JEFF SIEGEL’S GULFSTREAM PARK BLACK BOOK
(For the week of March 23-27)
AD LUTEM (March 24th, 4th race) – First-time starter really turned some heads with a very impressive score vs. Florida-bred competition in an extended sprint for fillies and mares. Broke a step slowly and trailed in the first few strides, rushed up to battle on the pace along the rail to the top of the lane, then left her foes with a smart second move to win going away by seven lengths in good time. Daughter of Midnight Lute isn’t the smoothest of travelers but as long as she stays sound she’ll win races, especially if kept on this circuit. Up the ladder for trainer Ralph Nicks
AUNTIE JOY (March 23rd, 10th race) – Lightly-raced filly was making her first start since early January and just her three career start overall when facing entry-level allowance sophomores in a one mile turf affair. Received the patient ride she clearly needs and produced an exceptional turn of foot to rally from mid-pack and win going away by more than two lengths like a filly with a big future. The Brandan Walsh-trained daughter of Uncle Mo wants to be anchored and allowed to produce one run (she was pressing the pace when unplaced in the Ginger Brew Stakes in her only defeat) and given that kind of trip seems capable of moving back into stakes competition and being successful. Wouldn’t be surprised to see her next at Keeneland, so watch the entries.
HIGHLAND SKY (March 26th, 5th race) – May have been a tad rusty off the bench and had to settle for second money in the Cutler Bay Handicap over a mile on turf for 3-year-olds, but the Barclay Tagg-trained colt will be hard to contain vs. similar rivals next time and is a “must follow.” Lagged off modest fractions to the head of the lane, was asked for run and responded readily but couldn’t quite catch easy leader Giant Run and simply ran out of room to be beaten just over a length. He’ll be fitter and sharper next time and probably will appreciate a bit more ground to work with as well. Son of Sky Mesa still has all of his conditions but certainly is capable of winning a grass stakes for 3-year-olds.
SEA WIZARD (March 27th, 4th race) – Had a run last October when finishing a promising second to subsequent multiple stakes-winner Destin, and returned an better, stronger version of himself when breaking his maiden in his sophomore debut by three lengths despite receiving severe early pressure in a rapid six furlong sprint. Was forced to cut out blazing fractions (21.70, 44.18) yet found reserve energy when straightened for home and drew clear to earn a huge speed figure like an excellent prospect. The John Mazza-trained son of Uncle Mo probably should stick to one-turn at this stage but may get a bit farther in due time. Should be a short price to win right back on the mandatory raise.
TAKE THESE CHAINS-IR (March 27th, 7th race) – Irish-bred first-time starter could not have been more impressive in defeating a fairly competitive field of 3-year-olds in a seven and one-half furlong turf affair that figures to be productive. Daughter of Fastnet Rock was reserved in mid-pack to the turn, commenced her rally wide into the lane and quickly swallowed up her foes to win in powerful fashion by more than two lengths going away. The Chad Brown-trained filly clearly has stakes potential and may aim for some valuable black type next time out. Shouldn’t be underestimated even if facing tough, experienced company next time out.
JEFF SIEGEL’S GULFSTREAM PARK BLACK BOOK
(For the week of March 16-20)
EAGLE SCOUT (March 18th, 5th race) – Finally made it to the post in March of his 4-year-old season but the wait was worth it as this light-gray son of Tapit score at first asking like a colt with plenty of ability. Stalked the pace outside to the head of the lane, responded when set down and after switching leads late eventually exerted his superiority to win going away by two lengths with a strong clocking of 1:35.92 for the one-turn mile. Acts like a colt who’ll get nothing but better with experience and distance for Pletcher. Up the ladder.
IMPROV (March 18th, 3rd race) – Four-year-old filly was making her first start in more than a year and returned a better version, winning a maiden special weight sprint by nearly four lengths after battling on the pace under pressure to the head of the lane. Disposed of her pace rival and drew clear with authority to give indication that she can score on the raise for good trainer Rusty Arnold. The daughter of Distorted Humor should stay at least a mile if asked, so connections have a few options.
