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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM

HORSES TO WATCH
Week Ending Sunday, February 23

The horses listed below ran well enough in their most recent races to indicate that they are sitting on solid future performances. Bet them under the terms listed at least twice or until they win and then drop.

NOTE: Horses To Watch has now expanded and made one slight change as we will cover the winter’s meets on the Inner Dirt Track at Aqueduct, as well as Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay and Oaklawn Park.

NOTE: Remember that Aqueduct is now running 4 days a week…Friday Through Monday through March.

(Last Week’s Horses To Watch Runners)

Aqueduct

SIDEARM – 2ND – PLACE $3.30 – Finally got off the rail and was in good position but still could only manage a late rally. Has used up his chances. Drop.

SCHIVARELLI – WON $7.50 – Parlayed her most impressive career debut win two back into another dominant victory vs entry level allowance foes. Use her again…see below.

BELLAMY – WON $8.60 – Easily handled the slight bump up in class following a win two back and ran down the favored entry before drawing clear.

HOT STONES – Out – Put on the list in early January following an impressive entry level allowance win after she had cleared her NYSB conditions it took trainer Bruce Levine 7 weeks to get her back on track and she never factored with no excuses. Would drop now.

Gulfstream Park

I AM NOW – WON $8.60 – Came close two back when speed fell just short on turf and this time went wire-to-wire to break through vs MSW foes in 7 ½ furlong turf affair.

Oaklawn

AIREOFDISTINCTION – WON $6.80 – Continued to hold solid high level form and out-sprinted Stakes rivals in $100K Spring Fever.

DUBAI BLESSING – Out – Was under pressure while between rivals in 30K starter allowance sprint and battle to get to the lead before weakening late. Deserves second chance vs the same or slightly lesser.

Tampa Bay

MR THUNDER BAY – 3RD – SHOW $2.80 – Was fractious at the gate, hard to load and broke slowly vs MSW rivals in 6 ½ furlong sprint. Did manage to rally some for third so let’s give him another chance to behave and get it done.

BLENDING (NO PLAY) – Her connections turned her around off a short 9 day break and raised her above the recommended level in a one mile turf claimer. She was difficult to load, broke through the gate and during the running of the race did manage a mild rally without threatening. The race is a toss. She belongs going two turns on grass at the 16K level. .

FALSELY ALARMED - (NO PLAY) – Stepped up two notches on the claiming level…well above the recommended level yet still turned in a credible effort as he pressed on the inside and despite never getting off the rail continued on for the show vs 25K claimers. Definitely stays on the list. Just needs a slight drop in class.  

AMBITIOUS DANCER – OUT – Tough week for TB HTW candidates as this claiming filly engaged the field early from between rivals but soon dropped back, was eased and vanned off. Drop from list for obvious reasons.

DIDO – WON $11.40 – Parlayed a decent big interest third two back into MSW off-the-pace triumph by 2 1/2 lengths in mile turf test.  

HORSES TO WATCH

(AQUEDUCT)

DIGHTON – The Ralph D’Allesandro trained gelding continues to hold good form since being claimed 4 races back. Following a 16K claiming win three back and a solid second vs entry level allowance foes two back the son of B L’s Approval was no match for the odds-on drop down Chapman in most recent but continued doggedly to get second in the 50K allowance starter sprint despite losing his footing at the break. Sprints to another win soon.

GROUND CONTROL – It was an impressive debut last time out for the MSW Awesome Again colt. The Anthony Dutrow trainee raced just off the pace while out in the middle of the muddy track down the backside in the 6 furlong test, took over when asked at the quarter pole and opened up by 8 ¾ lengths in 1:12 4/5. The effort was made even more impressive when the winner of the split division of the race two races later finished his 6 furlongs in 1:14. Bet him right back.

KILLADAY – The Indian Charlie filly was most impressive in winning her career debut in last. The Dominick Schettino trainee went right up to press the leader in the NYSB MSW sprint, shook that one off at the quarter pole and continued to widen her margin through the lane to finish in good time over a glib surface. Goes through state bred conditions quickly.

