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Feature Race Analysis
A Gleam Handicap - Grade 2
Race 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park
Saturday, July 13 - Post Time 7:35 PM E.T.
Seven Furlongs, for Fillies and Mares Three Year Olds and Upward
Reneesgotzip, Byrama Two of A Stellar A Gleam Cast
By Ellis Starr - National Racing Analyst for Equibase
The Grade 2, $200,000 A Gleam Handicap is one of only three Breeders' Cup Challenge Series races offering an automatic starting spot in the $1 Million Filly & Mare Sprint this fall. That being the case, most of the eight fillies and mares entered will be doing their best to get the brass ring. Leading the octet in terms of recent success at the highest level is Byrama, recent winner of the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap four weeks ago over this strip. Reneesgotzip returns from more than six months off, last seen finishing second by a neck in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at the end of December, and brings a perfect three-for-three record over the track into the race. Teddy's Promise is another who has proven herself in top company, winning the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes in January. Book Review won the 2012 La Brea by a neck over Reneesgotzip and returns from five months off likely ready to rumble, while Rumor attempts to rebound off a fifth place effort in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff Stakes in May and back to the form shown when winning the Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes right before that. Winding Way won the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap last summer at Del Mar in only the third start of her career and although her fifth place effort in her comeback race last month wasn't much she has potential to improve. Conkate and Maker Or Breaker round out the field, both looking for their first in-the-money finish in a stakes race.
Byrama removed blinkers for the first time in last month's Vanity Handicap and won easily by three and one-half lengths with a career best 105 Equibase Speed Figure. Having run the longer distance of one mile and one-eighth in the Vanity, Byrama could have some extra energy cutting back to seven furlongs. Additionally, Byrama has already been proven at this level and distance when missing by a neck in the Madison Stakes this spring at Keeneland. Jockey Gary Stevens, who continues to impress since returning from a seven year retirement, was riding Byrama for the first time in the Vanity. In the A Gleam, Stevens once again is likely to have the filly in a perfect spot off the pacesetter from the start. As such, Byrama could be very tough to deny in the A Gleam.
Reneesgotzip returns from more than six months off, but that should not be a problem for this excellent filly who has won five times in 10 races including a perfect three-for-three record at Hollywood Park. When last seen at the end of December, Reneesgotzip battled head-and-head for the lead from start to finish, missing by a neck on the wire to Book Review in the La Brea Stakes at the distance of the A Gleam. Reneesgotzip has been working out in the morning in tremendous fashion for her return to the races. She won the CERF Stakes last summer off a layoff with a career best 111 figure and has every right to pick up where she left off last winter with an "A" effort good enough to win.
Teddy's Promise has won three of her last five races including the Santa Monica Stakes in January at the distance of the A Gleam. One race before that she earned a career best 104 winning the Kalookan Queen Stakes. In her most recent effort one month ago in the Desert Stormer Handicap, Teddy's Promise was bottled up on the inside while full of run on the far turn and entering the stretch then attempted to go inside of the leader with insufficient room, resulting in her steadying badly and losing any chance she had to win. With a better trip in the A Gleam, Teddy's Promise is yet another with every right to run well enough to win this race.
The rest of the A Gleam Handicap field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, is Book Review (103), Conkate (100), Maker Or Breaker (102), Rumor (103) and Winding Way (104).
Follow Ellis Star on Twitter @Ubercapper