Monday Afternoon Rewind: In the black

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Good, bad, ugly or indifferent, we look back at our weekly Saturday Special and see how we did in our predictions and profiles.

Saturday’s edition started in Australia, meandered its way through Newbury, Gulfstream, Aqueduct and finished at Turfway. As always, it was a mixed bag of showdowns and no shows as another Saturday went in the books. Here’s our recap of the strikes thrown by Gunnevera and Suffused to the misses thrown by Irish War Cry and El Areeb and everything thrown by us.

Randwick. Race 7. 12:10 a.m. Saturday is Saturday. Just in case you’re coming in from a Friday night on the town, there’s action from Down Under. The Group 1 Girvan Waugh Guineas, worth $1 million, attracts sons of More Than Ready and Uncle Mo at the top of the market.

• Australian-bred Inference, a son of So You Think, won a photo decision over Invincible Gem.

Flemington. Race 7. 12:30 a.m. Still going strong? Here’s the Australian Guineas, a Group 1 worth $750,000. Hey Doc looks like a winner to us.

• Worldwide, we pick winners. Hey Doc scored as the 12/5 favorite. Easy money as we finished a late-night bowl of Frosted Flakes.

Meydan. Race 1. 7:00. So, your choice was to stay up all night watching Australian racing and The Big Lebowski on HBO or catch a few hours of sleep. Surely, you picked the latter. Well, you should be rested for a strong card in Dubai, led off by this $250,000 listed stakes, which looks like a USA dirt race with sons of Hansen, Hard Spun, Speightstown, Archarcharch, Sky Mesa, Stormy Atlantic and other American-based stallions.

• Hope you enjoyed The Big Lebowski. Cosmo Charlie, a son of Stay Thirsty, won the opener over Qatar Man, a son of Archarcharch. The winner cost $85,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale in 2015.

Meydan. Race 2. 7:35. Group 3 sprint keeps the fire stoked. The one and only Reynaldothewizard, at 11, seeks win No. 12. Remember when he ran in Saratoga? Find the quote about him in The Special and you’ll get a prize.

• Reynaldothewizard scratched from his assignment, leaving the first three spots to Morawij, Cool Cowboy and Dundonnell. Nobody has found the quote yet. Come on, it’s a sweet prize.

Meydan. Race 3. 8:10. Godolphin opens the valve here, sending out four to try to upend $5.3 million earner Postponed.

• The open valve approach worked as Prize Money upset 2/5 Postponed. Connections of the beaten favorite said this was just the battle, the war comes on World Cup night March 25.

Newbury. Race 2. 9:05. One of the better initiatives we’ve seen in a while is the creation of the veteran chase series in Britain. Restricted to horses 10 years old and up, rated 0-150. Count on stellar jumping and close finishes. Old friends Rocky Creek, Just A Par, Harry Topper, Katenko, Shotavodka and others clash – it’s like walking into Cheers and seeing Cliff and Norm on the corner stools.

• Just A Par dropped out the back and earned a trip to the Grand National at Aintree in April. Trainer Paul Nicholls told the Racing Post, “If he ran like he did there he’d have every chance in the National, but if he ran like he did last year he wouldn’t. It depends what mood he’s in.” Wonder when you know what mood he’s in?

Meydan. Race 5. 9:20. Jungle Cat sparred in the King’s Stand, July Cup and King George this summer. This is not the King’s Stand, July Cup or King George.

• Jungle Cat appreciated the drop in class, scoring over Baccarat and The Right Man.

Newbury. Race 3. 9:40. Veteran Melodic Rendezvous tried hard against Yanworth two weeks ago. He’s back for more, carrying top weight and facing Cheltenham third Bloody Mary as she makes her seasonal reappearance in this handicap hurdle.

• Melodic Rendezvous and Bloody Mary finished next to each other, albeit, in fifth and sixth as Remiluc won a slog. The winner overcome an infected withers, where veterinarians cut bone out twice. Nothing like a survivor.

Meydan. Race 6. 9:55. The world’s favorite horse, Lani, returns in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge.

