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Monday, September 04, 2006

Espinoza Makes A Point

- Seven winners, count em, for Victor Espinoza, and he still has two mounts to go as I post this. He just took the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Point Ashley, a Bob Baffert-trained daughter of Point Given. She showed a lot of athleticism on the turn, nimbly circling outside of rival Jump On In, who was bidding to give John Sadler a hat trick of graded stakes wins.

Point Ashley is out of an unraced mare by Slew O Gold, and she's a half to the California graded winner Raw Gold. Her third dam is Hurry Harriet, an Irish Grade 1 winner, and the dam of the Grade 1 San Capistrano winner Load the Cannons. So I imagine we'll see Baffert try her on the turf at some point, as he's done with Point Determined and Point of Impact.

Point Given seems to have a somewhat more precocious two-year old crop this year than he did in his freshman year. Point Ashley is his first juvenile graded stakes winner, and his daughter Naseem became his first two-year old stakes winner at all at Calder just the other day. He has four two-year old winners so far this year, as opposed to just two for all of 2005, those stats according to


Anonymous said...

Wow, i had no idea Point Ashley was a half to Raw Gold. Nice sprinter, that one, though i don't remember her ever winning past 7 furlongs. Seems strange they'd breed her to a distance-type like Point Given, but then again, Ghostzapper was a half to City Zip, so i guess there's more to distance breeding than just the female side. As for the race, Point Ashley looked pretty shbarp for the first 6 furlongs, but really seemed to be hanging a bit after that. Didn't get out fast at all. That can be forgiven, i suppose, due to the fact she was closing into the teeth of some very sharp fractions, and therefore did most of her dirty work before she straightening away in the stretch. And it's not like anyone was gaining on her either, so i'm willing to cut her some slack. Interestingly, Baffert took the blinkers off following her sharp maiden win. She had worked that 109.4 sans blinkers however, so i guess Baffert knew it wouldn't be a problem. And sure enough, she was settled much farther off the pace this time around. It's amazing what a difference the hood can make, whether you're trying to get a horse to relax, or vice-versa. Obviously Baffert feels she'll be more effective stretching out if she can lay off the pace a bit. Mission accomplished, at least for today.

Alan Mann said...

The race chart says that she "drifted out a bit then inward some but won clear under urging."