Friday, November 26, 2010

Remsen Stakes (G-2) Pedigree Profiles and Handicapping Selections

The historical Remsen Stakes (G-2) has been run consecutively since 1918 and several winners competed successfully in the Spring Classics. In the last twenty years, two Kentucky Derby heroes completed the Remsen/Derby double and Pine Bluff notched a Remsen/Preakness double. 2005 Remsen victor Bluegrass Cat was second in the Derby and 2002 Remsen third place finisher Empire Maker won the Belmont. Get more Juvenile Stakes race selections on Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds website.
To Honor And Serve: Photo - Coglianese
This year, two highly regarded sons of the fantastic freshman sire Bernardini are scheduled to take on five other colts in the Remsen Stakes. The likely favorite To Honor and Serve (Bernardini – Pilfer, by Deputy Minister) has demolished his competition by over 12 lengths in his last two races, including the Grade 2 Nashua. To Honor and Serve has a pedigree that bodes well for next year’s Classics. Read more about him in our November 10 blog posting.
Buffum (inside) Photo: Coglianese
The other well-regarded colt who may go to the post as the second choice in the betting is Buffum (Bernardini – Storm Beauty, by Storm Cat). The Tom Albertrani trainee sat off of a swift :45 2/5 half mile and took the lead at the top of the stretch. He raced greenly in mid-stretch, ducking out from a left handed whip, but held off the second place finisher by a nose. Buffum is a half brother to multiple stakes winner Stormy West and brought to you by the family of Champion Sprinter Gold Beauty (dam of Dajur and Maplejinsky and grand-dam to Champion Older Mare Sky Beauty), Multiple Grade 1 winners Pine Island, Pleasant Home, and Tale of Ekati. Buffum‘s second, fourth and fifth dams are blue hens. Buffum had a strong five furlong breeze for this race.
Two horses that contested the Nashua Stakes will aim for better results in the Remsen. Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno – Ponche De Leona, by Ponche) offered no challenge to Honor And Serve in the Nashua, but his speed figures have been improving. He probably won’t want to go farther than 1 1/16 miles. His sire has a few winners at 1 1/8 miles, but produces mostly miler types. Mucho Macho Man’s dam and damsire are stakes winning sprinters.
Economic Summit - Photo: Coglianese
Economic Summit (Malibu Moon – Summit Lite, by Mt. Livermore) was a distant fifth in the Nashua after winning his maiden by a length. He has a stamina over speed pedigree and may find the distance a half-furlong too far. His dam is a half sister to Grade 3 turf winner Strategic Partner. Second dam Very Special Lite set a new course record for a mile in 1:33.60 at Keeneland. The graded stakes winning miler Two Step Salsa was produced by this distaff family.
Bandbox - Photo: Coglianese
Many eyes will be on Bandbox (Tapit – Empty The Bases, by Grand Slam). The pretty gray colt is undefeated and has won his three races by over ten lengths, including the Sleepy Hollow Stakes for state-breds. Bandbox will be stretching from a sprint to 1 1/8 miles, which could be within his range, but he probably won’t want to go much farther. Tapit has some Grade 2 winning colts, but his most talented offspring are fillies and he has only three stakes winners at 1 1/8 miles. Bandbox has no blacktype in the first two generations, but his third dam won a couple of stake races. Many of his dam’s half siblings made 10 or more starts.
The well-bred Mountain Town (Cape Town – Mountain Bird, by Mt. Livermore) was a distant second in the Champange Stakes (G-1) to eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo. Mountain Town is a product of the Whitney family breeding program. His dam is a graded stakes placed half sister to Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone and Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town his second dam Dear Birdie was the 2004 Broodmare of the Year. Mountain Town has worked well but his pedigree indicates that he’ll be better at shorter distances.
Pants On Fire (Jump Start – Cabo De Noche, by Cape Town) took three tries to win his maiden, but got the job done against softer company over a sloppy track at Delaware. The Kelly Breen trainee has a stamina over speed pedigree. His sire Jump Start, a well bred son of A.P. Indy, produced Grade 2 winners Rail Trip and Sir Whimsey. His offspring are generally best at a mile and farther. Cape Town generally gets sprinters, but his speed is tempered by the stamina influence of third damsire Bates Motel. Pants On Fire’s dam is a half sister to stakes winning sprinters Hatfield and Key Hunter. Pants On Fire’s speed figures have improved with every start.
How the track is playing: So far, only two races have been held at the 1 1/8 mile distance at Aqueduct this meet. Both were won by pace setter/pressers on the rail, typical for this track.
To Honor And Serve has already bested two entrants and is the only graded stakes winner in the field. Mucho Man and Pants On Fire may try to press the pace while the rest sit in varying positions behind Bandbox may post the strongest threat to the top horse. Bandbox has stakes experience and his off the pace running style could help. His pedigree is borderline for this distance. Buffum will get plenty of attention off of his maiden win. His pedigree suggests that this distance might not be within his scope and he may be overbet. Mountain Town was no match for the best two year old colt in the nation, but meets a softer group here. He could also find the distance too far, but his stalking running style can help. Mucho Macho Man’s speed figures have improved with every race and he can move forward in his second start off of a brief layoff.
To Honor And Serve
Mucho Macho Man - longshot

