Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Showing just how wide open the Derby picture is at this point, the Louisiana Derby drew a full field of twelve contenders. Mucho Macho Man and Wilkenson, the conquerors of the Risen Star (G-2) and Southwest Stakes square off and runners-up from both races come back for more. The usual assortment of allowance winners and fresh of the win maidens rounds out the rest of the field.
Mucho Macho Man Photo Hodges The authoritative winner of the Risen Star Stakes in his second off of a layoff, MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno – Ponche De Leona, by Ponche) is the morning line favorite. He may find 1 1/8 miles at the top of his distance range. 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. Mucho Macho Man will try to take them all the way on the lead and the Ritvo barn has a strong 20% with graded stakes winners. Wilkinson inside photo hodges
Facing off against Mucho Macho Man is WILKINSON (Lemon Drop Kid – Tasha’s Delight, by Afternoon Deelites). He has a stamina over speed  pedigree and this distance should be within his scope. Wilkinson’s dam is a stakes placed half sister to Grade 2 winner Miss Pickums. Wilkinson came up the rail to grab the LeComte Stakes by a determined head over Pants On Fire, getting a heady ride from Garret Gomez who returns to the saddle for the Louisiana Derby.
Pants On Fire  photo Hoofprints The stronger half of the Breen entry, PANTS ON FIREclip_image001 (Jump Start – Cabo De Noche, by Cape Town) 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 Pants On Fire’s second damsire Bates Motel. Pants On Fire’s dam is a half sister to stakes winning sprinters Hatfield and Key Hunter. After leading by all but one step of the way in the Southwest Stakes, Pants On Fire showed nothing in the Risen Star Stakes. He’s had only one work in the last month, but it was a strong four furlong effort. He gets a jockey change to Anna Napravnik as his regular rider Joe Bravo sticks with the lightly raNacho Business Photo Coglianeseced Nacho Business.
NACHO BUSINESS (Rahy – Palaestra, by Atticus) has a stamina-oriented pedigree. His sire won up to a mile, but he receives stamina influences  from his sire Blushing Groom and damsire Halo. Nacho Business’ stakes placed dam is a half sister to the Personal Ensign (G-1) heroine, Pompeii. Nacho Business takes on stakes company after finishing second by ½ a length to the well regarded Arch Traveler. He’s been breezing well, but the Breen barn has only 5% graded stakes winners this year.
Elite Alex Photo Hoofprints Popping up in the Louisiana Derby after scratching out of the Rebel Stakes, ELITE ALEX (Afleet Alex – Catch The Moment, by Unbridled) is by a Champion Classic winner out of a mare by a Champion Classic winner, you can't get much better than that.   His immediate distaff family has little blacktype, but the third dam was stakes placed and her daughters produced some nice winners, included recent Santa Ynez winner California Nectar. Elite Alex had excuses in his last two contests, but still finished in the money. The added distance should be to his liking and he should receive a good stalking trip under Calvin Borel. Machen Photo Hodges
Wilkinson's stablemate, the well regarded MACHEN  (Distorted Humor – Ready’s Gal, by More Than Ready) was a disappointing fourth in his first   graded stakes try. Distance shouldn’t be a problem for this well-bred colt. His sire is becoming the now horse, with progeny winning left and right, while Machen’s dam is a multiple graded stakes winner who was at her best between 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 miles. Machen has been keeping pace with older horses in the mornings and his works are strong.
After a steady diet of Polytrack and yielding turf, MAVERICKING (Empire Maker – Ioya Two, by Lord At War) finally gets to try two turns over the dirt. He has similar breeding to Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof The Nile and Personal Ensign (G-1) heroine Icon Project, as all three are by Empire Maker out of Lord At War mares. Mavericking is a half brother to the multiple stakes winner Amazing Results. Their dam won the Modesty Handicap at 1 3/16 miles during her 32 race career and she’s a half sister to Illinois Horse Of The Year Mystery Giver, who made a career of winning the Fairgrounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap three years straight. Mavericking has been firing off works like a machine gun, but the Pessin barn is 0 for 5 with graded stakes.
