Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stamina Pedigrees in the Prevue

Seven lightly raced two year old colts are set to skirmish on the Hollywood Cushion Track today. The seven furlong event is one of the last chances this year to earn blacktype earnings for next year’s Kentucky Derby eligibility list. Four colts have intriguing stamina oriented pedigrees and could make some noise on next year’s Triple Crown trail.

Empire WayOne of the most exciting prospects in the field is EMPIRE WAY (Empire Maker - Delta Princess, by A.P. Indy), a full brother to Breeders’ Cup Distaff (ok, Ladies Classic) heroine Royal Delta. Empire Way won his debut just eleven days ago. The Mike Harrington trainee has a classic pedigree, as he’s by a Belmont Stakes winner out of a daughter of a Belmont Stakes winner.

Two other colts entering the Prevue after racing in November are Hodge and Brother Francis. The pretty gray HODGE (City Place - Tarahumara, by Black Tie Affair) is a half to stakes winners Lizzy’s Township and Many Kisses, plus a stakes placed runner. Hodge fought all the way in a 5 ½ furlong sprint to hold off Brother Francis by a diminishing ¾ length at Santa Anita.

BROTHER FRANCIS (Lion Heart - Viapervita, by Spectrum) came from off of the pace and was gaining with every step, but his pedigree indicates that he’ll love two turns. His sire Lion Heart won the Hollywood Prevue in 2003 and a year later was second behind Smarty Jones in the Kentucky Derby. His offspring win over all surfaces, but his turf runners can extend in distance to 1 ½ miles. Brother Francis distaff line is filled with European stamina and is strongly turf oriented. His damsire Spectrum won the 1 ¼ mile Champion Stakes (Eng. G-1) and Brother Francis’ dam won a stakes in Germany.

GALEXThe most experienced colt in the field with four starts under his girth is GALEX (Flatter - Oh Caramel, by Othello). He placed in the state-bred Everett Nevin Alameda County Stakes and was a distant second in the Jack Goodman Stakes behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint Champ Secret Circle. Galex owns the only black type in two generations of his female family, but he has inbreeding to the blue hen Weekend Surprise through her sons A.P. Indy (sire of Flatter) and Summer Squall (sire of Othello). BC Classic champ Stevie Wonderboy has the same inbreeding.

Another pretty gray colt, SO BRILLIANTSOBRILLIANT3 (Medaglia d'Oro - Merry Me in Spring, by Wekiva Springs) led all the way to win a sprint at Santa Anita in a sharp 1:09. Like many colts in the Prevue, So Brilliant has a pedigree indicating that he’ll prefer two turns. His sire won the Travers Stakes, but he was really best at 1 1/8 miles. So Brilliant’s damsire was a Grade 1 winning stakes veteran who was successful twice at 1 ¼ miles. Merry Me In Spring, So Brilliant’s dam, won a stakes going 1 1/16 miles over the turf. His second dam was also a stakes winner.

Unplaced in his last two stakes attempts, SHEER TALENT (Wildcat Heir - Malpractice M. D., by Langfuhr) enters the Prevue with a sharp 3 furlong bullet move. He has speed over stamina in his pedigree. His sire gets speedy youngsters, and while damsire Langfuhr was a Canadian Champion Sprinter, he’s sired two Canadian Triple Crown heroes and his daughter’s offspring win at all distances. There is very little blacktype in Sheer Talent’s immediate family. His dam went 0 for 5 in her racing career but she’s a half-sister to Remington Park Derby (G3) champ Temperence Time.

The third gray colt in the field, MUCHOS BESOS (Macho Uno - Ryn, by Mr. Prospector) enters the Prevue off of a maiden claiming victory. He’s a half-brother to the Grade 3 winning sprinter Sensation and Grade 2 placed I’ve Decided.

Scratched from the races is Sweet Swap, a full brother to Santa Anita Derby (G-1) hero Sidney’s Candy.


Track Bias: Stalkers won 2 of 3 races held at 7 furlongs this meet while one runner won on the lead.

