In the Money

Horse racing insight that's loose on the lead

Is Doug O’Neill sitting on a big Breeders’ Cup?

October 30th, 2013

By J.J. Hysell

He opened the Santa Anita meet with a bang, and it appears his fortunes could continue into this weekend’s Breeder’s Cup.

Trainer Doug O’Neill has nine total Breeders’ Cup entries and six in undercard races. While only one of his entries is a favorite – Private Zone in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint – several appear to have solid chances to have an impact at long odds.



Home School (30-1), a son of Intense Focus out of a Galileo dam, will add blinkers for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. The colt has experience over the surface with a fourth in the Zuma Beach that was better than it looks on paper. He also retains top rider Rafael Bejarano, who gets the call on all three O’Neill horses for Friday’s races. He was never worse than third while racing in Ireland, including in two Group 3 races. While the win spot in this race will be a tough sell, he’s appealing for exotics.

Goldencents (4-1) wasn’t helped by an outside draw that put him in post 12 for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Still, he’s a perfect fit for this distance and he’s been training exceptionally well for this test.

Clenor (8-1), a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf contender, has evolved into an unbeatable turf powerhouse since arriving to the O’Neill barn after three races in Ireland. She boasts a win over this surface and has overcome adversity in a few of her races. Her off-the-pace style should suit this race well and she’s a superb bet at 8-1.

One of the most intriguing long shots of the Saturday card is Concave (15-1), who will make her first start on dirt in the Juvenile Fillies. The daughter of Colonel John won her first two races impressively, including a Grade 2 that featured the talented She’s A Tiger. She was a bit farther back under Patrick Valenzuela in the seven-furlong Del Mar Debutante and still rallied for third behind a torrid pace. This is a very tough field with many up-and-coming runners, but this filly is one who could step up on the surface switch and stretch out under the guidance of Mario Gutierrez.



Renee’s Titan (30-1) has been off form lately, and this doesn’t appear to be her optimal distance, but she does like this track. Handsome Mike (30-1) is also one who needs a turnaround in recent form, but he does spark some interest for exotics with the switch back to turf and the cutback in distance.

A spot where O’Neill holds some very interesting cards is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Both his entries, FrontRunner winner Bond Holder (8-1) and Rum Point (30-1), show a lot of upside. Bond Holder, a son of Mineshaft, stepped up with the switch to dirt and the move to routing, as his pedigree suggested was optimal. He is only one of three with a win at this distance. Rum Point is a son of Malibu Moon whose only win came on the lead while sprinting, but he’s had valuable experience rating in his past two races, and it should be noted the Breeders’ Futurity was run on a soaked synthetic surface. A Malibu Moon first-time dirt can be dangerous and he’s received positive reviews from work analysts at Santa Anita this week.

Private Zone has also drawn attention in the morning during works and is coming into the Sprint in excellent form.

Will this be a Breeders’ Cup to remember for O’Neill?






Breeders’ Cup Entries, Post Positions

October 28th, 2013


Breeders’ Cup entries from Monday’s post position draw


1 – Last Gunfighter                        Javier Castellano               20-1

2 – Paynter                                      Martin Garcia                     12-1

3 – Planteur                                    Ryan Moore                         20-1

4 – Moreno                                      Joe Talamo                         15-1

5 – Declaration of War                 J. O’Brien                            10-1

6 – Mucho Macho Man               Gary Stevens                         5-1

7 – Fort Larned                             Brian Hernandez                6-1

8 – Palace Malice                          John Velazquez                 10-1

9 – Game on Dude                         Mike Smith                        8-5

10 – Will Take Charge                  Luis Saez                            12-1

11 – Ron the Greek                        Jose Lezcano                     8-1

12 – Flat Out                                  Joel Rosario                       12-1



1 – Street Girl                               Angel Castillo                30-1

2 – Authenticity                           John Velazquez               8-1

3 – Close Hatches                       Joel Rosario                      6-1

4 – Royal Delta                            Mike Smith                      8-5

5 – Beholder                                 Gary Stevens                    5-2

6 – Princess of Sylmar               Javier Castellano             9-5


BREEDERS’ CUP MILE                                                                                               bc logo

