Saturday Betfair Hollywood Park, Race 9, Local Post Time 4:35pm PT
The G1 CashCall Futurity, 1 and 1/16 Miles, 2YO, Synth
By Justin Finch
The Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity will be run against a poignant backdrop as Betfair Hollywood Park approaches its end. And one should add that it approaches it with some style, as this is a very interesting edition of the Cash Call Futurity.
• FREE TimeformUS PPs for the CashCall Futurity
• A Special Offer on Unlimited PPs for Bloodhorse Readers
The TimeformUS Pace Projector indicates that Karma King will be on a clear early lead, with Shared Belief, Brother Soldier, and Tap It Rich not far behind. Then it's a small gap back to Electric Eddie, Candy Boy, and the moon-shooting maiden, Even Echo. The others should be considered closers or deep closers in this field.
The morning line favorite, at 7-2, is Shared Belief, and we expect this gelding to be the solid favorite when the gate opens. He was supremely impressive in his last race, both visually and in terms of numbers, blitzing a Grade 3 field by almost 8 lengths at 7F and earning a TimeformUS speed figure of 101--the best number any horse in this race has ever run. If this race were a sprint, we would not be inclined to expend a lot of energy trying to figure out how to beat Shared Belief. This is one fast horse, the type who can sit and wait and then accelerate in a manner that leaves his rivals' trainers kicking themselves for having entered a race that he was in. But this race is not a sprint. It is a route. And we believe that Shared Belief is likely to be an underlay in the wagering. Yes, he has a solid TimeformUS Pedigree Rating for synthetic routes: an 83. But he is going to be taking money based on a dazzling sprint performance that he may well not be able to duplicate in today's circumstances. This is a strong contender whom we are going to try to beat today.
Tap It Rich: He had an extremely difficult trip in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and yet lost by only a little over three lengths, earning a strong speed figure of 93. In that race, he was very difficult to ride for the first half mile or so, and he ended up losing a ton of ground racing wide around both turns. And according to our recent addition--TimeformUS Pace Figures--he was doing all this extra work while running fast fractions: earning pace figures of 104 101 104 for the first three calls. This was a strong, strong performance. Tap It Rich will be making his first start on a synthetic surface today. However, he does have a good Pedigree Rating (an 86) for synthetic routes. His trainer, Bob Baffert, receives Trainer Ratings of 98 with horses making their synthetic debuts, 92 with horses making the third starts of their careers, and 100 when using Mike Smith. But will Tap It Rich again prove impossible to ride? Who knows? But we are encouraged by the fact that Baffert plainly has been doing a lot with this horse in the mornings: giving him long workouts (two at a mile) at varying speeds. Although still a question mark, Tap It Rich should be considered a strong contender today, and he figures to go off at a decent price.
Candy Boy: At 15-1 on the morning line, he looks like the most interesting longshot in this race. He earned a speed figure of 89 in his last start, a number that makes him borderline competitive, and, though he didn't have a lot behind him, the style of his victory was quite impressive. We like the way he was able to turn up the heat when asked and record a third-call pace figure of 98.
Tamarando is as honest as they come and deserves to be used heavily in exotics.
Saturday Betfair Hollywood Park, Race 3, Local Post Time 1:30pm PT
The G2 Hollywood Turf Cup, 1 and 1/2 Miles, 3+, Turf
By Robert Finnegan
Although horseplayers love to complain about short fields in Southern California and elsewhere, the relative lack of traffic issues increases the probability that the best horse will win. Such is the case in the 31st running of the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup, this Saturday, where we have not only a manageable field of six, but also a race contested at 12 stamina-testing furlongs, which should provide all the contenders with a reasonable chance to get a clean run.
• TimeformUS PPs for the Hollywood Turf Cup
• PP offer for Bloodhorse Readers
This field can be divided into three groups of two. The first group is the longshots, Irish Surf and Huntsville. Both have had long campaigns and appear to be unrealistic candidates to make the exacta. In the case of Irish Surf, if breeding were to decide things, this son of Giant's Causeway and G1 winner Surfside (out of the champion mare Flanders) would win going away. As is, the colt has finished no better than 7th in his last three starts, and we see no reason for a form reversal back to his top figure of 105 on short rest. Huntsville is a tad more dangerous, with his tactical speed, but note that he is winless in 14 starts this year, most of them at a lower class level than the race he enters today. These two are throw-outs.
