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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Hallandale Beach, FL, February 6, 2023 – We begin out west with the Robert Baffert Invitational at 1-1/16 miles and the big takeaway is that Newgate has learned his lessons well and is ready for stiffer challenges.

As noted in the Saturday Tote Busters© play, after chasing the pace in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Newgate was recycled back into the G3 Bob Hope sprinting, his first career run without blinkers after three prior starts.

He raced close to the early pace per usual despite a bobbing beginning but appeared more amenable to rating. He made a wide bid but flattened out behind a repeat winner, one of two out of the Bob Hope to win next time out.

It was back to two turns for the G3 Sham when he was introduced to Frankie Dettori. Dettori took him back to fifth and last before making a late run for the first time. He did reach even terms, but stayed one-paced at the end.

Newgate was now ready to put it all together and he did so in the Lewis. Content to trail, it was another educational journey as Dettori inched closer at the turn without asking, waiting before eventually sweeping into the clear to make his run.

The Into Mischief colt lengthened strides late as if ready a bigger challenge. If indeed there is a Derby in his future that will need to be determined either in a court room or subsequent new barn.

As if dissecting the prep process isn’t challenging enough…

In South Florida, Rocket Can made the step that Newgate made yesterday in his juvenile finale and came out smoking in his three year old debut, taking the G3 Holy Bull with an authoritative late run, crossing the line in full stride and with energy in reserve.

Added ground should be better for this Into Mischief colt from a Tapit mare. Given the timing, we would think that Bill Mott has plenty of options to get the required qualifying point for May’s first Saturday.

We’d be surprised if Rocket Can had more than one more serious prep for the big dance. Two observations re disappointing favorite Cyclone Mischief:

We guessed wrong . He did bounce off his impressive surface win going a mile; empty midway of the far turn. Additionally, he seemed uncomfortable racing between rivals throughout and probably resented rating, too. The guess is he wants to be given his head; should not be discarded off one poor effort.

Shug McGaughey’s General Jim is again ready to take on the heavy-heads going long. The blinkers experiment worked to perfection, allowing Luis Saez to get into the race sooner, as ‘Jim’, yet another Into Mischief colt, was sharp early, had excellent turn of foot at the turn, and showed his class late.

He will be ready for whatever comes next. He’s now had two well-spaced starts at 3 and it seems he would run twice more before a sojourn to Louisville. Whatever comes next, it will be the right move with Shug calling the shots.

Interestingly, there was a three year old allowance race on the card in which the winner was more visually impressive than either stakes winner, and Saez could have a difficult decision to make down the road if General Jim and Todd Pletcher’s Tapit Trice make it as far as Kentucky.

Making his third career start at a flat mile, Tapit Trice made a devastating turn move to reach contention before drawing off impressively late.

Not only did Tapit Trice hit the wire in full stride but showed great energy doing so, very much appearing to be seeking more ground. In a blink, he was eight in front at the line, stopping the timer in 1:36.44. We eagerly await his two-turn debut.

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