MY WISH LIST (March 19th, 7th race) – Made her racing debut in a bottom-rung $12,500 claimer and handled her out-classed rivals with ease, pressing the pace to the head of the lane and then drawing away in rapid fashion to register an eight and one-half length score. Isn’t the smoothest of travelers and may have issues, but certainly has the kind of talent to win on the raise for new trainer Gustavo Delgado, who claimed the daughter of Flatter. It’ll be interesting to see if he wheels her back in a seller or protects her vs. starter’s allowance company. We’ll trust the trainer to place her in the proper spot.
TIGER RIDE (March 19th, 12th race) – Made her first start of 2015 in the Inside Information Stakes and performed as well as trainer Graham Motion could have possibly hoped for when winding up second, beaten less than four lengths to top class Stonetastic in what was an obvious prep. This was her first start since October and it was at a distance too short for this proven router; the daughter of Candy Ride clearly has progressed nicely between her 3 and 4-year-old season and should be set for a lucrative campaign. Could show up virtually anywhere for her next outing, so keep close tabs.
UNBRIDLED DADDY (March 19th, 1st race) – Showed considerable promise last year as a juvenile, winning a strong maiden race at Saratoga and then placing in the With Anticipation Stakes, but returned even better than that in his 2016 debut vs. first-level allowance foes over a mile on turf. Settled in mid-pack to the quarter, moved wide for racing room entering the lane and quickly disposed of his rival to draw away as much best by four lengths. The Todd Pletcher-trained son of Scat Daddy should be even more effective over longer distances and seems certain to surface in a graded stakes for 3-year-olds on grass in his next outing, most likely at Keeneland.
JEFF SIEGEL’S GULFSTREAM PARK BLACK BOOK
(For the week of March 9-13)
APOLOGYNOTACCEPTED (March 11th, 8th race) – Daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus finally made it to the races in a straight maiden sprint for fillies and mares and the wait was worth it, as the David Kassen-trained 5-year-old made the pace inside and then exploded when turned loose to draw off by 16 remarkable lengths. The race was fast – 1:09.89 – and earned a giant speed figure, so we’re expecting her to come right back and do it again, and perhaps again after that. Let’s hope that she can stay and make up for long time.
BRUCARITA (March 12th, 8th race) – Debuting son of Kitten’s Joy flashed plenty of ability for a high priced maiden claimer when rallying wide and finishing with good energy when runner-up in a legitimate race for the level over a distance of ground on turf. Hadn’t shown much in the morning (hence his 24-1 odds) but clearly has ability and should produce a significant forward move for trainer Mike Matz next time out. Should be hard to deny in a similar spot next time out and might even be given a chance with maiden special weights as ranks become thinner toward the end of the meeting.
GO MAGGIE GO (March 13th, 5th race) – Liked the way this first-time starter by Ghostzapper went about her business in scoring a sharp four-length win over 3-year-old fillies in a six furlong sprint while giving every indication that she’ll be much more comfortable when eventually stretched out. Was reserved off the pace to the turn, rallied wide, and drew clear with authority while finding her best stride deep into the lane. Would love to see this Dale Romans-trained filly wheeled back in an extended sprint or a one-turn mile. Up the ladder.
HELLO DON JULIO (March 13th, 4th race) – Scored at first asking despite racing greenly and lugging in through the lane, so when he starts to figure things out, he could prove more than useful. Settled off the pace, commenced his rally wide and swept by his rivals with good acceleration to win with plenty left in this one mile turf event for older maidens. The Michael Dilger owned and trained gelding should benefit greatly from the outing, so we’re expecting a repeat score vs. non-winners of two next time out.
NEIGHLOR SWIFT (March 12th, 4th race) – First time starter got no action (12-1 on the morning line, off at 78-1) in five furlong maiden special weight turf sprint for 3-year-old fillies but caught the eye with an impressive display of late speed when fourth in a fast, highly-rated race. Was really reaching out with a long, athletic strides to be coming fastest of all, and with her pedigree (Summer Bird) she clearly will improve a ton over a distance of ground. Next time, on the stretch-out, this Michael Maker-trained filly will be hard to beat.
