Friday, June 19, 2009

Baffert's Misremembered Sharp for Affirmed

By Jack Shinar

Bob Baffert's lightly-raced homebred Misremembered, two-for-two on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track, presents an intriguing possibility in the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) June 20. The 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds includes no heavyweights.

The Affirmed is the stakes debut for Misremembered, who was bred in Kentucky by the Hall of Fame trainer. The son of Candy Ride --Beyond Perfection, by Quack, races for Baffert's wife, Jill, and George Jacobs.

MIsremembered is one of six sophomores set to line up in the Affirmed, which came up light when Sunland Derby winner Kelly Leak and Lone Star Derby (gr. III) victor Mythical Power were not entered. Kelly Leak was held back because of blood tests that showed elevated liver enzymes.

After making his debut with a sixth-place finish on the grass at Santa Anita on April 9, Misremembered has turned in impressive back-to-back wins on Hollywood's synthetic track, both at 1 1/16 miles. The chestnut colt broke his maiden April 29 with a 2 1/4-length tally, then came back to blitz a first-level allowance field by 3 1/2 lengths as the favorite on May 24. He showed speed in both races and led all the way in his commanding allowance victory.

Victor Espinoza, who was aboard Misremembered in the wins, has the mount once more They will break from the rail under 114 pounds.

Doug O'Neill, the runaway training leader at the meet, sends out a pair of colts, including Borderland Derby winner Scorewithcater, the 116-pound top weight. The other O'Neill entrant is Cape Truth. Both come into the Affirmed after disappointing out-of-state stakes efforts.

Scorewitchcater ran fifth in Belmont Park's Peter Pan (gr. II) on May 9, beaten by more than 13 lengths by the victorious Charitable Man. Scorewithcater showed little speed in the Peter Pan. After swinging wide for the drive, he lost ground to the winner in the stretch. Joe Talamo takes over.

“Scorewithcater’s race was not as bad as it looked,” said O’Neill. “He ran his race but ran into a monster that day in Charitable Man.”

The son of Even the Score has won four of 10 starts with seven in-the-money performances and easily leads the field in earnings with $233,720.

Cape Truth was also fifth in his last start, the Lone Star Derby on May 9, when he was beaten 15 lengths. A winner of two of four starts, the Cape Town offspring will be ridden for the first time by Alonso Quinonez.

Grazen, from the barn of Mike Mitchell, has two wins over the surface. He won the NTRA Stakes against state breds for his maiden victory on Gold Rush Day April 25. The Benchmark colt followed that effort with a front-running triumph over an open first-level allowance field as the choice May 23.

Quindici Man had back-to-back wins for trainer Craig Lewis earlier this year, but was unable to overcome a bad break from the rail while finishing fifth in Hollywood's seven-furlong Lazero S. Barrera Memorial (gr. III) in his last start.

The New York-bred Fiddlers Afleet, trained by David Hofmans, has had two starts in Southern California after beginning his career in his home state. He ran fifth in the San Rafael (gr. III) at Santa Anita in January.

$100,000 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 5 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Misremembered (KY), V Espinoza, 114, B Baffert
2. Grazen (CA), R Bejarano, 114, M R Mitchell
3. Cape Truth (KY), A Quinonez, 114, D F O'Neill
4. Quindici Man (KY), J Rosario, 114, C A Lewis
5. Scorewithcater (KY), J Talamo, 116, D F O'Neill
6. Fiddlers Afleet (NY), M Garcia, 113, D E Hofmans

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