Saturday, July 24, 2010

Database of Two Year Olds Launched

As we head into the debut of the 2010 Del Mar and Saratoga summer meets, Horse Racing Nation has launched a database of two year old cots and two year old filly power rankings, sponsored by Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds. The rankings currently feature the last race chart with free race replay (if available), the next race (if available) with links to the sire, trainer and last jockey. The rankings list over 200 males and fillies that are ranked. Pedigree comments by Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds are included for most of the horses.

The rankings are based on votes from the Horse Racing Nation user base. The rankings are updated every 30 minutes to include new votes and 2-year-olds as they are added to the database. The rankings include dozens of maiden winners from around the country, plus 2-year-old stakes results.

We hope everyone enjoys the juvenile rankings. If you don't see a horse, feel free to add it! If a horse is ranked too low, vote it up higher! The more people that participate, the more accurate the rankings will be.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Schuylerville Stakes (G-3)

clip_image002The Grade 3 Schuylerville for two year old fillies kicks off the summer racing festival on opening day at Saratoga on Friday, July 23. Two days later on July 25, the colts will burst on the scene in the Grade 2 Sanford.
This year’s edition of the Schuylerville Stakes features seven fillies – three of them by the freshmen sires Bandini, First Samurai, and Too Much Bling. The youngsters are untested at six furlongs and all except two of them have dominated their previous competition.

clip_image002[6]First Samurai’s daughter Le Mi Geaux (out of Message Red by Cryptoclearance) won her maiden in her second start at Churchill Downs. After contesting the pace between rivals, the race proved to be no contest as she cruised home by over seven lengths. The chestnut filly’s dam was a stakes winner. Le Mi Geaux owns a five furlong bullet breeze and represents the Rick Dutrow Barn, which has a 28% win rate with the maiden to stakes race angle.
Let's Get Fiscal (Bandini – Bouvet, by Touch Gold) was the first winner for her sire. Her dam is a half sister to stakes winner Grand Bank. With Touch Gold as her damsire, this promising filly should love the extra distance. After pressing the pace in her debut, Let's Get Fiscal galloped off to a 5 ½ length lead. She fired a bullet work and the Violette barn is victorious 18% of the time with maidens jumping to stakes.
clip_image002[8]Stopspendingmaria (Montbrook – cutoffs, by Notebook) has speed top and bottom in her pedigree. Her dam is a full sister to three stakes winners, two of them winning stakes at age two. She was third to Show Me The Bling in her debut, but came back to win her maiden by seven lengths stopping the clock in 1:03 3/5 for 5 ½ furlongs. She heads to the post for the Pletcher barn, which has 23% victories from the maiden to stakes race angle.
Spa Sunrise (Eddington – Beautiful Sunshine, by Gilded Time) won her debut by 1 ½ lengths, but was getting tired at the end of the state-bred maiden race. Her dam is a half sister to the venerable old warrior Bet on Sunshine. Spa Sunrise is coming back in two weeks, but you can be sure Wesley Ward has this one ready to go. His maidens win 29% of the time.

Don Lunas (Hennessy – Mi Luna Neuva, by El Prado) beat the boys in her debut. Making her five start over the turf, Don Lunas asserted herself by six lengths and stopped the clock in :58 1/5 for five furlongs. The Glenny Barn has only a 7% win rate with stakes horses, but an eye catching 40% rate with horses moving from turf to dirt. Don Lunas’ stakes placed dam is a half sister to two durable old warriors, the distance loving Transduction Gold and Kim Loves Bucky, both Grade 3 winners over turf.

Show Me The Bling (Too Much Bling – Angelic Amanda) was green in her debut, but still battled on the lead to win by ¾ a length. Her freshmen sire was a Grade 2 sprinter on the track. Show Me The Bling has a sprinter’s pedigree and a modest distaff family, but one of her dam’s siblings was a multiple winner at age two. The pretty gray filly shows a very live work pattern, but the Biancone barn wins only 12% with maidens going to stakes races.

