Saturday, November 29, 2014

STARS OF TOMORROW – Pedigree Notes

The juvenile colts and fillies will be out in full force on Saturday at Aqueduct, Churchill Downs and Calder…uh, Gulfstream West, as it’s known now. Churchill and Gulfstream will offer maiden, allowance and stakes races for the youngsters. Perhaps we’ll see a preview of next year’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont Stakes winner or future older superstar.

Below are pedigree notes on the maiden and allowance race contenders, plus the Golden Rod and Demoiselle Stakes. Many of these babies were mentioned this summer on The Kiddie List. You’ll find the Remsen and Kentucky Jockey Club analysis and selections at the Pedigree Power blog on Horse Racing Nation.


RACE 1 | Optional Claiming | 1 mile | 2YO Fillies

ZEVEN (Lookin At Lucky - Boot Scoot N Run, by Storm Boot) half to stakes placed Kowboy Boots (Kodiak Kowboy). Their dam is a half to stakes placed Bushwacked. That’s it for blacktype in this family.

TRIGGER FINGER (U S Ranger - Vibration, by Catienus) Her dam is a full sister to stakes winning turf miler SELF MADE MAN and also to the stakes placed turf miler Rules of Honor. Third dam is the blue hen Kitten’s First, dam of Champion Turf Male and top sire KITTEN’S JOY, multiple Grade 1 winner PRECIOUS KITTEN and granddam of Champion 2YO Filly DREAMING OF ANNA, stakes winners and sires LEWIS MICHAEL and JUSTENUFFHUMOR. Trigger Finger has a terrific turf pedigree and won her debut on the turf. She’ll try to transfer her winning ways to the dirt.

TIGER RIDE (Candy Ride (ARG) - Royal Tigress, by Storm Cat) is a half to the stakes winning sprinter/miler OL DONYO (Curlin) and stakes placed Legend (Tiznow). Their dam is a Group 3 winning sprinter in Ireland. Third dam SUMMER MOOD was a Canadian Champion Sprinter. Tiger Ride has a good pedigree for turf and won her debut over the surface. Like Trigger Finger, she’ll try to do the same over the dirt.

BIG RED SEVEN (Hold Me Back - All Sevens, by A.P. Indy) His Freshman Sire, a son of Giant’s Causeway was best suited for turf although his offspring have no problems winning over the dirt. Big Red Seven’s second dam SIX SEXY SISTERS won 2 of 3 starts, including the Colleen Stakes. This is the distaff family of MGSW sire BEAU GENIUS.

LAVENDER CHRISSIE (Scat Daddy - Lavender Baby, by Rubiano) is a half sister to Grade 3 winning sprinter BABY J (J Be K), stakes winner and turf Grade 1 placed LAUREATE CONDUCTOR (Bernstein) and multiple stakes placed Que Posse (Posse). The class skipped a generation in this family as we have to go back to the third dam, multiple stakes winner HOT MILK to find blacktype.

HARLAN'S DESTINY (Harlan's Holiday - Mantekilla, by Lemon Drop Kid) takes on open company after out-classing state-bred stakes fillies by over seven lengths in the Rachel's Turn and the West Virginia Breeders' Classic Stakes. Her dam is a half to a stakes winner. Two-time Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint heroine MIZDIRECTION and Grade 1 winner HOOH WHY are part of this female family.

RACE 2 | Optional Claiming | 6F | 2YO Fillies

MOVIE MYSTERY (Flatter - Tiz a Fantasy, by Tiznow) her dam is a half to a stakes winning sprinter and second dam FANTASY ANGEL won the Comely Stakes (G-3). This filly is bred to go long, however she won her debut sprinting.

TAYLOR S (Medaglia d'Oro - Miss Macy Sue, by Trippi) cuts back to a sprint after speed/fade in the Rags to Riches Stakes. Her dam is a multiple stakes winning sprinter. Taylor S has plenty of speed in her distaff line as she’s inbred to the two-time Champion Sprinter TA WEE.

CLASSY CORINTHIAN (Corinthian - Can't Buy Class, by Elusive Quality) No blacktype in her immediate family, although all four of her siblings, which are fillies, are winners. Their dam is a half to two stakes placed runners and this is the female family of popular Grade 1 stakes veteran BOBOMAN.

ZENITTOWINIT (Zensational - Silver Star, by Silver Deputy) her dam is a half to multiple stakes winner and sire GREELEY’S CONQUEST, G-3 heroine ITTY BITTY PRETTY, and three stakes placed runners. The second dam TIPSY GIRL is also a multiple stakes placed sprinter.

EMPRESSIVE HUMOR (Distorted Humor - Empressive Lady, by Empire Maker) was no factor in the Adirondack or Matron Stakes, so she drops into allowance company. With Empire Maker and A.P. Indy as her first two damsires, she has the pedigree to run all day and might need at least a mile to stretch her legs. Her dam and second dam were both stakes placed sprinters.

SILVER ALLURE Unbridled's Song - Only Seventeen, by Exploit) is a half to Milady Handicap (G-2) heroine MADE FOR MAGIC (Cape Canaveral).

I'M A LOOKER (Henny Hughes - Our Mariella, by Victory Gallop) her dam is a half to a stakes winning sprinter. The third dam, LAKEWAY MISS, was 1977 Champion 2YO Filly.

RACE 3 | MSW | 1 1/16 miles | 2YO Fillies

TALE OF CLASS (Tale of Ekati - Classic Slew, by Seattle Slew) is a half to turf stakes winner SURGING RIVER (Gone West), plus turf stakes placed runners Comet Kris (Kris S.) and Ford Every Stream (Seeking the Gold). You read that right, her dam is 20+ years old and by SEATTLE SLEW. Tale of Class’ second dam and third dams are the blue hens. Second dam No Class bore Champions GRAY CLASSIC, REGAL CLASSIC, SKY CLASSIC and DANCE SMARTLY, plus No Class is the grand dam of Champion DANCETHRUTHEDAWN, top sire SMART STRIKE, Queens Plate hero SCATTER THE GOLD, also third dam of G-1 winner MORENO, etc. Third dam is blue hen Classy Quillo.

SAVE OUR OCEANS (Super Saver - Atlantic Ocean, by Stormy Atlantic) is a half to turf stakes placed runner Golden Galleon (Medaglia d'Oro). Their dam is a G-3 winner over dirt and turf, and her wins include the Miesque (G-3) Santa Ysabel, and Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies.

MARKET APPEAL (After Market - Setareh, by Sky Classic) her dam is a stakes winning miler who placed third in the Vanity (G-1) at 1 1/8 miles. Her half sisters have bore several listed stakes winners/placers.

PURR (Bluegrass Cat - French Kiss, by Hussonet) this well-named filly’s dam was stakes placed at two, and as an older stakes winner, won at 1 1/6 miles. The dam is a half to multiple G-1 winner ON FIRE BABY, who is also a graded stakes winning 2YO. Another half sister, HIGH HEELS, is a stakes placed juvie and won the G-2 Fantasy at three.

SUPER SAKS (Sky Mesa - Broadway Debut, by Unbridled's Song) is a half to juvie SP Mr Bluegrass Music (by Bluegrass Cat). Another half sib was unplaced in 4 starts at two. Their dam Broadway Debut is a half to MGSP Voodoo (by Petionville) and the second and third dams own blacktype.

LASSOFTHEMOHICANS (Indian Charlie - Dream Street, by Tale of the Cat) her unraced dam is a half to Champion Sprinter HOUSEBUSTER. The multiple stakes winning turf sprinter SOMETHING EXTRA (by Indian Charlie), G-2 winner NICOLE H, multiple stakes veteran TAX REFUND and stakes winning sprinter MEAL PENALTY are all part of the immediate (2nd gen.) female family.

STROKE PLAY (Warrior's Reward - Candy Ma'am, by Lemon Drop Kid) One of two half sibs to race placed as a 2YO and the dam placed in her second start. The second and third dams own minor blacktype. Freshman Sire WARRIOR'S REWARD, a son of MEDAGLIA D'ORO, is off to a huge start at stud.

SUPER STYLISH (Super Saver - Stylish Manner, by Touch Gold) is a half to G-3 winner NONIOS (Pleasantly Perfect) who was second in the Haskell Inv. (G-1), also a half to juvie stakes winner CITY COOL (City Zip), and stakes placed Super Robusto (Smoke Glacken). Her dam is a half to G-3 stakes winning turfer KISS THE DEVIL, who is the dam of multiple turf stakes winners KISS MINE and KISS MOON.

INCLUDE BETTY (Include - Betty's Solutions, by Eltish) is a half to Hollywood Starlet (G-1) runner-up Blonde Fog (Divine Park) and an English stakes placed runner. Second dam is multiple graded stakes winner BETTY LOBELIA. Grade 1 winning sprinter MY TRUSTY CAT and multiple stakes veteran SOMETHINGABOUTBETTY are part of this immediate family.

RACE 4 | MSW | 1 1/8 MILES (Turf) | 2YO Colts/geldings

OO DE LALLY (Midshipman - Home Run Kiss, by Bertrando) his dam is a full sister to G-1 turf winning miler KARELIAN and a half to G-2 SP turf miler COLGAN'S CHIP. This colt’s pedigree leans more towards sprint speed rather than middle distances.

RANSOM THE MOON (Malibu Moon - Count to Three, by Red Ransom) his dam is a SW sprinter and a full sister to Canadian G-3 winner THNIK RED. The second dam COUNTUS IN is a three-time winner of the Maryland Ladies Handicap.