LASSO – The 5-year old Rahy gelding might have found a new game as he moved from turf to dirt and vs 16K claimers in a mile test last time out and was much the best in a solid wire-to-wire effort. He has always flashed good speed but this time was much more comfortable as he finished under a hand ride to win by 10 lengths. Stay with him vs slightly better.

MISS DA POINT – The NYSB filly had her three race win streak snapped in most recent but did most of the pace pressure heavy lifting and gave way late in the mile event. They are now extending to NW3X restricted allowance tries so would give her a chance to bounce back vs the same or in an open 35K-50K claiming test.

SCHIVARELLI – The Montbrook filly from the Eddie Kenneally barn was an impressive allowance winner for HTW followers in her last as she made it two-for-two in her still developing career. Her opponents were no match as she went wire-to-wire in the mile event and never extended herself.  She might not have run her best yet. Bet her back as she moves through conditions.

SINISTRA – The NYSB gelding came within a head of pulling off the 29-1 upset in the restricted Kings Point Stakes in his most recent after getting past allowance rivals in his prior. The Karl Grusmark trainee has now used his good tactical speed to hit the board in 4 straight during the current IDT meet and is still eligible for the second allowance level. Bet him going to turns when he returns to those foes in next.

TIZRACER – Formerly in the Pletcher barn the 4-year old Tiznow colt shipped up from GP and went first out for trainer Aubrey Maragh and first over the IDT in the 20K NW2L sprint. The colt broke off the early pace, was 3-4 wide down the back stretch and on the turn before continuing wide through the lane and gaining the show spot. With race over the track look for an alert break and win in next.

 (GULFSTREAM PARK)

MIDNIGHT NOTES – Trainer Wayne Catalano reached in and took this 4-year old son of Midnight Lute out of a 16K claiming mile and a sixteenth turf test in last and has some good fortune coming his way if the trip this one got as the favorite is any indication. The colt was rating just off the pace when steadied hard down the backstretch. After regaining his stride he was moving into position when steadied again in the stretch and flattened out. He has a consistent 13-3-2-3 career turf mark vs this level and better so another win soon is well within reach.

ON PAROLE – It appears as though the speedy claiming filly has found the right level and surface following tough head loss vs 12.5K claimers in 7 furlong test last time out. The Eddie Plesa trainee had been facing 30K claimers and allowance runners on dirt and turf but was comfortable setting the pace, opening a clear lead and just failing in the final jump. The same level and 6-6 ½ furlongs gets it done next time for new conditioner Eddie Kenneally who haltered her.

PALACE GATE – The MSW turf colt was forced out into the first turn after the start when leaving from the 14 post yet still managed to settle into stride and move up on the backstretch before getting into position and moving out into the lane before rallying to grab place honors in the mile and a sixteenth test. The lightly race Todd Pletcher trained Giant’s Causeway colt just needs a clean break from a decent post to get the initial career win in next.

REI – The Mark Casse trained colt did well to rally for the show vs entry level allowance foes in his most recent. It was the first try since July at Woodbine for the son of Leroidesanimaux and after racing erratically under restraint in the early going of the mile and a sixteenth turf event got into the bit when let loose swung wide into the lane. He continued to advance outside rivals and was beaten a length and a neck for it all. He definitely needed the race and should eclipse the conditions soon. 

SASSY KITTEN – The Kitten’s Joy turf filly was ready at first asking in her4 most recent as she came from off the pace to get up in the final jump to beat entry level allowance rivals in the mile and a sixteenth test. The Michael Maker trainee won despite losing a bit of ground fanning out into the lane and the combination of her needing the race and that when these Kitten’s Joy fillies get good they stay good bodes well for her to win right back at the next level.

SAWYER – The 3-year old Into Mischief filly is improving with each race and in her last added versatility to the mix. The Jane Cibelli trainee broke her maiden in the slop going one turn vs 25K maidens two back and in her most recent went two turns for the first time, switched to the turf and almost pulled the 13.5-1 upset as she took the lead out of the gate and held it to the final strides in the mile test while nosing the show filly whom she battled all the way. Gets her second career win soon…especially of kept on grass.

