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Half Time

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Sunday’s fifth race marked the halfway point of Hollywood Park’s 63-day spring-summer meet. The racing, for the most part, has been good and field sizes are averging 8.6 starters per race. There have been a number of impressive winners at the meet, but perhaps none as impressive as Milady winner NASHOBA’S KEY. After winning her first three starts on turf, the Carla Gaines- trained filly switched to the Cushion Track and unleashed an awesome late kick to run down Grade I winner HYSTERICALADY in 1:42.16. After racing wide most of the way and looking like there was no way she could catch the leader, the daughter of Silver Hawk-Nashoba rallied furiously through the final 1/16th (coming home in under six seconds) before blowing by late and galloping out like a locomotive. She got a late start the but 4-year-old is truly something special. Someone asked me what happened to Grade I winner BALANCE, who finished a distant third. She might not have run her “A” race but it wouldn’t have mattered. At least at a mile and a sixteenth, she has no chance of beating the top two, who are simply more talented runners. And I can’t see her beating the winner no matter how far they run.

On Sunday: GOTAGHOSTOFACHANCE got back on the winning track for trainer Roger Stein while giving Jon Court the first of his two winners today…Doug O’Neill, who despite being the leading trainer, has had a slow meet by his standards. But that ended today when he saddled three winners to move out to a three-length lead over red-hot Ron Ellis. Ellis sent out very impressive winner GLORIFIED, who scored for fun despite being wrapped up on through the final furlong…three more winners for Michael Baze, who now holds a 41-32 lead over Joe Talamo. The combined age for these two up-and-coming riding stars? Would you believe 37 years? Pretty remarkable…SALUTE THE SARGE reported home in the finale, with Nick “Sarge” Hines draped in the Red, White and Blue while joining winning trainer Eric Guillot in the winner’s circle.

On Saturday: Thrilling edition of The Californian, with perfect tripper BUZZARDS BAY holding off longshot SUN BOAT by a desperate nose…in the undercard feature, SINDY WITH AN S got back on the winning track with a nice win the Manhattan Beach while trying turf for the initial time…two more winners for Baze…hot trainers continue to burn white hot with Paulo Lobo (VISAYAS), Vladimir Cerin (BELTLINE JACK) and Ellis (BUZZARDS BAY) each winning a race…very impressive debut win by EVER SO PRETTY (for Bill Currin), who held off equally well-meant TASHA’S MIRACLE in the finale. The latter will be a short price to break her maiden next time out.

I had an excellent day on the Premium Play sheet, hitting four top choice winners, including Pick 4 “single” JOHNNY EVES ($15.80); the 8th race trifecta for $598 ($40 investment after scratch); and the late Pick 4 for $439 ($60 ticket after scratch). Of course, if 25-1 shot SUN BOAT gets up to beat ‘BAY, the trifecta turns into about $1,200 and the Pick 4 shoots up to at least $2,500. Sometimes even when you win, you lose.

To View Free Samples of Friday, Saturday and Sunday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for June 1Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 2Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 3

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