Three colts, HODGE, SO BRILLIANT and GALEX like to be up on the lead. EMPIRE WAY and BROTHER FRANCIS are one run closers, while the rest like to sit mid-pack. EMPIRE WAY is entering off of a quick turn around, but if he weren’t doing well, his connections would have likely bypassed the race. GALEX showed improvement in his last start, which was his first off of a brief freshening. He should be set to give a big effort. He and EMPIRE WAY are the only two colts with multiple works over the Cushion Track. SO BRILLIANT had one work over Cushion Track two weeks ago and flashed a bullet 6 furlongs. BROTHER FRANCIS had a strong breeze two works back and he should appreciate more distance.




BROTHER FRANCIS – longshot pick

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Worth A Closer Look

Prices paid by Two Notch Road with Shannon Uske riding who lit up the board at 99-1 to win the Continental Mile Stakes at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. on Saturday August 15, 2009. Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTOLast year the offspring of More Than Ready pulled off wins in the Juvenile Turf and Filly counterpart stakes. This year, City Zip has an excellent chance of doing the same thing. His daughter Dayatthespa and son Majestic City have excellent shots to hit the board in their divisions. Below are some contenders in the contentious Juvenile events that could light up the tote.



Probable Favorite: SECRET CIRCLE (odds: 4-5)

BLACKYTHEBULLBLACKY THE BULL (Flashy Bull - Image of Honor, by Honour and Glory) is a stalker in a race loaded with speed. It took a couple of races for him to get his act together, but he graduated in his third start. His freshman sire is #5 on the first crop sire list with 15 winners from 41 runners. Blacky The Bull’s unraced dam is a half sister to Florida Oaks heroine Designated Dancer. The California colt’s trainer Jeff Bonde wins with 15% of shippers and jockey Pat Valenzuela finishes in the money 48% with his mounts. Odds: 10-1.

SHUMOOS (Distorted Humor – Wile Cat, by Storm Cat) Euro has been running well over the lawn and won a Group 3 in her only attempt over the Polytrack. Shumoos has a dirt oriented pedigree and could improve in her first try over the surface. Her sire and damsire are versatile, getting winners over all tracks, and her second damsire Cryptoclearance was a strong dirt sire. Shumoos’ unraced dam is a full sister to La Canada (G-2) winner Cat Fighter and her second dam was the good race mare Strategic Maneuver heroine of the Spinaway, Matron, Demoiselle and Schuylerville Stakes. Schmoos’ trainer Brian Meenhan pulled an upset in last year’s Turf with Dangerous Midge. Top Jock Garrett Gomez takes the mount on Schmoos. He’s in the money 67% with his dirt sprinters. Odds: 20-1.


Probable Favorite: ELUSIVE KATE (odds 2-1)

DayatthespaDAYATTHESPA (City Zip - M'Lady Doc, by Doc's Leader) made all of the pace in the Natalma (G-3) and was caught late by Northern Passion. It was a strong effort for Dayatthespa, who was jumping into graded stakes company after a maiden win at 5 ½ furlongs. Dayatthespa’s sire City Zip sprinted over dirt, but his turf offspring are strong runners that can get a route of ground. Dayatthespa’s dam went 0 for 7 in her racing career, but she’s a full sister to two-time track record setter Phi Beta Doc, winner of the Sarnac Stakes and West Virginia Derby. Trainer Chad Brown wins with an impressive 31% of his horses trying a route for the second time. He’s also the conditioner of the inaugural Juvenile Fillies’ Turf winner Maram. Leading trainer Ramon Dominguez is successful with 22% of his turf mounts. Odds: 12-1.

DEAR LAVINIA (Grand Slam – Baroness Richter, by Montjeu) raced against the boys in her last two starts, winning the one-mile Criterium de Bordeaux and placing in the Criterium de l’Ouest. She finished third by 1 3/4 lengths behind likely race favorite Elusive Kate in the seven furlong Prix Six Perfections three races back. Dear Lavinia is the first foal produced by her blacktype winning dam, Baroness Richter. That one is a half sister to a Japanese Group 2 winning miler. Her French connections, trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and jock Christophe Lemaire teamed up with the favorite Behkabad in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf where they finished third. Odds: 20-1.

