News and Notes April 14 – by Rod Young Turfdom

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

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Horses to Watch April 7 – by Rod Young Turfdom

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

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News and Notes April 7 – by Rod Young Turfdom

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

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Horses to Watch Mar. 31 – by Rod Young Turfdom

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.

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News and Notes Mar. 31 – by Rod Young Turfdom

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

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Horses to Watch Mar. 24 – by Rod Young Turfdom

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

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News and Notes Mar. 24 – by Rod Young Turfdom

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

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Horses to Watch Mar. 17 – by Rod Young Turfdom

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.

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News and Notes Mar. 17 – by Rod Young Turfdom

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

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Horses to Watch Mar. 10 – by Rod Young Turfdom

SPANISH QUEEN (March 5): Three year old Tribal Rule filly made her debut in Thursday’s 5th event at a flat mile on the turf for maiden special weights which are Cal bred. Bet heavy in late wagering, she ended up going off the 2/1 favorite in this 8 horse field, and didn’t disappoint with a terrific turn of foot at the top of the lane and won off by 7 in impressive fashion. She did have one sparkling 5/8 move prior to this race but the rest of her drills were on the slow side. She is bred top and bottom for the turf and she will not have any trouble with the first allowance condition as long as they stay with Cal breds, and I’m sure they will. She’s a solid “single” in her next trip to the post for a barn that continues to be red hot. BIG

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