Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Deciphering the Breeders’ Cup

breeders-cup-2011-logo-300x300In the last decade, the Breeders’ Cup has been held at Churchill Downs three times, 2000, 2006 and 2010. The contests bring together the best horses in the United States and top European counterparts. Below we’ll examine which running styles, prep races and track surfaces yield the most Breeders’ Cup winners at Churchill Downs. The Dirt Mile and Filly & Mare Sprint are excluded because they have only been held once at Churchill.



Prep Race:

The historic Champagne has proved to be theUncleMo-BCJuvenile most formful prep race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile held at Churchill. In 2000 Point Given was second in both races, while last year, Uncle Mo dominated the Champagne and Juvenile. This year, Union Rags is poised to complete the Champagne/Juvenile double.

In 2006, Street Sense, Circular Quay and Great Hunter ran three, two, one in the Keeneland Futurity and reversed that order in the Juvenile. Last year, no runner coming out of a race on a synthetic track hit the board, although Rogue Romance used the Bourbon over the Keeneland turf.

Colts that finished first or second in their prep races all hit the board in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The only anomaly was the 2006 Champ Street Sense, who was third over the Keeneland Poly in his prep.

Twenty to twenty seven days between the last prep race and the Juvenile seems to be the magic numbers, all winners and runners up, except for last year’s place horse (Boys At Tosconova) fall into this category.


Running Style:

One run stalkers fared the best in all three Juvenile editions. While pace pressers won in 2000 (Macho Uno) and 2010 (Uncle Mo), stalkers took second and third place in both races and in 2006, stalkers took the top three spots. Those in posts 9 fared the best, hitting the board in all three editions. None farther out than post 7 have won.



Last year, Uncle Mo was the overwhelming favorite. In 2006, Circular Quay finished a distant second to Street Sense and in 2000, A.P. Valentine, the Champagne winner, failed to fire and wound up in seventh place. Pedigree matters, too. Sprint-oriented precocious youngsters don’t fare well in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile or Juvenile Fillies.

Does the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile really offer a glimpse into how the top three finishers will do in the Classics? Nine horses have hit the board in the three Juveniles held at Churchill. Only one, Street Sense, has finished in the top three in the Kentucky Derby, and in fact, is the only Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner to win the Kentucky Derby. Just to show how hard the transition from the two year old to three year old season is, only four of the nine colts raced in the Kentucky Derby, three contested the Preakness, and one, Point Given, entered and won the Belmont Stakes. Last year’s top three finishers never made it to the Triple Crown races.



Prep Race:

Two year old fillies who tuned up in the Alcibiades hit the board three times. In 2000, Platinum Tiara, runner up in the BC Juvenile Fillies, and third place horse She’s A Devil Due were fifth and first respectively in the Alcibiades when it was run over dirt. In 2006, Cotton Blossom placed third in the Juvenile Fillies after a disappointing ninth place finish in the Alcibiades over Polytrack.

DreamingOfAnnaIn 2006 and 2010, Fillies who had their last prep over Woodbine Poly finished first (Dreaming of Anna, 2006) and third (Delightful Mary, 2010).

Unlike the colts, four fillies who were second in their preps hit the board most often in the BC Fillies. The last two runnings of the race were won by fillies who were also victorious in their last race. Two fillies that were off of the board in their preps finished second and third (2000, Platinum Tiara,, 5th in Alcibiades) (2006, Cotton Blossom 9th in Alcibiades).

The time between the last prep race and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies varied from 19 to 53 days, with half of the fillies getting 20 – 26 days between the races.


Running Style:

While a mid-pack runner took the 2000 edition of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile fillies, a pace setter and pace presser took the next two editions. Runners-up favored mid-pack or stalking styles. Inside posts work best. Caressing won from post 6, but posts 1 – 4 have rounded out the other top spots in all three years.



Favorites won the last two versions of the Juvenile Fillies at Churchill and the prices were fairly chalky. In 2000, Caressing surprised as a $96.00 winner when the favorite Raging Fever failed to hit the board.

The Juvenile Fillies offers barely a glimpse at a future Kentucky Oaks winner. Out of nine fillies that have hit the board in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, one, Octave finished in the money the following spring. She placed second in that year’s Oaks.



Prep Race:

A win or placing in the Ancient Title Stakes almost guarantees a win at Churchill in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The 2000 and 2006 Sprint Champs, Kona Gold and Thor’s Echo, both exited the Ancient Title as a winner and runner-up respectively, while the 2010 Ancient Title winner was third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Two runners who used the Forego as a prep haveBigDramaBCSprint2010 also done well in the Sprint. In 2006, Nightmare Affair was unplaced in the Forego and placed third in the Sprint, while last year’s Sprint Champ Big Drama was second in the Forego.

All of the winners and runners-up in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint had their final prep over dirt. The only horse to race over a synthetic surface (Cushion Track) was Smiling Tiger, who placed third last year.

In 2000, the top Sprint finishers had their last prep between 20 – 24 days apart and the 2006 winner’s last prep was 28 days before the Sprint. However, in 2006 and 2010, the runners-up had anywhere from 28 – 63 days between races and last year’s winner Big Drama had 63 days between his latest race and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.


Running Style:

Pace setters won the last two Breeders’ Cup Sprints held at Churchill while Kona Gold in 2000 was a pace presser. He also went on to establish a new track record of 1:07.77. A third of the runners-up have been stalkers. Although Kona Gold and Honest Lady finished one-two in 2000 from far outside posts, the last two editions of the Sprint have been won from the one hole. Horses in posts 1 – 7 do the best in the Sprint at Churchill.



The Breeders’ Cup Sprint has yielded double digit payouts in the last two years when the favorites failed to hit the board. The last three Sprint winners at Churchill either won or were second in their final prep.


Prep Race:

Runners-up in the Spinster and Beldame have done incredibly well in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. In 2000, Spain used a second place finish in the Spinster to spring to a huge upset win in the Distaff, paying $113.80. Heritage of Gold, the show horse in the Distaff that year had previously finished fourth in the Spinster. In 2006, the first time the Spinster was held on Polytrack, Happy Ticket was unplaced in the race, but rebounded to finish second in the Distaff. The winner of the Spinster Asi Siempre, had finished second in the 2006 Distaff, but was disqualified to fourth.

UnrivaledBelleThe last two Churchill Distaff heroines exited the Beldame. In 2006, Round Pond was third in the Beldame before winning the Distaff, and last year Unrivaled Belle parlayed a second place finish in the Beldame into a Distaff win.

Overall, mares who didn’t win their last prep races did best in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Those that did win their last prep finished third or worse in all three editions of the Distaff at Churchill.


