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Replays - Jan. 13 through Jan. 24
The following are key performances covering the most recent seven days of racing at Santa Anita:
DYNAMIC RANGE (Jan. 24 ) – Didn’t produce the turn of foot that stable mate Loup Breton possessed in the final furlong and could do no better than fourth in the San Marcos Stakes but actually made another forward move in defeat and has the makings of a very useful stayer for trainer Julio Canani. After winning a 12-furlong first level allowance race at Oak Tree and then a two-other-than at Hollywood Park at 10 furlongs, the Dynaformer gelding was faced with his stiffest test yet in the San Marcos, and despite being given too much to do from the quarter pole home, he kept to his task and wound up beaten less than three lengths. A one-paced, grinding sort, the newly-turned four-year-old will run as far as races are written and should not be counted out in any race on this circuit at 12 furlongs or farther. Don’t be surprised if he makes some serious noise in the San Luis Rey Stakes and San Juan Capistrano down the road.
HOT DAMON (Jan. 23) – Made his first start over the Pro Ride surface purely by accident – the race was taken off the turf – and the son of Unusual Heat performed admirably when closing with purpose to win up fourth, beaten just over a length, in a fairly competitive first level allowance sprint that earned a better than par speed figure. The four-year-old gelding was fresh off a quick downhill turf maiden score and made another strong forward move when tried with winners for the first time, so further improvement is likely. Now that trainer Gary Stute knows this gelding can handle either surface, his options increase, although for the time being it might be prudent to keep him sprinting where he seems most comfortable. Tab next time against a similar band of state bred allowance foes.
MAJEESTIC AFLEET (Jan. 17) – Three-year-old colt was expected to run well in a first level downhill turf dash but whatever chance he might have had was squashed when he took up sharply and was squeezed back leaving the gate, costing him valuable tactical position. In a race without pace, the son of Northern Afleet had little chance to make up the needed ground while attempting to rally into the teeth of the slow fractions, and could only manage to finish fourth, beaten a bit more than four lengths. We’re willing to give this Robert Troeger-trained colt another look, either in a first condition sprint or a high priced claimer on either turf or Pro Ride, and this late-running sprinter could be especially dangerous in a field with plenty of early speed to compliment his late-running style.
SWITCH (Jan 16) – Drew a comfortable outside post and should have been able to drop in just behind the pace, but was inexplicably driven into a head-and-head speed duel with favored She’s Funomenal, and after putting that one away paid for it late when weakening to finish third behind Amen Hallelujah in the Santa Ynez Stakes. Daughter of Quiet American graduated at first asking in December using a stalking style, so next time, with patient handling, the John Sadler-trained filly could easily make amends against a similar field of stakes quality sophomore fillies. On pedigree, she should stay a middle distance, so Sadler could stretch her out soon and also take advantage of the first condition in an effort to restore some of the filly’s confidence.
ALPHIE’S BET (Jan. 15) – You would expect a son of Tribal Rule to have nothing but early speed, but this colt does all of his best work from far off the pace, and was visually impressive when rallying wide to blow past state bred maiden foes in the final furlong to graduate in his fourth career start. Although this victory came on turf, the Alexis Barba-trained colt had previously finished a sharp second in the Cal Cup Juvenile last fall at Oak Tree over the Pro Ride, so on ny surface this developing colt seems well worth following. He looks capable of repeating on the raise, especially in a race restricted to California bred runners.
DAKOTA PHONE (Jan. 14) – Making his first start since Oak Tree and just his second since last July, this hard-knocking veteran ran a winning race in defeat when third, beaten a nose and a neck, in a tough allowance race on turf won by Monzante. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained gelding pressed the issue outside, disposed of his pace rival into the lane, then fought bravely to the wire to just miss while showing much of the form that saw him place in graded stakes races last year. He’s effective on any surface and with this effort behind him the son of Zavata should be primed and ready to win his first race since 2008.
INITIAL IMPRESSION (Jan. 13) – Debuting daughter of Reddatorre flashed promise when winding up a troubled fourth in a mile turf event and seems sure to benefit greatly from the experience. Broke slowly and steadied early, lagged far back early in a race without any pace, responded into the lane but ran into traffic and lost her momentum, then got clear outside and finished eagerly but much too late yet was beaten less than three lengths for all the money. This Sean McCarthy-trained four-year-old can graduate in a similar spot next time minus the trouble.