RAMBLIN N GAMBLIN (March 9th, 10th race) – This is one fast filly. Broke her maiden at first asking in late December in a M35000 claiming dash for juveniles and then re-appeared more than two months later in a starter’s allowance dash over the same course and distance with a similar result. The daughter of Elusive Quality pressed the pace to the top of the lane, took control when ready and drew off rapidly to register 4 ¼ length score while being ridden out to the wire. The butterball of a sprinter still has all of her allowance conditions and should have no difficulty winning right back on the raise. Looks like a poor man’s version of Lady Shipman.
JEFF SIEGEL’S GULFSTREAM PARK BLACK BOOK
(For the week of March 2-6)
FAVORITE HEIR (March 4th, 6th race) – Showed up in a maiden claimer for the first time in his six race career and completely dismantled his outclassed opposition with a visually impressive 5 ½ length romp, doing so with a ton left in the tank in a 7 ½ furlong grass affair. Trainer Marcus Vitali took the bait and claimed him for $25,000; there’s no doubt that this son of Wildcat Heir was worth the money and then them. Eligible to starter’s allowance and most likely will be seen next in such a race over a distance of ground on grass.
LIGHTSTREAM (March 6th, 6th race) – First time starter by Harlan’s Holiday was much best in her debut and is definitely one to follow up the class ladder. Broke slowly from the rail and settled well off the pace, commenced her rally inside on the turn, responded when set down and collared the leader in mid-stretch before drawing off by more two lengths in the seven furlong main track sprint for sophomore fillies. Has much to learn – she needs to break with her field and straighten out her lead changes – but there’s little doubt that the raw ability is there. It will be interesting to see where trainer Brian Lynch sends her next; with Arch on bottom side of her pedigree she should get at least a mile if not further.
RIDDLER (March 5th, 10th race) – Had a couple of prior runs sprinting on the main track but two-turning on turf is clearly his preferred trip and the son of Harlan’s Holiday made the most of the opportunity when stretching out successfully against 3-year-old maidens over seven and one-half furlongs. Flashed good tactical speed to prompt the pace to the head of the lane, responded readily when turned loose and quickened in the final furlong to draw clear by two lengths while seemingly finding his best stride approaching the wire. Should easily handle more ground and with his hand style, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt has the makings of a very nice prospect. Should be double tough on the raise and then go from there.
SAVOY STOP (March 3rd, 10th race) – Been sparingly raced throughout his eight-race career but turned in his best effort to date when winning a second level allowance middle distance main track event, and could develop into a solid older horse if he can manage to string a few races together. Settled off the pace to the turn, displayed an exciting turn of foot to sweep past the entire field at the mid-point on the far turn and kept on going to win drawing away by four lengths. Son of Medaglia d’Oro looks quite capable of handling a raise in class for trainer Todd Pletcher and it would not be surprising if he shows up in a listed stakes race before too long.
TAKEITONTHEEDGE (March 5th, 6th race) – Was bet from 8-1 down to 4-1 and the smart money was spot on, as this first-time starter by Broken Vow quickly established the pace in hand and then drew off with complete dominance to register a nearly eight length score in a fast, highly rated seven-furlong maiden event. The Dale Romans-trained colt is actually is bred to run long, so his connections have a few options. Hopefully, they’ll let this colt move through his conditions before taking on tougher, more experienced rivals. Excellent prospect if he’s allowed to take one step at a time.
VEIL (March 6th, 9th race) – First-timer was somewhat cold on the board (12-1) but performed considerably better than her backing when a promising runner-up in a seven and one-half furlong maiden special weight turf event for 3-year-old fillies. Was reserved to the turn, was asked for run wide and responded readily to finish with interest without being knocked about. Trainer Shug McGaughey rarely wins with debut runners, so we’ll assume this daughter of Hat Trick will move forward considerably with this race behind. Seems like the type that prefers patient handling and shouldn’t be inconvenienced by more distance.