Populist Politics Photo Hodges POPULIST POLITICS (Don’t Get Mad – Cedar Summer, by Souvenir Copy) takes on open company after dropping a head decision in a state-bred stakes race at 1 1/6 miles over the turf. He has a modest but hard running distaff family. Populist Politics takes after his dam. She placed in two listed stakes, but is the only blacktype in two generations. The Amoss barn is 30% with horses switching from turf to dirt. Populist Politics is also entered in the Crescent City Derby, and would be better suited to that venue.Let Photo Lou Hodges Jr
The field’s lightly raced but highly regarded entry is the Claiborne Farm bred LEFT (arch – Leave, by Pulpit). He has a stamina oriented pedigree.  Left’s distaff family is filled with stakes quality runners. His dam was unplaced in her only start and is a full sister to the precocious Laity, winner of the Cradle and John Battaglia Memorial. Her half sister Trip is a multiple G-3 winner and produced another Cradle winner in Passport. Another stakes winning half sister, Joke, produced the multiple Grade 1 hero Zensational. Left is undefeated in two starts and gets an ambitious class test in the Louisiana Derby.
Nehro Photo Candice Chavez Two Asmussen trainees get tossed into the deep end here. NEHRO (Mineshaft – The Administrator, by Afleet) receives stamina from both his sire and distaff family. His hardy dam raced 26 times, with four wins, including a listed stakes and placing 11 times. Nehro is a half brother to Discovery Handicap (G-3) hero Saint Marden, plus his half sister Sweet Lips won the Sunshine Millions Distaff. Nehro has strong stamina attributes in his distaff family from second damsire, the long-winded Cyane and Damascus is his third damsire. Typical for his slow maturing pedigree, Nehro won his maiden in his third attempt. Le Mans Photo Crystal Jones
His stable-mate LE MANS (War Front – Call Your Beau, by Caller ID) has a miler pedigree. He’s by the new sire sensation War Front, who has  two Kentucky Derby contenders in his first crop. Le Man’s damsire was a sprinter, but his second damsire Cougar II was a long-winded router. Le Mans’ dam won three of 25 starts and placed seven times. She’s a half sister to the Canadian Champion Turf Horse Hasten To Add and the Grade 1 heroine See How She Runs. Le Mans has been whipped by 16 lengths in two maiden races.
Majestic Harbor Photo Hodges After two so-so attempts last fall, MAJESTIC HARBOR (Rockport Harbor – Champagne Royale, by French Deputy) took some time off to mature and rewarded his connections with a 6 ¼ length win in his first start of the year. Majestic Harbor has a middle distance pedigree. His second-crop sire’s progeny win stakes races up to 1 1/16 miles, although many have yet to try longer distances. His damsire French Deputy was a blazing fast miler. Majestic Harbor’s dam won four of 11 starts and placed in a listed stakes going 1 1/16 miles. She’s a half sister to two stakes placed runners. Majestic Harbor may try to match strides with Mucho Macho Man on the lead.
Last and probably least, LIONDRIVE (Lion Tamer – Outta The Park, by Grand Slam) was embarrassed by over 19 lengths when he faced Mucho Macho Man in the Risen Star. Liondrive has a speed over stamina pedigree. His sire was a sprinter and hasn’t been a success at stud. Liondrive’s dam won twice in five starts and this is a very modest distaff family. On a side note, Liondrive has Inbreeding to the blue hen Tamerett, but he’ll need more than that to keep up with this group.
How the track is playing: Only three races have been held at 1 1/8 mile distance this meet and all were won by pace pressers. The track is generally fair for races held at 1 1/16 miles although pace pressers have a slight edge. The forecast calls for partly cloudy weather with a 20% chance of rain. The track should be fast.
Only two horses in the race, NACHO BUSINESS and MUCHO MACHO MAN have experience at 1 1/8 miles. Unlike last week’s Rebel Stakes, there is no blazing speedball in the Louisiana Derby. PANTS ON FIRE is the only confirmed front runner and he sets moderate fractions. MUCHO MACHO MAN will probably sit off of PANTS ON FIRE along with WILKINSON, with LET and MACHEN behind them. ELITE ALEX, NEHRO and MAVERICKING will make their runs from the back of the pack.
It’s MUCHO MACHO MAN’s race to loose and he has some of the best speed figures in the group. ELITE ALEX should love every bit of the distance but once again, he has an outside post. WILKINSON has never finished out of the money and should have a say. MACHEN could rebound after being wide in his stakes debut. It’s tough to leave him out of the top three, but use him in your tickets. NACHO BUSNINESS tries stakes company, but can get the distance, he could also take a piece of it. MAVERICKING could show the most improvement in this group. He’s bred to go two turns over the dirt and is working well. At 20-1 morning line, he could upset the applecart.
#4 MAVERICKINGlongshot pick

