I slept/worked through the weekend basically, leaving me no time or energy to do much handicapping. Frustratingly enough, all the races I would have bet on were won by horses I anticipated would win, including back-to-back Sunland features (Daddy Nose Best in the Derby, Miss Arabella in the Oaks), the Pan Am (Newsdad), the Rushaway (Flashy Dresser), and a couple other minor races I was looking forward to. I did place two small wagers in the Spiral on Tizanexpense and Mr. Prankster, and obviously was a bit disappointed by those two efforts. Next weekend, for sure, I’ll be around more with that nice Gulfstream card, especially since it’s one of my better tracks.
When it rains, it apparently pours at Santa Anita, where on Sunday the turf-bound Santa Ana surprisingly stayed on grass despite a driving rainstorm fuzzing up the visuals. It served as the next graded turn for the promising turf specialist City to City, the spry youngster Cambina [IRE], and the up-and-coming Arch daughter, Bauble Queen. It was a pretty textbook grass race with Strawberrydaiquiri (GB) playing follow the leader through steady fractions that lasted through to the final turn for home, where several fillies began to strong-arm their way to the front. City to City made her bid, but it was an open race all the way down the stretch among five horses trying to stick their nose out in front: the Chilean entry Vamo a Galupier, Wild Mia, City to City, Hard Seven, and Camelia Rose [FR] all rushing gamely in the final sixteenth. In the waning yards, it was Vamo a Galupier who had the most horsepower, making a dramatic leap ahead while others behind her were separated by mere noses. It was the first American graded win for the mare ridden expertly by Mike Smith, but it just added to a star-powered weekend for the sire Proud Citizen, whose son Went the Day Well won the Spiral Stakes (III) the day before. Watch replay below
The Rushaway Stakes was an ungraded, softer race for late-blooming three-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles on Turfway’s synthetic track, but was by no means a snoozer for nice horses. Gung Ho, a son of the top Turfway sire Kitten’s Joy, was sent off as the favorite against the returning Gold Megillah, both nominated to the Triple Crown. Despite a little gate issue and a subsequent stumble, Gung Ho was able to get up toward the front end, sitting second side-by-side with second-choice Dynamic Host. Catching up with those two on the backstretch ribbon was Flashy Dresser, making his move early to duel with Gung Ho coming down the stretch. It looked like Luis Contreras was having a little trouble getting Flashy Dresser to swap leads coming for home, and it was funny to see how much bigger this colt was than the stubborn Gung Ho, who took advantage of Flashy Dresser’s lead change to poke back into the lead. But, Contreras prevailed and the son of Flashy Bull leapt back into a duel with Gung Ho to win by a short 1/2 length margin. A great race to watch, it gave its big brother the Spiral Stakes (III) a run for its money in excitement. Watch the replay