JEFF SIEGEL’S GULFSTREAM PARK BLACK BOOK
(For the week of February 24-28)
ARAQEEL (Feb. 28th, 7th race) – Was making just his third career start and his first since last April when this first-time gelding was forced to take the overland route and rally into the teeth of slow fractions, so under the circumstances his third place performance in a competitive first-level allowance race wasn’t bad at all. This Chad Brown-trained son of Tapit should benefit greatly from the outing and we’re expecting a major forward move next from the Shadwell Stable color bearer. Next time, with a bit more ground to work with, he should be along in plenty of time.
BEARS REFLECTION (Feb. 26th 11th race) – Was making just her second career start on turf in her first-off-the-claim for owner-trainer Ramon Morales and ran much better then line will show in this $16,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares. Was outrun to the of the lane, had to check in traffic, then had to alter course widest of all at the furlong but picked up her momentum and finished as well as anything in the race when winding up a deceptive seventh, beaten less than three lengths. Galloped out past her rivals by the time the field hit the clubhouse turn, so she certainly seemed quite comfortable on the lawn, and we suspect that’s where her connections will keep her. Daughter of First Samurai should handle two-turns if given the chance, so next time, at what should be a very nice price, she becomes a “must play.”
DIVISIDERO (Feb. 27th, 8th race) – Was badly victimized by the race-shape (slow early, very fast late) and did as well as could possibly be expected when a fast-finishing third in the Canadian Turf Stakes won in gate-to-wire style by Hear to Heart. Lagged to the top of the lane, angled wide and finished in powerful fashion to be third in his first start since last July and his first vs. older company. The William Bradley-trained son of Kitten’s Joy should move forward a ton off this tightener and next time, with more pace and bit more ground he’ll be very difficult to contain.
MANHATTAN DAN (Feb. 27th, 1st race) – Sophomore son of Big Brown has the makings of a top class turf sprinter, if only they’ll let him be just that. Made his first start as a 3-year-old in the Texas Glitter Stakes over five furlongs on turf and simply blew away his rivals with an immense display of raw speed. Obviously loves grass and certainly is most effective when allowed to roll without any rating tactics being employed. Given these conditions, he might be able to handle just about 3-year-old turf sprinter in North America.
PINSTRIPE (Feb. 26th, 10th race) – Didn’t get the best of runs when unplaced in the OBS Sales Sprint Stakes last month but returned to winning form when back on conventional dirt in a first-level allowance sprint at Gulfstream Park and won easily without being asked for his best. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt probably will try stakes competition again next time and could be up to the task, especially if kept around one turn. We’ll trust his winning connections to choose the right spot, which might even be somewhere out of town.
SYMPATHY (Feb. 28th, 10th race) – English import hadn’t been out since October of 2014 but she was dead fit and ready to win in her U.S. debut, only to fall short by a diminishing 1 ½ lengths after encountering traffic trouble when attempting to rally at the head of the lane. Long-winded daughter of Henrythenavigator was an impressive winner over seven furlongs in her second and final start as a juvenile in Great Britain but clearly will be at her best over a distance of ground, so next time, at nine furlongs or even farther, this Chad Brown-trained four year old should have entry-level allowance competition at her mercy.
JEFF SIEGEL’S GULFSTREAM PARK BLACK BOOK
(For the week of February 15-21)
ARMANDO BIG (Feb. 18th, 6th race) – Made his fourth consecutive class drop and finally found his friends in a maiden $25,000 turf sprint for 3-year-olds. Quickly made the lead and ran his rivals off their feet to record a very impressive 7 ½ length score over five furlongs in a quick 56.24 seconds, final furlong in 11:69 seconds. Was promptly claimed by Nick Gonzalez, who, on the surface, appears to have made an excellent purchase. As a son of City Zip, his future should be on turf and he might even be able to stay a mile if kept on the sod. Wouldn’t be surprising to see him return in a starter’s allowance race for his new connections.
