We will have co-highlighted races this week in our Horse Racing “Races of the Week”, one at Gulfstream Park in Florida and one at Santa Anita Park in California.
At Gulfstream, we will be breaking down the Marshua’s River Stakes, a Grade: 3 turf event for four year olds and up fillies and mares.
Out at Santa Anita the La Canada Stakes is for four year olds and up fillies and mares going 8 ½ furlongs.
Elsewhere, we are taking a look at Say Florida Sandy Stakes at Aqueduct, a seven furlong contest for four year olds and up.
Lastly and just to be clear, like my life, the newly added “My Play” section after each race break down is a work in progress.
For example, last week I made two $30.00, five horse trifecta plays. However, in one of the races one of my horses was scratched. When that occurs, as I said before, the play becomes void. The same can be said for races rained off the turf, unless I specifically address a surface change.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Race: 8 (3:58 PM EST Post)
Say Florida Sandy Stakes
Gold for the King just missed as the betting favorite in the Gravesend last time out and beat New York breds by a colossal margin two back while running very strong and consistent 98 speed figures in both races. This five year old gelding loves this track as his 6-4-1-1 record over would indicate and his underrated trainer Charlton Baker wins at a 29% clip when running horse back next time out after being a beaten favorite. Although he takes a sizable jockey downgrade (Rosario to Alvarado), he still looks best………………..Honor Up hasn’t run a bad race in his last five races dating back to June. In fact, this son of To Honor and Serve is less than two lengths shy of coming into this riding a five race winning streak. His speed figures continue to gradually climb, he’s never been worse than second in four tries on this oval and a red hot Manny Franco gets the leg up……big threat……………………Celtic Chaos also looms a threat here as this stretch runner was charging hard, late, making up over seven lengths in the last quarter mile of the Grade: 3 Fall Highweight Handicap in his last. Kudos to 29% trainer Brad Cox for putting him in what appears to be an excellent spot as he should relish the drop in class and the stretch out in distance off that last race……………………..Honorable Mentions: Jewel Can Disco has speed and the rail and, although being beaten by lesser in his last, it must be noted that was his first race in 6 ½ months. This five year old is another who likes this track and he should be “tighter” for this……………………I’m not sure what to make of Syndergaard, who ran one of the better races of 2016 in Champagne Stakes against Practical Joke. This handsome chestnut tailed off in form badly after that race going 0 for 3 in 2017 and just 1 for 3 in 2018. I’m not even sure where that win, although impressive, came from. Was it the moisture in the track that day? Or was it the track itself as that was his first try at Aqueduct? Or did he just run a “freak” and he bounces in this spot? (My Play: $5.00 exacta box using the top three, cost: $30.00)
Race: 9 (3:45 PM EST Post)
Tropical Turf Stakes
The speedy, Grade: 1 winner Heart to Heart clearly tailed off form in his last two races of 2018, so I’m thinking the 3+ months off he took should have done him some good. The good looking bay with the white heart marking on his forehead loves this track (5 for 7 over it) and ripped a monster work at Palm Meadows on New Year’s Eve (5F- :58.1)…..should make every pole a winning one here……….…I cashed a nice exacta ticket when White Flag took command of the Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship (at 10-1) and then fended off the fleet Disco Partner in deep stretch for the win. This well bred (War Front out of a daughter of Grade: 1 winner Shared Interest) bay horse ran six furlongs in a smoking 1:07.4 that day. Although he is 0 for 2 at this distance, he has hit the board in 10 of 12 career turf starts……looks next best…………………..Mr Freeze is intriguing. This chestnut colt by To Honor and Serve won three of his first four starts, including the Grade: 3 West Virginia Derby in August, before “mailing it in” last time out in the Pennsylvania Derby against McKinzie. He will be making his grass debut here and, albeit trainer Dale Romans hits at a minuscule 7% when putting horses on the grass for the first time, it must be noted his dam threw five turf winners. It’s safe to say his breeding suggests he will like the grass and he clearly has ability…………………Honorable Mentions: Your long shot horse in this race is Your Only Man, who although will be taking a sizable step up in class, is as consistent as the day is long. This son of Creative Cause has hit the board in 11 of 12 career starts (all on the turf) and 2018 Eclipse Award nominee Irad Ortiz Jr. sees fit to take the mount, which waves a red flag for me. (My Play: $5 exacta box using the top three, cost $30.00).