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rebel, Rebel

oaklawn winners circleIn the last dozen years, the Rebel Stakes (G-2) at Oaklawn Park has produced the heroes of four Triple Crown Races. All four continued on to  achieve Eclipse Awards as Champions. A fifth winner of the Rebel, Lawyer Ron, didn’t win a Triple Crown race, but he did dominate the Travers Stakes (G-1) commonly referred to as the Mid-summer Derby. Lawyer Ron also went on to earn Champion status.

This year’s edition of the Rebel Stakes gathers 13 colts all trying to prove something different. Some will attempt to carry their speed two turns, while others will get a class check. The one thing they must confirm is whether or not they belong on the Triple Crown trail. ArchArchArch Photo Coady

#1 ARCHARCHARCH (Arch – Woodman’s Dancer, by Woodman) has a stamina oriented pedigree. One would think that with the blood of two  European Turf Champions coursing through her veins that ArchArchArch’s dam would relish racing over the lawn.  Instead, she made her career as a California sprinter, placing in the Las Flores Handicap (G-3) and A Gleam Handicap (G-2). After his win in the Southwest (G-3), Archarcharch posted two strong works. The Fires barn is 14% with back-to-back wins.

Alternation Photo Coady #2 ALTERNATION ( Distorted Humor – Alternate, by Seattle Slew) has a beautiful stamina pedigree. Alternation’s dam won 6 of 26 starts and placed 11 times. She was a true route horse, winning two stakes races at 1 3/16 miles and placing in the Bewitch Stakes (G-3). All three of her foals to race are winners, but as yet they haven't won a stakes race.  Alternation’s dam is also a half sister to the good sire Peaks And Valleys, who was a multiple graded stakes winner from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles despite having been sired by a sprinter (Mt. Livermore). Alternation's 4th dam is a blue hen, adding more quality. Alternation's been brought along the right way. He's been allowed to develop his talent in his own time and to build confidence and experience. Alternation has fired two strong bullets and keeps improving.

#3 DREAMINOFTHEWIN (Successful Appeal – Dreamingatdaybreak, by Grand Slam) has the pedigree of a middle distance horse (1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles). Two of his three siblings are winners and his unraced dam is a half sister to Dalhart, who won the Rebel in 1993. She’s also a half sister to the dam of multiple graded stakes winners Geri and A.P. Arrow, while another half sister produced The Program, who was briefly on the Derby trail last year. Dreaminofthewin has been best of the rest in his last two starts behind Alternation and Caleb's Posse. He’s a solid type, but takes on stronger foes here. pickos Pride

#4 PICKO'S PRIDE (Cactus Ridge – Cayce Lady, by Wavering Monarch) has a speed over stamina pedigree. Despite his dam’s stamina oriente d pedigree, she spent her career as a sprinter and won once in nine attempts. Picko's Pride’s full brother won once in eight tries and placed twice. There’s no blacktype in the first two generations of this distaff family, but a daughter of the third dam produced the multiple graded stakes winner Bishop Court Hill. Picko’s Pride came from far back in the Southwest and gained fourth place after being blocked. It was a good effort and he’s breezed back strong. The McLean barn is 29% with horses making their third start off of a layoff.

JPsGusto2 Benoit #5 J P'S GUSTO (Successful Appeal – Call her Magic, by Caller I.D.) has a classy but sprint oriented pedigree. He is a full brother to two stakes placed runners and his stakes winning is a half sister to the dam of the Champion Proud Spell. J P's Gusto had a tough time in the Southwest Stakes, but the tenacious colt managed to grab second place and was gaining on Archarcharch at the end. 1 1/16 miles appears to be four steps beyond his limit as he’s placed but never won at this distance against top company. The Factor2  Photo Benoit

