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Horses to Watch – by Rod Young Turfdom

April 13th, 2015 by

MOTOWN MEN (April 10): Six year old gelding for Ted West, whom he just claimed for $40,000,
tried the second allowance condition Friday with an optional claiming tag of $62,500, which he was
entered. This was a flat mile on the main track and “Motown” was off at 5/1 in just a six horse field. He
tracked the leader through a pretty quick opening quarter of 23.19, engaged the leader at the 1/4 pole, put
him away quickly and opened up 4 in an eyelash. He cruised home to win by 7 under Tyler Baze and
visually it was an impressive performance. Because he was in for the tag and nobody claimed him, he
still retains this condition, which was pretty smart by the connections. He beat a good field here and can
repeat, or even face better and find the charmed circle once again.
TOOWINDYTOHAULROX (April 10): Four year old colt for Phil D’Amato, with the weird name,
returned to the races on Friday in a first conditioned allowance race sprinting down the hill. “Windy” had
been off since November and was void of speed leaving the gate from the one hole. He trailed the field
by 10 halfway down the hill, but started kicking it in at the 1/4 pole, swung widest of all into the lane,
and finished with good energy on the outside beaten just a length at the wire. This son of top sire Harlan’s
Holiday was stakes placed as a 3 year old, can go short or long, and is in the hands of one of the best turf
trainers on the back side. He should have no problem knocking out this condition in the very near future.
ROYAL BANKER (April 11): Four year old gelding for Eoin Harty made his second start off a 9
month layoff and ran much improved in this entry level allowance race at a flat mile on the turf. Off at
12/1 and breaking from the rail, “Banker” laid off the pace in sixth about 6 lengths off the leaders down
the back side. He started his run at the 1/4 pole, found a seam at the top of the lane and stuck his nose in
front at the 1/8th pole. He then got run down very late from a horse on the outside and was beaten a
length. He was stakes placed as a 3 year in a Graded race, can go short or long on the turf, and is sitting
on his best effort. He has the right style for this turf course and should find the winner’s circle in the very
near future. Tab and follow.
KIAMA (April 12): Six year old mare for Peter Miller made her West Coast debut in Sunday’s 7th race
for older fillies/mares down the hill for a $25,000 claiming tag. She had been facing much tougher
competition in both Florida and Kentucky, and she made short work of this field going off as the 2/1
favorite in a field of 9. She broke alertly from the 7 hole, assumed the lead with the start of the descent,
and rolled to a wire to wire win and never looked in danger of losing. She is now 9 for 12 being either 1st
or second on the turf, and she should have no trouble climbing the class ladder on this circuit. She goes to
the barn of veteran trainer Craig Lewis off the