PAT'S SHOES (Eskendereya - Isabell's Shoes, by King of Kings (IRE)) is a half to SP runners Bell's Shoes (Mineshaft) and Amazing Shoes (Empire Maker). Their dam won the one mile Martha Washington stakes. She’s a half to multiple SW miler PROM SHOES and to the stakes winning sprinter WILDCAT SHOES. Second dam PINK SHOES and third dam FUN FLIGHT also won the Martha Washington. This is the female family of G-1 winning sprinter and sire ZENSATIONAL and MGSW DEPARTING.

TASK FORCE GLORY ( Badge of Silver - Glory Dancer, by Honour and Glory) is a half to SW GUNG HO and SP Kitten’s Dancer (both by Kittens Joy). The second dam is a G-2 winner and third dam is the important blue hen BLITEY, dam of DANCING SPREE, FANTASTIC FIND, (dam of MG1W FINDER’S FEE). Multiple stakes winning veteran T.D. VANCE and Champion 3YO Filly HEAVENLY PRIZE are also part of this illustrious distaff family.

STREET TOUGH (Street Sense - Dreamy Maiden, by Meadowlake) is a half to U.A.E. Derby (G-2) & Royal Lodge (Eng-G-2) winner DADDY LONG LEGS (Scat Daddy) and multiple stakes winning dirt sprinter TRES DREAM (Chester House). Their dam is a SW over dirt and the second dam is a stakes winner over dirt & turf.

HEY HEY IT'S D K (Exchange Rate - Latitude Forty, by Chester House) his dam is a MSW at 1 1/8 miles over the turf. The second dam Planchette was third in the Iroquois Stakes against 2YO colts.

TIZ TOWN (Tiznow - Bird Town, by Cape Town) Only four of seven half siblings of racing age made to the track. None own blacktype, and only two won. One of the two hit the board as a 2YO. The dam was Champion 3YO filly and half sister to Belmont Stakes winner and sire BIRDSTONE. The second dam Dear Birdie is a blue hen.

UNION RIVER (Tiznow - Our Khrysty, by Newfoundland) his dam is a MSW sprinter and a half sister to MG1W and sire BULLSBAY (Tiznow) and juvenile SW VEGAS NO SHOW (Hard Spun). The second and third dams were stakes placed as juveniles and fourth dam is the blue hen GRECIAN COMEDY, who was a juvie SW.

JEWISH HOLIDAY (Purim - Red Dot, by Diesis (GB)) his dam is a half to Kentucky Oaks heroine FLUTE.

RACE 5 | MSW | 6 1/2F | 2YO Fillies

PRETTY PERFECTION (Majesticperfection - Suchaprettygirl, by Mazel Trick) her dam is a half to MG1 winning turf router SWEET TALKER and multiple G-3 turfer SILVER MEDALLION. This is the distaff family of MGSW INCLUDE ME OUT and CHECK THE LABEL.

FASHIONABLY COOL (Tiznow - Kanani, by E Dubai) his dam is a half to many stakes winners, including LITTLEEXPECTATIONS, LITTLE SISTER, and VALID EXPECTATIONS. This is also the distaff family of MG1SW PURGE, JERSEY GIRL (dam of JERSEY TOWN), and stakes winner and leading CA sire VALID WAGER.

QUEEN BUXLEY (Super Saver - Finmore Queen, by Grand Slam) her dam is a half to Ruffian Stakes (G-1) POOL LAND and MSP My Chickadee.

ANYTHINGYOUCANDO (Curlin - Glorified, by Honour and Glory) her dam is a G-1 stakes placed sprinter and a half to MSP Gangbuster. The second, third and fourth dams are all stakes winners and Hollywood Starlet heroine DIPLOMAT LADY is part of this family.

MOON MEDAL (Medaglia d'Oro - Moonbow, by Distorted Humor) her dam is a half to G-3 winner BUFFUM, MSW STORMY WEST and SP Value Stream. Second dam STORM BEAUTY won the Miss Preakness Stakes and she’s a half to Champion Sprinter GOLD BEAUTY (dam of Champion and sire DAYJUR), G1 winner and blue hen MAPLEJINSKY (dam of Champion Older Mare SKY BEAUTY, plus granddam to TALE OF EKATI, PLEASANT HOME, PINE ISLAND, etc.). Third dam is blue hen STICK TO BEAUTY.

ROSE TO GLORY (Majestic Warrior - Rose Tiara, by St. Jovite) pretty gray filly is a half to SP sprinter Clayton's Trick (Phone Trick). Their dam’s half sister bore G-3 winner KID GRINDSTONE. Second dam is Champion Sprinter PRINCESS ROONEY.

RACE 6 | OPT. CLAIMER | 6F | 2YO colts/geldings

INSTANT REPLAY (Lemon Drop Kid - Run Kate Run, by Cherokee Run) is a full brother to MSW veteran KID KATE and a half to SW AMIE'S DINI (Bandini). The second and third dams both won stakes as 2YO.

HOLY BOSS (Street Boss - Holy Grace, by Holy Bull) his dam is a half sister to graded stakes winners MARK ONE and ROOKIE SENSATION. Another half sister foaled Ohio Derby hero PLEASANT PRINCE.

GREAT REZULTS (Zensational - Quarterly Report, by General Meeting) has a fairly precocious female family. His dam is a multiple SP full sister to SW YEARLY REPORT, the dam of recent Spinaway (G-1) winner CONDO COMMANDO and multiple SP CHECKLIST. Second dam FISCAL YEAR is a SW Juvenile.

TOASTING MASTER (Congrats - Broadway Gold, by Seeking the Gold) he’s a half brother to multiple stakes winner R GYPSY GOLD (Bernardini), Razorback Handicap hero GOLDEN LAD (Medaglia d'Oro) Grade 2 winner and Kentucky Oaks runner-up BROADWAY’S ALIBI (Vindication). Their dam won the Astoria Stakes as a 2YO and she’s a half sister to Florida Derby hero and new sire DIALED IN. Second dam Miss Doolittle placed in the Schuylerville Stakes (G-2) as a two year old and the second dam ELIZA earned Champion 2YO Filly honors.

RACE 7 | MSW | 6 ½ F | 2YO colt/geldings

FRACULA (Rockport Harbor - Light and Liberty, by Arch) both half siblings are winners. His dam is a half to SW sprinters RISEN WARRIOR and AWESOME LADY, who is the dam of MSW turf sprinter SENSIBLE LADY.

MARKET GUESSING (Blame - Run Sarah Run, by Smart Strike) is a half to multiple stakes veteran FIRST DUDE (Stephen Got Even) and SW VIA VENETO (Orientate). Second dam BREECH is a SW.

NO SMALL REWARDS (Warrior's Reward - No Small Wonder, by Capote) is a half to Cinderella Stakes winner WONDERFUL LUCK (Trust n Luck). That’s it for blacktype in the immediate distaff line.

HIDDEN DANGER (Tiznow - North Cork, by Doneraile Court) his dam is a half sister to Louisiana Derby (G-1) hero HIGH LIMIT. Recent BC Juvenile Turf winner HOOTENNANNY, plus G1 winners DANCE TEACHER and CAT MOVES are part of this family.

FLASHY JEWEL (Flashy Bull - Indian Jewel, by Distorted Humor) is a half to SP Juvie KENTUCKY GEM (Friends Lake). Their dam is a full sister to Busanda Stakes winner AGE OF HUMOR, plus a half to MSP Coach Ryan and juvie SP Meeker Avenue.

DECORATION (Congrats - Preemptive Attack, by Smart Strike) is a half to MGSP Sky Treasure (Sky Mesa) and juvie SP Panther Strike (Black Minnaloushe). Second dam is Canadian Champion Older Mare and Champion Turf Mare BOLD RURITANA.

AMERICAN ROAD (Quality Road - I Love America, by Quiet American) is a half to 2YO SW AMERICAN SUGAR (Harlan's Holiday) and SP Love to Run (Pulpit). Their dam is a half to the dam of MG1 winning sprinter SASSY IMAGE, who was also a SW 2YO. I Love America is a half to the dams of 2YO SW LA WILDCAT and her turf SW half brother EXTENSIVE. The second dam is stakes placed and the third dam HEADER CARD won the Oak Leaf (G-1) as a two year old. Do you see a trend here?

KID ZIP (Unbridled's Song - Baby Zip, by Relaunch) the pretty gray colt is a half brother to multiple graded stakes winners and top sires CITY ZIP (Carson City) and GHOSTZAPPER (Awesome Again) plus multiple G3 winner CITY WOLF (Giant’s Causeway). Their dam is a blue hen.

TWISTED FANTASY (Touch Gold - Miss Attractive, by Running Stag) is a half to MGSW AWESOME BABY (Awesome Again) heroine of the Santa Ynez, Santa Ysabel and Sunland Park Oaks. Their dam is a half to SW AMIABLE GRACE and MISS TIZZY.

VICI (War Front - Viva, by Pulpit) hails from a family of Claiborne Farm bluebloods. He’s a half to G-3 SP Luster (Touch Gold). His dam is a half sister to stakes winning sires EASTERN ECHO and ROAR, plus Multiple graded stakes winner YELL. Second dam stakes winner WILD APPLAUSE is the grand-dam of GSW CONGRATS and SP Flatter, both are sires. The fourth dam is dam is blue hen GLOWING TRIBUTE, dam of Kentucky Derby winner SEA HERO, plus she is grand-dam of Champion European sprinter MOZART and many other notable stakes winners.

HAWKSHAW (Discreetly Mine - Count to Six, by Saratoga Six) is a half to the multiple stakes winning veterans MERIBEL (Peaks and Valleys) and KNOX (Menifee). Six of nine half siblings that raced are winners. Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint heroine INFORMED DECISION is part of this distaff family.

