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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

OFF-TURF UPDATE: “GOING GULFSTREAM” AND “TAMPA BAY TODAY’ FOR THE NEW YEAR

Happy Birthday equines, and a Healthy New Year to you, your connections, the HRI Faithful, and to horseplayers everywhere.

We warned everyone that yesterday’s Pegasus Preview card was difficult, then I went out and proved it. Got a little unlucky with some price shots but that’s the game.

Nevertheless, I graded myself an F in handicapping for yesterday’s card. Thankfully, I will wake even on Sunday morning. And so it begins anew…

Going out for one race today, the Mucho Macho Man–and I thought yesterday’s card had two races that were very difficult. But it can’t rival today’s flat mile in which Florida-based Derby horses begin the chase.

For openers, it’s difficult picking between an uncoupled pair from Rusty Arnold; both are 8-1 and have been working together, and well, at deepish Payson Park.

Laver won like a good horse, moving between horses for the lead, was pressured by two rivals at the time and found enough class to last going a flat mile at Churchill. After all that, Saez is sticking with General Jim today.

Martin Garcia nearly fell off after Fliparino stumbled at the start of the G3 Street Sense going a sloppy two turns, but made a sustained run to finish a game third. He won his debut sprinting 5-1/2 furlongs, not the game distance for Honor Code babies.

General Jim (4-1) is going turf to dirt for Shug, who won the G3 Suwannee River with Stolen Holiday, and gets Luis to stick after Saez won twice aboard the $850K Into Mischief yearling. He had a big excuse last out now is back on dirt, where he was a promising third in his sprint debut at Saratoga.

Mr Bob (5-1) was an excellent second in the Ed Brown, breaking sharply but then dropping back on the turn as if he was done, only to re-rally with a strong-finish placing. Loses Saez, too, but gets Irad.

Lord Miles (8-1) made a stunning debut, showing speed from the gate despite trouble, taking back, circled wide at the turn, 6-wide into the lane on the move while being showed a right-handed stick. powered past rivals, then won geared down by 5-3/4s.

He worked in 59 4/5 from the gate on Christmas eve for this and Saffie Joseph, who won the Harlan’s Holiday on New Year’s Eve with a 3-year-old and can’t wait to find out what he has in Lord Miles. Stable rider Edgard Zayas gets the return call.

I could bet any of these but it will be a game time, paddock decision. At the moment, if the early line holds, the lean goes to Laver to win, key boxing trifectas with the four rivals mentioned above.

Rain, Rain Stay Away

Part of the reason for the posting delay is to see how the weather was going to affect the card in Oldsmar. Early forecasts were for rain and he have a love for the Tampa turf. Glad we waited.

At this posting, it’s cloudy at the northern Florida track and we assume that today’s sixth will be run on grass as scheduled.

Here’s unusual circumstance #2: I’m not going to believe my lying eyes. If I were I would have no choice than to look for Prudent Song (3-1) to repeat, given the quality of his win over the course, DEC 10, Race 5.

First, she looked to be a runoff. But taken in hand, she settled but was pressured almost immediately. She repulsed the challenged, was hard ridden entering the lane, and drew off as impressively as any horse has.

Consequently, she would be our choice. But we were burned so badly by the impressive O’Connor who raced dully off a huge performance while his uncoupled mate won, I don’t want to start the year with that same possible scenario. And she likely goes favorite off that effort.

Instead, we’re taking Entwine (7-2), returning to her proper level in her second start for Kathleen O’Connell. S

Entwine did her best running too late last out vs. allowance rivals on NOV 26, Race 7, earning a competitive Thoro-Graph figure and goes for a barn that’s a profitable 23% effective with second-time starters/acquisitions, the scenario here.

Along with the class drop to her winning level comes Antonio Gallardo in the boot.

We’re betting Entwine to win at 5-2 or greater and key-boxing exotics first and second with mate Take to The Skies (8-1) with the white hot Hector Diaz, Summer At the Spa (9-2), making her first start off the Darien Rodriguez acquisition, and, of course, the uber impressive Prudent Song.

Once again, happiness being a relative state of mind, we wish all in on personal orbit, personal and professional, the healthiest of new years.

Sixth race is off the grass. RACE 2: Charging Aero (3-2) is back in Darien Rodriguez barn; improvement expected. Taking Charging Aero to win, no price restrictions, exacta key-boxes with She’s Rednecker (9-2) and Royal Court (9-2).

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