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Dubai World Cup Day produced some outstanding preformances and a few notable flops. In the $6 million feature, INVASOR parlayed his Horse of the Year award into Horse of the World with a strong victory over gritty PREMIUM TAP. The winner, who suffered his only career defeat over the Nad Al Sheba track last year, ran his record to 11 for 12 after outkicking ‘TAP in the late going. The top two fired, but the flop in the race was DISCREET CAT, who didn’t show his usual speed and trailed virtually every step of the way. The super horse tag must now be removed, although he obviously was far from his best.

The day kicked off with SPRING AT LAST easily winning the Godolphin Mile for the Reddam-O’Neill-Gomez team. Both trainer and rider lead the nation in purses but money won in Dubai, although it spends the same, does not count in U.S. statistics. ASIATIC BOY was awesome in winning the UAE Derby for international training superstar Michael de Kock. The winner was in a league by himself but don’t look for him in this year’s Kentucky Derby–he’s a 4-year-old by Northern Hemisphere standards. The Golden Shaheen sprint was won by KELLY’S LANDING over FRIENDLY ISLAND, with local hope HARVARD AVENUE fourth. The flop in the race was THOR’S ECHO, sold privately late last year to Arab interests who were pointing to this race. He’s now bombed in both starts for his new connections–well sold by Pablo Saurez and Royce Jaime. The Sheema Classic went to New Zealander VENGEANCE OF RAIN and Japanese-bred ADMIRE MOON won the Duty Free. The flop in the race was LAVA MAN, who again showed that he is incapable of traveling outside of California and running well. Let’s just hope the trip didn’t sap him for the rest of the year.

In Florida, SCAT DADDY did it again, taking the Florida Derby over NOTIONAL, who ran a solid second in defeat. One to watch is CHELOKEE, who had trouble at the top of the lane and is getting better with each start for last year’s Derby-winning trainer Michael Matz. The flop in the race was STORMELLO, who was making his second cross-country trip to Florida, seemingly taking the most difficult path possible to the Derby. He might now be cooked before ever getting to Louisville.

Locally, FAIRBANKS romped in the featured Tokyo City Cup, going wire-to-wire in fast time. He’s a good colt when he can dictate things his own way on the front end. Apprentice sensation Joseph Talamo won three wins on the card, all on the turf (including a pair down the tricky hillside course). He looks like the real deal and now gets ready to head to New York after his four-day stint in Southern California. Why not stay here? He’s already impressed the locals, and would be catching a circuit with no Gomez, Nakatani or P.Val, let alone a solid bug boy rider.

The card looked incredibly tough today and there were only two winning favorites. But if you would have told me going in that the Pick Six would pay only $3,500, I would have thought you were crazy. Maybe $3,500 for a consolation after it carried over, but not for all six…the Bill Spawr barn is heating up with three wins over the past two days (including one via DQ). Cliff Sise is potent with second-time starters (30% according to DRF stats). He struck on Thursday with LOCHINVAR’S GOLD and today with SOUL WORK.

Thanks to Johnny Bucalo and Barona Casino for hosting me today. I gave a short seminar, we raffled off prizes, and got our hearts broken when Pick 4 “single” HEROI DO BAFRA (8-1 morning line, bet down to 9/2) came up a nose and head short. I talked the other day about winning close finishes as one of the keys to a winning streak. If ‘BAFRA gets there we (and Premium Play purchasers) hit the Pick 4, trifecta and Win bet. Instead, three losing tickets.

Looking forward to seeing MAGNIFICIENCE make her second career start tomorrow in the Santa Paula. Is she as good as her maiden win indicated? We’ll have a better answer after tomorrow’s 3rd race. We questioned here (Mar. 12 blog posting) if Bruce Headley really was the sole owner of this filly. Now it comes out (in a notes column by Brad Free this week in DRF) that Headley might have a partner/partners. Details were sketchy and Headley was less-than-forthcoming about whether those partners were part of ownership before or after the filly made her debut. On the heels of Headley’s $900,000 payment to settle with Jess Jackson, the dubious claim by barn-sharing son Gus from father Bruce of TACTICS (who ran second in Saturday’s 3rd race) and now this? There’s a very foul odor coming from the Headley shedrow.

To view Free Samples of Thursday, Friday and Saturday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for Mar. 29Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for Mar. 30Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for Mar. 31Â

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