RACE 8 | MSW | 1 MILE (TURF) | 2yo Fillies

LIVE FOREVER (Pioneerof the Nile - Smokin Again, by Smoke Glacken) her dam is a SW 2YO on dirt and went 0-2 over the lawn. PON is an excellent (33%) turf sire. We have to skip back to the third dam to find blacktype. Third dam DIANES HALO is a G-2 winner and was second in the Santa Anita Oaks (G-1). This is the female family of multiple graded stakes winner and sire DOMESTIC DISPUTE.

SWEETER THAN EVER (Exchange Rate - Sweet Eloise, by Sky Classic) pretty gray filly is a half to SW SWEET RELISH (Smoke Glacken) and DON DULCE (Maria’s Mon). Both earned their SW over dirt. She’s also a half to G-3 turf placed Wherethewestbegins (Gone West). Their dam is stakes placed and a half to several stakes placed runners. Second dam MS ELOISE won the Shuvee (G-1), Top Flight (G-1) Bed O’Roses (G-3) etc. This is the female family of MG1 winner OCTAVE.

STRIKE BACK FAST (English Channel - Elegant Prospect, by Mr. Prospector) is a full sister to Changethechannel who placed in the Santa Barbara Handicap (G-3). Third dam GORGEOUS won the Ashland (G-1), Hollywood Oaks, Vanity Invitational (G-1) etc. Fourth dam KAMAR was Champion 3YO Filly in Canada. Her descendants bore Santa Anita Oaks (G-1) winner TURBULENT DECENT, Ruffian Stakes (G-1) heroine SWIFT TEMPER, and many other stakes winners.

BELPIANA (Rock Hard Ten - Sweet Rider, by Seeking the Gold) her sire is a strong turf sire. Her dam is a half to SANTA CATERINA, who won the Hollywood Oaks (G-2) and placed in the KY Oaks, Frizette, Del Mar Debutante and BC Juvenile Fillies. She’s also a half to Sanford Stakes runner up Power World. English Champion 2yo filly CULTURE VULTURE is part of this distaff family.

DYNAMY ROAD (Bellamy Road - Dynacielo, by Dynaformer) is related to American Road, who is entered in Race 6. Their dams are half sisters.

PANTANAL (Congrats - Selva, by Forest Wildcat) her dam won the Monmouth Sorority and Glorious Song Stakes at Woodbine as a 2YO, plus the Mardi Gras Stakes sprinting on the lawn at Fairgrounds. She owns the only blacktype in two generations.

BETTER BE BETTER (Smart Strike - Lake Huron, by Salt Lake) is a full sister to Dogwood Stakes (G-3) heroine SALTY STRIKE and half stakes winner SALTY RESPONSE, plus SP Northern Vacation.

HEART LOVE KISS (Zensational - Indigene, by Deputy Minister) is a half to MSP sprinter Pretty Katherine (Vindication). Her dam is a is a full sister to MGSW ATELIER (who bore GSP Alaazo). She’s also a half to the graded stakes veteran ALDIZA who won the Go For Wand Handicap (G-1) and placed in the Test, Frizette, Spinster, etc.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Delta Downs Jackpot – Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

KENTUCKY DERBY TRAIL The top four finishers in the Delta Downs Jackpot will earn points towards the Kentucky Derby. But so far, the race is just a blip on the Derby trail. Only one horse that has finished in the top three in the Jackpot has made an impact on the Triple Crown races, 2005 Kentucky Derby runner-up Closing Argument.

In the eleven years that the Delta Downs Jackpot (G-3) has been contested, only two winners, Big Drama and Goldencents, have continued on to win Grade 1 stakes. It seems the only thing going for the race is the million dollar purse and a chance for the horses’ connections to indulge in some Cajun cuisine.

This year, a full field of ten, with two also-eligibles are scheduled to run 1 1/6 miles. There’s a 90% chance of a wet track, so let’s scout for the mud pedigrees.

Colts exiting the Breeders' Cup haven't fared well in the Delta Jackpot. Only Z Humor, fifth in the BC Juvenile, has won the Jackpot. This year, MR. Z enters the Jackpot after a fifth place finish in the Juvenile. The well-traveled colt has started at five different tracks in six races since June and has finished worse than second only twice. An exhausting schedule that many horses couldn’t handle, but Mr. Z seems to thrive on it. Have to consider him as a contender as he’s facing a much softer field here, plus, he has one of the best mud pedigrees in the field.

Another colt that figures to see a lot of action on the tote is GOLDEN ACTOR. The son of Curlin made an eye-catching move in his debut in a Gulfstream maiden race, breaking from the far outside and circling the field only to miss by ¾ length over the speed favoring track going seven furlongs. Golden Actor captured the Jean Lafitte Stakes, the Jackpot prep by over 4 lengths. Golden Actor is a half brother to multiple stakes winner BIG APPLE DADDY and stakes placed River Dancer, so there’s some quality here. Golden Actor’s speed figures have improved in every start and he’s firing off bullet works at Delta Downs. On the downside, his resume is light, he’s taking a major step up in class and his mud pedigree is average.

CONQUEST TSUNAMI has been defeated only once in his six race career. After going virtually unchallenged over the Woodbine Poly and turf, the son of Stormy Atlantic faded to sixth after pressing the pace in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. It was the colt’s first race over dirt and around two turns. The Mark Casse trainee won the Street Sense Stakes at a mile over the Churchill dirt in his last start and could be one of the colts vying for the lead in this year’s Jackpot. He has an above average mud pedigree.

The word must’ve gone out that Delta Downs favors speed. A contingent of California shippers will bring their brand of crazy to bear in the Jackpot. Leading the herd is WAKE UP NICK. Undefeated in his first five starts, which include a slew of state-bred stakes, the son of Cindigo suffered his first defeat in the Golden State Juvenile in his last start, finishing second by 1 ¼ lengths after a wide trip chasing blistering fractions. His sire Cindago gets a superior 26% winners over off tracks.

Speaking of speed, OCHO OCHO OCHO couldn’t have been more impressive running away in the rained off Juvenile Turf Sprint. The son of Street Sense dueled through insane fractions of :21.46, and :43.96 before widening to a 5 ¾ length lead, flashing under the wire in 1:14.57 for 6 ½ furlongs. On paper, he’s easily the fastest one in the field, but will have to stretch that speed an extra two furlongs. He does have an above average mud pedigree.

PRIME ENGINE breaks from the #1 position, and he will likely be right up on the lead with Ocho Ocho Ocho. The son of Northern Afleet has won both stars by a combined 15 ½ lengths at Emerald Downs. After those huge victories, Prime Engine switched to the barn of Jerry Hollendorfer and has been flashing sensational works. Prime Engine has to prove himself against tougher, more experienced horses and his pedigree is average for mud, but Hollendorfer doesn’t ship for the fun of it.

Looking for a live longshot? How about SARATOGA HEATER? Conditioned by Al Stall Jr., the son of Temple City has improved his speed figures in every start, including a 4 length victory against NY state-breds in the Bertram F. Bongard. The colt has made all three starts over a sloppy track and there’s 90% rain/snow in the forecast for Saturday. Plus, this colt has shown the ability to race on or off of the lead. At morning line odds of 15-1, he’s a tempting play.

FAR RIGHT, RED BUTTON and DEKABRIST appear up against it.

Far Right has been wide in his last two starts and will be in the same position in the Jackpot. He was gaining ground in the Street Sense after going wide, but I expect much of the same here. Perhaps he can round out a Super.

Red Button has raced over dirt, poly and turf. His speed figures have improved in each start and he likes to run from off of the pace. The drawback is his trainer’s 0-24 record in stakes and this colt has been beaten by weaker opponents. If the Jackpot pace is strong, perhaps Red Button can hit the board, but I don’t see him winning here.

Dekabrist gets his fourth jockey in six starts. That’s not going to help. Take this guy back to Calder…uh, Gulfstream West, and let him play with the allowance types.

The two also-eligibles don’t appear to have a chance either. UNBLUNTED is a last out maiden winner at Saratoga. TWO SIX WINS comes from the Pender barn, which is 0-23 with shippers.



TRACK BIAS: 33% of winners go wire-to-wire on the rail. In the last five editions of the Jackpot, three colts won on the lead, one each won from mid-pack and from the back of the pack.

PRIME ENGINE has speed on the rail, but he may not be as fast as OCHO OCHO OCHO. If Ocho gets an uncontested lead, it could be game over, but I’ll bet that he’ll be pushed along by the other speed.




#3 MR. Z

Saturday, October 4, 2014


CONQUEST TSUNAMI The 1 1/16 mile Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, this year sponsored by Claiborne, will send a dozen colts to the post, led by the undefeated stakes winner CONQUEST TSUNAMI. Not only will the son of Stormy Atlantic be checked for class, but also surface and distance limitations. The Mark Casse trainee has recorded wins over Woodbine’s polytrack and turf. He’s outclassed the Canadians by more than a combined 20 lengths, blowing to the front of every race and thundering past the finish line first. Conquest Tsunami showed a chick in his armor in his latest start, an allowance turf contest at seven furlongs. He held onto the victory by a short head. So, what about the big questions of dirt and distance? Conquest Tsunami’s full brother, the stakes placed Stormy Pacific, won from six furlongs on dirt to a mile on the Polytrack. Their stakes winning dam was proficient at 1 1/16 miles over the turf. Her dam, NICKEL CLASSIC, won the Delaware Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Conquest Tsunami should handle 1 1/6 miles and might go to 1 1/8 miles. The accomplished youngster could be one of those rare horses who can win over any surface.