Final Mesa (Sky Mesa – Final Style, by Smart Style) is the most experienced filly in the race with three starts under her girth. She’s undefeated, beating her competition by a combined 21 lengths and owns two stakes wins. The accomplished miss is a half sister to the stakes sprinter Uncle Cammie. Her first two dams are unaccomplished, however her third dam is The Bride, a full sister to Secretariat and her fourth dam is the blue henSomethingroyal. Final Mesa goes out for the dangerous Wesley Ward barn.

How the track is playing: Last year, there was a slight bias for early pace setters who won 36% of the sprint races. 33% wired the field. Pace pressers won 33% of the time. There is a 30% chance of rain and the track should be fast.
Everyone of these promising fillies has won on the pace, so it will be interesting to see who grabs the lead and if they can sustain it. Final Mesa will be the overwhelming favorite and there’s no reason to go against her. She’s won at three different tracks, two different surfaces and no one has come close to challenging her. The morning works are the key to knowing which filly will move forward off of their maiden win and which will regress. Ironically, the three daughters of the freshmen sires, Le Mi Geaux, Let's Get Fiscal and Show Me The Bling, come in with bullet works for their last breeze. Stopspendingmaria shows a live work pattern for the Pletcher barn. She draws the one post which can always be a concern with young horses, but she appears to be one if the fastest fillies in the race and can use her speed to get a good position. Don Lunas comes off the turf and her trainer wins a strong 40% races with this maneuver.
Final Mesa
Let's Get Fiscal
Don Lunas - longshot

Sanford Stakes (G-2)

clip_image002[6]Eight colts will face the starter in the Sanford Stakes (G-2) at Saratoga Racecourse on July 25. Named for a prominent racing family of the 1800's, the Sanford Stakes adds to the Saratoga's reputation as the "Graveyard of Favorites." In the 1919 edition, superhorse Man O'War would be handed his only defeat by a measly half length. Sometimes, not even a superhorse can overcome a horrible start. The prestigious Sanford has been won by the filly Regret, the first of two fillies to take the race and the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown heroes Secretariat and Affirmed, Champions Tom Fool, Hail to Reason, Forty Niner and Afleet Alex.
This year’s field includes a duo by leading freshman sire Bluegrass Cat, a few impressive maiden winners, one maiden, one graded stakes winner and a stakes placed runner. A couple of the colts have already negotiated the Sanford Stakes race distance of six furlongs. Let’s take a closer look at the contestants.
The only maiden in the field is Nacho Saint (Yes It’s True – Flashy, by Wild Again) He gave up experience in his debut finishing second to Chipshot, but came back a month later to just miss by a neck. His dam is a half sister to Kings Lyn, dam of Sara Louise and this year’s Debutante Stakes winner Just Louise. He has a bullet three furlong work under his girth and the extra distance should help.
Maybesomaybenot (Sunday Break – Majestic Mommy, by Olympio) comes back in three weeks after winning his six furlong maiden by six lengths. His sire currently stands in France and his dam is a half sister to a stakes winner. Maybesomaybenot breezed a brisk five furlongs for the Sanford. The Maker barn is 19% with the maiden to stakes race angle.
Bail Out The Cat (Tale of the Cat – Golden Gazelle, by Meadowlake) blazed a furlong in :10.1 at the OBS February Selected Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. He's a half brother to JB’s Golden Regret, a juvenile stakes winner. Bail Out The Cat won his debut over a muddy Belmont track after battling and drawing away.

