Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Weekly Random Racing Bits: WRRB February 3rd

Posted by Brian Appleton on February 4, 2011

As we get closer to the first Saturday in May each week seems to get progressively more intense and chockfull of industry action.



This week saw the unfortunate passing of two respected industry insiders. On Friday retired jockey and 1960 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award recipient, Bill Harmatz, passed away at the age of 79, just short of his 80th birthday on February 9th. On Saturday Hall of Fame trainer Elliott Burch, trainer of such notable horses as Sword Dancer, Arts and Letters, Bowl of Flowers and Fort Marcy, died of pneumonia in Rhode Island. He was a third generation Hall of Fame inductee as both his father and grandfather were inducted in 1963 and 1955 respectively.



Dialed In - Adam Coglianese

Dialed In may have turned in the most brilliant performance of the year, regardless of age, in the Holy Bull Stakes when charging from dead last to win in a hand ride. The fact that he had only run once, winning a maiden race, makes his victory is all the more impressive.



Dancinginherdreams may have lost but fans and supporters alike should take heart. The way she closed from far back to miss by less than a length after being forced to go very wide on the turn promises good things in store. Look for her to bounce back big in the Davona Dale later this month. Forward Gal winner Pomeroy’s Pistol herself ran a great race and should be considered a legitimate Davona Dale threat.



Switch is the leading older female in the nation after a no doubt about it win in the Santa Monica Stakes Sunday for her second Grade 1 win in-a-row. She will only improve as the year goes on according to trainer John Sadler which is a scary thought to any females planning to line up against her in the gate anytime soon.



Champion Two Year Old Male and early Kentucky Derby favorite Uncle Mo had his first workout of the year on Sunday, going a somewhat slow three furlongs in :39.95. If the slower than expected time had anyone worried trainer Todd Pletcher wasn’t one of them.



Evening Jewel may have thrown in a clunker last time out when finishing fifth in the Monrovia Handicap at Santa Anita in early January but she emerged an emphatic, determined winner of the Sunshine Millions Distaff on Saturday. She won the race by half a length over Amazing and a fast-closing Ultra Blend. As one of the elite top sophomore fillies of 2010 to return to racing this year she represents an exciting athlete to follow in the coming year.



Caracortado - Benoitphoto.com

Caracortado is back in a big way. On Saturday the 4 year old gelding remained undefeated in two turf starts, winning the Sunshine Millions Turf by  a half length over a very stubborn The Usual Q. T. He was drawing away nicely in the end and if kept on the turf during his 2011 campaign could prove to be one of the country’s top grass runners.



The Sunshine Millions Sprint went to 11-1 long shot Amazombie on Saturday at Santa Anita after the Bill Spawr trainee outfought favored Cost Of Freedom to the wire.



The biggest upset of the week came when Tackleberry won the Sunshine Millions Classic over  a strong field at odds of 27-1. Defeated once again after finding strong support was tough-luck First Dude.


Trip For A. J. proved tough enough to win the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream on Saturday, winning by half a length over race favorite Askbut I Won’ttell.


Yet another longshot won a Sunshine Millions race Saturday  when Aegean took the Filly and Mare Sprint at odds o 9-1 over the furious closing rally of Jessica Is Back.


Champion Indian Blessing bore her first foal on Sunday, a colt by Zensational. A speedy mating if ever I saw one.


To Honor and Serve breezed five furlongs in 1:04 1/5 on Monday in preparation for his first start of the year, whenever that may be. The son of Bernardini is a leading Kentucky Derby candidate after impressive wins in last year’s Remsen and Nashua stakes.


Check back tomorrow for a review of the weekend racing action.


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