Hashtag Bourbon HASHTAG BOURBON was a troubled horse in the Iroquois Stakes. He tracked the pace on the inside, but found himself with nowhere to run through the stretch. The Kellyn Gorder trainee managed to find running room, but it was too late. He finished third, beaten only 1 ½ lengths. The son of top Freshmen Sire Super Saver is that stallion’s third most accomplished offspring, right behind Competitive Edge and I Spent It, who finished one-two in the G-1 Hopeful. Hashtag Bourbon is a half to 2002 Arkansans Derby runner-up Wild Horses and stake placed Waltzing With Blue. Their dam Waltzing With Deb is a half to the dam of multiple graded sprinter and sire SUCCESSFUL APPEAL and his half brother G-2 winner TRUE TO TRADITION. Hashtag Boubon gets a jock switch to Leparoux, who won the Alcibiades with Peace and War.


After beating maidens, BOLD CONQUEST stepped up against winners in the Iroquois Stakes. The Asmussen trainee made an eye-catching five-wide move around the turn and even had the lead briefly before his more experienced stable mate Lucky Player stuck his neck in front at the wire. This was a good learning experience for Bold Conquest. He should benefit from racing and really shine when the distances get longer. Bold Conquest’s sire Curlin has already sired a Classic winner when his son Palace Malice won the Belmont Stakes. Bold Conquest’s dam One for Jim is a multiple stakes miler. His second dam by Belmont hero A. P. Indy is an unraced half sister to Cigar Mile hero JERSEY TOWN. Bold Conquest’s third dam JERSEY GIRL won the Test, Acorn and Mother Goose Stakes, all Grade 1 events. Bold Conquest has a classic pedigree and should improve with maturity and distance.


Mr Z3 MR. Z is back at it again. This colt has raced in more graded stakes than any of his classmates, and has yet to record a victory. His closest defeat was by a neck in the Saratoga Special. The tenacious, gritty son of Malibu Moon had troubled trips in the Sanford and Saratoga Special, yet still finished second in both races. Instead of resting up for the Champagne Stakes, Mr. Z was sent to Churchill to contest the Iroquois Stakes. In his previous stakes attempts, the Lukas trainee sat off of the pace before making his run, but switched to lead the pace in the Iroquois. That didn’t end well, as the colt tired to fifth place. Mr. Z is a half brother to the UAE stakes placed Ibn Al Nafis. Their dam Stormy Bear is a half to Champion Turf Horse CHIEF BEARHEART, Hollywood Derby (G-1) winner EXPLOSIVE RED, stakes winner RUBY RANSOM and the stakes placed runners Memorized and Sundown Serenade. Mr. Z has a 4 x 4 Rasmussen Factor inbreeding to the blue hen Gold Digger, who is Mr. Z’s fourth dam. Gold Digger is also the dam of Mr. Prospector, Malibu Moon’s damsire. Mr. Z finally gets a jock switch to Jon Court.


Mr. Z’s stablemate SHARM finished a non-threatening third in the Hopeful Stakes behind Competitive Edge and I Spent It. He’s still a maiden. His trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, has conditioned the winners of six Breeders’ Futurities, the last in 2004.


The rest of the Breeders’ Futurity is comprised mostly of last out maiden winners. Of those, KEEN ICE is the only one who has traveled past sprint distances. The son of Curlin out of an Awesome Again mare, Keen Ice is bred to relish classic distances. His dam is a half to COAL PLAY, runner up in the Haskell. His second and third dams are graded stakes winners and this is the family of Grade 1 winners SOMALI LEMONADE and VERRAZANO.


TOUGH CUSTOMER lived up to his name in his debut, handing Churchill maidens a 5 ½ length defeat. This is another colt who will wake up with racing and longer distances. He’s a son of Giant’s Causeway out of a stakes placed Arch mare. Tough Customer’s dam is a half sister to multiple stakes winner and sire POMEROY and a full sister bore multiple G-1 winner CONTESTED. The Wayne Catalano trainee posted a pre-race bullet breeze at Monmouth.


FIRESPIKE is a winner at the Futurity distance of 1 1/16 miles – over the turf. So how should he handle the dirt? Neither of his two half siblings won, but one placed on dirt. Sire Flower Alley is a graded stakes winner over dirt and Firespike’s dam won on the dirt. She’s a half to Queen’s Plate hero BASQUEIAN who won over both surfaces, so FIRESPIKE could be a multi-surface winner like his distaff family. The Michael Maker trainee posted a pre-race bullet and the colt gets a jock switch to Mike Smith.


It isn’t a stakes race without a Pletcher horse. CARPE DIEM dueled through swift factions to capture a 5 ½ furlong maiden at Saratoga in 1:03 4/5. The son of Giant’s Causeway is a half to J. B.’s Thunder, who won the Breeders’ Futurity in 2010. Pletcher trained last year’s Breeders’ Futurity hero WE MISS ARTIE. The trainer is 26% with horses stretching to a route.


IKE WALKER switches to dirt after three starts on the Poly. He was three and four wide in the Arlingon-Washington Futurity and was never a factor. The son of Bellamy Road out of a Hold That Tiger mare can likely handle the distance and dirt, but class is an issue. The Michael Stidham trainee posted an average pre-race work at Keeneland.  W V JETSETTER bobbled at the break and then was four wide in the Saratoga Special, which was his last start. The Texas-bred colt has been breezing well for conditioner George Weaver.  DEKABRIST has raced five times and his only victories came sprinting at Gulfstream this summer.


The new Keeneland dirt surface should be dry.

CONQUEST TSUNAMI is the one to catch. A few others in here, mainly TOUGH CUSTOMER and CARPE DIEM could run with him, setting it up for one of the other pace pressers or closers. Of those, HASHTAG BOURBON and BOLD CONQUEST have the best chance, although KEEN ICE could also come running from the clouds.




#11 KEEN ICE – longshot pick



Friday, September 26, 2014


The Front Runner Stakes (formerly the Norfolk) offers a guaranteed spot in the starting gate of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for the victor. The race is also a Kentucky Derby qualifying race, meaning the winner receives ten points towards entry into the Derby.

The 1 1/16 mile Grade 1 event is comprised of four colts who exited the Del Mar Futurity, the first and second place finishers in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf and four last out maiden winners. Let’s review the field.

TEXAS RED (Afleet Alex - Ramatuelle (CHI), by Jeune Homme) jumps up in company after winning his maiden last time out at a mile over the Del Mar poly. His speed figures have improved in every start. He’s out of a stakes placed mare who is a half to two Chilean group winners.

LORD NELSON (Pulpit - African Jade, by Seeking the Gold) cost $340K as a yearling and ran like it in his debut in July beating Del Mar Futurity runner-up Calculator by a length. Baffert kept the colt out of the Futurity and has sent the son of Pulpit out for a few months of consistent breezes. Lord Nelson’s second dam is Argentinean Champion MISS LINDA. Santa Margarita Invitational winner MISS MATCH is part of this female family. Despite his strong morning works, Lord Nelson is jumping from five furlongs to two turns and doesn’t have the benefit of a recent race.

SKY PREACHER (Sky Mesa - My Dear Lady (ARG), by Mutakddim) recorded a maiden win when switched to the lawn and was ½ a length shy of the win in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf in his last start. Both races were at a mile. Was it the distance or surface that boosted his performance? Sky Preacher is a full to the stakes winner SKY HIGH LADY, whose victories came over the turf and Polytrack. Their dam is an Argentinean Group winner over the turf at classic distances.

DADDY D T (Scat Daddy - Issues, by Awesome Again) beat Sky Preacher by ½ length in an exciting blanket finish in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf. The Sadler colt has worked well over the Santa Anita dirt, but most of Scat Daddy’s babies prefer turf and polytrack to dirt. That being said, Daddy D T is a full brother to Willard L. Proctor winner AMARISH, a winner over dirt and poly, but not turf.

RED BUTTON (Distorted Humor - Skipping Around, by Skip Trial) won his second start, which was a maiden race at Del Mar. He showed absolutely nothing in the Del Mar Futurity, finishing a zip code behind American Pharoah. Red Button is a half brother to the Grade 1 winner SUGAR SHAKE (Awesome Again) and stakes placed Explosive Heat (Touch Gold). Despite the colt’s swift works at Santa Anita, the Glatt barn is 0-23 in stakes races.

REFLECTED STAR (Eskendereya - Retool, by Gone West) was no match for Lord Nelson in their debut and faded after flashing some early speed. The son of freshman sire Eskendereya came back a month later to beat maiden claimers at Del Mar. Reflected Star should show improvement with distance and a switch to dirt but Eskendereya’s offspring will be later developing types. Reflected Star’s dam is a half to the graded stakes winners LE BERNARDIN and TAITTINGER ROSE. His third dam is BC Juvie fillies heroine TWILIGHT RIDGE.

AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof the Nile - Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) led every step of the way to score a decisive 4 ¾ victory in the Del Mar Futurity. He’s recorded two sharp breezes over the new Santa Anita dirt for Baffert. His dam is a half to the graded stakes winners MISTY ROSETTE and STORM WOLF. His second dam EXCLUSIVE ROSETTE is a stakes winner.

CONQUEST PANTHERA (Kitten's Joy - Lastofthsummerwine, by Sky Mesa) was a $475K yearling and showed it winning his debut by 1 ½ lengths over the Del Mar poly. By turf star Kitten's Joy, Conquest Panthera has a pedigree better suited to the lawn and polytrack. His second damsire Boundary won on the dirt, but was a better sire of turf horses. This colt must be gorgeous, because there is little blacktype in his female family to warrant his huge price tag. His dam is a half sister stakes winner SONG WARRIOR and to a Russian stakes winner. Conquest Panthera’s third dam is Test heroine CLEF DARGENT.

