August 9, 2009

Rather than jumping back immediately into G1 stakes company, trainer Angel Penna Jr. took a more conservative route by entering future Hall of Famer Xtra Heat’s three-year-old daughter Elusive Heat in the 6f Geyser Spring Stakes (rather than the G1 Test or G2 Honorable Miss) at Saratoga on Sunday—and she didn’t disappoint! With Rajiv Maragh up, Elusive Heat went to the lead and never looked back, finishing under a hand ride in a blistering 1:08.93. Just five races later, Game Face won the G2 Honorable Miss in 1:10.70, followed by Fabulous Strike winning the G1 Vanderbilt in 1:08.69. In that context, Elusive Heat looks powerful! Next up could be the G3 Victory Ride on Travers Day.

In Sunday’s G1 Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar, Zenyatta attempted her 12th consecutive win. Sent off as a very short favorite, she didn’t disappoint, making her now-trademark wide run from the back of the pack to squeak out a win over 22-1 longshot Anabaa’s Creation, a European G3-placed turfster making her second start on an all-weather surface. Front-running Lethal Heat appears to have regained her good 3-year-old form, staying on strong for third, but after her nice third-place finish in the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup, Life Is Sweet disappointed, as she could muster only a fourth, followed by Dawn After Dawn, Tidal Dance and Champagne Eyes.

I know I may be nit-picking, but Zenyatta’s final time was pretty pedestrian (1:43.24), well off her track record of 1:41.48 set in last year’s Clement Hirsch, and her slowest 8.5f time in 8 tries. Mike Smith said afterward, “I underestimated the competition,” but, honestly, the competition didn’t appear to be all that tough. One of these days I fear hanging back and making one big move isn’t going to be in time... However, she certainly is breathtaking! And that prancing before the race—you think that’s her way in intimidating her competition? Kind of like Muhammad Ali’s “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”?

Also at Del Mar on Sunday, in race 6—a 5.5f MSW for 2-year-old fillies—the winner was (surprise, surprise!) yet another daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, Champagne d’Oro, who last out had finished a well-beaten last in the Landaluce. It was an impressive win, as her time of 1:03.50 was just a tick off the track record (1:03.26), thus proving the Del Mar surface wasn’t playing inherently slow today.

As a sire, Medaglia d’Oro had a very good Sunday, as all four runners placed. In addition to Champagne d’Oro, son Cedros lost by a head to Structural in race 5 at Del Mar (8f, turf), while daughter Gold d’Oro finished second by a neck to Minishaft in a MSW (9f, turf) in race 2 at Saratoga. At Mountaineer, daughter Oriental Sunshine finished third in an allowance (7f turf) by a half length.

A nice filly to watch: the odd-sounding Romacaca, 3-year-old daughter of Running Stag out of the Kris S mare Romaca, has improved by leaps and bounds after being claimed for $25,000 at Gulfstream in April from Cashel Stud and trainer David Fawkes. She’s undefeated in three turf routes at Arlington for owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Dan Miller, most recently running away with the Hatoof Stakes on the Arlington Million undercard, and taking her earnings this year to $119,990. She totally controlled the speed, thus the pedestrian fractions, but still won with extraordinary ease.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Elusive Heat was magnificent, wasn't she? Like mother, like daughter indeed! She looked a lot like Xtra Heat in the stretch, in the way she hunkered down and was all business to the wire. I hope one day soon to get to see her race in person.

Valerie said...


I saw somewhere they may be considering racing her at Presque Isle, in the G3 Masters Stakes on September 12. The idea being to test how she runs on AW, althought the Tapeta there isn't exactly the same as Pro-Ride. If she runs in Erie, I'll be there!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, that sounds doable. If she runs then, I'll be there and will take photos!


Anonymous said...


I've been away the last week and just saw this blog -- it's great!

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!