By Warren Eves
The fifth race November 27 at the Fairgrounds my wind up a ‘key’ race.
Several factors bring us to this conclusion. First. The final fraction in the $25,000 claiming race on the lawn was a rapid 5.91. Over a long period of years we have found it pays to look at races where they come home fast no matter what the surface may be.
This is why Knights Nation and Turncoat made my “watch list.” If one doesn’t place an additional emphasis on the final fraction–most likely neither one of these horses would have drawn much attention.
As most of you know by now, I spend tireless hours reviewing video tape. It’s what we have been doing for many years–a far cry from modern day methods of being impressed by numbers.
Knights Nation, dropping from $40,000 to $25,000, broke straight from the inside post. The gelding saved every inch of ground having not been seen since March 13 of the last meet in New Orleans. What caught the eye was the way Knights Nation took off with jockey Jim Graham while galloping out after the finish wire.
Turncoat, coming off a winning effort at Keeneland, is a leggy sort that also caught the eye. After breaking from the gate he was bumped outward by eventual winner Giacallure. He was dropped over to the rail and raced in fifth all the way. C.J. Hernandez and Turncoat lost their path once into the straight but once again we noted interest after the finish.
These sorts of efforts don’t always produce but I’m willing to wager a bob or two, and sure to use them in exotics, the next time they surface at the famed oval in New Orleans.
Notes scribbled across my official program–Sometimes you find a nugget when doing the tedious review of horse racing. Bold Animaux, making his first start for Gary Scherer, may have finished sixth but it was remarkable on review. The Florida-bred got away cleanly on day 3 at the Fairgrounds when dropped in for a $17,500 claiming tag. Fourth away from the barrier Bold Animaux became rank and had to be steadied early. Into the first turn he broke stride and went out. This is where jockey F C Torres went on with him. He was three-wide between horses all down the backstretch and still three-wide midway on the second turn. Bold Animaux didn’t pack it in. He kept digging all the way to the wire. He’s a must use in the exotics when they bring him back……………….One of the things handicapper Bruce Finkelstein brought to the table when we did seminars was the “herd finish.” It’s a good idea to avoid horses exiting these herd finishes. On review of race six on day three at the Fairgrounds I took a long look at the sixth because of the solid late fraction of 23.34 on turf………………On video tape review, that win by A He’s an O’Prado on turf Nov., 25, was much better than it appears. He was not quick early and fifth to the far turn. That’s where he had to be steadied when blocked and locked in coming off the top. He bulled his way between foes and won nicely, galloping out after the finish when in for $10,000…………After Guess Who Charlie wired a state-bred field at the Fairgrounds on Nov., 26, we went back and took a look at his impressive win at Louisiana Downs in and open MSW sprint. Bumped between foes at the start to be well out of it early, Guess Who Charlie rallied impressively to win his diploma. We have to surmise he did not like the tighter turns at Delta because he sure liked the New Orleans oval. This colt should make a bucket of greenbacks against state breds this winter……………It’s great to see David Flores is getting some live chances in New Orleans. Liked the way Flores rode from the first time I saw him at famed Aqua Caliente. He can still get it done. On the other hand, I’m sorry to see the state of Louisiana still will licence the worst rule breaker the sport has ever known–Pat Valenzuela. His business is not brisk this time around.