News and Notes April 14 – by Rod Young Turfdom

April 13th, 2015 by

Other than last Thursday, when early speed was dominant on the main track, the rest of the week
the track played fair. The turf course also continues to play fair and early speed is now winning their
fair share, regardless of where the inner rails are placed. The fields are starting to get a little light,
especially on the week days, as more and more tracks are saving their best races for the bigger days.
But if you put on a good show, the patrons will still come, as evidenced by the 67,500 that turned
out at Oaklawn Park on Saturday to watch a 1/9 horse win the Arkansas Derby, that being Baffert’s
American Pharoah.
• They ran 3 stakes over the weekend at the Great Race Place, and they were all sprints. Masochistic,
the horse that got A.C. Avila suspended for in his debut, won the Grade 2 Kona Gold on Saturday as
the 4/5 favorite. He has now won 5 of 7 races in his career and is now in the shed row of Ron Ellis.
He will now target the Grade 1 Triple Bend stakes on June 27 at 7 furlongs. He has natural speed
and can probably carry it up to a mile. He was ridden by Tyler Baze, who won 4 races on Saturday,
and then followed it up with 3 winners on Sunday. Also on Saturday, Home Journey went wire to
wire down the hill to win the Grade 3 Las Cienegas at 3/1. This is a difficult layout to win wire to
wire on, but in this case, Bejarano made the difference. He coaxed her through a reasonably slow
opening quarter and then had plenty left for the drive. Go West Marie and Blingismything both ran
winning races and will be tough next time they try the hill. On Sunday, 8 good 3 year olds lined up
for the ungraded San Pedro stakes, and Yiannis ($17.80) had to survive an inquiry to get the money.
After a long inquiry, the stewards left the winner up and though it was an unpopular decision, I
thought it was the right call. Yiannis was on the lead throughout under Espinoza, then came over
and bumped the runner up, Serbian Syclone at the 1/8th pole, when drifting out under left hand
whipping. Although it was a clear bump, Syclone never seemed to have lost his momentum and was
still beaten a length and a quarter. Plus the runner up was all over the track as well and could not run
straight as both were obviously tired. Had the winning margin been just a head or a neck, the winner
may have come down. The 3/5 favorite, Kentuckian, had a horrible trip and his race can be tossed
out. Espinoza was on the winner and when it comes to stakes races, he is becoming as much of a
“money” rider as Mike Smith.
• The California racing industry lost two real giants of the sport this past week. Radio broadcaster Bill
Garr died at the ripe old age of 98. He had been broadcasting on the radio since 1959 with morning
scratches, interviews, and race results, and I grew up listening to him each and every Saturday
morning. Then trainer William Morey Jr., age 74, who had been battling cancer, also passed. He
trained in Northern California and was one of the best. His two best horses were Bold Chieftan and
Dixie Dot Com, both millionaires.
• With American Pharoah winning the Arkansas Derby by 8 lengths on Saturday, and Espinoza never
moving a muscle on him down the lane, trainer Bob Baffert has a powerful one two punch for the
Kentucky Derby in just 3 weeks. Along with undefeated Dortmund, they look unbeatable. But when
you put 20 horses in the starting gate and ask them to run a mile and a quarter for the first time in
their lives, all hell can break loose, and the best horse seldom wins. Myself and the late Tim
Osterman came up with a formula that produces long shots for this race. It is based on ability, recent
form, value, and pedigree. It has produced such winners as Animal Kingdom ($43.80), Super Saver
($18), and I’ll Have Another ($32.60). This booklet sells for just $25 and if you don’t like betting
chalk in this race, you can contact us at Turfdom (916-685-9134) or email us at It’s a fun and profitable way to handicap America’s favorite race.

Horses to Watch April 7 – by Rod Young Turfdom

April 6th, 2015 by

EDDIE’S FIRST (April 3): Four year old gelding for Peter Miller, who just claimed this one for $20K
on March 1, tried $32,000 platers down the hill in Friday’s 5th event. Gelded on March 6, 5 days off the
claim, “Eddie” went off as the 2/1 choice, and did not disappoint his following with the easiest of wins, 3
in front at the wire and geared down to boot. He was amongst the leaders early, put the other speed away
at the top of the lane, and cruised on home. This was his second win down the hill, and actually set the
track record here way back in May of last year on a rock hard course. Miller and his clients are already
“out” on this one and this son of Square Eddie will continue right up the ladder, however a claim slip was
dropped by Los Al trainer Charles Treece.
SIR PERSERVERE (April 4): Five year old gelding for Marty Jones was making just his third career
start in Saturday’s opener, a Cal bred maiden sprint with a $50,000 claiming tag. Off since last May, he
went off at 14/1 in this 9 horse field, got away a bit slow at the start and laid 5th down the back side,
about 5 lengths off a pretty quick pace (21.85, 44.74). He put in a good run at the top of the lane, but the
winner of the race came in on him from right handed whipping, which forced “Sir” to the inside. The
winner stayed outside on the better footing and won by a half length. The Stewards did look at the race
but made no change as there was no contact, the correct call. “Sir” had worked quite fast for the race,
something this barn just doesn’t do, so you know this horse can run some. He should be in the winners
circle in the very near future.
SCREAMING SKYLAR (April 4): Three year old filly for Peter Miller was sent long for the first time
in her career, and took the blinkers off, and she made every pole a winning one in this 9 furlong maiden
special weight event on the grass. Off at 5/1 in a full field, and breaking from the 10 hole, she crossed
over and made the lead into the clubhouse turn and this race was over. In a field loaded with speed, she
still made the lead quite easily through moderate fractions and had plenty left for the drive. They paid
$505K for her at the Ocala two year old sale and she looks like stakes material. Running long and taking
the blinkers off were the keys to her change of form. Up the ladder.
GRAND YODELER (April 4): Three year old filly for Eddie Truman tried the $200K Evening Jewel
stakes on Saturday at six and a half on the main track for Cal bred 3 year old fillies. Off at 23/1 in a full
field, she made the running right from the outset from post 11 and sat on the outside of a 3 horse pace
duel. She put the speed away turning for home and opened up by 3 into the lane, then got caught very late
from a filly flying late in the middle of the track. Nonetheless, this was a very good performance from a
filly that likes to win. She has won her Cal bred allowance already, but she is still eligible for the “open”
first condition and she is good enough to win that. This was her first start for the red hot Truman barn off
a $50,000 claim and just her second race in this calendar year. She is now set for her best.

