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The highlight of the Hollywood Park Fall meet is the Turf Festival, unless, of course, you back to 2005 when there was no Turf Festival. We saw a number of good performances and exciting races this year but I thought the victory by PRECIOUS KITTEN in Sunday’s Matriarch stood out as the top performance in the six-race sequence. She got an outstanding ride by Rafael Bejarano (he’s even better than advertised, by the way), who let no-chance longshot Live Life make the lead and was content to sit second, moved up when forced to go near the 1/4-pole, then spurted away at the top of stretch and held WAIT A WHILE safely at bay. She deserved this win, especially since she was carried out and eliminated in the BC Filly & Mare Turf last month at Monmouth. Also on Sunday, DAYTONA made it two straight (and third win in this country) with a front-running score in the Hollywood Derby. He got a very comfortable trip under Mike Smith and had enough left to hold off hard-knocking MEDICI CODE. Although unable to win in four starts when ridden by Alex Solis, his son, Alex Jr., was responsible for putting together the syndicate that brought DAYTONA over from England.

In other Festival races, Todd Pletcher broke his own earnings record and added two more stakes wins for ’07 with 2-year-olds THE LEOPARD (handy winner of the Generous) and SEA CHANTER (Miesque). LANG FIELD beat a subpar Grade I field in the Citation, holding off a slightly unlucky ZANN to win by a neck. And Saturday’s Turf Express was an absolute rodeo, with favorite FAST PARADE drifting out and impeding five horses to his outside in mid-stretch. UNUSUAL SUSPECT and BONFANTE took advantage of rail runs to finish a nose apart, but who knows what would have happened in a cleanly-run race?

NOTES: There were single-ticket winners in the Pick Six on two days last week, including Saturday’s $582,041 bonanza…favorites are winning at slightly over 27% for the meet…super training achievement by Mike Puype, who won three on Friday…Cushion Track played lightning fast over the weekend, with track records set by CURIOUSLY SWEET (1:41.27) on Saturday and JOHNNY EVES (1:14.03) on Sunday…MASSIVE DRAMA was an impressive winner of the Prevue on Thanksgiving Day. Along with COLONEL JOHN, two exciting juvenile colts finally have emerged on the Southern California circuit…how about all the blanket finishes lately? On Friday, seven horses finished within about a half-length in the 6th race, then four were on the line in the 8th. Saturday’s 10th race saw another five-horse cavalry charge…in Wednesday’s 7th, the trifecta came back awfully short considering the prices of the top three: TALKIN TO MOM ROO (bet from 33-1 to 23-1 sometime after the gates opened), WILD DIPLOMAT (15-1) and DAKOTA PADRE (19-1) returned $2,417 in an 11-horse field (with the favorites running out). To show how far out of whack the trifecta was, compare it to the $36,229 superfecta with favorite SOLEMN PROMISE running fourth…using alternate selections on Pick 4 and Pick 6 wagers is always a good idea. I was able to catch Sunday’s late Pick 4 on my Premium Play sheet ($525 return on a $64 ticket) because I used alternate DEVILS AFLEET as a replacement for original top choice AFLEET RULER, who scratched after the sheet had been published.

Finally, word on the street is that Santa Anita will shut down its main track for a week as workers try to fix the drainage problem that has plagued the newly-installed $10 million Cushion Track. I have written about this issue in two previous postings…expect a release from Santa Anita officials on Wednesday morning.

To View Free Samples of Premium Plays from last week, click on the links below: Nov. 21Â Â Â Â Nov. 22Â Â Nov. 23Â Â Nov. 24Â Â Nov. 25

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