(May 9, 2015) Saturday’s tenth race at Belmont is for maidens traveling a mile over the lawn. This is a large, contentious field filled with promising youngsters. I expect that we’ll be seeing at least three or four of them headlining stakes in the future. Let’s review the pedigrees.
ASBAAD (Street Cry) is the second foal out of Lear's Princess. Lear's Princess won the Gazelle over Rags to Riches and finished 2nd in the CCA Oaks and Alabama. She also won the Tweedside Stakes at 1 1/16 m. on the lawn. Asbaad has a good turf pedigree. Street Cry gets 12% turf winners (that's a Brisnet stat and I think it's wrong, probably closer to 16% or more). Damsire Lear Fan is a French G-1 winner.
Asbaad’s stablemate ARGHAD (Distorted Humor) (AE) Scratched. is a half brother to multiple turf stakes winner Victory Lap and to multiple graded stakes winning sprinter Zanjero, plus his full sister, the stakes placed Acacia.
BUBBA'S D'ORO (Medaglia d'Oro) is Arghad’s older half brother. Trainer Bruce Levine is 0-7 with first timers over the lawn.
TIZ AFLEET (Tiz Wonderful) is the first foal out of his dam, Afleet Frio. She’s a half sister to the multiple stakes winning veteran Beau’s Town. Now Beau’s Town was noted as a dirt horse, but he did win his sole foray on the lawn, plus two of the dam’s other half siblings won or placed on turf. This is an experiment for Tiz Afleet. His sire gets 10% winners over grass, and the Mott barn is 16% with first time turf runners. Note that Tiz Afleet worked a second to last bullet over the training track.
LONE TRADER (More Than Ready) is the first foal out of Carriage Trade, whose full brother Art Museum won a turf sprint stakes in Ireland. She’s also a half sister to Fountain of Youth hero Lil’s Lad. Lone Trader’s speed figures have improved in every start and he switches back to turf. Trainer Michael Hushion has a fantastic 31% win rate with a horse making its third start off of a layoff.
FIRE AWAY (War Front) is a Phipps family bred half brother to Belmont Derby Invitational (G-1) hero Mr. Speaker. Their dam Salute is a graded stakes placed ¾ sister to Miner’s Mark and Our Emblem, plus a half to My Flag, etc. etc. Fire Away’s second dam is the Champion and blue hen Personal Ensign. Yes…THAT family! If he lives up to his pedigree, Fire Away is a sire in the making. Fire Away didn’t show much as a two year old, so he got some time off to grow up. He has a string of fast works from the conservative McGaughey barn and gets first time Lasix.
INFINITE MIDNIGHT (Giant’s Causeway) is a half to 2011 Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude and his full brother, Oceanside Stakes winner Midnight Crooner. Their dam is Gr.1 placed in New Zealand. Top grass trainer Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz, Jr. team up for a 39% win rate.
SHINOBI (Lord Shanakill) has breeding we don’t see every day. His sire is a Gr. 2 winning turf sprinter by Speightstown and his damsire Black Sam Bellamy is a full brother to Galileo. Shinobi is the first foal out of his German-bred dam. He has line breeding (4 generations and back) to the blue hen Special. She’s the dam of Nureyev (4x5 in this pedigree) and she’s also the grand-dam of Sadlers Wells (sire of Black Sam Bellamy). There’s 5Sx5Dx6D (5Sire x 5 Dam x 5 Dam) inbreeding to Special in Shinobi’s pedigree. You can never have too much of a good thing. Shinobi and his stablemate Infinate Transfer appear to be workmates. High percentage trainer Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano combine for an outstanding 41% win rate.
VEYA (Giant’s Causeway) is out of one of the last daughters of the great Seattle Slew. Veya’s second damsire is Northern Dancer It’s rare to find these names so close up in a pedigree and it’s a shame that Veya is a gelding. Althugh looking at his race record of 0-13, perhaps it’s for the best. Veya is a half to Irish 2000 Guineas winner Bachelor Duke, plus a German SW and a French SP runner. Veya’s third through fifth dams (Lisadell, Thong, Rough Shod) are all blue hens. Veya gets blinkers back on. The Ribaudo barn is 0-3 with this angle and has a 5% win rate with turf horses. Veya doesn’t seem to care for racing. Maybe he’d make a good steeplechaser or eventer.
BRITANNIA'S MOAT (English Channel) is a half to the stakes winning sprinter Freeway Ticket and a two stakes placed runners. There’s some minor blacktype in the first couple of generations and this is the distaff line of Champion Sprinter Xtra Heat. Britannia’s Moat was beaten only a length in his debut as a two year old. His works are on the average/slow side, but Donk and Franco team for a 27% win rate.
SENOR CASANOVA (Medaglia d'Oro) is the first foal out of the stakes winning veteran Model, who is multiple G-1 placed (Spinster, Santa Maria H., Santa Margarita Inv.). Senor Casanova’s second dam Snowfire placed in the 1000 Guineas. Senor Casanova has been working spectacularly for Clement.
ROCK EAGLE (Indian Charlie) has very little blacktype in his immediate female family. His dam placed in two stakes races over the lawn (one at Belmont) and his second dam is also stakes placed. Going back a generation is where we find all of the stakes winners, including QE II winner Bit of Whimsy, multiple graded placed Sky Blazer and a host of other turf stakes winners. Rock Eagle went seven wide in a turf sprint at Gulstream and missed by only ½ a length in a blanket finish. Tagg/Maragh are 0-9 together.
TIZ TIME TO SHAKE (Tiz Wonderful) has turf attributes in his distaff line. None of his half siblings own blacktype, but a couple have won or placed on the lawn. His dam is a stakes winning turf miler and his second dam Shake the Yoke was a multiple group winner in England. The Shivmangal barn has poor stats and jockey Eric Cancel is 0-27 on the turf.
STEEL SKY (Even the Score) (AE) SCRATCHED.
In a large field of youngsters, many of whom are making their debut, experience matters.
ROCK EAGLE (4-1), BRITANNIA'S MOAT (8-1), LONE TRADER (6-1) and TIZ AFLEET (8-1) all have experience and with the right trip, any one of them could win. SENOR CASANOVA (10-1) has some of the best works in the field. Don’t ignore that second to last bullet breeze. He’ll be live. FIRE AWAY (12-1) didn’t run a step in two starts as a two year old. Note the sharp 3F moves to put some speed into this colt. I’m inclined to give him another chance. Leading trainer Chad Brown’s duo of INFINITE MIDNIGHT (5-1) and SHINOBI (9-2) will be heavy favorites. Both have the class, and the conditioning, to win first time out.
This is a tough race to handicap. I suggest box exotics.
#5 INFINITE MIDNIGHT (5-1)
#6 SHINOBI (9-2)
#9 BRITANNIA'S MOAT (8-1)
#10 SENOR CASANOVA (10-1)
#4 FIRE AWAY (12-1)