SIX QUEENS – IN her first start since April of last year and just her third career start in her most recent the 5-year old Bernardini mare appears to be ready to make up for lost time. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee has now won two of three lifetime after rallying to clear her entry level allowance rivals in 1:15 4/5 for the 6 ½ panels. Looks like a good one. Should win again as she goes through conditions or even if stretch out.

TALE OF MY CAT – The lower level claiming gelding moved a step closer to career win number two when he closed just short of enough ground in his 12.5K 6 furlong sprint in last. It was the second start off a September layoff following a third in the return so look for the Antonio Chiaffi trainee to get it done vs the same in next.

TONALIST – The Christophe Clement trainee made his first start vs entry level allowance foes and just the third of his career after handling MSW rivals in his prior and did well to get the place behind the highly regarded Constitution. Both the winner and this guy were only a few ticks off the time run by their peers in the Grade II Fountain Of Youth later in the day so it looks as though Tonalist will eclipse the level next time.

YOU LIE – Solid reversal of form for the 3-year old Congrats filly as she was completely in control of 35K claiming sprinters in her most recent. She bumped with a rival; at the break, went up to press the pace and grabbed command at the top of the lane before drawing away to a 3 ½ length win in 1:10 1/5. Should keep winning.

(OAKLAWN)

BAMBONEO – Trainer Helen Pitts snuck one over with this 4-year old son of After Market in last. The gelding was last seen breaking his maiden in career start number two when he blitzed 10K sellers at Parx last April. Off the long layoff he was ignored, but won’t be next time. He broke alertly, settled into stride and when challenged approaching the stretch broke away again and extended to a 7 ½ length winning margin in the 16K 6 furlong dash. Wins back vs better.

CONDO CLOSING – The 3-year old son of Offlee Wild was ready off the long break and got career win number two in his third career start when he outlasted entry level allowance rivals in his last. The McLean Robertson trainee was making his first start since 9/13 and after tracking in the second tier moved up on the rail overcame a brief steadying and then got the lead in the 6 furlong event before digging in to hold it. He needed the race and should move forward enough to beat second level allowance foes soon.

DANCE WITH MONARCH – Good second in 1 1/16th mile 16K claimer in last puts this 5-year old in good position to break through the NW3L level in next. The runner dropped his most recent to a rival that he was just behind when each ran together in the prior and that has become a key race moving forward. Consistent speed has led to 3 on-the-board finishes in last 4 and the fact that he was haltered out of the last by good off-the-claim trainer Autry is another plus. Breaks through vs the same in next.

LAKE CREEK – The Brad Cox trained veteran gelding had his winning streak stopped in last when he checked in third vs a solid 30K claiming group. It was the second start of the year for the 6-year old and first off a 20K claim out of his return race by the current conditioner. He bobbled early, broke outward and tracked from the back in the 6 furlong test, made a move into the lane and was finishing well at the end. Now 3-1-1 from his last 5 so is holding good enough from to beat these soon.

RATTLIN GYPSY – The veteran race mare was away a step slowly in last as she made her first start since last June but showed enough interest to expect her 9th career win soon for new trainer Chris Hartman who grabbed her for the 20K asking price. She was well off the pace early while 4-5 wide through the turn and continued to rally mildly in the lane. She needed the race and the 46-8-10-9 career resume speaks to her consistency.  

WHERE’SHEAT – The Tammy Hornsby trained 25K maiden claiming filly got a step closer when she was floated 5 wide entering the stretch in a 6 furlong dash in most recent but still persevered for runner up honors behind the drop down 8-5 winner. Look for her to get her initial career win soon.

WAYNE’SLUCKYNATIVE – The Oklahoma bred filly was all business in winning her career debut at Remington in early November and just as solid in finishing second in her return to the races in last. She faced a tough field of entry level allowance sprinters and after a bit of trouble at the break went up to attend the pace and continued on for the place, beaten 2 ½ lengths in a race run in a quick 1:11 3/5. She won’t take long to get win number two.

