Friday, September 28, 2012




The 1 1/16 mile Chandelier Stakes (formerly known as the Oak Leaf Stakes) is the first two-turn Graded Stakes contest for California fillies. Despite the presence of the unbeaten Executiveprivilege, the Grade One event attracted ten other fillies. Eight of the contestants will be racing over dirt for the first time.

The heavy favorite EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE will attempt to keep her record unblemished in the Chandelier. The daughter of First Samurai has previously defeated five of her opponents. The switch to dirt and extra distance shouldn't hinder Executiveprivilege.

After finishing over eight lengths behind Executiveprivilege in her debut, BEHOLDER returned to beat maidens at Del Mar by 3 ¼ lengths. She successfully stretched out to seven furlongs in the Del Mar Debutante and almost upset Executiveprivilege, finishing second to that filly by a nostril. The daughter of Henny Hughes has a sprinter’s pedigree and will attempt to carry her front-running speed wire to wire. Beholder is a half sister to CashCall Futurity hero & new sire Into Mischief.

Executiveprivilege has been triumphing over last out maiden winners in her previous races, but she faces four stakes winners in the Chandelier Stakes. The most impressive of these is BUTTERFLY SOUL (Henny Hughes - Zada Rae, by Unbridled's Song), who is wheeling back in two weeks after a tremendous move the Phil D. Shepherd Stakes at Fairplex. The pretty gray filly spotted the field more than nine lengths in her last start, made a Zenyatta-like move to mow them down by three lengths at the wire. Finishing behind her was stakes placed Awesome Annie. Butterfly Soul is the first foal to earn blacktype in her immediate female family, however, her dam is a half sister to two graded stakes winners. Butterfly Soul's fourth dam is Cequillo, one of the top broodmares in US History. Butterfly Soul is a winner over dirt and the extra distance should help her stretch run.

RENEE'S QUEEN (After Market - Mighty Renee, by Maria's Mon) grabbed the lead and held off all comers to prevail by a tenacious head in the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf. The daughter of After Market entered the race as a maiden. The Chandelier Stakes will be Renee's Queen first start over dirt. She's a winner over turf and has placed on Cushion track, so the surface switch shouldn't hinder. Renee's Queen is a half sister to Sorrento Stakes (G-3) heroine Mighty Caroline. The third dam Over All won six graded stakes as a juvenile, including the Spinaway & Matron.

The most well-traveled filly in the field is SALAMERA (Successful Appeal - Autumn Music, by Unbridled's Song). The pretty gray posted a win in the JJ's Dream Stakes at Calder, then chased the well regarded Kauai Katie home in the Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga. She finished 2 ¾ lengths behind that rival and beat the third place finisher by 1 ½ lengths. Salamera is a half sister to a Puerto Rican Champion filly, and the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper heroine Adore You. Another half sister placed in the Glass Slipper.

CONTESSA'S MOMENT (Kafwain - Unbridled Contessa, by Unbridled's Song) also ships in from out of state for the Chandelier Stakes. Like Renee's Queen, Contessa's Moment won her maiden in a stakes race. The gray filly rallied three wide to earn a victory in the Iowa Sorority Stakes. There is little blacktype in this immediate family. The second dam Wende is a stakes winner.

Last out maiden winner SCARLET STRIKE (Smart Strike - Scarlet Tango, by French Deputy) bested Chandelier entrant Majestic Minister by ½ a length upon stretching out to a mile over the Del Mar Polytrack. The well-bred filly is a half sister to King's Bishop Stakes (G-1) hero Visionaire. Their dam is stakes placed and the second dam Silver Tango is a multiple stakes winner.

The maiden MAJESTIC MINISTER (Majestic Warrior - Quick Commander, by Deputy Commander) should improve with the switch to dirt and with added distance. She gained ground at the end of her last race to just miss by ½ a length. Majestic Minister's second and third dams are stakes winners and own the only notable blacktype in this female family.

MISS EMPIRE has either bobbled or been off slow at the start in four of her five races. She's bred to improve with racing and distance. She was unplaced in the Del Mar Debutante and her speed figures have decreased in every start.

After winning her maiden at first asking, SWITCH TO THE LEAD has been trumped by almost ten lenghs by Executiveprivilege in the Sorrento and Del Mar Deubtante.

WITTGENSTEIN has hit the board once in four starts, including a non-competitive effort in the Sorrento. The Irish-bred daughter of Giant's Causeway has the pedigree to excel around two turns on the lawn.


