged back, came with a strong run to get nearly alongside the winner into the lane but then couldn’t keep up with that rival. Heavy Breathing, previously unbeaten with 2 romping wins at Gulfstream to start his career, went right to the lead, took pressure from Ill Conceived and weakened just a bit in the lane. Still, for just his 3rd start and first on synthetic this wasn’t a bad run at all. Handsome Mike was last early after a slow start from an impossible post (No. 12) but ran on decently for 4th. Ill Conceived, a close 2nd in the Battaglia here last out, pressured Heavy Breathing from the start but paid the price for that, fading to 7th.

Gulfstream Park
Pan American Stakes (race 10)

Newsdad and Simmard ran 2nd and 1st, respectively, separated by just a nose in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida here Feb. 26, but on this day Newsdad got his revenge and appears to be developing into a quality stayer for Bill Mott. He sat last early, but edged closer as the race progressed, moved up to challenge Simmard turning for home, got the better of that rival and edged away. Hailstone was last just behind the winner going to the far turn, was still there turning for home and plugged along to get 2nd though he never really looked a threat to the winner. Simmard dogged pacesetter Harrods Creek from the start, took the lead on the far turn as if he was going to be very tough, but not only couldn’t fend off the winner in midstretch but weakened a bit to lose 2nd. He’s now 1 for 8 at this distance so could be 12 furlongs is just a smidge beyond his comfort zone, at least at this level.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunland Park
Sunland Derby (race 12)

Daddy Nose Best, a stakes winner on turf, a Grade 3 winner on synthetic, is now a Grade 3 winner on dirt as the son of Scat Daddy showed his versatility and courage and may have punched his ticket for the big dance, the Kentucky Derby May 5. He bided his time toward the back, steadily advanced and came with a strong sustained run to wear down and go past Isn’t He Clever. Isn’t He Clever, the prime local hope after a big win in the Borderland Derby, validated his quality with another good effort, as the son of Smarty Jones stalked the pace, took command into the lane, opened up and looked the winner in midstretch but couldn’t fend off Daddy Nose Best late. Still, it was a big try as he ended up far clear of the others (7 1/4 lengths). Stirred Up, 1 of the 2 Baffert raiders along with heavy favorite Castaway, stalked the pace, got shuffled back as if he was going to end up with nothing but came on again to get 3rd, though he was never a threat to the top 2. No Spin, an Oaklawn invader, sat midpack, made a mild move into the lane but couldn’t sustain it. Castaway was the big disappointment. Favored off a strong win in a division of the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn, the son of Street Sense dueled early with Ender Knievel and gave way readily turning for home.

Santa Anita Park
San Luis Rey Stakes (race 4)

Bourbon Bay showed he’s far from done as he won with a powerful late move to just get up in the final strides. The race was run on the oval, not started on the hillside as usual, due to rains so the runners would not have to cross over the dirt main track. Bourbon Bay bided his time at the back of the small field, still had 3 lengths to make up on leader Slim Shadey into the lane and didn’t look as though he could win until he unleashed a powerful burst to just get up for the score. Slim Shadey led wire to wire to win the Grade 2 San Marcos but showed his versatility again, sitting back a few lengths in front of Bourbon Bay for the first mile or so. He then went after the leaders, took command in midstretch and seemed on his way to victory before getting nailed in the final strides by Bourbon Bay. Regardless, this affirms he’s the real deal. Hog’s Hollow set the pace but weakened in the final furlong. Utopian seemed to get a great trip in 2nd but came up empty when it counted.

Santa Anita Park
Santa Ana Stakes (race 7)

Vamo a Galupiar made it a clean sweep of the 2 turf stakes on the day for trainer Neil Drysdale (also won the Grade 2 San Luis Rey with Bourbon Bay ). This Chilean Group 1 winner won the Megahertz here Jan. 21 before finishing a close 6th in a blanket finish in the Grade 2 Buena Vista. She again lagged back in this highly competitive race, steadily advanced to the top of the lane, swung out very wide for clear sailing and powered home to get the win. This was her first try beyond 1 1/16 miles and she handled it fine. Even so, nice as this win was, this group is very closely matched (first 5 here were separated by a length) and you get the feeling if you ran this race 10 times you’d get 6 or so different winners. Wild Mia continues to outrun her odds. A strong 3rd in the Grade 2 Buena Vista she was still overlooked at the windows but once again ran well, stalking the pace and finishing gamely for 2nd. Hard Seven, the longest-priced horse in the field, chased pacesetter Strawberrydaiquiri and stayed on gamely. City to City won the Grade 2 Buena Vista, and sat midpack and came with a steady rally for 4th, almost overcoming her tough far-outside post (No. 11). Camelia Rose, the favorite, stalked the pace, moved to the lead in midstretch as if she was going to win but couldn’t sustain her run. Maybe she needs a slightly shorter trip.