Running Style:

Spain was the only Distaff heroine to lay close to the pace, and she took over from pace setter Surfside, who finished second in 2000. The rest of the winners sat mid-pack or stalked early on. Post doesn’t seem as important in the Distaff. Although the winners came from posts 1, 4 and 6, runners-up in the last two Distaff editions held at Churchill used posts 10 – 14.



The last three Churchill Distaff winners have paid double and triple digits. In 2000 and 2006, the favorites failed to hit the board. Last year, Blind Luck was second.


Prep Races:

In 2006 and 2010, the Jockey Club Gold Cup offered the best clues to the top finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Bernardini, Blame and Fly Down won, placed and showed in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Bernardini won the Gold Cup but finished behindbreederscupclassic Invasor in the Classic, while Blame was second in the Gold Cup and narrowly won the Classic. Fly Down finished third in both races.

All three years, the Breeders’ Cup Classic champs exited a prep race held over the dirt. All runners except 20006’s Premium Tap (5th) won or hit the board in their last preps before the Classic.

In 2000 and 2006, 28 days between the last prep race and the Classic seemed to be the norm for horses finishing in the money. However, in 2010, the top three entered the Classic off of a 35 day rest. In 2000, Giant’s Causeway narrow defeat by Tiznow came after a 42 day break. Invasor broke all the rules in 2006 and won the Classic off a 91 day layoff.


Running Style:

In 2000, Tiznow pressed Albert The Great to the mile pole and took over, but otherwise, mid-pack runners and late running stalkers have fared best in the Classics held at Churchill. Like the Distaff, post position isn’t as important. In 2000, Tiznow and Giant’s Causeway held an exciting battle from the 13 and 12 spots and Invasor dominated from post 11.



In all three editions of the Classic held at Churchill, the winners have paid double digits. None of the favorites have won, but in 2006 and 2010 they finished second. The largest payout was in 2000, when Tiznow returned a remarkable $20.40.



Prep Races:

Two races, the Oak Tree Mile and Shadwell Turf have proved beneficial preps for the Turf Mile at Churchill. In 2000 the Oak Tree Mile Champ War Chant pulled off the Oak Tree/Turf Mile double. In 2006, the Oak Tree winner Aragorn was second in the Turf Mile.

In 2006 and 2010, contenders who raced in the Shadwell Mile, hit the board. Miesque’s Approval placed fourth in the Shadwell before blowing away the field in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile. Last Year’s Shadwell winner Gio Ponti was second to the legendary Goldikova.

Goldikova2010BCSix of the last ten editions of the Breeders’ Cup Mile have been won by Europeans, with Goldikova taking an unprecedented last three runnings. Although Goldikova won at Churchill last year, in 2000 and 2006 American horses triumphed.

Time between the final prep and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile range between 20 – 48 days, with most contenders ready to race within 28 days.


Running Style:

Stalkers won in 2000 and 2006, while Golidikova raced mid-pack in 2010. Overall stalkers and mid-pack runners fared best. All three winners at Churchill were victorious from posts 10 and 11. Gio Ponti hit the board from post 3 last year, but otherwise the top three have come from posts 7 – 11.



In 2000 and 2010 the favorites won, while in 2006, Miesque’s Approval lite the tote at $50.60.


Prep Races:

Four Mares who used the Flower Bowl as a springboard to the Filly & Mare Turf have hit the board in the last two years. In 2006, Honey Ryder and Film Maker, first and second in the Flower Bowl, reversed the decision in the F&M Turf, with Film Maker coming in second and Honey Ryder taking the show spot behind the international sensation Ouija Board.

OuijaBoardFMTurfLast year’s F&M Turf heroine Shared Account failed to hit the board in the Flower Bowl, but found the firm Churchill turf to her liking. Keertana, third in the F&M Turf, was fourth in the Flower Bowel.

Europeans have done well in the F&M Turf event. Mares who hit the board in their three last races in Europe also hit the board in the F&M Turf.

The time between their last prep race and the F&M Turf varied for the American mare from 22 to 34 days, while the Europeans took a bit more time between races, from 41 to 55 days between races. Petrushka, the European favorite in the 2000 F&M Turf failed to hit the board. She had won her last preps, but had only 33 days between her last race and the Breeders’ Cup.


Running Style:

As one would expect in a turf route race, stalkers hit the board in all three editions of the F&M Turf held at Churchill. Winning and showing in 2000, but in the last two editions, in 2006 and 2010, pace pressers and mid pack runners took the top spots with one run stalkers finishing third. Inside posts (2-8) have fared best.



In 2006 and 2010, the favorites won or placed. In 2000, the favorite failed to hit the board and Perfect Sting returned $12.00 and second place Tout Charmant offered $14.00. Last year, longshot Shared Account held off the favorite Midday and returned $94.00 to her backers.



Prep races:

Beware the Europeans. They won the last three editions of the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill. Every American horse that hit the board in the Turf used a different prep race to get to Churchill. All except 2000 place horse Quiet Resolve won last time out.

Time between the final prep and the Breeders’ Cup Turf varied from 21-56 days. In 2000, there was a relatively quick turn around with all contenders having raced between 21 – 28 days previously. In 2006, the winner and runner-up took 56 and 41 days between races respectively. Last year the second and third place Turf finishers waited 34 days while the winner came in off of a 50 day layoff.


Running Style:

In 2000 and 2006, one run stalkers won, but surprisingly only three horses the two winners and a runner up, have hit the board. Pace pressers and mid-pack runners hit the board the most, while last year’s pace setter finished second. A winner and third place finisher have exited the one hole, but overall, posts 6 – 11 are best.



Europeans may dominate at Churchill, but not the horses you would expect. All three years, the favorites lost, and in two of those years, 2000 and 2006, they failed to hit the board. In 2010, the favorite Behkabad was third. This opened the tote for double digit payouts.

In 2000 Kalanisi paid $11.20 to win, second place Quiet Resolve offered $28.00 to place.

2006 saw Red Rocks returning $23.60 and the gallant old Better Talk Now rewarding backers at $17.40 to place.

BC turf 20102010 was a bit more chalky, with Dangerous Midge returning $19.00 and place horse Champ Pegasus at $9.00.



bctrophLast year, the inside posts ruled Churchill’s dirt races. The Sprint, Filly & Mare Sprint and Dirt Mile were all won by horses exiting the one hole. No horse won farther out than post 7. Three dirt winners, F & M Sprint, Distaff and Classic, had won a race previously over the Churchill surface.

