A handy return to the races for Revolutionary at Gulfstream on Saturday in a win that was easier than suggested by the race chart and his half length margin of victory. He was actually my top pick going into the Derby at his 10-1 morning line. As I recall, he opened up significantly lower than that, which caused me to look at him in a more skeptical light and I didn’t come back around enough to use him on top despite his drifting up to 6-1. But I still like the horse for the same reasons I liked him that morning, and I’m looking forward to his four-year old campaign.
That was the first of three consecutive winners for Pletcher. The Toddster already has 23 winners (from 80 starters, for a 29% hit rate) at the meet (which apparently officially started on Nov 30), which is more than many mortal trainers will have when (and if) the meet ends. Seems downright unfair that he trains horses for Ken Ramsey, for whom he won the third race with Charming Kitten ($6.80). And he took the 4th with first-time starter Constitution ($4.20) – a natural stablemate name-wise to Revolutionary – a three-year old son of Tapit out of Baffled, a Distorted Humor half-sister to the Grade 1 Forego winner Emcee.
Another winner, and another maiden grass winner, for trainer Graham Motion, who we discussed here yesterday. Can’thelpbelieving ($13.60) was not closer to the pace as we surmised he may be with blinkers on, but nonetheless rallied to get Motion his third such winner in two days.
In the 7th, another successful return to the races for a four-year old who was highly regarded last year. Elnaawi ($4) triumphed in his first race since running 5th in the Wood Memorial; and again, our pace figures show how his chances were compromised by slow paces in that race, as well as in the Gotham.
Elnaawi is a half-brother to the multiple Grade 1 winner To Honor And Serve, and he was the first of two consecutive winners for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. He won the 8th with Macaroon ($12.60), and that’s two straight front-running wins for this three-year old filly, who has apparently seen the light after three dismal performances to start her career.
She surely has the pedigree credentials to go on from here. By Tapit, she’s out of the multiple graded stakes winner Fast Cookie, herself a half-sister to the BC Juvenile winner Midshipman (now at stud for Darley for $7,500).
And Lea ($14.80) took the G3 Hal’s Hope for trainer Bill Mott by three lengths over Jackson Bend, back for another season of racing at age seven. Lea was making his first start for the trainer, and his first try on a fast dirt track in only his 11th career start, at age five.
– May bear watching another Graham Motion entrant in a maiden special event on turf today. In the 5th, In His Kiss (6-1) shows a similar background to the barn’s recent trio of winners under these conditions – an even try in a slow-paced race.