RAINBOW 6 MANDATORY PAYOFF PAYS PALTRY $296
Plagued by dreadful weather that saw a lot of ran make the Santa Anita track very sloppy, the Mandatory Payout of the Rainbow 6 fell far short of expectations on Saturday.
With a carryover of $1.5 million, it was though that the total pool available to fans could have been as high as $10 million but the pool ended up at $5.1 million. With mostly favourites skipping their way through the slopt to win on the day, almost everyone cashed their wager – for just $296.
At Gulfstream, the Rainbow 6 continues to carry over. Over $1.1 million carries into today’s racing after more than one winning ticket somehow came up with the sequence yesterday which included 29 to 1 Harvey Wallbanger, winner of the Holy Bull Stakes. If you had 6 winners at Gulfstream for its Rainbow 6 yesterday it paid $21,000.
KENTUCKY DERBY PREPS BEGIN TO HEAT UP
Tax, Mucho Gusto and Harvey Wallbanger are the winners, “let the games begin”
Harvey Wallbanger parlayed a ground-saving trip under Brian Hernandez Jr. into a 29-1 upset victory in Saturday’s $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The Holy Bull, a 1 1/16-mile prep for 3-year-olds, was one of three very early Derby ‘prep’ stakes races that took place in Florida, New York and California.
The Ken McPeek-trained Harvey Wallbanger was making his stakes debut in the Holy Bull while racing for the first time this year. In his most recent start, the son of Congrats – Adorabell by Distorted Humor captured a maiden special weight race at Churchill Downs Nov. 17 after starting off his career with three straight second-place finish for owners Harold Lerner LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Akman and Paul Braverman.
Maximus Mischief, the 3-5 favorite in a field of nine, suffered his first loss in four starts while finishing third, unable to withstand the inside challenge of Harvey Wallbanger after gaining a lead in the stretch.
“It’s a horse race. You can’t duck one, can you? He showed he had some good, solid ability. I was thinking he’d rise up to whatever level you put him in,” McPeek said. “All we did last fall was really kind of teach him what to do. The end of the season he was a little tired after his fourth race and we backed off, came down here, and took our time.
“I had some options to run in an a-other-than and I told [co-owner] Harold [Lerner], ‘Let’s find out how good he is, because he can’t be training any better,” McPeek added. “Today, I told Brian, ‘If they go, let them go. Don’t worry about it. Just tuck in, save some ground, and make your run.’”
Hernandez, who has enjoyed solid success during his first Championship Meet at Gulfstream, executed the plan to perfection. Harvey Wallbanger was rated far off the early pace set by Epic Dreamer, who showed the way around the turn and along the backstretch while posting fractions of 23.18 and 46.76 seconds for the first half mile. Maximus Mischief, who captured the Dec. 1 Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct in his most recent start, broke from the gate sharply under Jose Ortiz and was in closest pursuit of the pacesetter.
Harvey Wallbanger ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.69 while giving McPeek a second Triple Crown prospect. McPeek also trains Grade 2 winner Signalman, who breezed at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning in preparation for a start in the Fountain of Youth.
The colt, co-owned by Paul Braverman who raced horses at Woodbine last year with trainer Reade Baker, is from the mare Adorabell, whose own dam is Canadian-bred stakes winner Hear the Bells by Deputy Minister.
At Santa Anita on a dreary, rainy day, favored Mucho Gusto was all business, as he rated kindly and exploded the final eighth of a mile to take the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes by 4 ¾ lengths under Joe Talamo. Trained by Bob Baffert, the chestnut colt by Mucho Macho Man got a mile and one sixteenth over a sloppy track in 1:41.81.
A comfortable third into and around the Club House turn, Mucho Gusto was well within himself as he stalked Magnificent McCool while second heading to the far turn. Five sixteenths of a mile from home, he took command and accelerated through the lane like a top Derby prospect to win with his ears pricked.
