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Racing Dudes Three Stars of the Week: Calm Before the Derby Storm

Ernie Belmonte

All of the horse racing world is preparing for the Kentucky Derby, with the big day less than one week away! However, let’s take an ultra-quick look back at the last week of racing, which gave us some memorable performances. Churchill Downs had it’s opening night card, while Santa Anita and Golden Gate gave us solid racing on the west coast. Here’s our latest Three Stars of the Week:

1. Paradise Woods

This is a horse that has always had a ton of talent; however, mentally she has had some problems settling down early in her races. In the past, if she didn’t get the early lead, she was done before they entered the turn. On Saturday in the Santa Margarita Stakes (G2), she was able to sit just off the pace, before exploding down the lane to win the race by over 10-lengths. Her new trainer, John Sherriffs, mentioned after the race how his whole team had done a lot of work getting her to relax. If she can repeat this sort of a performance again, she has a great chance to become a dominant force within this division.

2. Ickymasho

After running very well in some tough spots, Ickymasho finally picked up her first North American victory last Friday at Keeneland, winning the Bewitch Stakes (G3) by a length in front-running fashion. Right out of the gate she was forwardly placed, while turning for home with a commanding 5-length advantage. From there, it was just a matter of holding off the closers from that point on, which was easy to do for a classy horse with a big lead. She has now won 9 0f 39 starts, with earning of $283,403. A trip back to Woodbine will likely be next for her.

3. Blitzkrieg

Blitzkrieg has gotten hot at the right time this year, winning 4 races in a row after impressively taking home the San Fransisco Mile (G3) on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. Like normal, he was forwardly placed, stalking the early leader up the back stretch in a perfect position. Turning for home he took the lead away, opening up by 2 1/4 lengths at the top of the stretch. From there, the only threat came from a the late-closing River Boyne, who made a late closing kick, but could not catch the winner. His level of improvement this season should set him up for more stakes events in the near future.

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