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Monday, January 14, 2008

Final Four

- Pletcher had four winners over the weekend; two at Gulfstream on Saturday, and two at Santa Anita on Sunday. That gave him 2,000 winners in his career. I was thinking that, just as a goof, I would go on Illman's blog and ask if he could provide a complete list of all of the winners complete with their past performances. But I'm afraid he might actually do it!

Well, here's the last four anyway:

1) Ruff and Ready (8th at GP, 1/12). Great ride here by Johnny V., who managed to find the wood and save ground turning for home. He had to wait a bit to get inside of Drilling For Oil, but the horse got through, and somehow managed to hang on by a nose, strictly on the head bob. Count your blessings if you cashed on this one. Ruff and Ready is a six-year old who has only raced nine times; but finds himself undefeated in three grass tries while climbing through the allowance ranks. He's by More Than Ready, out of a Notebook mare, and he's a half-brother to the Super Derby winner Outofthebox.

2) Game Face (9th, the G3 Old Hat, at GP, 1/12). Velazqueuz got a nice pace setup here, with favored Lovely Isle setting quick fractions up front. That should not, however, at all detract from this impressive effort. Johnny V. had the three-year old daughter of Menifee (out of an unraced Gone West mare) firmly in hand as he glided around the field while four wide on the turn; and I always like when the rider is peeking back as he's about to tackle the leader. At least when I have that horse, anyway.

3) Loh Collado (2nd, Santa Anita, 1/13) - This James Scatuorchio (who also owns Ruff and Ready) homebred ran 4th in her debut when the race was washed onto the Cushion Track, so this was her turf debut. Garrett Gomez sat chilly while wide on the turn behind two leaders, and Loh Collado responded well when set down for the drive home. She's a four-year old daughter of More Than Ready, and she's a half-sister to Irene's Talking, the dam of Adieu, a Grade 1 two-year old stakes winner for the Toddster.

4) On the Virg (8th, Santa Anita, 1/13) - On the Virg was a wide 6th at even money in his debut, at six furlongs last month. Here, he stretched out to two turns and scored at 5-1, nice! This is a three-year colt by Pulpit, out of a stakes-placed Housebuster mare; and he descends from the distaff family of the Grade 1 winner Virginia Rapids.

Pletcher did not Wait a While to get number 2001 (eek, sorry!). The 2006 three-year old filly champ made a successful five-year old debut with an emphatic win in the San Gorgonio at Santa Anita on Monday. All she needed was a little room inside of Sohgol turning for home, and the daughter of the late Marias Mon was gone. Physically, she just towered over her four hapless rivals. Wait a While had what has to be considered a disappointing season last year, with just two wins in six tries, and she was scratched from the Breeders' Cup due to the weather. The Toddster has 2008 all figured out:

Pletcher said Wait a While would remain in California and run March 23 in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Handicap, then return to the East for a summer campaign aimed toward the Grade 1 Diana Handicap at Saratoga. Pletcher said Wait a While would return to California in fall, presumably to prep in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon before her career finale in the BC Filly and Mare Turf. [Daily Racing Form]
- Bob Baffert said that Indian Blessing was tired after she just held off Golden Doc A to win the Santa Ynez Stakes on Saturday; he declined to say what her next objective is. "She ran pretty hard today, so I’ll let her dictate where she wants to run next, but we’re not in a hurry with her.” [Bloodhorse] The presumptive 2007 juvie filly champ once again proved that she's a one-dimensional filly, and looked as if she was beaten had the race gone another jump or two. Of course, that one dimension carried her to the lead in fractions of 43.76 and 1:07.14, and she hasn't been caught. Yet.