Executiveprivilege is considered to be the best juvenile filly in California. Hard to pick against her. Butterfly Soul was spectacular in her last race. She's taking the same path as Candrea, who won the Phil D. Shepherd Stakes before her runner-up performance in the Oak Leaf. Scarlet Strike is one of the best bred fillies in the race. Beating winners in a Grade 1 race is a tough task, although hitting the board is a possibility. Renee's Queen is a longshot to watch.


#8 Scarlet Strike (8-1)

#5 Beholder (3-1)

#6 Butterfly Soul (20-1) – longshot pick


Ten two year old colts will face off against Know More in the Frontrunner Stakes (G-1), formerly known as the Norfolk Stakes. Unlike the juvenile filly division where Executiveprivlidge has defeated all comers, all of the two year old colt stakes races have been won by a different horse.

The most accomplished juvenile colt in California is KNOW MORE. The son of Lion Heart won the Best Pal in his debut and followed up with a second place finish in the Del Mar Futurity (G-1). The one-run closer is bred to get classic distances and has no excuse in the Frontrunner.

Know More faces ten rivals in the Frontrunner Stakes. Three of them finished behind Know More in the Del Mar Futurity. Two others enter off of stakes victories. The first is DRY SUMMER (Any Given Saturday - Greenstreet, by Street Cry), who won the Oak Leaf Juvenile turf by a neck in his third start. Dry Summer is the first foal produced by his dam, who is a stakes winner over dirt. The Jeff Mullins trainee hails from a quality female family which includes CCA Oaks (G-1) heroine Funny Moon, Champion Older Male Vanlandingham, Belmont Stakes winner Temperence Hill and multiple European Group 1 winners. His fourth and fifth dams are blue hens. Dry Summer has the pedigree to handle dirt and distance.

Finishing just behind Dry Summer after dueling the entire mile was POWER BROKER (Pulpit - Shop Again, by Wild Again). Trained by Bob Baffert, Power Broker, still a maiden, has been on or pressed the pace in two of his three starts and has faltered late after setting quick fractions. He is the first stakes placed runner produced by his stakes winning dam. She is a half sister to the multiple graded stakes winner Miss Shop and Grade 2 winner Trappe Shot. Power Broker's fourth dam Lady Be Good is a blue hen. Power Broker has the pedigree to handle dirt and two turns, however, he'll need to harness his speed to last against top company.

The other stakes winner in the Frontrunner Stakes is the undefeated CARVING (Any Given Saturday - In Seconds, by Giant's Causeway). A stablemate of Power Broker, Carving was up in time to beat his rivals by 3 ¼ lengths in the seven furlong C. B. Afflerbaugh Stakes at Fairplex. There is little blacktype in Carvings female family, although his dam is a half sister to the multiple Group winner Lear Spear. Carving is the only Frontrunner contender with a win over dirt.

The third Baffert-trained entrant, DEN'S LEGACY (Medaglia d'Oro - Sunshine Song, by War Chant), won his maiden in his third attempt at Del Mar. His unraced dam is a half sister to the vailant multiple graded turf mare C.S. Silk and two other stakes winners. The multiple stakes winning sprinter Victorina is member of this female family.

One of the best bred colts in the field is last out maiden winner IMPERATIVE (Bernardini - Call Her, by Caller I. D.). The Eoin Harty trainee circled the field five wide at Gold Gate to win a mile contest by ¾ a length. Imperative is a half brother to the multiple graded stakes veteran Battle Won and to the stakes winners Matched and Nadeshiko.

A couple of runners that disappointed in the Del Mar Futurity may rebound here. GABRIEL CHARLES (by Street Hero) and CAPO BASTONE (by Street Boss) were well regarded in their respective debuts, but failed to hit the board in the Futurity. Both should improve with a switch to dirt and more distance.

Dirty Swag, also by Street Hero, has shown speed figure improvement in each of his last three races. The last out maiden winner is taking on a tough crowd. The Whole Deal and WILD STUDENT have failed to hit the board against maidens.


Know More is the class of the field. Dry Summer has the class to handle these. Carving is the only runner with a victory over the dirt. Imperative is worth a second look.

