This week’s Horse Racing Race of the Week takes us out to the soon to be demolished (more on that in another piece I’m working on) Betfair Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California where we will be taking a closer look at the 2013 Hollywood Starlet Stakes for two year old fillies going a mile and a sixteenth. Rosalind has been installed as the morning line favorite in the Grade: 1 event.
The Hollywood Starlet Stakes is the final major race of the year for two year old fillies with many, most years, coming out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies race.
The Starlet also boasts a long and very impressive list of past winners including Althea (1983), who as part of an entry went off as the Kentucky Derby favorite the following year, Outstandingly (1983) who was later named 2YO champion filly, the wickedly fast Very Subtle, who would go on to win the 1987 BC Sprint defeating perhaps one of the quickest horses I’ve ever seen, Groovy, iron filly Serena’s Song (1994), who was named three year old champion filly the next year and voted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 2002, the immensely talented Excellent Meeting (1998), who would also go off as the Kentucky Derby favorite the follwing year and Surfside (1999), who won her share of races and was one of the best bred fillies I’ve seen (Seattle Slew- Flanders by Seeking the Gold).
More recent, Blind Luck (2009), who won champion three year old filly in 2010 and fought legendary battles with Havre de Grace thoughout her career, the good looking and fleet Turbulent Decent and last year’s winner Pure Fun.
Saturday December 7, 2013
Betfair Hollywood Park
Race 6, post time 6:04 (EST)
$500,000 Hollywood Starlet Stakes (Grade:1)
1 1/16 miles, 2YO fillies
|1||Concave||2/F||L||M Gutierrez||120||D F O’Neill|
|2||Taste Like Candy||2/F||L||R Bejarano||120||J Hollendorfer|
|3||Be Proud||2/F||L||E A Maldonado||120||B Baffert|
|4||Bajan||2/F||L||V Espinoza||120||S Callaghan|
|5||Untapable||2/F||J Talamo||120||S M Asmussen|
|6||Arethusa||2/F||C S Nakatani||120||E G Harty|
|7||Streaming||2/F||L||M Garcia||120||B Baffert|
|8||Rosalind||2/F||J Rosario||120||K G McPeek|
1) Rosalind- broke poorly in her last, which just so happened to be the Breeders Cup Filly Juvenile, and was last, some 16 lengths behind after the first quarter mile. She really didn’t make much head way as she was ninth, some 13 lengths behind after the first half mile in that race.
However, she commenced an enormous rally from about the three eights to the wire and made up 12 ½ of those 13 lengths to finish third. With another few strides she probably would have grabbed the place spot…and remember, she was beaten a half length to possible two year old champion filly She’s a Tiger.
“She went to her knees at the start,” (of the BC Juvenile Filly race) trainer Kenneth McPeek said, who won last’s Starlet with Pure Fun. “I think it was the difference between winning and losing. They don’t give you do-overs.”
“We feel like she (Rosalind) is just as talented (as Pure Fun). We love her chances in there. She’s a big filly,” McPeek added. “But she has a turn of foot when you ask her for it.”
She has never been off the board in four lifetime starts and she appears to be improving (She had previously closed well late to finish second in the Grade: 1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland and third in the Pocahontas at Churchill Downs) with that (last) Breeders Cup race being clearly her best race to date.
She gets Lasix back and tries her fifth different surface in as many races, the lasix should help and she seems to run well over any footing.
On paper it looks like she should get a solid pace in front of her and if that be the case, she should be coming late again on Saturday afternoon.
2) Taste Like Candy– ran a hole in the wind in her racing debut 48 days ago when she sat in fourth position early on (in a 5 ½ furlong race), before going four wide on the turn for home and was visually impressive leaving that field in her wake while drawing off under a hand ride to win by 6 ½. She registered an 85 speed figure that day which is the highest of anyone in this field including the top choice.
I’m a little concerned about a) the step up in class (she’s going from a maiden race to a Grade:1) and b) the stretch out in distance (she is going from 5 ½ furlongs to 8 ½ furlongs) but you just couldn’t ask for a better debut race.
Red hot trainer Jerry Hollendorfer (24% winners this meet) goes to red hot jockey Raphael Bejarano (28% winners this meet) again as together they’ve won an astounding 80% (4 of 5 races) this meet.
