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Courtlandt Farms' homebred MACHEN (Distorted Humor) confirmed his potential as a Louisiana Derby (G2) prospect by dominating Sunday's 5TH race at Fair Grounds, but the unbeaten colt had anything but clear sailing as prohibitive 1-20 favorite.
Hardacre Farm LLC's homebred POMEROYS PISTOL (Pomeroy) used her front-running position in Sunday's $200,000 Forward Gal S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park to draw off in the stretch, giving her enough of an advantage to hold the fast-closing Dancinginherdreams (Tapit) by a three parts of a length on the wire. With jockey Pascacio Lopez providing a smart ride, the Amy Tarrant trainee finished up the seven-furlong test in 1:22 4/5 to add a first stakes win to her resume.
With champion Awesome Feather (Awesome of Course) sidelined by a tendon issue, DANCINGINHERDREAMS (Tapit) and R HEAT LIGHTNING (Trippi) are the leading three-year-old fillies in training in South Florida, and the two runners will open 2011 against each other in Sunday's $200,000 Forward Gal S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park. A total of seven fillies are entered in the seven-furlong test.
KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat) burst onto the radar last year with a four-length romp in the grassy Jessamine S. at Keeneland, then found herself in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) spotlight when dominating the Golden Rod S. (G2) under the Twin Spires by 8 1/2 lengths. On Saturday, the Kenny McPeek trainee gave notice she's carried her two-year-old form into the New Year when recording a 1 1/4-length victory in the $100,000 Sweetest Chant S. at Gulfstream Park.
The 2010 Experimental Free Handicap, released Thursday by The Jockey Club, showed the filly division headed by last year's champion two-year-old filly and undefeated Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) heroine AWESOME FEATHER (Awesome of Course) at 123 pounds.
In a virtual reprise of her victoriy in a December 26 stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, Cairoli Racing Stable's DEVILISH LADY (Sweetsouthernsaint) romped in Saturday's $73,250 Gasparilla S. The three-year-old filly extended her winning streak to four, and punched her tickets into graded company.
Suarez Racing Inc.'s CALIFORNIA NECTAR (Stormy Atlantic) held off the late run of Zazu (Tapit) to score a neck victory on Saturday in the $150,000 Santa Ynez S. (G2) at Santa Anita Park. With jockey Pat Valenzuela in the saddle, the bay lass set all the pace in the seven-furlong test, drawing off to a 1 1/2-length advantage in the lane before just holding on the line to stop the clock in 1:21 1/5 over the fast dirt.
Right Time Racing LLC's BOUQUET BOOTH (Flower Alley) was the only runner on the stakes undercard of Fair Grounds' Road to the Derby Kickoff Day who ended up justifying the public's faith as favorite when capturing Saturday's $98,000 Silverbulletday S., formerly known as the Tiffany Lass S.
Trainer Bob Baffert summed up Sunday's $92,000 Santa Ysabel S. (G3) at Santa Anita with one simple remark: "It was a good race for her, a good workout for her."
The Hall of Fame conditioner was of course referring to Kaleem Shah's MAY DAY ROSE (Rockport Harbor), who faced only two rivals in Sunday's test following the scratches of Zazu (Tapit) and Plum Pretty (Medaglia d'Oro). The filly proceeded to turn the race into a procession.
Herman Van Den Broeck's homebred ANGELICA ZAPATA (Sharp Humor) opened her three-year-old season with a convincing victory in Saturday's $50,000 Cincinnati Trophy S. at Turfway Park, parlaying a front-running trip into a 5 1/2-length win.