News and Notes April 7 – by Rod Young Turfdom

April 6th, 2015 by

We’ll call the main track “fair” for most of last week, but rally wide closers did better than speed
horses more times than not. The turf course continues to play fair regardless of where the inner rails
are placed. They got 38,467 patrons through the turnstiles on Saturday for an excellent day of racing.
Undefeated Dortmund ran his record to six for six in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby with a
somewhat easy win, and will be a tough horse to beat the first Saturday in May in Louisville. Drawn
in the one hole, he was forced to gun early, and ran a quick first quarter in 22.46. That would
normally “cook” most 3 year olds going 9 furlongs, but Dortmund is far from ordinary. The half was
run in 46.36 and he went on from there to win easily by 4 lengths. Prospect Park just didn’t fire and
was never a factor, and Bolo seems to be better on turf. Both may go to the Derby, but they are on
the “bubble” for getting in with the points system. One Lucky Dane ran a good second under
Bejarano and is also headed to Kentucky. Dortmund actually runs his best when he can lay off the
pace, which he will have to do in Louisville. He’s had to go to the lead in his last two races due to
circumstances. Baffert’s “third gun” for the Derby is American Pharoah, and he runs this Saturday in
Oaklawn Park for the $1 million Arkansas Derby. He worked 3/4 Sunday at Anita in 1:11.60 and
galloped out 7 furlongs in 1:24.80. He should win easily at odds on, Victor Espinoza rides. I still
like Dortmund best to win the Derby. He has the seasoning, has a win over the track at Churchill,
and you don’t want to get in a fight with him, as he has grit and determination. Reminds me of
Affirmed in 1978.
• They ran five other stakes on Saturday and John Sadler’s Stellar Wind won the other Grade 1, the
Santa Anita Oaks for 3 year old fillies. She won quite easily by 3 and will be a tough one to beat in
the Kentucky Oaks, one day before the Derby. Although Espinoza has lost the mount on California
Chrome, with him racing in England, he has a good one with this filly, and also is the regular rider
for American Pharoah. Espinoza won 4 races on the card, and even more impressive, was Sadler
winning 4 as well. Spirit of Xian ($35.60) won the Grade 3 Providencia at 9 furlongs on the turf and
even surprised her trainer, Richard Mandella, as he didn’t think she could run that far. She went wire
to wire but barely hung on against a fast closing Spanish Queen, a Cal bred. Sadler’s Talco ($12.60)
won the Thunder Road stakes in an exciting finish in the finale, getting through on the rail to beat
the favorite, Winning Prize. And yes the rider was Espinoza. This was an ungraded stakes but the
race had the quality of a Grade 2.
• Last week in this column, we criticized the owners of California Chrome for taking him to England
to race, and not bringing him home for a rest off a grueling trip to Dubai, and we still stand by that
criticism. However, this past week, owner Perry Martin got to tell his side of the story. “Chrome” is
racing this year because he has little stud value. His sire Lucky Pulpit has only sired 3 decent
runners in his career: i.e., Luckarack, who races for a claiming tag of $32-40,000, Rousing Sermon,
who has won over $800K, but mostly in Cal bred stakes, and Chrome. Should he be able to win a
stakes in England, (seems doubtful), he would greatly enhance his stud value. They have mapped
out a plan to run him May 16 at Newbury, in the Lockinge Stakes, and then June 17 at Royal Ascot
in the Prince of Wales stakes. They are even thinking the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on October 4 and
the Japan Cup Nov. 29. It’s a very ambitious plan and there will be no rest for the weary. Art
Sherman, who has trained the horse to win over $6.3 million, has no say in the matter. On the back
of the silks of California Chrome, it reads “DAP”, which stands for Dumb Ass Partners. If the shoe
fits, ……..
• Champion “Beholder” returns to the races this Friday in a restricted stakes at Anita and will
probably be in the 2/5 range. Although she has always fired fresh in the past, to me she seems
vulnerable, and may not be the same horse she was in earlier years. Plus Mandella only wins at a 4%
clip with runners coming back over a six month period.

