JEFF SIEGEL’S WEST COAST BLACK BOOK
(For the week of May 5-8)
LIAM THE CHARMER (May 8th, 4th race, SA) – Superbly-bred son of Smart Strike from the multiple stakes-winning mare Charm the Giant brought a half-million dollars at auction as a yearling, and while he’s been slow to come around he looks now to be developing into quite a prospect. After finishing far back in a maiden dirt miler in his debut earlier this year, the Michael McCarthy-trained sophomore finished an excellent second in his first try on turf and then, in this straight maiden mile affair, completely crushed his rivals with a notable display of late speed, winning with plenty left in the tank by more than five widening lengths. Clearly has a good turn of foot but acts like he’ll run all day. Has all of his conditions available and probably should be allowed to use them, but in due time seems certain to be of stakes quality.
LUCKY WITH YOU (May 7th, 2nd race, SA) – Debuting gelding didn’t get much action (9-1) on the tote but was fit and ready for a sharp effort when winding up a strong third in a better-than-par maiden special weight sprint for state-bred runners. Settled in the second flight while in hand, had room to rally into the lane and made steady headway to the wire to be beaten just a half-length by a hot first-timer, Boy Howdy, with favored Tengas Ransom in the picture as well. He’s a son of Lucky Pulpit and therefore by the same sire as California Chrome, so this Victor Garcia-trained sophomore has every right to improve with experience and distance. Shouldn’t be a maiden for long.
MAGICAL TOUCH (May 6th, 2nd race, SA) – Won her debut vs. maiden $20,000 claimers last June, disappeared, and returned in a bottom-level restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claimer and simply aired, winning by more than eight lengths while earning a powerful 86 Beyer speed figure that represented an improvement of 22 points from her first outing. The Hector Palma-trained four-year-old went unclaimed, so it will be interesting to see where she surfaces next time. Clearly has physical issues but based strictly on numbers seems more than capable of winning a first-level state-bred allowance sprint for fillies and mares. Let’s hope she can string together at least as few races this time around.
NAVY HYMN (May 8th, 6th race, SA) – Couldn’t have been more impressive winning a $25,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds by more than eight lengths with a powerful speed figure, and could very well turn out to be a superb claim by trainer Robertino Diodoro, assuming he came out of the race as well as he went into it. Hard to say what kind of physical problems this gelding has – or had – but suffice to say at this stage he’s worth a whole lot more than what he’s been running for. The son of Songandaprayer always displays gate speed but can produce a second move as well, and since he’s still eligible to the first allowance condition we suspect that’s the spot he’ll return in. His previous trainers (Doug O’Neill and Richard Baltas) didn’t go out of their way to protect him, so there’s no telling what his issues are, or how may good ones he has left, but there’s no doubt the raw ability is there.
SUPREME VENTURE (May 7th, 10th race, SA) – First-time starter had trained like a good thing for Bob Hess, Jr. yet was cold on the board and left at 12-1, double the price of his morning line, in this maiden special weight sprint. Despite breaking from the rail, the 4-year-old gelding moved up smoothly and professionally to be within striking range behind the leaders while saving ground, accelerated when room developed on the fence into the lane and responded gamely to draw clear by a length and one-half in a most convincing manner. Gelded son of Forestry appears to be made of the right stuff, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him come right back and win again soon vs. first-level allowance foes.