Race: 11 (4:47 PM EST Post)
Marshua’s River Stakes
Escape Clause wheels back on just two weeks rest in this spot. This win machine, who is an astounding 17 for 24 on the dirt, exits a very good, late running, close up third vs. far better on the turf last time out. She should appreciate the drop in class and the switch back over to the dirt here…..logical choice………………..K P Wildcat also likes to win as her 13 for 20 on the dirt career record would indicate. Although running against lesser at various smaller tracks around the country, you still have to respect the fact this filly by Include is also 9 for 13 the past two years. She is working well of late, the distance looks perfect and her speed figures are strong….looks next best……….True Royalty is having a pretty good career thus far and, although she didn’t run all that well in her last two, she did have legitimate excuses (turf is not her preferred surface two back and was way overmatched in the Raven Run last time out). I think the stretch out in distance to 8 ½ furlongs, a distance she’s never tried before, should hit her squarely between the eyes. …looks best of a fairly weak rest. (My Play: $5.00 exacta box using the top three, cost $30.00)
By: Gerard Apadula
Director of Equine Operations and Development
Knights of the Round Stable Thoroughbred Racing Team
2019- Record: 0-3 = 0% (My Plays: -$30.00)
2018- Record: 107-261= 41%
2017- Record: 92-235 = 39%
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%
Little Bets N Pieces
**** Monmouth Park announced that they will be changing the date of their biggest race of the year, the Haskell Invitational.
Traditionally run on Sunday, seven weeks after the Belmont Stakes and four weeks prior to the Travers Stakes, the 2019 Haskell Invitational will be run on Saturday, July 20.
The change was made because Monmouth officials were informed that, if the race were run on its normal date, it could not televised on NBC.
“If we wanted to retain national television coverage for the race, we had no other choice,” said Dennis Drazin, who heads the management group at Monmouth. “We either had to move the race or lose coverage. This is our signature race and it’s a world-class race. This is not a race that we wanted to be unavailable on a national network. I don’t know this for sure, but had we gone without the TV coverage, we were worried that the Haskell might also lose its status as a ‘Win-and-You’re-In’ race for the Breeders’ Cup.”
“This could be a double-edged sword,” Drazin added. “For people who want to run in the Travers, they’ll now have more time between races if they go in the Haskell. But I understand we’re cutting it close when it comes to where the race is positioned as far as the Belmont goes. We might lose a horse or two where (to the Jim Dandy at Saratoga) they want more time after the Belmont and gain a horse or two that likes the idea of the five-week gap between the Haskell and the Travers. We had to weigh these options and we decided in the end that it was critical to retain TV coverage.”
***** Let’s keep an eye on Global Campaign, a half-brother to Bolt d’Oro by Curlin, who came out running in his career debut at Gulfstream this past Saturday.
The handsome bay went off as the even money favorite, took command of the race on the far turn, and won with his ears pricked by almost six lengths while being pulled up by his rider in deep stretch.
**** Champion Abel Tasman, a six-time Grade: 1 winner, sold for a whopping $5 million at the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale. She was purchased by M.V. Magnier (Coolmore Farms).
The price is the co-highest ever paid for a broodmare at the Keeneland January sale.
**** The Kentucky Derby’s purse will be raised to $3 million this May, an increase of $1 million and the first increase in 14 years.
Churchill Downs said Thursday the winner of the 145th running will receive $1.86 million. The runner-up will earn $600,000, with third place worth $300,000, fourth place $150,000 and fifth place $90,000.
The Derby purse had been $2 million since 2005 and $1 million from 1996-2004.
Also, the purse for the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on May 3 was raised by $250,000 to $1.25 million. It had been worth $1 million since 2011 and was worth $500,000 from 1996-2010.