The race offering the greatest ROI at Churchill for the last three runnings has been the Distaff. All three years the winners have supplied double-digit payouts, the lowest being Unrivaled Belle at $17.00. In the last three Breeders’ Cup contests held at Churchill, six out of eight of the winners in 2000 and 2006 paid more than $10 to win, while last year an incredible 12 of 14 winners offered a $10 or more payout.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Two Year Olds Highlight Belmont, Keeneland

Three Grade 1 races, The Frizette and Champagne at Belmont and the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland are the last of the major preps for the Breeders’ Cup Stakes. All three races are steeped in history and deserve merit apart from the Breeders’ Cup. Last year, Uncle Mo dominated the Champagne and headed to Churchill Downs as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He exited that race a Champion. Perhaps we’ll see the next Two Year Old Champ – or even the Kentucky Derby or Oaks winner in one of these exciting races.

Frizette Stakes (G-1)

In the last ten years, two outstanding fillies, Indian Blessing and Storm Flag Flying, have captured the Frizette and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Although only those two special fillies won both races in a decade, six youngsters that won or placed in the Frizette also finished second or third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

This year’s Frizette Field holds only six contestants. Most are extremely well bred and all should be competitive.

MY MISS AURELIA CoglineseMY MISS AURELIA (Smart Strike - My Miss Storm Cat, by Sea of Secrets) is the only graded stakes winner in the field. She also owns a win over the highly touted Stopshoppingmaria. My Miss Aurelia’s half-brother Albergatti placed in the Northern Spur stakes at Oaklawn. Her dam won the Desert Stormer Handicap and she is a half-sister to West Virginia Derby champ Soul Warrior. The Asmussen barn is 15% with graded stakes winners this year.

STOPSHOPPINGMARIA (More Than Ready -stopshoppingmaria Skybox, by Spend a Buck) stopped the clock in 1:09 4/5 for six furlongs in her second start earning a huge 105 Brisnet speed figure. The Pletcher trainee is a half-sister to listed stakes winners Dootsie and Sand Ridge, and her half-brother Peter Paul Rubens is a stakes placed runner in England. Stopshoppingmaria’s stakes placed dam is a half-sister to Ball Chairman, the dam of G1 winning turf sire Perfect Soul. She's also a half-sister to the grand-dam of G1 winning 1st crop sire Flashy Bull. The second dam A Status Symbol and third dam Queen Louie are stakes winners.

MissNettaPhotoEquisportMISS NETTA (Street Sense - Dyna Peak, by Dynaformer) is the least experience filly in the Frizette, entering after a maiden score. The second place finisher in the race came back to win. Miss Netta is a half-sister to Grade 3 winners Dyna Da Wyna, Leroy’s Dynameaux and graded stakes placed New Joysey Jeff. Their dam is a half-sister to the dam of the top race mare Honey Ryder. The McLaughlin barn has a strong 24% win rate with last out maidens facing stakes action.

HOLIDAY SOIREE (Harlan's Holiday - Try to Remember, by Include) did some barn and surface switching early in her career, but finally got a win in her fourth attempt when sprinting over dirt. She’s won two straight against lesser and will face a stiff class check in the Frizette. Holiday Soiree’s dam placed in three middle distance dirt stakes races. Her half-sister Silver Time is a dirt sprinter. There’s no other blacktype in the first two generations. Holiday Soiree switched barns again after her last start to John Terranova’s stable. He is 29% with horses making their first start from his barn.

SparChangePhotoCoglineseSPARE CHANGE (Bernardini - Finder's Fee, by Storm Cat) has made both of her starts over a sloppy track. She overpowered maidens in her last race, geared down to win by eight lengths. She owns a steady clip of 4F :48 works. Four out of five of Spare Change’s half siblings are winners. She’s the final foal produced by her dam. Finder’s Fee was a top race mare, earning wins as a juvenile in the Matron and Astoria, both (G1) stakes and at three she won the Acorn (G1) and placed in the Test and Mother Goose, both G1 contests. The second dam Fantastic Find is a Grade 1 winner and the third dam Blitey is a blue hen. The McGaughey barn is 16% with graded stakes winners.

HARBOR MIST (Rockport Harbor - Jaramar Miss, by Risen Star) was victorious in the state-bred Anne M. Clare Stakes in her last start. Harbor Mist should enjoy running two turns. She’s a half-sister to the stakes placed miler Jaramar Rain, who is the dam of graded stakes placed Imperial Council. Harbor Mist’s dam won once in 13 tries. The second dam Special Warmth won the Arlington Washington Lassie and her offspring have produced San Rafael speedster The Pamplemoose, Hollywood Futurity (G-1) hero and new sire Stormello and the multiple Grade 1 winning turf hero Marlin. The Serpe barn wins graded stakes at an eye-catching 29%.


How the track is playing: 62% of the pace setters/pressers are victorious at Belmont. That’s good, because there isn’t a stalker in the field.

MY MISS AURELIA and STOPSHOPPINGMARIA look like the speed of the race on paper. These two could hook up and just keep going. There’s some concern that STOPSHOPPINGMARIA could regress off of her huge win. HARBOR MIST showed the ability to run from off of the pace in her debut. She didn’t win but ran well for second place. She has improving Brisnet speed figures in all three races and should be ready for the next step up. The two best bred fillies in the race, MISS NETTA and SPARE CHANGE could make some noise if the top two falter. HOLIDAY SOIREE owns two triple digit late pace figures against lesser and won in race-horse time. She could be worth a look for exotics.




#6 HARBOR MIST – longshot


Champagne Stakes (G-1)

Last year’s Champagne Stakes winner continued on to easily dominate the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and earn the Two Year Old Championship. That was, of course, Uncle Mo. The Champagne has been a relatively good indication of how the colts will perform in the Breeders’ Cup. In the last ten years, two youngsters, the aforementioned Uncle Mo and 2007’s Champion War Pass completed the Champagne/Breeders’ Cup double. In other years during the decade, winners and of the Grade 1 prep have finished second or third eight times. 2004 and 2005 were especially form full as Champagne runners-up Afleet Alex and Sunking also placed second and third in the Juvenile and in 2005, Champagne hero First Samurai and his rival Henny Hughes were second and third in the Breeders’ Cup.

This year’s Champagne Stakes bubbles over with intriguing talent. Union Rags is the favorite off of his seven length score in the Saratoga Special. The well-bred Alpha will try to boost his resume while the long-winded Speightscity cuts back to a mile.

NO SPIN (Johannesburg - Dash for Money, by General Meeting) charged out of the pack to grab fourth in the Arlington Washington Futurity. He’ll try dirt for the first time in his career in the Champagne Stakes. By Juvenile Champ Johannesburg, No Spin has a miler pedigree and some class in his distaff family. No Spin’s dam placed in the Railbird Stakes (G3 7F). She’s a half to listed winner Flaming Heart and the second dam Hot Lear is a multiple stakes winner. The third, fourth and fifth dams all have blacktype. No Spin has been working extremely well, firing four consecutive bullets. Trainer Tim Ice wins 17% of graded stakes in which he enters.