• Lani didn’t travel a step, lagging behind the field and failing to make any impact. Perhaps, the hard miles and soft mind have caught up on the Japanese wonderment.

Doncaster. Race 3. 10:00. Lastbutnotleast and Happy Diva lead a competitive group of mares in this listed novice hurdle. 

• A real battler in a battle, Lastbutnotleast held off Happy Diva in a thriller.

Lingfield. Race 3. 10:10. Miss Mirabeau wins this. No price, quit complaining.

• No donation for the church collection plate this week, she finished third.

Newbury. Race 4. 10:15. Enjoy the last bastions of quality racing before the Cheltenham lull. The Grade 3 William Hill Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase attracts Vibrato Valtat and Oldgrangewood.

• Old friend Thomas Crapper walloped rivals in a return to his best form. The 10-year-old snapped a losing streak dating back to last April when he won at Newbury. Cool horse. Deserved victory.

Kelso. Race 3. 10:25. The Kelso Novices’ Hurdle, a Grade 2, attracts just five but a strong five, led by Capitaine and Mount Mews.

• Mount Mews is for real.

Meydan. Race 7. 10:30. Decorated Knight has developed into a steady campaigner, winning three of his last four, including a prep at Lingfield in February. He should win the finale.

• Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety…of winners. Decorated Knight obliged at 2-1 as we began to claw our way to the plus side.

Doncaster. Race 4. 10:35. The Last Samuri, aiming at improving one place from his runner-up finish in last year’s Grand National, makes his 2017 debut in the Grimthorpe for Kim Bailey and David Bass.

• The Last Samuri ran well but finished a zip code behind Definitly Red, who booked his ticket to the National with a resounding romp for the ever-prolific Brian Ellison.

Kelso. Race 4. 11:00. Tenor Nivernais put on a gallant display two weeks ago, he wheels back quickly for Venetia Williams and needs to turn back Le Mercurey.

• Tenor Nivernais turned back Le Mercurey but couldn’t turn back Seldom Inn who upset the favorites on heavy ground.

Gulfstream Park. Race 1. Noon. Best card of the year in South Florida – sorry Pegasus World Cup – gets underway with two-turn allowance for 3-year-olds. Always Dreaming could get himself into the classics picture with another good effort for Todd Pletcher off monster maiden score at Tampa.

• On a day when the classics picture got blurry for some and fell off the wall for others, Always Dreaming joined the frame with a facile romp.

Gulfstream. Race 2. 12:30. Sentry didn’t appear on Shug McGaughey’s Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour last summer, so we don’t have much inside info beyond the colt’s pedigree. First-time starter by Smart Strike out of Danzig mare Gaze is full brother to graded stakes winner Air Support.

• One of two first-time starters in the field of 10, Sentry finished fifth while the other debuting 3-year-old, Inheritthewind, won a hard-earned win over favorite Master Merion.

Gulfstream. Race 3. 1:00. Eastport was lost early and running well late in 7-furlong debut in late January. Malibu Moon colt makes second start and stretches out for Shug McGaughey, facing familiar foes in Borsa Vento and Blind Ambition.

• Eastport found the map, ripping through on the rail to score by a length over longshot Donwell and favorite Blind Ambition.

Gulfstream. Race 4. 1:30. First stakes on the card, the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride for 3-year-old fillies on the grass. Coasted showed how good she was last year winning the P.G. Johnson at Saratoga and finishing late-running second in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita. Daughter of Tizway makes 2017 debut for Leah Gyarmati and owner Jeff Treadway.

• Coasted did everything right but win, succumbing late to Dream Dancing, one of three winners on the card for jockey Julien Leparoux.

Gulfstream. Race 5. 2:00. Connections of Bird Song and Realm are undoubtedly pleased to not see Tommy Macho in Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper but they still must contend with Greenpointcrusader, War Story and Tale Of S’avall in 1-mile stakes.