Horses to Watch Mar. 31 – by Rod Young Turfdom

March 30th, 2015 by

ABBEY VALE (March 27): Five year old gelding for Phil D’Amato had been on the sidelines for 11
months and returned Friday in a second allowance condition at 9 furlongs on the grass. Off at 7/1 in a 9
horse field, he raced close up early, laying third just two lengths off a moderate pace. He moved to the
leaders at the 1/4 pole, grabbed the lead quite easily at the top of the lane, then cruised home a winner by
a length and a half. This Irish bred hadn’t done much across the pond, and was only 2/17 in his career
coming into this race, but the D’Amato barn has turned this one around and he looks like he can handle
stakes company here. He is good from a mile to a mile and a quarter on the grass and D’Amato is an
excellent turf trainer. Up the ladder.
CODACIOUS (March 28): Three year old filly for Clifford Sise made the third start of her career in
Saturday’s 5th race, a five and a half furlong sprint on the main track for state bred maiden special
weights. Off as the heavy choice at 4/5 under Bejarano, Codacious broke running from the 8 hole,
crossed over to the fence with the lead, got a breather at the 3/8 pole, then opened up in hand and won by
8 geared down. The jock never even waved the whip at her, much less hit her. She won this race like the
first allowance condition will be no problem, regardless of the sprint distance. She went fast early as the
first quarter was a rapid 21.77 and she kept right on motoring. Might be a good “single” next time she
goes to post.
SELECTION (March 28): Three year old gelding for Jorge Gutierrez tried a bunch of new things in
Saturday’s finale and almost pulled it off. He had just been claimed by his new connections, was trying a
new rider, just got gelded, and added blinkers for the first time. Off at 7/1 in this maiden special weight
event at a mile on the grass, Selection relaxed nicely in 8th place down the back side, about 6 lengths off
the pace. He picked it up at the 1/4 pole, rallied widest of all into the lane, kept to his task down the
stretch and just missed by a whisker at the wire to the wire to wire winner. Being gelded certainly helped
him, and adding blinkers and returning to the grass were both positive as well. As long as they keep him
on the grass and Bejarano takes the call again, he can win his diploma in his next start. Be ready.
SPARKLING PEG (March 29): Three year old filly for Hector Palma made her second career start in
Sunday’s sixth event, a bottom level claimer for maiden 3 year old fillies. Off at 15/1, she again got away
slow from the gate and was last early. The jock then rushed her up between horses and she was third at
the quarter pole, just a length off the lead. She loomed up on the outside turning for home and held
together fairly well in the drive to be beat just 3/4 of a length at the wire. This one is no world beater by
any means, but today’s race showed she can run a bit, and it doesn’t take a lot of horse to win at the
bottom these days. Palma is having a fine meet and he will probably go with a much more established
rider in her next start. She should be in the winners circle in the near future.