STEPHANIE'S KITTEN (Kitten's Joy - Unfold theStephaniesKitten Rose, by Catienus) won her maiden going a mile over the turf, but hung in the stretch of the Natalma Stakes to finish third, beaten by a widening 3 ½ lengths by Tu Endie Wei. Stephanie’s Kitten gained revenge on that rival by over seven lengths in the Alcibiades as a long shot winner. Stephanie’s Kitten is by 2004 Eclipse Champion Turf Male Kitten’s Joy. Not surprisingly, his offspring are best over turf and synthetics, up to 1 1/8 miles. Stephanie’s Kitten is 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’s damsire Catienus, a son of Storm Cat, placed in graded handicaps at 1 ¼ miles. He’s a fairly young broodmare sire, and as such, has only two stakes winners. Stephanie’s Kitten will once again be a long shot in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, but she has been working well and her Brisnet speed figures have improved in every race. In the long run, she may prove more effective over Polytrack, but if she continues to improve, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Stephanie’s Kitten has a decent chance to hit the board at a good price. Trainer Wayne Catalano has a 26% strike rate with last out winners while jockey John Velazquez hits with 17% of his turf runners. Odds: 10-1.



Probable Favorite: MY MISS AURELIA (odds: 2-1)

CandreaCANDREA (Trippi - Burn Brightly, by American Chance) She dueled on the lead in her first try around two turns in the 1 1/16 mile Oakleaf Stakes (G-1), but she couldn't hold of the late charge of Weemissfrankie, finishing second by only ¾ of a length to that rival. On a positive note, Candrea's Brisnet speed figures have improved with every race. Candrea’s sprint specialist sire Trippi competed mainly in Grade 2 and 3 level sprints, but he did win the Grade 1 Vosburgh. The majority of Trippi's offspring are best up to a mile over all surfaces, although a few can stretch their speed to 1 1/16 miles. Last year his daughter R Heat Lightning placed second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Candrea is a full sister to the multiple stakes winning sprinter Dream of Angles. Her half-brother Good To Be Seen is a stakes placed runner. Candrea's dam Burn Brightly won five of 13 starts, including a stakes race as a sprinter. She's a half-sister to a Argentinean multiple graded stakes winner Dona Polenta. Candrea may be stretching her distance limitations at 1 1/16 miles, but she could have the class to finish in the money in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. In the last three Breeders’ Cup races that were held at Churchill, fillies who finished second in their last prep hit the board most often in the Juvenile Fillies. Trainer Bob Baffert scores with 32% shippers and Martin Garcia is in the money with a very respectable 71% of his mounts. Odds: 5-1.

MISS NETTA (Street Sense - Dyna Peak, byMiss Netta Dynaformer) won at first asking, but had gate issues then was rank in the Frizzette, finishing nine lengths behind the undefeated My Miss Aurelia. Miss Netta is a member of two year Champion Street Sense's first crop. Street Sense is the only horse to complete a Breeders' Cup Juvenile/Kentucky Derby win. He's of to a strong start at stud with eight winners and two stakes placed runners from 31 starters. His offspring are likely to improve with maturity. 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, who placed twice in consecutive Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf contests. Miss Netta breezed a bullet four furlongs from the gate in :46 4/5 at Belmont. Toss the Frizzette, because this filly should be on her toes. Trianer Kiaran McLaughlin won the Filly & Mare Turf in 2006 with Lahudood and grabbed third place in the 2009 Mile with Justenuffhumor. He wins with 20% of his two year olds. Jockey Rajiv Maraugh has ridden five mounts in previous Breeders’ Cups with a best finish of third place. Odds: 10-1.



Probable Favorite: FINALE (odds: 9-2)

MAJESTICCITYMAJESTIC CITY City Zip – It’ schemestrybaby, by Meadowlake) won his first three races sprinting, and was defeated a neck in the Del Mar Futurity by Drill at seven furlongs. Majestic City bore out badly in the stretch of that race, almost knocking Drill off of his feet and impeding the course of Creative Cause. For his efforts, Majestic City was disqualified to third. Instead of facing his two rivals in the Norfolk Stakes, Majestic City took on contenders in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. After pulling in the first part of the race, Majestic City appeared headed for a victory in the stretch, but couldn't hold off the fast closing Dullahan, losing by 3/4 a length to that rival. It was a good effort for his first try around two turns. His sire City Zip has become a top producer of runners over all surfaces. His turf runners don’t have the same distance limitations as their dirt counterparts. It’schemestrybaby, the dam of Majestic City took four years and 23 practice races before finding a field she could best in her 24 start. During her career, she did finish second four times and third nine times. It’schemestrybaby is a half-sister to the stakes placed sprinter She’s Raging. Majestic City’s second dam Not So Pleasant was winless in nine tries. There’s some quality in this family as the fourth dam produced the multiple Grade/Group 1 turf router Golden Pheasant. Majestic City turned recorded a very strong breeze over the Santa Anita turf in his first foray onto the lawn. He should find both the turf and the one mile distance to his liking. Odds: 6-1.

