We will be looking at four more races this weekend in our Horse Races of the Week, highlighted by the 2017 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. The Sham perennially signals to me the road to the Kentucky Derby has “officially” begun.
While at Santa Anita we will also be looking at San Gabriel, a $200,000, nine-furlong turf event for three year olds and up.
There are two stakes races at Gulfstream Park that also caught my attention.
The two races we will be looking at there include the Mucho Macho Man Stakes for three-year-old colts and the Old Hat Stakes for three-year-old fillies.
Just on a side note, as I start my 7th year here at Isportsweb, I went back through my totals from day one and posted them here. I thought it was funny how one of the key elements I look for in a horse (either by age or racing form) is improvement… it appears I’ve improved myself…now let’s just hope “my” form continues to improve and that I don’t “cycle out of form.”
Saturday January 7, 2017
Race: 3 (1 Pm EST Post)
Old Hat Stakes
Bode’s Dream – is by Bodemeister (who I think it going to do great things as a sire) who is unbeaten and, by and large, untested as she’s won all three of her career starts by daylight including a pair of stakes races. Albeit, her last race was good, it was the race before (Astoria) where she really impressed me, as she came home the final half furlong in less than six seconds…. that, readers, is screaming fast………….Summer Luck – battled every step of the way in her debut at Keeneland but, after a trainer upgrade and a change in racing tactics, this filly by Lookin’ at Lucky cruised past her rivals down the lane in her last to win going away. Her speed figure in that Keeneland race is tops in this field and she should be coming late again in this spot…………………Wildcat Kate – chased the top pick in her last but was beaten by just a half-length in her previous (stakes) race and won her debut by a colossal margin the time before that…looks best of the rest……. Honorable Mentions: Atenea – is an interesting filly. By Sahara Heat (A.P. Indy), she won her first two starts by catastrophic margins in her home country of Ecuador (combined 24 ¾ lengths) and has trained well on American soil thus far. I’ll tell you, it’s hard to throw her out completely in this spot………..Sister Nation – is a good looking, improving Into Mischief filly who showed a devastating late turn of foot on her last at Woodbine. Her speed figures are improving but I cannot tell if she is just getting better and will be a major player here or if she just liked the synthetic surface at Woodbine?….your call from there…….
Race: 10 (4:34 Pm EST Post)
Mucho Macho Man Stakes
Sweetontheladies – there are several things to like about this son of Twirling Candy. To begin with, he is unbeaten on the dirt and over this surface. He, and his speed figures, are improving with every race and I love his versatility as he’s won twice on the lead and once coming from behind (his last race). In fact, he was visually impressive in coming from 10 lengths back to win going away by 3 after being a ridiculous 5 wide on the turn for home in that last race. He should get a good, solid early pace and should be “attacking” late in this spot….pulls the upset here………..Hemsworth – is a good looking, well bred colt from the Thomas Albertrani barn who ran “ok” (fourth and fourth) his first two times out before pulverizing his rivals in the Grade: 2 Nashua at Aqueduct in his last vs. just three others. “He really ran huge. I know it was a small field, but we always thought this horse had a lot of potential. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think otherwise to run him in a grade 2 as a maiden,” Albertrani said. “But the way the race was shaping up it was certainly worth the risk of running him in there. We decided to take our chance and see if he would run well and he really showed that he did. “I think there’s still a lot of potential and a lot of maturing still left there. Hopefully he’ll continue to do well. This race would be the next progression. Hopefully he’ll start this year where he left off last year and make it to the Derby trail, maybe.” Likely post time favorite here, but I’m going to try to beat him in this spot………..Recruiting Ready – may not have cared for the off going in his last two races (even though he didn’t run horribly in either race), because in his prior two races, albeit last year, he chased probable two year old colt champion Classic Empire and the talented Gunnevera and wasn’t embarrassed by any stretch of the imagination by either one…..he has some talent and maybe he might bounce back to form with a return to a “fast “ surface…………..Honorable Mentions: Did you see what a surface change (from turf to dirt) and the addition of Lasix did for Cavil? I mean, after showing nothing in his turf/racing debut, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin added the Lasix and put him on the dirt….this resulted in a monster effort as this cat won by almost 10 while leading every step of the way and improved his speed figure a whopping 41 points (47 to 88). “We weren’t sure if he was dirt or turf, and he won easy and was impressive. We shipped him down here and pointing for the Mucho Macho Man,” McLaughlin said. “He needs racing and we’re learning about him and just how good he is. It’s going to be tough going from a maiden to a stake but the timing is good for him and we hope that he’s good enough.”………..Talk Logistics – closed very well, late in his second (sloppy tracked) race after winning at first asking for trainer Ed Plesa Jr. ….could better this rating………Even Thunder – is another who has shown improvement in every race. Gray colt by Even The Score has won three of his last four, including the King’s Swan at Aqueduct in his last. I question his ability to get this distance but, if he can, he might run well…………Skyler’s Scramjet – came out running in his career as he wires maidens at Aqueduct on Nov 19. Colt by Creative Cause, who I also believe has a good future as a stallion ahead of him, will have to get two more furlongs against stakes winners in this, just his second, career start…..that might be asking a little too much?………..Sonic Mule- is from the “Todd Squad” barn and has won his last two in a row….outside shot if he improves again.