#6 THE FACTOR (War Front – Grayciousness, by Miswaki) is bred to be speedy. His sire and damsire are graded stakes winning sprinters, and  his dam is a half-sister to the graded stakes placed sire Chief Seattle. The pretty gray colt has run them off of their feet in his last two races, but gets a tough test here. He’s recorded the typically fast works of a Baffert trainee.

calebs Posse #7 CALEB'S POSSE (Posse – Abbey’s Missy, by Slewacide) has a pedigree loaded with speed and shares the same damsire as Funnycide. His dam failed to win in three starts, but she is a ¾ sister to the multiple stakes winning warrior Mr. Ross. Caleb's Posse has done well against listed stakes competition, but had a rough time in the Southwest Stakes. His last two works were decent.Saratoga Red Photo Jessica M

#8 SARATOGA RED (Eddington – Sigh Of Relief, by Siphon) has the pedigree of a middle distance horse (1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles). His half brother is  a winner. His dam won once in 15 tries, but she is a half sister to Haskell winner King Glorious. Saratoga Red was stubbornly on the winning end of a maiden duel last time out. His work pattern is live, but the Lukas barn has dwindled to 3% stakes wins and this is a tough spot for Saratoga Red.

Sway Away#9 SWAY AWAY (Afleet Alex – Seattle Shimmer, by Seattle Slew) the farther they go, the better for Sway Away as both his sire and damsire are  Classic winners and his second damsire Summer Squall was also a Classic winner. Although his second dam is a minor stakes winner, this distaff family is modest. Sway Away was rocketing down the stretch and just missed nailing The Factor in the San Vicente. The colt gets the distance his pedigree calls for and the Boinde barn get 21% winners with stakes horses.

Elite Alex #10 ELITE ALEX (Afleet Alex – Catch The Moment, by Unbridled) is by a Champion Classic winner out of a mare by a Champion Classic winner, you can't get much better than that.   His immediate distaff family has little blacktype, but the third dam was stakes placed and her daughters produced some nice winners, included recent Santa Ynez winner California Nectar. Elite Alex had excuses in his last two contests, but still finished in the money. The added distance should be to his liking and if he can stay out of trouble, he could reach the wire first.

#11 GLINT (Sharp Humor – Glimmer, by Deputy Minister) has miler speed over strong stamina in his pedigree. His second crop sire’s offspring are mainly sprinters, but he does have a winner at 1 1/16 miles. Glint’s four half siblings are winners and he’s the first stakes winner for his unraced dam. His second and third dams are stakes winners and this family produced Super Derby winner Awe Inspiring. Glint was third in his first off of a layoff and should be sharper today. The Gorder barn knows how to get them ready, as they score with 20% of their horses in their initial route races.

#12 BLUEGRASS JAM (Bluegrass Cat – Strawberry Way – by Strawberry Road) is by a strong second-crop stallion. His sire has a handful of winners at 1 1/16 miles and going farther shouldn’t pose a problem. Bluegrass Jam’s dam placed in sprint stakes and she’s a half sister to the graded stakes winner Bold Start. The second dam Dorky is also a stakes winner. Bluegrass Jam showed progression in his last couple of races, but failed against optional claimers.

J W Blue Photo Coady #13 J W BLUE (Sky Mesa – Kentucky Storm, by Dynaformer) has a speed over stamina pedigree. Most of his sire’s offspring are sprinter/milers, but he does have winners at 1 1/16 miles and a couple have placed going longer. J W Blue’s dam won four of nine starts, including a listed stakes over the turf and dirt. She’s a half sister to Wood Memorial hero Adonis. Two of JW Blues three half siblings are winners and one is a stakes winner. J W Blue conquered allowance company, including Bluegrass Jam, over this track and distance last time out. His subsequent works have been very strong and the Tony Dutrow barn gets an eye-catching 32% winners next time out.


How the track is playing: Overall, the track plays fair, but front runners at this distance have a slight edge, and runners from the inside posts have a definite advantage. The day will be cloudy, but only 10% rain in the forecast so the track should be fast.