ANIMAL SPIRITS (Arch - Pennant Champion, byAnimalSpirits Mr. Prospector) got up to win the Bourbon Stakes (G3) by ½ length in his second start, winning his maiden in the process. Animal Spirits is a half brother to Broad Pennant, dam of Interactif who also includes a victory in the Bourbon on his résumé, stakes winner Stretching and stakes placed Wingspan. Animal Spirits’ second dam is the great Champion mare and blue hen Personal Ensign, whose progeny include Champion fillies My Flag, Grade 1 winners Miners Mark and Traditionally. Horses that have won or placed in the Bourbon Stakes have done well in the Juvenile Turf. Nownownow, who placed in the Bourbon took the inargural running of the Juvenile Turf. In 2009, Animal Spirit’s relative Interactif won the Bourbon and placed third in the Juvenile Turf. 27% of All Stall Jr.’s winners come back to score next time out. Robby Alberado clicks with 13% wins over the lawn. Odds: 10-1.

WROTE (High Chaparral - Desert Classic, by Green Desert) has improved his Timeform rating in every race (80, 84, 98, 106). He’s raced four times in less than four weeks, hitting the board in all of them. After gaining his second victory two weeks from his debut, Wrote finished a strong third place just eight days later in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes. By two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Champ, Wrote is the first blacktype earner for his dam, Desert Classic. Desert Classic is a half sister to a stakes placed runner. There’s plenty of quality in Wrote’s distaff line as his third dam is the blue hen Special, The dam of the top sire Nureyev and she is also the great-granddam of Champion Miler and legendary sire Sadlers’ Wells and last year’s Classic Champ Blame. Wrote’s trainer Aiden O’Brian sent out the runners-up in the Juvenile Turf in 2007 and 2008. Wrote’s jockey Ryan Moor rode Awesome Act to a fourth place finish in the 2009 Juvenile Turf. Odds: 8-1.



Probable Favorite: UNION RAGS (odds 5-2)

SPEIGHTSCITY (Speightstown - My American Girl, by Quiet American) blew away a so-so field by over 11 lengths in a rarely carded 1 1/8 mile race for two year olds at Saratoga in his second start. Speightscity’s 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 (G-2) winner Anew. The second dam is a G-3 stakes winner at 1 1/16 miles. Speightscity only has two races under his girth and gives away experience. His speed figures improved and we know that he can handle the distance. Speightscity is the first Breeders’ Cup entrant for his veteran New York trainer Gary Contessa. He taps Cory Nakatani to ride Speightscity. Nakatani has been riding in Breeders’ Cup events since 1990 and has a 65-7-8-9 record in the Breeders’ Cup. Odds: 30-1.

TakeChargeIndyTAKE 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, but was an average fourth in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity over the Keeneland Polytrack. Take Charge Indy's is the fourth and most talented foal produced by his dam. Take Charge Indy is a son of is the top U.S. stamina sire and Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy. Take Charge Indy’s dam Take Charge Lady is a multiple Grade 1 veteran who won the Spinster (twice), Ashland, Arlington Matron, and she placed in the Kentucky Oaks. She won or placed in 18 of 22 starts, earning over two million dollars. She has two stakes winning half siblings, Commendation, winner of the Bourbon County Stakes over the lawn and New York Oaks heroine Eventail. Eventail produced Fort Marcy winner Straight Story. Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint champ Chamberlain Bridge was produced by this distaff line. A.P. Indy is a poor sire of Polytrack runners and Take Charge Indy should improve remarkably over the Churchill dirt, especially at two turns. Trainer Patrick Byrne has a strong 25% win rate with horses switching from Poly to dirt. He’s no stranger to the winner’s circle at the Breeders’ Cup. Byrne trained the 1997 Champion Juvenile Colt Favorite Trick and the Champion Juvenile Filly Countess Diana to wins in their respective races. He came back a year later with the Classic winner and Champion Awesome Again. Jockey James Graham wins with 16% routers. He rode in two Breeders’ Cup races and has failed to hit the board. Odds: 20-1.