Santa Anita Park
Race: 7 (6:30 PM EST Post)
|1||American Anthem (KY)||3/C||L||M E Smith||119||B Baffert|
|2||Term of Art (KY)||3/C||L||J Talamo||124||D F O’Neill|
|3||Bird Is the Word (KY)||3/C||L||G G Ulloa Perez||119||G F Almeida|
|4||Colonel Samsen (KY)||3/G||L1||F Prat||121||E G Harty|
|5||Gormley (KY)||3/C||L||V Espinoza||124||J A Shirreffs|
|6||Big Hit (KY)||3/C||L||S Gonzalez||119||P D’Amato|
|7||Blabimir (KY)||3/C||L||M Gutierrez||119||D F O’Neill|
1) Gormley– broke poorly in the Breeders Cup Juvenile and quickly found himself in an unfamiliar position (behind horses and four wide).
Colt by Malibu Moon trounced maidens to begin his career then came back less than a month later to win the Grade: 1 FrontRunner Stakes in impressive fashion.
But he won both of those races either on or very near the early lead…..
“It was inexperience on his part,” trainer John Shirreffs of Zenyatta fame said. “It was only his third race. He won his maiden pretty easily and went to the lead in the FrontRunner. So it was ‘what do I do?'”
“Once a horse has been campaigned and they’ve seen it all, they go into races knowing what’s expected. He didn’t know what was expected of him (in the Juvenile).”
Working well in the mornings, should make every pole a winning one here.
2) American Anthem – definitely has some ability in the way he won his debut.
Hailing from the Bob Baffert barn, who gives Mike Smith the leg up on Saturday, this colt by Bodemeister came from behind to win at first asking and beat a big field in the process.
He ran three quarters in 1:10.1, scored a strong 88 speed figure and came home the last eighth in a very good :12.1. Four good works since…..threat here.
3) Big Hit- if you look up “improving horse” in the dictionary, you will see a picture of this son of Super Saver.
He was beaten 11 lengths in his debut, four in his second start and then won by 3+ lengths in his last with speed figures matching those efforts to a tee (39 ,62 and 85).
Clearly looks best of the rest……
Term of Art – “mailed it in” in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but if you draw a line through that race and ignore it for a second, you’ll see a well bred colt that is on the improve and is 4-2-1-1 overall in his career.
Santa Anita Park
Race: 9 (7:30 PM EST Post)
Ring Weekend– is clearly the best horse in this race based off his two graded stakes victories in 2016, his four consecutive “trips” and he was beaten less than four lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile in November. Trainer Graham Motion has big plans for this now six-year-old son of Tapit as a freshening could be ahead with plans to ship to England for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. “This race will decide what we do for the rest of the winter,” Motion said. “He’s been in training for almost a year now, so if we’re going to freshen him up for a possible trip to England, it wouldn’t be a bad time. But he needs to keep performing well to even consider that challenge.”………… Twentytwentyvision– has never been off the board in now an astounding 14 career races. Albeit, this six-year-old son of Pollard’s Vision is just 1 for 6 this year, he has the “back class” to win this….big threat right here………………….A Red Tie Day– is in career best form right now and finished just 2 ½ lengths behind the top pick in his last. Seven-year-old gelding is 4 for 7 on this turf course and just 1 for 12 everywhere else, so it’s safe to say he loves the surface………Honorable Mentions: Flamboyant-has finished within five lengths of the winner in each of last eight races, which really caught my attention when I saw that. Speed figures are on par with this the top contenders in this field and chased the talented Ashleyluvssugar, without being embarrassed by him, two and three races back……. contender………….Some in Tieme– is another “dark horse” on Saturday. Although I can’t explain the only 6 career starts as a 5-year-old horse (physical issues?), he has won 3 of those 6 including a Group :1 race in his native Brazil…. working very well since arriving in the US too…………Quick Casablanca– has run 10 furlongs or more in eight consecutive races (dating back to this time last year) and has picked up a few checks along the way. Perhaps the cut back in distance will help him. I mean after all; he is 1 for 1 at this distance. Long-shot possibility?