SPEIGHTSCITY (Speightstown - My American Girl, by Quiet American) is the only colt in the field with a win past a mile. He battered a maiden field by over 11 lengths in a 1 1/8 mile contest. Speightscity has a speed over stamina pedigree. His sire, a Champion Sprinter, produces sprinter/milers. His son Haynesfield is one of his few dirt runners who have been victorious past 1 1/16 miles. Speightscity’s damsire lends endurance. Speightscity’s half-sister won a listed sprint and his dam is multiple stakes placed. Her half sibling produced True North (G2 6f) winner Anew. The second dam is a G3 stakes winner at 1 1/16 miles. Speightscity has been working strongly over the Saratoga training track

TAKES THE GOLD (Corinthian - Marquet Rent, by Marquetry) owns a win at the Champagne distance of a mile. He’s a half-brother to the brilliant one hit wonder Dashing Debby, who won the JJ’s Dream by over 10 lengths as a maiden and never placed again. Another half-sister, Hopeful Image placed in listed stakes at Calder. Their dam is a half-sister to the multiple stakes winning veteran Leave A Legacy. The Rick Dutrow barn captures 25% of stakes races that they enter.

PowerWorldPOWER WORLD (Distorted Humor - Purrfectly, by Storm Cat) is the most battle tested colt in the field. He placed in the Bashford Manor (G-3) and Sanford (G-2) but had no response over a sloppy track in the Hopeful (G-1). Power World is a half-brother to Santa Caterina, the heroine of Hollywood Breeders’ Cup Oaks (G-1). The talented filly placed in the Frizette (G-1) Debutante (G-1) and Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies (G-1) as a juvenile. Power World’s dam Purrectly is a half-sister to the Juvenile English Champion filly Culture Vulture. The Neil Howard barn is 10% with horses stretching out.

ALPHA (Bernardini—Munnaya, by Nijinsky) cameAlpha Photo coglinese from off of the pace in his debut to beat maidens by over six lengths, including fellow Champagne entrant Invocation. Alpha is a half-brother to French stakes winner Mystic Melody and to Lavender Sky, who placed in four stakes races over the lawn in California. Their dam is an English stakes router and she’s a half to two French stakes winners. This family produced Champion Fantastic Light, Multiple G1 winner Turbulent Decent, KY Oaks heroine Seaside Attraction, the top sire Cape Town and many other top runners. Alpha showed his readiness for the Champagne with a 5F :59 4/5 bullet.

UnionRagsPhotoCoglinese1UNION RAGS (Dixie Union - Tempo, by Gone West) dispatched his rivals in the Saratoga Special (G-2) by over seven lengths to remain undefeated in two starts. Union Rags is a half to stakes placed Geefour. His dam showed promise in her short career, winning twice and placing once in three starts. She’s a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Marry Me Do and two of her half-sisters have produced stakes winners. Union Rags has been breezing steadily at Fair Hill.

RIGHT TO VOTE (Political Force - What a Knight, by Tough Knight) beat maidens in workmanlike fashion at Belmont three weeks ago. He’s a half-brother to Best Pal (G2) and Hollywood Juvenile Champion Stakes (G3) winner What a Song. His dam is a listed stakes winner and she’s a half-sister to four listed winners. Eoin Harty’s stable get25% winners with the maiden to stakes angle.

INVOCATION (Pulpit - Missamerica Bertie, by Quiet American) is still a maiden ad wasn’t flattered by the six length drubbing by Alpha. Invocation is the first foal out of his dam. She went 0 for 4, but she’s a full sister to multiple graded stakes winner Allamerican Bertie. Their half-sister Hurricane Bertie is also a multiple graded stakes winner. The top sprinter Peeping Tom is a member of this distaff family. The Kimmel barn wins with 7% of their stakes entries.

LAURIE'S ROCKET (Bluegrass Cat - Clay'sLauriesrocket Rocket, by American Chance) made up some ground in the Hopeful (G-1) but was hindered by a speed favoring sloppy track. He’s a half-brother to Greeley’s Rocket, who placed in four stakes at two and won a listed stakes at three. His dam is a stakes placed half-sister to Frizette & Spinaway heroine Adieu, the G3 stakes winners Direct Line, Rappaport, and listed stakes winner Speak Wisely. Laurie’s Rocket had a brisk work at Belmont for the Champagne.


How the track is playing: 62% of the pace setters/pressers are victorious at Belmont.

UNION RAGS is the only stakes winner in the field and it is his race to lose. SPEIGHTSCITY has strong speed figures the fitness and class to face this field. Toss POWER WORLD’S last race. He’ll be running late and can again take a runner-up spot. The same goes for LAURIE’S ROCKET. ALPHA is very well bred and has been working forwardly. TAKES THE GOLD has a win at this distance over this track.




#2 SPEIGHTSCITY – longshot


Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G-1)

Only three colts have pulled off the Futurity/Breeders’ Cup Juvenile double, and none have managed this feat since 1997. In the last ten years, four horses that have won or placed in the Futurity have also finished second or third in the breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Street Sense was third in the 2006 Futurity due to his dislike of Polytrack, but he went on to earn a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Two Year Old Championship honors.

This year’s edition of the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity sees a full field of 14 colts with two also-eligibles. The excellent Polytrack sire City Zip is represented by three sons. Three first crop sires, Street Sense, English Channel and Scat Daddy have offspring in the race. The two stakes winners, Majestic City and Shared Property are likely to be favored.

MUSICAL FLAIR (Songandaprayer - Highwaytohappiness, by Catienus) has won his last two races, including the Fasig-Tipton Turf Dash at Calder. In that contest he beat Personal Interest by two lengths. Musical Flair has a miler pedigree. His sire is known for getting precocious offspring while his damsire’s offspring win at middle distances. Musical Flair’s dam won once in nine tries. She’s a full sister to the turf sprinter Cannonball, who was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and placed in the Golden Jubilee S. (Eng-G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G-1). Musical Flair blazed 4F in :47 (2/28) over the Keeneland Polytrack in his last work.

SPACE RACE (Gone West – Aim for the Moon, by Deputy Minister) outclassed maidens by seven lengths at Delaware in his debut. Space Race has a classy pedigree. Most of his sire’s Poly winner’s victories are in England while Deputy Minister as a broodmare sire gets 34% Poly winners. Space Race has inbreeding to the blue hen Tamerett, as she is the second dam of sire Gone West and is also Space Race’s fourth dam. Space Race is a half-brother to Bear’s Rocket, who placed in the Colin Stakes at two. Their dam is a half-sister to With Every Wish, who is the Grand-dam of Kentucky Oaks heroine Lady Joanne and Preakness Champ Shackleford. Aim for the Moon is also a half-sister to dam of multiple stakes winner Atticus Kristy.