One of two colts in here sired by Bluegrass Cat is Another Silver Oak (Bluegrass Cat – Off the Richter, by Richter Scale). He is the first foal for his stakes placed sprinting dam. She is a half sister to the multiple stakes winning sprinter Nightmare Affair. Damsire Richter Scale was a brilliant sprinter who set a new track record for six furlongs. Despite being rank in his debut, Another Silver Oak battled and drew off two win by 2 ¾ lengths. He owns a series of quick works and adds blinkers for the always dangerous Pletcher barn.
Chipshot (Peace Rules – Chipiski, by Appealing Skier) found trouble in his first two starts but the third time was the charm. He got it done at Monmouth going five furlongs in under 1:00 and beat Nacho Saint in the process. Chipshot’s dam’s a stakes winning sprinter. The chestnut colt worked a bullet five furlongs as a prep for this race.
Lou Brissie (Limehouse – Fearless Wildcat, by Forest Wildcat) won the Kentucky Juvenile (G-3) way back in April but was clearly best of the rest after finishing more than nine lengths behind the sensational Kantharos in the six furlong Bashford Manor (G-3). Lou Brissie’s dam is a half sister to two stakes winners. He comes out of the well-regarded but conservative Howard barn.

clip_image002[10]Blue Right By (Bluegrass Cat – Shades of Grace, by Seeking the Gold) is by leading freshman sire Bluegrass Cat, out of a Seeking the Gold mare. His pedigree suggests he’ll enjoy going long. His dam is a half sister to G-3 winner Fortitude and his third dam is Champion two year old filly Outstandingly. The light bulb came on in Blue Right By’s third attempt, but he must learn to break cleanly from the gate. The Dallas Stewart barn wins 26% races with the maiden to stakes race angle.
Commonwealth Rush (Afleet Alex – Wildcat Annie, by Forest Wildcat) battled the whole way, lost ground and surged forward to win his debut, showing his daddy’s spirit. His dam was a stakes winning two year old sprinter. Commonwealth Rush’s works have been strong and the Ice barn wins 23% stakes races.

How the track is playing: Last year, speed on the lead or pace pressers won over 60% of the sprints. 30% rain is forecast.
On paper, this is a completive race and any one of these developing babies could jump up and run huge. Lou Brissie is clearly the class of the field, has experience at this distance and has a chance to improve in his second race off a layoff. Bail Out The Cat appears to be the speed of the race. His 101 speed figure and :57 4/5 for five furlongs is the fastest five furlong time of this group. He’ll likely play catch me if you can on the lead. Maybesomaybenot also has experience at this distance and could move forward off of his win. Blue Right By should enjoy the distance and he has one of the best pedigrees in the race. Chipshot shows good progression and works. Nacho Saint gets extra distance to work with and should be rolling at the end. It’s hard to tell what Another Silver Oak beat at Delaware, but it’s dangerous to ignore the Pletcher barn.
Bail Out The Cat
Nacho Saint
Another Silver Oak – longshot

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Best bets on the Freshmen Sire List

Del Mar
Del Mar and Saratoga are all set for the pageantry of the summer racing festival. Last year’s yearlings with fancy pedigrees, heart stopping looks and expensive price tags will be unveiled throughout the summer, like anticipated Christmas presents.

Some of the heralded stallions on this year’s gift list look like the “B” list, but only in name. World Champion Bernardini, Bluegrass Cat, Bandini and the scintillating Bellamy Road, who equaled Riva Ridge’s 32 year old track record, are represented by a bevy of babies. Bewildered? This is where the pedigree portion of pedigree handicapping kicks in.

During the early months of juvenile racing, one expects to see chunky two year olds tearing through four and five furlong races like quarter horses with their tails afire. Normally these babies are the progeny of precocious sprint-type sires who rocket to the top of the freshmen sire list in June. By years end, the freshmen sire list looks totally different and a scouting party couldn’t find the early season leaders. It doesn’t appear to be the case this year.

Bluegrass Cat
So far, WinStar Farm is packing a punch to the First Crop Sire’s List with the top “B List” stallion, Bluegrass Cat. Bluegrass Cat is the surprise runaway leading freshman sire in terms of both victories, eight winners from 22 starters, one stakes winner, and earnings ($249,775). For a stallion that was second in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, one would have expected Blue Grass Cat’s offspring to be mid-season juveniles that would need at least six furlongs to win. A closer at his pedigree reveals Bluegrass Cat (Storm Cat - She's a Winner, by A.P. Indy) is by a sire who produces win early babies. His dam was unraced; however two of her full siblings were stakes winners. Bluegrass Cat Humor’s offspring should be multi-talented over a variety of surfaces and distance won’t be an issue.