WHOOPIE I KI O – Another in a deep list of Remington shippers that have been running well here off the break. In his last, his first over the track and first since 12/15 the gelding broke slowly and to the rear in the 6 furlong 7.5K claimer, moved aggressively into the stretch while 5 wide, gained a brief lead inside the furlong marker and just got caught by a head late while 4 ¼ clear of the show horse. Beats this kind next time.

WINNING NOTE – The Chris Hartman trained gelding was all in as he pressed the pace setter through quick fractions in a 40K claiming sprint in last and after putting that one away dug in until inside the sixteenth marker before giving way and settled for the show. The trainer usually gets quick returns off recent acquisitions so stay with this one vs the same as he eclipses the NW2L level.

(TAMPA BAY)

BACKWATER BLUES – Still not sure if the DQ of this guy in his most recent should have been but nonetheless, the Chad Stewart trainee made a strong showing as he rallied sharply while 4 wide in the 5 ½ furlong second level allowance optional 32K claimer. He did drift in a bit and was placed fourth from his place spot but either way it was a solid effort and his consistent form (27-8-5-3 lifetime) should get him to his next win whether vs open upper level claimers or the allowance level.

EXPLORE – The Arnaud Delacour trained maiden was sent off as the 2.7-1 favorite in his career debut in last and easily dispatched a large field of 32K maiden claiming turf rivals in the mile test. The son of Giant’s Causeway broke on top, held a short lead over early rivals, kicked to a clear lead when asked at the quarter pole and drew off to a clear margin in solid race time for the level. He was claimed for the hefty price by new trainer Marie Bowersock so looks well-meant enough to win back quickly.

I AM AMERICAN – The Juan Ramos trained claiming horse shipped down from Penn national and took a quick liking to the surface as he made the pace until inside the 16th pole in the 6.25K 7 furlong claiming test before dropping the decision to the 6-5 favorite while holding the place spot. He carved out solid fractions and should be up to cashing at this level soon…especially if shortened to 6 panels.

LOVE DESIGN – A number of switches for the bottom level claimer might be a signal that he is about to find some of his back form. His last, vs 5K rivals was his third off an October layoff and third over the surface since shipping down from Canada. It was also his first around two turns and he turned his form around with a solid tracking trip that continued to the wire in the mile and a sixteenth event as settled for the show, beaten less than 2 lengths for it all at 60-1. He did run more than well enough to beat this kind last summer and fall so might be ready to grab his first Florida win.

H M S ANNIVERSARY – The mid-level turf claimer continues to hold good form after rallying for the show in last. Coming off a win two races back the Sandra Cataldi trained 7-year old was shuffled back to last of 10 in the mile and an eighth 16K route, had to wait for room along the rail and when was able to get out closed strongly to be beaten just a neck and a length. The gelding still has enough left at this level to grab another win or two. Stay with him.

NO RETURNS – The connections of this 3-year old son of Put It Back should be counting on plenty of returns if his debut win vs MSW foes in his last is any indication. The colt was well prepped by current hot trainer Arnuad Delacour and didn’t disappoint the backers that sent him off at 6-5. He broke with the pace setter in the 6 furlong dash, took over at the quarter pole and was ridden out to a 10 length victory in 1:10 3/5. Bet him right back as he moves through conditions.

UPKEEP – The Phil Bauer trained 5-year old was probably best in last but dropped a ¾ length decision after being shuffled back on the far turn in a mile and forty yard entry level allowance/optional 16K claimer. Despite the trouble the horse was able to wait for an opening, angle out at the top of the lane and keep coming for the place spot. He’ll get his next career win soon at this level or vs open 2oK or there about claimers.

VACATION TIME – The veteran turf has only turned in one bad effort (when caught 5 wide and steadied three back yet continues to be ignored at the windows. The 5-year old gelding won off the layoff in his first try here, ran into trouble tow back and in his most recent had to wait a bit for room while along the inside in a 1 1/16th mile second level allowance/optional 32K claimer and rallied sharply for the show. He has a strong 12-4-3-1 career turf record and should beat this kind soon.

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