# Monday, February 17, 2014
Hello all! It has been a while.

For those new to this exercise, we look for horses that going forward into the 2014 season may bring us some measure of success. They are culled specifically from races that Slew...my good buddy Slew...says are superior heats. He, being the silicon Slew, points to the races, and me, being the human Slew tries to make sense of the runners. When these horses run next, they are listed on the daily runner list from Slew's Fast Horses as Key Horses. That is, horses that have come from key races.

Life is hard enough. Why I wish to make it even harder with this task is something I have yet to figure out. Must have been something in my childhood.

But my personal issues notwithstanding, the track played somewhat fast on 02/09/2014 at Gulfstream Park. Of the 12 races that went into the record books, 5 showed 4 splits worthy of note. Of those 5, 2 were maiden races. And just like the Cape of Good Hope, renamed from the Cape of Storms (Cabo das Tormentas), the currents are treacherous, the navigation dangerous, but if you survive, the rewards are worth the trouble.

Gulfstream Park Race 5 02/09/2014

Just because maidens run fast, doesn't mean they will always do so. But we have to look for runners if we are to set up our season, and here we may have found a few. Race # 5 was a turf sprint for fillies at 5 1/2 furlongs, won by Little Alexis in 1:02.85 which is just a few short ticks away from the track record for that distance. Sired by the venerable Mr. Greeley with an added splash of turf class from Giants Causeway on the dam's side, this gal exploded in the lane...and at the windows too. She paid $48.20 and represented the first win of trainer Carlo Vaccerezza's short career. In a race where Gratitude had been anointed the odds-on by the wagering public, Little Alexis not only ran big, but ran inside as well. A place where young horses do not usually like to be, she negotiated the inside run to her advantage, with Alex Solis swinging outside in upper stretch for the home run. A notable career debut will get her noticed going forward. We'll keep an eye on her as well.

My Miss Sophia also needs to be watched, as she set an ambitious pace and was beaten by not quite 2 lengths. By Unbridled's Song and running for Todd "32%" Pletcher, we'll see her stretch out before the summer. Here we have stamina on the top side with the 1996 Sovereign Award (Canada) winning champion sprinter Langfhur on the bottom. I'll be curious to see what she does with Belmont's one turn routes this spring.

Gulfstream Park Race 8 02/09/2014

This contest went 1 1/16 miles on the Hallandale lawn with Leader Avenue, a Street Cry colt finishing up in 1:40.51 in a front running score that was not without challenge. Folks, that means there were challenges turned back. His last on 12/29/2013 was a loss by a short neck to Banzai Charge who has begun his career in fine fashion with 2 wins and a place in 3 races. The second (and last) win was in an AlwOC. In this race, both Market Outlook (2nd) and March Reward (3rd) had their shot but couldn't get to the "Leader". Saez rode, Castellano and Lanerie chased, and all three horses need to be watched going forward.

As for the Cape, Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 was the first European to reach the "Cape of Storms" and it opened the way for trade with the Orient, the big prize. We'll see if we can't ride the winds of these newcomers, brave the uncharted waters...and make a few bucks too!

Gulfstream Park Race 9 02/08/2014

Another route to riches would be the Allowance Optional Claimer, which allows horses of varying backgrounds and career paths to come together in the spirit of friendly competition. It is often the case that the best, most accomplished horse doesn't win these affairs, but rather uses this protected race to warm up for more interesting, and lucrative competition down the road. I like to find these fast races and look for horses that performed well enough, but off of long layoffs. In this case, we had the top 3 finishers all coming off of rather long layoffs. This race for fillies and mares went a mile on the Gulfstream Park turf in 1:34.16, with the stretch run going very quickly. In fact, the 7th furlong went in 11.85 and the final one in a flat 12.01. That's a very nice final quarter from three girls that had been out of action for a while. In fact, it is a nice final quarter, period!

Kittens Point won the affair as the favorite while setting that final fraction of a flat 12 seconds in her first effort in 10 months. She gets in the race even though she was a grade 3 winner while being out of the money only once in her career. In fact, we were on her as a key horse way back in March of 2013 in the Gr. III Herecomesthebride Stakes at $15.60 to win, after her drubbing in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. She followed that with a good effort in the Gr. I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. She then took a holiday, celebrating her return with a strong run into a very fast 7th furlong on her way to the winners circle in this 62K affair over a firm sod. Most likely on her way to graded stakes action for Graham Motion and Edgar Prado, this daughter of the super sire Kitten's Joy has the added value of the great Kingmambo on the dam's side. She is talented as well as fast. A nice combination in a racehorse.

Bella Castani, daughter of the ill-fated Big Brown followed Kittens Point from the quarter mile marker all the way to the finish line. Finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind the victress, she was waking from a slumber dating back to August 30, 2013 at the Spa in the Riskaverse Stakes where she earned her rest with an 8th place finish. Christophe Clement guides her career and is looking to get this one her 3rd win, with her next race being the 8th in her short career. A win in the Diamondrella Stakes at Belmont on 7/7/2013 and her 2nd place finish to Kittens Point here gives her reason to be optimistic about her chances going forward. She was ridden by the accomplished Jose Lezcano.

Third place finisher English Class, a daughter of yes...you guessed it, English Channel, either led or contested the for the lead at every call and is the least accomplished of the trio. Never-the-less, she ran an enterprising race off a June 2013 layoff, battling Interesting (Ire) the entire way. It was the 2nd race for Interesting (Ire) in this country for Thomas Albetrani and while finishing 6th, she was only 3 lengths back at the wire. These two either cut or contested all the fast fractions, and should be watched going forward. English Class is managed by Brian Lynch and ridden by Abdiel Jaen, I'm curious to see where she shows up next. Interesting (Ire) is a daughter of Raven's Pass. Now, if that name is vaguely familiar, let me refresh your memory:

October 25, 2008. Oak Tree meet. Breeders Cup Classic. Beating Curlin.

Kinda' like having had your daddy invest in IBM when it was 0.25 cents a share.

So we have our first Key Horses for 2014, and that's the way I see it. However you see it, good luck and good 'capping!

- Slew

posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 12:41:10 AM UTC  #