Weekly Stakes Wrap-Up for January 13, 2014

Molly Jo Rosen

January 13th, 2014

by John DaSilva
BlueskiesnrainbowsWith the absence of Game on Dude, the handicap division in Southern California looked to be wide open.  But Blueskiesnrainbows has changed all that, quickly developing into the second best older horse in training in Southern California after wiring the field in the Grade 2 $200,500 San Pasqual Stakes.  The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee was sent to lead by Martin Pedroza and never looked back, setting relaxed fractions and defeating Majestic Harbor by 1 1/4 lengths.  While he may not have the brilliant early speed of Game on Dude, his tactical speed and endurance make him a very serious contender versus Game on Dude in the Big Cap.

With the late scratch of Life Is a Joy and Top Fortitude, but the field for the Grade 3, Sham Stakes ended up a field of four.  Favored Midnight Hawk stalked early pacesetter Kristo, took over the lead at the top of the stretch and despite running greenly, edged away to win by 1 ¾ lengths.  Partially owned by Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice, the Midnight Hawk earned 10 points in the Kentucky Derby Point standings.  But bob Baffert trainee still has some maturing to do but definitely  shows potential to be a derby contender.

At Gulfstream Park, despite slow fractions, Summer Front was able to overcome slow fractions by a great ride from Joe Bravo to catch pace setting Tetradrachm to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes.  The Christophe Clement trainee won by 3/4 length over a turf listed as firm.

Later in the day, jockey Luis Saez won the 1000 race of his career when he guided Lea to a 3 1/4 length victory in the Grade 3, $100,000, Hal's Hope Stakes.  The Bill Mott trainee could be an interesting replacement for Ron the Greek in the barn in the handicap division.  By First Samurai out of Galileo mare Greenery, he could turn up next in the Grade 1 Donn handicap on February 9.

Sunday at Aqueduct, Mamdooha just got up to defeat Vero Amore to win the $98,000 Ruthless Stakes.  Eddie Castro rode the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee to victory, running the six furlongs in the mud in 1:12.01.  For Vero Amore, it was a very good effort for the Robert Reid Jr. trainee, who was supplemented into the race after the restriction of Parx shippers into Aqueduct was lifted late last week.