1. No Jet Lag                   Mike Smith

2. Silentio                        Rafael Bejarano

3. Silver Max                   Robby Albarado

4. Obviously                    Joe Talamo

5. Olympic Glory            Richard Hughes

6. Bright Thought           Julien Leparoux

7. He Be Fire N Ice          Victor Espinoza

8. Wise Dan                       John Velazquez

9. Cristoforo Colombo      Ryan Moore

10. Za Approval                   Joel Rosario



1. Justin Phillip                   John Velazquez

2. The Lumber Guy            Mike Luzzi

3. Gentlemen’s Bet             Javier Castellano

4. Majestic Stride               Edwin Maldonado

5. Sum of the Parts             Leandro Goncalves

6. Bahamian Squall            Luis Saez

7. Private Zone                    Martin Pedroza

8. Fast Bullet                       Joel Rosario

9. Secret Circle                    Martin Garcia

10. Wine Police                    Enrique Gomez

11. Trinniberg                       Rajiv Maragh

12. Laugh Track                   Mike Smith



1. Vagabond Shoes          Victor Espinoza

2. Teaks North                 Martin Garcia

3. Twilight Eclipse          Julien Leparoux

4. Little Mike                   Mike Smith

5. Skyring                         Luis Saez

6. Tale of a Champion     Joe Talamo

7. The Fugue                   William Buick

8. Point of Entry             John Velazquez

9. Indy Point                   Gary Stevens

10. Big Blue Kitten         Joe Bravo

11. Magician                    Ryan Moore

12. Real Solution            Javier Castellano



1. Smarty’s Echo                    E.T. Baird

2. Dance With Fate               Rafael Bejarano

3. Mexikoma                          Alan Garcia

4. New Year’s Day                 Martin Garcia

5. Bond Holder                     Mario Gutierrez

6. Tap It Rich                        Mike Smith

7. Cleburne                            Corey Nakatani

8. Conquest Titan                 Eurico Da Silva

9. Rum Point                          Edwin Maldonado

10. We Miss Artie                  Javier Castellano

11. Medal Count                     Robby Albarado

12. Diamond Bachelor          Julien Leparoux

13. Havana                              John Velazquez

14. Strong Mandate              Joel Rosario



1. Jeranimo                                Victor Espinoza

2. Rock Me Baby                       Joe Talamo

3. Chips All In                           Julien Leparoux

4. Reneesgotzip                        Edwin Maldonado

5. Caracortado                          Gary Stevens

6. Boat Trip                               Rafael Bejarano

7. Tightend Touhdown           Javier Castellano

8. Handsome Mike                  Mario Gutierrez

9. Capo Bastone                        Joel Rosario

10. Havelock                             James Graham

11. Spring to the Sky                John Velazquez

12. Mizdirection                       Mike Smith

13. Dimension                           David Moran

14. Unbridled’s Note               Corey Nakatani



1 – Renee’s Titan                           Mario Gutierrez

2 – Book Review                            Rafael Bejarano

3 – Starship Truffles                      Gary Stevens

4 – Dance Card                                Joel Rosario

5 – Teddy’s Promise                       Victor Espinoza

6 – Ismene                                        Mike Smith

7 – Summer Applause                    Javier Castellano

8 – Dance to Bristol                          Xavier Perez

9 – Judy the Beauty                          John Velazquez

10 – Great Hot                                   Chantal Sutherland

11 – Groupie Doll                                Rajiv Maragh

12 – Sweet Lulu                                 Julien Leparoux



1 – Dank                                              Ryan Moore

2 – Romantica                                  Maxime Guyon

3 – Tiz Flirtatious                             Julien Leparoux

4 – Alterite                                         John Velazquez

5 – Lady of Shamrock                        Victor Espinoza

6 – Marketing Mix                              Gary Stevens

7 – Laughing                                         Jose Lezcano

8 – Emollient                                       Mike Smith

9 – Qushchi                                          Edgar Prado

10 – Kitten’s Dumplings                    Joel Rosario



1 – Artemis Argotera               Jose Lezcano

2 – Rosalind                             Joel Rosario

3 – Designer Legs                  Joe Talamo

4  – Secret Compass              John Velazquez

5 – Ria Antonia                     Javier Castellano

6 – Concave                           Mario Gutierrez

7 – Untapable                      Rosie Napravnik

8 – Scandalous Act             Eduardo Nunez

9 – Sweet Reason                 Alex Solis

10 – She’s A Tiger                Gary Stevens



1 – Nesso                      Martin Garcia

2 – Al Thakhira           Ryan Moore

3 – Colonel Joan         Joe Talamo

4 – Kitten Kaboodle         John Velazquez

5 – Granny Mc’s Kitten     Javier Castellano

6 – Vorda                        Olivier Pesslier

7 – Street Sailing           Alan Garcia

8 – Chriselliam              Richard Hughes

9 – Dancing House        Mike Smith

10 – Clenor                     Rafael Bejarano

11 – Ready to Act           Joel Rosario

12 – Testa Rossi             Jose Lezcano

13 – Sky Painter            Luis Saez

14 – My Conquestadory          Eurico Da Silva



1 – Taptowne              Brian Hernandez

2 – Golden Ticket       Joel Rosario

3 – Hymn Book           Javier Castellano

4 – Brujo de Olleros     Alan Garcia

5 – Fed Biz                   Martin Garcia

6 – Broadway Empire      Rico Walcott

7 – Alpha                        Joe Bravo

8 – Holy Lute               Mike Smith

9 – Centralintelligence      Victor Espinoza

10 – Verrazano             John Velazquez

11 – Pants On Fire         Paco Lopez

12 – Goldencents          Rafael Bejarano

AE – Easter Gift            Joel Rosario



1 – All Cash                       Luis Saez

2 – Giovanni Boldini             Ryan Moore

3 – Got Shades                 Gary Stevens

4 – Outstrip                      Mike Smith

5 – Bobby’s Kitten            Javier Castellano

6 – Home School              Rafael Bejarano

7 – Aotearoa                      Corey Nakatani

8 – Bon Accord                 Joel Rosario

9 – Wilshire Boulevard     William Buick

10 – Ontology                     Mario Gutierrez

11 – Poker Player               Channing Hill

12 – Shamshon                   Richard Hughes

13 – Bashart                       John Velazquez



1 – Old Time Hockey                   Jose Lezcano

2 – Cease                                        David Cohen

3 – Commander                           Aaron Gryder

4 – Ever Rider                              Gary Stevens

5 – Suns Out Guns Out               Julien Leparoux

6 – Indian Jones                          Angel Castillo

7 – London Bridge                       Mike Smith

8 – Blueskiesnrainbows            Martin Pedroza

9 – Pool Play                                Eurico Da Silva

10 – Worldly                                David Flores


Stars of Tomorrow 1: Photo Album

October 27th, 2013

Behind the scenes at the first Stars of Tomorrow program – all 2-year-old races – at Churchill Downs Sunday, Oct. 27.

All images, copy and material in this post are copyright In the Money and may not be reproduced or published without prior consent.

Miguel Mena celebrates aboard Son of a Preacher, son of Pulpit and impressive winner of the fourth race.

Miguel Mena celebrates aboard Son of a Preacher, son of Pulpit


Tiger Bourbon, long-striding son of Big Brown, dropped back to allowance and won impressively for Rosie Napravnik and Eddie Kenneally

Tiger Bourbon, a long-striding son of Big Brown


Canaryinacoalmine, with Joe Rocco, Jr, up, broke her maiden in her second start for trainer Steve Margolis. She's by Birdstone.

Canaryinacoalmine, with Joe Rocco, Jr, up, broke her maiden in her second start for trainer Steve Margolis. She’s by Birdstone.