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Weekend Update 11-20-10

Hollywood Premier

Premier Pegasus (Fusaichi Pegasus – Squall Linda, by Summer Squall) remained un-defeated in the Hollywood Prevue and will be the likely favorite for next month’s Cash Call Futurity. The half brother to Norfolk Stakes (G-1) victor Street Hero wired the field by 1 ½ lengths, getting the seven furlongs in 1:22.78.

By Street Cry, Street Hero was injured and retired after his two year old season and never had a chance to prove himself at longer distances. Premier Pegasus has a more speed-oriented pedigree than his older half-brother. At stud, his sire Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus gets stakes winners up to 1 1/8 miles, however he does have six turf stakes winners at 1 ¼ miles.

Premier Pegasus receives stamina from his first three damsires, yet his dam Squall Linda was a stakes placed sprinter who won or placed in 11 of 17 starts. She is a half sister to the stakes warrior Kohen With a K, who won 10 of 59 starts as a turf sprinter. Squall Linda has inbreeding to Lavendula, who is Squall Linda’s fourth dam. Lavendula was a precocious sprinter and won three of nine starts at age two. Lavendula produced Source Sucree, Squall Linda’s third dam and a stakes winner at 11 furlongs. Source Sucree is a half sister to the stallion Ambiorix who won from a mile to 1 ½ miles. Ambiorix was bred to Source Sucree’s daughter Giff-Gaff, a ¾ sister to the brilliant chef – de – race Turn To. An interesting note - Turn- To the grandsire of Halo. Halo is the second damsire of Fusaichi Pegasus.

Summer Squall
Premier Pegasus damsire Summer Squall is an excellent broodmare sire and works well with the Mr. Prospector sire line. There are six graded stakes winners based upon the Mr. Prospector/Summer Squall bloodline cross. Of those, only Seeking The Best, a turf miler in Japan has Mr. Prospector in her second generation, similar to Premier Pegasus.

Premier Pegasus’ second damsire The Axe II raced for five years, winning 15 of 38 starts. He won from six to 13 furlongs on the turf and retired sound. Going back another generation, Premier Pegasus’ third damsire Ambiorix raced in France and won stakes races from a mile to 1 ½ miles.

Despite the stamina farther back in his pedigree, one must also take into account Premier Pegasus’ pace setting running style. He will likely be at his best up to 1 1/6 miles, but could carry his speed 1 1/8 miles if unpressured on the lead, especially if traveling over the lawn. Premier Pegasus should be able to get the distance of the 1 1/16 Cash Call Futurity, but a protracted speed duel could be his undoing.


