Bottom's Up #2: Maiden winners to watch from Fair Grounds, Golden Gate, Oaklawn, Tampa Bay Downs & Sam Houston
From Races March 25-March 28, 2021.
March 29, 2021. Edition 2.
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Yes indeed, we climb down the ladder again to find you the highlights from the lower rungs of horse racing. These are the notable maiden claimers or the tier B/C msw types. You will get a glimpse of a few of the horses that have made an impact within their class range and are perhaps worth tracking.
Starting off from the weekend was the fourth race from the Fair Grounds on Saturday March 27. This was a $10,000 maiden claimer for Louisiana breds going six furlongs. This was a race where you really hated to see either horse lose. Typically, when you see two horses go at it, one of them relents. in this case, our eventual winner Southern Light, and the 2nd place finisher, Our Last Shot, fought gamely from the 16th’s pole to the finish line. These two are certainly not Alydar/Affirmed or Easy Goer/Sunday Silence, yet the way they dueled was reminiscent. Both performances were notable. Mitch Murrill battled with Our Last Shot down the backstretch and ran a four wide trip all the way into the turn. Considering that it took nineteen times for Southern Light to graduate, the horse worth watching for next time is Our Last Shot. When coming down the stretch, Mitch had to fight traffic and when an opening finally happened, he took it and Our Last Shot fought convincingly until the end. Look for him next time…especially going longer.
Our coverage of how the lower half lives knows no bounds as we cover turf, dirt, tapeta, synthetic, or if need be, the snows of Kilimanjaro. This one comes from the third race from Golden Gate Fields on March 28, a $30K msw for Cal breds. As you can see in the upper right hand corner the final time for the race, it clearly shows that none of these will be showing up for next year's Big Cap. Jockey Kyle Frey had to be arm weary after this race because he fought with the winner, Counting Cards, from the opening gate until the turn. This horse really wanted to go and took no prompting to get him there. Kyle did go to the whip a couple of times down the stretch, seemingly to keep his mind in the game. This four-year-old came out of two claiming races before entering this tougher open company. Look for him in an optional claimer next time or a first level allowance race. He showed a great burst of energy at the end and will be worth a look down the road.
In the second race on Saturday, March 27, from Oaklawn, came a notable performance from our second place finisher, #7 Run Fearless. This was a $30,000 maiden claiming event for Arky breds that are 3yo’s↑. Prior to this race, Run Fearless ran two races in open company at the same distance. What distinguished Run Fearless from this race was the bobbing through traffic that Jon Court encountered spinning out of the turn. When he finally got him set down for the stretch, Run Fearless turned on that little something extra and just about caught the eventual winner, Do Me A Favor. Although running just a bit green, Run Fearless will take this as a learning experience and can be counted on for a big performance next time.
The first on Saturday from Tampa Bay Downs was a $10,000 maiden claiming race for 3yo’s↑ staties going one mile and forty yards. Jockey Ronald Ordonez on the winner of #6 Dominator must have been repetitiously playing in his head the song by Supertramp, “Take The Long Way Home.” When he entered the clubhouse turn, Ordonez had this horse in the six path before settling him into the three path along the backstretch and into the final throes. Unwittingly, Dominator ran a 5K in the span of a mile and 40 yards. If the connections stretch him out next time, you know that this horse can handle it.
And finally…. one that we missed publishing last week from Sam Houston. This was the third race for maiden claimers that are three four and five years old, going one mile and 70 yards on March 25. Jockey Sophie Doyle sat a quite easy rail trip on the filly Grey Halo until she tried to move her at the end of the turn. Sophie had to hard check her, losing an enormous amount of momentum, ended up swinging out four wide and seemingly was a step slow getting started. Around the 16th pole, when Sophie prompted Grey Halo to get her head in the game, she responded in kind. When it looked as if the number 2 finisher, Turquoise Trail, had an insurmountable lead, Grey Halo would not be denied. Grey Halo was the odds-on favorite in that race and as it turned out, a very game, deserving effort.
Until next time 😊