Two For the Money: Loved the efforts made by the exacta finishers in the Lecomte Stakes Saturday at the Fair Grounds. It might have been only a 10-pointer, but both horses have star power with continued development and will be major players on the road to the Classics.
The winning Enforceable broke maiden going a mile and an eighth—at Saratoga. That trip, that early, speaks to lung capacity and inherent class.
In his stakes debut, Enforceable finished third, beaten six lengths by the mighty Maxfield. But he was coming hard late despite the mini-turn-back and class hike.
And Enforceable was coming on again, beaten two lengths over a sloppy Churchill Downs oval, by a horse he drew away from on a fast Fair Grounds footing over the weekend.
That colt, Silver State, broke maiden on debut at Churchill a neck shy of 10 lengths, then lost a head-bobber going a mile in his second start, the sloppy surface preparing him for his Jockey Club Stakes victory to come.
On Saturday, Ricardo Santana Jr. eventually was able to get over to the inside from post #9, then had to work his way between rivals before securing running room outside, gathering momentum with each stride and closing the gap on Enforceable in the final jumps.
The thing is that Enforceable, who did get first run, still gave the appearance of a horse that was just beginning to lengthen stride at the wire.
Like Santana and Steve Asmussen, Julien Leparoux and Mark Casse have done some great things together. Seems they are about to do that once again.
Don’t Let the Pasco Distance Fool You: Tampa Bay Downs Pasco Stakes, is a good warmup for the Sam F Davis, Tampa Bay Derby, or anywhere Ralph Nicks wants to run Liam’s Lucky Charm next.
The blinkers experiment produced positive results and nothing says he has to be distance challenged. His pedigree does look sprinty, but we don’t know enough about young sire Khozan can bring to his offspring–given the amount of blacktype in his own pedigree.
‘Liam’ was beaten 10 lengths by recent impressive winner Chance It when coming back on relatively short rest in the 1-1/16 miles In Reality, his two turn debut, after thumping him the time before in the shorter Affirmed. We’ll all find out soon enough.
(In)finite: That’s right, the sky might be the limit for Finite, who is now 3-for-3 in races of a mile or longer, including two rounding two turns.
Finite’s victory in the Silverbulletday over some promising stock was amazing in that she had every right to be beaten going one mile and 70 yards in her first start since November, appearing twice in midstretch as if she would be beaten. She did bend but never was broken.
Somewhere down the line, we can’t wait to see Finite, Lake Avenue matchup. We’re sure Mr. Mott is waiting for that opportunity as well. Indeed, firs the Oaks, then the Kentucky Derby.
Again this was Team Asmussen-Santana, the trainer, who in gaining his 2,000th states victory–think about that number for a moment–is looking more like the Midwestern Classics version of Bob Baffert in terms of depth of talent.
And we’re not selling anyone short, not Mr. Brown, Mr. Casse or Mr. Pletcher. And did we mention Brad Cox, or Dale Romans, or Barclay Tagg, or Brendan Walsh, trainer of Maxfield, or Michael Trombetta and Independence Hall, who will seen action again soon.
Eye Openers: There were many but two leap to mind, one from Monday’s Martin Luther King Day card at Aqueduct. The first came on the Lecomte undercard, where Charming Lady broke maiden impressively on debut for Tom Amoss, trainer of 2019 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress.
Well supported, she was covered up early following a tardy start, extricated herself from the inside pack in midstretch, angled out sharply and was striding away strongly in the late stages, looking for more furlongs to conquer. It’s rather late in the game, but there’s no telling how good.
While our focus is on young horses at this point of the season, I was really taken by older mare Saguaro Road. Just love the way the five-year-old mare travels, head low as if one could balance a glass of water on her back as the rider sits there waiting to press a button.
At that point, she demonstrated a sharp turn of foot; blowing the Interborough field up in what seemed a matter of strides, going from fourth to first in a flash. We realize it was only seven-eighths but what a neat mare. Michael Stidham should have plenty of fun with this one in 2020.