Cee 'n O, a son of Silver Train who was third in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, was sixth in the Street Sense. He might prefer synthetic and turf.

Cee ‘n O, a son of Silver Train who was third in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, was sixth in the Street Sense. He might prefer synthetic and turf.












Coastline, a son of Speightstown, is now 2 of 3 with one second after winning the Street Sense for trainer Mark Casse. He's a very professional type; mature for a 2-year-old.

Coastline, a son of Speightstown, is now 2 of 3 with one second after winning the Street Sense for trainer Mark Casse. He’s a very professional type; mature for a 2-year-old.


Albano, half-brother of Mark Valeski, trained by Larry Jones. The son of Istan finished third.

Albano, half-brother of Mark Valeski, trained by Larry Jones. The son of Istan finished third.


And You Can, a half-sister to Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, was eighth in her debut.

And You Can, a half-sister to Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, was eighth in her debut.


Ducasa, a Discreet Cat filly trying dirt for the first time, and Norberto Arroyo with the win,

Ducasa, a Discreet Cat filly trying dirt for the first time, and Norberto Arroyo with the win.


Shaun Bridgmohan and Street Sense winner Coastline.

Shaun Bridgmohan and Street Sense winner Coastline.


A return to dirt benefitted Culprit, who broke his maiden in his third start for Donegal, Dale Romans and Corey Lanerie.

A return to dirt helped Culprit


A moment with Indian Pegasus

A moment with Indian Pegasus


Norberto Arroyo, Jr. celebrates with a fam after winning aboard Ducasa.

Norberto Arroyo, Jr. celebrates with a fan after winning aboard Ducasa.


Wouldn't You Know, son of Speightstown, and a smiling Joe Rocco, Jr.

Wouldn’t You Know, son of Speightstown, and a smiling Joe Rocco, Jr.


Gambler's Rose, a half-sister of Thiskyhasnolimit, was a valiant second in her second start for Dale Romans.

Gambler’s Rose, a half-sister of Thiskyhasnolimit, was a valiant second in her second start for Dale Romans.


Florida-bred Kwacha

Florida-bred Kwacha was quite animated before her fourth start.


Ride on Curlin, third in the Street Sense, is always running well late.

Ride on Curlin, third in the Street Sense, is always running well late.


Little Baker, son of Forestry, was fourth in his second start.

Little Baker, son of Forestry, was fourth in his second start.


Rags to Riches winner Clever Beauty, by Indian Charlie, is now 2 for 2 at Churchill Downs.

Rags to Riches winner Clever Beauty, by Indian Charlie, is now 2 for 2 at Churchill Downs.


Springboard was a Spring At Last first-time dirt play.

Springboard was a Spring At Last progeny first-time dirt play.


Winston, friend of many horses at Churchill Downs, decked out for Halloween.

Winston, friend of many horses at Churchill Downs, decked out for Halloween.




2013 Breeders’ Cup schedule

October 23rd, 2013

Breeders’ Cup schedule with post times

Friday’s races begin at 10:45 a.m. Pacific with five undercard races. Friday’s guarantees include: $500,000 Pick 5 on races 1-5; a $1,000,000 Pick 6 on races 5-10; and a $1.5 million late Pick 4 on races 7-10.

Breeders' Cup Update

Breeders’ Cup Update

Saturday’s races begin at 10:15 a.m. Pacific with three undercard races. Saturday’s wagering includes: $500,000 Pick 5 guarantee on races 1-5; a $1 million early Pick 4 on races 4-7; a $2.5 million Ultra Pick 6 on races 7-12; and a $3 million late Pick 4 on races 9-12.

On Saturday, there will be an Ultra Pick Six with a guaranteed gross pool of $2.5 million beginning with the Turf Sprint and concluding with the Classic.

The traditional Daily Double wager that includes the Distaff and the Classic will be offered.

The Pick 5 is a .50-cent minimum and will include the first five races of each card.

Friday, Nov. 1 (times Pacific)

Marathon (1:45 p.m.)

Juvenile Turf (2:25 p.m.) (Pick 4 begins)

Dirt Mile (3:05 p.m.)

Juvenile Fillies Turf (3:50 p.m.) (Super Hi 5)

Breeders’ Cup Distaff (4:35 p.m.) (Daily Double with Classic)


Saturday, Nov. 2 (times Pacific)

Juvenile Fillies (12:05 p.m.) (Pick 4 begins)

Filly and Mare Turf (12:43 p.m.)

Filly and Mare Sprint (1:21 p.m.)

Turf Sprint (2:05 p.m.) (Pick 6 begins)

Juvenile (2:45 p.m.)

Turf (3:25 p.m.) (Pick 4 begins)

Sprint (4:05 p.m.)

Mile (4:42 p.m.)

Classic (5:35 p.m.) (Super Hi 5)

Information via Breeders’ Cup press release

Analysis: 2-year-olds to Watch

October 15th, 2013

ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: October 9  – October 16:

(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)


*Can the Man (colt, Into Mischief – Smolensk by Danzig) – After two disappointing starts in Grade 1 company, this Bob Baffert runner dropped to the $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita and toyed with the five-horse field. He appeared rejuvenated with the removal of blinkers, tracking the pace set by Hi Fashioned (Old Fashioned) before taking command and winning by 1 3/4-lengths in 1:09.53. While he’s proved he can rate off the pace and had energy to spare post-race, it appears he is best suited to 1 1/16-miles or less; Baffert addressed that after the Speakeasy.

Jockey Martin Garcia: “They took the blinkers off today, which I think helped. He took the lead today and was just waiting, waiting, and waiting and was just playing with them. He felt that horse on the inside coming (Hi Fashioned), and once they got close he took off again. He was just playing out there today.”

Baffert: “He was disappointing in the two-turn race (Grade I FrontRunner), so I thought this was the time to take the blinkers off and he drew perfectly (in post five) on the outside. . . (On Breeders’ Cup Juvenile) I don’t know. It’s two turns, it’s sort of tough. Right now I think one turn is his race. . . He’s still a young horse. He’s a nice horse and I think in time he’ll get it.”

