HALFBRIDLED. Winner of the Grade I Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. After some time off, HALFBRIDLED returned to the worktab at Santa Anita in late December, then worked regularly in January in preparation for what the public was told would be her 2004 debut in the Las Virgenes. On 2-5 she worked a mile in 1:40 1/5 handily. The trainer wasn't happy with that work and said the filly would skip the Las Virgenes and be trained up to the Santa Anita Oaks. Utilizing this schedule, she would have only two starts at age three coming into either the Kentucky Derby or the Kentucky Oaks.
LION HEART. Winner of the Grade I Hollywood Futurity. He's officially worked very little since then. According to trainer Patrick Biancome, and to our disappointment at TheDowneyProfile.com, he will be raced only twice at age three in preparation for the Kentucky Derby. The current plan calls for him to compete in the one mile, Grade II San Rafael Stakes on 3-6 and the 1 1/8 mile, Grade I Santa Anita Derby on 4-3.
PERFECT MOON. A $4,700 yearling purchase. Third in his final three starts of 2003. There was some regression for him, and it was a tough beat, in the 1 1/16 mile, Grade II Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita on 1-17. He was four lengths back at the wire but ran sixth of nine. The problem is that he was falling back, not advancing, at the end. Rising star ST AVERIL won the race in 1:41.62.
This either isn't a good sign for PERFECT MOON, or it's a really good sign for MAMBO TRAIN, for the latter beat the former by 2 1/2 lengths in the 1 1/16 mile Turf Paradise Derby on 2-7. PERFECT MOON was the 1-2 chalk. MAMBO TRAIN went in 1:42.07, his best effort yet.
READ THE FOOTNOTES. Winner of the Grade II Remsen Stakes. After that win he was booked to go down to sunny Florida for a vacation. He returned to work at Palm Meadows in early January.
He won the Grade II Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on 2-14. And what a horse race it was. With Jerry Bailey aboard, it was READ THE FOOTNOTES by a neck after he and SECOND OF JUNE battled it out the entire way, the two of them never more than a length apart. Each of the top two finishers carried their speed from gate to wire, the clock stopping in 1:42.71. Unfortunately, SECOND OF JUNE came out of the race with a condylar fracture.
Trainer Richard Violette would like to see READ THE FOOTNOTES go on to the Grade I Florida Derby and then either the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes or the Wood Memorial, both Grade I races.
SILVER WAGON. Winner of the Grade I Hopeful Stakes. A decision was made to hold him out of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. And thus he was shipped back to his barn at Calder, ostensibly to be groomed for the Kentucky Derby prep races at Gulfstream Park. Wisely, we thought at the time, he wasn't kept waiting until the Gulfstream meet and was entered in the $100,000 What A Pleasure Stakes at Calder on 12-13, his first two-turn effort. Not too surprisingly, he needed a race after 105 days off and was only good enough that day to finish third to SECOND OF JUNE.
He went right back to work after that and then ran second to SECOND OF JUNE in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream on 1-17. It was a solid second, 10 lengths better than FRIENDS LAKE.
He got the show in the Grade II Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on 2-14 at 5-1 odds, but he was 7 1/2 lengths behind READ THE FOOTNOTES. In sixth place and four wide on the far turn, he did pass some others to get the show, but he was steadily losing ground to the top two in the process.
THE CLIFF'S EDGE. Winner of the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club. After that race he was shipped to the Palm Meadows Training Center for a break. He had his first work there on 1-9, and has worked regularly since.
THE CLIFF'S EDGE will likely be pointed to that big bonus they're offering at Oaklawn Park this year. Look for him to be traveling before long.
TIGER HUNT. Fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. At that point in TIGER HUNT'S career, owner Team Valor announced it was turning all its race horses over to trainer Ralph Nicks, who replaced Elliott Walden on this one.
TIGER HUNT is now back to work after a long vacation. At TheDowneyProfile.com, we were beginning to wonder if we'd hear from him again, but on 2-4 he worked at Oaklawn, a three furlong breeze. After the big snow that hit Hot Springs on 2-15, TIGER HUNT breezed four furlongs in the mud for Ralph Nicks on 2-16, going in :49 3/5.