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Stews Fail To Act On Obvious Foul On Eve Of Rebel; Here’s Race By Race Report Of How Surface Played

By Warren Eves

Why can’t these stewards get it right?

Carlos Marquez, Jr was cost a better placement in the eighth race at Oaklawn Park on Friday, March 16.  Head-on shots of the horses moving to the far turn proved beyond a doubt his mount Explain had been fouled.  Only the stewards know why they did not take down Z Rockstar’s number.  Luis Quinonez came out away from the railwith Z Rockstar in order to get around Coach.  In the process he impeded the progress of three foes to his right.

It was an amazing second place effort by Explain.  From post one he hopped up to lose two lengths.  Explain still was third with a gap midway on the first turn.  A bigger bodied Coach was showing the way with Z Rockstar pinned to the rail to his left.  Coach dropped over in front of Z Rockstar before reaching the half-mile marker.  That’s when Quinonez decided he had to get his mount out and away from the fence.  When he came out–that’s when he caused all the trouble.

We were monitoring all the races at Oaklawn park so we could get an idea how the surface might play on Saturday when all eyes will be on the featured Rebel.  Here’s how the the program went.

Race 1: Seventh in the early going Inertia rallied in lane three to the top and kept on coming to catch pacemaker Ali’s Knockout who was her own worst enemy drifting out late to wind up second.  The win margin was a neck.

Race 2: This $5K claiming route saw Sandwee make a fourth to first run to get the money by 1.  Those who made the pace finished third and fourth.

Race 3: Garmento and Carlos Marquez made a fifth to first run to win the mile for $10,000 claiming maidens.  The pacemaker held sway for second money.

Race 4: This was actually an impressive win for the $10K claimer Miguel Baby with T.J. Thompson.  The five-year-old gelding won a hotly contested four-horse duel for the lead and kept on going to win by 2-1/4.  It was a game performance.  The numbers guys don’t give extra points for horses who are used hard early and keep going.  That’s what this gelding did  And yes, we spent a lot of time looking at head-on shots of all 10 races this day from Hot Springs.

Race 5: I guess the Oaklawn stewards don’t mind if you foul away from the gate.  We mention this because Kick On came out and bothered two foes in the opening yards and won the $7.5K mile claimer taking a big class drop.  Mizzen Maze was badly compromised early on.  Simply disregard the running line.  These are things we look for while gathering horses for our “Horses To Watch” file available on this site.  We had two horses run off our H to W list on Friday.  Both were at Santa Anita.  Thirteen Diamonds ran last in race three and Charm The Crowd won the fifth and paid $11.  Our list is comprised after tireless hours of video tape review.

Race 6: Jon Court gave Got It Together a second over trip as pacemaker Perfect Swell held the lead until late and wound up third.  Here’s Fit came from last to grab 2nd.

Race 7: Doin Big Business got what we call a “picture perfect” fifth over trip to win the $7.5K claiming route and all the speed died.  You had a pretty good idea this gelding was going to get the money moving to the half full of run and ready to pounce.  Dabossman rallied from eighth to be a non threatening second.

Race 8–After a foul claim and a lengthy inquiry Z Rockstar did not have his number taken down.  It’s true he ran a great race.  There was also clear cut evidence on tape of more than one of his rivals being compromised moving to the far turn.  If you bet on Explain you have reason to be angry.

Race 9Channing Hill gave Zapper Belle confident second over handling to win this 1-1/16th mile allowance.  In reviewing this race it appeared as if Hill knew he was aboard the winner.  And…..he was.

Race 10–Trainer Joseph Martin rolled the dice dropping Half a Well down to$7,500 and got away with it.  Half a Well broke like a shot from post 12 and got over to the middle of the track.  At least four-wide every step he took the lead and showed he was best to the wire.  Half a Well looked like he could step up off this run.

Conclusion: The track played fair.  You probably don’t want to be too far back once you reach the top of the stretch.  Let’s hope they don’t tinker with it for Saturday’s Rebel when nine sophomores try to beat Bob Baffert’s Secret Circle.