In a large field, it’s all about the trip. Our goal is to pick the horses that will hit the board, which aren’t necessarily the most talented horses. THE FACTOR is the overwhelming speed of the race. If he gets to the front and can slow things down, he could steal it from the rest. The problem is, he’s never run a slow race. SARATOGA RED may try to put pressure on THE FACTOR. If this happens, the race can set up for a horse coming from off of the pace. ALTERNATION keeps improving and should be able to find a decent running position due to his post. SWAY AWAY finally gets some distance. He’ll be running from the back of the pack and will need to stay out of trouble if he’s to have any chance. Ditto for ELITE ALEX, but with those outside posts they might not be able to catch a break. ARCHARCHARCH can sit directly behind the speed and get first run on the stalkers. JP’S GUSTO is always right there and never backs down from a fight, so it’s hard to leave him off the selections. Use him in the exotics. PICKO'S PRIDE was 19 lengths out of it at the start of the Southwest but closed to only 3 ¾ lengths of the leader without getting a clean run. He’s making his second start off of a layoff and will probably be closer to the pace. He’ll be overlooked and if he can grab third or fourth, he could spice up your tickets.

#2 ALTERNATION – longshot pick




Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brethren vs. the Rest in the Tampa Bay Derby

With Uncle Mo scheduled to run in Gulfstream Park’s Timely Writer Stakes, the Tampa Bay Derby (G-2) is a showdown between the big hoss, Brethren vs. the foes he handily defeated in the Sam F. Davis Stakes plus the usual assortment of maiden/allowance winners.

Brethren Photo Equisport Photos
BRETHREN (Distorted Humor – Supercharger, by A.P. Indy) galloped off with the Sam F. Davis stakes trophy by four lengths in his season debut.  He’s a half brother to last year’s Kentucky Derby winner and is undefeated in four starts. He hasn’t beaten high quality foes, as horses that have finished behind him have failed to live up to expectations.

After bobbling at the break, TOO EXPERIENCE (Drewman – Lake Victoria, by Meadowlake) found himself six lengths off of the pace in the Sam F. Davis, but closed to be best of the rest. He is the first stakes winner for his distaff family in two generations. Too Experience has been training strongly over the Tampa surface and owns a recent bullet breeze.

WATCH ME GO (West Acre - Sabbath Song, by Deputy Minister) was one-paced in the Sam F. Davis Stakes but grabbed a check for his third place finish, five lengths behind Brethren. Watch Me Go is a half-brother to a stakes placed turf sprinter. His unraced dam is a half-sister to two multiple stakes winners and the second dam is also a stakes winner. Watch Me Go shows a live work pattern and the O’Connell barn is hitting with 20% stakes runners.

BEAMER (Vindication - Untarnished, by Unbridled) was off slowest of all in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, but made up ground in the stretch to finish in fourth, a half-length behind Watch Me Go. Beamer’s dam is an unraced full sister to the Champion Filly Banshee Breeze and his second damsire Known Fact was a Champion Juvenile in Europe. Beamer races for the same connections as Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, who won the Tampa Bay Derby over this track.

Economic Summit Photo Crystal Jones ECONOMIC SUMMIT (Malibu Moon – Summit Lite, by Mt. Livermore) has worked strongly for his season debut. He was outclassed in last year’s Remsen Stakes and has plenty of room to improve. Economic Summit has a stamina over speed pedigree. His dam is a half sister to the Grade 3 turf winner Strategic Partner. His 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.
Another son of Malibu Moon hoping to earn a check in the Tampa Bay Derby is MOONHANGER (Malibu Moon – Important Daisy, by Ghadeer). After winning his maiden by an embarrassing 11 lengths over the sloppy Tampa Bay track, Moonhanger switched to turf and just missed by ¾ a length after setting the entire pace in an optional claiming event a few weeks ago. The versatile colt has a blend of stamina and speed in his pedigree. His sire, a son of A.P. Indy, has produced the Graded Stakes routers Devil May Care, Life At Ten and Funny Moon. Moonhanger’s damsire was a prominent producer in Brazil, while his second damsire Spend A Buck won the Kentucky Derby. Moonhanger is a half brother to three Brazilian Group stakes winners.

Making his first start off of the claim, CRIMSON KNIGHT (Leroidesanimaux – For My Pleasure, by Numerous) gets another shot to prove that he can successfully handle the dirt. He was victorious last time out when switched to turf and has a miler pedigree that strongly hints that he’ll prefer the lawn. His sire is a Champion Turf miler and his miler damsire is a grandson of Nijinsky. Crimson Knight’s dam was a very durable runner. She made 47 starts, wining only four times, but placing in 12 tries. His second dam placed in a minor stakes event, and that’s it for recent blacktype in his distaff family. The Bennett barn is 27% off of the claim, but may be a bit ambitious here.

