Saturday, January 12, 2013
Big Balloons at the Beach
HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA., January 12, 2013—If the speed boys will tell you anything, it is this is the time of the year when age matters. All the buzz, of course are for two-year-olds turning three, but three turning four is no less significant.
Call it the maturity angle or anything you wish but you need to pay attention. And, personally speaking, we think it also relates to four-year-old geldings turning five. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.
Mucho Mas Macho, a recently turned four-year-old gelding chose the appropriate moment to raise his game, the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale Handicap, getting up the last jump to beat his four-year-old peer, Tiz Sardonic Joe, by a neck.
Five-year-old Big Blue Kitten, jammed up behind a wall of horses into the lane, squeezed through a narrow opening, steadied briefly, resurged between rivals a second time, but all that effort found him wanting by 1-1/4 lengths at the post.
Favored Nikki’s Sandcastle, a little dull and quiet in the walking ring, essential ran to his looks but did well to finish fourth, a head farther back, his bid to become the meet’s only three-time winner foiled.
But if you believe Big Blue Kitten had it tough, here’s the Equibase footnote on Barclay Tagg’s runner: “Sky Blazer…wanted to pick up the pace heading into the turn, lacked racing room, settled back a bit, angled out, blocked behind horses upper stretch, steadied slightly, slipped through tight quarters, and flattened out in late strides.”
Virtual stable, please.
This added up to plenty of balloons, the winner, who last out was a good second in the G2, 1-1/2 miles McKnight at Calder at 39-1, got even for his fans by scoring at 41.60 to the dollar, topping a $1,322 Exacta and a $1 Superfecta worth $16,548.
The MacDiarmida is up next for the Macho Uno gelding. It was a very good day for the Calder-based veteran trainer, a very emotional Henry Collazzo. He was ridden to the minute by Juan Leyva. It’s unlikely the crowd will ignore him next time,
And there will be plenty of big balloons up for grabs in Sunday’s Rainbow Six, which has gone un-hit by a single winner since Christmas time, leaving a carryover of over $201,000.
The Rainbow Six jackpot is paid out only if there is a single winner. The bet costs 10-Cents. Meanwhile, several winners collected over $20,000 sans jackpot. And the 50-Cent Pick 5 returned more than $109,000.
First post Sunday is 12:45 pm.
Bets n’ Pieces: Kudos to trainer Chris Block who reached a career milestone by upsetting the second race with the appropriately named All for Thee, out-bobbing odds-on Fantasy of Flight at the wire. Midwest-based, Block’s mom and dad were on hand to witness the event…
The Rainbow Six began with an inscrutable maiden allowance for three-year-olds on turf, and it was won by a horse that might have a bright future. His name is Jack Milton and was impressive breaking maiden for the Pletcher-Velazquez team.
Stalking the pace while racing wide throughout, Jack Milton kicked away from the speedy Sweet Mike then had little difficulty holding debuting War Dancer safe, another first-timer. This colt was from the Ken McPeek barn and was neglected at 35-1, as sons of War Front finishing 1-2. Despite favorable whispers, the Pletcher sophomore went into the gate at 7-2….
Bill Mott is not known for his success with debut types but it’s clear that he couldn’t help but win at first asking with debuting three-year-old filly Calistoga, which went to the front and improved her position beneath Joel Rosario. Speed was very strong Friday but not so on today’s card, making her effort that much more impressive.
By Speightstown, from the Holy Bull mare, Styler, she was bet early and often but blew out to 9-2 at post time. She won by 5-1/2 lengths over Iroquois Girl, who finished seven in front of odds-on favorite Bliss. Calistoga appeared relaxed as she went her half-mile in :45.44 and completed six furlongs in 1:09.77.