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Jan 04, 2013

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


               As we rang in the New Year, 2013 there were a few stakes races to go over at Aqueduct and Gulfstream. We saw a three year old stakes that could impact the Florida Derby and we saw a firster from the Todd Pletcher barn really impress while breaking his maiden.

               On Tuesday January 1st, 2013, Aqueduct hosted two stakes races, the first was the Ladies Handicap, a race run over 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $75,000 for fillies and mares, three years old and upward. The race was scratched down to four horses with a couple of graded stakes warriors entering the gate as the two favorites. ARENA ELVIRA, a graded stakes winner and a winner over this track was sent off as 3-5 favorite with R GYPSY GOLD close second choice at 8-5. As the gates broke, longshot, SILVER PRIZE was sent right to the lead, set a slow pace while being tracked from second by VILLANESCA. AS they moved around the far turn, ARENA ELVIRA started to move wide to challenge the leaders while R GYPSY GOLD came up the rail, those two got together in deep stretch to battle to the wire by ARENA ELVIRA gamed out the score by a neck over R GYPSY GOLD, there was another eight lengths back to SILVER PRIZE, a New York bred who held on for third over VILLANESCA.

               Later that day in the 8th race, Aqueduct hosted the Interborough, a race going six furlongs with a purse of $75,000 for three years old and upward. There were five horses that went postward in this event after three scratches. The heavy 1-5 favorite in the race was NICOLE H, who was sent off at 1-5. She was a perfect 4 for 4 over this track heading into the race and she didn’t disappoint running her record to 5 for 5 over the inner track. When they broke from the gate, SILENT SERENITY, a speedy shipper from Woodbine was sent right to the lead and set the pace while under pressure from MILDY OFFENSIVE. As they moved around the turn and into the stretch, MILDY OFFENSIVE forged slightly ahead but NICOLE H was waiting just in behind horse for some room. The six year old mare found that hole, was sent through and took over the leading scoring an easier than looked 1 ¼ length score. MILDY OFFENSIVE held on for a clear second while SINGLET, the 7-2 second choice finished third. NICOLE H now has 10 wins from 28 starts and is ready for a big year for trainer Michael Hushion.

               Moving to Gulfstream Park on the same day they hosted four stakes races for newly turned three year olds. The first was the Spectacular Bid Stakes for three year olds going six furlongs with a $100,000 purse. MERIT MAN, the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, a race that he lost by a nose was sent off as second choice at 6-5, a few dollars less than the actual favorite, LITTLE DISTORTED. After breaking well from the rail, MERIT MAN battled through a sharp half mile with a few rivals, held a length advantage into the lane and held on late by ¾’s of a length over 50-1 longshot, CITY OF WESTON. The final time of the race was not great, 1:11:1, especially off those fast early splits. LITTLE DISTORTED, a big winner in his debut, was outrun early on and never really got going checking in a well beaten third. MERIT MAN is expected to stay sprinting and not move to the Triple Crown trail.

               In the Grade III Old Hat stakes, run over six furlongs with a purse of $100,000 had a field of five that went postward. The 1-9 favorite was KAUAI KATIE, a three year old filly by Malibu Moon from the Todd Pletcher barn ran her record to a perfect 4 for 4 when sprinting. Her only loss was in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies when she checked in fourth. When the gates opened, second choice, COR COR came out running, she set solid fractions for a half mile but she couldn’t hold off KAUAI KATIE who overwhelmed her to go on and score by eight lengths. COR COR was a clear second and POWER LADY got up for third. KAUAI KATIE is another that will probably best served to stay in sprint races but she definitely has a ton of talent.

               The Ginger Brew Stakes, a race over the turf for three year old fillies run at 1 and 1/16th miles with a purse of $75,000. A full field of 13 went postward with CORPORATE CULTURE going off as the lukewarm favorite at 7-2. After moderate fractions set by DISCREET MARC into the lane, TUTTIPAESI, an Ireland bred who has raced in Italy and England exploded through the lane for the win by two lengths over a troubled WAVE THEORY in a decent final time of 1:42:1.

               The Gulfstream Park Derby was the last stakes for the day. For three year olds, run over one mile with a purse of $100,000. A field of six went postward in this race with STAR CONTENDER,  Woodbine shipper going off as the 9-5 favorite. When the gates broke, UNDRAFTED was the first to show for the lead with SR. QUISQUEYANO stalking from second, ITSMYLUCKYDAY was not far behind racing in third. As they moved around the far turn, ITSMYLUCKYDAY and jockey Paco Lopez moved up in hand to challenge the leader, took over the lead and drew away to a very easy score by almost seven lengths in a sharp final time of 1:34:1. ITSMYLUCKYDAY, by Lawyer Ron has already won around two turns and could be a factor later in the meeting in the races leading up to the Kentucky Derby. SR. QUISQUEYANO was a clear second and UNDRAFTED finished a clear third. The favorite STAR CONTENDER didn’t do any running checking in last in his first conventional dirt try and may be better suited to the turf next out.

 



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