HORSES TO WATCH LIST – March 10, 2020

PREACHING TRAINER (March 6): Four year old gelding for Carla Gaines, who had not been to the post since last May, returned in Friday’s opener, a five and a half furlong dash on the lawn for the first allowance condition for Cal breds. Off at 4/1, but had a lot of early action, he broke running under Van Dyke and was part of the pace picture. The rider sacrificed at least a length by getting him to the outside down the back stretch, put the other speed away at the 1/8 pole, opened up a length with a 1/16 to go, then just failed to last and got nailed right on the wire. The long layoff got to him at crunch time. This son of Lucky Pulpit loves the turf, can go short or long, and was working lights out coming into this race. He’s a soon winner for a barn having a good meet.

BURNIN TURF (March 6): Four year old colt for Dan Blacker made his debut in Friday’s fifth, a maiden special weight event for Cal breds at a mile on the turf. Off at 25/1 in a field of nine, he broke slowly at the start and veered out from the 9 hole and was sixth into the clubhouse turn, about five lengths off the pace. He moved up at the ¼ pole under some urging from Cedillo, put his head in front at the top of the lane, then battled gamely to the wire. He was still in front at the 1/16 pole, then tired late to finish third, beaten two at the wire. All in all, a very good debut coming out of the 9 hole at a flat mile. This son of Acclimation will get a lot out of this race and Blacker never has won with debut runners. He should be a big factor in start #2 and will probably draw a better post to boot. Tab and follow.

COLOMBIAN GOLD (March 7): There are bad trips in turf racing, and then there are some really bad trips, and this 3 year old filly for Peter Miller encountered the latter in Saturday’s opener at a mile on the turf for maiden claimers for a $62,500 claiming tag. Off as the wagering choice at 2/1 in a field of 9, she broke a step slow, then used her natural speed to be up near the leaders early. She steadied hard into the clubhouse turn when Prat had her up on a horse’s heels, then settled in third down the back side, always under a very tight hold. She was down on the rail at the ¼ pole and Prat had a ton of horse. He tried to go inside but the rail seam closed quickly. He angled out costing him at least a length, finally got clear at the 1/16 pole, then roared home, but was nailed late by a perfect tripper and lost by a half. This filly was much the best but had to settle for second. Her next start will be her third off a layoff, often a horse’s best performance, and they won’t beat her.

BELIEVE NOW (March 7): Three year old colt for Mike McCarthy made his debut on Saturday in a maiden special weight event for 3 and up at six and a half on the main. Off at 9/2 with Rosario up, he broke slowly and was sixth down the backside, racing in between horses. Rosario kept him inside turning for home and he was going nowhere, just spinning his wheels. He angled him to the outside at the 1/8th pole, and then he just took off and rolled by horses late. He finished 4th but was only beaten two, and 50 yards past the wire he was in front with a strong gallop out. This son of Uncle Mo cost $1.4 million and he wants to run long. This was a good experience for him and if they stretch him out in start #2, go to the windows. Tab and follow.

QUERELLE (March 7): Four year old filly for Peter Miller tried the first allowance condition on Saturday and was off at 25/1 in a full field going five and a half on the turf. She was void of any speed early and was 9 lengths back of the leaders down the back side. She was still well back at the top of the lane, but put in a terrific kick in the final furlong and came up just a neck short of catching the wire to wire winner. She ran the final quarter in a sizzling 23 flat and is razor sharp right now for Miller. She can go long or short and she will knock out this condition quickly for a barn that wins more turf sprints than any on the back stretch. She’s a soon winner.