Horses To Watch - Week Ending May 18


… Extra Oxygen Reaches Their Brains

If put big clown foot on…shoot with gun wasn't such an off-repeated stunt with the ever unfolding fiasco that is New York Racing this California Chrome Nasal Strip (should be) non-story would actually be rather funny.

Obviously, funny it wasn't.

Since any media attention outside of the feeble home grown thoroughbred industry's attempt to promote their game garners public interest only five days a year (the three triple crown and two breeders' cup days) we with interest in anything positive are delighted by content as positive as that now in place virtue of the newest Triple Crown Champ In Waiting and all the great personality stories emanating from his camp.

Fortunately what could have been a longer clown college fiasco as the likes of know little of horse racing fools at ESPN and their punditry ilk used the nasal strip issue as fodder for their unfunny disdain was shut down quickly on Monday when the New York stewards announced that the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will be permitted to wear the strip in the Belmont Stakes.

That the rule prohibiting such a strip exists in New York and not on the Kentucky or Maryland circuit of course bespeaks a much larger issue regarding the dysfunctional disregard for continuity in the all-too-often fragmented game of horse racing is absolutely a subject of further discussion…but for now we can at least be grateful that as big as the clown foot is, the bullet missed.

From A Report Compiled By Blood-Horse Let This Be The One And Only Reference Before We Move On…

On May 18 California Chrome's trainer Art Sherman contacted the stewards (one representing the New York State Gaming Commission, one representing NYRA, and another representing The Jockey Club) requesting permission to use nasal strips on the horse in the Belmont Stakes. The stewards immediately sought expert analysis from NYSGC equine medical director Dr. Scott Palmer on their use.

"I recommend that the stewards at state-based Thoroughbred racetracks discontinue their ban on equine nasal strips," Palmer said. "Equine nasal strips do not enhance equine performance nor do they pose a risk to equine health or safety and as such do not need to be regulated."
Steve Coburn and Perry Martin's California Chrome has worn a Flair Nasal Strip in each of his past six races, all victories. Palmer said nasal strips are not performance-enhancing.

"While there is research to indicate that equine nasal strips decrease airway resistance in horses and may decrease the amount of bleeding associated with (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage)  to some degree, I am unfamiliar with any research indicating that equine nasal strips enable a horse to run faster with nasal strips than without them," Palmer said. "In other words, there is no evidence they have a performance-enhancing effect. Equine nasal strips do not pose a welfare or safety risk to the horse. They are applied to the top of the nose and anyone can see their use prior to a race.

"If properly applied, equine nasal strips cannot interfere with performance. In my opinion equine nasal strips fall into the same category as tongue-ties."

The stewards considered Palmer's advice and decided to allow the unregulated use of the nasal strips.


Week Ending Sunday, May 18

The horses listed below ran well enough in their most recent races to indicate that they are sitting on solid future performances. Bet them under the terms listed at least twice or until they win and then drop.

NOTE: The HTW editions will pick up starting this week with Churchill (now open a few weeks), Belmont (now open three weeks) and Monmouth (began two weekends ago.) Starting next week we will add which horses if any ran back after being on the list and their results with further notes.

Last Week's Horses To Watch Runners


COTTON PICKIN – OUT - Made a quick turnaround since 5/7 race that put her on the list and had a rough trip after breaking in the air at the start and getting spun wide a few times before winding up 4th beaten less than 2 lengths total for it all in two turn 40K turf claimer. Deserves another chance.

This Week's Horses To Watch Runners

BELMONT PARK (5 Racing Days)

CABO CAT – The Kitten's Joy colt was unable to overcome the short field and soft pace in the 7 furlong grassy Paradise Creek Stakes on Preakness day but still held good form as she rallied for the place. The Mark Hennig trained colt has faced some pretty good 3-year olds this year and hit the board on a number of occasions. Still eligible for entry level allowance conditions he would be worth a solid play if sent two turns against such foes on the turf. 

GIANTINTHEMOONLITE – The red hot Bruce Brown trained Giant's Causeway colt made his debut a winning one in last as he easily dispatched a field of NYSB MSW foes. The colt willingly chased the pace setter right out of the gate, responded when asked at the 5/16ths pole and steadily drew clear to a 7 lengths triumph in the 6 furlong event while under light urging. Nice looking colt won't take long to move through conditions.

JIMMY SOUL – Switch to the turf for this MSW son of City Zip almost got it done as he was a neck short of getting it done in the one mile even in his most recent. The Dominick Schettino trainee set a pressured early pace through a quick :45 2/5 half mile, shook off a colt named Howl, who came back a few days later to go wire-to-wire to break his maiden and held on well while 4 ¾ lengths clear of the show horse. Breaks through next time of kept on grass.