DullahanDULLAHAN (Even the Score – Mining My Own, by Smart Strike) is still a maiden, but was a fast closing third in the With Anticipation (G-3). Dullahan has miler speed over stamina with some turf attributes scattered through his pedigree. His sire, a son of Unbridled’s Song was best as a miler and his offspring win over all surfaces, mainly up to 1 1 1/6 miles. Dullahan is a half-brother to Kentucky Derby shocker Mine That Bird. His other half-brother, Brother Bird never recorded a stakes win, but had a decent 9-2-3-2 record nonetheless.

MOTOR CITY (Street Sense - Shawgatny, byMotorCity Danzig Connection) closed gamely for third in the Washington Arlington Futurity, despite having to go six wide around the far bend. Motor City has a stamina oriented pedigree. His sire is a two-time Champion and is showing his class at stud as a leading first crop sire. His offspring will enjoy running two turns. Damsire Danzig Connection won the Belmont Stakes. Motor City is a half-brother to English stakes winner Satulagi. His dam is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner W.D. Jacks and stakes winner Empress Jackie.

MajesticCityPhotoBenoitAfter impeding Creative Cause and slamming into Drill in the Del Mar Futurity, MAJESTIC CITY (City Zip – It’ schemestrybaby, by Meadowlake) skipped last week’s Norfolk Stakes and ships in for the Breeders’ Futurity. Majestic City has a miler pedigree. His sire City Zip’s dirt and synthetic offspring are distance challenged over a mile. Majestic City’s dam It’schemestrybaby went 1 for 24 in four years of racing. She is a half-sister to the stakes placed sprinter She’s Raging. Majestic City’s damsire Meadowlake is the broodmare sire of the sprinter/sire Henny Hughes, Apple Blossom heroine Seventh Street, Remsen winner Old Fashioned, and Statue of Liberty (9F T) winner Tishmeister. The latter is also by City Zip.

CURFEW TOWER (City Zip - Lights Out (AUS), by Way of Light) has won and placed in sprint races over the lawn, but was unplaced both times at a miler or longer and over Polytrack. Curfew Tower has a speed oriented pedigree. His sire City Zip is an above average producer of Polytrack runners. His dam was a sprinter in Australia and his damsire was a Champion Juvenile in France. Curfew Tower owns the only black type in two generations, but this distaff family has produced Derby Champ Foolish Pleasure, plus the G1 winners Purge, Jersey Girl, Jersey Town and the top California sire Valid Wager. Curfew Tower shows three progressively faster 4F works at Keeneland.

SHARED PROPERTY (Scat Daddy -SharedPropertyPhotoFourFootedFotos Yoursmineours, by Belong to Me) enters the Breeders’ Futurity off of a one length win in the Arlington Washington Futurity. He is his first crop sire Scat Daddy’s first winner over Polytrack. Shared Property has quality in his distaff family. His dam won the Honeybee Stakes and his third dam produced Champion filly Epitome. Shared Property had an average 5F work over the Keeneland surface earlier in the week.

LUCKY CHAPPY (High Chaparral - Germane, by Distant Relative) races for the connections of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. Lucky Chappy enters the Breeders’ Futurity off of a two win race streak, defeating turf sprinters in Italy, including a listed stakes. The last five tail sires and his first through third damsires in Lucky Chappy’s pedigree are all Champions. Lucky Chappy is a half-brother to two stakes placed runners. Their Group 3 winning dam is a half-sister to two stakes winners. Additionally, Lucky Chappy has inbreeding to the blue hen Lalun through her sons Bold Reason and Never Bend. As one would expect, Lucky Chappy’s sire gets mainly turf runners, but he does have a few winners over Polytrack. Lucky Chappy is cross-entered in the Bourbon Stakes tomorrow at Keeneland.

OUR ENTOURAGE (Street Cry (IRE) - Sand Springs, by Dynaformer) won his maiden in his second race after switching to the turf. The farther the better for Our Entourage, especially over the turf. His sire is an above average producer of Polytrack runners. Both of Our Entourage’s half-brothers have won and one is G3 placed in England. Their dam is the multiple graded stakes turf veteran Sand Springs winner of the Diana S. (G1), Just A Game Breeders' Cup (G2), Lake Placid H.(G2),etc. Our Entourage had a recent slow 4F work over the Saratoga training track.

ANCIL (City Zip - Le Grand Belle, by With Approval) was second in the Chenery Stakes (5 1/2F T) at Colonial on 7/16, but he is still a maiden. His sire is an excellent producer of Poly runners. Ancil’s dam is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Johnny Dollar, but there isn’t much blacktype in the first three generations. Ancil flashed two consecutive bullets over the Keeneland Polytrack.

One of the best bred colts in the field, TAKE CHARGE INDY (A.P. Indy - Take Charge Lady, by Dehere) won his debut by 6 ½ lengths over the Arlington Poly, which is impressive for a debuting son of A.P. Indy. He followed up with a good second place finish in the Arlington Washington Futurity. Take Charge Indy’s dam is a multiple Grade 1 veteran who won the Spinster (twice), Ashland, Arlington Matron, and placed in the Kentucky Oaks. Take Charge Indy owns two stamina breezes. The Patrick Byrne stable wins with 22% runners trying a route for the second time.

OptimizerOPTIMIZER (English Channel - Indy Pick, by A.P. Indy) was beat only a half-length in the With Anticipation (G-3) after his jockey lost the whip. The son of English Channel has a strong stamina oriented distaff family. His dam Indy Pick is a half-sister to the top race mare Finder’s Fee, heroine of the Matron (G1) at two and the Acorn (G1) at three, as well as other graded stakes events. Another half-sister, Freedom of Speech, produced the multiple stakes winning turf veteran T D Vance. Indy Pick is also a half-sister to a top steeplechaser and to Peter Pan runner-up Treasure Beach. This distaff family carries Phipps family bloodlines. The second dam Fantastic Find won the Hempstead along with other graded stakes and the third dam Blitey and fourth dam Lady Pitt are blue hens. Optimizer has flashed two strong breezes at Churchill but the Lukas barn is 0 for 7 with the turf to Poly angle and overall just 7% winners on Polytrack.