SKYWAY (Sky Mesa - Bedside Manner, by Dr. Blum) won the Best Pal Stakes but weakened after going wide the entire way in the Del Mar Futurity. He did his best to check in fourth, beaten 13 lengths. Skyway is a half to multiple stakes winner AVA K. (Dixie Union). Skyway has a sprinter’s pedigree and may find the 1 1/6 miles at the top of his distance range. He has a good/bad race cycle and worked a last out bullet at Santa Anita

CALCULATOR (In Summation - Back to Basics, by Alphabet Soup) has been slow to put it all together. He was a surprise second in the Del Mar Futurity at long odds and it was another 8 + lengths back to the third place finisher. Calculator’s unraced dam is a half to the stakes veteran turf sprinter ATTICUS KRISTY, his full sister stakes winner FIERY DANCER and to Lexington Stakes hero DISTORTED REALITY. This is the distaff family of Preakness champ SHACKLEFORD and his Grade 1 winning sister LADY JOANNE. Calculator should appreciate two turns and a switch to dirt. He worked a bullet before his last race and also in preparation for the Frontrunner.


It’s anyone’s guess how the new track surface will play at Santa Anita. In one day of racing, speed appears to be holding, as the first races were won either on the lead or horses sitting a few lengths from the front.

American Pharoah and possibly Sky Preacher and Skyway appear to have the most speed. American Pharoah posted a triple digit speed figure in his last performance, a 19 point jump. He could simply run away from them here, but he could also regress slightly. I dismissed Calculator in the Del Mar Futurity, but this is a colt showing all signs of improvement. Sky Preacher has hit the board in three of four starts. Not sure if he’ll handle the dirt at this level of competition, but he’s worth a look. Texas Red is also showing improvement and should benefit from a surface change. If Kenty D. can hustle him out of the gate from that one post, he could hit the board. An intriguing longshot is Red Button. He bombed in the Futurity, but his speed figures aren’t that bad and he has two really good works at Santa Anita. I don’t see him winning it, but he could spoil the party at huge odds.




#5 RED BUTTON – longshot pick.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Iroquois Stakes Kicks Off Derby Points

Churchill Downs Fall The Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes is a highlight of Churchill Downs opening day for the fall meet. This is the first race of the Kentucky Derby qualifying events, with points distributed as follows - the winner will earn 10 points, 4 for second, 2 for third and 1point for fourth.

None of the past winners of the Iroquois Stakes have had influence on the three Triple Crown races, although the 1983 third place finisher At The Threshold was also third in the Kentucky Derby. The 2012 Iroquois third place runner Overanalyze won the Arkansas Derby. Some of the previous winners, Court Vision, Harlan’s Holiday and Capt Candyman Can became Grade 1 winners.


Mr Z 2 This year’s 1 1/6 mile contest is headed by MR Z, runner-up in the Sanford and Saratoga Special. He faces eight other colts. Mr Z should love the extra distance. He’s a tough colt who doesn’t know the meaning of quit. He’s the one to beat. He’s bested Iroquois entrants Hashtag Bourbon and Cleveland Sound.



Hashtag Bourbon  HASHTAG BOURBON (Super Saver - Waltzing With Deb, by Robyn Dancer) won the Mountaineer Juvenile by over four lengths, but was beaten 3 ¾ lengths in his debut by Mr Z. The son of hot sire Super Saver should also enjoy running longer distances. Hashtag Bourbon is a half to 2002 Arkansans Derby runner-up Wild Horses (Saint Ballado) and stake placed Waltzing With Blue (Malibu Moon). The Keller Gordon trainee was forced to go wide in both starts, but draws post one in the Iroquois.


Both Mr Z and Hashtag have raced over the Churchill dirt. LUCKY PLAYER (Lookin At Lucky - Janetstickettocats, by Storm Cat) won his debut at Churchill and then finished fourth in the Bashford Manor Stakes. He was on the wrong end of a photo finish, beaten a neck in the Prairie Meadows Juvenile Mile in his last start.

Cleveland Sound CLEVELAND SOUND (More Than Ready - Twilight Service, by Horse Chestnut (SAF)) was all over the place in the Sanford Stakes. He was behind a wall of horses going five wide on the turn, then ducked down to the inside. He did manage to make up ground despite this and was beaten a nose for third. He adds Lasix and gets a jock switch.


The rest of the field appears up against it. DEKABRIST was soundly beaten by 23 lengths just last week in the Hopeful at Saratoga. HOLY FRAZIER has three starts at a mile under his girth, all over the Ellis Park lawn. He won his maiden last out, but was beaten previously by DANNY BOY. That one is a half to Arlington Classic hero Meal Penalty. Both Holy Frazier and Danny Boy have dirt-oriented pedigrees, and could hit the board.

Two others are coming off of maiden victories. BOLD CONQUEST (Curlin - One for Jim, by Distorted Humor) won the dog fight by a head in his last race at Saratoga. After finishing second at 5 ½ furlongs, the colt added a furlong and got the job done. Sprinting isn’t his game, he should love the extra distance and he’s had two strong post-race breezes.

THE GORILLA MAN (After Market - War Indian, by Indian Charlie) beat maidens by ½ length at Ellis Park last time out. In his debut which was over the lawn, he finished three lengths behind Holy Frazier after having to steady. He faces a deeper field here.


MR Z has faced :21 and change early fractions in each start, but has the ability to rate. LUCKY PLAYER and CLEVELAND SOUND may also vie near the lead. HASHTAG BOURBON draws the rail, but he’ll likely take back. If he stays out of traffic, he could come running at the end. CLEVELAND SOUND could have earned a graded stakes placing with a better ride last time out. He gets a jock switch and could play the spoiler’s role. BOLD CONQUEST had a strong debut for Assmusen. Joel Rosario rides and he could also be tough.

#2 MR Z



#6 CLEVELAND SOUND – longshot pick

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Spinaway/Hopeful Stakes Review

Saratoga_starting_gate_ Two year old fillies and colts are highlighted in the closing days of the Saratoga meet. Two youngsters will gallop off as graded stakes winners and one filly will have the designation as the last winner pronounced by legendary Saratoga mainstay Tom Durkin.

The seven furlong Spinaway Stakes (G-1) has been contested since 1881. As you can imagine, the roll call of winners is a who’s who of racing. However, in the last ten years, there has been only one filly, Folklore, who has won both the Spinaway and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The 2011 Spinaway heroine Grace Hall placed in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and was third the following year in the Kentucky Oaks. Last year’s Spinaway proved to be a very strong race. The winner Sweet Reason captured this year’s editions of the Test and Acorn Stakes. Runner-up Stopchargingmaria scored back-to-back victories in the CCA Oaks and Alabama Stakes.


angela renee1 This year’s Spinaway cast includes the Adirondack Stakes runner-up Angela Rene. After capturing her maiden, she was out finished 1 ¾ lengths by Cavorting in the Adirondack. Mentioned a few times on the Kiddie List, ANGELA RENEE (Bernardini - Pilfer, by Deputy Minister) is a full sister to multiple G-1 stakes winner and sire TO HONOR AND SERVE, and a half to stakes placed Elnaawi (by Street Sense). She’s the most accomplished filly in the field and the one to beat.



Eight other fillies will try to do just that. Three have been spotted on the Kiddie List.

BY THE MOON (Indian Charlie - By the Light, by Malibu Moon) had a professional debut. After tucking into third place early in a 5 ½ furlong sprint, she spread five wide on the turn and raced determinedly down the stretch, winning by ½ length. Her precocious dam won all four starts at two, and is a multiple stakes earner of almost $900K. By The Moon should love the extra distance in the Spinaway.

WINTER DAWN (Sky Mesa - Reboot, by Rubiano) was wide the entire way in her 6 furlong debut while pressing the pace. She prevailed by a bare head. Winter Dawn is a half to stakes winner SUMMER CRUISE (by Vicar) and to Rebuttal (Mr. Greeley) who placed in the Middle Park (Eng. Gr.1). Her dam Reboot has Rasmussen Factor inbreeding to the blue hen FOGGY NOTE through full siblings RELAUNCH (Reboot’s second damsire) and MOON GLITTER (second dam of Rubiano). Winter Dawn’s second dam LAUNCH LIGHT TEK is a G-3 winner. Winter Dawn has a sprinter’s pedigree. She may find seven furlongs beyond her scope if she has to go wide again.

Curalina CURALINA (Curlin - Whatdreamsrmadeof, by Graeme Hall) had a wild debut filled with trouble. After veering in and bumping at the start, she was pushed to keep up in the early stages. After finding her footing, Curalina traveled four wide on the turn and staggered greenly down the stretch, gaining second place from talent, not skill. Curlina is a half to multiple stakes placed Dream Spinner (by Hard Spun). Two of her three half siblings have raced. Both are winners. One placed multiple times as a 2YO. Her dam Whatdreamsrmadeof placed in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies and Grade 2 Fairgrounds Oaks. She’s a half to stakes winner LADY ECHO. Curlina will likely be best up to 1 1/16 miles.



CONDO COMMANDO (Tiz Wonderful - Yearly Report, by General Meeting) drag raced out of the starting gate and was gone, embarrassing maiden claimers by 12 lengths and stopping the clock in 1:03.82 for 5 ½ furlongs, a little more than a second off of the track record. She’s a half to True North (G-2) placed Checklist. Their dam is a multiple G-2 winner from 7 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. The second dam FISCAL YEAR is also a stakes winner. Condo Commando is certainly the speed of the race. If they let her go, she could be hard to catch.