LADY KREESA – Sharp career debut in mile turf NYSB MSW test by this Stonesider filly bodes well for a quick visit to the winner's circle. Trainer David Donk usually needs a race or two to have then cranked but this filly was all business as she overcame the trainer's usual conservative approach and in addition broke from the extreme outside post yet still managed to get within a neck of the winner at the finish (2 ½ lengths clear of the show horse) despite lunging at the break, moving four wide on the turn and three wide into the stretch. Beats restricted foes in next.

RAP D'ORO – The Medaglia D'Oro claiming gelding continued to hold good form as he stepped up from 12.5K foes to faces 20K rivals in a NW3L mile test in last. The Michael Hushion trainee was three wide entering the turn, was spun 5 wide into the stretch but continued on to get the place a half length short of the winning favorite and 2 ½ clear of the show horse. The gelding has a win and three seconds in his last 5 and should surpass the level vs the same soon.

SILVERAMA – Not only did this 3-year old filly get well-backed in her debut last out as she began her career in a 40K maiden claiming mile and a sixteenth turf test but she ran to the backing with a solid deep rally that passed all but the winning favorite. She kept coming despite a 6 wide trip in the lane and was still gaining at the end. Furthermore, she was taken for the healthy price tag by new trainer Leah Gyarmati so is definitely worth following.

TIZALLHEART – It appears as though the light bulb has gone on for this 4-year old filly. Two races back she broke her maiden from well off the pace in a mile 35K claimer when returned to the grass for the first time since last November. In her most recent she faced winners for the first time in a 4)K open claimer and while no match for the 4-5 winner swept by all the rest to claim the place spot. She is improved and apparently likes the sod so bet her back vs the same level NW2L rivals.

VERY CHERRY CANDY – The ultra consistent 4-year old filly's closing style was compromised by the uncontested wire-to-wire winner in an entry level allowance 7 furlong sprint in most recent. Nonetheless the David Jacobson trained daughter of Candy Ride rallied sharply to get the place and run her 2014 mark to 6-3-2-1. She has comfortably handled starter allowance foes and would be a strong play returned to those ranks but also proved she can conquer the entry level. Play her back. 

WALK CLOSE – The 3-year old Tapit filly made just her second career start and first since breaking her maiden vs special weights last September at Belmont. The Christophe Clement trainee broke in mid-pack until the end of the backstretch in the mile turf test, edged between rivals on the turn, moved out entering the stretch and altered course before digging in and passing them all in the entry level allowance test. She was in hand throughout and should waste little time conquering the next level or even a minor stake race. Follow closely.  

WATERWAY – in a wild 6 furlong NYSB entry level allowance turf test that saw a 42-1 winner and 64-1 third place finisher this Russell cash trained colt might have turned in the best effort as he checked in fourth, neaten a total of 1 ½ lengths. The son of Mingun (A.P. Indy) was making his first career grass try and first against winners after breaking his maiden in his prior. He broke through the gate at the start and after being re-loaded broke out a bit and then pressed the pace while three wide on the turn and moved six wide into the lane and continued on well to the finish. Gets his first level allowance win soon.

ZIPTRONIC – The veteran turf gelding returned in good form for his 2014 debut in last and made the pace into deep stretch before weakening and settling for the place. The Gary Contessa trained turf sprinter worked well for his return,  took the lead from his rail post under light urging in the 6 furlong dash and continued on to be beaten just 1 ½ lengths for it all in the 40K claimer. He has 4 wins from 14 starts on the Belmont green and needed the race so should be worth following under the same conditions.     

CHURCHILL DOWNS  (4 Racing Days)

ANYRIDERILL DO – The 4-year old colt made his first start since last August at Indiana in his most recent and looked as though he might have a future on turf. The Ronny Werner trainee broke slowly and was left with too much to do in the 5 furlong second allowance level/optional 62.5K claimer but still closed resolutely to get the show in the 9 horse field. The level suits and the colt just needs more ground in order to surpass the level.

BITTY KITTY – The Brendan Walsh trained MSW filly couldn't have been more impressive in gaining career win number one in most recent. The daughter of Kitten's Joy settled off the early pace in the mile and a sixteenth turf test, began to move into contention entering the far turn, split rivals in the lane and got up in the final jump to win in faster time than the winner of a second level allowance race at the same distance and surface earlier in the day.