Continuing the “B List” are two record setters, Bellamy Road and Bandini. Bellamy Road gave a jaw dropping performance in the 2005 Wood Memorial, equaling Riva Ridge’s track record. A

Bellamy Road
Graded stakes winner at age two, Bellamy Road is passing his win early style to his progeny. Most of his offspring are large two-turn types who nonetheless are athletic and mature. They should come out running and improve with time and distance.

Bandini created a love affair with Gulfstream Park, setting a seven furlong track record in a maiden race and later in his career at the same track capturing a record at nine furlongs. Both he and Bellamy Road are off to a compelling stud career. Each stallion boasts three winners from eight runners. However Bellamy Road has the distinction of a stakes winning daughter. The sires’ offspring should be similar in their surface preferences. They will show the best talent over dirt love the mud and handle most synthetic surfaces. Turf may be an option if the individual offspring’s female family is bred for the lawn.

Few horses obtain the Champion of the World honorific, yet that was the title bestowed upon Bernardini after his tour de force three year old campaign. He only raced for one year, making eight starts, but he made every race count. After breaking his maiden, he jumped into stakes competition, won the Preakness and beat older horses in the handicap division. After retirement, Bernardini’s first year date book was the rival of the Mayflower Madam’s, with a role call of prestigious mares. Like Bellamy Road and Bandini, Bernardini has eight starters, but only one winner. His offspring resemble their sire in looks and athletic ability so we’ll be seeing his royally bred babies coronated during the summer and fall. They should appreciate distance, run well over dirt and love getting their hooves dirty in the mud. Some could make their presence known over the “dirt like” Cushion Track and Pro-Ride. His offspring with turf influences in their female families may show ability over Polytrack and of course turf.

Expectations run high for the new sires. Some may surprise, others disappoint. One might step up and become the next big name to transcend generations. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure, we’ll all be entertained by their offspring for years to come.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hollywood Juvenile Championship G3)

Eight juvenile colts are prepared to face the starter in tomorrow’s Hollywood Juvenile Championship (G-3). Run since 1939, the race has been populated by a Triple Crown Champ (Affirmed) Derby winner (Tommy Lee) and Champions Althea, Serena’s Song, and Stevie Wonderboy.

clip_image002This year’s renewal includes Minutesandtouches (Rockport Harbor – Flexible Princess, by Honour and Glory), a son of this year’s Freshman Sire Rockport Harbor. The pretty gray Minutesandtouches closed within two lengths of the winner in his last race traveling five furlongs. He owns a bullet work at Golden Gate and should appreciate the extra furlong and removes the blinkers. His sire was undefeated in four starts at two, winning his debut at 5 ½ furlongs and also the Nashua (G-3) and Remsen (G-2). Minutesandtouches dam won both of her starts at two is stakes placed. This distaff family has produced General Assembly and several other notable winners.