Gourmet Dinner- Photo: Coady
Gourmet Dinner - Photo: Coady
Since its inception, the victors of the Delta Jackpot have been sprinter/milers. This year isn’t an exception. Gourmet Dinner (Trippi - Potluck Dinner, Pentelicus) invaded from Florida and the In Reality Stakes runner-up was virtually ignored in the betting, going to the gate at 20-1. The bay colt tried blinkers for the first time and relaxed off of the pace. He rewarded his connections with a strong sustained move down the stretch getting 1 1/6 miles in 1:45.23.

Gourmet Dinner has speed top and bottom in his pedigree. His sire and damsire are both descended from Mr. Prospector, who in this case, is a brilliant speed influence. Additionally, inbreeding to In Reality also lends speed to Gourmet Dinner.

Trippi - Photo: Coglianese
Gourmet Dinner’s sire Trippi was a seven furlong specialist, Vosburgh (G-1) over More Than Ready, but he also outclassed his rivals in the 1 1/8 mile Flamingo Stakes. At stud, Trippi transfer speed to his offspring. He has nine stakes winners at a mile and three winners at 1 1/8 miles.

Gourmet Dinner’s damsire Pentelicus was a multiple listed stakes winner at six furlongs. His daughters produce mostly sprinter/milers, however Pentelicus is the damsire of the graded stakes warrior Awesome Gem and Mecke Daughter, a Grade 1 stakes winner in Puerto Rico. Both have won at 1 ¼ miles.
Trippi has 13 offspring out of Pentelicus mares with nine starters and six winners. Gourmet Dinner is the only stakes winner to date.

Gourmet Dinner’s dam Potluck Dinner was unplaced in her only start, but has shined in the breeding shed. All six of her foals to race are winners and are durable runners. Her first foal, I’mroyalymecke’d raced 55 times and was stakes placed. She also produced stakes winner Gaston A She’s a half sister to the sprint stakes winners Lady Gin, Sea Of Green, and her half sister Almost Aprom Queen is the dam of 2010 Oak Leaf Stakes (G-1) winner Rigoletta.

Gourmet Dinner’s mid-pack running style should enable him to get two turns, although 1 1/8 miles might be out of his scope against top stakes runners. According to his trainer Steven Standridge, Gourmet Dinner will point to the one mile Holy Bull Stakes in January at Gulfstream Park.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The New Derby Rules – Does Uncle Mo Fit The Profile?

Over the last twenty years, colts that have been victorious in the Kentucky Derby have followed a fairly specific training pattern. The majority of the Derby winners from 1990 – 2010 made their initial start between June and October and won their maiden between August and November. Only two horses, Fusaichi Pegasus and Monarchos, didn’t win their maiden race until the following January. All except six contenders in twenty years have run in a stakes race as a two year old. Over the last eight years, all except three Derby heroes had a high cruising speed and sat in the first flight of horses. Of those, four had pedigrees considered borderline to get 1 ¼ miles.

Street Sense
Until 2007, the Derby champs started their three year old season in January or February and participated in three or four prep races before the big dance. Things changed in 2007 when Street Sense didn’t start his year until March and had only two prep races. Street Sense had a good two year old foundation. He had five starts and an Eclipse Award under his girth and he could rely on the purse earned from the lion’s share of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

The following year, Big Brown only made one start as a juvenile and didn’t start his journey on the Derby trail until March. Like Street Sense, Big Brown had only two prep races before the Kentucky Derby. Following in the hoof prints of Street Sense, Mine that Bird and Super Saver participated in two races before entering the Derby starting gate. Mine That Bird had his first start in February; Super Saver didn’t make his season debut until March. Of the three, only Big Brown earned his way into the Kentucky Derby off of his three year old earnings. His connections took a gamble and it paid off. A lesser horse would have been excluded from the starting gate.

