by Anthony Kelzenberg
The following trips are from the date listed at the top of each section.
Friday, Nov. 14th
Churchill Downs R1 – Maiden Claiming $30,000 – 2yo – 1 and 1/16 miles (dirt)
The winner, SHOWERED, had the “ultimate equipment change” – being a first-time gelding – and showed tactical early foot from the inside and finished best of all after slow fractions to draw off under heavy pressure. Fits with $25,000 N2L horses on tracks that have deep surfaces (Churchill, Turfway, Oaklawn).
Churchill Downs R3 – N2x/$62,500 Opt. Claimer – 3up Fillies and Mares – 5f (turf)
ANGIES PRIM LADY showed a lot of mental toughness chasing the sharp early leader while four lengths back without coming off the bit. She eventually knuckled down in the straight and came home a very strong winner. Definitely an effort worthy of a listed stakes race at Churchill Downs, or perhaps at Gulfstream later.
Churchill Downs R6 – Maiden Special Weight – 2yo Fillies – 1 and 1/16 miles (turf)
Runner up (at 26/1) HOLIDAY HOSTESS had a clean trip while wide from post eleven, but did not change leads in the stretch and that is a negative sign. Fit horses that do not have physical or mental issues change leads and finish better.
Churchill Downs R8 – Maiden Special Weight – 2yo Fillies – 1 mile (dirt)
Even money favorite MAKIN’ SENSE also did not change leads in the stretch in her race. She may well be vulnerable moving up to face winners.
Del Mar R5 – Cal-bred Maiden Special Weight – 2yo – 1 mile (turf)
P CLUB was forced to circle the entire field 5 wide on the second turn, continued to chase willingly, but could not catch “perfect trip winner” Zinvor, who looks like a good colt too. Good effort by both horses. Play P CLUB right back vs. Cal-bred maidens.
Saturday, Nov. 15th
Aqueduct R5 – N1x – New York Bred 3up – 1 Mile (turf)
19/1 winner Noosh’s Tale had the dream trip of all time, essentially hugging the rail the entire trip. Make this one beat you they next time it runs. MACAGONE was game enough after setting insane fractions (23.09, 46.82) over YIELDING turf. I would seriously consider playing MACAGONE to win against this kind if the course was good or firm and similar 6/1 odds. A jock switch from Fernando Jara might also be warranted.
Aqueduct R7 – Red Smith – Grade 3 – 1 and 3/8 miles (turf)
MARGANO and CALVADES both pulled very hard early, indicating neither was relaxing and that they may well want shorter distance races, where the pace would be faster, allowing both horses to relax, or “switch off.” Margano (at 27/1) put in a huge effort, as he was the only horse near the pace to be close at the finish. An ideal future spot for Margano would be in a high-level allowance or stakes race at 9 furlongs at either Tampa Bay Downs (best) or Gulfstream.
Aqueduct R8 – N1x – New York Bred 3up – 6 furlongs (dirt)
MIGHTY ZEALOUS never changed leads, which caused him to get fatigued and peak early on his run. He hung badly and lost the race in a photo.
Aqueduct R9 – Maiden Special Weight – New York Bred 3up – 1 mile (dirt, taken OFF the grass)
5/2 HOT CITY GIRL did not switch leads and drifted in severely under a right-handed whip. Fortunately she was well clear at the time and the other runners were not affected. Considering she was facing a weak maiden field and now has to face winners, she could be easily handled by legitimate dirt allowance horses.
Churchill Downs R8 – Maiden Special Weight – 2yo – 6 furlongs (dirt)
17/1 LATENT REVENGE got it very soft on the front end, easily making an unpressured lead of 22.24 and 46.90. The fact that he was very wobbly in the lane and did not finish in the top two had to be disheartening to his backers. Most likely needs to drop to a weak $40,000 Maiden Claimer (maybe at 5.5 furlongs) to get a win.
26/1 winner BO TALON was off the bit while chasing on the turn from the inside. Jockey John Court never gave up on his mount and kept pushing and cajoling his horse with the whip to get the horse interested. The winner eventually picked up the bit inside the 1/16th pole and finished strong to the line, holding off even-money favorite TAPIT WICKED. A horse like BO TALON that can do so many things wrong and not even act like a racehorse can be dangerous because maybe next time he grabs the bit earlier and runs faster. Without looking at speed figures for this race I would make BO TALON a contender at the N1x allowance level.
TAPIT WICKED had a 5 wide run from post 12 and deserves another chance. The other horses in this field appear to be below MSW grade.
Churchill Downs R9 – Mrs. Revere Stakes – Grade 2 – 3yo Fillies – 1 and 1/16th miles (turf)
4/1 Winner SPARKLING REVIEW, in my opinion, is the best 3yo filly on turf in North America and would fit well with 3yo fillies anywhere. I’d love to see her connections try to stretch her out to 9 furlongs or longer next year, as the way the hits the line so well at shorter distances says there is more in the tank with this gal.
Gulfstream Park West R9 – N1x/$75,000 Opt. Clm. – 2YO FILLIES – 7.5 furlongs (turf)
Runner up FEARLESS PRINCESS had to check slightly on the second turn while in the 3 path and was forced out more at the 70 yard mark to just lose the photo in a game effort.
Del Mar R4 – Maiden Special Weight – 3up – 1 mile (turf)
Interesting race. Jockey KEIRAN FALLON was tracking inside on the second turn behind two speed horses and his mount MONSIEUR POWER was denied a clear run three times. Other horses behind Monsieur Power also could not get a run. 26/1 winner SON OF WAR (A son of War Front paid $54 to break his maiden on the grass? Wow.) rallied from a wide stalking position to win going away. I did not look at SON OF WAR’s form coming in (it must have been dreadful), but this horse has a very smooth action on the grass, he has a decent tactical cruising speed and he is a beautiful horse to look at. He lengthened his stride nicely to win well and he might move forward off this effort. I would have to make SON OF WAR a contender at the N1x allowance level.