Searching For Angles At Keeneland



Leaving The Turf And Sprinting On Synthetic - So Far So Good

From The Jim Hurley Racing Network - Monday, April 9

Angles are what they are. They are only as good as their production value and obviously that has to be determined over a period of time, not from a two-day sample. But if you don't start looking right away at the beginning of a race meet...when are you going to begin looking?

Another thing about looking for angles; they have to make sense. In other words, form and fitness and class level, which are solid foundational handicapping necessities, have to be part of the angle if it is going to hold. Surface switches with in form horses can make sense. A certain jockey always winning the fourth race (even if he has won 4 of that race in the first 5 days) doesn't.

That being said, the first two days at Keeneland might have revealed an angle worth pursuing. And that angles is...take a solid look at any horse that is in shape (raced since the beginning of March), has shown either tracking or pressing speed on the turf at any distance in his previous race...and is switching to the synthetic dirt track at 5 ½ to 7 furlongs.

Right now that is it. And the best part is, other than list the horses that made that switch and how they finished, I don't need to go into any more detail.
Below I list the Keeneland Race Number, the distance on the synthetic surface, the name of the horse, the turf distance and track he last raced at and the result at Keeneland...

Friday, April 6

Race 2 - 6 Furlongs
Gentlemans Code - 5F T - Gulfstream - WIN $9.20
Race 3 - 6 Furlongs
Stanford Dolly - 1M T - Gulfstream - WIN $9.40
Reputa The Beautah - 5 ½ F T - Fair Grounds - 2nd Exacta $43.80
Race 4 - 7 Furlongs
Honey Chile - 5F T - Gulfstream - Out
Race 6 - 6 Furlongs
Tola - 5 ½ F T - fair Grounds - Out
Race 7 - 7 Furlongs
Ingenue - 7 ½ F T - Fair Grounds - Out
Race 8 - 7 Furlongs
Golden Yank - 1 1/16th M T - Louisiana Downs - 2nd $32.40 Place (not a misprint)
Hoofit - 1 1/16th M T - Tampa Bay - Out

Saturday, April 7

Race 2 - 5 ½ Furlongs
Easy Ashley - 5 F T - Gulfstream - 2nd $3.80 Place
Race 4 - 6 Furlongs
She's Gonna Float - 5 F T - Gulfstream - 3rd $6.40 Show
Braver - 5 ½ F T - Fair Grounds - Out
Race 6 - 7 Furlongs
Summer Breezing - 1M T - Gulfstream - WIN $12.00
Race 7 - 7 Furlongs
Mop Head - 5 ½ F T - Fair Grounds - WIN $9.60

12 Horses Ran...4 Winners...3 Seconds...1 Third
A $2 Win Wager ($24 Total) On Each Horse Returned A Total Of $40.20
That's A Return Of $3.34 For Every $2 Bet.

Will it continue? We'll see.



No Obligations - No Promises On Your Part - No Call Back

Good Luck - And Keep Looking For Those Sharp Angles



Gemologist, Alpha eye Derby rematch

Undefeated Grade 1 Wood Memorial hero Gemologist departed Belmont Park at the crack of dawn Sunday morning and was expected to arrive at Palm Meadows Training Center by mid-afternoon to begin preparations for the May 5 Kentucky Derby. Trainer Todd Pletcher said the three-year-old Tiznow colt would remain in Florida until May 1, when he would leave for Churchill Downs.

"He came out of the race really well," Pletcher said from Florida. "The tentative schedule is for him to breeze twice between now and the Derby, then fly to Kentucky on May 1. We'll leave the option to call an audible if we so chose, but as long as we're happy with the conditions down here, that's the plan."

Gemologist completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.96, for which he earned a 102 BRIS Speed Figure, best of three Derby preps run on Saturday. Owned by WinStar Farm, for whom Pletcher won the 2010 Derby with Super Saver, Gemologist also boosted his graded stakes earnings to $703,855, placing him a solid sixth on the list of Derby hopefuls. The field is limited to 20 three-year-olds based on graded stakes earnings. Another of Pletcher's three-year-olds, El Padrino, is 23rd with $250,000.

