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Ky Derby ‘Futures’ Nuggets May Still Be Out There; Film Shot, Al’s Uncle & Scat Happy Worth Monitoring

By Warren Eves

Will the 9th race which was run at Gulfstream Park on February 1 have Kentucky Derby implications?

Call it a malady.  Label it anything you wish.  We really believe that maiden special weights race on the lawn at a mile and a sixteenth might well be a “key race.”  Being able to identify such a race early on can reap dividends.

We watched the race over and over.  When Donald Adam’s Film Shot took them all the way we noted he got the final fraction in an eye opening 12 seconds flat.  That’s something we look for when searching for those nuggets among the new sophomore class each year. Bill Mott trains Film Shot.  The colt had but one start as a two-year-old at Aqueduct early last November, a race won by the highly regarded Consortium.

One last observation.  Film Shot’s wire to wire maiden win was solid and even though two colts finished well chasing him we noted he galloped out strongly into the turn.

First off Film Shot was trying turf for the first time.  It was also the colt’s first experiencing two turns.  So maybe one should not be so critical of the fact Film Shot finished eighth in a 12 horse field that day.

Al’s Uncle caught the eye while finishing second to Film Shot.  We liked the manner which he held his position while caught inside five rivals and jostling to hold his own.  Many times young horses when caught in tight will give it up early on.  Al’s Uncle and Alex Solis were able to secure a great stalking position in fourth.  He moved closer off the top and then Al’s Uncle must have shaded 12 seconds as he finished gaining on the eventual winner.  Trainer Roger Attfield had posted only one start at two and that was second at Woodbine on November 20.

Then there was the impressive late effort of a leggy colt named Scat Happy.  Julien Leparoux’s agent must have had good reason to put Leparoux aboard the Scat Daddy colt.  Scat Happy was not quick early on and that was just as well.  There was a six-horse spread just ahead of him as Leparoux surveyed the situation into turn one.  Tenth early on Scat Happy made impressive late progress in the run to the finish to wind up third.  This was the colt’s very first start and only the Augustin Stable and trainer Jonathan Sheppard know if they have any Kentucky Derby aspiractions.

If I were still living in Las Vegas I’d visit John Avello’s property at Wynn’s and bet a bob or two on Al’s Uncle, Film Shot and Scat Daddy.  Yes, it’s a huge longshot that any of them will make the starting gate, but we just can’t help ourselves when it comes to Future wagering on the Kentucky Derby.

Notes scribbled across my official program–Watched the first two so-called races from Santa Anita Thursday afternoon with total disgust.  This is pathetic.  Like we’ve been saying for years, this guy named Rick Hammerle has never had a clue as to how to operate and promote a race meeting.  How could he with his limited background of having come from that school in Arizona.  They kicked Mike Harlow to the curb not long ago at the once great race place.  Now it’s time to get Hammerle out the door.  I have said it for years now, get rid of the clown in the Santa Anita facing office.  Bring in someone who’s willing to change the way they operate.  George Haines, Jr., is the general manager and that tells you all you need to know.  When he was in mutuels department he didn’t know what the hay he was doing in that department either.  Start by offering healthy bonuses to out of town horsemen who ship in.  Dedicate more than two barns to new faces, and let the members of their country club know they can’t merely train their horses on grounds if they don’t lead enough of them over to race.  Santa Anita Park would do themselves a favor by kicking both Hammerle and Haines to the curb and starting all over…………………It was nice to see veteran jockey Mark Guidry score aboard first time starter Ransom Canyon on the lawn at Tampa Bay Downs on February 2.  The Glen Hill Farm sophomore saved ground on the fence around the far turn and found a clear running lane in the stretch to win.  His tablemate, however, could be worth backing next time.  Horvat Clan, a sophomore gelding, might have been best.  He was bumping with Ninja Warrior early on in sixth.  Horvat Clan moved between horses to the far turn to be fourth to the top.  Once in the lane he dove inside and finished fastest of all………………As soon as The Black found running room and blasted off to win the last race at Santa Anita Thursday, February 2, we went to the chart.  We wanted to see if owner Scott McKeever had lost The Black in the $30,000 maiden claimer.  There were no claims.  McKeever is the guy who won the fourth largest pick six in Del Mar history back on July 27.  He won $1,197,646 less taxes and there was a beef.  His trainer at the time was Paul Aguirre and the winning jockey was Alonso Quinonez.  Aguirre thought he had a nice slice of cash coming his way and the winning jockey most likely felt the same way.  Anyway,McKeever reportedly mended fences with his former trainer and the jockey by staking them both.  McKeever took his horses out of Aguirre’s barn over the incident and that’s why The Black won for trainer Doug O’Neill.  The horse that keyed that big payoff on July 27 was named January Miss.  She won the last leg of the pick six.

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About The Author

Warren Eves
Warren Eves is a senior turf writer from the state of California who calls Pearl 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 the late 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 www.pricehorsecentral.com. Eves, with a reputation of a trip handicapper, is known for his video tape scrutiny. He currently monitors horse racing in for a major horseplayer. 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. His book "Hold All Tickets" is soon to be made available for those who come to this site. It's a factual account of actual events and happenings that took place in the 70s, 80s and 90s. If Warren doesn't know the answer to a question you may have, 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.

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