*Bajan (filly, Speightstown – Critikal Reason by Aptitude) – She’s returned to her stellar form after a sixth-place effort with a bumpy trip in the Debutante. After three trips over synthetic, the Simon Callaghan trainee dazzled in her first race on dirt in the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita. She dispatched four rivals and finished the six furlongs in 1:10.64, and she appears to favor this surface.

Jockey Victor Espinoza: “It was a great trip, a lot of fun actually. She set up the way I wanted. She’s amazing when she runs on the dirt. The last couple of times, when she ran on synthetic, she was a little bit down. She really loves to run on the dirt. Later on, she might stretch out. I think she’s improving right now. I’ll have to keep riding her a little bit all the way to the wire so that I teach her for the future, so hopefully we can go long.”

Callaghan: “I think she definitely prefers this surface here at Santa Anita. She kind of got away with it at Del Mar, but coming here, it’s much more to her liking. They went quick and Victor had a perfect trip. She’s a nice filly and she picked them up well.”

Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred (owners): “We haven’t thought about Breeders’ Cup at all to be honest, but the way she won in here makes me think that two turns isn’t totally out of the question. We were focused on this race and getting her back in form. Now that we won this, maybe we can start to think about that next step, but I’m not going to rush into any decisions at this point. We’ll wait and just have to see what happens.”

Courtesan (turf) (filly, Street Sense – Lady Discreet by Boundary) – A troubled trip that included some bumping in the stretch stymied her efforts in the JP Morgan Chase Jessamine Stakes going 1 1/16-miles at Keeneland. The Christophe Clement trainee made up the most ground of any runner in the 10-horse field, however, moving from eighth to third and gaining in the final furlong. This is a classy filly who broke her maiden in her second start, also a route race on turf, and was third over a sloppy track in her debut. Her pedigree indicates she would take well to a fast dirt surface.

Jockey Irad Ortiz: “I had a good trip. They were going pretty fast in the first part – a lot of speed horses in the race. So I waited and had to go a little wide, because I knew they were going to stop because they were going too fast. I didn’t want to be in trouble. I went a little outside and checked a little bit. She came running and ran good.”

Superb ride on the inside by Alan Garcia aboard winner Kitten Kaboodle (Kitten’s Joy), avoiding traffic trouble and keeping her in a perfect stalking position until the stretch. The Chad Brown trainee had posted two straight second-place finishes prior to this 4 3/4-length win in 1:44.01.

Garcia: “It was pretty easy. My filly broke good, and we saved all the ground we could. Turning for home, when I saw the hole on the inside, I said, ‘Let me ask her,’ and she took off.”

Two horses to watch for a cutback in distance on grass are the talented Richies Party Girl (Any Given Saturday) and Zip On (City Zip).

*Best Plan Yet (colt, Hear No Evil – Bayou Plans by Bayou Hebert) – The Stanley Gold trainee dethroned My Brown Eyed Guy (With Distinction) as top 2-year-old male on the Florida circuit after his dominating win in the In Reality Stakes at Calder.

Jockey Jeffrey Sanchez: “I worked very hard with the horse. The last time he won he surprised me, and I said ‘Okay, this time I will take him back, but not too far back.’ I tried to put him behind the speed and when he was ready, let him go. He’s unbelievable.”

No excuses for My Brown Eyed Guy, who finished an uncharacteristic ninth (last).

Trainer Kathleen O’Connell after the race via calderracecourse,com: “He seems like he will be fine. Maybe he will need the turf, or not to go as long, but he seemed like he would be fine this morning.”

*Scandalous Act (filly, Act of Duty – Seductive Lady by Langfuhr) – This Kathleen O’Connell trainee never trailed a horse in three straight victories in the Florida Stallion series: the Desert Vixen at six furlongs, the Susan’s Girl at Seven furlongs and the My Dear Girl at 1 1/16-miles. She won the trio by a combined 20 lengths and is 4 of 5 for her career – undoubtedly the top 2-year-old filly on the Florida circuit. She’s the first filly to sweep the series since Awesome Feather in 2010.

O’Connell hinted after the race that the half-sister of Affluent Lady and Two Ts at Two B could be headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

*Countess Bling (filly, Too Much Bling – Awesome Eve by Awesome Again) – We tabbed this gray filly as one to watch and she rewarded with a win at 23-1 against colts and geldings in the Juvenile Stakes at Thistledown – her first start on dirt – for trainer Timothy Hamm.

*Needmore Flattery (filly, Flatter – Kiosk by Left Banker) – Her name suits her as she deserves more spotlight. The Ohio-bred is 6 of 7 in her young career for trainer Timothy Hamm. Her lone loss was her only start on synthetic against males in the Fitz Dixon Memorial Juvenile; otherwise, she’s perfect on the Ohio circuit and she usually wins by double-digits. In her most recent outing, the John W. Galbreath Stakes at Thistledown, she romped by more than 18 lengths.

*Architecture (filly, Dixie Chatter – Harmony Creator by Yankee Gentleman)Arabella’s Muse (Finality) proved too much for her last out in the Sadie Diamond Futurity, but she bounced back with a win in the Fantasy Stakes at Hastings while stretching out to 1 1/16-miles. She’s not finished worse than second in six starts.

Some intriguing juveniles have emerged from the Keeneland meet so far.

Some intriguing juveniles have emerged from the Keeneland meet so far.


Tap It Rich (ridgling, Tapit – Gold Canyon by Mr. Prospector) – The talk of racing pundits last weekend, this Bob Baffert runner caught everyone’s eye with his appealing debut at a mile at Santa Anita. He got off to a woeful start as he hopped in front of the gate and was left at the back of the pack. With Closet E (Street Sense) and Hold Everything (Corinthian) guiding the quick pace, this gray worked his way up the stretch under Mike Smith and moved into contention along with closing Candy Boy (Candy Ride). Tap It Rich turned on the acceleration and drew off to win by more than four lengths in 1:36.78. He displayed athleticism and determination against a field that included several more experienced foes. He’s half-brother of Adriano, winner of the Lane’s End and the Kent Stakes who was 19th in the Kentucky Derby in 2008. Baffert said the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is under consideration.