E VALENTINO (E Dubai - Lightningbacktoo, by Katowice) was bothered at the start of the Sunday Silence stakes and didn’t have much to offer during the race, winding up seventh behind Gung Ho. E Valentino’s unraced dam is a half-sister to the Grade 2 winner Skipping Round. That one is the dam of Santa Maria Handicap (G-1) heroine Sugar Shake. The second dam Royal Veagess is a multiple stakes winning veteran of 45 races. E Valentino is closely inbred (3x4) to the blue hen Golddigger, through her famous son Mr. Prospector, the sire of E Dubai and Golddigger’s daughter Lillian Russell, the dam of Katowice. E Valentino hasn’t raced over Polytrack. His works over the surface have been slow.

GUNG HO (Kitten's Joy - Glory Dancer, by Honour and Glory) was up in time to win the 1 mile Sunday Silence Stakes by a neck. His older full sister is stakes placed. The second dam Dancing All Night never produced a stakes winner, but she is a full sister to Breeders’ Cup Sprint Champ Dancing Fee. The third dam Blitey was a top producer for the Phipps family. Blitey’s family includes multiple G1 winners Fantastic Find and her daughter Finder’s Fee; Furlough, Champion Heavenly Prize, Good Reward, Dancing Forever, etc.

FIRE ALARM (Fusaichi Pegasus - Sweet Beat, by Tiznow) AE won his debut over the Presque Isle Downs Tapita. Fire Alarm’s sire is an above average producer of Polytrack runners. Fire Alarm’s dam won once in three tries. She’s a full sister to multiple stakes placed Kitty In A Tizzy. The third dam Potridee is a Champion Mare in Argentina.

PERSONAL INTEREST (Vindication - Majestically, by Gone West) AE is still a maiden and placed in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes at Calder in his last start. Personal Interest is a full brother to stakes placed sprinter Dust and Diamonds. Their dam is a half-sister to a stakes winner and the second dam is a stakes winner. Interestingly, the second dam is a half-sister to the grand-dam of Breeders’ Futurity entrant, Our Entourage.


How the track is playing: Speed and pace pressers won the lion’s share of races on the first day of the meet.

MAJESTIC CITY is the class of the field and proven against graded stakes company. He’s adding some distance, but it shouldn’t be a concern. He has the right running style to make an impact on the race. SHARED PROPERTY is an undefeated graded stakes winner. He’s overcome difficulty in both starts and should be running at the end. There are two or three colts that could also make an impact on the race at long odds. They may be worth using in your exotics. ANCIL will be near the lead and while he hasn’t won a race, he owns the best late works over the Keeneland Poly. Musical Flair has been beating up on lesser horses at Calder. He too has a bullet over the Polytrack and horses from Calder generally do well in cooler climes. TAKE CHARGE INDY is running well over Poly despite his pedigree and he adds blinkers. His barn is 17% with that angle. GUNG HO has one of the top Brisnet late speed figures in the field and his speed figures are improving with every race. His sire’s offspring love this track (10 winners during the spring meet), he gets one of the leading riders in Leparoux and Gung Ho has a deceptively good pedigree. The main drawback is his outside post.




#14 GUNG HO - longshot

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Full Field of Fillies in the Darley Alcibiades

The Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G-1) is one of the last prep races scheduled for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The last filly to win both races was Silverbulletday in 1998. Since then only one Breeders’ Cup winner 2009’s She Be Wild, also placed in the Alcibiades. In 2009.

This year’s Alcibiades contest is wide open with a full field of 14 fillies and an also eligible entered. The only undefeated stakes winner, Tu Endie Wei, is the likely favorite.

#1 PUTTHEBABIESDOWN (Closing Argument - Turtle Beach, by Out of Place) was wide in the PG Johnson Stakes and settled for fourth. She has a stamina-oriented pedigree and should appreciate the longer distance. Her dam is a half sister to the dam of multiple stakes winner Probation Ready. Putthebabiesdown recorded two good works over the Keeneland Polytrack and they appear better than her Saratoga breezes.

FlashyLassiePhotoReedPalmer#2 FLASHY LASSIE (Flashy Bull – Lemon Pop Lassie, by Lemon Drop Kid) won the Debutante Stakes (G3) at Churchill and was second in the Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies Stakes. Her first crop sire Flashy Bull has 32 runners, 12 winners, but none have won over synthetics. Flashy Lassie’s dam Lemon Pop Lassie is a half sister to a stakes winner and two stakes placed runners, all fillies.

#3 VENETIAN SONATA (Bernadini – MoonlightVenetian SonataPhotoCoady Sonata, by Carson City) Gained late for fourth place, beaten only 1 ½ lengths in the Arlington Washington Lassie and should enjoy the extra distance of the Alcibiades. Her second crop sire is above average in producing winners over Polytrack, but while his offspring can run and win over the surface, they improve when switching to dirt. Venetian Sonata’s full brother Wilburn recently won the Indiana Derby. Her half brother Beethoven won the 2008 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G-2). Venetian Sonata’s dam won the Arlington-Washington Lassie and her precocious half brother Bevo won the Belmont Futurity (G-1) and Saratoga Special (G-2). The second and third dams are also stakes winners. Venetian Sonata breezed an average 5F in 1:00 3/5 over the Keeneland Poly in her last work.

#4 TU ENDIE WEI (Johar - Ms. Tu Endie WeiPhotoMichaelBurnsCornstalk, by Indian Charlie) is undefeated in two starts, both stakes races. She lead all the way in the 6 ½ furlong Ontario Debutante and held off Northern Passion by ½ a length. That filly came back to win the G-3 Natalma Stakes. Tu Endie Wei’s fourth crop sire has three graded stakes winners. The majority of his offspring are best over the turf, but he has a handful of winners over synthetic tracks. They win from sprints to 1 ½ miles. Tu Endie Wei is a half sister to two-time Champion and Horse of the Year Biofuel.

SweetCatPhotoCoglinese#5 SWEET CAT (Kitten's Joy - Claire's Smile, by Carson City) won her maiden convincingly sprinting over the turf at Saratoga. Her sire Champion Turf Horse Kitten’s Joy, gets most of his winners over the turf and synthetics. Sweet Cat is a half-sister to Loose Leaf a stakes winner over dirt who is also stakes placed over the lawn. Her dam is an unraced half-sister to a stakes placed runner and Sweet Cat’s third and fourth dams are blue hens. Champions Flanders and Surfside were produced by this family.

#6 EGG DROP (Alphabet Soup - Rehocracy, by Adhocracy) won her maiden at fist asking over the Del Mar Polytrack. The second place finisher came back to win next time out. The pretty gray filly has little blacktype in her distaff family, although her mother is a half sister to Redoubled Miss, a Calder fixture and winner of listed stakes there. Egg Drop worked a bullet 5F in :59 1/5 (1/17) in her second to last work over the Hollywood Cushion Track. Her jockey Joe Talamo sticks with her.

