Algorithms gunned down 2010 two year old champion Hansen in mid stretch and drew away to a very impressive 5 length victory in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Florida on Saturday. In the process, the good looking, beautifully strided son of Bernardini put himself squarely in the mix as a top three old and a Kentucky Derby threat.
The day before, also at Gulfstream, the titanic in size Mucho Macho Man took the lead on the turn for home and cruised home by 1 ½ lengths in the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic and in doing so sent a message to the older male horse divison as a force to be reckoned with this year.
Before I recap those two races, I needed to update the Rachel Alexandra situation. Last Sunday (January 22) the 2009 Horse of the Year was taken from her home (Stonestreet Farms) to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital as a precautionary measure for pain management related to her recently foaling a Curlin colt. Luckily, she is reportedly doing well and the champion mare with an upside down exclamation point marking on her face is due back home on Tuesday.
“She is fine,” Caroline Shaw, a spokeswoman for Stonestreet and added she “did not know” of any treatments the mare might have received. Regardless, I will continue to follow the situation and report any new news.
Moving back to the weekend results, Algorithms handed Hansen his first defeat in the Holy Bull Stakes this past Sunday in an emphatic way.
At the start Hansen, the 4/5 favorite, stumbled coming out of the gate but recovered quickly and along with Silver Max, set the pace. He raced the first quarter mile in :23.3 but picked up speed as he reached the half mile pole in :45.3 and opened up a 4 1/2-length lead at that point. Hansen then clicked off six furlongs in 1:10.1 but Algorithms was gathering momentum.
In the stretch, Algorithms drew alongside the leader and quickly took command under jockey Javier Castellano. Algorithms ran the mile distance in 1:36 and paid $7.00 to win.
“He felt absolutely amazing today,” said Castellano, “He broke so sharp and wanted to go to the lead, but I just took (him back) my time”.
“I don’t think two turns will be a problem for him. I rode his father Bernardini to win the Preakness and other big races and, hopefully, this horse can be like that. He certainly is in the right hands with (trainer) Todd Pletcher.”
Pletcher, who had a huge day while winning two other races on the day including an eye popping 16 ¾’s length win with Broadway’s Alibi in the Forward Gal Stakes, said “This race was going to tell us where we were with him, running against the 2-year-old champion, Now he’s done everything we’ve asked him to. It’s too early to say what we might do with him at this point. You can never have enough good 3-year-olds, but you hate to run them against each other”.
“Now we have Discreet Dancer and this colt that are two-for-two over the track. He (Algorithms) is by Bernardini and I don’t think he’ll have distance limitations. So we just have to sort things out from here.”
Hansen’s trainer, Mike Maker, was not disappointed in his horses’ effort. “He was a little headstrong and fresh but other than that it was a good effort; He galloped out strong so we’re pleased.”
Couple of side notes…I was having difficulty getting the replay posted so I just added the link and also please take notice of third place finisher My Adonis, who was way behind early but was full of run down the stretch in the middle of the track (red silks).
The day before Mucho Macho Man by won the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Stakes by 1 ½ lengths. At the start, and as expected, Turbo Compressor, just outside of Mucho Macho Man, went to the lead and set easy early fractions of :24.1, :48, and 1:10.4.
Mucho Macho Man made his move on the far turn, getting the lead from Turbo Compressor as they straighten away down the stretch under jockey Ramon Dominguez. Ron the Greek was coming late and was gaining on the winner, but Mucho Macho Man held sway to win with Ron the Greek 1 1/2 lengths back with Turbo Compressor third another length back. Mucho Macho Man covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.4 and paid $6.20 to win.
“It was the absolute perfect trip,” Dominguez noted. “We were right on the outside of the speed. He handled himself so well. He gave me the feeling every step of the way that whenever I was ready to ask he was ready to go. He gave me so much confidence. I was just a passenger today. You can really tell how much he’s grown up since I rode him in theBelmont. Back then, he was just a big skinny horse that had a lot of maturing to do. Now he looks like he’s grown up and has everything figured out.”
Trainer Kathy Ritvo said: “Ramon (Dominguez) did a great job, Everything has gone well since we started back with him. When he came up to that other horse (Turbo Compressor on lead) I was confident he would go on from there. We’ll see how he comes out of it and then start to look for another race for him.”
Adios Charlie, who had never been worse than second in six career starts, was toiling as the 8/5 favorite and finished fifth.
Little Bets N’ Pieces
*** Awesome Feather remained unbeaten (9 for 9) with yet another impressive win in the Sunshine Millions Distaff also on Saturday. The two year old champion filly of 2010 romped by almost 6 and, looking down the road, should prove a formidable foe for defending Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and 2011 three year old filly champion Royal Delta.
*** Boys at Tosconova, who won the 2010 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga, won again last Friday in a $51,000 allowance at Gulfstream Park
“He’s shown up the last three times and it’s time for us to start going in stakes again now,” said trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., who is pointing for horse for the March 10 Gulfstream Park Handicap.
*** 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler on Ice is still on schedule to run next in the Febuary 11 Donn Handicap atGulfstreamPark.
Ruler on Ice last raced November. 25 where he finished fifth in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. “He came out of (the Clark) with a little lung infection that took a while to clean out, but he’s doing great now,” said trainer Kelly Breen . “When he was down here in Florida last winter he just wasn’t right, but he couldn’t be doing any better now.
“He loves it at Palm Meadows. We’re looking for a good transition from his 3- to 4-year-old (season).”
Breen said Ruler On Ice, who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, would work again on February 5.
*** Just for kicks and in case you are interested; Wynn Las Vegas casino is offering a unique wager involving that Rachel Alexandra/Curlin colt
The casino is offering a bet that allows people to put their money down on whether the baby will run in the 2015 Kentucky Derby. A “yes” bet has opening odds of 60-to-1 while a “no” bet has opening odds of 1-to-100.