• Bird Song loped on the lead and turned away Realm and Tale Of S’avall, as Greenpointcrusader never threated, winding up seventh as the favorite. Marylou Whitney was on hand to celebrate the homebred victory. Ian Wilkes had some good news after being dealt a blow with McCraken last week.

Aqueduct. Race 3. 2:20. Genre, third in last year’s Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster and on the board in back-to-back graded stakes tries in South Florida, gets bit of class relief in $150,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational. Isabelle looks like main threat but must show same form in open company as she does in state-bred events.

• Genre might have gotten a class relief but she got outclassed by Isabelle, who rolled to a 12-length win in the fourth running of the Heavenly Prize.

Gulfstream. Race 6. 2:30. Heavyweights Catch A Glimpse and Celestine will give each other – and the other seven entered – all they can handle in $100,000 Sand Springs going 1 mile on the grass.

• This one went 12 rounds as Jose Ortiz managed to grab the lead on Celestine, then slowed the pace down to :48.25 for the first half-mile and staved off Catch A Glimpse. Moyglare Stud went to $2.55 million to purchase Celestine, a daughter of Scat Daddy in the Keeneland November sale. Celestine has gone through the sales ring three times, she fetched $100,000 as a yearling in 2013, failed to sell for $975,000 in 2014 and hit it out of the park in 2016.

Gulfstream. Race 7. 3:01. Suffused puts run of consistency to the test again in $100,000 The Very One going 1 3/16 miles on the grass.

• No test. Another ace. Suffused proved she was much the best in this one, launching from last to first before the spoon hit the bowl.

Gulfstream. Race 8. 3:32. Big field of 13 for 3-year-old maiden going 7 furlongs on the main track. Ten of them are first-time starters, including Caviar Czar for Pletcher, Myakka River for Shug, Timeline for Chad and Fayeq for Kiaran.

• The money was on and the money was right as Timeline scored at first asking. The son of Hard Spun was toiling in the middle of the turn but rallied to win by a widening half-length in a stellar debut.

Gulfstream. Race 9. 4:03. Brad Cox ships Cowboy Culture in from New Orleans for Grade 3 Palm Beach. Son of Quality Road is 3-for-3, all at a mile on the grass, and brings Florent Geroux with him for 1 1/16-mile stakes test.

• The water’s deeper in Florida. Ticonderoga returned for his first start since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to win a hard-charging length over Kitten’s Cat and Snap Decision. Joel Rosario gets the ride of the day for engineering a slip-streaming win on the son of Tapit and Keertana. Cowboy Culture failed to land a blow.

Gulfstream. Race 10. 4:34. How’s this for a stakes? Field of 14 3-year-old fillies, including Grade 1 winner Pretty City Dancer and Grade 2 winner Miss Sky Warrior, for Grade 2 Davona Dale. This one offers 50 points to the winner toward a spot in the Kentucky Oaks field.

• Kelly Breen wore his hat and his son wore his hat. Tip both of the hats to Miss Sky Warrior who won again, nailing a half-length decision on Jordan’s Henny and Summer Luck.

Fair Grounds. Race 5. 4:45. Freudie Anne and Dynazar were 1-2 in 1-mile turf allowance Feb. 4 and meet again at same course and trip. Problem is I’m A Chatterbox is also in the field as daughter of Munnings tries the turf for the first time.

• Larry Jones said he wasn’t a turf trainer and I’m A Chatterbox supported the notion, finishing third behind Freudie Anne and Dynazar. The winner was risked for $80,000 but stayed in Tom Morley’s barn.

Aqueduct. Race 8. 4:50. First of two 85-point races, offering 50 to the winner and a $300,000 purse, is the Grade 3 Gotham. El Areeb whipped a few of these in Grade 3 Jerome and Grade 3 Withers but didn’t scare everyone off as nine others line up for 1 1/16-mile test. That group includes Southern California shipper So Conflated, the 2-for-2 Action Everyday for Todd Pletcher and Apartfromthecrowd and Cloud Computing for Chad Brown.

• Hustled from the start, El Areeb set up his tent on the lead but the stakes didn’t hold as he faded to third. Dale Romans, who seems to get knocked down but never knocked out, returns to the Derby trail with J Boys Echo, a 3 1/2-length winner over Cloud Computing, making his second career start.