#7 STEPHANIE'S KITTEN (Kitten's Joy - Unfold the Rose, by Catienus) hung in the stretch of the Natalma Stakes to finish third, beaten by a widening 3 ½ lengths by Tu Endie Wei. She’s the first foal produced by her unraced dam. Her second dam Bail Out Becky was a good multiple stakes race mare and her major accomplishment was a win in the Del Mar Oaks (G1). Stephanie’s Kitten gets her fourth rider in as many starts.

#8 NEW WAVE (Tale of the Cat - Ecology, by Unbridled's Song) After leading most of the way in the PG Johnson Stakes New Wave lugged out in the stretch and finished second to Alura Michelle by 2 ½ lengths. This pretty gray filly is a half sister to General Quarters, winner of the Bluegrass Stakes over the Poly and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, both G1 contests. New Wave has flashed three strong works over the Keeneland Poly and gets back to the surface where she won her maiden.

AndWhyNot#9 AND WHY NOT (Street Cry - Alchemist, by A.P. Indy) was a well-beaten third in the Spinaway (G-1), her second lifetime start. And Why Not’s sire and damsire pass endurance to their offspring. And Why Not’s half brother Burj Dubai is stakes placed. Their dam Alchemist was an allowance level runner who placed third in a Grade 3 stakes. Alchemist is a half-sister to Turnback the Alarm H.(G-3) heroine Altesse. The second dam Aldiza won the Go For Wand (G-1) and placed in the Test (G-1), Spinster (G1), Frizette (G-1) and other graded stakes. The fourth dam is blue hen Courtly Dee, dam of Champion Three Year Old Filly Althea. And Why Not’s sire is above average Poly sire. The bay filly gets a rider switch from Leparoux to Gomez.

#10 FROLIC'S REVENGE (Vindication - StormyFrolicsRevenge Frolic, by Summer Squall) invades from Calder, where she finished second in the Brave Raj last time out. Ironically in her previous attempt, Frolic’s Revenge won the Lindsay Frolic Stakes, named in honor of her second dam. Frolic’s Revenge is the first stakes winner produced by her dam. Stormy Frolic is a stakes winner and a half sister to five blacktype runners, including the multiple stakes winning warrior, Super Frolic. Both the second and third dams are graded stakes winners and this is a top Florida distaff line. Frolic’s Revenge breezed a 5F bullet in 1:00 ¾ in her last work.

HeartOfDestiny#11 HEART OF DESTINY (Lion Heart - Doc's Destiny, by Doc's Leader) won her maiden by a fast-closing nose in her second start, going 1 1/6 miles over the turf. Her sire gets an average number of Poly winners. Heart of Destiny is a half sister to grade 2 placed Brother Bobby. Their dam is stakes placed, but that’s it for blacktype in this immediate family. Heart of Destiny has fired two consecutive bullets, including a 5F :58 1/5 move over the Keeneland Poly.

#12 CHEERLEADER (Flashy Bull - Destiny's Yield, by High Yield) dominated maidens, including Tavern On the Bay, by over six lengths in her debut. Cheerleader is the second daughter of Flashy Bull entered in the Alcibiades. She’s the first foal for her dam, who won once in nine tries. That one is a half sister to the dam of Westchester Handicap (G-3) hero Sir Greeley. Cheerleader has breezed two six furlong stamina works for the race.

#13 TAVERN ON THE BAY (Offlee Wild - Terrified Ice, by Darn That Alarm) after being drilled by Cheerleader, Tavern On The Bay finally won her maiden in her sixth attempt. Her sire gets the occasional winner over Poly and has one graded stakes winner at Keeneland. Tavern On The Bay has a modest distaff line with no blacktype in the first two generations.

Anne of the Dance#14 ANN OF THE DANCE (English Channel – Dans La Ville, by Winning) trounced the colts in her second start then was a gaining third in the Arlington Washington Lassie . Her first crop sire English Channel won the 2007 Breeders' Cup Turf. He has five winners from 26 starters and Ann Of The Dance is his only Poly winner. Ann Of The Dance’s unraced dam is a half sister to a Chilean Oaks (G-1) winner. That one produced Pennsylvania Derby hero Grand Hombre. Ann Of The Dance has been working steadily at Arlington.

#15 ON FIRE BABY (Smoke Glacken - Ornate, by Gilded Time) is Also Eligible. She won her debut sprinting at Ellis Park. Her sire has a few winners over Poly, but overall, his progeny prefer other surfaces. The pretty gray On Fire Baby is a half sister to Fantasy Stakes heroine High Heels and stakes winner French Kiss. Their dam is also a stakes winner. On fire Baby has recorded average works at Churchill.


How the track is playing: Traditionally, Keeneland is very speed favoring, especially near the rail.

TU ENDIE WEI is the class of the field and should handle the stretch out. ANN OF THE DANCE has won at 1 1/16 miles over Poly and is stakes placed. She’s shown progression in her last two races and I really like her, but she is hindered by a far outside post. VENETIAN SONATA should appreciate the distance and owns improving Brisnet speed figures. The Helmbrecht barn is 21% with shippers. Ditto STEPHANIE'S KITTEN. HEART OF DESTINY has the highest late pace speed figure in the field. She also has the best works and a win at the distance. NEW WAVE gets back to the Poly after forays onto dirt and turf. She’ll carry last Fall’s leading rider Leparoux. AND WHY NOT has a fantastic pedigree and good works. She should improve going two turns.





Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tempted, Remsen Stakes Revamped

(Check back the afternoon of 10/2 for Oak Leaf Selections)

The Tempted Stakes used to be a mile event held at Aqueduct as was the Remsen. This year, the races were shifted around to provide preps for the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint. Previous heroines of the Tempted include Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk, Flawlessly, who would go on to become Champion Turf Mare and Agina, future Three Year Old Champion Filly.

This year’s edition of the Tempted holds a graded stakes winner and a stakes placed runner.

SELECT CAT (Tale of the Cat - Secret Patriot, by Secret Hello) was a one-paced third in the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth in her latest attempt. Her dam won once in three tries and is a half-sister to the dam of Canadian Champion Filly Ginger Brew and the multiple graded turf stakes winner Bourbon Bay. Select Cat switches to the barn of Eddie Kenneally, who gets 19% winners with new horses.

COLORMESAICHI (Fusaichi Pegasus - Colormein, by Mr. Greeley) also exits the Sorority, but was a lackluster fourth, finishing over five lengths behind Select Cat. Colormesaichi has a stalker’s style and the pedigree to stretch out. Although she won at 5 ½ furlongs, she may prefer longer distances as she matures. There’s no blacktype in her female family in two generations. Colormesaichi has recorded one average work for the Tempted.

