Horses to Watch Jan. 24 – by Rod Young Turfdom

CHEEKABOOMBOOM (January 20): Three year old gelding for Peter Eurton made the second start of his young career in Friday’s fifth, a mile event on the main track for maiden special weights. Off at 10/1 in a field of eight for Cal breds on a sloppy race track, he laid back in the pack early, had plenty of horse on the inside turning for home, but was no match for the runaway leader who wired the field on a speed friendly surface. “Cheekaboo” rallied for second but was beaten a good six lengths at the wire. This son of Unusual Heat can act on any surface and Eurton may make a rider change in his next start. He’s ready to pose for pictures on a fair surface, turf or dirt.

PALMER’S WAY (January 21): Three year old colt for Peter Miller made his debut in a very “salty” maiden special weight event on Saturday at six furlongs on the main. Off as the co-favorite in the race at 2/1, he lost all chance at the start when he completely missed the start. Espinoza then rushed him up on the inside to get back into the race, made a nice move at the 1/4 pole to reach third, then “hung” the last furlong. He still ended up second beaten 3 lengths at the wire. He may still not have won this race, even with a clean break, but he ran well enough to win most maiden special weight events. He cost $280K at the Ocala yearling sale and this son of Gemolgist, a hot early sire, is a soon winner.

DOWNTOWNER (January 21): As bad as Palmer’s Way broke in Saturday’s 7th race, Downtowner, a debut runner for Baffert, broke even worse. He came out of the same race as the former and he really missed the start and fell back 10 lengths by the half mile. He also ran on strong the final furlong but he was beaten six lengths and finished fifth, however he had the most impressive gallop out. He is bred to go long and he also looks like a soon winner but probably needs two turns for his best. He was cold on the board for a Baffert debut runner at 9/1. Tab and follow.