Saturday, January 5, 2013
Jerome (race 8)
We already knew Vyjack had speed, and now we know the 3-year-old has guts as he showed courage to re-rally and capture this, his first two-turn start. Vyjack was in a bit tight on the first turn, tried to
bear out going down the backside while stalking, got straightened away, moved up to challenge into the lane, looked beat when longshot Siete do Oros took the lead late, but re-rallied for the game score. The Grade 3 Gotham here March 2 may be next. Siete de Oros showed vast improvement with blinkers added as he stalked the pace, moved up eagerly to challenge, took a brief lead, but couldn’t fend off the re-rallying winner while much the best of the others as this was strictly a two-horse race in the lane. The Grade 3 Withers on Feb. 2 may be next for him. Amerigo Vespucci lagged well back and finished decently. The disappointments were big maiden winners Long River, who sat midpack, started a bit of a run, but flattened out; and Mudflats, who was recently purchased by new connections for 2012 Kentucky Derby/Preakness-winning trainer Doug O’Neill, as he set the early pace under pressure and gave way.
Marshua’s River (race 10)
Hard Not to Like hadn’t run in 8 months, but that didn’t matter as she stalked the pace early, bided her time while saving ground, came with a smart run along the rail into the lane, and gamely beat 5-2 second choice Channel Lady to the line. Channel Lady was second early while Frontside opened up a clear leader, had no trouble reeling in that rival in the lane, but couldn’t fend off the winner late. Leading Astray, the favorite, was last early, steadily advanced, and was making a bit of a run into the lane when she lacked room and had to steady. She got clear and came on again in a good try. Heavenly Landing, the defending champ, stalked the pace, loomed a threat into the lane, but gave way.
Sham (race 3)
Goldencents showed some versatility as the Grade 3 stakes winner may take trainer Doug O’Neill back to the Triple Crown trail after he did so well last year with I’ll Have Another. Winning for the third time and on his fourth different track, Goldencents had up to now been a confirmed front-runner. This time, he stalked the pace of Manando, went after that foe on the turn, finally got the better of him in deep stretch, and edged away late. The Grade 2 Robert Lewis here Feb. 2 may be next. Den’s Legacy was fourth early, moved closer to be just behind the winner down the backside, doggedly kept after that foe to the line, but just couldn’t get to him. Manando set a solid pace, battled back when challenged into the lane, but couldn’t stay with the winner late and lost second in the final yards while far clear of the others (15 lengths).
San Pasqual (race 7)
Coil took his final bow in style as the Grade 1 winner sprinting and routing ended his
career with this Grade 2 route win. He dogged pacesetter Ultimate Eagle from the start, moved closer to that rival turning for home, threw down the gauntlet into the lane, and gamely prevailed after a hard fight. He now will go off to stud and is only being retired as his trainer Baffert said he has “some issues.” Ultimate Eagle, making his second start after a long layoff, ran superbly in defeat. He bounced right out to the lead as expected, set solid splits, battled back gamely when taken on by Coil and fought bravely to the wire, but just came up a head short while much the best of the others (six lengths). While the Grade 2 San Antonio on Feb. 3 is a logical next spot in preparation for the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2, his trainer Pender said don’t be surprised if he instead ships to Gulfstream Park for the Grade 1 Donn on Feb. 9. John Scott, coming off a fourth in the Grade 1 BC Dirt Mile here Nov. 3, stalked the pace, tried to go after the top two into the lane, but couldn’t keep up. Jaycito was a bit slow into stride, moved closer to be within striking distance down the backside, but gave way badly and was eased.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Monrovia (race 8)
There is no doubt who is the queen of the hill. In fact, Mizdirection is king of the hill, too, as the 5-year-old mare made it a perfect four wins in as many starts on this hillside course with another powerful run. She beat some of the game’s best male sprinters in the Grade 1 BC Turf Sprint here Nov. 3. Freshened since, she was back in versus gals again today. She stalked the brisk pace of Kindle, moved closer turning behind the trees and over the dirt crossing, and gradually got the better of that very game rival in the final furlong. No reason she can’t be effective going longer and in fact, she’ll be pointed to the Grade 2 Buena Vista at a mile on this course Feb. 18. Kindle did everything right. She bounced out to a clear lead while setting fast splits, was still clear by midstretch, but try as she might, she couldn’t quite fend off the winner. Still, she ran superbly in defeat. Givine sat fourth much of the way and kept to her task to get third, though she was never really a threat to the top two. Broken Dreams, a Grade 3 winner on this hillside course, chased Kindle early, but weakened from those efforts.