News and Notes Mar. 31 – by Rod Young Turfdom

March 30th, 2015 by

Although the temperatures were very warm this past week at the Great Race Place (in the low 90′s),
the main track continued to play fair. With a good crowd expected this Saturday for the Santa Anita
Derby, along with an excellent race card, the temps will be at least 10 degrees cooler. The turf
course has changed and closers no longer have the best of it, as front runners have been able to hold
on in both sprints and routes. Overall the course has held up well as they continue to have 3 races
per card for the turf. The rails are moved out each week for Thursday and Friday, then brought in for
the weekend.
• The stakes races were pretty soft once again this past weekend with Baffert’s Sky Kingdom ($7.60)
taking the Grade 3 Tokyo Cup on Saturday, while Blue Tone ($11.60), a Turfdom Best Bet, taking
the ungraded Santana Mile on Sunday. “Kingdom” was coming off a long layoff to win the mile and
a half Tokyo Cup, and there is no trainer better than Baffert, winning off a layoff. It’s just not that
easy to win going 12 furlongs off a 5 month break. Blue Tone won his race rather easily, and as long
as he can stay away from Shared Belief and California Chrome, he’s a pretty solid runner. He will go
next in the Precisionist Stakes on May 2.
• As mentioned earlier, they have 5 stakes races lined up for Saturday, headed by the $1 million Santa
Anita Derby at 9 furlongs on the main track, a leading prep for the Kentucky Derby 4 weeks later. It
looks like a field of 7 will go post ward and Baffert’s undefeated Dortmund (5/5), will be the 4/5
favorite. He worked 3/4 this past weekend in 1:11.60 in company at Santa Anita and is all set to
make it 6/6. Based on the field, it’s hard to imagine him getting beat. His biggest competition out
here seem to be Firing Line and American Pharoah, but “Line” just ran last week at Sunland and
“Pharoah” goes the following week in the Arkansas Derby. Prospect Park will probably be the
second choice in the wagering, and though he is improving, he doesn’t appear to be as good as
Dortmund. Should the favorite mis-fire, Baffert’s other runner, One Lucky Dane, may be the
upsetter. He has never faced stakes company, but he just beat an allowance field by 10, and has
worked well since that race. He may be this good. Bolo seems the best of the other runners and gets
top rider Mike Smith, never a bad thing when the big money is on the line. The winner of the Santa
Anita Derby has gone on to win the Kentucky Derby 17 times in the long history of both races. The
other Grade 1 on the card will be the Santa Anita Oaks, for 3 year old fillies going a mile and a
sixteenth on the main track. The field will be headed up by Callback, Light the City, and Stellar
Wind. Glory, Curlin’s Fox, Achiever’s Legacy, and Lady Lake will also be in the field.
• They ran the richest race in the world this past Saturday in Dubai called the Dubai World Cup, with
$10 million up for grabs. As most of you know by now, California Chrome ran a good second as the
wagering favorite and earned $2 million for his effort. Going to Dubai and back is a “grind” and it
knocks most horses out for 4-6 months. “Chrome” is no different, and Sherman was looking forward
to giving him a much needed rest back at Los Al. But the “clowns” who own this horse had different
thoughts, and are sending Chrome to London to race on the grass at Royal Ascot in about six weeks.
Chrome is no grass horse and never will be. He beat an allowance field when he won the Hollywood
Derby last year and will be no match for the Euros. Chrome started out as an $8000 horse, and that’s
about what he will be worth when they finally get him back to California, if they ever do.
Also on the Dubai card was the UAE Derby for 3 year olds, at about a mile and 3/16. I don’t
know how tough this field was but the winner could not have been more impressive. His name is
Mubtaahij (don’t ask me to pronounce it) and his next stop is the Kentucky Derby. With Dortmund,
American Pharoah, Firing Line, and Carpe Diem getting most of the wagering action for this race,
Mubtaahij just might be the “value” play.