There’s no question that Uncle Mo is currently the most talented colt of his generation. Besides locking up the Juvenile Championship with his decisive win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Uncle Mo gave an impressive display of speed and determination in the Champagne Stakes. Even though he didn’t beat a very accomplished field, Uncle Mo did it in style. His final time of 1:34.51 was a fifth off of the stakes record, and he tied Seattle Slew for the second fastest running of the Champagne. Unlike Seattle Slew, Uncle Mo fought with rivals every step of the way and showed an extra gear pulling away from an exhausted field.

Let’s take a closer look at this precocious colt’s pedigree.

Indian Charlie - Photo: Tony Leonard
His sire Indian Charlie won the Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles, but in the 1988 Kentucky Derby, weakened in the final furlong and finished third behind his stable-mate Real Quiet. Indian Charlie raced only five times and was retired after the Kentucky Derby due to injury.
 Unfortunately, In Excess, Indian Charlie’s sire, is prone to getting swift but often fragile sprinter/miler types and Indian Charlie is passing these genes along to his progeny. Six of Indian Charlie’s stakes wining progeny have won at 1 1/8 miles, but only Indian Charlie’s daughter Fleet Indian has been successful at 1 ¼ miles. Victorious in the Personal Ensign (G-1) and Delaware Handicap (G-2), Fleet Indian proved that her achievements at the top level of racing was no fluke.

Playa Maya
Uncle Mo’s stakes placed dam Play Maya was in the money in all six starts with earnings of $81,521. The versatile mare won over dirt, turf and placed over off going. She was the only foal produced by the Dixieland Band mare Dixie Slippers. Dixie Slippers achieved three career wins as a sprinter. She’s a half sister to Federico Tesio Stakes (G-3) winner Woods of Windsor and two stakes placed sprinters.

Arch, Uncle Moe’s damsire, won the 1 1/8 mile Fayette Stakes in 1:53.87 setting a new track record at Keeneland. He also took the 1 ¼ mile Super Derby and earned $480,969 in seven starts. At stud, the son of Kris S. is passing along his stamina. His best progeny are Horse of the Year contender Blame, Canadian Female Turf Champion Arravale, English Champion Les Arcs, South African Champion Sprinter Overreaching and multiple Grade 1 winner Pine Island. Both Blame and Pine Island are successful at 1 ¼ miles.

Arch - Photo: Claiborne Farm
Arch is a relatively new broodmare sire. His 70 producing daughters have produced 32 foals with 21 starters and eight stakes winners. Most are miler-types, but Arch’s grandson Blue Exit won the Prix Matchem (Fr. Listed) at 2000 meters (about 1 ¼ miles) over turf. Arch’s pedigree and record at stud indicate that his daughters could pass along stamina influences but it is too soon to make a definitive factual statement that Arch will be a stamina-oriented damsire.

Uncle Moe’s second damsire Dixieland Band was the damsire of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and five other racers that were successful at 1 ¼ miles. Dixieland Band’s daughters passed along versatility to their offspring with the sire of the progeny often determining how far they would run.

Uncle Mo
Uncle Mo has shown that he is fast, precocious and has the will to win, but his pedigree appears borderline for getting the Kentucky Derby distance. Only time will tell if his talent can deepen with maturity and if he can stay abreast of rapidly developing late bloomers who should relish 1 ¼ miles and beyond. According to trainer Todd Pletcher, Uncle Mo will enjoy some down time in Ocala, Florida before joining the racing stable at Palm Meadows, Florida. Uncle Mo is slated to have two prep races before the Derby.

High cruising speed, borderline pedigree, two starts before the big dance. Uncle Mo fits the profile of a modern Kentucky Derby winner and could become the second horse to take Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Kentucky Derby stakes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In the Hoofprints of a Kentucky Derby Contender

Payson Park Training Center
Like snowbirds, promising two year old race horses head south in the fall, usually after the Breeders’ Cup. Many wind up at Palm Meadows Training Center in Delray Beach, Florida or farther north at Payson Park in Indiantown.

Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds will follow the up-and-coming colt To Honor and Serve throughout the winter and spring to give horse fans an idea of the intense preparation needed to get a horse through the Triple Crown prep races. Since To Honor and Serve is still in New York, we’ll review his bloodlines and determine if his pedigree indicates if he can go 1 ¼ miles and longer.

To Honor and Serve as a yearling
To Honor and Serve began his life on March 18, 2008 and was bred by Twin Creeks Farm, Larry Byer and Rancho San Miguel in Kentucky’s bluegrass region. The good-looking colt fetched $250,000 as a 2008 Keeneland November weanling and commanded $575,000 from Live Oak Plantation as a Keeneland September Yearling.

Sent to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, To Honor and Serve began his career on August 4 in a seven furlong dirt maiden race at Saratoga. He found the distance a little too shot, but managed a sharp second place finish to the well regarded Astrology, who would later capture the Iroquois Stakes (G-3) at Churchill. Stretching out to 1 1/16 miles on October 2, To Honor and Serve made short work of a large field of maidens.

To Honor and Serve Maiden Win October 2, 2010

A month later while all eyes were watching Uncle Mo defeat a nice group of colts in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs, To Honor and Serve was quietly crushing an average field of two year olds in the Nashua Stakes (G-2) at Aqueduct. In the Nashua, To Honor and Serve went to the lead and never looked back. He ran a mile in 1.35.86, getting the last quarter in 23.76, while under a mild hand ride.

 Bill Mott, the bay colt’s trainer, elected to keep To Honor and Serve out of the Breeders’ Cup because of the colt’s light racing experience.
Nashua Stakes (G-2)

To Honor and Serve has a pedigree that bodes well for next year’s Classics. He is by freshman sire Bernardini out of the Deputy Minister mare Pilfer. Bernardini, a son of A.P. Indy, raced for only one year and made it count. He had the speed to win the Withers’ Stakes at a mile, the Preakness Stakes at 1 3/16 miles and proved himself to be the top three year old with victories in the Jim Dandy at 1 1/8 miles and Travers Stakes at 1 ¼ miles. In the fall, Bernardini defeated his elders in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but his racing schedule caught up to him in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he finished second to Invasor. 

 At stud, Bernardini is passing his class and talent on to his offspring. Besides To Honor and Serve, the first crop sire’s progeny includes Group 1 winner Biondetti, Grade 1 winner AZ Warrior and graded/group stakes placed Theyskens’ Theory and Stay Thirsty.

Deputy Minster, Honor and Serve’s dam sire, won multiple graded stakes from five furlongs to 1 1/8 miles and was second in the Meadowlands Handicap (G-1) at 1 ¼ miles. In 1981, he earned acclaim as Horse of the Year and Champion Two Year Old Male in Canada, and Champion Two Year old Male in the USA.

Deputy Minister - Photo: Tony Leonard
Deputy Minster failed to win past 1 1/8 miles, but many of his offspring didn’t have distance limitations. He produced Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again, Kentucky Oaks heroine Keeper Hill, Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold and Travers Stakes winner Deputy Commander. The remarkable fillies Go For Wand Open Mind and precocious colt Dehere captured Eclipse Awards as Juveniles.

Deputy Minster was a very good sire, toping the leader board in 1997-1998, but he really distinguished himself as a broodmare sire and captured leading broodmare sire honors in 2007. The daughters of Deputy Minster have produced 82 stakes winners, including Belmont Stakes winners Rages to Riches, Jazil and Savara, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Halfbridled, Horse of the Year Curlin, turf star and top sire Redattore.

To Honor and Serve ‘s dam Pilfer won the 1 1/16 mile Go For Wand Stakes and placed in the Instant Racing Breeders' Cup Stakes at a mile. She raced three years with an overall record of 11-3-2-0 and earnings of $126,360. Pilfer made two starts as a juvenile, wining and placing respectively. She won one sprint, and two routes including a win over an off track. Pilfer is a half sister to the swift multiple stakes winning sprinter India. To Honor and Serve’s second dam was a stakes winner and finished second in the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes.

