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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pletcher Jr. On a Roll

- Three winners for the Pletcher barn at Gulfstream on Sunday, as acting trainer Anthony Sciametta, Jr. won with all of his starters on the day. That gives him six winners in the last three days, and he's been first or second with eight of his last nine starters. That's impressive even for Pletcher.

Amongst the winners was the 19-1 bombshell Heat of the Night, a South African import coming off a year layoff and making his first North American start. John Velazquez did a great job overcoming the 11 post, and he ended up saving more ground than many, which helped him overcome the stubborn Defer, a one-time Derby prospect now a steady turf allowance horse at age five.

The other two winners were impressive wins by three-year olds. Perfect Forest (Forestry) graduated in her first race since Oct 1 when she romped in the 7th by nearly 10 lengths over Stormy West, a Bill Mott first-timer who was totally dead on the board at 14-1. She wired the field and drew away under a hand ride by Johnny V; and though quality of the field remains to be seen, she got the final furlong in a solid 12.31 seconds; the last three-eighths in 37.05. She was well-bet in two starts in New York in the fall, and really flashed some potential here.

In the ninth, Cowtown Cat was also impressive in winning comfortably; he lost a lot of ground on the turn, yet accelerated away from the field to win by four. This son of Distorted Humor was a $1.5 million juvenile purchase at Barrett's last year, and was the universal good thing when he finished a close 5th at 7-10 in his debut at Saratoga. After graduating in his next start, he was the 5-2 second choice in the Grade 3 Nashua at the Big A; he stumbled at the start and finished 6th. You may recall that the race was won by Day Pass, a two-for-two Darley colt who I imagine is vacationing over in Dubai these days.

- Bobby Frankel is hot at Santa Anita, and it may be worth noting that his horses are training over the Cushion Track at Hollywood. He has 7 winners and five seconds with 21 runners; and he took the Grade 2 El Encino with Sugar Shake. The four-year old daughter of Awesome Again, the seventh leading sire (by earnings) of 2006.