“Every race, he’s getting better and better,” said Talamo, who’s ridden him in all four of his starts. “He settled today like he’s been doing this a hundred times…He galloped out real strong. I don’t think distance is going to be any problem. At the three eighths (pole), I was pretty confident. He’s a 3-year-old, but he feels like an older horse.”
Idle since running second to his highly regarded stablemate Improbable in the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 8, Mucho Gusto, who is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Itsagiantcauseway, was off at 3-5 in a field of five sophomores and paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10.
Owned by Michael Lund Petersen, Mucho Gusto, who was purchased for $625,000 at a 2-year-old in training sale this past May, picked up $90,000 for the win, hiking his earnings to $234,000. He now has three wins from four starts and he picked up 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points as well.
“He got to sit off the pace, which was good,” said Baffert. “They have to learn to do that, and I was really happy with Joe. He rode him with a lot of confidence today, like he was a good horse and he (Talamo) was on his own. I didn’t give him any instructions…He’s a good horse. He’s a fighter, too. If they’d have hooked him, he likes to fight.
“This is the time of the year when you want to start getting excited about something…I want to run him in spots where he’s going to be very competitive, and we have those other horses, so it depends on what the other horses are doing. Right now, I’m going to nominate my horses everywhere and whoever’s doing great that week runs in that race…Let the games begin.”
The 139th running of the Withers was the second of four races on the New York path to the Kentucky Derby, awarding Tax 10 qualifying points for the Run for the Roses on May 4 at Churchill Downs.
Owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable, Tax broke from the inside post as the 2-1 favorite, staying off the pacesetter Not That Brady, who led the seven-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.56 seconds, the half in 47.39 and three-quarters in 1:11.44 on the main track labeled fast.
Out of the turn, Not That Brady maintained the lead as Our Braintrust challenged to his outside. The duo bumped slightly in the stretch while Tax, under encouragement from jockey Junior Alvarado, kept gaining ground from the inside, taking command near the sixteenth pole and completing 1 1/8 miles in a final time of 1:50.27, finishing a head of Not That Brady.
“He ran really good today. I think down the backside, he got a really good education,” Gargan said. “Junior said he was really impressed with him. He said he kind of got stuck down in there and clipped heels a couple of times.
“I’m happy with the fact that he learned and got in there and got an education. We’re going to get into bigger fields as this goes down the road further.”
Tax returned $6.20 on a $2 win wager. He more than tripled his career bankroll to $186,300 and increased his Derby qualifying points to 12 after earning two with a third-place finish last out in the Grade 2 Remsen on December 1 at the Big A.
“I was hoping the hole would open up and I got lucky and got through,” Alvarado said. “He responded right away when we got the space, it was just enough for him. When we got to the lead at the sixteenth pole he started waiting again for the horses. He’s a big guy, but mentally he’s not 100 percent in the game yet. He’s still learning and today was a great learning experience for him.”
Tax has never finished off the board in four starts, notching two wins, a runner-up effort and a third-place finish. He has two wins in three starts going longer than a mile.
“He wouldn’t have any problem going a mile and a quarter,” Alvarado said regarding a potential start in the Derby. “The company will definitely be tougher, he’ll have to step up his game, but I think he still has more there.”