To Honor and Serve’s distaff family 4-r is one of the most prolific in the breed. His fourth dam Java Moon is a blue hen (superior female) and her daughters have produced Memories of Silver and her daughter, recent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf placed runner Winter Memories. Other branches of this family have given us Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, international sires Dynaformer and Runaway Groom, and the great Zenyatta.

To Honor and Serve - Photo: Coglianese
To Honor and Serve is being pointed to the Remsen Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on November 27. Afterward, he will likely join trainer Bill Mott’s stable at Payson Park for the winter. On paper, To Honor and Serve has a shot to become a legitimate Triple Crown contender and so far has proven to have the talent to be competitive in next year’s prep races. Starting in December, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds will follow To Honor and Serve’s progress at Payson Park with videos and weekly reports throughout the winter. Until then, we will post weekly reviews of other promising juveniles that may wind up on the Triple Crown Trail.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Breeders’ Cup Picks for Friday, November 5, 2010

The Breeders’ Cup has produced some spectacular displays throughout the last 26 years, many of them created at Churchill Downs. This year should prove to be no different. We all know the big names set to defend their titles, but there are a few races where the long-shots can upset the applecart or mess up the exotics. After long hours of research, studying the past performances until the numbers blurred together and banging my head against the keyboard for clarification, I’ve come up with a list of my picks. Of course, a morning line underdog, or horse in this case, could drop to 4-1 by post time.


Prince Will I Am – Getting good right now and is 3-1-1 over the surface.

Awesome Gem – How can’t you like him. He just keeps grinding away.

Alcomo - Very competitive lately, can sit off the pace and make the first move.

Precision Break – Bred to like the dirt, can’t discount the Euros.

Longshot - Gabriel’s Hill – appears to be lone speed. Leparoux is crafty enough to slow them down and steal the race.


Winter Memories – the deserving favorite, impossible to overlook the pretty gray/roan filly.

Tale Untold – lost two heartbreakers at 7 furlongs, a mile should be just right for her.

Fancy Point – Very well-bred filly will take them as far as she can. Cutting back in distance could make her

dangerous on the front. Plus she and Winter Memories won in identical times over firm turf.

Kathmanblu – Speed figures have improved in every race and she gets a strong jock in Leparoux.

Longshot - Flood Plain – lightly raced and a tough post, but attracts one of the hottest jocks in Europe.


Evening Jewel – In the money in all but one start. Have to love her price and she almost won the KY Oaks.

Rightly So – In the money in all of her starts. Her front-running style has to overcome a tough outside post.

Switch – Beaten only ½ length by Zenyatta, her speed figures are improving and has the pedigree to like the


Moonturn Misy – She’s fast and improving…and 30-1.


AZ Warrior – Has the breeding to love two turns and has given indications that she can sit off of the pace.

Awesome Feather – Can’t argue with undefeated. She can also sit off of the pace.

R Heat Lightning – Grade 1 winner is bred for dirt. She regressed a little last time out, but can rebound here.

Theyskens’ Theory – Stevie Wonderboy’s little half sis should love the dirt and distance.

Longshot – Harlan’s Ruby - She’s been working very well, one of the few who made up ground over conveyer

belt surfaces at Saratoga and Keeneland.


Midday – Hard to see beyond the favorite.

Harmonious – There’s something about John Shirreffs and fillies.

Red Desire – Strong effort last time out should set her up here.

Longshot - Keertana – Her daddy dead-heated in the BC Turf. This filly likes the CD lawn and has been in the money 18 of 20 lifetime starts.


Blind Luck – She just keeps going and going and…

Unrivaled Belle – Pretty gray filly has been out of the money only once in her career.

Havre De Grace – She’ll get first jump on Blind Luck and can be right there, but drew a poor post position for

her running style.

Life At Ten – Might get into a duel with Malibu Prayer, which will soften her up.

Longshot - Acoma – Two for two over the track and can close into a hot pace. Her best lat pace speed figures

have come over the Churchill surface.