The Player’s Edge – March 22, 2013: Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, Turfway Park & Sunland Park

Matt Carter

March 22nd, 2013

Gulfstream Park - Pan American Stakes

Santa Anita - Tokyo City Cup

Turfway Park – Spiral Stakes

Sunland Park - Sunland Derby

Gulfstream Park - Pan American Stakes
Marathoners on the Lawn

The feature race on Saturday at Gulfstream Park is the 54th running of the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes, a turf marathon race at 12 furlongs for four-year-olds and upward.  This year's race drew a field of ten led by last year's race winner, Newsdad.

Newsdad probably won't start favored in the race even though he has won almost $500,000 in his career and won the Pan American last year.  The five-year-old horse was the odds-on choice last year, but he had a solid foundation with three prep races under his belt.  This year, the Pan American is his first start since October when he won the Grade 2 Fayette over the Keeneland polytrack.

With the favorite perhaps needing the race, plenty of horses will be right there waiting to pounce.

Four horses exit the Mac Diarmida, the local prep for the Pan American, but race winner Amira's Prince decided to skip this Grade 2.  The connections of Teaks North, second, Ioya Bigtime, third, Twilight Eclipse, fourth, and Belo Acteon, fifth, are probably glad as Amira's Prince was a dominant winner.

Teaks North is a Grade 1 winner on the grass and looks to once again be setting the pace on Saturday.  The six-year-old gelding makes his fourth start off an 11-month layoff and came out of the Mac Diarmida with three good workouts.  

Ioya Bigtime didn't give Teaks North any breaks in the Mac Diarmida and is likely to be pushing the pace once again.  Another old-timer at age six, Ioya Bigtime is looking for his first win since the Kentucky Cup Turf last September.  He may need another start to show his best form.  Last year he won the Grade 3 Stars N Stripes at Arlington Park in his fourth start off a layoff.

Twilight Eclipse was well bet in the Mac Diarmida at just under 10-1 and ran an even fourth.  The son of Purim won the 12-furlong McKnight Handicap at Calder last year, but is another who is likely to show his best form in his next start.

Belo Acteon has yet to find his legs in three starts in the U.S. after coming from his native Brazil.  The six-year-old horse seemingly has issues making it to the race as he only has nine starts in two and one-half years.  In Brazil, Belo Acteon won a Grade 1 race, but his class here has yet to be determined. 

Mucho Mas Macho is worth a long look for those trying to beat the favorites coming off a short layoff after putting in a furious rally to win the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale by a neck at odds of nearly 42-1.  By Macho Uno, Mucho Mas Macho probably should not have been that high on the toteboard as he has been first or second now in nine of his 20 career starts.  The added distance should not be a problem either; he finished second behind Twilight Eclipse in the McKnight last year.

Rounding out the field are Total Reward, Ducduc, Gossip Column and Empire Builder.  Ducduc is making his first start on the turf since March 2012 after 10 straight races on the dirt.  Not sure why the connections moved him to the dirt as the Langfuhr colt has eight wins, six seconds and four thirds in 29 starts on the turf. 

Carded as race ten on the 11-race card, post time for the Pan American is 5:35 ET.


Santa Anita - Tokyo City Cup
Breeders' Cup Winner Calidoscopio Makes 2013 Debut

Apparently marathoners are all the rage on Saturday across the country with the Pan American on the turf at Gulfstream Park and the Tokyo City Cup on the dirt at Santa Anita.  Also at 12-furlongs, the Tokyo City drew a field of eight, but contention runs deep.

Headlining the field is the 2012 Breeders' Cup Marathon winner Calidoscopio, who is making his first start since winning that Grade 2 race.  The Argentinean horse is now ten-year-old, but may be just like a fine wine and gets better with age.  Calidoscopio has been transferred to the Mike Puype barn since the Breeder's Cup and Puype has to be looking at a repeat as the World Championships are at Santa Anita again this year.

Batti Man is an interesting horse making his graded stakes debut.  The gelding also started his career in Argentina and two starts back was trained by Mike Puype.  In the first start off-the-claim in the Dan Hendricks barn, Batti Man set the early pace and looked home, but was just nipped late.  He may be lone speed and will take them as far as he can go.

Dhaamer is best on the turf, but he ran well enough in the Tokyo City last year to warrant a long look on Saturday.  He finished second by a neck to Dynamic Host and was four and one-half lengths clear of the third place finisher.  After that race, Dhaamer won two of four races including the Grade 3 Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park.  His morning drills suggest the six-year-old gelding is ready to roll in his first start off the layoff.