Another daughter of Sky Mesa, DARLING SKY (Sky Mesa - Darling Mambo, by Broad Brush) is a runaway debut winner. She beat maidens by over 7 lengths at PARX, stopping the clock in a sharp :57 for five furlongs. Her dam is a half sister to Ancient Title runner-up Irrefutable.

BONNIE K (Majestic Warrior - Royal Confection, by Candi's Gold) fought hard for a neck victory in her debut at 5 ½ furlongs. She’ll be adding first time Lasix and blinkers for the Spinaway. Bonnie K breezed two pre-race bullets for the race. Bonnie K is a half to Prairie Meadows Derby winner KARMA. He and their stakes placed dam own the only blacktype in two generations of the female family.

From the last crop of international sire Dynaformer, LADY ZUZU (Dynaformer - Indy Pick, by A.P. Indy) takes a shot sprinting over dirt after a third place finish sprinting on turf. Three of her four half siblings placed on dirt, but never won. They were all more proficient on the turf, including multiple graded stakes winner OPTIMIZER. Lady Zuzu is royally bred. Her dam won over the dirt and is a half sister to multiple G-1 winner FINDERS FEE. Her second dam FANTASTIC FIND is a Grade 1 winner and third dam BLITEY is a blue hen. Although Lady Zuzu’s sire has a few winners over the dirt, his progeny are noted turf routers. Lady Zuzu’s immediate family prefers turf and she is bred to go long on turf.

RYABINKA (Sharp Humor - West Coast Kitty, by Bertrando) is the most experienced runner in the field with four starts under her girth. After winning her maiden in her third attempt, the sprint-oriented filly finished seventh in the Cassidy Stakes at Gulfstream after having to check at the 1/16 pole. Her dam is a half to Triple Bend (G-1) winner UNFURL THE FLAG.


In the last four years, pace setters haven’t done so well in the Spinaway. The winners either pressed the pace (sat third/fourth) or were one-run types. There’s an 80% chance of rain in the late afternoon.

CURALINA is the only one with experience in the mud, although RYABINKA won her maiden on a good track. That one has a superior mud pedigree. BY THE MOON, ANGELA RENE, CONDO COMMANDO and BONNIE K also have good mud pedigrees.

Angela Rene is the class of the race, but just about any one of these fillies could step up and beat her. If CURALINA gets a good trip, she could be right there. BY THE MOON has the pedigree to stretch out and the running style to be effective. BONNIE K could surprise.




#9 BONNIE K – longshot pick



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.

The Hopeful Stakes can be a good indicator of Breeders’ Cup strength. In the last three years, The Hopeful hero has either won or placed in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. In 2012, Shanghai Bobby completed the Hopeful/Juvenile double to capture the Eclipse Award as outstanding Two Year Old Colt.

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.

This year's Hopeful appears pretty light. I Spent It, winner of the Saratoga Special faces mostly last out maiden winners and some who still haven’t visited the winner’s circle.

I Spent It 2 I SPENT IT has raced from off of the pace in both starts. The son of Freshman Sire Super Saver conquered a strong group in the Saratoga Special by 2 ¾ lengths. His main competition may come from another son of Super Saver, COMPETITIVE EDGE. That one ran away from maidens in his debut, galloping under the wire ten lengths in front and getting six furlongs in 1:09 3/4. The third place horse from that race has come back to win. The fourth place finisher was Hopeful entrant SHARM, who finished 14 lengths behind Competitive Edge. Sharm raced 16 days ago and finished third against maidens. Both colts were mentioned on the July 22 Kiddie List.


The freshmen stallion Warrior’s Reward is proving to be a very good sire. His son REQUITE (Warrior's Reward - New Hope Seven, by Carson City) won a 5 ½ furlong sprint at first asking by 3/12 lengths. I’m not sure how classy he’ll turn out to be. Both half siblings are 1-13. Requite’s dam New Hope Seven is multiple stakes placed and owns the only blacktype in two generations. Requite posted the third highest late pace speed figure in the Hopeful.

The California-bred SIGNATURE CAT finished second to the Quality Road colt Blofeld just 18 days ago. Signature Cat had a five length lead early in the race, but was passed by his rival and finished second, beaten a length at five furlongs.

A pair of longshot invaders from Florida, DEKABRIST and MARATIK, appear to have little chance. Dekabrist won two starts, including a minor stakes race at Gulfstream before flopping in the Birdonthewire Stakes, beaten soundly by 11 lengths. Maratik finished fourth, beaten six lengths in a maiden race at Gulfstream.


I SPENT IT has the class edge in here. He can race on or off of the pace. If he stubs a hoof or doesn’t feel like running, COMPETITIVE EDGE could offer a challenge. Let’s toss REQUITE in there for the trifecta.




Friday, August 29, 2014

Del Mar Debutante a Strong Prep for BC Juvie Fillies

BC Juvie Fillies RiaAntonia Since 2000, seven fillies who would later be crowned Champion Two Year Olds have contested the seven furlong Del Mar Debutante (G-1). Three of them, Halfbridled, Sweet Catomine and Stardom Bound, won the Debutante and completed a Debutante/BC Juvenile Fillies double. Tempera, Blind Luck and Beholder were runners-up in the Debutante but won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. All would capture the Eclipse Award as outstanding two year old filly. Last year’s Debutante heroine She’s a Tiger won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies by a thrilling nose, but was disqualified for interference. She was still named Champion Juvenile Filly.


This year, a field of nine hopefuls will enter the starting gate at Del Mar. All except two fillies won their last start. Bob Baffert has sent out seven winners since 1997. Let’s review the field.

SeduireSEDUIRE (Elusive Quality - Holy Eclair, by Holy Bull) was a distant second, beaten by over six lengths by Sunset Glow in the Sorrento. The pretty gray filly tries Polytrack for the first time. Her sire gets 12% winners at Del Mar and enters for leading trainer Hollendorfer. Top jock Elvis Trujillo rides.


MANAHATTA (Old Fashioned - Ermelinda, by Sea Hero) made all of the pace in her debut, beating Windy Forecast and Dad’s Princess by a length, despite drifting out. Manahatta is her sire’s only winner over the Del Mar Polytrack. She’s a half to stakes placed Game for More and Terrys Tom Cat. She’s a stablemate to Seduire, and Bejarano rides back.


STARLET O'HARA (Discreetly Mine - My Chanel, by Gilded Time) showed improvement in her second start, stretching out and switching to Poly. Discreetly Mine is a superior Polysire. Mentioned on an early June Kiddie List, Starlet O’Hara is a half to multiple graded stakes placed turf router Trend. Their dam is a half to the graded stakes winning veterans WANDERING BOY, EARLY WARNING and graded stakes placed Vivid Sunset. The second dam VID KID is a stakes winning Juvenile. Starlet O’Hara is trained by Bob Baffert.


DAD'S PRINCESS (Mineshaft - Rooneys Princess, by Deputy Minister) was off slow in her debut, but made up ground to finish third to Manahatta, earning the highest late pace speed figure in the field. Extra distance will help, but Mineshaft’s progeny are 1-28 at Del Mar. Dad’s Princess is a half sister to Mountaineer Juvenile winner Prince Rooney. Their second dam is Champion Older Mare, Princess Rooney. Cassidy/Smith have won/placed in three of four attempts in the last two weeks.


Sunset Glow SUNSET GLOW (Exchange Rate - Perfectforthepart, by Dynaformer) jetted to a 3 ¼ length win in the Sorrento Stakes in her last start. Fillies exiting that race have done well in the Debutante. In 2012 EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE captured both races. Last year, SHE’S A TIGER was second in the Sorrento before being crowned in the Debutante. The pretty gray Sunset Glow is the first foal born of her stakes placed dam. There’s little blacktype in this distaff family, although the third dam ANDESTINE is a Grade 1 winner.


HER EMMYNENCY (Successful Appeal - Chic Dancer, by Joyeux Danseur) sat in third in the early stages of her debut before scoring a 2 ¾ length win. She was mentioned in the July 8 Kiddie List. Her dam won the G-3 Modesty at 1 3/16 miles and the 1 1/16 mile Flawlessly both over the lawn. There isn’t much blacktype in the first two distaff generations, but the second dam is a half sister to 3 time California Champ BEST PAL. Her Emmynency has posted two strong post-race breezes.


STEALTH DRONE (Smoke Glacken - Stealth Cat, by Magic Cat) battled gamely on the inside and fought back after being headed, earning a determined ½ length victory in her debut in a maiden claimer. She was quickly snatched up by Doug O’Neil. Her dam is a multiple stakes winning sprinter and owns the only blacktype in two generations of this female family.


Conquest Eclipse CONQUEST ECLIPSE (Malibu Moon - Grand Traverse Bay, by Repriced) was mentioned on the July 1 Kiddie List. Trained by Mark Casse, Conquest Eclipse stopped the clock in 1:11.48 in her debut at Churchill. This will be Conquest Eclipse’s first start in California. Her unraced dam is a half to Sweet Damsel, who bore Travers Stakes winner and sire COLONEL JOHN. Conquest Eclipse has posted a series of five furlong breezes for her start in the Debutante.


WINDY FORECAST (4-1) fought hard in her debut and finished in between Manahatta and Dad’s Princess. Windy Forecast is a half sister to stakes winners TRES CORONAS, DESCAPATE and stakes placed Brocco Bry. Talamo sticks with Her Emmynency and Kenty D. picks up the mount.