clip_image002[5] J P's Gusto (Successful Appeal – Call her Magic, by Caller I.D.) may go to the post as the favorite. The David Hoffmans trainee dominated the Willard Proctor Memorial by 4 ½ lengths over the Cushion Track after successfully stalking the pace. The final time of 1:02.97 was a stakes record since the race was lengthened to 5 ½ furlongs in 2006. He’s a full brother to juvenile stakes placed Magic Appeal and a half brother to stakes placed Kid Majic. Additionally his dam is a stakes winner over dirt and turf and is a half sister to the dam of Champion Proud Spell. J P's Gusto has been working well since his last race and appears to be ready to put forth his best effort.
Edgewick Road (Swiss Yodeler – La Fresa, by Cozzene) was third behind J P's Gusto in the Willard Proctor Memorial. His dam was stakes placed at two and his full brother was in the money in both tries at two. Edgewick Road has steady works and with three starts under is girth is one of the more experienced colts in the field.
The other colt with three starts is River's Chapel (Chapel Royal – Summer Band, by Dixieland Band). After winning his maiden at Hollywood Park, he journeyed to Gold Gate two weeks later and ran third in the Lost In the Fog Stakes after pressing the leader. By last year’s leading Freshman Sire, River's Chapel shows two slow works since that race. His immediate distaff family is durable but modest. His second dam is a half sister to multiple graded stakes warrior Life’s Hope.
Leon Ayala (Crown the King – Kir Ti, by Romanov) has a pedigree that indicates he’d be happier on the turf. His obscure sire (Gilded Time – Granse Oaks, by Nureyev) raced nine times without a win, while his damsire (by Nureyev) was a Grade 2 winner at 1 ½ miles. His distaff family is very modest. Leon Ayala adds blinkers and the Garcia barn gets 22% winners with first time blinkers.
Tapin Tough (Tapit – Rachel’s Edition, by Ascot Knight) was a very distant fifth behind J P's Gusto after beating state-bred maidens by a bare head. His sire is fifth on the Third-Crop sire list. Tapin Tough’s dam was stakes placed in Canada as a juvenile. Tapin Tough worked a slow six furlongs for this race.
Marvin's Magic and Western Mood enter the Hollywood Juvenile Championship after winning their debuts in dissimilar fashion. Marvin's Magic (Aptitude – Marva Jean, by West By West) jumped to the lead from the one post and never looked back, winning a 4 ½ race in the mud at Emerald Downs. His dam was a multiple stakes winner over that track and graded stakes winner Mi Selecto was produced from this family. Marvin's Magic worked a sharp three furlongs for this race, but he’s taking a big step up in class. Western Mood (West Acre – True Mood, by Deputy Minister) was off slow, but roared through the lane to win his five furlong debut by 1 ¾ lengths. His sire, an unraced son of Forty Niner out of a Claiborne Farm bred mare is a ¾ brother to Grade 1 winner Preach (dam of major sire Pulpit) and Yarn, dam of British Two year old Champ, Minardi, and granddam of dual Two Year Old Champ Johannesburg. Western Mood shows two excellent works, including a last breeze bullet for the Hollendorfer barn, which has an impressive 27% win rate with last out maiden winners going into stakes races.

Race Analysis and Selections:
29% of the pace leaders have gone wire-to-wire in races at this distance for the meet. 75% have won while on or pressing the lead while late pace and stalkers grab 31%.
J P's Gusto is the only stakes winner in the race and showed improvement in his second start, add the six furlong bullet work two breezes back and you’re looking at a live horse. He’ll likely sit off the pace setters Marvin's Magic, River's Chapel and Leon Ayala. Minutesandtouches should enjoy getting extra real estate and his quick four furlong breeze shows he’ll be sharp. Western Mood also owns a quick four furlong move and an impressive late speed figure number. It’s tough to say if he’ll regress off of that strong debut race, but his strong works show promise. Late running Edgewick Road may also appreciate the added distance and may be rolling late from the back of the pack.
J P's Gusto
Western Mood
Edgewick Road - Longshot