Gulfstream. Race 11. 5:05. Heart To Heart suffered first loss in four starts on local course last time and looks to make amends in Grade 3 Canadian Turf.

• Amends? Heart To Heart made all, scoring a front-running win over Bondurant, a half-brother to McCraken and Conquest Panthera.

Oaklawn Park. Race 7. 5:09. Rockshaw looked sharp in allowance prep for $125,000 Gazebo, which attracts seven other 3-year-olds with eyes on top sophomore sprints down the road.

• Rockshaw was rock sharp, winning again for The Special’s favorite Oaklawn shipper Ron Moquett.

Hawthorne Race Course. Race 1. 5:10. Live racing returned to the Chicago area Friday and the first Saturday card of the 2017 season gets rolling with a $5,000 claimer. Do we have a pick? Of course, Diminishing Return.

• Winners everywhere – Australia, Dubai…Chicago as Diminishing Return won the opener, returning $7. We’re back in the black.

Gulfstream. Race 12. 5:35. Mike Maker looks loaded in Grade 2 Mac Diarmida, sending out Charming Kitten, Bigger Picture and Taghleeb in 11-furlong turf test. Plenty of other major players in here, too, with Wake Forest and Mr Maybe representing Chad Brown and Patterson Cross for Bill Mott.

• Patterson Cross, at 9-1, nearly pulled the upset on Wake Forest but a wide trip cost him as he rallied to just miss by a head. Yes, we bet him, that’s why we’re still talking about the tough-luck second.

Oaklawn. Race 8. 5:38. Fantastic Style ships in for Doug O’Neill and Kaleem Shah after trying champion and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Finest City last time out in Grade 2 Santa Monica. She looks tough in $125,000 Spring Fever against Kathballu, Marquee Miss and others.

• Ken McPeek began a big day here as Kathballu posted a mild upset over Natural Wonder as Fantastic style faded to fifth.

Santa Anita Park. Race 6. 6:00. Unique Bella whipped fellow 3-year-old fillies in back-to-back graded stakes attempts and predictable rallying cry called for her connections to take on males. Why? She can continue to make quick work in her division, although the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel might not be as easy with Grade 1 winners Abel Tasman and Noted And Quoted in the field.

• And the beat goes on. Unique Bella won again, dispatching Abel Tasman who ran well to be second. Jerry Hollendorfer and Mike Smith continue to ride the wave.

Gulfstream. Race 13. 6:05. Irish War Cry snuck up on the field in Grade 2 Holy Bull but most likely won’t get it so easy this time in Grade 2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth. New Jersey-bred son of Curlin faces 10 other classic hopefuls, including Holy Bull runner-up Gunnevera, two-time Grade 1-winning juvenile Practical Joke and Grade 2 turf stakes winner Made You Look.

• Glug, glug, glug. That’s how it sounded to several Derby contenders, most notably, Irish War Cry who found a sweet spot but squandered it quickly as Gunnevera rallied for a big score. Some day, he’ll fill out into his frame, but in the meantime, the long-legged erector set keeps winning.

Santa Anita. Race 7. 6:30. Remember Danzing Candy? Last seen in the Grade 3 Affirmed in July, son of Twirling Candy finished 15th after setting swift pace as expected in last year’s Kentucky Derby. He tries the turf in $75,000 Joe Hernandez going down the hill.

• Danzing Candy set the pace again but faded to be third in his turf debut as favorite Stormy Liberal, a $40,000 claim in October, earned his second consecutive stakes win for Rockingham Ranch and Peter Miller.

Turfway Park. Race 6. 8:40. No points toward a spot in the Kentucky Derby but the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial will no doubt determine a few starters for the Spiral in three weeks’ time.

• It’s Your Nickel earned 1,168,700 nickels for Harold Lerner, AWC Stable, Scott Akman and Nehoc Stable, cruising to a 6 1/2-length score over En Hanse and Star Empire.