Dreamcatcher, Sky Kingdom and Oilisblackgold may not be true graded stake winners, but it appears as if they caught a field that they can compete with.

Dreamcatcher has yet to run on the dirt, but trains on it in the mornings and won a ten-furlong allowance race at Hollywood Park in November.  He drew the rail and retains Joe Talamo in the irons.

Sky Kingdom was a $180,000 buy as a weanling  and even though he has three wins, he has not lived up to the lofty purchase price.  Sky Kingdom is bred to get the distance and is making his third start off a layoff.

Oilisblackgold freaked in his last race and has now won two of his last three races.  He may have turned the corner after simply picking up checks in his previous 21 career starts.  The distance looks to be a question mark as he has yet to run well over a mile and one-sixteenth.

Richard's Kid and Jaycito are the final two horses in the race and both could win on their best day, if they have another good day in them.  Richard's Kid has not been close since switching barns while Jaycito has lost three of his last four races by 28, 47.75 and 62.5 lengths.  Not exactly the form of a Grade 2 contender.

Post time for the Tokyo City Cup on Saturday is 6:35 ET.


Turfway Park – Spiral Stakes
Prep on the Poly

The first of graded stake races this weekend of the three-year-olds is the $550,000 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park.  The Grade 3, nine furlong race is on a synthetic surface, but in 2011 Animal Kingdom won that race en route to winning the Kentucky Derby.  Are there any Derby contenders this year? Let’s take a look.

Uncaptured has not been out since November, but is six-for-seven in his career and four-for-five on a synthetic surface.  By Lion Heart, Uncaptured comes off of back-to-back graded stake wins at Churchill Downs and is looking to start his three-year-old campaign off with a victory.

Balance the Books and Capo Bastone are next on the morning line and both have a shot to upset.

Balance the Books is also coming off a layoff and has won half of his four starts.  All of his starts; however, have come on turf.  One thing is certain, the distance won’t be a problem and with a couple of sprinters in the field, Balance the Books should get some pace to run at.

Capo Bastone began his career at Del Mar with high hopes then ran a fourth and two thirds in three straight Grade 1 races.  After the third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Capo Bastone was given to trainer Todd Pletcher, who started him in an allowance race in mid-February.  Capo Bastone responded well with a head victory, but the feeling is he is a one-turn sprinter.

Mac the Man and Giant Finish are the aforementioned speed horses.  Mac the Man is three-for-three at Turfway including wins in two local prep races.  Giant Finish was second in the third local prep, the Battaglia Memorial, finishing second to General Election.

General Election broke his maiden at Churchill in his debut in November then was second behind Mylute at Fair Grounds before a disappointing sixth place finish in an allowance race, also at Fair Grounds.  Overlooked on the board at 10-1 in the Battaglia, General Election came with a late rush and won by a measured half-length.

The one thing with this race is that after the first couple of choices, the entire field looks the same.  Channel Isle is bred to handle the surface and was fourth in the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn, Fear the Kitten was just second in the Grade 3 Southwest and third in the Grade 3 Lecomte, My Name Is Michael was a fast closing third in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, For Greater Glory was third in the Battaglia, Black Onyx won a turf allowance race at Gulfstream ver well in his last start and Taken by the Storm is two-for-six and ran well over the Polytrack at Keeneland.

It’s a very interesting race and perhaps a perfect time to use the “all” button.

Post time for the Spiral is 5:50 ET, which is the second of the Grade 3 races on Saturday at Turfway.  One race prior is the Grade 3 Bourbonette for three-year-old fillies.


Sunland Park - Sunland Derby
Baffert and Pletcher Ship-In to Win

The second of the three-year-old stake races for runners on the Kentucky Derby trail this weekend is the Grade 3 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park.  As always, some big stables have made the trip to the land of enchantment to take home the money.

Todd Pletcher sends his colt Abraham across country after breaking his maiden at nine furlongs over a sloppy, sealed track at Gulfstream Park.  He was still green in that race, but looks to be a top prospect for Pletcher.  He is the only runner with a race at the Sunland Derby distance and top stable rider John Velazquez makes the journey too.