BIG BAZINGA (Feb. 20th, 6th race) – Made his first start since last summer at Woodbine and was dead fit and ready to fire for a low percentage outfit, winning this restricted $30,000 claiming turf router with an impressive display of late speed. Settled off the pace to the head of the lane and then responded to blow past his rivals, drawing away to score by nearly three lengths. Has a touch of back class – was stakes placed on a couple of occasions in his younger days – but seems to be coming back to his best after some R&R. If he can turn in two alike, this gelded son of Bluegrass Cat should continue his winning ways.
DESERT PRINCESS (Feb. 19th, 9th race) – Didn’t show a whole lot in her racing debut but improved considerably in her second outing when a sharp runner-up to class dropper Opie in a better-than-par maiden $16,000 claimer for older fillies and mares on turf. The daughter of Desert Party – originally a $90,000 yearling buy – was unable to match strides with the late-running winner in the final furlong but still wound up more than six lengths clear of the rest. Late developer in the George Weaver barn looks ready to graduate next time, even if bumped up to the maiden $25,000 level. Probably will stick to turf.
EILA (Feb. 17th, 10th race) – Ran away and hid from outclassed $25,000 claiming fillies in this five furlong turf sprint and looks to be a very sharp claim by Ralph Nicks. The daughter of Benny the Bull had been haltered for $12,500 off a winning race in her previous start by Jamie Ness, so the prior connections certainly turned a quick profit, but she has more winning to do judging by this 10 length romp in fast time. Seems ideally suited as turf sprinter (preferably, the shorter the better) and can win on another significant class hike next time out
MISS MUNNINGS (Feb. 21st, 7th race) – First-time starter did a lot of things wrong when finishing second, but sure did a lot of things right as well. The daughter of Munnings hopped in the air at the start and was off slowly to lose valuable position, trailed the field to the turn, then displayed a good turn of foot to loom wide into the lane and kept on coming to settle for a runner-up award while beaten four lengths by Heavenly View. Under the circumstances, it was a highly promising performance by the John Kimmel-trained 3-year-old and should set her up nicely for a diploma-earning performance next time. A nice long-distance turf prospect.
SMART MISSION (Feb. 21st, 5th race) – Won at first asking like a very good filly and has “stakes potential” written all over her. The daughter of Smart Strike from the dam of Canadian champion Irish Mission and major turf stakes winner French Beret was off slowly and allowed to lag, took hold quickly when asked on the turn and produced an impressive late turn of foot to wear down favored Akron Gold close home in a legitimate race for maiden special weight sophomore fillies over a mile on grass. The Malcolm Pierce-trained chestnut will run all day and should get nothing but better with experience. One to follow, for sure.
UNIFIED (Feb. 21st, 2nd race) – Was one of the most impressive debut winners (along with Zulu) so far at the 2016 Gulfstream meeting) when scorching six furlongs in 1:08.95 seconds, and clearly is a colt with enormous potential. Popped the gate, established the pace, fought off the well-meant Shadwell Stable colt Mutaraamy into the lane and drew clear to register the three length score. Was late changing leads and still has plenty to learn, but this son of Candy Ride could be the goods. Will probably be best up to a mile. Mutaraamy also is a very exciting prospect and will be a short price to graduate next time.
WITH EXULTATION (Feb. 15th, 9th race) – First off the George Weaver claim, this veteran New York-bred gelding exploded in the final furlong to win a competitive starter $35,000 stakes with an impressive turn of foot to win going away. Always has had ability – we once labeled him a “future star” – but seems to have finally settled down and gotten the message. Has never been the easiest of rides but once Paco Lopez got him switched off, you knew he was going to fire. There may be a pretty good state-bred race with his name on it once returns to New York in a race or two. Worth following very closely.
JEFF SIEGEL’S GULFSTREAM PARK BLACK BOOK
(For the week of February 10-14)
CIRCUS PERFORMER (Feb. 14, 9th race) – Broke his maiden at first asking in October of 2014 as a 2-year-old and then disappeared. Returned 16 months later in a competitive non-winners of two event and was a bit unlucky, racing in heavy traffic to the head of the lane, then responding late to finish eagerly but too late. After shaking off the rust, this promising son of Dynaformer will be fitter, sharper, and tougher next time out for Pletcher, especially over a longer trip. Shouldn’t miss against this same group next time.
