ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: September 19 – September 25:
(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)
*Yes I’m Lucky (turf) (colt, Yes It’s True – Whenthedoveflies by Dove Hunt) – The Laurel Futurity was a statement race for this Eddie Plesa runner, who challenges No Nay Never (Scat Daddy) for best juvenile turf sprinter in the country. He’s now four of five after the runaway victory, in which he covered five-and-a-half furlongs in 1:01.30. His only loss was a runner-up finish to Dunkin Bend in the Sapling on dirt, his only try in graded stakes company. He boasts wins on both dirt and turf, at three different tracks, but seems to really enjoy the lawn. He doesn’t need the lead and sprinting suits his speedy style. Not sure about him beyond a mile, but up to that point, he is a contender.
*Lady Grantham (filly, Yankee Gentleman – Yes It’s Gold by Yes It’s True) – She’s won two of her last three starts and had an excuse in the runner-up finish last out as she was in tight late in the stretch. The Brett Brinkman runner bounced back with an authoritative win from the rail post in the Louisiana Stallion Stakes for fillies at seven furlongs.
Zdeno (gelding, Milwaukee Brew – Silver Sonnet by Silver Deputy) – The talk of Assiniboia Downs, this Manitoba-bred is now four for four after he romped by 13 lengths in the Buffalo Stakes at a mile. He proved he can come from off the pace in his last start, the Winnipeg Futurity, in which he rallied late for the win at six furlongs. Can anyone at Assiniboia beat him?
*Lapsang (filly, Smoke Glacken – Genska by Appealing Skier) – We tabbed her as one to watch after her eye-catching debut at Woodbine. The Suzanne Drake trainee followed up with an off-the-pace victory in the Deputy Jane West Stakes at six furlongs. She reeled in Enoree just in time, but was eight lengths ahead on the gallop out. She should handle some added distance without issue and the pedigree is multi-surface.
Poblano (gelding, Minister Eric – Jalapena by Dixie Union) – After an impressive debut, this New Mexico-bred stepped up to stakes company in the Gold Rush Futurity, but showed little in a sixth place finish. He bounced back with a dominant performance in the George Maloof Faturity, winning by more than seven lengths and crossing the line in 1:10.79 for trainer J. Owen Bringhurst.
Enquete (filly, Indian Charlie – North of Neptune by Mr. Prospector) – She flashed a competitive spirit when she was stuck behind traffic on the rail in her second start at Gulfstream. The Todd Pletcher runner powered her way through, literally pushing her way to the front as she drew off to win by four on the sloppy track. She’s now two for two and an under-the-radar prospect with a nice middle-distance pedigree.
Cassatt made a good impression in her debut
Cassatt (filly, Tapit – Justenufftime by Giant’s Causeway) – While Harlan’s Special (Harlan’s Holiday) was much the best in this test, and was disqualified from first to third for interference, this Larry Jones trainee made a strong impression going 1 1/16-miles at Churchill. A strapping, physically imposing and energetic gray filly, she was rating well on the lead and executing a reasonable pace (:24.35, :48.54) until Harlan’s Special raced up to engage. The two dueled in the stretch with Harlan’s Special lugging in at one point and Cassatt growing weary nearing the wire. Harlan’s Special drew off and Clever Beauty (Indian Charlie) rallied late. Clever Beauty was designated the winner after a steward’s inquiry. Although Cassatt probably wasn’t winning even with the interference, she fared well at the long distance first out and should improve off this effort. Jones thinks highly of this filly, who boasts a versatile pedigree that would also transfer to grass.
Potosi’s Silver (filly, Badge of Silver – Classy Date by Saint Ballado) – Credit jockey John Velazquez for keeping this second-timer in a pivotal spot despite her urge to veer toward the rail from the No. 1 post at Belmont. Velazquez kept the Todd Pletcher runner in a mid-pack stalking spot, where she tracked the pace with the group. The green light appeared when she pushed her way through an opening in traffic in the stretch and showed some nice acceleration. She finished the five-and-a-half furlongs in a sharp 1:03.99. The win flatters Gracer (Exchange Rate), who topped this filly in her debut. Also to watch from this race is first-time starter and third-place finisher Biddy Martin (Medaglia d’Oro), a Chad Brown trainee who was running best late.
Playful Love (filly, Tapit – Palacio de Amor by Dixieland Band) – Last heading into the stretch in her debut at Churchill, this 17-1 shot for Ian Wilkes motored her way into second and passed sharp winner Bread and Butter (Pure Prize) in the gallop out. This is a filly to watch next out and with added distance beyond the six-and-a-half furlongs.
Dynamic Impact (colt, Tiznow – Featherbed by Smart Strike) – He caught a sloppy track for his debut going six-and-a-half-furlongs at Churchill Downs, plus he started from the widest post in a nine-horse field. The Mark Casse runner was positioned in the back of the pack early and made up ground in the stretch. Although unable to reach winner Plug Catcher (Roman Ruler), somewhat green in the final furlong and suffering a scary stumble on the off-going, he managed to finish fourth. He should improve with experience and better track conditions. Unstoppable Colby (Pulpit) also endured a tough start in his debut and was fifth. Note that favorite Kowboy Boots (Kodiak Kowboy), sixth, and early pacesetter Broadway Zen (Zensational), ninth, were high-strung prior to the race, with Kowboy Boots exerting considerable energy in the paddock.
Kowboy Boots was very animated pre-race.