#7 KNOW MORE (3-1)

#1 CARVING (6-1)

#5 DRY SUMMER (5-1)

#6 IMPERATIVE (20-1) – longshot pick


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Best Juveniles at Del Mar Meet in Futurity

The Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity attracts the most accomplished two year olds of the 2012 Del Mar meet to face each other on closing day. The race is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge contest, which means the victor of the Del Mar Futurity is assured a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile starting gate. Since 2000, two horses, Stevie Wonderboy and Midshipman, have pulled of the Del Mar Futurity/BC Juvenile double. In 2009, Lookin At Lucky won the Futurity, but was an unlucky second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. A year later, he won the Preakness.

This year's Del Mar Futurity field includes the spectacular Best Pal Stakes (G-2) winner KNOW MORE (by Lion Heart), who recorded history as the first horse to win a graded stakes at Del Mar in his debut. The field also includes SCHERER MAGIC (Donerailie Court). He benefited from a torrid pace in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship, but was a lackluster fifth in the Best Pal. The offspring of Doneraile Court are poor performers at Del Mar, with only 1 winner from 11 starters in six years.

HEIR OF STORM also competed in the Best Pal after winning his maiden. The Wildcat Heir colt steadied slightly, but finished a one-paced fourth in the race.

There are four last out maiden winners. Two of them. GABRIEL CHARLES (by Street Hero) and CAPO BASTONE (by Street Boss), were up in time to win their debuts by a nose and neck, respectively. Both are by freshmen sire sons of Street Cry.

YANKEE REBEL, by superior Polysire Yankee Gentleman, outclassed maiden claimers by 1 ¾ lengths in his debut, getting 5F in :58.27. He shares the highest Bris speed figure with Gabriel Charles and owns the 2nd highest late pace speed figure. This one is faster than some of the lower priced horses and he's worth a hard look.

No juvenile stakes race is complete without a Baffert trainee. ROLLING FOG (by Posse) dueled most of the way then pulled clear to win by 2 ¾ lengths.

There are three maidens who will try to win their maidens in a Grade 1 race.

The most impressive of theses, CABALLO DEL CIELO, lead all of the way to just get caught by ½ length at the wire by He's Had Enough (who is entered in the Oak Tree Mile) in their debut. Since the race Caballo Del Cielo has worked 2 consecutive bullets and gets a positive jock switch to Smith (20% wins mt sprints).

I'VE STRUCK A NERVE is also a son of Yankee Gentleman. He just missed in his debut bu two necks. The extra distance should help.

PURE LOYALTY, a son of Simon Pure, was off slow but made up 11 ½ lengths before running out of real estate in his debut. He finished second, beaten 1 ½ lengths in a 5 ½ length contest.

THE WHOLE DEAL (by Holy Bull) adds blinkers after two off of the board finishes against maidens. Holy Bull is a poor polysire. His offspring are 1-31 at Del Mar since 2007.

The filly SWITCH TO THE LEAD (by Songandaprayer) takes on the boys after a being dominated by 3 ¾ lengths by the top California filly Executiveprivilege in the Sorrento (G-3). She gets a positive jock switch, but the last filly to win the Futurity was Lost Kitty in 1987.


Track bias: front runners/pressers are winning at 44% while one run closers get the job done 38% of the time. In the last ten years, six front runners/pace pressers won the Del Mar Furturity, while four mid-pack runners and two closers were victorious.

There is very little early speed in the Del Mar Futurity, which is rare for a juvenile stakes race. Only ROLLING FOG and CABALLO DEL CIELO are confirmed front runners. SWITCH TO THE LEAD and SCHERER MAGIC could press the pace, while the rest prefer to race mid-pack or at the back of the pack.




#4 YANKEE REBEL – longshot pick


Monday, September 3, 2012

Hopeful Stakes Connected to Triple Crown

The seven furlong Hopeful Stakes was inaugurated in 1903. In 1973, the American Graded Stakes Committee bestowed Grade 1 status on the race. Traditionally, the Hopeful was the first Grade 1 event held for juveniles in the country. Winners of the prestigious race include the first fillies to win the Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby, Tanya and Regret, the legendary Man O'War, plus Triple Crown Champs Whirlaway, Secretariat and Affirmed. After Affirmed's victory, the last two horses to capture the Hopeful Stakes and a Triple Crown race were Preakness winner Summer Squall in 1989 and Preakness/Belmont hero Afleet Alex in 2004.

Perhaps it is a sign of modern American breeding trends that the majority of the Hopeful Stakes winners since 2000 have continued their careers as sprinter – middle distance runners. Last year, the Hopeful Stakes was dealt a blow when the race was downgraded to a Grade 2 event.

