Thursday, June 16, 2011


NearcticThe Victoria Stakes, named for Queen Victoria, has been contested since 1903. Notable winners include Nearctic, Champion Two Year Old in Canada and sire of the incomparable Northern Dancer, Kentucky Derby hero George Smith, Belmont Stakes Champ Faireno, plus Champion Canadian Juveniles Sound Reason Deputy Minister and Cash Deposit. Champion Sprinter Kodiak Kowboy Won in 2007 and Sunny’s Halo, the 1983 Kentucky Derby Champ, was second in the Victoria stakes.

This year’s edition of the Victoria Stakes includes a full brother to last year’s victor, plus a half brother to a track record setter.

GIN JOINT (Macho Uno – Phils Pill, by Cozzene) was much the best in his second start after a slow beginning in his debut. The pretty gray colt is a half brother to the stakes placed Happy Clapper. On his distaff side, Gin Joint is inbred to the foundation mare Portage, as she is his fourth dam and Portage is also the fourth dam of Cozzene, Gin Joint’s sire. Portage, through her daughters, produced a dynasty, including the Champions TM Opera O, Dubai Millennium, and Bianconi, G-1 winner and broodmare of the year Fall Aspen, Cozzene, Dixie Union, top Maryland sire, Allen’s Prospect and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Preakness hero Timber County.

BringTheHeatSTARK RAVIN MAD (Bring The Heat – Harper N Abby, by Outflanker) won his debut at Arlington Park by a dominating six lengths. He’s bred to be precocious and his full brother Madman Diaries won the Victoria Stakes last year before winning the Sapling (G-3).

THREEANDDONEDAN (Dance With Ravens – So Smashing, by Two Punch) won his debut over a sloppy Pimlico track and has been firing bullets like a machine gun. His sire is a son of the Canadian Champion Dance Smartly, a half sister to prominent sire Smart Strike. Dance With Ravens is a half brother to Champion Canadian filly Dancethruthedawn and Queens Plate hero Scatter The Gold. Threeanddonedan is a half brother to Colleen Stakes winner and track record setter Six Pack Shelly.

BOLIVAR (Flashy Bull – Paris Sky, by Skywalker) makes his debut in the Victoria Stakes after recording only five works, although the last two were from the gate. His first crop sire has two winners from four starters. Bolivar is a half brother to stakes placed Proud Kentuckian, who faced the starter 26 times and won or placed in 16 attempts. Trainer Kelly Callaghan has a 20% win rate with first time runners.

FIREFALL (Bring The Heat – Highdollargirl, by Helmsman) flashed two furlongs in his debut at Gulfstream in April. He has a speed over stamina pedigree. Firefall’s sire gets 24% two year old winners and his offspring are speedy win early types, while his damsire Helmsman was best between 1 1/8 and 1 ¼ miles and his second damsire Skywalker won the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Firefall’s less precocious full sister needed five starts to win her maiden. She recently got the job done in a five furlong maiden claiming event at Woodbine in April. There is little blacktype in this distaff family.

SafractionSAFRACTION (Saffir - Attraction Fatale (Dauphin Fabuleux) raced off the pace and won his debut in a state-bred maiden event at Woodbine, getting 4 ½ furlongs in a brisk :51 3/5 seconds. He is the first winner for his first crop sire. Saffir has only eight foals in his initial crop and from four starters; he is represented by one winner and three offspring that have placed. Saffir was a $1.8 million dollar yearling son of Unbridled out of a stakes winning Storm Cat mare. Saffir faced the starter six times, winning twice, both sprint events, once over the lawn. Safraction’s damsire was 1984 Canadian Horse of the Year and Safraction’s dam won two listed sprint events. She’s produced nine starters, eight winners and her son Saratoga Prince is a stakes placed sprinter.

DISTINCTLY DONOVAN  (With Distinction – Hopi, by Cox’s Ridge) won his debut in April at Aqueduct. His second-crop sire gets sprinter/milers although his best runner Decisive Moment placed in the Spiral Stakes at 1 1/8 miles. Although Distinctly Donovan’s dam won once in eight tries, all four of her offspring to race are winners. She’s a full sister to G-3 winner Pima, dam of G-2 hero Bosque Redondo. Another full sister is stakes placed and a half sibling is a stakes winner. The Salzman barn has an eye catching 19% win rate with the maiden to stakes race angle.

BANNER BILL (Rockport Harbor – Temporada, by Summer Squall) sat three lengths off the lead then was up in time to win his debut over the Woodbine Polytrack. He’s a half brother to the listed stakes winner No Third Chance and another half sibling, Stormy Afternoon, is stakes placed. All six of his half siblings to race are winners. Banner Bill’s second dam Lemhi Go won the La Prevoyante Invitational (G-2), the Arlington Matron Handicap (G-3) and Sabin Handicap (G-3).


How the track is playing: 55 races have been run this meet at five furlongs with an overwhelming 51% won on the front. 22% have been taken by one run stalkers.

STARK RAVIN MAD earned a legitimate 108 speed figure in his debut at Arlington Park. He appears to be emulating his speedy full brother Madman Diaries. He’s published a steady diet of three furlong moves, including a bullet last breeze. THREEANDDONEDAN has a history of speed in his family and his works are the best of the field. The only concern is the dirt to Poly move. His sire has only one winner in the last year over Polytrack. GIN JOINT is the most experienced horse in the field with two starts under his girth. He showed improvement and can continue to move forward. SAFRACTION and BANNER BILL have demonstrated the ability to sit off of the pace and win. FIREFALL is the morning line favorite and represents the barn of Wesley Ward who has been hitting with 28% starters this meet at Woodbine. Firefall has been working sharply at Keeneland.

#1 GIN JOINT - longshot