NOVEMBER 21, 2012
by John Mucciolo
There were no graded races during the second 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 47 percent of the wins. From 27 frays contested on the Cushion Track oval, six animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (22 percent), while three of the seven grassy tussles went all the way on the lead (43 percent).
Speed played well on this lawn, with three horses leading at every call and two others tracking from close up early on. All three wire jobs came in route races.
No horses won in wire-to-wire fashion on the main oval on Sunday, and just a pair over the weekend from 16 Cushion Track races. In addition, outside posts dominated the action on Sunday. We rarely see a bias on this main strip, but will keep a close eye to see if the pattern continues on Thursday and Friday.
HORSES TO WATCH
3RD -- SOUTHERN HEART (Arch) showed some good speed and was well placed to the top of the lane before tiring to finish fourth in a useful first try. The Eric Guillot trainee is kin to a real nice grass performer and could easily improve second time out, and with a bit more ground to work with.
5TH -- SPRING BLOOM (After Market) didn't beat a great field in our estimation, but the sophomore lass was tons the best in a nice performance in this one. The John Shirreffs charge could be a danger right back against winners with any improvement.
7TH -- QARAABA (Shamardal) gave a nice account in her U.S. debut for Simon Callaghan, rallying from last after six panels to wear down the leaders in the latter stages. The five-year-old mare possesses long strides and accelerated on cue, leading us to believe that she can be a stakes player on this circuit.
1ST -- WILLYCONKER (Pyrus) didn't win in his first race since the spring, but the Eoin Harty charge ran well in this deep turf sprint and we thought he looked best late, continuing to hit his best stride past the wire. The gelded five-year-old surely needed one and should stretch out to a mile next time, where he'll surely be more dangerous.
4TH -- EBLOUISSANTE (Bernardini), a half-sister to wonder mare Zenyatta, made her much anticipated debut and delivered a powerful 4 1/4-length win under Corey Nakatani. The Shirreffs trainee surely looked the part throughout this affair and the sophomore could be any kind. She is now just 18 wins shy of equaling her older sibling.
6TH -- KENICHI (First Samurai) came off of a long break and to dust his rivals impressively against what appeared to be a solid maiden claiming group. The Mark Glatt pupil was not claimed out of this and will surely face starter foes next time off this strong six-furlong run.
7TH -- LOTSANDLOTSOFHOPE (Tiznow) broke slowest of all but rebounded quickly, and nearly ran down the favorite in a fine runner-up showing at first asking for conditioner Ron Ellis. We don't think this filly will be a maiden for long.
5TH -- CURLY TOP (Curlin) was barely out-kicked in the final yards for trainer Bob Baffert, but the juvenile colt handled two turns with ease in his first career start and is an interesting prospect going forward. The colt should only improve off of this one.
8TH -- OSCILLATOR (Decarchy) was a clear second and has won or placed in each of her lifetime outings for trainer Jorge Periban. The hard-trying filly has run well on all ovals and is a very useful performer despite settling for minor awards in her last few races.
A Look Ahead
The Hollywood Turf Festival is upon us this Holiday weekend. Sunday will play host to the marquee attractions of the weekend, the Grade 1, $250,000 Matriarch Stakes and the Grade 1, $250,000 Hollywood Derby.
Also over the weekend is the Grade 2, $250,000 Citation Handicap on Friday, as well as Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Generous Stakes and the Grade 3, $100,000 Miesque Stakes.
Juveniles top the Thanksgiving card, when they go seven furlongs in the Grade 3, $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes.
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