MAY 8, 2013
by John Mucciolo
There was a single graded race over the second weekend at Hollywood Park.
Mervyn LeRoy H. (G2): Arnold Zetcher's LIAISON (Indian Charlie) tracked in second early, took a short lead in early stretch and finished up nicely to post a 1 1/2-length tally beneath Martin Garcia. The Bob Baffert-trained Grade 1 winner traveled 1 1/16 miles on the Cushion oval in 1:42 3/5 to post his second straight win.
From a total of 36 races held at the Inglewood, California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 28 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 56 percent of the wins. From 27 frays contested on the Cushion Track oval, eight animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (30 percent), while no horses went all the way on the lead from nine turf events.
We thought the main oval was well balanced, with speed horses capable of going all the way, while we also saw a handful of runners going last to first en route to victory.
No winners went all the way on the turf, but once again, we did witness several runners laying close early on the way to the winner's circle.
In seems worthy of note that through two weeks, 47 of the 54 main-track winners broke from posts 1-through-6.
HORSES TO WATCH
5TH -- WILKINSON (Lemon Drop Kid) showed his versatility and class in leading virtually throughout in this fine field, finishing a half-length clear under the wire. The Grade 2 winner came home fast after a moderate opening half-mile, and should be graded bound in his next start.
DUBAI YOU X Y Z (E Dubai) showed no rust off the layoff with a big second-place run and the consistent sort nearly always fires. If he can stay on the track instead of on the shelf, he can win a big one with his best.
6TH -- SISTER ESPERANZA (Strong Hope) was all heart in wearing down a clear leader in the lane to win for Bruce Headley. Coming off of a win in January, the five-year-old mare made it two straight with her gritty closing run.
1ST -- TIME FOR ANGIE (Time to Get Even) was second for the majority of this race, but found another gear late to inch clear in a sharp debut win under Jose Valdivia. It's hard to tell what the juvenile miss topped on this day, but she looked good in doing so for conditioner Walther Solis.
7TH -- MANANDO (Bluegrass Cat) turned it on late in his best showing to date for Baffert, leading all the way around to post a convincing 7 1/4-length score under Garcia. The expensive colt earned a lifetime-best 98 Speed number and should be stakes bound soon.
1ST -- MISS PIPPA (Master Command) let down a lot of backers posting a runner-up showing today, but the John Sadler trainee did run very big while more than five lengths clear in second. She'll be tough next time with even slight improvement, and could possibly benefit from a cut back in trip.
4TH -- BLINGISMYTHING (Arch) could eventually turn out to be a real nice one for conditioner Eric Kruljac, who rarely wins with first time starters. This debut annihilated her foes late in posting a going-away, 2 1/4-length score under Tyler Baze.
7TH -- HIGH TEST (Wildcat Heir) made quite an impression in his first run since the fall, going last-to-first to get by a fair field for trainer Mike Puype. The gelding seems like a nice fit on this oval and will be tough right back.
6TH -- The four-year-old EVERTON (Indian Charlie) made a nice debut on this oval today for Baffert, taking command in the lane to post a fine score in a very sharp time in this spot. The colt could be any type going forward and we wouldn't take him lightly.
PROVEN WARRIOR (Yes It's True) was a huge second today in his debut, finishing more than four lengths clear of third for trainer Art Sherman, who rarely wins with first-time starters. We'll tab this one for a win next time.
A Look Ahead
Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Senorita Stakes is the lone graded feature this weekend at Hollywood Park.
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