America (filly, A.P. Indy – Lacadena by Fasilyev) – This highly regarded Bill Mott trainee, owned by renowned chef Bobby Flay, turned things around when she moved from a route on turf to a mile test on dirt at Belmont. She showed little in that debut on grass at Saratoga, but it was a different story second time out. She waited patiently behind the moderate pace before becoming aggressive in the stretch, comfortably settling into stride and powering to the lead while holding off Mei Ling (Empire Maker). The future looks bright for another A.P. Indy juvenile.

Miss Melinda (filly, Malibu Moon – Black Escort by Southern Halo) – Outstanding debut by this Bill Mott trainee, who grabbed the lead and won easily at Belmont. She covered the six-and-a-half furlongs in 1:17.24. The field was mostly newcomers, but the manner in which she won at first asking is notable.

Pablo Del Monte (colt, Giant’s Causeway – One Hot Wish by Bring the Heat) – Fresh off the six-month layoff, this Wes Ward trainee moved his career record to 2 for 2 at Keeneland with an eye-catching romp at 7 1/2-furlongs. With blinkers on, he dictated the early pace and cruised home untested in a spicy 1:15.55. Both of his races were won with the early lead, so it will be interesting to see if he is comfortable tracking pace in the future. A surface switch would also be intriguing as his pedigree is tailored for synthetic, but also indicates he should handle longer distances.

Pablo Del Monte is being pointed to the Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs on Nov. 23. Ward: “This will give him some time.”

*Hollywood Talent (colt, Talent Search – Intrinsic Value by Johannesburg) – After solid performances in the Bashford Manor and Sanford Stakes, he regressed in the ungraded Matt McDermott Stakes at Presque Isle, but it’s quite likely he didn’t appreciate the switch to synthetic. He rebounded with a stellar showing when returning to dirt and dropping to allowance level at Parx, winning a six-furlong test easily in 1:09.50. Interesting to note he was scratched from a race at Keeneland in favor of Parx; a sharp sprinter to watch on dirt.

Touch the Star (turf) (filly, Tapit – Willstar by Nureyev) – This Bill Mott filly flashed potential in a fourth-place finish in her debut at Belmont Park. The pedigree suggests she will appreciate longer distances. Solid win by Miss Loretta Lynn (Mineshaft) in 1:08.89 in what could shape up to be a key grass race.

Galton (colt, Offlee Wild – Nibbana by Giant’s Causeway) – He got caught in a bit of a traffic jam in his Keeneland debut, won by Myositis Dan (Istan), but once he forged through, he was running well late. Outstanding gallop out. He’s one to watch next out for trainer Andrew McKeever,

Final Step (gelding, In Summation – Pentelicus Gold by Pentelicus) – A scintillating switch off the synthetic to dirt as he showed major improvement in his second start. The Florida-bred, trained by Peter Miller, snatched the early lead and extended his advantage to the wire in the 5 1/2-furlong test at Santa Anita; final time of 1:03.05.

Hillhouse High (turf) (filly, Exchange Rate – Pleasant Laughter by Coronado’s Quest) – Her company lines are starting to develop as her debut at Saratoga is evolving into a key race (July 22). They couldn’t catch this Chad Brown trainee in her third start, a mile trip at Belmont in which she dictated the pace and had plenty left after the wire.

Wes Ward (far left) has two standouts on this week's list.

Wes Ward (far left) has two standouts on this week’s list.

High Wire Kitten (turf) (filly, Kitten’s Joy – Littlebitoflove by High Yield)  – The Wes Ward trainee just missed with her late closing effort, losing by a nose at the wire in her debut going a mile on the Keeneland turf. She’ll be heavily backed next out.

Pentafecta (gelding, Grand Slam – Easy to Tell by Tale of the Cat) – A strong front-running win second time out for this Bret Calhoun trainee, who crossed the line in 1:10.26 for the six furlongs at Indiana Downs. He was third in his debut at Churchill Downs behind Kendall’s Boy (Sky Mesa) and Oogeley Eye (Afleet Alex).

*Naïve Enough (filly, Street Sense – Light From Above by A.P. Indy) – A stumbling start that left her last in the field of six didn’t hamper her ability to re-rally and win her second straight race. The Ignacio Correas runner overcame the difficult start in the mile test at Laurel to power past the field in the stretch.

Flipcup (filly, Milwaukee Brew – Dream Affair by Touch Gold) – This New York-bred is serving notice at Woodbine for trainer Brian Lynch. She’s 2 for 2 at the track and prefers to come from off the pace.

*Wildcat Red (colt, D’Wildcat – Racene by Miner’s Mark) – We tabbed this half-brother of Racing Machine as one to watch after he romped in his debut. He followed up with another speedy victory at Gulfstream when he cut back to six furlongs, tracked the pace and won impressively in 1:10.57 for trainer Jose Garoffalo.

Perky Kitten (turf) (colt, Kitten’s Joy – Love Runs Deep by Not For Love) – No need to tout any Kittens at Keeneland, of course, but this fourth-place finisher is one to monitor after he was hampered by a bumpy start and rallied six-wide in his debut at a mile for trainer Mike Maker.

Street Sailing (turf) (filly, Street Boss – Sailing Free by Mizzen Mast) – With that pedigree, it’s no wonder this Pennsylvania-bred, trained by William Helmbrecht, kicked it up a notch in her first start on grass. She’d performed well in maiden races on synthetic at Presque Isle, but this runaway win at Keeneland showed her preferred surface. Another winner to emerge from the Mark McDermott Stakes at Presque Isle (Hollywood Talent).