CONQUEST STORMY (Feb. 13, 12th race) – Turned in a promising debut run in a competitive straight maiden two-turn turf affair, winding up third while finishing eagerly in a better-than-par race for the level. The Casse-trained colt should move forward with this race behind him and shouldn’t be inconvenienced by any added distance. Ready to win and it will take a pretty decent colt to deny him his diploma next time out.
LEONARDO DA VINCI (Feb. 12, 6th race) – Still a maiden after six career starts but seemed to show more spark and focus in his first start with blinkers and should be able to leave the maiden ranks in his next outing. Colt by Leroidesanimaux ran into some traffic trouble on the turn, finally got clear in deep stretch and finished as well as the winner when second in one mile turf affair. Eligible to face moderate Florida-bred competition and should take full advantage of the opportunity. Next time, with good racing luck, this Michael Tomlinson-trained sophomore figures to be along in plenty of time.
PATTERSON CROSS (Feb. 14, 10th race) – Good-looking full brother to two-time Pan American S.-G2 winner Newdad showed plenty of ability in his racing debut and has a chance to develop into a very nice long-distance turf runner. Was off slowly and lagged early, moved closer on the turn to be within range, responded wide into the lane and finished with good energy to wind up second while needing the experience badly. Should be much more focused next time for Mott and will be hard to beat no matter who shows up. The longer the better for this late-developing son of Arch.
SICARIUS (Feb. 11, 5th race) – First time starter from the Wesley Ward barn made a favorable impression in this five furlong turf sprint, settling behind the leaders and then producing a nice late run to finish a willing second in a fast race for older straight maidens. Son of Hard Spun should improve a ton off this race and will appreciate more distance in due time. Late to the party but still has a chance to develop into a decent type. Any price next time out no matter where he shows up.
STAR HILL (Feb. 13, 6th race) – Improving with racing and produced a career top effort in seven furlong maiden special weight main track sprint to graduate by nearly eight lengths. Settled off the pace to the turn, engulfed his rivals with a sharp move wide, took complete control entering the lane and was ridden out to register the visually impressive performance. The Rusty Arnold-trained son of Elusive Quality should handle more ground (and turf, too) and has a chance to build on this confidence builder when taking on tougher rivals next time out. Nice prospect.
TRULY TOGETHER (Feb. 10, 8th race) – Was making just her second career start as a newly-turned four year old but turned in a professional performance in breaking her maiden with a sharp display of late speed in nine furlong turf event for older fillies and mares. Daughter of Smart Strike from champion turf mare Forever Together settled off the pace, responded when set down and displayed a long, athletic stride in getting the final furlong in 11 2/5 seconds to win going away. She should get nothing but better with distance and experience for Michael Matz, and can be expected to move right up the ladder in a hurry.
YELLOW CHIPS (Feb. 14, 2016) – Ran well in his debut when a closing second in a maiden $50,000 claimer last month, was raised to the maiden $75,000 league in his second start and romped by more than six lengths while taking full command from just off the pace entering the stretch. Was claimed by Eddie Plesa, Jr., who has to be happy with the purchase. Son of Majesticperfection might be able to go somewhere and win a decent race; he’s just three with plenty of room to improve. Bred to sprint but should have no trouble handling a mile, and has turf breeding on the bottom side of his pedigree, so there’s that option, as well.
JEFF SIEGEL’S GULFSTREAM PARK BLACK BOOK
(For the week of February 3-7, 2016)
APRIL GAZE (Feb. 4th, 10th race) – Made it two wins in two career starts and was tons best in doing so in this starter’s allowance sprint , overcoming a dreadful trip from the rail to show her quality when it mattered the most in the closing stages. Broke poorly from the rail and lost position, moved up inside midway to be within range while lacking room, was forced to steady off heels at the quarter pole, remained in tight entering the lane, then shifted wide and quickly wore down the leaders in the final sixteenth without really being knocked about. Daughter of High Cotton still has all of her conditions, so against non-winners two she should be able to extend her winning streak to three. Pedigree suggests she’ll handle more ground; her style seems ideally suited for a one-turn mile.