FAERIE QUEENE – After conquering the entry level allowance hill two back the Rick Hiles trained turf filly moved up to face the next level and turned in a solid place effort in most recent. The was in striking position early in the mile and a sixteenth affair, shifted out for the drive and just failed to catch the winner in the allowance/optional 62.5K claimer while holding off a pair of late closers. She's in fine form and will get past this level soon.

IT HAPPENED AGAIN – The veteran mid-level calming gelding was compromised when he broke through the gate and had to be reloaded in mile and a sixteenth 25K test in most recent. A winner of 12 races in 49 career (12-5-9) starts the Tom Amoss trainee was sluggish early but found his best stride late and rallied mildly on the outside. Just needs an untroubled start to beat this kind and collect career win number 13.

LATE NIGHT ARTIST – The MSW filly exits the same race as BITTY KITTY (see above) and also makes the list after setting all the pace, holding off a few challengers and then just missing in a wire-to-wire effort, finishing just ½ length off the winner in a time that also matches up favorably with the earlier second level allowance turf race. Look for the Dale Romans trained 3-year old to break her maiden vs the same in next.

NORTHERN BOREALIS – Based on a strong second place finish off a four month layoff in most recent trainer Tom Drury appears to have found the right level for this 5-year old race mare. In her first start since December the daughter of Northern Afleet broke sharply from the rail in the 6 furlong 15K claimer, made the pace into deep stretch and weakened inside the sixteenth pole yet finished 2 ½ lengths clear of the show filly. Wins one of these soon.

ONE KING'S MAN – The consistent 4-year old gelding made his first start since early March at Delta Downs and first over the CD surface in most recent and almost got top honors. The Louisiana bred son of K One King broke in the air at the start and was unhurried behind a slow pace in the short 5 horse 40K claiming field. He made a 4 wide bid off the turn but had to settle for the place in the late going in the mile and a sixteenth test. Now 5-5-5 from 23 career starts he was claimed from Tom Amoss by new conditioner Brad Cox who should get instant dividend payments.

STATE VISIT – Bill Mott trainees are seldom ready first time out of the box but the good ones race into form and this Harlan's Holiday filly looked most impressive breaking her maiden in last. A 3-year old vs older she pressed the early pace of the 7 furlong MSW test. Moved 4 wide entering the turn and once in the lane continued to extend her margin under steady urging. Bred for dirt or grass and distance the conditioner has plenty of options as she moves into conditions. She'll win again soon.

MONMOUTH PARK (2 Racing Days)

LUCKY RAG DOLL – The lightly raced 4-year old filly made just her seventh career start, first since early March at Gulfstream and second since last August when she checked in second in her most recent. The Patrick McBurney trained daughter of Silver Train hit the board in the first five races of her career, all here at Monmouth but ran into minor ailments and took the break. She was away badly in the GP race in March but vs second level allowance rivals at 6 furlongs last time she found her best stride a bit to late but once in gear looked like the filly that showed promise a year ago. She'll eclipse the level soon so stay with her.

ROYAL SUSPICION – The 5-year old race mare shipped in from Aqueduct to face entry level allowance foes in most recent and probably moved a bit too early. The James Ryerson trained daughter Raffie's Majesty has hit the board 22 times in 36 career races and bid 3 wide on the turn in the mile and seventy yard race before striking to the lead at the furlong marker before getting collared in the final strides. She has finished second in both tries over the surface so just needs a better timed move to eclipse the same in next.

SPEIGHTSCITY – Entered as a main track only runner by trainer David Jacobson in his most recent the conditioner got what he wanted as the mile 20-18K claiming event was washed to the main track. The 5-year old horse was bet down to even money, took the lead out of the gate and continued to widen his margin on way to an 11 length triumph. What the conditioner didn't get was to keep the runner as he was haltered out of the race by new conditioner Peter Kazamias. Wins another of these soon. 

SUBPEONA – In her most recent the Claudio Gonzalez trained turf mare ran second for the second straight time following a November layoff. The daughter of Afleet Alex raced well off the rail and at the rear of the pack in the mile and a sixteenth entry level allowance test, began to move up on the far turn and angled out in the lane to fall a neck short of catching the winner. Third race off the layoff is usually the best so bet her back under the same conditions or vs open mid-level claimers

TOE JAM FOOTBALL – The PARX shipper turned in a strong effort in a 7.5K claimer in last despite stepping up a level and running against the track speed bias. The Ramon Moya trainee was no match for the wire-to-wire wining favorite but rallied smartly on the rail to get second, 3 ¼ lengths clear of the show finisher  in the mile and seventy yard test and bring her career record to 22-5-4-2. The daughter of Flower Alley should win another soon for new trainer Patricia Farro who grabbed the race mare and is god off the halter.  


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