Archive for July, 2011

Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic 2011 Report – It’s Tricky at the Spa!

Older Fillies and Mares

Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic 2011 hopefuls Blind Luck and Havre de Grace hooked up for the sixth time on July 16 and once again they put on a show in the Delaware Handicap.

Blind Luck and Havre De Grace at Delaware Park

Blind Luck beats Havre De Grace again - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Havre De Grace was racing over her home track and got a jump on her nemesis but none of that mattered as Blind Luck got her nose down on the line to take a 4-2 lead in the ongoing head-to-head rivalry.

Blind Luck is looking at the Aug 28 Personal Ensign at the Spa. Havre de Grace could also show up in that spot but might take on males in Saratoga’s G1 Woodward on Sept 3 instead.

In other filly and mare news, Awesome Maria is out for the year with a non-displaced condylar fracture of her left foreleg.

Three-Year-Old Fillies

Saratoga’s G1 Coaching Club American Oaks featured graded winners Buster’s Ready, Plum Pretty, Joyful Victory, Royal Delta, and It’s Tricky, and the latter proved her G1 Acorn tally in the mud was no fluke.

It's Tricky

It's Tricky wins G1 CCA Oaks - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

It’s Tricky intently tracked G1 Ky Oaks winner Plum Pretty and it was those two dominating throughout with the former wearing down her more fancied rival.

Royal Delta was a distant 3rd in a race she obviously needed and can go much better in the Aug 20 Alabama.

     {Vote for your favorite 3-year-old-filly at Horse Racing Nation}.

The aforementioned G1 Alabama is shaping up as a strong renewal. In addition to the top three CCA Oaks finishers, the ten furlong Spa event is expected to attract Queen’s Plate winner Inglorious and Ky Oaks runner-up and G2 Delaware Oaks winner St. John’s River.

Inglorious breezed 5f in 1:00 at Woodbine on 7-22, and St. John’s River worked 5f in 1:00.67 at Saratoga on 7-27. Robby Albarado will ride the latter in the Alabama.

Also pointing to the Alabama is recent G2 Hollywood Oaks winner Zazu. John Sadler’s multiple graded winner worked 6f in 1:14.80 at Del Mar on 7-23.



Breeders’ Cup Classic 2011 Report – First Dude, Win Machine

Older Males

The road to the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic has been a bumpy one in the handicap division and win streaks have been few and far between, but First Dude pulled off a rare hat trick in the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup.

First Dude

Baffert has taught First Dude to relax and win - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

First Dude’s sudden winning spirit can be attributed to trainer Bob Baffert and his newfound patient running style. He garnered a 106 BSF for his Gold Cup nose decision over stablemate Game On Dude. Beaten favorite Twirling Candy was another neck back in 3rd, followed by Setsuko and defending champ Awesome Gem. The SoCal crew could meet again in the Aug 28 Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

The local prep for the Pacific Classic, the G2 San Diego, will be run at Del Mar on 7-30.

The next major race for older horses is Saratoga’s G1 Whitney on Aug 6. The stellar field is expected to include Giant Oak, Morning Line, Rail Trip, Sidney’s Candy, and Tizway.


I have been covering the 3-year-old-crop of 2011 on Pick 6 Blog since last September and posted my latest Top 10 list on July 12th.

My top ranked sophomore Coil was shooting for a four-bagger in the G2 Swaps but was headed late by Neil Drysdale longshot Dreamy Kid.

Coil ran well chasing slow fractions and was simply outfinished in a typical synthetic race. The son of Point Given could go much better on conventional dirt in either the Haskell or West Virginia Derby.

Dreamy Kid has the right connections and owns a late blooming pedigree so his Swaps surprise may not have been a fluke.

Two upcoming big 3yo races, the G2 Jim Dandy (July 30) and G1 Haskell (July 31), could provide some much needed clarity to a chaotic division.

The Jim Dandy is expected to include Alternation, Brilliant Speed, and Stay Thirsty.

Pants On Fire, Ruler On Ice, and Shackleford are the marquee Haskell names.

Early Kentucky Derby 2012 Hopeful Creative Cause Wins Debut

Creative Cause, an early candidate for Kentucky Derby 2012, began his career in smashing fashion with a facile debut victory at Hollywood Park on July 16.

Creative Cause

Creative Cause impresses in bow - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Kentucky-bred son of Giant’s Causeway, out of stakes winning Siberian Summer mare Dream of Summer, is owned by Heinz Steinmann and trained by Mike Harrington.
Creative Cause broke from the rail in the 5th race at Hollywood Park on Saturday and battled on the pace along the inside from the outset. Jockey Rafael Bejarano set him down for the drive and he kicked clear under a hand ride to win by 4-3/4 lengths. He dashed five furlongs in :56.90 and garnered a strong 98 BSF.

The promising colt will likely head to Del Mar for an upcoming juvenile stakes assignment, with the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on Sept 7 a likely summer target.

