Weekend Recap 3/9

Game on Dude comes back in style to win the Santa Anita Handicap

Game on Dude went right to the front and held off challenges from his two big rivals to win the $750,000 Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap for a record third time.  Sent off as the 7/2 third choice, Game on Dude and Mike Smith went right to the front and carved out very solid fractions, including an opening half mile in 45.39 seconds.  Mucho Macho Man ( Top Selection) came after him going into the far turn as did Will Take Charge ( 2nd Selection) as the three big names all lined up at the 3/8ths pole.  Game on Dude found another gear though at the quarter pole as Mucho Macho Man came under a ride and Will Take Charge was caught wide.  Game on Dude spurted away from Will Take Charge at the eighth pole and for a minute it looked like Will Take Charge might come catch him, but Game on Dude just kept on finding more and drew off to win by a length and three quarters, stopping the clock in a near track record of 1:58.17 for the mile and one quarter.  Will Take Charge was well clear in the second spot and Blingo ( 3rd Selection) who closed up to be third.

Winning Prize ( Top Selection) went wire to wire to take home the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile.  Sent off as the 7/2 third choice, Winning Prize and Corey Nakatani were able to set solid fractions and hold off late challenges from Lochte who ran on for second and defending champion of the race Suggestive Boy ( Longshot) who ran on for third.  Sahara Sky ( 2nd Selection) unleashed a visually impressive rally as he and Joel Rosario weaved their way through traffic and exploded late to reel in Big Macher to win the $250,000 San Carlos Stakes.  Sahara Sky was coming off of a dull performance, but trainer Jerry Hollendorfer had him ready on Saturday as he proved he was back.

California Chrome ( Top Selection) put in one of the more memorable performances of the day as he broke beautifully and cruised all the way around the oval to a seven length win in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes.  Sent off as the 7/5 favorite after the scratch of Bayern, California Chrome and Victor Espinoza caught a flyer out of the gate and took the field through a solid half mile in 45.55 seconds.  Midnight Hawk was in second throughout the race and took a run at California Chrome coming to the quarter pole, but Espinoza had plenty of horse left and California Chrome re-broke at the top of the lane and pulled away.  Midnight Hawk held second while Kristo ( Longshot) got third.

Ring Weekend goes all the way to win the Tampa Bay Derby

Ring Weekend and Daniel Centeno went straight to the lead and were never challenged as they galloped around the Tampa Bay Downs oval to win the Tampa Bay Derby.  Sent off at odds of 14/1 and having only a maiden win, Ring Weekend broke beautifully and went out to set strong fractions down the backstretch.  Ring Weekend made a big move for home, opening up five lengths on the turn and never looked back, holding on to win by three emphatic lengths.  Vinceremos ( 3rd Selection) burst from out of the pack to get up and run second with Surfing USA ( Top Selection) finishing up in third.

Testa Rossi ( Top Selection) blasted by her rivals down the stretch to pull away and win the Florida Oaks by three and one half lengths.  Long shot Istanford was the early pacesetter and looked to try and steal the race at the top of the lane.  But Testa Rossi and Jose Lezcano had tons of horse and blew by at the eighth pole.  Cloud Scapes ( 3rd Selection) was always close up and rallied in the final yards to catch Waterway Run to get up and win the Hillsborough Stakes by a nose.  Sent off at odds of 7/2, Cloud Scapes and Erick Rodriguez had the lead early but yielded to long shot Donna’s Fly Girl.  Cloud Scapes though stayed close up and even though Waterway Run got first run, Rodriguez and Cloud Scapes had more left and got up for the win.

Palace Malice digs in and re-rallies to win the Gulfstream Park Handicap

Palace Malice got his four year old campaign off to a good start when he battled back to win the $250,000 Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap.  Sent off as the 6/5 favorite, Palace Malice ( Top Selection) broke from the outside and stayed out in the clear early on as Itsmyluckyday and Falling Sky went out and set the pace.  Palace Malice came up to get the lead at the top of the stretch but got passed by Uncaptured in the middle of the lane.  Golden Ticket ( 2nd Selection) came rallying down the outside and for a minute it looked like Palace Malice might finish in third.  But John Velazquez got Palace Malice to re-rally and they got up late to win by a head.  Golden Ticket was second while Uncaptured wound up third.

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