The University of Arizona basketball team is taking care of business in the second round of the NCAA tournament and will be playing on Saturday, which is good for graduates of the Race Track Industry Program, Pletcher and Bob Baffert as they won't miss any of hoops action.  Baffert sends Shakin It Up and Governor Charlie two states east from his southern California home for the run on Sunday.

Shakin It Up is the more accomplished of the two with a win in the Grade 2 San Vicente and a third in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue.  Those two races; however, were sprints and the Sunland Derby will be his first start around two turns.  His sire, Midnight Lute, was a crack sprinter so the nine furlongs may be a bit far.

Governor Charlie is also by Midnight Lute, but his dam, Silverbulletway, is out of Silverbulletday, who won the Kentucky Oaks in her three-year-old season.  Also Governor Charlie broke his maiden at one mile over Footbridge, who came right back to break his maiden last weekend.  Governor Charlie drew post seven and jockey Martin Garcia will have plenty of options once the gates open. 

Those three are not the only shippers as Just Win Baby, Saint Prado and Mudflats also ship from California.  Of those four, Just Win Baby deserves a long shot look.  The Florida-bred son of The Daddy loved the switch to two turns and will have no problems with the added sixteenth of a mile.  Tab for the upset.

The local hopes rest with Stormdriver, Dry Summer and Show Some Magic.  Only one of those, Stormdriver, is a true local horse.

Stormdriver has been trained by Kevin Eikleberry for his entire seven race career with races at Arapahoe Park, Turf Paradise and Sunland Park.  He finished third in the Mine That Bird Derby, beaten by Dry Summer and Show Some Magic.

Dry Summer began his career in the Jeff Mullins barn and won a stake race over the turf at Santa Anita.  Since the move to trainer Joel Marr, Dry Summer is two-for-two and won the Mine That Bird by a comfortable length and one-half.  He has tactical pace and can adapt to any scenario. 

Show Some Magic is the senior citizen in the group with ten career starts.  He started way back in May at Churchill Downs for Steve Asmussen and ran in the Grade 2 Hopeful at Saratoga and Grade 3 Delta Jackpot.  Owners Kirk and Judy Robison run many horses in New Mexico and after the Jackpot sent him to Henry Dominguez. By Any Given Saturday, Show Some Magic will need to bring it on Sunday.

The Sunland Derby headlines a great card at Sunland Park, which also features the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks.  In the Oaks, Bob Baffert's Midnight Lucky will try to continue the trainer's domination in the three-year-old filly race.  Post time for the Derby is 6:40 ET with the Oaks one race prior at 6:08.


Thoroughbred Racing Action

Great racing action from across the country this weekend.  Watch these races all on BetAmerica.com.

Saturday– March 23

  • Turfway Park:  Spiral Stakes - G3, $550,000, 3yo, 9f
  • Turfway Park:  Bourbonette Oaks - G3, $100,000, 3yo f, 8f
  • Turfway Park:  Team Valor Rushaway Stakes, $75,000, 3yo, 8.5f
  • Gulfstream Park:  Pan American Stakes - G2, $150,000, 4yo & up, 12f turf
  • Santa Anita:  Tokyo City Cup - G3, $100,000, 4yo & up, 12f
  • Oaklawn Park:  Hot Springs Stakes - G2, $75,000, 4yo & up, 6f
  • Fair Grounds:  Red Camelia Stakes, $60,000, 4yo & up f&m, 8.5f turf
  • Laurel Park:  Conniver Stakes, $100,000, 3yo & up, 7f
  • Delta Downs:  Borgata Stakes, $70,000, 4yo & up, 8f

Sunday – March 24

  • Sunland Park:  Sunland Derby - G3, $800,000, 3yo, 9f
  • Sunland Park:  Sunland Park Oaks, $200,000, 3yo, 8.5f
  • Sunland Park:  La Coneja Stakes, $100,000, 4yo & up, 5.5f
  • Sunland Park:  New Mexico Breeders' Oaks, $100,000, 3yo f, 8.5f
  • Sunland Park:  New Mexico Breeders' Derby, $100,000, 3yo, 8.5f
  • Sunland Park:  Harry W. Henson Handicap, $85,000, 3yo & up, 8f
  • Sunland Park:  Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes, $85,000, 3yo & up, 6.5f
  • Santa Anita:  Santa Ana Stakes - G2, $150,000, 4yo & up f&m, 9f turf
  • Oaklawn Park:  Arkansas Breeders' Stakes, $60,000, 3yo & up f&m, 8.5f