Friday, February 10, 2012

Sprinters in the Spotlight in Hutcheson Stakes

Although the Hutcheson Stakes (G-3) is considered a prep race for the Florida Derby and ultimately, the Triple Crown, many Hutcheson winners later became top sprinter/milers. Since the golden years of the 1970’s, the only two horses to win both the Hutcheson and a Triple Crown race were the incomparable Spectacular Bid and Belmont Stakes hero Swale. Honorable mention goes to Hutcheson runners up Crème Fraiche, who won the Belmont Stakes and Forty Niner, who placed in the Kentucky Derby.

ThunderMoccasinThis year, a competitive group of five colts will vie for the Hutcheson Stakes trophy. Morning line favorite THUNDER MOCCASIN (A. P. Warrior - One Stormy Mama, by Storm Cat) breezed to a 2 ½ length victory in his only start. The runners up later came back to win. Thunder Moccasin’s dam is a half-sister to a listed winner and his second dam was a stakes winning turf miler. The Pletcher-trained colt tossed a bullet 4 furlong work in his last move.

II VILLANO (Pollard's Vision - Do the Wekiva, byIlVillano photo Barbara Weidi Wekiva Springs) is back to sprinting after fading to third behind Alpha in the stretch of the Count Fleet Stakes. This is a brilliant front running sprinter with :21 speed. He won three sprints by a combined 17 ¼ lengths, two of which were listed stakes. Il Villano‘s distaff family is modest. He’s the only colt and stakes winner produced by his dam. She was winless in six tries, but is a half-sister to two stakes placed runners. The pretty gray colt likes to run them off of their feet early.

EverSoLuckyKentucky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up EVER SO LUCKY (Indian Charlie - Bally Storm, by Summer Squall) has scratched from the race due to poor weather and training cnditions.  His conditioner Jonathan Sheppard said that they'll point towards the Swale Stakes on March 10.

The longest shot on the board at 12-1, WildcatCreekWILDCAT CREEK (Wildcat Heir - Prettyatthetable, by Point Given) just missed in two stakes races at Tampa. The son of top Florida sire Wildcat Heir, Wildcat Creek is a half-brother to the multiple Graded Stakes winner Pomeroy’s Pistol, who incidentally loves the Gulfstream track.

Recent maiden winner QUICK WIT (Sharp Humor - Thank the Academy, by Royal Academy) comes back in just two weeks for trainer Dale Romans. Quick Wit’s full sister Find the Humor placed in the Iowa Oaks and their second dam was a stakes winner around two turns. The Hutcheson Stakes will be Quick Wit’s third start in three weeks.

TarpysGoalPhotoVanessaNgStepping up from optional claiming company, Quick Wit’s stablemate TARPY'S GOAL (High Cotton - Terre des Hommes, by Exbourne) was victorious on the same day that Quick Wit won his maiden. Tarpy’s Goal was the first winner for his sire. Tarpy's Goal has miler speed mixed with strong European stamina. His damsire won the Hollywood Gold Cup (G-1) at 1 ¼ miles over the turf, as well as the Shoemaker Mile and other graded stakes. Tarpy's Goal’s dam is a half-sister to the sire Running Stag, and also to the grand-dam of the Grade 1 winning sprinter Street Boss.

None of the contestants have raced over an off track, although Il Villano has won over a track labeled “good,” plus there’s no lack of speed in the Hutcheson, but the pretty gray colt can throw a :21 ¾ first quarter and keep on going. Wildcat Creek also has a pedigree suited to an off track. He finished a half-length short of Prospective in the Pasco, and that one came back to place in the Sam F. Davis Stakes last week.  Quick Wit can rally from off of the pace. He shows an even progression in each race and appears to be putting it all together
#5 Il Villano
#2 Wildcat Creek
#4  Quick Wit