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Been Tough Sledding for Our Oaklawn HTW Playbacks; We’re Betting Texas-bred Mdn-Claimer Tree Top Society

By Warren Eves

It has not been business as usual for us at Oaklawn Park this year.

We may have found a nugget while doing replay review of races April 3.

A Texas-bred gelding, with ordinary drills, figures to graduate soon after his clear cut second at the maiden $12,500 claiming level.

Tree Top Society is a Texas-bred owned and bred by Joey Keith Davis and trained by Chris Hartman.  He caught the eye for a number of replay reasons in the fourth race April 3 in Hot Springs.

Away clean and straight from the barrier he vied for the lead outside two in the early going. Veteran Ken Tohill was able to drop Tree Top Society in and on the rail before the half-mile marker. Third into the turn he seemed to lose focus and a bit of ground to the leaders.

Once into the straightaway Tree Top Society showed renewed energy while ringy. That’s a term we use when a horse in in and out, a bit confused for one reason or another. Tree Top Society responded, splitting foes to regain the lead inside the final pole.  He did not hold off the favored Wild by Nature late but finished a clear cut second.

It should also be noted Tree Top Society, a son of the not-so-famous sire Etesaal, galloped out in willing fashion.

We concluded Tree Top Society surely will graduate early in his career if he gains from his first race experience, Texas-bred or not.

You may ask, who is this sire named Etesaal?  Did a search for the Bradford Thoroughbred Farm in Texas and could not come up with much of anything. We did find Etesaal is a 14-year-old son of Danzig(USA) out of a mare named Electric Society(Ireland).

What we do know is this.  Tree Top Society will graduate from the $12,500 maiden claiming ranks in the near future. If that does not happen it will not be due to our lack of effort in doing tireless and sometimes unrewarding video tape analysis.

Notes scribbled across my official program–Don’t know what prompted Michael Lauer to claim the first time starting 3-year-old gelding out of his debut race on March 23 at Oaklawn, but it surely looks like a solid $12,500 investment. Tall Hammer, debuting in white blinkers, had the most speed to get the lead. He set the pace, got separation around the turn, and had the look of a winner. Kingofgoldstreet ran him down late, but Tall Hammer was finishing 5-1/2 lengths ahead of the next horse……………..Word came on Twitter on Friday, March 28, that one of my all-time favorite jockeys was retiring for a second time. Mark Guidry is calling it quits and will handle the book of Carlos Marquez, Jr…………….It’s been many years since we cavorted the backstretch of Ohio racetracks.  That came to mind after watching the solid second place rally of Ohio-bred Rivers Run Deep in race eight at Oaklawn Park on March 23.  The fact he chased a promising colt named Glacken Too is reason enough to give this runner a second look when he surfaces again. He’s trained by Cody Autrey and he’s got some staying power, so it might be worthwhile to follow Rivers Run Deep in future races………….Since taking over Evan’s Calling from Neil Pessin after the gelding finished seventh at Arlington Park trainer Brad Cox has won four of five races.  The Aragorn Kentucky Bred, owned by Lee Mauberret and Harold Heidingsfelder, won his third straight at Oaklawn Park on March 29.  He was well in hand early, pulled the rider into the lead early on the backside, set all the pace, and won off in the lane. Evan’s Calling is as good as he’s ever been and now sports a record of 18-5-3-3………………..Liked the debut run of Maryland-bred The Big Beat in the eighth at Oaklawn Park on March 29. He was not quick of foot early on in eighth, saved ground on the turn, sixth to the top he responded to left-hand urging and surged late for second. He blew right on past the eventual winner after the wire in the maiden special weight race  which was quick early and not so fast late……………..Three claims were made out of the fourth at Oaklawn on March 30th, but they did not take Barney R who ran much better than looked. He was hung out from post 9, lost a ton of ground every step and still wound up a clear cut second.  Trainer Federico Villafranco will get to run the five-year-old gelding again and he should have a say at the $5,000 claiming level……………….The four-year-old filly Glorys Last Chance appeared to come to hand when she was stretched out on April 3 at Oaklawn by John Hall. The way she roared off the top and finished trying and reaching would suggest she’s going to be double tough when brought back.  I really liked her reaching style coming to the wire and Ken Tohill had trouble pulling her up after the wire into the turn…………….Reinforce ran the best race of his career when coming from far back to be second in race three at Oaklawn Park on April 4. If you consider the fact he broke slow, got slammed hard from the left after the start and and rattled off the foe to his right then you get a good idea how well he obviously ran.  He fits the maiden $16,000 competition sprinting and should be a factor when they wheel him back.

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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.


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