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Oct 13 Santa Anita Horses To Watch

ROOKIE MISTAKE (October 11): Four year old colt for Doug O’Neill, off since last January, surfaced in a first allowance condition at ¾ on the turf on Monday, 3 and up. Off at 6/1 in a field of 7 under Gutierrez, he settled in 4th down the back side about five lengths off the pace. He put in a nice run turning for home and got within a length of the leader, but the wire to wire winner had plenty left in the tank, and “Rookie” settled for fourth beaten two and a half. The jock never asked him for anything the last 75 yards or he could have been much closer. That type of riding seems to suit the trainer and the owner just fine as Mario never loses a mount for the Reddam/O’Neill connections. It must be those two Kentucky Derby wins with I’ll Have Another and Nyquist. Nonetheless, this one should be ready for an all out effort next time. Be ready.

KAZUHIKO (October 9): Four year old colt for Richard Mandella made his 2nd career start stateside on Saturday in a maiden special weight event at ¾ on the turf. Off at 5/2 in a field of 9, and breaking from the 9 hole, he had an extremely wide trip under Jessica Pyfer. He broke OK, then settled in fifth down the back side. But soon after that he was near the back of the pack and fell a good 9 lengths back of the leaders while still five wide. He finally got rolling at the ¼ pole, went six wide into the lane, then finished with good energy on the very outside to miss by just ¼ of a length. The winner came through on the fence and saved all the ground. His next start will be his third off a layoff, often a horse’s best performance, and this Australian bred was purchased for $1.5 million down under. Look for a rider switch in his next start and maybe even a stretch out move for this Hall of Fame trainer.                                                           
ENGLAND’S ROSE (October 9): Five year old mare for John Shirreffs tried stakes company for the first time on Saturday in the restricted Swingtime stakes at a mile on the turf for older fillies and mares. Off at 7/2 in a field of 9, she relaxed nicely for Victor Espinoza into the clubhouse turn and was six lengths back of the leaders. She stayed in that position until the ¼ pole, rallied five wide on the outside into the lane, then was set down for the drive and finished in style to win going away by two at the wire. This Kentucky bred daughter of English Channel has now been first or second in five straight and is ready for a graded stakes. She is good anywhere from a mile to a mile and three eighths and is razor sharp right now. Figures to run in the Red Carpet stakes at Del Mar Nov. 25. Up the ladder.

ALIGATO (October 10): Four year old gelding for Mark Glatt made just the second start of his career on Sunday in a maiden special weight at six and a half on the turf for Cal breds. Off as the 8/5 co-choice in a field of 10 runners, he settled in fifth down the back side about six lengths off the pace. J.J. kept him on the fence turning for home and he found a seam at the 1/8 pole, slipped through it, and then caught the leader who looked like he was home free. Aligato won going away by a length and a half and has that quick turn of foot you like to see in a grass horse. Out of Kitten’s Joy and a Rock Hard Ten mare, he is bred to run all day and should be tough on the stretch out and the first allowance condition. Tab and follow.

TAMING THE TIGRESS (October 10): Three year old filly for Peter Miller tried grass for the first time in her career in her 8th start and handled it very well in Sunday’s finale. Off at 7/2 in a full field of first allowance Cal bred runners, she broke a bit awkwardly with Cedillo and was well back in the pack early. The jock kept her on the fence and she was loaded at the top of the lane, but had nowhere to go. Cedillo got her boxed in, she checked at the 1/8 pole to lose her momentum, and then finally found room late but the race was over. She was blocked practically the entire length of the stretch and she was much the best. She has already won this condition on the dirt so look for Miller to wheel her back on the turf under the same conditions. He may even make a rider switch back to Prat. Be ready.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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