The second group to focus on is the lightly raced four-year-olds, Arctic North and Segway, both of whom have won two of five career starts, and both of whom are stretching out to 12 furlongs for the first time in their careers. In the case of Arctic North, this is a horse who didn't debut until the age of four. After defeating Segway two races back, Arctic North shipped across the country to contest the Grade 3 Red Smith at Aqueduct, where he finished a non-threatening sixth but posted a career-best 106 figure. The TimeformUS pace figures indicate he was forced to run much faster early in this race, relative to the distance, than he had in previous efforts. This left him unable to produce the necessary kick with the race on the line. Now he stretches out an additional furlong, and, based on his Pedigree Rating of 74, we have doubts about his desire to go this far.
Segway, on the other hand, possesses a terrific 96 Pedigree Rating for this race. Unlike Arctic North, Segway debuted as a three-year-old, a race in which he was bet down to 5-1 in a 10-horse-field and won impressively. After a pair of middling efforts, Segway went to the sidelines for almost a year. His return race was far more impressive than it looks on paper. He was blocked for much of the stretch and didn't find clear running until Arctic North had sailed by on the outside. Indeed, in his subsequent start, on October 27th, he wired the field while setting tepid fractions and matched his career top of 97. Segway will need to run the best race of his career on Saturday, but we think he is set to do just that. His trainer, Richard Mandella, has a strong 92 Trainer Rating with this type of rest between starts. Moreover, Segway is making his third start off the layoff, a category in which Mandella gets a Trainer Rating of 83. The Pace Projector puts Segway on the lead in a race expected to favor horses with early speed. For these reasons, we prefer him over Arctic North.
The third group of horses is the battle-hardened veterans Temeraine and Lucayan. Lucayan is a Group One winner in Europe and has produced the fastest figure of any of the contenders in the race (a 113). However, Lucayan's form has been spotty in the US since that big performance at a mile on May 25th. His last race can be excused, as it was run in a virtual bog at Woodbine. Prior to that, he produced some strong late efforts in hitting the board in races ranging from 8 to 11 furlongs. He also receives the services of Joel Rosario for this race and figures to offer value for those who believe in his chances. Alas, we are not in this group. Although his Pedigree Rating is a respectable 85, this colt was considered a miler in Europe, and his best performances have come at a mile.
Temeraine is the much more logical candidate to come from off the pace and make the exacta. Any of Temeraine's last three performances (106-108 figures) would put him in the mix in the Hollywood Turf Cup. His off-the-board performances this year have been against superior competition, and yet he still ran well in those efforts. He has given every indication that he wants this trip, and it's hard to see him finishing worse than 2nd in this race. However, he is no win-machine, and at his likely short odds, we will play the race with the hope that Segway can hold him off late.
Wagering Strategy: Segway to win at 5-2 or higher. Exacta box of Segway and Temeraine (60% Segway on top, 40% Temeraine on top).
Saturday Gulfstream Park, Race 9, Local Post Time 4:33pm ET
The G3 Sugar Swirl Stakes, 6F, F&M, 3+, Dirt
By Douglas Salvatore
A field of six is assembled for the Sugar Swirl, and the pace should be very quick and contested.
• TimeformUS PPs for the Sugar Swirl Stakes
• PP offer for Bloodhorse Readers
The 2/1 morning line favorite is R Free Roll, and she is presumably the speed of the speed, though she might have a hard time crossing and clearing against this field.
R Free Roll owns the field's best spotlight figure, a 110, and she gets a rider change to our favorite rider, Paco Lopez, who is winning at 33% so far at this Gulfstream Park meet.
Paco Lopez is very aggressive, but he's also a brilliant judge of pace and tactics on front-end horses, and his presence aboard R Free Roll leaves us unwilling to get cute and play against her.
The longest shot on the morning line, Twice Told Tale, is the only runner in this field who has ever had any success while racing off the early pace, but she unfortunately lacks the speed figures necessary to make her our top selection.
Still, Twice Told Tale should enjoy an absolute dream trip, and she is sure to mop up the pace casualties. Look for her to pick up her exhausted and spent rivals in the stretch and add some needed value to the exotics.
Betting Strategy: Straight Exacta of R Free Roll over Twice Told Tale. Trifecta key: R Free Roll first, All in the second slot, and Twice Told Tale third.