Place Card (filly, Lemon Drop Kid – Two Halos by Saint Ballado) – This Graham Motion trainee is one to watch for the future after she rallied from last to finish third in her debut, a six-furlong test on synthetic at Keeneland. Also to watch from this race, won by Aurelia’s Belle (Lemon Drop Kid), is Wicked Temper (Tapit), a Dale Romans trainee who should improve with experience and could also step up on a switch to dirt or turf.

Exit Interview (filly, Notional – Interviewing by Allen’s Prospect) – This Pennsylvania-bred is 2 for 2 at Parx and has won those races by a combined 12 2/3-lengths.

Bolita Boyz (colt, Act of Duty – Startsruck Vicky by Langfuhr) – Steady improvement by the Florida-bred, who won his second straight race at Calder, a 6 1/2-furlong test, by more than eight lengths.

G Note (turf) (filly, Medaglia d’Oro – Seeking the Ante by Seeking the Gold) – A late wide rally resulted in a fourth-place finish in her debut going seven furlongs on grass at Belmont Park. The John Kimmel trainee should move up with more distance and has a perfect pedigree for dirt.

Smart Ashley (turf) (filly, Smart Strike – Awesome Ashley by Unbridled’s Song) – She showed improvement on the move to grass at Keeneland in her second start. The George Arnold runner launched a rally at the rail but was a bit squeezed on the inside, finishing third behind winner Fawaarek (Smart Strike). She could improve with a better trip next time out.

Super Fantasy (turf) (filly, War Chant – No Beans by Unreal Zeal) – This Manuel Azpurua trainee has found a new home on the turf – she’s 2 for 2 since switching to grass and won her most recent test at 1 1/16-miles without much urging.

Brown Rice (filly, Big Brown – Saffronista by Ecton Park) – This late closer adeptly weaved her way through traffic and skimmed across the sloppy surface to get up just in time in the mile test at Laurel that was originally slated for turf. After a lackluster debut, she was dropped to the claiming ranks and switched to turf, where she appeared rejuvenated and finished a strong second. It could be she just needed a race to get accustomed – or she could need these softer surfaces to flourish.

Ginger Swirl (filly, Hard Spun – Ginger Bay by Golden Missile) – She covered substantial ground in her debut to rally from eighth in a 10-horse field to finished second behind Russian Jewel (Wildcat Heir). An A-plus gallop out for the Brian Lynch trainee.

Danzig Storm (colt, Distorted Humor – La Suena by Storm Cat) – The lone first-time starter in a six-furlong race on synthetic at Woodbine, this Mark Casse runner flashed potential when he rallied from last to second behind a swift early pace. This colt should appreciate a stretch out and pedigree suggests he’ll improve on a switch to dirt.

Coteau Rouge (colt, Tale of the Cat – Character Builder by Coronado’s Quest) – This colt could be a force on the Louisiana circuit; he looked quite promising in his debut at Delta Downs for trainer Patrick Devereux, blazing five furlongs in :58.28. He looked like he wanted to go around again after the race. He’s half-brother of Little Ms Protocol, the 2011 2-year-old Louisiana Filly of the Year and a multiple stakes winner on this circuit who was also trained by Devereux.

Shudaboughther (turf) (filly, Artie Schiller – Hot ‘n Dusty by Unusual Heat) – Behold that superb turf pedigree. This Eddie Plesa runner was game in defeat in her debut at Gulfstream. Tough assignment to go 1 1/16-miles first time out, yet she maintained on the pace and only gave way just before the wire. Longer distances likely won’t be her forte, but it’s easy to envision this young prospect dominating at a mile.


Breeders’ Cup Update for Oct. 14: Juveniles

October 13th, 2013

By J.J. Hysell

According to Santa Anita press notes, trainer Patrick Biancone said Diamond Bachelor is “75 percent for the Juvenile and 25 percent for the Juvenile Turf.”

If Diamond Bachelor tries the Juvenile, it will mark his first start on dirt. The son of War Front is two for three on grass for his career, his lone loss a runner-up finish to Aotearoa in the Zuma Beach Stakes on Oct. 6.

Breeders' Cup Update

Breeders’ Cup Update

Bob Baffert indicated newcomer Tap It Rich, who tallied an impressive last-to-first rally in his debut at Santa Anita on Oct. 12, is possible for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“I might run him in an ‘a-other-than’ for $2 million,” Baffert said. The son of Tapit is half-brother of Adriano, who won the Lane’s End Stakes and the Kent Stakes in 2008.

“We were high on him going in, and he really validated it when he ran like that,” Baffert said in the notes.

Dermot Weld trainee Flying Jib, daughter of Oasis Dream and winner of the Staffordstown Stud Stakes at The Curragh, is possible for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf according to

There’s also a chance the Marco Botti-trained Al Thakhira, daughter of Dubawi, could venture to Santa Anita for the Juvenile Fillies Turf after her win in the Rockfel Stakes.

According to this article in the Daily Mail, trainer Aiden O’Brien is considering Giovanni Boldini, a son of War Front who won a listed race at Dundalk Friday, and Wilshire Boulevard, a son of Holy Roman Emperor and runner-up in the Gimcrack Stakes, for the Breeders’ Cup.


Photo Album: Keeneland Fall Stars Weekend

October 9th, 2013

Scenes from the Keeneland Fall Stars Weekend – Oct. 5, 2013


Judy the Beauty prior to her upset win over Groupie Doll in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes.

Judy the Beauty prior to her upset win over Groupie Doll in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes.


Keeneland early Saturday.

Keeneland early Saturday.


Gypsy Robin before her second-place finish in the TCA Stakes.

Gypsy Robin before her second-place finish in the TCA Stakes.


Julien Leparoux after his win aboard All Alex in the first race Saturday.

Julien Leparoux after his win aboard All Alex in the first race Saturday.

Dale Romans interviewed by TVG after Silver Max defeated Wise Dan.