PERENNIAL SONG (Songandaprayer - Yearly Copy, by Souvenir Copy) has won both of her starts by over five lengths and should be ready to step into stakes company. Her dam won twice in ten tries and is a half-sister to the good stakes mare Yearly Report, winner of the Santa Ynez (G-2), Black Eyed Susan (G-2), Delaware Oaks (G-2) etc. The second dam Fiscal Year won the Generous Portion Stakes sprinting. Perennial Song hasn’t worked since her victory over allowance runners, but the Tony Dutrow barn strikes with 33% of last-out winners.

GEORGIE'S ANGEL (Bellamy Road - Lalka, by Dynaformer) is the most accomplished filly in the field and owns a victory in the Schuylerville Stakes. She came back in the Spinaway, but weakened to a disappointing fourth as the favorite. None of Georgie’s Angel’s siblings have blacktype. Her dam Lalka went 0 for 11, but she is a half-sister to two stakes winners and the second dam Celmis is a stakes winner. The Pletcher trainee breezed a swift 4F :48 1/5 (5/65) over the deep Saratoga training track.

BELIEVE YOU CAN (Proud Citizen - El Fasto, by El Prado) has won two of three sprints and runners-up from both races came back to win next time out. Believe You Can is the first filly produced by her dam. She has three half-brothers. Two have raced, one has been successful twice in five starts. Their unraced dam is a half-sister to Schuylerville (G-2 and Debutante (G-3) heroine Classic Elegance. The Larry Jones trainee has been working forwardly, including a last out bullet 5F in 1:00 2/5.


How the track is playing: There’s a definite speed bias in sprint races at Belmont. 58% of the races are won on near the lead with 34% of the winners going wire-to-wire.

Typical of sprint races, all except one filly has a pace setting or pressing style. BELIEVE YOU CAN is the only filly in the race whose late-pace speed figures have improved in every start. She hasn’t raced since August, but has been brought along nicely by Larry Jones. PERENNIAL SONG is undefeated and can sit a little off of the pace. GEORGIE'S ANGEL should be respected as the only graded stakes winner in the field. She shortens up in distance. COLORMESAICHI is the only stalker in the field. If they drag race up front, she could run down tired fillies to earn a minor award.




#2 COLORMESAICHI – longshot



Like the Tempted Stakes, the Nashua was formerly run at a mile at Aqueduct and was a prep race for the 1 1/8 mile Remsen. Last year’s victor To Honor And Serve, recently set a new track record in the Pennsylvania Derby.

HANNIBAL LECTER (Harlan's Holiday - Decadent Designer, by Well Decorated) towered over maiden claimers at Saratoga, winning by over five lengths in racehorse time. He’s recorded a series of brisk works since the race and should progress. His dam was an allowance class mare who was in the money 13 of 28 starts. She’s a half sister to the old stakes veteran Bonapaw winner of the Vosburgh (G1), who is currently enjoying retirement at Old Friends.

SHE DIGS ME (Henny Hughes – Stage Stop, by Valid Expectations) is the most accomplished colt in the field with five starts under his girth. After capturing his maiden, She Digs Me took the Tyro and Sapling (G-3). She Digs Me has a speed-heavy pedigree up close, but there is some stamina received through his third damsire, Kentucky Derby winner Strike The Gold. She Digs Me’s dam won only twice in 16 starts, but she placed second or third in seven listed stakes between six furlongs and 1 1/16 miles. She Digs Me will likely have distance limitations beyond 1 1/6 miles, but may eventually become a useful sprinter.

The other half of the Asmussen entry, SEEKER (Hard Spun - Classic Olympio, by Olympio) won his second start by a widening 6 ¼ lengths over the Saratoga Slop. He’s a son of the hot new sire Hard Spun. Seeker is a half brother to the stakes winners Classify and Simplify. Their dam won the Moccasin Stakes as a two year old.

JAGATI (Yes It's True - Look for Good, by Unbridled's Song) came from off of the pace to finish in a dead heat for second behind She Digs Me in the Sapling. Jagrati’s three half-brothers haven’t done a whole lot, but his half-sister Mis Vizcaya is a multiple stakes placed sprinter. Jagati breezed a bullet 4F :48 ¾ (1/30) over the Saratoga training course in his second to last work.

CLIP THE COUPONS (Congrats - Cajun Dawn, by Awesome Again) was totally outclassed in the Hopeful (G-1) in his last start, winding up over 45 lengths behind the winner. He’s a half brother to the multiple stakes placed sprinter Peace At Dawn. His dam went 0-9 in her racing career, and is a half sister to a minor stakes winner. Clip the Coupons reunites with Castallano, who was aboard for a huge maiden score. Clip the Coupons is cross entered in the Garden State Stakes.

TRINNIBERG (Teuflesberg - Bella Dorato, by Goldminers Gold) made all the pace in the Hopeful but was overtaken by Currency Swap by ¾ a length. Trinniberg’s first crop sire was a hardy, hard trying runner who fell a neck short of winning the Sanford Stakes (G2) while still a maiden.. Trinniberg’s dam placed in a stakes as a juvenile. She’s a half to a stakes placed runner. Trinniberg recorded his last work at Calder. He’ll be shipping in to cooler weather and should appreciate the change.

VEXOR (Wildcat Heir - Real Clever Trick, by Yes It's True) was also outclassed in the Hopeful, finishing eighth. He has a sprint oriented pedigree. His unraced dam is a half to a listed stakes sprinter and a couple of stakes placed runners. Vexor has produced three increasingly faster works cumulating in a bullet 4F :47 3/5 (1/52) over the deep Saratoga training track.

ANGEL'S TUNE (High Cotton - Holiday Tune, by Concorde's Tune) won in his second start, holding on to win going a mile over the sloppy Delaware track. His first crop sire has seven winners from 22 starters, including the Hopeful winner Currency Swap. Angel’s Tune’s dam was unplaced in her sole start. She’s a half sister to Miss Preakness heroine R Holiday Mood. The second and third dams own stakes wins. Angel’s Tune represents the powerful Pletcher barn.


How the track is playing: There’s a definite speed bias in sprint races at Belmont. 58% of the races are won on near the lead with 34% of the winners going wire-to-wire.

SHE DIGS ME is the class of the field, while most of the others still have to prove themselves. His stablemate SEEKER popped a triple digit speed figure while winning his maiden. His works are a little slower than before he won his maiden, so he could regress slightly. TRINNIBERG is a nice colt who backs up a furlong. JAGATI proved that he can stalk and win. He could run down the front runners.




#4 TRINNIBERG – longshot