JEFF SIEGEL’S WEST COAST BLACK BOOK
(For the week of April 7-10)
AMERICAN FREEDOM (April 9th, 12th race, SA) – Was highly-touted prior to his debut and didn’t disappoint, scoring at first asking in superb fashion like a colt with the potential to be something special. The Bob Baffert-trained colt settled just off the pace in the seven furlong maiden special weight sprint, moved to vie for the lead entering the lane and gradually drew clear under mild urging to earn a sensational speed figure in what should prove to be an extremely productive race. Will do even better over a distance of ground and should move right up the ranks in the sophomore class for trainer Bob Baffert. Big time.
DECISIVE EDGE (April 9th, 9th race, SA) – Was making his first start since finishing a close third in the 2015 San Juan Capistrano S.-G3 in the Thunder Road Stakes over a mile and clearly in dire need of the race when winding up fifth, beaten less than five lengths, at a distance far too short for his liking. Still, the son of Bernardini performed admirably and was finishing as well as anything in the race when time ran out. With this effort behind him, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained should be primed for a smasher next time out. Still has allowance conditions that he can take advantage of, but clearly is capable of acting with stakes types under the proper conditions. We’ll trust the trainer to pick the right spot.
ENOLA GRAY (April 10th, 7th race, SA) – Had trained like a good thing and was expected to run very well in her debut, but nothing quite like she performed in sensational 16 length romp that narrowly missed breaking the track record. The Phil D’Amato-trained filly made the lead in hand, widened at will and may have been able to win by 20 lengths more if even asked a drop. The speed figure, predictably, was off the charts. Sophomore daughter of Grazen is clearly fast but is an excellent mover and should be able to stay a mile, at least. It will be exciting to see just how high she can fly.
TOP FORTITUDE (April 9th, 4th race, SA) – Figured to be a bit rusty in his first start since August but performed quite well when finishing full of run to be third, beaten under three lengths behind Chief Lion in a strong optional claiming sprint. Former stakes winner was outrun early but found his best stride in the lane and closed a huge gap before galloping out nicely. With this effort under his belt, Kory Owens-trained 5-year-old should be tight as a drum next time out. Effective at any distance and should find a suitable spot during the Los Alamitos spring meeting.
WILD ABOUT DEB (April 9th, 1st race-SA) – Hadn’t been out since last November when he finished a promising second in highly-rated sprint, but returned even better for top trainer Phil D’Amato when he captured a main track nine furlong event in powerful fashion like a 3-year-old with a huge future. The son of Eskendereya was always within range while saving ground, responded readily when straightened for home and drew clear in powerful fashion like a future stakes type. Looks capable of running all day and has the pedigree to handle any type of surface. Up the ladder in a big hurry.