Horses to Watch Mar. 24 – by Rod Young Turfdom

March 23rd, 2015 by

GRANDIOSE TACTICS (March 20): Six year old mare for Ron Ellis tried the second allowance
condition on Friday at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track. Off at 5/2, bet down from a morning line
of 4/1, “Tactics” set in 4th off a dueling pace down the back side and was in a good position to win this
race. Turning for home, Baze was “loaded” with horse and just needed a seam to get through. He found it
at the top of the lane, but then drove him straight to the rail, where the footing wasn’t nearly as good, and
he got nipped by a front runner, who actually came back on from the deep outside part of the track. This
six year old was just unlucky and I think he was the best horse in the race. Trainer John Sadler thought
enough of him to drop the claim slip for $62,500 as this was an optional claimer. This was just his 11th
career start and he has hit the board in 9 of those. Sadler will find the right spot and may just change
riders to boot.
SAVANNAH SKY (March 20): Three year old filly for Richard Baltas made her second career start in
Friday’s sixth event, a maiden special weight race at a flat mile on the main. Off at 18/1 in a full field and
breaking from the 8 hole, she got caught extremely wide into the clubhouse turn to lose valuable lengths
on the leader, and was well back in the pack down the back side, yet still 6 to 7 wide. The front runners
started to die at the 1/4 pole and she moved into contention, yet still very wide. She stuck her nose in
front at the top of the lane and she looked like a winner. But she ducked out at the 1/8th pole from left
handed whipping and lost her momentum. She got beat a neck at the wire but was much the best. This
was her first try going two turns and she raced pretty “green” most of the way. However, she will get a
lot out of this race and the Baltas barn remains hot. She will be posing for pictures in the very near future.
THE MAD HUNGARIAN (March 21): Four year old gelding for Peter Miller, who was making his
1st start off a $20,000 claim, showed a new dimension in Saturday’s opener, by winning from off the
pace. Off at 6/1 in just a six horse field, and breaking from the one hole, it looked like “Hungarian” was
the speed of the race in this $25,000 claimer for older runners going two turns. But Gladding wanted the
lead right out of the gate, so “Hungarian” sat off the pace and let him go. In fact he was in 4th all the way
down the back side, then found a seam at the top of the lane, and finished strongly down on the rail for
the victory. This is the first time he has come from off the pace and going from Palma to Miller may have
been the answer. All 4 of his wins are at this track and he is now 4/7 here. Up the ladder!!
IMWITHTHEBLONDE (March 21): Five year old mare for John Sadler made her return to the races
in Saturday’s 7th event, a first condition allowance race at six furlongs on the main track. She had not
been to the post since July of 2013 and was off at 10/1 in this 9 horse field. She broke with the leaders
and got caught up in a quick pace duel with fractions of 21.70 and 44.64 for the half. She hung in there
till very late in the race and finished third beaten just over a length at the wire. She has had her issues
getting to the post as this was just her 7th career outing, but she showed she still has her speed. Sadler is
0/45 off long layoffs and is now 0/46, but he does much better after they have had a race. I think she can
win this condition and her speed is always dangerous. This race should help her a lot and she may be
posing for pictures in the very near future. Tab and follow.

News and Notes Mar. 24 – by Rod Young Turfdom

March 23rd, 2015 by

Overall, the main track is playing fair, but the one thing that I have noticed the past few weeks, is
that early speed is dominant in the early part of the program. Then from about the fifth race on,
closers are able to make an impact and win some races. That’s probably because the maintenance
crew has the track in the best shape it’s ever going to be, just before the first race. Then it gets dug
up a bit as the horses travel over it. This is not an exact science, but something you need to be aware
of when handicapping the main track day in and day out. The turf course is playing fair regardless of
where the rails are placed. Closers have won when the rails are out 30 feet, yet horses can go wire to
wire when the rails are only out 8 feet, like with Birdlover yesterday. It generally depends on the
pace in the race, and that’s the way it should be. Management is having a good meet so far. Handle
was up over $1 million this past Saturday vs. the corresponding one in 2014, and it was a no-nothing
Saturday. The weather has been exceptional most of the meet, as California cannot buy an ounce of
precipitation, as the drought continues.
• The stakes races were pretty weak this past weekend. The feature on Saturday was the Grade 2 San
Luis Rey stakes at a mile and a half on the lawn for older runners. Finnegans Wake was the 3/5
favorite and was seeking his 4th straight stakes victory for Peter Miller and on paper, it appeared a
slam dunk. But “Wake” was a bit flat on Saturday and Ashleyluvssugar ($13.20) got the money
under a heady ride from Gary Stevens. “Ashley” appeared out classed, as he just won the first
allowance condition, and had never been anywhere near a mile and a half. It even surprised his
trainer, Peter Eurton, who is having a fine meet, especially on the turf. The other stakes on the
program was the Pasadena, at a mile on the turf for three year olds. Papacoolpapacool got the money
at $12.40 under an excellent ride by the underrated Elvis Trujillo. This time Gary Stevens acted like
an apprentice, moving the 3/1 2nd choice Soul Driver way too soon, and he had nothing left in the
stretch. He was probably best and is one to mark down next time he shows up on the grass. Trainer
Phil D’Amato, who trained the winner and took over the Mike Mitchell barn, is another excellent
grass trainer. Sundays stakes race, the Dream of Summer, was limited to just 4 runners due to late
scratches, and is not even worth mentioning.
• I don’t know who is going to win the Kentucky Derby in just six weeks, but the Southern California
contingent is extremely strong, and if I had to pick a winner right now, it would be Dortmund. He is
big and strong, can get the distance, and we haven’t seen his best race yet. Plus he’s undefeated at 5/5
and has showed his grit and determination several times already. He has beaten Firing Line twice
now, and the latter just won the Sunland Derby on Sunday by 14 lengths. Granted, it was an inferior
field, but the purse was $800,000, and usually some decent horses show up for that kind of money.
Baffert’s other kingpin, champion two year old American Pharoah, also shipped out of town, and
easily won the Rebel stakes in Oaklawn by six lengths. However, he doesn’t quite have the
seasoning that Dortmund has. Prospect Park, runner up to Dortmund in the San Felipe, is still
improving. He worked six furlongs down at San Luis Rey over the weekend in an awfully fast
1:10.40. That’s like going 1:09 flat at Santa Anita. Baffert has yet another nugget in One Lucky
Dane, who won an overnight allowance race by 10 lengths on Thursday, and he may show up for the
Santa Anita Derby in just two weeks. All in all, it’s a very strong group of sophomores.
• On the jockey front, Nakatani should be back to riding in about 4 weeks after a spill when coming
down the hill a week ago. He did break his collarbone at the tip, but no surgery was required. Both
Joe Talamo and Kent Desormeaux will be in New Orleans this Saturday with mounts in the
Louisiana Derby. Edwin Maldonado leaves today, Monday, for Dubai to ride Distinctiv Passion for
Jeff Bonde in a million dollar sprint race, the Al Quoz at 5 furlongs on the turf this Saturday.
“Passion” is very fast, loves the turf, and they will not beat him. Bejarano is 27 wins ahead of the
runner up, Tyler Baze, in the jockey standings and is winning at an excellent 25% clip.

