Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sham Stakes Racing Roundup

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sends Secret Circle to the starting gate today as the 4-5 morning line favorite in the 12th running of the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.

Baffert holds the record for the most wins in the Sham with a win by Wild and Wise in 2001 and in 2006 Bob and John took him to the winners circle.

Secret Circle, undefeated in three starts, has yet to run in a route race but he should able to handle the stretch out to a mile. Eddington, the sire of Secret Circle, and damsire Dixieland Band were both decent middle-distance runners and Dixieland Band also is the damsire of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.

Out of Bounds (5-1) and Longview Drive (8-1) are two longshots I like in this race.

Out of Bounds broke his maiden in his last race going 7-furlongs in 1:23.17, earning a 93 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort. Another move forward should make him competitive with this group.

Discreet Cat, the sire of Out of Bounds was a speedy colt whose best distance was at a mile but was able to stretch out and win the 8½-furlong UAE Derby. Unbridled’s Song, the damsire of Out of Bounds, was a good middle-distance runner and winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1), Florida Derby (G1) and Wood Memorial Stakes (G1).

Unbridled Elaine, the dam of Out of Bounds, also was a good middle-distance runner and winner of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) with over $1.7 million in career earnings. Unbridled Elaine’s best runner to date has been Etched who also was a good middle-distance runner that earned over a half a million dollars during his racing career.

Etched was sired by Forestry, the grandsire of Out of Bounds.

In five career starts, Longview Drive has never been out of the money and he comes into the race off of a third-place finish in the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3) at Delta Downs on November 19. Longview Drive made a late, five-wide rally in the Jackpot but it was not enough to coral Sabercat who won by 6½-lengths.

The cut back in today’s race to 8-furlongs may make Longview Drive more competitive and the addition of blinkers by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer may or may not help him to stay more engaged early in the race.

Longview Drive is a full-brother to Pyro who won the Louisiana Derby (G2), Risen Star Stakes (G3) and Northern Dancer Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G3) as a 3-year-old.


Two young colts I mentioned in my 2012 Kentucky Derby Outlook are entered on today’s racing card at Gulfstream Park. Unbridled Minister, trained by Kenny McPeak, will make his maiden debut in the sixth race. Discreet Dancer , trained by Todd Pletcher, will make his second career start in in the seventh race.

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