FREE ENTRY (Tale Of The Cat – Preachtothepulpit, by Pulpit) takes the next logical step up after earning victories in a maiden and allowance race. Free Entry is a product of the famed Claiborne Farm bloodlines. His sire and damsire are closely related, as their dams are half sisters. This gives Free Entry close inbreeding to the blue hen Narrate, the mother of Tale Of The Cat’s dam Yarn and Pulpit’s dam Preach. Free Entry is a half brother to the stakes winning sprinter Thunder’s Dove. His second dam Luxuriously is a half sister to the second crop sire With Distinction and Grade 1 placed Resort, dam of Peter Pan winner Sightseeing. The Chad Brown stable gets 21% winners when they ship.

We mentioned STRIDING AHEAD (Empire Maker - Helstra, by Nureyev) in the February watch list after his awesome performance at Tampa laststridingahead month. His pedigree says the longer the better and there are plenty of Grade 1 winners and Champions in this colt’s family. His sire won the Belmont stakes and was building his reputation as a stamina-oriented sire but was sent to stud in Japan at the end of 2010. Striding Ahead is a half-brother to Stern Opinion, a French Group 1 sprinter and Dr. Arbatach, a Champion Sprinter in Puerto Rico. Their dam is a half-sister to the good sire Stormy Atlantic and stakes placed Devine Dixie, who is the dam of Grade 1 stakes winner and second-crop sire Bandini. Striding Ahead has worked sensationally after his impressive maiden score and the Mott barn is 18% with horses making their second start off of a layoff.

How the track is playing: Overall, pace setters and pressers have the advantage, but during the last week, the track has played slightly to the traits of late pace and closers. Perfect Florida weather guarantees a fast track.

BRETHREN has the experience and talent to outclass this field. His works are good and he should improve in his second race off a layoff. Should something untoward happen, FREE ENTRY could gallop home with all of the marbles. He’s never run a bad race and there’s some speed in here to set up for his late closing run. BEEMER had an excuse in the Sam F. Davis. He broke last of all and managed to gain some ground in the stretch. A better break could earn him some cash here. STRIDING AHEAD won his race in comparable time to BRETHREN’S Sam Davis race. He has a fantastic pedigree and terrific works. His conservative trainer doesn’t often toss a recent maiden winner into graded stakes company so keep an eye on this one. MOONHANGER just missed at this distance last time out and the Alexander barn is 33% with the turf to dirt angle. TOO EXPERIENCE should be fit in his second try off the layoff, but the Passley barn is 0 for 22 with that angle. ECONOMIC SUMMIT is working well, but the others have the advantage of race fitness.
#1 STRIDING AHEAD - long shot pick