Horses to Watch Mar. 17 – by Rod Young Turfdom

March 16th, 2015 by

MISSING GROOM (March 13): Four year old gelding for Jerry Hollendorfer tried the first allowance
condition for Cal Breds Friday at a flat mile on the main track for older runners. Off at 7/1 in a 9 horse
field, he got caught wide into the first turn coming out of the 9 hole, and ended up sitting fifth down the
back side, but only 5 lengths off the pace. He put in his run at the 1/4 pole to reach contention, got fanned
wide again at the top of the lane, but finished courageously on his own to get second beaten a length and
a half by the favorite. This was his second start off a 3 month layoff, and he looks primed to run a
winning race for this condition in his next start. He had faced “open” allowance runners up at GGF last
Fall and was very competitive. Van Dyke handles him well and he is sitting on a victory.
VOCALIST (March 14): Four year old filly for Mark Glatt tried the starter allowance condition for non
winners twice at 6.5 furlongs on the main track in Saturday’s 4th event. Off at 4/1 in an 8 horse field, she
broke well from the 7 hole and tracked the dueling leaders just two lengths off the pace. On her own, she
went to the lead at the 1/4 pole and in this race, that was a bit too soon, as she was caught by a late runner
at the 1/8th pole and dueled gamely to the wire from the inside, beaten a head. This filly has run 4 times
now and has never been worst than second. She is all race horse and each race has shown improvement
over the other. Although not bred for two turns, she acts like she can get a mile. Either way, she can win
this starter allowance condition in the very near future. Watch for her in mid April.
GO WEST MARIE (March 14): Four year old filly for Eddie Truman tried the Irish O’Brien stakes on
Saturday at six and a half down the hill for state breds four and up. Off as the 7/5 wagering choice, she
settled in 4th down the hillside about 4 lengths off the lead. Stevens drove her to the rail at the top of the
lane, but that hole closed quickly and she was in no mans land with nowhere to go. He swing her to the
outside at the 1/8th pole and she was loaded, quickly drew clear to win by 3/4. Twice she had to check in
the lane and she was much the best in here. This was her third win in a row and all since Stevens became
her rider. She can go short or long and she is ready for “open” stakes company. She may come back in
the Grade 3 Las Cienegas on April 11 against open company, a race which is also down the hill, where
she has never missed the board in 5 trips. Be ready.
UPTOWN RYTHEM (March 15): Four year old colt for Carla Gaines made his third start of his brief
career in Sunday’s 4th, a 5.5 furlong dash on the main for maidens 3 and up in for a claiming price of
$40,000. This was his first start in the claiming ranks, and thus he went off at the 2/1 choice in a 9 horse
field. “Uptown” went right to the front out of the gate and set some fast fractions for the level in 21.76
and 44.81. He was collared at the 1/4 pole, but dug in deep down on the rail, and didn’t give it up till very
late, and was beaten a length. They paid $220k for him at Keeneland and this son of Speightstown has
turned out to be a disappointment so far. But this was just his third start and he can break his maiden at
this level, while he still has time to be a good race horse. His kind of speed is always dangerous. Should
get his diploma next time

