Week of January 30, 2012
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
The newly revamped Sunshine Millions showcased plenty of notable performances while the Kentucky Derby and Oaks trails quickly heated up.
Undefeated Awesome Feather made short work of her state-bred foes in the Sunshine Millions Distaff (chart), dueling with Tiz the Argument and easily pulling away. She came out of the race in good order but no word yet on where she’ll attempt to make it 10-10. Mucho Macho Man also put a in nice performance in the Sunshine Millions Classic (chart), signaling what will hopefully be an exciting year for the handicap division (older males). Also in the handicap division, Grade 1 winner Boys at Tosconova took a positive step towards rejoining the stakes ranks with his third straight allowance at win Gulfstream Park (chart). His next target will be the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap at one mile on March 10.
It’s Me Mom got an early lead and never looked back in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint (chart). 2011 Filly and Mare Sprint Eclipse champion Musical Romance and Grade 2 winner Pomeroy’s Pistol were never involved in the race, but had they been they would’ve had a hard time catching the winner. Musical Romance also grabbed a quarter coming out of the gate, but will be OK. Little Mike also took them all the way in the Sunshine Millions Turf (chart) while Soaring Stocks came back after racing 16 days ago to win the Sunshine Millions Sprint (chart). The upset of the day came when Hooh Why rallied in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf (chart) to pay $37.40. No stranger to pulling a shocking upset, Hooh Why won the 2009 Grade 1 Ashland as well, paying $24. No plans have been announced for any of the Sunshine Millions winners.
At Santa Anita Willa B Awesome was the one the pull the upset in the Santa Ysabel (chart) as the longest shot on the board at 11-1. With the scratch of two key front-runners, Coup de Coeur and Eden’s Moon, trainer Walther Solis changed plans and had jockey Martin Pedroza send Willa B Awesome to the lead. Conversely, favored Charm the Maker also changed tactics and sat well off the pace, which did not work out. Willa B Awesome, and perhaps others from this race, will target the March 3 Las Virgenes. The first Grade 1 of the year was a thriller when Home Sweet Aspen dueled early with Sugarinthemorning and Rumor and stubbornly came back at Sugarinthemorning in the final strides to take the Santa Monica Stakes (chart).
On Sunday at Gulfstream Park the Kentucky Oaks and Derby trail heated up with Broadway’s Alibi crushing the Grade 2 Forward Gal (chart) field in a “complete domination” (according to race caller Larry Collmus). According to DRF, trainer Todd Pletcher would like to keep Broadway Alibi at one turn for the time being so her next start might be the Grade 3 Cicada at Aqueduct on March 10 or she may try males in the Swale at Gulfstream Park, also on March 10. Algorithms handed juvenile champ Hansen his first defeat in the Grade 3 Holy Bull (chart) while bringing his record to a perfect 3-3. Trainer Mike Maker thought Hansen, who stumbled out of the gate and then sped to the lead, was a bit too fresh but was pleased with the effort overall. No word on what’s next for Algorithm and Hansen.
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Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker
See you at the track!