Positive news from on the track

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Two of the worst kept secrets on the backstretches of Ellis Park and Del Mar lived up to expectations over the weekend.

At Ellis Park, two-year-old Dennis’ Moment, a $400,000 yearling purchase who clipped heels and lost the jockey in his debut at Churchill Downs in June, had a clean trip on Saturday and simply demolished Maidens to win by over 19 lengths. He earned a lofty 97 Beyer Speed Figure in the process.

Dale Romans, who trained 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Not This Time, has said he may be the best two-year-old he has ever trained. Being a son of Tiznow, he should handle a route of ground without a problem and looks like an early contender for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Santa Anita.

Out west at Del Mar, Immediate Impact, a juvenile daughter of top sire Into Mischief and a half-sister to Dubai World Cup, Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Pegasus World Invitational winner Arrogate, was the odds-on favorite in her debut on Saturday and after pressing the pace, simply drew away through the stretch to win easily going five furlongs.

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She galloped out far in front of the field, and given her breeding she should relish longer distances. Trainer Bob Baffert called her a bit “quirky,” so he will space her races with the next stop likely the Grade I Del Mar Debutante over Labor Day weekend. Consider her one of the early favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies based on this debut.

Eye-catching performances

It wasn’t just the two-year-olds who shined bright last weekend.

At Saratoga on Saturday, all eyes were on Metropolitan Handicap winner Mitole returning in the Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt. But Imperial Hint stole the show. Trained by Luis Carvajal, the diminutive son of Imperialism pressed the pace from the outside, looped the leaders around the turn, easily put away Mitole and drew away in a Saratoga track record of 1:07.92 for six furlongs.

Imperial Hint earned a big 114 Beyer Speed Figure, and after finishing second in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar and third in the same race at Churchill Downs last year, he is back on track for another shot at the same race this year at Santa Anita.

As impressive as Imperial Hint was on Saturday, three-year-old Shancelot may have been even better on Sunday winning Saratoga’s Grade II Amsterdam. Trained by Jorge Navarro, Shancelot set a blistering early pace (the half mile was timed in a sizzling :43.94) and kept right on going to beat a good field by over 12 lengths. It was just the third career start for Shancelot, and the 121 Beyer Speed Figure he earned puts him select company.

Navarro, who has trained top sprinters like Private Zone, Sharp Azteca, and X Y Jet, said “he is the best horse I ever trained” before his Amsterdam win. He may be correct.

East vs. West

The headline races this weekend include Saturday’s Grade I $1 million Whitney for older horses going 1-1/8 miles and the Grade I $500,000 Test Stakes at seven furlongs for three-year-old fillies. Sunday’s $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational is the second leg of the new “Turf Trinity” in New York. All three races will be run at Saratoga.

The Test features Bellafina from the west coast coming in to take on front-running Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress and the very quick Covfefe. Trained by Simon Callaghan and ridden by Flavien Prat, Bellafina should love the turn back to a sprint and figures to get a nice trip stalking the speed of Covfefe and Serengeti Empress.

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The Whitney is another east vs. west battle. Suburban winner Preservationist, last year’s Grade I Woodward winner Yoshida, and Vino Rosso, who shipped to Santa Anita to win the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita, will represent the east. McKinzie, an unlucky runner-up in the Metropolitan Handicap, will represent the west for Baffert, while world traveler Thunder Snow also had a troubled trip in the Met Mile and is back for more.

In what should be a fantastic race, Preservationist is moving forward at the right time and could offer some value at the windows.

The Saratoga Derby is a rematch of Henley’s Joy, upset victor of the Belmont Derby, and Rockemperor, who had a rough trip finishing third while making his U.S. debut in the Belmont Derby.

back at Del Mar

Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s request for a preliminary injunction in a suit against Del Mar was granted last Friday, and he was back at the track Sunday morning.

When entries are taken on Wednesday for this Saturday’s Grade II $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes, Vasilika is expected to be entered with part owner Hollendorfer again listed as the trainer of record.

The San Diego Superior Court concluded that, “Mr. Hollendorfer will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction is not issued.” The ruling also stated that, “The Plaintiffs have also submitted sufficient evidence for the court to conclude they are likely to prevail on the merits of their claims.”

The judge in the case, Ronald F. Frazier, instructed all parties to go to arbitration, with a status update set for October 25, which falls two weeks prior to the start of the Del Mar fall meeting.

Hollendorfer, who had 50 horses stabled at Del Mar last summer, said he currently has just 17 horses at the track after several owners moved their horses to other trainers while he was not allowed to train or race at Del Mar.

Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Del Mar Friday Race 6 — Meal Ticket (No. 1). Hard- trying mare drops out of Graded Stakes to proper level while returning to favorite course. From inside post she should get a nice trip stalking the speed and Drayden Van Dyke is riding as well as anyone at Del Mar.

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About the Author

Jon Lindo

Jon Lindo is a syndicated handicapper, long-time thoroughbred owner, and publisher of the Lindo Report. Jon is also a regular contributor to Race Day Las Vegas Radio show on KSHP 1400 in Las Vegas and Thoroughbred Los Angeles Radio show, heard in Las Vegas at thoroughbredla.com.

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