News and Notes Mar. 17 – by Rod Young Turfdom

March 16th, 2015 by

The main track continues to play fair at the Great Race Place with a good mix of front runners and
off the pace horses winning the races. The turf course is playing fair now as well, and when they
move the inner rails out, as they always do on Thursday and Friday each week, the course is starting
to favor front runners. However, it usually comes down to how much speed is in the race and how
fast the pace is going to be. The temps have been “hot” as in the low nineties, both Saturday and
Sunday, but that will subside this week.
• They ran two graded stakes over the weekend and they were both for fillies and mares. Warren’s
Veneda ($5.00) continued to be razor sharp as she cruised to a 7 length win in the Grade 1 Santa
Margarita on Saturday, the signature race at the meet for fillies/mares. She has now won 3 in a row,
all dominating performances, and she may tackle the boys next in the Charles Town Classic in West
Virginia on April 18. What’s interesting about that race is that Hollendorfer may send Shared Belief
back East for that race as well. Honor Code, who just won the Gulfstream Handicap is also pointing
for that race and Richard Mandella is looking at that race for Catch a Flight, who was third in the
Big Cap, although well beaten by Shared Belief. On Sunday, eastern trainer Graham Motion saddled
3 runners in the Grade 2 Santa Ana stakes at 9 furlongs on the grass, and got one of them home
when Hoop of Colour got the money at $26.80. As it turned out there was very little speed in the
race, which compromised the late runners, and none of the wagering choices even hit the board. The
six furlong split was 1:13.73 which is very slow for this turf course, especially stakes horses. This
was the second straight stakes win for Drayden Van Dyke/Motion as they won with Ring Weekend
the previous Sunday.
• One of the most important aspects of handicapping is post position, and it’s one of the least issues
taken into consideration when players are breaking down a race. Every one concentrates on pace,
class, trainer, rider, conditions of the race, etc., but seldom is there enough emphasis on where the
horse is drawn in the starting gate. As Bill Shoemaker quoted long ago, way back in the late sixties,
“I want to be drawn outside going short and inside going long”. No truer words were ever spoken.
For example, through 12 weeks of the meet, there has not been a single winner from the one hole at
five and a half furlongs, a distance used quite often. Going into this past weekend, coming down the
hill at 6.5 furlongs, the rail post was 3/51 with two of the winners being heavy favorites. However,
there was one winner from the rail on both Saturday and Sunday to bring the total to 5/55, still only
9% winners. Just about everyone knows drawing the rail post at six or six and a half furlongs on the
main track is the kiss of death. The rider either has to “send” their horse from the rail, and use up
precious energy early, or risk being shuffled back as the field comes over on them after leaving the
gate. However, going two turns, the rail is a good spot, especially on the grass at a mile or a mile
and a sixteenth. That post has won 20% of the races on the grass this meet. Food for thought.
• On the jockey front, Mike Smith became the 4th leading rider of all time in the history of the sport
in earnings, with his third place finish in the Santa Margarita on Saturday. He trails John Velasquez,
Pat Day, and Jerry Bailey in that category, all eastern riders. His mounts have won over $264
million to show that he really is the “money” rider. Corey Nakatani, the best grass rider on the
circuit, went down in a spill Sunday in the fifth race, and probably has a broken collarbone. He
should know as he has broken it 3 times before in his career. Nakatani is on this year’s Hall of Fame
• On Friday morning, California Chrome worked 7/8 at Los Al in a fast 123.80 and is dead fit for the
trip to Dubai. The World Cup is run March 28 for a $10 million purse. There is no Lasix and no
“Bute” allowed for the race, so he better be dead fit.

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