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gotham Stakes Trend

A trend is starting to appear in New York. A Gotham winner has also been victorious in a Classic race every eleven years.
Eleven years ago, Red Bullet won the Gotham and went on to win a Classic Race, when he spoiled Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus’ Triple Crown bid in the Preakness. Eleven years earlier, Easy Goer pulled a Gotham/Belmont Stakes double, getting his revenge on the Derby/Preakness hero Sunday Silence. Perhaps we’ll see a Gotham/Classic winner in Saturday’s field.
All eyes Stay Thirsty - EclipseSportswireare on Uncle Mo’s workmate STAY THIRSTY (Bernardini – Marozina, by Storm Bird). The Grade 1 Stakes placed colt has been holding his own in the mornings and should be fit for his three year old debut. Stay Thirsty has a stamina oriented pedigree perfect for the Classics. He is a half brother to freshman sire Andromeda’s Hero and his precocious full brother Superfly. The Pletcher barn is winning stakes races at a 19% clip this year.
Whirlaway hero TOBY'S CORNERclip_image001 (Bellamy Road – Brandons Ride, by Mister Frisky) is ridingTobys Corner Photo Coglianese a three race win streak and is the logical second choice. Toby is already a winner over the Aqueduct surface at 1 1/6 miles. His second crop sire is getting winners up to 1 mile 70 yards over dirt and Polytrack. Damsire won the Santa Anita Derby and was third in the Preakness. 1 Toby's Corner is a half-brother to stakes winner Bushmills Best, but that’s about it for stakes horses in the first three generations. The Motion barn is successful with 19% of last out winners.
PREACHINTOTHEDEVILclip_image001[1] (Pulpit – Acey Deucey, by AbagiPreachintothedevil Photo Coglianesenone) was a distant third behind Toby’s Corner in the Whirlaway. He’s had a couple of really good breezes and should be ready to go. Preachintothedevil’s dam was a multiple graded stakes winning sprinter/miler. His damsire, a son of Devil’s Bag, won two Grade 3 sprint races. Preachintothedevil’s BRISNET speed figures have improved in every race. The Contessa barn grabs 12% of graded stakes races.
Grace 2 placed NACHO SAINT (Yes It’s True – Flashy, by Wild Again) changed his running style and finally won his maiden after going winless in four attempts last year. To be fair, he’s been in the money in all of his starts, but he’s been chasing pacesetters over speed-favoring tracks. Nacho Saint’s dam is a half-sister to Kings Lyn, dam of Sara Louise and this year’s Debutante Stakes winner Just Louise. The Kelly Breen stable has only 11% stakes winners, but gets 14% winners in their second start off of a layoff.
Three colts who have won their last two attempts will step into graded stakes competition to see if they can make headway on the Derby trail.
NORMAN ASBJORNSONclip_image001[2] (Real Quiet – Merryland Missy, by Citidancer) has won his last two races by over seven lengths. He gets plenty of stamina from his sire and his dam was a stakes winning sprinter. His second damsire Smarten won at 1 ¼ miles and placed going 1 ½ miles. Norman Asbjornson’s BRISNET speed figures have jumped in his last two races, indicating that he’s starting to mature. The Christopher Grove stable wins 19% of stakes races, which is pretty good for a moderate-sized stable.
STARSHIP CAESAR (Repent – Starship Honor, by Honor Grades) tests deep waters today. After winning a maiden claimer at Calder, He took an allowance race for new owners at Gulfstream. Starship Caesar has a middle-distance pedigree. His sire Repent was a middle distance horse, winning at 1 1/16 miles and placing second in the Travers Stakes. Starship Caesar’s dam was unplaced in five starts and there’s no blacktype in his first three generations. His damsire is a half brother to S.P. Indy and Summer Squall.
Trainer Steve Asmussen snatched DAWLY (Awesome Again – Usrah, by Tiznow) from a maiden claiming race last December. Dawly has a pedigree loaded with stamina. He is the first foal for his unraced dam who is a half sister to the Grade 2 winner Doubles Partner. Further, his second dam is a full sister to Champion Serena’s Song. The gelding should improve with distance and could be one to watch.
THE FED EASED (Montbrook – Valid Invitation, by Take Me Out) dominated maidens in his second try and now faces stakes competition. The Fed Eased has a miler pedigree. He’s a half brother to stakes placed Sweet Enticement and his unraced dam is a half sister to stakes winner Rocky River. The Fed Eased’s breezes are steady and the Violette barn is winning with 20% of their charges this year.
The inappropriately named ISN'T HE PERFECT won against maiden claimers last November and hasn’t been close racing against optional claimer and allowance company. He has the pedigree to do best at two turns and also has an excellent mud pedigree. His works are slow and the Shivmangai barn has a 7% win rate this year.
How the track is playing: 40% of the winners have wired the field in route races. Alternatively 40% of winners win as mid-pack runners.
STAY THIRSTY has the pedigree to do well in Classic races. He ran against some of the best last year and has the class edge. Is he cranked for his return to the races? He’s been working well and will be the chalk. TOBY’S CORNER’S has improved in every race and has the benefit of a recent race. Despite winning his maiden last time out, NACHO SAINT kept classy company last year and is graded stakes placed. He won’t get away with a :24 first quarter, but he’s working well and could surprise if the top two falter. PREACHINTOTHEDEVIL was no match for TOBY’S CORNER last time out. The colt’s running style works against him, but he’s one to use in the exotics. DAWLY has the pedigree to relish longer distances and has a recent race under his girth. NORMAN ASBJORNSON is ready to take the next step and he could grab part of the money.
#9 DAWLY - longshot selection