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Sunday, March 16, 2008


BIG TRUCK rolls (photo from the Barclay Tagg website)


93 Beyer figure for BIG TRUCK

Eeks, the Kentucky Derby favourite flops, a bridge jumper is…well..perhaps looking for a bridge and now we have a wide open Derby picture again.

Okay, it might not be totally fair to say that because he got some early challenges, WAR PASS bombed big-time yesterday at 1 to 9 in the Tampa Bay Derby, but until we hear otherwise, his reputation is tarnished.

BIG TRUCK motored alongside ATONED to win the Tampa race while WAR PASS stopped to last place. The rider on ATONED rode the colt like he was 100 lengths the best – spending time looking behind him on the turn while Big Truck was coming.

Anyway, those two are headed on to the next round of Derby trials.

At SANTA ANITA, Georgie Boy, who was named after his own owner, by his owner and breeders, was given a great ride by Mike Baze, subbing for Rafael Bejarano, and while the gelding looked awkward in the stretch racing on the wrong lead all the way down the stretch, he powered home to a nice win in the San Felipe Stakes.

George Boy (Tribal Rule) ran a 92 Beyer Figure, off from his previous 103.

The REBEL STAKES went to SIERRA SUNSET (Bertrando) won ran a 99 Beyer Figure in his handy score.

Here are a couple of re-caps…



Tribune correspondent

Published: March 16, 2008

Updated: 12:14 am

OLDSMAR - Twenty feet from the hoopla in the Tampa Bay Downs winner's circle stood Nick Zito, right hand in his pocket, glazed look on his face, trying to find out what happened.

It was a look that perfectly summed up Saturday's Grade III Tampa Bay Derby, a race that will be remembered more for who finished last - Zito's previously unbeaten 2-year-old champion War Pass, a 1-20 betting favorite - than the winner, Big Truck.

As War Pass faltered, eased by jockey Cornelio Velasquez at the top of the stretch, the Barclay Tagg trainee and Sam F. Davis Stakes runner-up, ridden by Eibar Coa, held off Todd Pletcher's Atoned by a neck in 1 minute, 44.25 seconds. Dynamic Wayne, a local horse trained by Dale Bennett, was third.

Much of the Tampa Bay Downs record crowd of 12,746 was still stunned by the outcome, and so were Tagg and Coa, who weren't looking to make history. They just wanted to finish second, with one caveat.

"I told Coa if something happens to War Pass, if you ride for second he'll win the race," Tagg said. "He felt the same way, and it kind of worked out that way. I mean, you just never know. Theoretically, you're not going to beat War Pass going a mile-and-a-16th here."

Big Truck owner Eric Fein and his sizeable group pranced into the winner's circle, high-fiving and hugging each other, already making plans for the Kentucky Derby after the $180,000 win. Meanwhile, War Pass's somber connections - Zito, Velasquez and owner Robert LaPenta - searched for answers as the colt was being sponged down, clearly gassed.

The awe-inspiring speed War Pass had shown in winning his first five races never arrived Saturday. Breaking from the No. 3 post, he bumped Make Me Zach on the right and brushed off Gentleman James on the left, squeezed back sharply. It was probably the worst thing, short of injury, that could have happened to the front-runner.

Zito wanted Velasquez to take him to the front for the first turn, but traffic problems forced him to settle for fifth early. He moved up to third on the backstretch, but still was unable to find any running room. Velasquez used the whip only once, at the top of the stretch, but gave up soon after.

"He got moving and I thought was in a good position going down the back, but when Velasquez asked him nothing happened," Zito said. "I don't know what happened, I just don't know."

"He's a nice horse, he try all the time," Velasquez said, "but today, he didn't try."

LaPenta said War Pass "wasn't himself" and earlier in the week had a fever, a revelation that was not released to the public before the race. LaPenta didn't immediately know if War Pass suffered an injury. He added that plans to run in next month's Wood Memorial at Aqueduct would need to be evaluated.

Tagg also is unsure of where Big Truck will race next.

The result sent many home angry. The show pool was the most heavily bet part of the race, with 93.6 percent ($717,212.39) wagered on War Pass. The result was huge show payouts for the three horses in the money, $25.20 for Big Truck, $27.80 for Atoned and $76.40 for Dynamic Wayne.

"Unbelievable. Unbelievable," Fein said. "You hope for this, you root for it. I've had a lot of them that haven't panned out, but this is absolutely amazing."

and other stuff..