3) Streaming– is a lot like Taste Like Candy in the sense that she too is coming off a very nice racing debut win but steps up in class and stretches out in distance.
In her one and only race, she was also reserved off the early pace before taking command at the quarter pole and was “clear” in the final furlong.
“She was pretty impressive (in her debut),” trainer Bob Baffert said. “This is a big jump for her.”…indeed it is, but Baffert is a master at running his horses in spots they can win. In other words he rarely runs one when they are overmatched.
Lastly, this filly has been burning up the racetrack in the mornings as far back as I can see (September), which, of course, to me, is another sign of a good horse.
Arethusa won her Hollywood Park surface debut by a colossal margin and scored a 78 speed figure after running seventh with a 46 speed figure, third with a 65 speed figure, and second with a 68 speed figure….. Stevie Wonder can see the improvement there. Extremely well bred filly (A.P. Indy- Miss Coronado by Coronado’s Quest) from the powerhouse Darley Stable and Eoin Harty barn could better this rating for sure. “She seems like she came out of the race very well,” Harty said. “She’s kept good weight. The races don’t seem to have taken a physical or emotional toll. Her last race was a legitimate race”. Bajan comes into this riding a two race winning streak after winning back to back stakes races in California. She is another who is stretching out and stepping up in company but her trainer (Simon Callaghan) believes she is capable. “It’s one of those things you don’t find out until you try it,” Callaghan said of the distance. “She relaxes well, and we have to believe she’ll stay the distance. She finished going seven-eighths very well. We’re optimistic.” Concave and Untapable could each rebound off nightmarish trips in the Breeders Cup Juvenile after both had to be checked hard to avoid the catastrophically injured Secret Compass as they were beaten 72 3/4 lengths and 68 1/2 lengths, respectively. The former is a stretch runner that may not have cared for the Delta Downs surface in her last while the latter was an unbeaten Grade: 2 stakes winner before the BC debacle. No surprise if either run big in this spot.
Record: 18-56 = 32%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces:
**** Trainer Shug McGaughey said 2013 Remsen Stakes winner Honor Code most likely would begin his 3-year-old campaign in Florida but the left door for a possible return to New York for the Wood Memorial Stakes in April.
“He’s going to be here in Florida; we’ll watch him and see how he’s doing,” McGaughey said. “I’ve got nothing specific in my head other than he’ll start when and where he tells us.”
Meanwhile, Remsen runner-up Cairo Prince, who came out of the race in good shape, has convinced trainer Kiaran McLaughlin he has a top 3-year-old prospect.
“He was wide on both turns and then when he got there at the eighth pole, the jockey (Luis Saez) was maybe a little overconfident and thought he was the winner,” said McLaughlin. “Then Javier came back (aboard Honor Code) and it was his day.”
“Honor Code is a nice horse, but we were giving him six pounds and to lose by a nose, we feel like we have the best horse right now. Moving forward, we’ll see.”
McLaughlin said Cairo Prince left for Florida last week, with long term goals being toward the Triple Crown preps, possibly to include the Gotham Stakes and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
“He’s the real deal,” McLaughlin added . “He’ll get the distance”.
**** 2013 Breeders Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man will return to racing in 2014 with a goal of defending his title in the 2014 Breeders Cup Classic according to his connections.
The son of Macho Uno is trained by Kathy Ritvo.
“We just decided for sure (Dec. 4) that we’re going to target the Breeders’ Cup again at Santa Anita,” said Finn Green, stable manager of Dean and Patti Reeves’ Reeves Thoroughbred Racing.
“The front end of the season right now is wide open. Kathy and I are going to do some evaluating over the next few months and make some decisions about how Kathy is going to start him off.”
“He has shown us all the right signs and shown us he wants to be on the track,” said Ritvo, “He looks great. He just loves his job.”
Among the early targets for “M3” are two races at GulfstreamPark the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Jan. 18 and the Donn Handicap Feb. 8. Green said grass racing is also under consideration.
“The horse is potentially extremely versatile,” Green said. “We plan on working the horse on the turf toward the end of (December), and Kathy and I will make a decision after that work about turf for him this year”.
Thanks for reading….