Accompanying Gemologist on the flight to Florida was Broadway's Alibi, winner of Saturday's Grade 3 Comely.

"She also came out of her race well," Pletcher said. "I have to talk with Mrs. Robsham and Anna Ford; we haven't made a decision about the (May 4 Grade 1) Kentucky Oaks. Right now, we're keeping an eye on everything."

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had logistics on the brain Easter Sunday morning as he pondered next steps on Wood runner-up Alpha's path to the Kentucky Derby.

"With Alpha we're thinking about where we go, what we do, and how we get there, but we're pointing for May 5," McLaughlin said. "He came out of the race great. He did everything right."

Godolphin Racing's Alpha broke from the rail and finished a neck behind undefeated Gemologist in the Wood, and McLaughlin believes the Bernardini colt got a valuable education in the process.

"We went with no man in the gate with him," McLaughlin said. "We decided probably the day before after talking to Roy (Williamson, head starter for NYRA).
"Roy brought it up, which was good, and (jockey) Ramon (Dominguez) had said the first time he rode him that he wants to fight the handler. We kind of hadn't gotten on the same page to do it until we (drew) the one hole.  Next to number one there's an open gate, so the starter stood in there in case he needed some help.

"But he stood great, and he broke great. He almost broke on the lead. And then he checked hard in the first turn, but quickly recovered. Everything went great except the photo. Had we won, it would have been perfect, but we did pass many tests. Good in the gate, took dirt, ran great, belongs in the Derby. It was a real, true, great prep. "

After Alpha's strong showing in the Wood, McLaughlin's only question was when to send him to Churchill Downs for the Derby.

"We might go to Kentucky a little bit earlier -- for the gate, because he had a bad experience there (when 11th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last November)," McLaughlin said.

Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito had a less profitable Wood experience with Casual Trick, who dropped back abruptly because of breathing problems. He did not finish the race and was vanned off the track.

Zito reported that Casual Trick will be examined by a veterinarian who specializes in diagnosing breathing problems at some point within the next week.

"He's feeling so good, his coat is perfect, his blood work was fabulous, but unfortunately he has some breathing problems," Zito said. "We are going to bring in a special vet that will watch him breathe with a Dynamic Respiratory Scope. We need to correct the situation."

Owned by Robert LaPenta, the three-year-old son of Bernardini displayed talent earlier in his career and went into an allowance race on January 29 at Gulfstream Park favored over two horses that have experienced recent graded success. He finished eighth in that race.

"He went into the allowance race with Take Charge Indy and El Padrino as the favorite," Zito said. "Those two horses went on to win the (Grade 1) Florida Derby (Take Charge Indy) and (Grade 2) Risen Star (El Padrino). We have a really nice horse and he is perfectly sound."

Zito added that his vets had given him clearance to race Casual Trick in the Wood Memorial after he scoped well and looked great after his most recent work.

"Why would I want to put him on the plane and run him (if he wasn't sound)?" Zito said. "This is a really good, talented horse. We have to get to the bottom of this."

Bodemeister, Drill, Holy Candy ready for weekend stakes

On Sunday at Santa Anita Park, trainer Bob Baffert worked Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes runner-up Bodemeister in company with allowance scorer Saddleranch for next Saturday's Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

Bodemeister was caught going five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 under Martin Garcia while Saddleranch posted a time of 1:00 4/5 with Rafael Bejarano up.
Arkansas Derby-bound Secret Circle is scheduled to work Monday, said Baffert, who supervised Sunday's exercises while sitting in a Santa Anita grandstand seat along with his brother, Bill.

"I feel better this morning," said the Hall of Fame trainer, who is recovering from a heart attack suffered on March 26 while in Dubai. "I was a little weak yesterday. Now I feel like 100 dollars."

Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity winner Drill, hero of the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes last out, also worked for Baffert, going five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 with Garcia aboard.