Dale Romans interviewed by TVG after Silver Max defeated Wise Dan.


Wise Dan and John Velazquez prior to the Shadwell Turf Mile, which was moved to the main track.

Wise Dan and John Velazquez prior to the Shadwell Turf Mile, which was moved to the main track.

Groupie Doll takes the pre-race wardrobe adjustments in stride.

Groupie Doll takes the pre-race wardrobe adjustments in stride.


Coastline returned to the winner's circle with energy to spare

Coastline returned to the winner’s circle with energy to spare



The Ramsey team prepares to lead All Alex into the winner's circle.

The Ramsey team prepares to lead All Alex into the winner’s circle.


Streethomealabama, 2-year-old daughter of Street Sense, second in her fifth start.

Streethomealabama, 2-year-old daughter of Street Sense, second in her fifth start.


Wesley Ward and John Velazquez interviewed by Mike Battaglia after Judy the Beauty's win as a thunderstorm approaches.

Wesley Ward and John Velazquez interviewed by Mike Battaglia after Judy the Beauty’s win as a thunderstorm approaches.


All images, copy and material in this post are copyright In the Money and may not be reproduced or published without prior consent.


Analysis: Two-year-olds to Watch

October 8th, 2013

ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: October 2  – October 9:

(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)


*Honor Code (colt, A.P. Indy – Serena’s Cat by Storm Cat) – Although he lost the Grade 1 Champagne by a neck to gritty Havana (Dunkirk), there was no shame in his fast-closing wide run from last in the mile test. The Shug McGaughey trainee proved his debut win in the slop was a legitimate indicator of his ability and class. He should excel when stretching out beyond this distance; the only drawback is he has shown only one dimension with the late-closing run, and that could be compromised by pace. Sharp win by Todd Pletcher’s Havana, who snatched the early lead from Debt Ceiling (Discreet Cat) and endured a taxing pace (:22.87, :45.54), but he obviously appeared tired in the stretch – even swishing his tail and losing focus while on the lead. Havana likely has distance limitations that could catch up to him as a 3-year-old. Outstanding run by Ride on Curlin (Curlin) for third; the connections were smart to keep him on dirt where he will likely excel at longer distances. How in the world was he 17-1?  Casiguapo (Sightseeing) continues to outrun his odds, finishing a very distinguished fourth at 36-1. Final time: 1:35.81.

Todd Pletcher on Havana: “Anytime you go from 5 ½ (furlongs) to a mile and do it against the type of horses he was in with today, it’s always a concern. We did a similar thing with Uncle Mo (in the 2010 Champagne), the difference being that was six (furlongs) to a mile. I think it takes a pretty special horse to do it. I’m proud of his effort today. We knew we were asking him a lot, but we were doing it because we liked him a lot.”

Irad Ortiz on Havana: “He got a little tired at the end, but he was still running.”

Shug McGaughey on Honor Code: “Having to go wide probably cost us the race, but Havana got the jump at the head of the stretch and opened up, and we were unlucky to not catch him. I thought it was an awfully big effort for a horse of his type who is just learning and is kind of lazy in the first part until you do ask him.”

NYRA reports McGaughey said Honor Code might skip the Breeders’ Cup.

“You’d always like to go to the Breeders’ Cup, but he’s a young horse and it’d be only his third start. He’d have to ship to do it. Would the Remsen be the better spot for him at Aqueduct in his learning process? Obviously, next spring would be our main objective. Whatever (owners Lane’s End Racing and Dell Ridge Farm) want to do is going to be fine with me.”

*My Conquestadory (filly, Artie Schiller – Golden Artemis by Malibu Moon) – This special filly proved her talent and ability when she defeated males in her debut, the Grade 2 Summer Stakes. Shipping to Keeneland, stretching out to 1 1/16-miles. switching from turf to synthetic – would she overcome all the daunting obstacles? She did that and more, finding her way out of traffic trouble to zoom home an impressive winner in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades.

Lodged in the back of the pack of the 12-horse field, she was trapped behind a wall of horses on the inside until the stretch run. She launched a jaw-dropping rally from 10th to pass her foes with an immense turn of foot over the new surface and won going away by 1 3/4-lengths in 1:45.61. She doesn’t seem to be deterred by extended distance and is a multi-surface threat. Just one question remains: can she master dirt? A decision looms for trainer Mark Casse, who must decide between the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf.

Casse: “This is a filly that never has set foot on a dirt track. We are going to Churchill Downs this (Sunday) morning and we have a month. It is still to be determined and if I had to decide today, it would be 100 percent turf. But if it is dirt, it would not be for the money, it would be for the (2-year-old filly) championship.”

Jockey Eurico Da Silva: “She didn’t break sharp, but she was very, very relaxed. I was worried in the middle of the turn because there were so many fillies in front of me, but every time I need her, she was just galloping. I was waiting for a hole, and every time it opened a little bit, I put her in. In the stretch when we had a free run, she just ran so easy. She’s a very nice filly.”

Outstanding effort by ITM Horse to Watch Rosalind to grab second from an outside post after a wide trip. She did seem to struggle a bit with the surface and is one to watch on return to turf or dirt.

Trainer Kenny McPeek hopes My Conquestadory opts to go on grass at Santa Anita. “(Rosalind) is a pretty special filly and we are looking at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on dirt. There are two reasons: I don’t want to go a mile (in the Juvenile Fillies Turf) and I don’t want to face the winner from (Friday) again.”

A detailed update from Landaluce Educe Stables on Rosalind:

*Sweet Reason (filly, Street Sense – Livermore Leslie by Mt. Livermore) – The Spinaway winner was stymied by a terrible start in the Grade 1 Frizette, her first start on a fast dirt track. She broke well in her debut when starting from the rail post, but things didn’t go as smoothly this time as she veered sharply toward the rail and spotted the field several lengths. Despite the setback, she reappeared in the stretch with that trademark late kick and almost caught victor Artemis Agrotera (Roman Ruler). Sweet Reason, trained by Leah Gyarmati, proved she can handle a fast dirt surface after two wins over a sloppy track. New York-bred Artemis Agrotera also had something to prove: her 11-length debut romp was no fluke, either. Final time for the mile test: 1:36.25.

