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HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

Battle Hardened on War Path

Here I am, live from Florida! With the exception of a mild heart attack due to my husband braking suddenly upon realizing he had no cash for the toll booth and some congested traffic in Boynton Beach, we arrived without incident. This is a major accomplishment if you are at all familiar with the luck I have had on recent road trips. Now that we are here, I have only one not so minor complaint: there is no sweet tea to be found, no decent sweet tea anyway. For those of you that live outside the South and are scratching your heads over why that would be a problem, let me put it to you this way: for the true southerner, sweet tea is like liquified crack (Can I say crack in this blog??? Is that legal?). So if you happen to run into me at the track tomorrow and I am twitching and making funny faces, I am just going through withdrawals. Nothing to worry about. 
 
 
But on to business. Gulfstream has the main draw this weekend in the Sunshine State, but before I get to that, I am going to meander across the state to Tampa Bay Downs.
 
 
Tomorrow is the big day at Gulfstream Park with both the Swale Stakes and the Gulfstream Park Handicap on the card. Elsewhere around the country, other Derby prep races are also in store, and Tampa Bay Downs is no exception. I have said time and again that the Sam F. Davis was the weakest Derby prep race thus far this season, and the Tampa Bay Derby does not look much better. Highly touted Spring Hill Farm will make his third career start and will face upset Sam F. Davis winner Battle Hardened. In order for the latter colt to sweep the Tampa Bay prep races, he will have to find a way to beat the speedy Todd Pletcher trainee. Fortunately for Battle Hardened, the Tampa Bay Derby is at Tampa Bay Downs and not Gulfstream Park, so the speed bias will not be in effect to aid Spring Hill Farm's front running style.
 
 
Take Charge Indy was entered, but it was announced today that he would skip the Tampa Bay Derby in favor of the Florida Derby in two weeks. Take Charge Indy had been made the second choice on the morning line and would have been a tough opponent for Battle Hardened. Despite not having found the winner's circle since breaking his maiden, the colt has put in respectable races against crackerjack competition. Colts he has faced include Hansen, Union Rags, Creative Cause, Dullahan, Majestic City, and El Padrino.
 
 
Back to face Battle Hardened again is Sam F. Davis runner-up Prospective. Prospective got hung wide all the way around in his last outing and closed furiously in the stretch drive to miss by a length and a quarter. I fully expect him to be in contention, and, with a better trip, he may just get the better of Battle Hardened this time.
 
 
Battle Hardened may be on the war path, but he faces tough competition from Spring Hill Farm and Prospective. Despite winning the Sam F. Davis and finally breaking his maiden last out, the son of Giant's Causeway did not get much respect from the oddsmakers. He was made the 9/2 third choice behind Spring Hill Farm (5/2) and Take Charge Indy (3/1 scratched). Also getting little respect from the oddsmakers is Prospective. The Pasco Stakes and G3 Grey Stakes winner was made the 8/1 fourth choice. Also entered are Golden Ticket, Twin, Chief Energy, Tell All You Know, Cozzetti, Ravelo's Boy, Fox Rules, and Cajun Charlie

 

Battle Hardened has been training well at Palm Meadows, recording three works since his Sam F. Davis victory. His last work was a respectable 5 furlong move in 1:02.04 (3/10) on March 3. Giant's Causeway was very successful on the track, and has been just as successful at stud. He was the U.S. top sire in 2009 and 2010, Champion freshman sire in Europe in 2004, Champion 2-year old sire in the U.S. in 2005, and has sired multiple Grade 1 and Grade 2 winners. Battle Hardened's sire line says a lot about what he can be capable of. So far, the Sam F. Davis has been his biggest win, but he is poised to add a Grade 2 win to his resume tomorrow. 

 

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Older Comments about Battle Hardened on War Path...

A better explanation since Prospective was on the rail for the first half of the race is the better horses were running in the middle of the track where 89% of winners everywhere run on dry fast tracks.
Golden Ticket beats Prospective if he hadn't dropped to the rail. The middle of the track was live at Tampa yesterday the rail was dead.
Obviously the post switched helped Prospective, but the addtition of blinkers really put him into the race earlier & he dug in and finished strong too. In the Davis he seemed to hang a bit, but when that horse moved up inside of him down the lane in dug it & fought all the way to the wire. Safe travels Ashley!
Enjoy Gulfstream. Could be a big weekend for my RttR stable.
I think Battle hardened wins again
Didn't have time to take Take Charge Indy off my RTTR power horse list, oh well. Have fun at Gulfstream, Ashley!

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.