First expected to contest Saturday's Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Drill will instead head to Oaklawn for the Northern Spur on the Arkansas Derby undercard, according to Daily Racing Form.

Baffert had three starters in Saturday's Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in a bid to add to his record sixth win in the race. After third-place Blueskiesnrainbows, 9-1 shot Paynter, making only his second career start, finished fourth, while Liaison ran sixth.

"Paynter stumbled at the start and that sort of took him out," Baffert explained. "I was hoping he'd be sitting second or third. Turning for home, I thought maybe he'd be able to pull it off, but I guess Creative Cause kind of ran by. Liaison just never really got untracked."

Asked whether Liaison would go on to Kentucky, since he should have enough graded earnings at $393,000, Baffert indicated he planned to ship him, along with fillies Eden's Moon and Princess Arabella, who are candidates for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 4.

"Liaison never has liked this track," Baffert replied. "He ran well yesterday. He broke his maiden here. But he ran better at Hollywood Park. Bejarano never really seemed comfortable on him -- he got stuck on the inside a little.

"Blueskiesnrainbows is the kind of horse that maybe goes to the Belmont. He could run all day. That was a big improvement for him. Paynter ran a really good race. He had some trouble and still figured it out.

"The winner ran a good race. He was in the same spot all the way, and the kid (Mario Gutierrez) rode a really good race. He was just stalking us, and Creative Cause looked like he was going to open up, and he just cut in between there. He ran fast."

Joe Talamo, on a roll in recent weeks, had high praise for Blueskiesnrainbows. "We had an unbelievable trip," said the jockey, who just scored his 1,000th career victory on Thursday. "He got to the lead and pretty much had the race to himself the whole way. We tried kicking away at the quarter-pole and he really responded well. He just got outrun by two really good horses.

"I think he's going to get better from there. He really stepped up from his previous form. For me personally, I'm glad I'm finishing strong this meet after a slow start. That's horse racing, just up and down. You just have to stick with it."

In other news, impressive maiden winner Holy Candy, who passed the Santa Anita Derby for the Blue Grass, worked six furlongs Sunday at Santa Anita for John Sadler in 1:13 2/5. The son of Candy Ride will ship into Keeneland "about mid-afternoon Tuesday."

"We thought three weeks would be better than two (following his maiden win) and Candy Rides run well on both surfaces, and he's done a lot of training on synthetics (Keeneland's main track is synthetic Polytrack)," Sadler said when asked about skipping the Santa Anita Derby.

"It was tough; they ran good. It's a really good group this year, from what I've seen," he added about the race's outcome.

Santa Anita Derby top two headed to Kentucky

I'll Have Another and Creative Cause, featured players in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby drama that unfolded Saturday in the closest finish in the three-year-old contest since 1985 when Skywalker nosed out Fast Account, came out of their mano-a-mano in good order and it's on to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby on May 5, albeit on different paths.

Plans were undecided Sunday morning on when I'll Have Another will head to Kentucky, but Creative Cause is set to ship on April 28.

"He looks good this morning," trainer Mike Harrington said of Creative Cause. "He was a little tired but none the worse for wear. He'll ship on the 28th."

I'll Have Another, the 4-1 second choice, edged 9-10 favorite Creative Cause by a nose in a thrilling three-horse photo finish in which 42-1 outsider Blueskiesnrainbows finished third by a half-length after setting the pace.

"He came out great," trainer Doug O'Neill said of I'll Have Another. "He ate up his dinner and his legs were ice cold this morning.

"I'm not sure whether we'll ship to Kentucky a few weeks out or a week out. Plans haven't been finalized."

I'll Have Another, a son of Flower Alley, was ridden by Mario Gutierrez for owner J. Paul Reddam. The jockey enjoyed a subdued post-Santa Anita Derby victory celebration Saturday evening.

"I had dinner with friends," the 25-year-old native of Mexico said.

Gutierrez has another shot at a Derby mount, as he will pilot Reddam's Handsome Mike in next Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.



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