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Jan 14, 2005

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


We will take a look at some of the races run at Aqueduct, Gulfstream

and Santa Anita over the weekend of January 8th and 9th. There were

a few interesting stakes races along with some allowance races that may

 have a big impact on the Triple Crown trail.

On January 8th at Aqueduct they were supposed to run the Count Fleet

 Stakes but they had to cancel due to the track conditions. That race

 was rescheduled and will be the start of Triple Crown prep races in

 New York. On Sunday the 9th, there was no stakes race but we did

 see an entry level allowance race that saw an interesting prospect.

 DIAMOND WILDCAT made it two in a row and stretched out nicely

 to score going wire to wire. The time of 1:38:3 was reasonable and we

 may see this colt in other New York preps. Runner-up BYANOSEJOE

 is also an interesting prospect and should be followed this winter.

At Gulfstream on January 8th, we saw three stakes races along with an

allowance race that was won by a top prospect. In the allowance race,

 DEARLY BRED made it two in a row, getting up to score by a half

 length in a solid time of 1:22:4. 3YO colt by MARIA’S MON is

 on the improve for trainer Rick Violette Jr. (trained READ THE FOOTNOTES)

 who knows how to get them ready.

In the Aventura Stakes, a race for three year olds going a mile out

 of the new chute at Gulfstream we saw a very solid prospect.

 HIGH FLY, ran his record to 3 for 3 but his explosion in the

final 1/8th of a mile was visually impressive and this ATTICUS colt

 is one to watch as the preps get longer. The following race was the

MR. PROSPECTOR H., a Grade III for three year old and upward

 sprinters going six furlongs. The slight favorite was

SHAKE YOU DOWN who contested the pace but tired in the drive.

The race went to SARATOGA COUNTY who trailed the field early

 before exploding on the turn, scoring by two and a half lengths.

This four year old is obviously on the improve and that race makes

 him the one to watch on the sprint scene for right now.

The last race of the day was the Grade III Hal’s Hope stakes. This

race went to the 2-1 favorite BADGE OF SILVER. Trained by

 Bobby Frankel, BADGE OF SILVER was coming off a second

 place finish in the Cigar Mile and dug in gamely to score by a

 neck. Stalking a quick pace of the undefeated COMMENTATOR

and 143-1 SMOOTH LOVER, he took over into the stretch and

 held off the late closing DYNEVER. BADGE OF SILVER is

 probably better suited to one turn races but at this point he can

 take advantage of a weak handicap division this winter.

At Santa Anita on January 8th, they ran two Graded stakes

 races. In the Grade III San Gorgonio Handicap, which was

 run over the main track instead of the turf because of

the huge amounts of rain went to FENCELINENEIGHBOR. With

 only five horses left this wasn’t a strong field, especially on the

very sloppy track. In the Grade II San Pasqual which was

run a few races later went to CONGRATS, who stalked the pace

 and took over and scored easily. The even money favorite

TOTAL IMPACT ran on for second but did have some trouble handling the track.

On the following day, Santa Anita also cancelled their races

after running one race because of the track condition due to

 the rain. The weather is supposed to clear up in Southern California

 as we head into the start of the handicap and Triple Crown prep races.

We have seen a few interesting prospects, especially in the three

 year olds which will help us get through the winter. Hey, the

Kentucky Derby is less than five months away.



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