Horses to Watch Apr. 18 – by Rod Young Turfdom

LOOKING AT THELAKE (April 14): Three year old filly for Billy Morey, was bought privately in Florida. Off as the even money choice and racing with Lasix for the first time, she broke awkwardly from the gate but was quickly righted by Pedroza. From the 8 hole, he sent her right to the rail to save ground into the clubhouse turn and was only about 3 lengths off the pace. She raced under a tight hold all the way down the back side, slipped through on the rail at the ¼ pole, then quickly opened up by 3 on the field. She cruised home under a hand ride to win by seven. She is now eligible for those starter allowance races non winners twice, and she should have no trouble with that condition. She has never missed the board in 5 trips to the post and was quickly claimed by

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Horses to Watch Apr. 11 – by Rod Young Turfdom

QUEEN BEE TO YOU (April 7): Three year old filly for Mike Pender had 7 starts on the dirt in sprints and hadn’t been able to break her maiden. On Friday, they stretched her out to a mile and put her on the turf for the first time and she found her calling. Off at 6/1 in an 8 horse field against older maiden special weights, all who are bred in California, she hopped at the start to be away last. She stayed there until the ¼ pole, and then Desormeaux swung her to the outside and she gobbled up the ground. She put her head in front at the 1/8th pole and then eased clear under a hand ride to win by a length and a half at the wire. She should have no trouble with the first condition as long as they keep her with state breds, and

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Horses to Watch Apr. 4 – by Rod Young Turfdom

SMOKEY IMAGE (March 31): Four year old colt for Carla Gaines, who had been off since July of last year, returned to the racing wars in the third allowance condition Friday against a pretty tough group. Off at 6/1 in this six and a half sprint on the main track, he broke running and vied for the early lead through quick fractions of 21.88 and 44.65 from between horses. He gave up some ground and dropped back to 4th at the ¼ pole, but then came back on again in the final sixteenth and galloped out fairly strong. He finished up third at the wire and was only beaten two lengths for all of it. Carla has lots of options with this Cal bred, as he can go short or long, turf or dirt, and can face Cal breds in a stakes as well. This was a fine comeback race

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Horses to Watch Mar. 28 – by Rod Young Turfdom

UTANA (March 24): Four year old filly for John Shirreffs and the “Zenyatta” connections made her debut in Friday’s second, a maiden special weight at six and a half on the main. Off at 6/1 in a small field of five due to late scratches, she got bumped on both sides at the break to get away last by five lengths. But Espinoza hustled her up the rail and she was in contention turning for home. She dove to the inside on what was probably the worst part of the track, and stayed there the entire length of the stretch fighting gamely. She got beat a “zop” at the wire and was probably best. This daughter of Curlin will do better as the furlongs increase and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s not stretched out for start number two. She’s a soon winner for a very patient barn. KENDA (March

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Horses to Watch Mar. 21 – by Rod Young Turfdom

RIVER ECHO (March 17): Four year old gelding is a new horse since transferring into the Peter Miller barn from back East. After winning the first allowance condition in his last start, he tried the second condition on Friday and was best even though finishing second. Off at 7/2 in a strong field, he sat third in the early running with a rail trip just off the speed. Arroyo had a ton of horse turning for home but he had nowhere to run until a brief opening at the sixteenth pole. He burst through but it was too late as a perfect tripper from the outside got the jump on him. He now has two wins and a close second since joining the Miller barn and he wins this condition next out. BOTTLE SERVICE (March 18): Three year old gelding for Mike Machowsky was all over the place in Saturday’s

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Horses to Watch Mar. 14 – by Rod Young Turfdom

ILLUMINANT (March 10): Five year old mare for Mike McCarthy, who had been away from the races for 10 months, came roaring back in the Wishing Well stakes at six and a half down the hill on Friday. Off as the 6/5 choice, she broke well with the field, laid in 4th down the hill just 3 lengths off the pace, easily went to the lead on her own at the top of the lane, then opened up two and glided home to win by a length and a half at the wire over a fairly strong field. She galloped out strong and her connections are pointing for the Jenny Wiley stakes at Keeneland in April, a Grade 1 where she was third last year. Based on this performance, she will have a fighting chance in that race, especially if Tepin doesn’t show up. Plus she will be a price

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Horses to Watch Mar. 7 – by Rod Young Turfdom

NINE POINT NINE (March 3): Four year old filly for Vladimir Cerin tried the second allowance condition on the grass Friday at a mile and a quarter for older fillies/mares. Off at 8/1 in just a six horse field, she went awfully quick early with fractions of 22.68 and 46.20 for the half mile while opening up 8 lengths down the back side. That was way too fast for this distance and she came back to the field at the top of the lane, but just when you thought she would quit, she found another gear and held on gamely through the lane to be beaten just a length at the wire. This race should set her up nicely at a shorter distance by putting some wind in those lungs. She’s sharp enough right now to knock out this condition and she is worth following. MISTER BRIGHTSIDE (March 4): Five

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Horses to Watch Feb 28 – by Rod Young Turfdom

PASCHALITSA (February 24): It was just a $16,000 claimer, non winners of three, on Friday, but this 4 year old filly for Eddie Truman was pretty impressive just the same while going down in defeat. Off at 5/1 in a six horse field over a surface that was very dull, she and the 6/5 favorite went quick early in this one mile race and opened up 10 on the field by the half mile pole while ding donging on the lead. They came back to the field at the head of the lane but while the favorite backed out of it, this filly battled back on the rail and was coming back on at the wire. She got beat a neck and galloped out well past the wire. She can go short or long and if they keep her at this condition, she’s a soon winner. BAR SCENE (February 24):

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Horses to Watch Feb. 21 – by Rod Young Turfdom

DENMAN’S CALL (February 18): There was no doubt who the best horse was in Saturday’s third, a first condition allowance sprint on the main track. Off as the 3/2 choice in a field of 8, “Denman” completely blew the start and was instantly six lengths behind the last horse. He was 12 back by the half mile pole, then put in a quick turn of foot down the lane racing on the worst part of the track, and was beaten just a length for all of it. This Kentucky bred for Doug O’Neill was graded stakes placed as a sophomore, and knocking off this first allowance condition should just be a formality. He’s a soon winner. WEST COAST (February 18): It’s extremely difficult to break your maiden going two turns in your first race, but this 3 year old colt for Baffert gave a good account of himself in his

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Horses to Watch Feb 14 – by Rod Young Turfdom

RIRI (February 10): Four year old filly for Phil D’Amato made her return to the races in Friday’s opener at six and a half down the hill for the second allowance condition for older runners. Off at 4/1 in a field of 9, she broke well under Bejarano and settled in third coming down the hill. She was in good striking position at the top of the lane, but sort of “hung” in the final furlong and raced like a horse in need of the outing. She finished 4th but was only beaten a length and a half at the wire. This race should set her up nicely to stretch out to a mile and she’s good enough to win this second condition. She’s in the hands of the best turf trainer on this circuit. She’s a soon winner. MERRILY MERRILY (February 10): Four year old filly for Sean McCarthy

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