This year's field of seven juveniles includes some colts that own the pedigrees and possibly the talent to accomplish a Hopeful Stakes/Triple Crown double. Two colts in the field, Majestic Hussar and Royal Art are by previous Hopeful winners, Afleet Alex and Majestic Warrior.

Trainer Todd Pletcher is looking to pull off a trifecta with three entrants, Shanghai Bobby, Lawn Man and Overanalyze. The former two colts share the same owner, George and Lori Hall.

SHANGHAI BOBBY (Harlan's Holiday - Steelin', by Orientate) won his debut in mid-April. He then wired the field in the Track Barron Stakes at Belmont a month later, getting 5 ½ furlongs in a blazing 1:02.87, just missing the eight year old track record of 1:02.26. His dam is stakes placed and his second dam is the full sister to City Band, winner of the Golden Rod (G-3) and Oak Leaf Stakes (G-1). Shanghai Bobby's pedigree indicates that he will be best up to middle distances.

LAWN MAN (Flatter – Holly Park, by Go For Gin) was a sparking 4 ½ length debut winner over a good Saratoga track. His dam is a half sister to a couple of stakes placed runners. Lawn Man's distaff line has a special connection to the Hopeful Stakes as the 2001 winner Came Home and 2007 runner-up Ready's Image are members of the family. Lawn Man has the pedigree to run classic distances.

OVERANALYZE (Dixie Union - Unacloud, by Unaccounted For) earned a victory in his five furlong debut, getting the distance is a swift :57.48 and beating his rivals, including Royal Art, by 1 ¼ lengths. He owns the second highest late pace speed figure in the field. Overanalyze is a half brother to Matron (G-1, 7F) heroine Meadow Breeze. Another half sibling, Mighty Monsoon, is a multiple stakes placed sprinter. Their unraced dam is a half sister to two stakes placed runners. Overanalyze has the pedigree to handle middle distances.

Trainer Kelly Breen is represented by Bern Identity and Vegas No Show in the Hopeful Stakes.

BERN IDENTITY (Bernstein - Maddalena, by Good and Tough) announced that he might be something special when he won his maiden in his second start. He galloped to a 13 ¾ length victory, getting five furlongs in :57.55. In the Sanford Stakes (G-2), the son of Bernstein showed his professionalism by rating off of a torrid pace before putting away the tired pace setters to win going away by 1 ¼ lengths. Read his in-depth pedigree profile.

VEGAS NO SHOW (Hard Spun - The Hess Express, by Lord Carson) was third in his 4 ½ furlong debut. A little over a month later, he came back to win a mile race by a length, in a very green fashion, ducking all over the course. He's clearly talented and should improve with racing. Vegas No Show is a half brother to Whitney Handicap (G-1, 9F) champ Bullsbay. Two half sisters are juvenile stakes winners. Their dam is a juvenile stakes placed runner as is the second dam, Turcomedy. Vegas No Show's third dam was a multiple stakes winner and also won stakes as a juvenile. Vegas No Show has the pedigree to handle middle distances.

FORTIFY (Distorted Humor - Kotuku, by A.P. Indy) was mentioned on The Kiddie List in July. He sat off of swift early fractions in his debut, took over around the turn and drew off to a commanding 5 ½ length win. His dam went 0-5 in her career, but she’s a half sister to the dam of Ashland Stakes (G-1 8.5F) winner Little Belle, who also placed in the Kentucky Oaks, CCA Oaks and Alabama Stakes, all G-1 events. The second dam Railbird was highweight older mare in Europe. She’s a half sister to G-1 winners Runup The Colors and Prospector’s Delight, dam of HOY Mineshaft, etc. His third and fourth dams are blue hens. This Darley-bred colt has the pedigree to travel 1 14/ miles.

MAJESTIC HUSSAR (Majestic Warrior - Distorted Blaze, by Distorted Humor) sat off of the early pace, then took over around the turn, widening his lead to win his six furlong debut by 6 ¼ lengths over a sloppy Saratoga track. Majestic Hussar's first crop sire won an eventful edition of the Hopeful in 2007. Majestic Hussar is a half brother to Palm Beach Stakes (G-3, 9FT) hero Joes Blazing Aaron. He's also a half to multiple graded stakes placed French filly Danse Grecque. There is a smattering of blacktype runners throughout the first three generations of Majestic Hussar's distaff family and the Champion turf horse Alleged is a distant relative. Majestic Hussar should handle middle distances.