Majestic City Remains Undefeated in Hollywood Juvenile Championship

Early Kentucky Derby 2012 hopeful Majestic City ran his record to 3-for-3 with a strong victory in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship at Hollywood Park on July 16th.

Majestic City

Look for Majestic City at Del Mar - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Peter Miller’s talented juvenile colt completed his six furlong Cushion Track journey in 1:10.45, defeating highly regraded Bob Baffert trainees Brigand and Night Tide. He earned an 89 BSF for his winning effort.

The son of City Zip began his career with a 4.5 furlong special weight score at Hollywood Park May 21 and followed that up with another tally in the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes at that same venue June 12.

Majestic City could make his next start in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar. The six and one-half furlong Polytrack event will be run on August 7. His ultimate summer goal is the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on September 7.


Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic Report: Rivalry Continues

Older Fillies and Mares

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic 2-3 finishers Blind Luck and Havre De Grace resume their rivalry in the G2 Delaware Handicap on July 16. Blink Luck has a 3-2 edge over Havre De Grace but the latter decisively beat her nemesis in the G3 Azeri at Oaklawn Park in March and holds a home court/tactical advantage in the Delaware Park showcase.

Blind Luck and Havre De Grace

Blind Luck and Havre De Grace meet again at Del Park - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Speaking of the Del ‘Cap, defending champ Life At Ten will try to revive her career on Saturday but has not been close to top form for nine months.

G1 Santa Margarita winner Miss Match took on the boys in the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup and she faded to 7th after pressing the issue for a mile.

In other filly and mare news, Awesome Maria drilled a 4f bullet in :47.23 at Saratoga on 7-11. St Trinians worked 6f in 1:16.40 at Hollywood Park on July 9.

Three-Year-Old Fillies

G1 Kentucky Oaks runner-up St. John’s River earned her stakes stripes in the G2 Delaware Oaks on July 9. She rallied to get the job done despite a lack of pace and garnered an 86 BSF for her efforts. Saratoga’s G1 Alabama on 8-20 is probably next.

G2 Black-Eyed Susan runner-up Buster’s Ready flattered the form of Royal Delta with a good looking tally over Joyful Victory in the G1 Mother Goose at Belmont Park on 6-25. She will try to turn the tables on Royal Delta in Saratoga’s G1 Coaching Club American Oaks on 7-23.

     {Vote for your favorite 3-year-old-filly at Horse Racing Nation}.

Across the country in Southern California, Zazu turned the tables on Plum Pretty in the G2 Hollywood Oaks June 25. The latter was getting over a temperature and was probably less than 100%. The Baffert trainee seemingly prefers conventional dirt and could go much better next time. She breezed 4f in :49.60 at Santa Anita on 7-10.

John Sadler’s Zazu worked 4f in :49 at Hollywood Park on July 9 and is expected to show up in the Alabama.

Also pointing to the Alabama is recent Queen’s Plate winner Inglorious.


Breeders’ Cup Classic 2011 Report – He can Flat Out run

Older Males

The handicap division is a total crap shoot this year and the road to the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic yielded another surprise when Flat Out (113 BSF) dusted his rivals in Belmont’s G2 Suburban on July 2.

Awesome Gem beat him in the Lone Star ‘Cap and Pool Play bested him in the Stephen Foster but the Suburban belonged to Flat Out. He sat a wide stalking trip and loved the sweeping turns at Big Sandy, leaving quality rivals Rodman and Hymn Book in his wake.

Flat Out

Is Flat Out the real deal? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Was the Suburban for real or was it more of a case of Flat Out taking advantage of an oval that typically flatters his wide rallying style? We will find out more about his true talents at Saratoga this summer.

The G1 Hollywood Gold Cup will be run on July 9 and Twirling Candy is the marquee name. He meets the likes of Big Cap 1-2 finishers Game On Dude and Setsuko, along with defending champ Awesome Gem.

Impressive G1 Met Mile hero Tizway will try to stretch his speed nine furlongs in the G1 Whitney at Saratoga on Aug 6, and he may meet Pool Play and recent WinStar/Pletcher purchase Sidney’s Candy.

Overseas runner Await The Dawn reportedly has his sights set on the BC Classic for Aidan O’Brien, and he has dirt influences in his pedigree with Giant’s Causeway on top and Dixieland Band on the dam side.


The sophomores are much like their older counterparts as the keep taking turns beating each other. I have been covering the 3-year-old-crop of 2011 on Pick 6 Blog since last September and posted my latest Top 10 list on June 29th.

The 3-year-old division could get a much needed shot in the arm if Uncle Mo makes it all the way back from illness. He will head to Saratoga next week for Todd Pletcher and if everything goes perfect he could show up in the Aug 27 King’s Bishop.

Some late blooming 3yo’s to watch include Bold Warrior, Raison d’Etat, and Bob Baffert’s Smash, who goes in Saturday’s G2 Carry Back at Calder.