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


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