By: Gerard Apadula
Director of Equine Operations and Development
Knights of the Round Stable Thoroughbred Racing Team
2017- Record: 1-1 – 100%
2016- Record: 91-229 = 40%
2015- Record: 67-180 = 37%
2014- Record: 29-73 = 40%
2013 -Record: 20-59= 34%
2012: Record: 24-73= 33%
2011- Record: N/A
2010- Record: 24-74= 33%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces:
**** Cara Rafaela, the dam of Darley stallion Bernardini, has been euthanized due to the infirmities of old age according to a Dec. 30 release from Godolphin. She was 23.
She was among the elite of her crop while compiling a 4-8-2 record from 24 starts, including victories in the 1995 Hollywood Starlet and Alcibiades Stakes. Cara Rafaela was runner-up by half a length to My Flag in the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and also ran against the boys in the 1996 El Camino Real Derby, where she finished fourth.
Other notable races included runner-up finishes in the Santa Anita Oaks, Ashland Stakes, and Black Eyed Susan Stakes. She was third in the Kentucky Oaks and third in the Mother Goose.
Cara Rafaela retired in 1997 with earnings of $884,452. She was purchased privately by Sheikh Mohammed in 2002 while in foal to A. P. Indy, carrying Bernardini.
Bernardini went on to become one of Sheikh Mohammed’s most successful runners, winning the 2006 Preakness Stakes, Jim Dandy, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup while earning an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old colt. In fact, Bernardini’s accomplishments led to Cara Rafaela being named the 2006 Broodmare of the Year.
Pensioned in 2014, Cara Rafaela’s final foal, a son of Tapit named Brookline, is a 2-year-old maiden in training with Michael Stidham who ran third last out in his second start on Dec. 26 at Fair Grounds.
**** Multiple graded stakes winner Gunnevera and multiple Florida Sire Stakes winner Three Rules each worked on New Year’s Eve for their anticipated three year old racing debuts at Gulfstream Park Feb. 4.
Gunnevera breezed a bullet five furlongs in :59.4 at Gulfstream Park West, while Three Rules was clocked in :34 flat for three furlongs, out :47 1/5 for a half-mile Gulfstream Park. Gunnevera, who worked for the first time since capturing the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot Nov. 19, is scheduled to start his 3-year-old season in the $350,000 Holy Bull.
“He worked excellent,” trainer Antonio Sano said. “His next work will be in 15 days. After that he will run in the Holy Bull.” Sano said current plans are to bypass the $400,000 Fountain of Youth and go straight into the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream April 1 from the Holy Bull. “The horse is getting bigger and stronger,” Sano said. “The horse is a relaxed horse—very quiet, all the time. I’m very hopeful.”
Three Rules, who had his second work back since suffering his first loss Nov. 5 in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 5, is expected to run in either the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull or the $200,000 Swale at seven furlongs on the Feb. 4 card.
Three Rules, who won the first five starts of his career by a combined 31 lengths, returned to the work tab Dec. 24 with a three-furlong move in :34 flat. “He worked great this morning. I got him out in :47 2/5. He’s doing very well,” trainer Jose Pinchin said. “We’re happy with how he’s doing.”
“He looks good. He’s fit. The time off helped him. He went to California a tired horse and now he’s back on track,” Pinchin said. “He’ll come back in the Swale or the Holy Bull—one of the two. We’ll wait until we get closer to decide.”