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