Speed from the rail has been dominant the entire Del Mar Meet. Last week, 67% of the front runners wired the field. Six of the nine fillies in the Debutante have early speed. That being said, all but one of the last seven winners sat in fourth place or farther back before making their move. Last year’s winner She’s a Tiger, was a far back second place before making up almost five lengths to win.

SUNSET GLOW is the class of the field and the most accomplished with four starts under her girth. STARLET O'HARA doesn’t need the lead to win and is Baffert’s sole entry. HER EMMYNENCY has a good running style for this race. Have to respect SEDUIRE, who has speed on the rail. DAD'S PRINCESS will benefit from the extra distance.




#4 DAD'S PRINCESS – longshot pick

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

P.G. Johnson a glimpse at BC Juvie Fillies Turf

PG Johnson contenders The P.G. Johnson Stakes is a chance for the turf fillies to show off while running 1 1/6 miles at Saratoga. Some quality fillies have exited this race to earn further blacktype. TAPITSFLY captured the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fililes Turf. In 2019 KATHMANBLU placed in both races and in 2012, WATSDACHANCES won the PG Johnson and was second in the Breeders’ Cup.

ANCIENT GODDESS (Iffraaj (GB) - Jezebel (GB), by Owington (GB)) raced twice in France, finishing second in her debut and winning in her second attempt, both times against the colts. The second place finisher came back to win. There isn’t much blacktype in her female family. She’s a large two-turn looking filly that should appreciate the extra distance. Trainer John Terranova breezed her an easy four furlongs over the turf course six days ago. Ancient Goddess will receive first time Lasix.

SUNDAY SONNET (Any Given Saturday - Red Piano, by Red Ransom) tries the lawn for the first time after a dominating 7 ½ length performance over a sloppy Saratoga track. Chances are good that she’ll like the turf. Sunday Sonnet is a half sister to multiple Grade 3 turf star PIANIST (More Than Ready) and two other half siblings placed over grass. Her damsire was a leading sire in England and Australia, while her second damsire was the Classic chef-de-race and top turf horse Nureyev. Trainer Kelly Breen wins with 22% first tine grass starters.

PARTISAN POLITICS (More Than Ready - Bluegrass Princess, by Dynaformer) was third in her 5 ½ furlong debut, beaten a bare neck by Rainha Da Bateria. The farther the better for this filly. Her dam won the 1 1/16 mile Valley View Stakes (G-3) and placed in two graded stakes at 1 1/8 miles. Trainer Chad Brown is a top conditioner of turf runners.

FLYING TIPAT (Tapit - Flying Marlin, by Marlin) is the only filly in the field who has raced at 1 1/16 miles over the lawn. She just missed in her debut by ¾ length after going four wide on the turn. Flying Tipat is a full sister to BC Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine TAPITSFLY, who also won the P. G. Johnson Stakes in 2009. The full sisters are conditioned by Dale Romans.

MAGNIFICENT MARGO (Congrats - Holy Miss, by Holy Bull) angled out three wide and nailed her debut by a nose at 5 ½ furlongs. She’s a half sister to the stakes winning veterans GENERAL CHARLEY and TRULY LUCKY (both by Truluck) and the stakes placed juvenile Holy Mission (Open Forum). Trainer Mike Maker gets 21% winners in non-graded stakes.

RAINHA DA BATERIA (Broken Vow - Amelia, by Dixieland Band) was mentioned on the Kiddie List in July. After settling in sixth place for most of the race, Rainha Da Bateria unleashed a furious charge to win a blanket photo finish by a head. She’s a half to MSW KINDERGARDEN KID (by Dynaformer), stakes winner ASSATEAGUE (by Stormy Atlantic) and stakes placed He's Had Enough (by Tapit). In this distaff family, the colts have proven to be the better runners. Out of three fillies, only one has hit the board and she’s a stakes winner. Four of five half siblings raced and hit the board as 2YO. The first two dams own blacktype and the second dam is a full sister to Champion 3YO Filly ALTHEA. Third dam is the blue hen, Courtly Dee. Rainha Da Bateria is trained by Graham Motion. Only 6% of his grass horses win second time out.

SLAVA (Sharp Humor - Splendorella, by Deputy Minister) is the most experienced filly in the field with three races under her girth. After winning her second race sprinting at Gulfstream, she finished a distant second in an allowance race to eventual stakes placed Naval Command. Slava is the second of her dam’s foals to race. There’s no blacktype in the first two generations of her distaff family. Her dam won on Polytrack, placed over dirt, but was unplaced in her sole turf race. Trainer Gennadi Dorochenko is 3-76 with turf runners.


The PG Johnson Stakes has been contested seven times. Three of those editions were won by pace setters. One pace presser and mid-pack runner won, while two winners unleashed their run from the back of the pack.

There appears to be very little early pace in the PG Johnson. Sunday Sonnet has won on the lead and could be the pace setter. If she slows them down enough, she could wire the field. Magnificent Margo and Slava have also raced near the pace. These young fillies are discovering their best running style, so any one of them could change tactics and be closer to the pace if it is slow.





Sunday, August 10, 2014


The Saratoga Special (G-2) is the second of three graded stakes for two year old colts at Saratoga.

Sanford_Stakes The first, theSanford Stakes (G-3) was won in a thriller Big Trouble, by a neck over a bothered Mr. Z and a game Cinco Charlie, who kept his neck in front of an also game Nona’s Boy. Unfortunately, Big Trouble, living up to his name, tore a suspensory ligament in his right foreleg recently and will be out of commission for about six months. However, Mr. Z, and Cinco Charlie and Nona’s boy are back for more and will be challenged by Lone Star Park’s TTA Sales Futurity hero W V Jetsetter and seven last out maiden winners. The top three or four colts will most likely contest the Hopeful Stakes (G-1) on September 1.


Of the three Sanford Stakes contenders, Mr. Z (Malibu Moon - Stormy Bear, by Storm Cat) had the worst trip. He had every reason to give it up on the final turn when Cory Lanerie checked off of the heels of Nona’s Boy, whom he’d been following around the turn. Mr. Z was sharply guided towards the rail to avoid an incident while Nona’s Boy took on the pace setter Cinco Charlie. In mid-stretch, Mr. Z found himself boxed behind the two pace setters in front and Big Trouble to his outside. Cory Lanerie aggressively bashed the game Mr. Z against Big Trouble, forcing that rival out. The two nailed the battling Cinco Charlie and Nona’s Boy at the wire. Mr. Z was making his second career start in the Sanford. It’s impossible to say how much that wild ride took out of the colt, but he must be included here.

If Mr. Z wins the award for worst trip, Cinco Charlie wins for fastest horse in the field. He battled three wide through a blazing :21.65 first quarter and a :45.17 half. The son of Indian Charlie melted Chocolate Wildcat by the ½ mile pole and the other early rival, Bessie’s Boy, retreated soon thereafter. Cinco Charlie had no time to slow down. As Bessie’s Boy was going in reverse, Nona’s Boy challenged Cinco Charlie on the outside. The two rivals battled head and head to the shadow of the wire, where they were passed by Big Trouble and Mr. Z. The big question is – can Cinco Charlie hold that blazing speed an additional furlong? If he can slow the pace by a second or two, yes, he probably can.

Take nothing away from Nona’s Boy for his fourth place finish. He settled nicely off of the pace in the early going and provided a challenge at the top of the stretch. He didn’t miss by much and you can be sure that Todd Pletcher will have Nona’s Boy ready to mount a serious threat.

So, who can challenge the top three?

ISpentIt_1_ I Spent It had a noteworthy debut. While arguing for the lead, he was passed and had to check due to another horse passing and cutting in. The son of Freshman sire Super Saver was allowed to collect himself. In the stretch I Spent It appeared to hang, then shifted gears while drifting out from the whip. He still managed to win the sprint by ½ length. The colt posted a pre-race bullet to sharpen him for this race.



Stanford Stanford is the “other” Pletcher runner, the first being Nona’s Boy. He needed a few furlongs to find his stride, but once he did, the race was over. The son of Malibu Moon glided under the wire 1 ½ lengths in front. Pletcher won this race last year with Corfu and you know he’ll have Stanford ready to go.



Rod McLeod likewise had a bothered debut. After stalking early, he had to steady on the turn and swung four wide. The son of Roman Ruler breezed by the leaders to win by ¾ a length. Rod McLeod is the The Dale Romans trainee enters off of a pre-race bullet work.

Tizcano outclassed a group of maidens at Gulfstream by 6 ½ lengths. He’s a son of Alcibiades Stakes heroine Westerly Breeze and Tiznow. Tizcano switched to Peter Miller’s barn and has posted three moderate works.

Lord Tyrion, Cleveland Sound, Majestic Affair and W V Jetsetter won at minor tracks and may be up against it.


Tizcano appears to have enough early speed to keep Cinco Charlie busy on the front end for at least half of the race. Nona’s Boy made a strong middle move in the Sanford couldn’t handle Cinco Charlie after that one blazed a fast early pace. Mr. Z may regress a bit off of his eventful trip. I Spent It and Rod McLeod had pre-race bullet works and should be at their best. Always beware of the Pletcher horse with the higher odds. Stanford should appreciate the extra distance.

#1 I Spent It (7-2)

#6 Nona’s Boy (4-1)

#7 Cinco Charlie (9-2)

#8 Stanford (12-1)

#5 Rod McLeod – longshot pick (alternate should one scratch)


Photos #1 & #2 by Eclipse Sportswire.


