NOVEMBER 14, 2012
by John Mucciolo
There were no graded races during the opening week at Hollywood Park.
From a total of 34 races held at the Southern California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 32 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 53 percent of the wins. From 22 frays contested on the Cushion Track oval, five animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (23 percent), while one of the 12 grassy tussles went all the way on the lead (8 percent).
The main oval was a bit kinder to horses with turn of foot, as it usually is, but that doesn't mean speed is at a disadvantage, either. Three horses led at every call on Friday, and two on Sunday, but none on either of the other two racing days during the week did so.
A slew of horses breaking from the rail won this past week, both on the main oval and especially the lawn, but those runners didn't always take the shortest path to get home in front. Just a coincidence we think.
HORSES TO WATCH
8TH -- The Kory Owens-trained LUXURIANCE (In Excess) broke slowly but rebounded in a big way with a flying finish to bag this race in fine fashion at first asking. This sophomore filly won going away by closing stoutly, and we'll tab her as one to watch in her return with winners.
2ND -- WAR ACADEMY (Giant's Causeway) was pretty professional at first asking in this one for Bob Baffert, seeming toying with this field some despite lugging in during the stretch run. The expensive auction buy is bred to run long and is in very good hands, so he could develop into a nice one with progression.
TREASURY BILL (Lemon Drop Kid) broke slowly but really picked it up late while well clear of fourth in this one, losing by just 3 1/4 lengths. The Ron Ellis pupil is one to keep an eye on going forward.
4TH -- GNARLY DUDE (Mr. Greeley) closed with a rush on the outside to upset this field for Kristin Mulhall, and since the gelding really likes it here, we'll tab him for future success on this lawn if properly placed.
5TH -- JADE WITH ENVY (Ten Most Wanted) put in a very nice run down the lane to finish a fine second behind an odds on runner in this first run for trainer Richard Baltas. The juvenile filly will be very tough in her return with even slight improvement.
7TH -- HOME JOURNEY (Good Journey) followed up a big score in her debut at Santa Anita with an even more impressive win today, dusting this field turning for home to cruise home by 8 1/4 lengths. The Mike Puype charge showed speed, rated on the lead, and then took off when given her cue late. She could be a very nice one.
8TH -- BANK THE EIGHT (Distorted Humor) blew past this fairly talented field in the stretch in this spot for Baffert, running a career-best in the process. The five-year-old would be a major player out here if he can follow this race up with something similar.
2ND -- We were surprised that no one put in a claim on the class dropping BLUEGRASS REWARD (Good Reward), who took a big class drop and dusted this field for trainer Mike Mitchell. The gelded four-year-old will be a major player if put in with similar in his next on this oval.
A Look Ahead
There are no graded races this week at Hollywood Park.
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