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Get Ready For Another Pletcher 3-Year-Old Media Blitz; Spring Hill Farm Super Impressive At Gulfstream Park

By Warren Eves

Rival trainers have to wonder how Todd Pletcher gets one budding three-year-old talent after another.

George Bolton’s Spring Hill Farm, a modust $60,000 Keeneland Sales buy in November, joined our list of 3-year-old Kentucky Derby prospects Saturday in his first pari-mutuel run.  He’s yet another promising runner who calls the Pletcher shedrow home.

Readied at Churchill Downs and honed at Palm Meadows the Smart Strike colt was no secret at the betting windows.  He looked every bit deserving of the 3-to-5 odds.  Away alertly but inward, jockey John Velasquez set the pace with the leggy Spring Hill Farm.  He went the opening quarter in 23.46.  Leading while racing out away from the rail he held a one-length edge into the turn.  Spring Hill Farm opened up 2 lengths early in the stretch.  The head-on shot showed Velasquez tapping him at three different intervals as he came straight as an arrow to the wire. 

Posting a notable final fraction of 12.09 he stopped the timer at 1:24.51 for the seven furlong distance.  The first time effort had to send some Las Vegas punters to the Kentucky Derby Futures books.  Pletcher’s Discreet Dancer will now have to share some of the early season spotlight with Spring Hill Farm. 

Who knows, Pletcher may not be done with leading new faces over to make their 2012 racing debuts.

Quick Wit, making his second career start, was fourth early and home a non threatening second.  Quick Wit was fourth early on and moved wide to be third into and around the turn.  When spanked he could not threaten the classy winner while clearly second best.

 Notes scribbled across my official program–We believe the eighth race, a MSW race on turf go long January 8 at the Fairgrounds, will be productive.  The first time starter Mabroom overcame adversity to surge late and catch a very unlucky Unremitting.  The race may have produced a whopping $260,554,000 one dollar superfecta payoff but we feel the race has substance………………………Mucho Dorado gave subscribers to our “Horses To Watch” list a nice payoff when wiring the field on January 8 at Santa Anita to pay $20.60.  He set realistic fractions, kicked away into the lane and came the FF(final fraction) in 12,41,…………………Trevor Denman does not blow a call very often.  On Sunday, Janary 8th, he got burned.  “Caracortado did not fire today,” was his call as the small field of four crossed the main track back onto the carpet.  Suddenly Caracortado came with an unbelievable rush to win going away.  It was hard to believe.  He had to cover the last fraction in five seconds or less to win.  The field was reduced to four when Silver Summation reared and dumped Garrett Gomez leaving  Santa Anita’s walking ring.  It was one of the more memorable runs off the hillside turf course in memory…………..Wednesday, January 11 at Gulfstream Park John Velasquez escaped injury out of the gate in race two.  Zayat Stable’s Mordi’s Miracle veered sharply left leaving post one and Velasquez came off.  Mordi’s Miracle got totally turned around and was headed the wrong way on the racetrack during the race.  Fortunaely he stayed on the outside portion of the track in a race won by Dreaming Of Neno a first time starter.  We noted Mordi’s Miracle did not have a gate work at Gulfstream and had only registered gate drills at Palm Meadows.  Might be a good idea to require a recorded drill from the latch and not just the merely break and pull up system they probably use at Gulfstream Park.  Oh well, why am I even mentioning such a thing?  Tht would make too much sense……………….We don’t ever want to condone violence on any issue.  Some low-lifes burned some trucks at John Harris’ farm recently.  We hope they catch the scumbags who did it but maybe Harris’ evil ways in the thoroughbred world are catching up with him.  Harris, at last check, still holds a seat on the useless California Horse Racing Board and has had a lot to say about many issues involving thoroughbred racing in California…………………..Mike Hammerle continues to cater to one Bob Baffert at Santa Anita Park as he continues to take the once great sport down the tubes.  On Thursday, January 12, her carded a five-horse field and Baffert had Sir Allison and Sky Kingdom in the race as uncoupled wagering interests.  Hammerle doesn’t get it.  He never has, never will.  Horse players of any substance are not going to waste their time betting a five-horse field–especially one where a trainer has two-fifths of the field.  Until Santa Anita shows this clown the door and gets new thinking in the racing office, the once great race place will continue to slide in the wrong direction……………….For the record I am in a quandry in regards to Eoin Harty’s three-year-old colt Out of Bounds.  Yes, he got a three-star ride from Garrett Gomez when winning for the first time going long.  But was the late run as good as it appeared?  Bob Baffert took the hood off Secret Circle, the colt who had impressed at Churchill Downs and we saw him do an el-foldo in the lane.  So…..the jury is out on Out of Bounds.  We did put him on our 2012 Kentucky Derby watch list and will monitor him from this day forward………….There were four MSW(maiden special weight) races across the land on Friday, January 13.  Silver Max wired a field of sophomores on the Gulfstream Park lawn.  It was obvious he was going to be tough to overtake as he led to the half under a stranglehold(48.11).  From that point forward he kept going posting a fast FF(final fraction) of 11.70.  You never know how an impressive maiden winner will do vs. winners but this was a winning run of note.  One of the colt’s who chased Silver Max to the wire made our “Horses To Watch” list…………….You simply can’t keep a good horseman down.  That was the case Friday, January 13 at Tampa Bay when Dennis Manning sent out Scudero to win off two dismal outs at Monmouth.  Manning, who had but 7 wins all 2011, was the owner and trainer of Scudero who was responding to a blinkers off change.  The Scat Daddy colt had a lofty 374 Tomlinson number and sure as the devil was showing a huge turn around.  You just have to give anything this guy rolls out a second look…………..Dan Peitz sent out Jajjaar for a last to first run in the second opening day at Oaklawn Park, a MSW race for three-year-olds.  The son of Jazil got up despite a rather lackluster 3/4-mile clocking of 1:14.09………….It was another good Saturday of racing for Todd Pletcher.  Like we have pointed out for years now we just don’t see how he can manage all these horses properly to get them to the ultimate dance–the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.