Notes scribbled across my official program–Credit Barry Irwin for the impeccable management of State of Play, who in winning the John Battaglia is not Derby material.  Pennsylvania-bred Ill Conceived gave up the rail on the second turn gave State of Play an open invitation to gain the lead.  Ill Conceived re-rallied and appeared to have caught the Graham Motion-trained State of Play.  The photo said otherwise.  This is the sort of management we have talked about for four seasons now that colts in the Todd Pletcher cannot possibly get.  It is impossible for Pletcher to give keep each one of his bluebloods on the right path.  Too many colts.  Too many options while trying to keep his colts separated.  State of Play was winning for the third time in five starts but he wants no part of a classic distance.  You can’t fault Irwin for that, nor his great trainer Graham Motion.  What you can do is marvel at the paths Irwin takes with his horses.  It’s hard to believe the guy I used to sit with in the Santa Anita pressbox has become such a mogul in the world of horse racing………………Jockey Martin Pedroza knows better.  He was up early in a tight three-horse finish in race nine on March 4 at Santa Anita.  He was not down at the wire and his mount Cheezy Breezy was a narrowly beaten third..  A number of years ago we saw Kent Desormeaux failing to ride his mounts all the way across the finish wire.  Stewards like Tom Ward need to pay attention to such small details.  Those who backed Cheezy Breezy that day may have gotten the short end of the deal…………………Sure liked the first time run of leggy colt named Flashy Dresser who won a MSW 6F sprint at Gulfstream Park on March 4.  He got away alertly with Luis Contreras and lugged in the opening 60 yards.  Fifth into the turn the Flashy Bull(by Holy Bull) colt advanced three-wide entering the lane.  He took the lead and won going straight and true by 6-3/4 lengths.  The colt, owned and trained by Fred Seitz,  covered the final fraction in an eye-opening 12.18…………..Doug O’Neill could not be too happy with one jockey named Martin Pedroza after the Big Cap at Santa Anita Park.  Pedroza dropped over off the top of the turn and took what little room there was on the fence.  Bug rider Eswan Flores and Thirtyfirststreet checked and hit the inside railing to lose all chance.  It appeared as if O’Neill’s charge was going to finish in the mix before the incident.  And what was Pedroza crying about after the race? Joel Rosario did go for the lead early on and Pedroza took issue with him.  I guess Martin felt he should have been allowed to set the pace all by himself……………Before Pat Byrne scratched Take Charge Indy out of the Tampa Bay Derby on March 10 we had him listed among “pretenders” to make the gate for the May 5 Kentucky Derby…………….Somebody please tell Jessica Pacheco who does commentary for Gulfstream Park to buy some berets.  It’s aggravating to watch Ms. Pacheco constantly shaking her head or brush her hair from her eyes.  At least Ms. Pacheco has done her homework, unlike Ms. Katie, the gal who is actually getting paid to expound on the obvious at the Fairgrounds………………Credit Richard Dutrow, Jr., for a keen eye.  He claimed the impressive maiden winner Charlie’s Quest out of the first at Gulfstream on Saturday.  James Riccio put up $65,000 and he must have been elated with what he had just acquired.  Charlie’s Quest, beaten off in his last start, raced wide down the backstretch.  Fourth to the top and back about 4-1/2 lengths he cut between horses and drew out late under Edgar Prado.  Have to think this Quest colt has a huge up side.  He was taken off Ken McPeek……………..New Farm’s Hard Spun sophomore gelding had to post a last fraction of 11 and change when rallying from last to win the Fred Cappy Capossella feature at Aqueduct March 10.  Hardened Wildcat was brushed at the break and slow early to trail early on.  Junior Alvarado got him into the race on the turn.  Once he got Hardened Wildcat to the middle of the track and flicked the crop at him he passed all five rivals.  The official last fraction was 12.18 but Hardened Wildcat had to come home much faster than that number.  It marked the third straight win for trainer Chad Brown’s charge.  The race was named for the late and great Fred Capossella who was in the booth when I was also on the roof calling a few races live for an Albany radio station.  Capossella was revered by most racegoers back in those days………….Thinking out loud.  A leggy Street Sense colt named Cigar Street won off and hid the first time trainer Steve Margolis sent him around two turns on March 10 at the Fairgrounds.  He had finished fifth in a sprint debut.  He covered the final fraction in a speedy 6.24 while clocked in 1:43.75. Cigar Street has zero graded dollars as of March 13.  Could a colt like this jump into one of the main Derby preps and gets enough money to be in the gate for the Kentucky Derby…………………Prospective, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby, will definitely start again even though he has enough graded money to be in the May 5 Derby gate.  The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7 fits and that’s where he may surface for trainer Mark Casse………………..Want the best Po-Boy sandwich in the area of the Fairgrounds?  That would be the Parkway Bakery & Tavern on Hagan Avenue.  Their roast beef with gravvy is out of this world……………….I know we talk a lot about horses who don’t change leads in the stretch.  There was a perfect example of changing leads in the second race at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday, March 15.  A first time starter named Sharp Sally saved ground off the top in the slot.  Once she got away from the rail she rallied on the wrong lead to overtake the pace making Brilliant Katie.  The slo-mo of the last 60 yards clearly illustrates how Sharp Sally changes her leads before she gets to the wire.  If you have access to Twin Spires replays this is something you might want to check out because it was one of the better examples of changing leads.  That being aside, it was clearly an example of a promising sophomore filly trained by Christophe Clement who may be something more than ordinary…………One of the worst plays in horse racing is an easy maiden winner coming back against winners.  I point this out because when Eric Reed sent Peachy Baby out to break her maiden for $12,500, there was no takers on March 16 at the Big A.  Peachy Baby could not have won any easier.  Nobody knows what level this filly may be wheeled back at.

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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 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.


2 Responses to “Stews Fail To Act On Obvious Foul On Eve Of Rebel; Here’s Race By Race Report Of How Surface Played”

  1. Steven says:

    Hi Warren,do you have a private i can keep in touch..Thanks Steven.

  2. Steven says:

    Hi Warren,it’s my first-time checking out the site.I really enjoyed all the information,you can never get enough .I’m up in Canada and i hate the polytrack they install at Woodbine,with the weather we get it is very tricky to handicap.Well hope you had a wonderful weekend..All the best always..Thanks! Steven

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