BARBARENDA (Feb. 5th, 5th race) – Daughter of Sidney’s Candy is a progressive sort with a very nice future; we’re especially intrigued by her potential on grass and over a distance of ground. Now a winner of two of three lifetime starts, the 3-year-old filly showed moxie in capturing a non-winners of two main track sprint despite a less than ideal trip. Was buried on the rail with nowhere to go at the quarter pole, angled between horses while searching for room to commence her rally, then quickened readily when clear while displaying smooth, efficient action to draw off with authority. The Ralph Nicks-trained filly seems to prefer being held up early and allowed to run late and absolutely should enjoy that type of ride when given more distance to work with. Up the ladder.
BOOKEELIA ISLAND (Feb. 4th, 8th race) – Uncorked an eye-catching late kick to break his maiden in his fifth career start and if this performance is a true indication of his potential he’ll score right back for Shug on the one-level raise. Late-developing son of Medaglia d’Oro had run reasonably well with trouble in his only prior try on grass in New York, and based on this effort turf is clearly his preferred surface. It’s not too late for this four year old to develop into a quality sort, and we suspect he’ll be just that in due time.
CAPTAIN DIXIE (Feb. 3rd, 5th race) – Was making his first start since the fall and first for high percentage trainer Chad Brown, so a big effort was expected and the son of Henrythenavigator ran about as well as he could when second behind Montclair in a competitive non-winners of three other than turf event. Settled off the pace without cover, produced a strong rally very wide on the far and continued fanned out into the lane, then couldn’t match strides with perfect-tripping winner but saved the place in a strong effort. Figures to be move forward off the effort and next time, if he can manage to locate the rail somewhere along the way, he should be along in time.
FLATLINED (Feb. 7th, 11th race) – Long-fused son of Flatter probably was best when missing by a neck and a nose in this non-winners of two turf event but should make amends next time out, especially if given a chance at nine furlongs or farther. Settled in mid pack to head of the lane, found room to rally, angled wide but was carried out inside the sixteenth pole by a drifting runner and just ran out of room. Clearly much better on turf than dirt and likely will be kept on grass for here on in by Dickey. Shouldn’t make any mistakes next time, especially with more ground to work with.
HECKUVASHOT (Feb. 6th, 7th race) – Finished fourth in his racing debut behind Lookin for a Kiss but ran much better than the line will show and may have as much upside as anything in the race. Was bounced around at the start and fell back to lose his position, commenced his rally wide on the turn, was fanned out entering the lane while continuing to close and came home strongly despite failing to change leads, beaten less than four lengths for all the money. Nicely-bred son of the promising young stallion Trappe Shot has a chance to develop into a nice sort for Pletcher and with good racing luck next time will be very to deny.
SOBER ON SUNDAY (Feb. 6th, 3rd race) – Quick-actioned sophomore filly was quite impressive in her racing debut while showing for a $40,000 maiden claiming tag, and completely out classed her rivals while on the pace throughout. Finished strongly and with plenty left to register the three length score, and was promptly claimed by Mark Casse for Gary Barber. Based on pure form, this was a steal. The daughter of Awesome of Course is a Florida-bred and there should be plenty of opportunities vs. state-bred foes in the next few months for her to take advantage of.
TOMMY MACHO (Feb. 6th, 5th race) – Shortened to a one-turn mile and returned to top form when winning the Fred Hooper Stakes in a blazing 1:33 2/5 with complete authority, settling off the pace for a half and then producing an extended late run to circle the field and win going away. Except for his sloppy track score in the nine furlong Discovery H.-G2 at Aqueduct, this son of Macho Uno seems much more comfortable around one turn, and we suspect Pletcher will keep him in races up to a mile from here on in. Had been a cut below the real good ones throughout his career but this newly-turned 4-year-old might have matured sufficiently to take on better stock now. Based on this race, he’s earned it.