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bashford Manor Stakes

Saturday, six promising youngsters are set to do battle in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) over the Churchill Down’s main track. The six furlong contest has been held for over 100 years, and the majority of the winners have gone on to sprint careers. However, the 1923 winner Black Gold won the Kentucky Derby and 1989’s Bashford Manor winner Summer Squall would take the Preakness Stakes the following year. More recent editions of the Bashford Manor Stakes have been won by Champion Two Year Old, Boston Harbor and Sprint Champ, Kodiak Cowboy.
Fast forwarding to this year, two precocious babies share the award for having run the most races, three apiece. Gold for Cash (Eurosilver – Carib Girl, by Awesome Again) took three tries to win his maiden, losing to Speed Demon and Kantharos in the process. His second crop sire won two of three races as a juvenile including the Lane’s End Breeder’s Futurity. Gold for Cash’s dam is a half sister to three stakes winners. The Demeritte barn has a 22% win rate with the maiden to stakes race angle.
clip_image002[6]The other colt with three races under his girth is the appropriately named Speed Demon (Bluegrass Cat – Celestial Legend, by City Zip). He won his maiden in his second race, beating Gold for Cash in the process. By this year’s Freshman sire sensation Bluegrass Cat, Speed Demon is out of Celestial Legend, who won all four of her starts as a juvenile, including two stakes races. For added class, Speed Demon has inbreeding to Numbered Account, Champion Two Year Old Filly and blue hen (superior female). In his last attempt, Speed Demon bobbled at the start of the Parfour Stakes, but still got up for second place. He adds blinkers and the Calhoun barn gets 23% winners with the equipment.
It’s hard to believe that graded stakes winning juveniles are among us, but it’s true. Lou Brissie (Limehouse – Fearless Wildcat, by Forest Wildcat) won the Kentucky Juvenile (G-3) way back in April. The impressive son of second crop sire Limehouse hasn’t missed a step while breezing in the mornings and enters here after a series of good works. His dam is a half sister to two stakes winners. He comes out of the well-regarded but conservative Howard barn that win 21% of back to back races.

clip_image002[8]The field’s most expensive baby is Kantharos, who worked the second fastest time of the OBS March sale and brought $250,000. He promptly rewarded his connections with an 11 ¾ win, drubbing Gold for Cash. Kantharos (Lion Heart – Contessa Halo, by Southern Halo) is a half brother to Ikigai, a stakes winner. The immediate distaff family is modest, however can claim juvenile Grade 1 winner First Samurai as a member. After his debut, Kantharos has continued to work well and represents the team of Rachel Alexandra.
Thewayitusedtobe (Sunday Break – Bold Honoree, by Double Honor) tries dirt for the first time after winning his debut for state-breds over the Arlington Polytrack. His sire currently stands in France and his dam won one of two starts as a juvenile. She’s a half sister to Bold World who won a stakes race at two and who is the dam of multiple stakes winner Bold Union, also a stakes winner at two. This is a low percentage barn, but in their favor, they draw an outside post, which have been producing a high number of winners this meet.

What do you do when you’re still a maiden but entered in a graded stakes race? You attract a high percentage jockey. Saturday Dance (Roman Ruler – Sweetstorm Amy, by Lemon Drop Kid) gets the services of Victor Lebron who has a 20% win rate in sprint races, more than any jockey in the field. Saturday Dance’s sire Roman Ruler is known for getting win-early babies, but this dark brown colt may take after his damsire Lemon Drop Kid, whose offspring prefer some distance and time to mature. Saturday Dance’s dam is a half sister to Sungold Skippy, whose only win at two came in a stakes race. Saturday Dance closed with a rush to capture second place after gong four wide on the turn in a 5 ½ furlong race. The extra real estate should help.

Race Analysis and Selections:
Pace setters and pressers are winning the majority of the stakes races at this meet and the forecast is for a clear, sunny day and a fast track. Kantharos, Thewayitusedtobe, and Gold for Cash may vie for the lead. Kantharos appears to be the fastest of the three and has already put Gold for Cash in his place. To his credit, Gold for Cash showed improvement in his last start and owns the best last out breeze. Thewayitusedtobe is shipping, trying a new distance and taking on a stronger group of horses, he may surprise, but it is more likely he’ll regress. Lou Brissie sat behind strong fractions (:21.4, :45) in both of his races before passing the exhausted speed. As the lone graded stakes winner, he deserves consideration. Speed Demon should be rolling and the blinkers could help, but his late pace figures haven’t shown any improvement. He probably should be included in your tickets due to the high profile barn, but others in here appear faster at this stage of the game. Saturday Dance has run farther than the rest of these and has a pedigree to really appreciate the distance. He could be overlooked in the betting and is worth a shot at good odds.
Gold for Cash
Lou Brissie
Saturday Dance