American Turf Magazine
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Mar 16, 2012

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


               There were three prep races leading to the Kentucky Derby run over the weekend of March 10-11th run over three different tracks and two different surfaces.

               On Saturday March 10th at Tampa Bay downs they hosted the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby run over 1 and 1/16th miles with a purse of $350,000. There was a field of 11 horses that went postward after TAKE CHARGE INDY scratched, with the favorite’s role going to the Todd Pletcher trainee, SPRING HILL FARM, who was undefeated in two starts at Gulfstream Park. Co-second choices in the race, PROSPECTIVE at 3-1 was exiting the Sam F Davis earlier in the meeting when he closed to finish second to BATTLE HARDENED the winner of that race. CAJUN CHARLIE, a Louisiana bred who was coming into the race on a three race win streak was sent right to the lead from post 11, he set fractions through the first half mile in 47 flat while being tracked by longshot FOX RULES who was in second. SPRING HILL FARM raced in third into the backstretch but was quickly joined by PROSPECTIVE, who added blinkers but got a nice spot just inside of SPRING HILL FARM heading into the far turn. PROSPECTIVE moved to challenge the leader into the lane while under the whip, he was quickly joined by GOLDEN TICKET who was coming off his maiden win. Those two battled through the lane with PROSPECTIVE scoring by ¾’s of a length late, GOLDEN TICKET three lengths clear of COZZETTI who closed for third over SPRING HILL FARM. BATTLE HARDENED was a non-threatening sixth. PROSPECTIVE, ran his record to four wins from seven tries and looks like he should be able to stretch-out a bit further and is an interesting prospect, so is GOLDEN TICKET who ran very well but is probably up against it the further they go.

               At Santa Anita on Saturday they hosted the Grade II San Felipe stakes, run over 1 and 1/16th miles with a purse of $300,000. There was a field of 10 going postward with the favorite’s role going to BODEMEISTER, who was coming off a huge maiden win back on February 11th. The very close second choice in the race was CREATIVE CAUSE, the winner of the Grade I Norfolk over this track last year and a third place finisher in his first start as a three year old in the San Vincente. As the gates opened, AMERICAN ACT was gunned to the lead clearing BODEMEISTER into the first turn, with longshot TIZ POINT settling in third; CREATIVE CAUSE found a nice spot in fifth about five lengths off the leaders. As they moved into the far turn, BODEMEISTER took over the lead but CREATIVE CAUSE was starting to move challenging that rival into the lane. BODEMEISTER battled back to take over a short lead as CREATIVE CAUSE drifted out but the latter finally got rolling and edged away late to score ¾’s of a length in a final time of 1:41:4. BODEMEISTER was over two lengths clear of the show horse, MIDNIGHT TRANSFER who also ran well for third. Both CREATIVE CAUSE and BODEMEISTER stamped themselves as serious contenders and should be followed going forward as the Derby is about seven weeks away on May 5th.

               At Gulfstream Park on March 11th they hosted the Grade III Palm Beach Stakes, run over the turf with a purse of $150,000 at 1 and 1/8th miles. HOWE GREAT the odds-on choice in the race was going for four wins in a row after two straight wins over the turf. Right up on the pace from the inside, HOWE GREAT saved all the ground through decent splits of 23:4, 47:2, 1:11:2, as they turned into the lane HOWE GREAT spurted away with the only purser was the second choice DULLAHAN, who was coming off a fourth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. Although this race was run over the turf, HOWE GREAT, owned by Team Valor, the owner of last year’s Derby winner ANIMAL KINGDOM, was pointing this horse to the Bluegrass at Keeneland for a possible start in the Kentucky Derby. He already has a win over the main track and showed that he is tractable with that win in the Palm Beach Stakes. DULLAHAN was also prepping and ran very well racing wide into the lane while closing ground late on the winner. He should improve a ton off that race and has a shot to be a contender going forward.

              



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