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About The Author

Warren Eves
Warren Eves is the senior turf writer from the state of California who now calls Prairie River, Louisiana his home. The one time editor of the Pasadena Independent Star News moved on to handle publicity for racetracks coast to coast. Eves gained his first exposure to the racetrack through a school buddy Art Lerille, Jr., who eventually became a trainer in California. Warren worked as farm manager for crack two-year-old trainer Ray Priddy, before holding on track jobs at the racetrack. He worked for Hall of Fame trainer M.E. "Buster" Millerick, Allen Drumheller, Jr., and Dick Moon. Eves has a well rounded background in all breeds. He developed Quarter Horse Report in 1979 with Ed Burgart, track announcer, at Los Alamitos Race Course. It was an innovative publication which revolutionized the industry with actual descriptions of the workouts. While handling publicity at Saratoga Raceway in upstate New York Eves was named employee of the year in 1970. He also handled publicity for Sunland Park, Centennial Park, Ascot Park, Thistledown, and two harness meetings in California. Eves then went into the 900-line business with his best plays and has compiled his own Kentucky Derby ratings for many years. In 1997 he began going back and forth to Las Vegas teaming up with Ralph Siraco to create the long runining radio show Raceday Las Vegas. Eves has produced and directed many horse racing shows on both radio and television. In 2010 he got a call from Mark Geiger. That's when he began writing for the newest horse racing site on the internet www.pricehorsecentral.com. Eves, with a reputation of a trip handicapper, spends countless hours doing video tape review. His unique "playback list" includes consistenly conservative lengths lost notatations. Veteran clocker John Wilson encouraged Eves to put the minus(-1) notations into his commentary for those who do numbers. He's been doing this unique process for many years. While writing for Ridder Publication at the Pasadena Star News his investigative reporting was highly regarded by his peers. Often on the cutting edge, Eves has been given the green light to write about what issues he sees fit to cover. Have a question. If Warren doesn't know the answer he'll tell you up front. Eves won't drop it there, however, he'll find someone who knows the answer and get back to you. Until Santa Anita goes back to dirt tracks Warren will be conentrating on races at venues that do. It doesn't mean he's not reviewing the races at Santa Anita, it merely means his betting dollars will be playing other venues. He feels there's simply too many question marks when it comes to "fake" dirt tracks.

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