Friday, June 29, 2012

Competitive Bashford Manor

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The 110 running of the Bashford Manor is carded as Churchill’s sixth race on Saturday night. Typical of early season juvenile stakes races, distance challenged sprinters are prevalent in the six furlong event. The last colt to win/place in the Grade 3 event and have an influence on the following year’s Classics was 1989 Bashford Manor champ Summer Squall. In previous years, the back to back winners in 2006 and 2007, Circular Quay and Kodiak Kowboy, became multiple graded sprinter/milers.

This year’s Bashford Manor field is very competitive. All except one entrant is coming off of a maiden victory and most have won on the lead. Let’s take a look at the field and try to sort them out.

GOOD TICKLED (Flatter - Varus, by Vicar) won his second start while under pressure the whole way, trouncing Positively by 5 ¼ lengths. Good Tickled raced five furlongs in a smokin’ :57.89. With the bloodlines of A.P. Indy, Wild Again and Deputy Minister up close in his pedigree, Good Tickled should have quite a bit of stamina. His unraced dam is a half-sister to a juvenile stakes placed runner and Good Tickled’s third dam won the Matron (G-1), so that’s where he gets his precocity. This colt will enjoy the additional furlong. The drawback is the one post position, but with two races under his girth, Good Tickled should take it in stride.

CIRCLE UNBROKEN (Broken Vow - Baldomera, by Doneraile Court) won his maiden on June 17 after a heated battle down the stretch. His dam was a sturdy, classy mare, earning over $300,000 in 34 starts, including stakes wins. She placed in the Valley Stream (G-3) as a juvenile and owns the only blacktype in three generations.

GO JACK GO (Harlan's Holiday - Run Ameadowstar, by Cherokee Run) sat behind the speed in his debut, and was up in time to win by a neck. However, the fact that he doesn’t have a published breeze since mid-May is troublesome in this competitive field. Go Jack Go owns a precocious sprinter’s pedigree. He’s a half-brother to the stakes winner African Violet, who also placed in the Delaware Oaks (G-2). The Champion Juvenile Filly Meadow Star is a member of this female family.

PRAETORIAN PREFECT (Successful Appeal - Miss Emmy, by Buddha) fought between horses through the turn then outclassed maiden claimers by four lengths in his second start. He’s built like a sprinter and has a miler pedigree. Praetorian Prefect’s dam is a half-sister to the good producer Don’t Read My Lips, dam of the multiple stakes winning turf horses Hotstufanthensome, Silver Charades and Tacit Agreement. Other notable relatives include the popular Champions Sunshine Forever, Memories of Silver and her daughter Winter Memories. The fourth dam Golden Trail is a blue hen.

SPECIAL JO (Johannesburg - Quiet City, by Carson City) lived up to his $230K sale tag in his debut, battling early then putting the field away by six lengths. Special Jo is built like a sprinter and has a miler pedigree. He’s a half-brother to two stakes placed runners, Quiet Delight and Veneti. His third dam won the Fantasy (G-1) and is the grand-dam of the respected stakes veteran Brass Hat. Steve Asmussen trained three Bashford Manor winners in the last ten years, including last year’s champ Kantharos.

Romans_AvenueROMAN'S AVENUE (Street Sense - Career Fair, by Storm Cat) was also a $230K sales purchase. The stablemate of Dullahan broke running from post one and never looked back, beating his field of maidens by 4 ¼ lengths, including Hightail. Roman's Avenue is a big, good looking colt who may improve with distance, but he has an uncomfortably high leg action. He has a two-turn pedigree. Roman’s Avenue’s dam went 0-2 in her racing career, but she’s a half-sister to Test (g-1) heroine Victory Ride and Hollywood Derby (G-1) winner River Flyer. Career Fair’s full brother Mr. Mabee won the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes. The second dam is multiple stakes winner Young Flyer.

PositiveyPOSITIVELY (Distorted Humor - Macoumba, by Mr. Prospector) After proving no match for Got Tickled in mid-May, Positively blasted out of the gate and sat three wide in his second start. He battled the whole way, then claimed the lead in deep stretch, winning by 1 ¾ victory, beating a tough luck Hightail. The second place finisher came back to win next time out. Positively has the classiest pedigree in the field. He’s bred to go two turns, and may eventually find a home over the turf. He’s a half-brother to the prominent sire Malibu Moon. A half-sister placed in a listed stakes going long over the turf. Additionally, his half-sisters have produced graded stakes turf routers Temple City and Worth Repeating. Positively’s dam was a Group 1 winner in France and his second dam was the highly respected French multiple Group winner Maximova. Positively’s trainer Patrick Byrne took the Bashford Manor in 1977 with Favorite Trick, who would later be named Champion Juvenile.

HIGHTAIL (Mineshaft - Stormy Renee, by Storm Cat) was a $345K OBS March Two Year Old purchase after he breezed a furlong in :10.0. Still a maiden, Hightail had a tough competitive race against Positively in their last start. Hightail sat between horses the entire way and was banged around like a bumpercar. Still, he was only about two lengths behind Positively at the wire. As a son of Mineshaft, Hightail should improve with distance and racing. His female family leans towards precocity. Hightail is a first foal for his dam, who is a daughter of the multiple G-1 winner Fleet Renee. Fleet Rene’s half-brother Future Quest was successful in the Norfolk and Del Mar Futurity (G-1). Neither Stormy Renee nor her half siblings own blacktype, but the third dam Darien Miss was a Churchill specialist. She won the Golden Rod and placed in the Pocahontas at two and later became a multiple G-3 winner over the track. Hightail’s Hall of Fame trainer Wayne Lukas has claimed five Bashford Manor victories in the last 22 years, including three straight years from 1998-2000.


Track Bias: Front-running speed rules in 45% of the sprints this meet, with 30% runners wiring the field.

Four of the last six winners of the Bashford Manor came from off of the pace. Only one colt, longshot Screen Your Friend wired the field. Most were by sprint/miler oriented sires.

Circle Unbroken owns the highest late-pace figure in the field, but he’s entering off of a two week turnaround. His trainer wins with 20% two year olds, so he should be respected. Special Jo was impressive in his debut, has a quality family and enters for a top trainer. Positively showed good progression from his first to second race. He has the pedigree to become something special. Roman’s Avenue owns top works and should continue to improve. Praetorian Prefect won at 5F in a respectable :59.00 and has worked well. He has a deceptively good pedigree and will be overlooked. Hightail showed heart battling and bumping throughout his second start. He wasn’t beaten by much and owns a good pedigree. He is a strong alternate longshot play. Good Tickled’s speed figures improved from his first to second race. He’s also the only colt in the field who owns a 6F breeze. He was just a second off of the track record, so he’s either very fast or he’s going to regress after that effort. Either way, do you really want to leave the fastest horse in the field off of your tickets?




#4 PRAETORIAN PREFECT – longshot pick



Anonymous said...

Great job breaking down the race for us, thanks for all of your hard work.