Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Future Turf Stars

Ten young fillies are ready for an auspicious start to their turf careers in the sixth race at Belmont on June 29. Two are by first crop sires and one is a full sister to a champion.

From the distaff family of Devil’s Bag, Saint Ballado and Rahy, ALAURA MICHELE (Arch -Isobel Baillie, by Lomitas) makes her first start for the Mott barn. She gained valuable racing experience in a dirt sprint contest at Churchill in May. The dark bay has a pedigree heavy with turf influences and blue hens (superior females) including the Champion Glorious Song, who is the dam of Champion Turfer Singspiel and his half brother, the prominent stallion Rahy. Glorious Song is a full sister to Champion Juvenile Devil’s Bag and top sire Saint Ballado. Alaura Michele has the conservative work pattern typical of Mott trainees.

A daughter of first crop sire Discreet Cat, CAT GIRL (Discreet Cat - Famous Story, by Rahy) worked a bullet over the sloppy main track in early June. So far, Famous Story's offspring are showing dislike for the turf. Cat Girl’s 3/4 sister Famous Rose and half brother Terwada did poorly in their attempts over the lawn.

In the upcoming 2011 Guide to Freshmen sires, I noted that in the last 10 years, Discreet Cat’s sire Forestry has produced only 12 stakes winners over the grass, the highest placed are Grade 3 runners. Discreet Cat’s damsire Private Account sired top class turf runners as a sire and as a broodmare sire. He could pass his attributes to Discreet Cat. Otherwise, Discreet Cat's lineage is strongly dirt based. A few turf horses crop up four and five generations back, but that's typical in just about every pedigree. He will get the occasional turf winner, but the majority of his progeny will be best over dirt.

LADY GOLD (Master Command - Goldleafed Mirror, by Gold Alert) is a daughter of deceased first crop sire Master Command. The chestnut son of A.P. Indy was a multiple Grade 2 and 3 winner from 1 1 1/6 to 1 1/8 miles. He had a phenomenal distaff family. His dam is a full sister to the top turf mare La Gueriere (dam of G-1 winner Icon Project and also granddam of Munnings). She’s also a half-sister to stakes winners, Al Mamoon and sire Lost Soldier. This distaff family also produced the top mare and l'Arc de Triomphe heroine Allez France. Master Command’s offspring may need time to develop, but they should be proficient over all surfaces. Lady Gold’s first three dams are all sturdy listed stakes horses. Her dam won allowance sprint races over the lawn.

ISRA (Easing Along - Constant Companion, by Relaunch) is a full sister to Champion Turf Mare Together Forever. All four of her siblings to race have won. Three won their maiden in their first attempt, but they all started in the fall of their two year old season. An interesting note, both sisters to race are stakes horses, while the colts haven’t earned blacktype.

TIANA (Offlee Wild - Creme de La Creme, by Vettori) has a distaff family loaded with turf influences and she’s a half sister to a French listed stakes winner. Her sire on the other hand, has produced just four winners over the lawn in the past year. Tiana has been working well, but the Dutrow barn is 0 for 7 with first time turf runners.

WILD AND WINDBLOWN (Broken Vow - Doyenne, by Deputy Minister) carries the bloodlines of English Triple Crown hero Nijinsky and Canadian Horse of the Year Deputy Minister. Her sire is a strong producer of turf winners. Wild and Windblown is a half sister to Miss Preakness Stakes heroine Time’s Mistress. Her second dam is a Grade 3 winner over the turf. The Badgett barn has a good 20% win rate with debut turf starters.

Switching barns after an average debut over the dirt at Calder, ZOOMING ALONG (Freud - If You Do, by Country Pine) has a pedigree littered with turf stars, such as Roberto, Ribot, Blushing Groom and Storm Bird. Her sire, a full brother to Giant’s Causeway, is a fixture on the New York leading sire list. Zooming Along’s dam is a half sister to Sister Swank, a Grade 3 winner over the lawn.

GIVING ME FITZ (Seattle Fitz - Banana Dance, by West by West) has been working fairly slow and the Contessa barn is 0 for 13 with first time turf runners. One of Giving Me Fitz’s half siblings won over the lawn and her sire Seattle Fitz is descended from a top family of turf runners.

LUNA STORM (Tales Not Told - Skipping Stone, by Smart Strike) made up a few lengths over the speed favoring Monmouth dirt course to grab fourth place money in her debut just two weeks ago. She’s by an obscure unraced son of Tale of the Cat out of an unraced Sword Dance (by Nijinsky) mare. His first crop races this year. Luna Storm is a half sister to the good turf mare Skipping Town. Her dam and second dam are both stakes horses.


Experience and race fitness in a field of maidens can be a key point. Three fillies have experience over dirt. Alaura Michele, Luna Storm and Zooming Along. Luna Storm is turning around in two weeks.