In the FLORIDA OAKS, Tampa based AWESOME CHIC (Awesome Again-Trading, A.P. Indy) snuck up the rail on the turn and darted clear for a big win.

Bad news for fans of Canadian-bred VAULCLUSE as MY BABY BABY who was 2nd to that one in the Suncoast Stakes, flopped as the favourite.

Awesome Chis was a $100,000 Ocala April 2yo and was bred in Florida by Westbury Stud. It was her 3rd win in her 5th start.

Floirida-bred LOOKINFORTHESECRET won his 5th straight race in the $75,000 Turf Dash. He’s a Florida-bred 6yo by Cimarron Secret. It was his 16th win in his 31 start and he is a multiple stakes winner sprinting on turf and dirt.

Georgie Boy solves rush-hour traffic

By Hank Wesch


March 16, 2008

ARCADIA – Georgie Boy passed tests for agility, tractability, late speed and stamina yesterday and went to the head of the class of West Coast-based 3-year-olds with a victory in the $200,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Michael Baze, called upon when Rafael Bejarano was injured in a spill Thursday, Georgie Boy overcame traffic trouble in the early stretch by bounding to the outside and running down Gayego and Bob Black Jack to prevail by three-quarters of a length in the Grade II, 1 1/16-mile event that has a solid reputation for identifying Kentucky Derby contenders.

Sunday Silence (1989) and Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) won the San Felipe and the Kentucky Derby. Gato Del Sol (1982), Alysheba (1987), Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and Giacomo (2005) ran second in the San Felipe and first in the Kentucky Derby.

Whether Georgie Boy, who extended to three a Grade I or Grade II stakes winning streak started in September with the Del Mar Futurity, is the quality of the above-listed horses remains to be seen. But the race, won in 1:42.35 through light showers on a synthetic surface, was visually impressive.

And it was inspiring to Georgie Boy's connections.

Baze was aboard for the first time since a third-place finish in the California-bred (Tribal Rule-Ippodamia) gelding's career debut, a third-place finish in June at Hollywood Park.

“He's matured dramatically since then,” Baze said. “He's filled out nicely and become a really good horse. Around the far Turn 1 just had to wait, wait, wait, and at the top of the lane I was able to swing out and say 'Goodbye.' ” Kathy Walsh described the less-than-ideal trip with the happy ending for the horse she trains for George Schwary, a retired electronics store executive from San Fernando.

“He was a little keen down the backside and I was kind of wanting him to be a little more relaxed off the bit,” Walsh said. “When he got to the quarter pole he was just waiting for a spot. He had no place to go, and he's a smart enough horse he wasn't going to run up on horses' heels.

“Michael did a nice job getting him out and (Georgie Boy) knew what to do.”

Striding out fully, Georgie Boy passed dueling leaders Gayego (second) and Bob Black Jack (third) to win as clearly the best.

Bejarano incurred cracked vertebrae in the Thursday spill that will sideline him for the next several weeks. If Bejarano, Santa Anita's leading rider, isn't available, Baze will retain the mount for Georgie Boy's next start.

“You couldn't have asked for a better ride,” Walsh said.

She didn't specify, however, where or when that next start would be.

Walsh credited her stable help, from grooms to jockey Iggy Puglisi, who rides sparingly in the afternoon races but is the regular exercise rider for Georgie Boy.

“I've been getting on horses for 20 years and this is the greatest horse I've ever ridden,” said Puglisi.

“Brought you to tears, didn't he?” Walsh said.

Puglisi nodded.

The 7-5 favorite, Georgie Boy paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60. It was Georgie Boy's fourth win in seven starts.


Multiple Sovereign Award winning jockey ROBERT KING JR. has retired from riding again and is now the Secretary/Manager for the Jockeys Benefit Association of Canada.

King, the top apprentice in Canada in 1983 and 84 retired to train horses a few years ago and then returned to riding recently. He led all Fort Erie jockeys by wins last year.

GINGER BREW, 2 for 4

Canadian bred GINGER BREW won an allowance race at GUlfstream yesterday with an 84 Beyer Figure to go 2 for 4 in her career. The Milwaukee Brew 3yo filly is out of Coral Necklace and is owned and bred by Adena Springs. She was a $65,000 2yo buy-back.


  • At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hey, did anybody buy one of those snazzy 'War Pass' hats below?

  • At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hey, did anybody buy one of those snazzy 'War Pass' hats below?

  • At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Ali said…

    Hey Jen
    The polytrack was open for business this morning and it was in really great shape, I was very impressed when I galloped over it this morning.


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