Kentucky Derby Points
Rank Horse Points Owner(s) Trainer Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Game Winner 30 Gary & Mary West Bob Baffert $1,460,000
2. Knicks Go 18 KRA Stud Farm (Jin Woo Lee) Ben Colebrook $656,085
3. Signalman 18 Tommie M. Lewis & Magdalena Racing (Sherri McPeek) Kenny McPeek $392,840
4. Gunmetal Gray 18 Hollendorfer LLC, Pearl Racing & West Point Thoroughbreds (Terry Finley) Jerry Hollendorfer $210,000
5. Long Range Toddy 14 Willis Horton Racing LLC Steve Asmussen $330,000
6. Mucho Gusto 14 Michael Lund Petersen Bob Baffert $210,000
7. Maximus Mischief 12 Cash is King LLC (Charles J. Zacney et al) & L C Racing LLC (Glenn Bennett) “Butch” Reid Jr. $171,100
8. Tax 12 R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch & Corms Racing Stable
Danny Gargan $167,500
9. Mind Control 10 Red Oak Stable (Stephen Brunetti) & Madaket Stables LLC (Sol Kumin) Gregg Sacco $295,000
10. Complexity 10 Klaravich Stables Inc. (Seth Klarman) Chad Brown $275,000
11. Improbable 10 WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club International Ltd. (Ah Khing Teo) & Starlight Racing (Jack Wolf et al) Bob Baffert $239,520
12. Harvey Wallbanger 10 Harold Lerner LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott K. Akman & Paul Braverman
Kenny McPeek $208,320
13. War of Will 10 Gary Barber Mark Casse $200,840
14. Gray Attempt 10 Dwight Pruett Jinks Fires $135,000
Cairo Cat 10 Walking L Thoroughbreds LLC (Scott Leeds) Kenny McPeek $86,490
15. Our Braintrust 6 Gary Barber Mark Casse $147,000
MUCHO GUSTO: Derby contender was originally a $14,000 yearling purchase
Flashy MUCHO GUSTO, winner of the Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday in the slop, is one of those wild sales horses that blossomed from yearling to 2-year-old, going from few interested parties to a big ticket purchase.
From the first crop of the Adena Spring’s exciting stud MUCHO MACHO MAN, Mucho Gusto was sold as a ‘short’ yearling at the Keeneland January Horses of Racing Age sale for $14,000 to Kelly Lively.
In September at the Keeneland yearling sale, the colt was sold for $95,000 to S.R. Schwartz.
The following spring at the March Ocala Breeders’ 2-year-old sale, the son of the Giant’s Causeway mare Itsagiantcauseway worked one furling in 10 seconds flat on a synthetic surface but had few people excited. He was bought back for $55,000.
Incredibly, just 75 days later at the Fasig Tipton Midatlantic 2-year-old sale in May at Timonium, the colt worked 2 furlongs in a sizzling 21 1/5 in the slop for that sale. He then brought a staggering $625,000 at that sale from Michael Lund Petersen and was sent to trainer Bob Baffert.
Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables sold the colt at the Maryland sale and said the colt blossomed before the sale.
MY SILENCER begins Queen’s Plate journey
Heste Sport Inc.’s MY SILENCER, winner of the frost King Stakes in his career debut last fall at Woodbine and then 3rd in the Kingarvie Stakes,makes his 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream today in the Dania Beach Stakes.
The speedy son of Silent Name (Jpn) is making his grass debut with loads of turf breeding. trained by Bill Tharrenos, the gelding has had 2 workouts since Kingarvie run.
Sunday, Gulfstream, post time: 4:07 p.m. EDT
DANIA BEACH S., $100,000, 3yo, 1mT
PP HORSE SIRE JOCKEY TRAINER ML
1 Stirling Drive Verrazano Hernandez Jr Wolfson 30-1
2 Rayo My King Shackleford Salazar Becerra Mejia 30-1
3 Casa Creed Jimmy Creed Velazquez Mott 7-2
4 My Silencer Silent Name (Jpn) Landeros Tharrenos 15-1
5 Louder Than Bombs Violence Lopez Fawkes 10-1
6 A Thread of Blue Hard Spun Saez McLaughlin 4-1
7 Fed Fever Fed Biz Gaffalione Weaver 15-1
8 Ole Mole Hard Spun J Ortiz Preciado 20-1
9 Shootin the Breeze Hard Spun I Ortiz Jr Motion 20-1
10 Current Curlin Castellano Pletcher 2-1
11 Royal Urn Kantharos Reyes Nihei 8-1
Main Track Only:
12 Going for Gold Atreides Jimenez Hess Jr 20-1