*Bacopa Breeze (filly, Visonaire – Dakota Rae by Stephen Got Even) – She’s two for two since switching to the Mountaineer dirt and has won those races by a combined 19 1/2 lengths.
Naïve Enough (filly, Street Sense – Light From Above by A.P. Indy) – What an improvement from her eighth-place debut at Delaware Park. She moved her game to Laurel Park and delivered a stellar performance, romping in a six-furlong test and crossing the line in 1:09.97 for trainer Ignacio Correas. She has a true router’s pedigree.
Academic Probation (turf) (filly, Einstein – Dblsecretprobation by Proud Citizen) – This Kellyn Gorder runner had a lot to overcome in her debut going a mile on the grass at Churchill. She started from the widest post in the 10-horse field and was last until she started making up ground heading into the stretch. She unleashed a six-wide rally and caught Candy Crush (Candy Ride) in time in 1:40.35. The Einstein progeny are ones to watch on any surface and early runners have proven they can win at first asking. Also to watch from this race is Gina’s Kitten (Kitten’s Joy), a first-time starter from Dale Romans who rallied late to be fourth. Courageous Julie (Pioneerof the Nile) was in the mix until she was bumped, but showed improvement in her second start.
More on the cleverly named Einstien youngsters: http://inthemoneypost.com/cleverly-named-progeny-of-freshman-sire-einstein/
Daring Dancer (turf) (filly, Empire Maker – Vienna Affair by Red Ransom) – Dandy debut on grass at Laurel by this Graham Motion-trained filly. She showed a superb late kick for a first-time starter, rallying late to win in 1:03.74 with a final split of 5:85. Watch out for Motion and Sagamore Farm, as they have several intriguing juveniles this season.
*Bakken Baby (filly, Valid Expectations – Royalactgo by General Royal) – The Texas-bred is two for two at Remington Park with jockey Chris Landeros. Her most recent win at the allowance level was a 12-length victory in hand.
Man o’Bear (colt, Corinthian – Mahalo by Gulch) – After starting his career against Woodbine’s top juveniles in two sprint stakes, he dropped back to the maiden ranks and stretch out to a route. That was to his liking, as the Ontario-bred patiently waited behind horses before making his move in the stretch to an easy win.
Great Minds (turf) (colt, Stroll – Staff Nurse by Arch) – The Bill Mott runner was valiant in defeat to Request (Dynaformer) in his debut going a mile on grass at Belmont. While Request took the outside path in his wide rally, Great Minds was looping and weaving between horses on the inside in traffic. He was stuck in the middle in a tight battle for the wire along with Mr. Speaker (Pulpit), who finished third. One of many winners from this juvenile crop for sire Stroll, who is proving to be a multi-surface sire.
Curlins Queen (turf) (filly, Curlin – Catbaby by A.P. Indy) – The Michael Stidham runner made a solid impression on debut when she broke from the widest post in a field of 10 and showed late interest to get third in a mile test at Arlington. This is a filly to watch with added distance and particularly with a switch to dirt. She boasts an outstanding classic distance dirt pedigree.
Timeless Pleasure (filly, Curlin – Salty Sal by Cox’s Ridge) – A notable debut at Emerald Downs for this Tom Wenzel trainee. She rallied late for third after a sluggish start and energetically passed winner Guinevere’s Finale (Tale of the Cat) with an A-plus gallop out. She’s half to Desert Stormer and Moccasin victor Puxa Saco.
Crissy Field (turf) (filly, City Zip – Coffee House by Storm Cat) – This Philip Oliver runner is one to watch if she returns at Keeneland or Churchill after her rally for fourth place in her debut going a mile at Kentucky Downs.
Manhattan Johnnie (colt, Roman Ruler – Fancy Deed by Alydeed) – An easy debut win going six furlongs at Belmont for this Eddie Kenneally trainee, who set swift early fractions but crossed the line in a pedestrian 1:12.01. It didn’t appear to be a strong field; taking a wait-and-see approach. It should be noted that Maximus Decimus (Offlee Wild), sixth, had a very rough start and it’s a toss race for him.
Randy Paul (colt, Salute the Sarge – Walk Away Rene by Gold Alert) – He switched back to dirt after he was caught as the pacesetter in a try on turf and flourished, romping by more than five lengths at Louisiana Downs. A superb final time of :58.89 for the five furlongs. He was eighth in his debut, a key race won by top ITM Horse to Watch Louisiana Flyboy (Fusaichi Pegasus), who is now training at Saratoga.
Strike Twice (turf) (filly, More Than Ready – Musical High by Mozart) – The Donnie Von Hemel first-time starter just missed when trying to reach leader Lady Hughes (Henny Hughes), who had the benefit of a previous race. She was a bit green during the stretch run but should improve with experience; a perfect pedigree for turf.
Proroguing (colt, Silent Name – Executive Mist by Bold Executive) – Determined in his debut, this Ontario-bred missed the break but didn’t flinch; he saved energy before he rallied five-wide for an impressive win on the Woodbine synthetic in a five-furlong test.
Duty Proper (colt, Exclusive Quality – Hay Chief by Chief Seattle) – Outstanding debut for this runner from Touchdown Stables at Suffolk; he romped by more than seven lengths and finished the five furlongs in :58.84.
Chella (filly, Where’s the Ring – Always Loving by Hennessy) – Watch for this Steve Attard trainee next out. She missed the break in her debut sprinting at Woodbine, yet managed a charging late rally that just missed behind winner Fast ‘n Firm (Elite Squadron).