Thursday, July 17, 2014



Summer is here and along with it comes the opening of Saratoga Racetrack for another season. Adding to the heat is the barbecue which will be held during the Schuylerville Stakes (G3). No, not the kind where steaks sizzle over an open fire. This type of barbecue entails five juvenile fillies all gunning for the lead. Who can endure a broiling pace, who will be baked and which one of them can cool her heels and come from off of the pace?

Take Charge Brandi All five youngsters enter this Grade 3 event off of a victory. The trainer with the most victories in the Schuylerville is Wayne Lukas. He owned the race from 1986 – 1988, won it again in 1995, 1999 and his latest triumph was in 2004 with Classic Elegance. This year, Lukas has entered the very well-bred TAKE CHARGE BRANDI who has been mentioned on The Kiddie List a few times. Her dam is a half to Florida Derby winner TAKE CHARGE INDY and multiple G-1 winner WILL TAKE CHARGE. By Giant’s Causeway out of a Seeking the Gold mare, Take Charge Brandi is bred to relish two turns, but she showed her class and her heels to a group of maidens at Churchill traveling 4 ½ furlongs in :52 1/5. Lukas has only a 8% win rate with his stakes horses, but never, ever count him out, as his horses will ruin your exotics when least expected. He’s sneaky that way.


Lukas’ former assistant Todd Pletcher is no stranger to the winner’s circle at Saratoga. He’s won the Schuylerville four times, the last was in 2011 with Georgie’s Angel. This year, he’s brought a nicely-bred daughter of Old Fashioned. FASHION ALERT, a half-sister to Santa Ynez Stakes (G-2) winner RENE’S TITAN, skipped the maiden races and went straight for the blacktype. The daughter of Old Fashioned made all of the pace in the Astoria Stakes. Although the Pletcher trained miss raced greenly, Fashion Alert made short work of her opponents in the 5 ½ furlong race, winning by 4 ¾ lengths. She’s posted three very strong post-race works and will be tough to beat.

The remaining three trainers, Gary Contessa, Richard Mettee and John Robb, are all looking for their first Schuylerville trophy.

EVRYBDYMSTGETSTONZ surprised a field of state-bred maidens at Belmont by rolling gate to wire, getting 5 ½ furlongs in 1:05 2/5 while six lengths in front. In her last breeze, she had a strong 3 furlong “lung opener” of :35 1/5 (2/13). She’s entering back after only 16 days.

TULIRA'S STAR is a daughter of Congrats and a half sister to multiple stakes winning veteran MOUNTAIN GENERAL and Challenger Stakes winner TULIRA CASTLE. She won her debut over the Arlington Poly and has since switched to the barn of Richard Mettee. She’s 5-2 morning line, but her trainer is 0-11 with two year olds this year.

Breaking from post one is MAST COVE. The daughter of Cowboy Cal is the most experienced filly in the field, with three starts under her girth. She’s posted improving speed figures in every start against maiden claimers. Mast Cove is the first of her dam’s foals to race. Her dam Crafty Melissa is a half to Oake Tree Derby (G-2) winner MUNY. Mast Cove has fired three post-race bullets and her race fractions are comparable to the other contestants. John Robb is 22% with shippers.


The last five winners of the Schuylerville either sat mid-pack or pressed the pace. MAST COVE and TULIRA'S STAR have shown the ability to sit off of an early pace. On paper, FASHION ALERT is the fastest filly in the race. She could wire the field, but given that there are only five fillies entered, it’s unlikely that she’ll establish a clear lead. Let’s tab TAKE CHARGE BRANDI for the upset. Lukas knows how to get them ready for a big race. She breaks outside of all of the speed and her pedigree should enable her to go wide without effort.



#2 TULIRA'S STAR (5-2)



First contested in 1913, the Sanford Stakes (G-3) has a list of winners that reads like a who’s who of racing legends. The 1914 winner was the filly Regret, who would become the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby the following year. Other major winners include champions Tom Fool, Hail To Reason, Secretariat, Affirmed, Forty Niner and Afleet Alex. Famous also-rans include the great Man O’War who suffered his only defeat in the Sanford Stakes in 1919, Triple Crown hero Omaha, and Champion Juvenile Boston Harbor.

This year, a field of nine colts will vie for the honor of adding their name to the illustrious roll call of the Sanford Stakes. Trainer Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher are tied for the most wins in modern history, with five each.

Surprisingly, although they enter charges almost yearly Steve Asmussen, and Wesley Ward haven’t had a victory in the Sanford. Also looking for their first wins are Tony Dutrow, Jason Servis, Bret Calhoun, Eddie Pleasa, and Kevin Rice. Asmussen and Ward finished second and third, respectively in last year’s Sanford Stakes.

Cinco Charlie This year’s undefeated Bashford Manor (G-3) winner CINCO CHARLIE looks strongest on paper. From the last crop of deceased sire Indian Charlie, Cinco Charlie is the first of his three siblings to earn blacktype. His juvenile stakes placed dam is a half sister to multiple graded stakes winners and sires BWANA CHARLIE, his full brother, MY PAL CHARLIE (by Indian Charlie) plus BWANA BULL (by Holy Bull). Cinco Charlie had a slow pre-race work over the Saratoga training track. He breaks from the outside for Asmussen.


Runner-up in the Bashford Manor was the courageous SILVERHILL. His sire Silver City, an unheralded son of Unbridled’s Song who is standing in Texas for a $2K stud fee, sired recent Debutant heroine Promise Me Silver, Silverhill’s stablemate. The pretty gray colt was only beaten 1 ¾ lengths after disputing the pace in the Bashford Manor and he has excellent numbers. I’m taking a stand against as his speed figure jumped 15 points from his first to second race and his last breeze was on the slow side.

Wesley Ward brings Tremont Stakes hero BESSIE'S BOY to contest the Sanford. The son of Champion Sprinter Smoke Glacken easily dominated the 5 ½ furlong race by six lengths in a very quick 1:03 4/5. He came back with a strong post-race 4 furlong work in :47 3/5 at Saratoga. Bessie’s Boy’s second dam EXPENSIVE ISSUE hit the board in all four starts at two, including a win in the Blue Hen Stakes.

CHOCOLATE WILDCAT was a distant second to Bessie’s Boy in the Tremont. The son of Wildcat Heir is bred to be precocious. His dam won two of three starts at two, including the Fashion Stakes. Unfortunately, she suffered a career-ending injury in the Astoria Stakes. She bore Chocolate Wildcat’s half brother CHRISTIESBORNTORUN who finished third in the Tremont in 2010. The John Servis trainee hasn’t recorded a breeze in the last month.

Three very promising maiden winners will take on more experienced horses. Two of the three have been featured on the Kiddie List.

Mr Z 2 MR. Z is only one of two colts in the field who has won at six furlongs. In his Churchill debut the son of Malibu Moon battled with the pace setter through quick early fractions then prevailed over his rival by ½ length at the wire in a final time of 1:11.76 for the six furlongs. Mr. Z is a half to the UAE stakes placed Ibn Al Nafis (by Distorted Humor). Their dam Stormy Bear is a half to Champion Turf horse CHIEF BEARHEART, Hollywood Derby (G-1) winner EXPLOSIVE RED, stakes winner RUBY RANSOM and the stakes placed runners Memorized and Sundown Serenade. Mr. Z has worked two swift bullets for Wayne Lukas at Saratoga.

A stakes race at Saratoga isn’t complete without a Pletcher runner. NONNA'S BOY is a son of Distorted Humor out of Frizette runner-up Nonna Mia. His dam is a half to Nashua & holy Bull Stakes winner CAIRO PRINCE (by Pioneerof the Nile) and stakes placed Holdin Bullets (by Ghostzapper). Nona’s Boy splashed his way to a 5 ½ length win over a sloppy Belmont track in his debut. The second place horse Bustin It came back to win the Rockville Centre Stakes in his next start. Nona’s Boy has worked sharply since his debut.

SOUPER COLOSSAL is a son of the hot sire WAR FRONT out of a daughter of Kingmambo. Although he won his debut sprinting at Monmouth and has come back with a couple of decent post-race works, I think this colt’s future will be on the lawn. His second dam is a stakes-placed runner on turf and his third dam CAERLINA is a French Group 1 winner. Most of his distaff line is filled with European quality. Souper Colossal’s final time and speed figures weren’t that impressive and he simply outclassed this particular group of maidens. Can he surprise in the Sanford? Sure, anything is possible.

BIG TROUBLE was just that for a field of maidens last month at Belmont. He flew five furlongs in :59 flat and 4 12 lengths in front of his competition. He’s a full brother to the stakes placed sprinter Silver Lining John. Their dam is a half to graded stakes winners SUNSHINE FOR LIFE and TUBOK. The Tony Dutrow trainee blazed a bullet pre-race work in :59 4/5.

Making his first start over dirt is LESS THAN PERFECT. Last seen finishing a distant fifth in the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine, the son of Pleasantly Perfect hasn’t breezed over the Saratoga dirt. His third dam is the graded stakes winner METER MAID but that’s it for blacktype in the immediate family. This colt should enjoy a stretch out in distance, but may be up against it here.


Three of the last five years the favorite hasn’t won the Sanford Stakes. In four of the editions, the winner settled off of the pace. Since all of these colts have raced on or near the lead, it’s hard to determine which ones might give up the lead for a strong stretch drive. I’ll take a stand against the likely favorite CINCO CHARLIE and side with BIG TROUBLE. He put in the best work over the Saratoga track and he sat a length off of the pace setter in the early stages of his debut. MR. Z is also enticing at 30-1. He’s one of the best bred colts in the field.

#4 BIG TROUBLE (10-1)

#8 NONA’S BOY (5-2)


#5 MR. Z (30-1) – LONGSHOT PICK