Gyarmati: “It was a remarkable race. Obviously, she didn’t get a very good start. She’s already a horse that’s going to be back a little bit, so it cost us probably five, six lengths. She proved she could handle a fast track, she was six wide, and she spotted the field several lengths at the start, so I’m very impressed with her.”

Both Sweet Reason and Artemis Agrotera are likely for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

*Clenor (turf) (filly, Oratorio – Chantarella by Royal Academy) – The leader of the juvenile turf fillies division retained her crown with a top-notch winning performance in the Surfer Girl Stakes going a mile at Santa Anita. The Doug O’Neill trainee started in her usual mid-pack spot and accelerated in the stretch without much asking. She’s three for three since arriving in the United States. A strong five-wide run from last to third by Colonel Joan (Colonel John), who is much better than her 0 for 3 record indicates.

O’Neill: “She’s such a nice filly. Raffy (Bejarano) said he sensed speed was holding, so he didn’t want to give her too much to do.  He had her a little closer up today and she responded well. Breeders’ Cup here we come. As long as she stays injury-free, that’s the goal.”

Bejarano: “The speed was holding all day, so I didn’t want to be too far back. I tried to stay closer to the speed and get her comfortable.  She didn’t show me the big kick that she normally does, but she still ran well. I think from here on it will only be better for me because there will be more speed and more competition.”

Runner-up Nesso (Roman Ruler), who was also second to Clenor last out in the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf, is also possible for the Breeders’ Cup.

*Bobby’s Kitten (turf) (colt, Kitten’s Joy – Celestial Woods by Forestry) – Absolute domination by this Chad Brown trainee – named for late trainer Bobby Frankel – in the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes at 1 1/16-miles on the Belmont turf. We tabbed him as one to watch after his third-place debut in a key race on grass at Saratoga and, since then, he’s reeled off two impressive wins. He is a leading candidate for top pick in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Brown’s other runner in the Pilgrim, Shadow Banking (Harlan’s Holiday), was running well late after a slow start left him last.

According to NYRA, Brown plans to send both colts to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf if they are healthy.

Brown: “Second time out, we learned (Bobby’s Kitten) was capable of leaving early and finishing. He has speed and can carry it, which makes him dangerous. Javier (Castellano) came out and worked him the other day and really liked the horse and accepted the mount on him. He said, ‘I want to go out. I’m not going to worry what anybody else is doing. I’m going to ride my race. I’m real confident.’ He rode that way.

Brown on Shadow Banking: “Considering the short rest he was on – I prefer that 31-60 day window, especially with my grass horses – he was looking a little bouncy, but he was able to pull through a slow pace and still get up for second. Now I have a little bit more time for his third start.”

Testa Rossi (turf) (filly, Dr. Fong – Peggy Lane by Dancing Spree) – She arrived in the U.S. from France boasting a three-race win streak and moved into the barn of trainer Chad Brown, who had her perfectly prepared for the Grade 3 Miss Grillo Stakes on the Belmont turf. The filly moved from 10th heading into the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile test to lead and she held off a late-charging Sky Painter (Street Cry). Testa Rossi had energy to spare as she crossed the wire in a hand ride while others were all out to reach her. She might not be one for long distances, but this middle distance range is her game. Interesting to note Testa Rossi recorded a final time of 1:41.73 and a final split of 5:88, better than the males in the Pilgrim (1:42.37, 6:21).

Chad Brown: “Testa Rossi’s works were good, they weren’t great, but you know what? She’s a good-looking horse, she’s got good form and every week she seems to be improving. I have a bunch of these fillies and I picked the two I thought would give me the best chance to win, and she was one of them.”

Sky Painter remains one to watch as well as third-place finisher Dancing House (Tapit), who is out of multiple graded stakes winner Tout Charmant. Granny Mc’s Kitten (Kitten’s Joy), also trained by Brown, was surging until she had to check off heels, so her fourth-place finish was actually much better than it looks on paper. She’s one who could rebound next out.

Arctic Slope (colt, Van Nistelrooy – Alpine Spring by Coronado’s Quest) – It’s not easy to close from last on a synthetic track that’s taken a record amount of rainfall in one afternoon, but that’s exactly what this Ken McPeek runner did to finish third in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. The track was visibly loaded with pools of water, and that affected the performances of some of the contenders in the 12-horse field. This colt made up the most ground in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile test and, although a bit green, showed potential. His maiden-breaking win in his second start, a 1 1/16-mile test at Churchill Downs on Sept. 14, was impressive and he was second in his debut at Saratoga to the talented Bashart.

Winner We Miss Artie (Artie Schiller) bounced back from his sixth-place disappointment as the favorite in the With Anticipation on turf and won from off the pace in 1:46.91. Interesting to note that owner Ken Ramesy originally wanted to go in the Cup and Saucer at Woodbine, but was convinced by Pletcher to go here (more: We Miss Artie and Darley Alcibiades winner My Conquestadory both carried the banner for sire Artie Schiller over the weekend. Also to watch from the race is runner-up Smarty’s Echo (Smarty Jones), an Arlington Park shipper who had a tough trip on the inside, where the water pooling was heavy. He still managed a strong gallop-out. The top three finishers all started from far outside posts (12, 13, 10 respectively).

Jockey Joe Rocco, Jr. on Arctic Slope: “My horse kind of hopped a bit on the first jump, left on his back legs. But then they went fast enough (and) I thought I’d be a little closer at first, but they were going so fast I think I would have ended up where I was anyway. From there, I more or less followed Johnny (Velazquez on winner We Miss Artie) around there. The rail was really heavy with a lot of water on it, so I wanted to keep my horse more toward the outside. He ran on well. It seems like he’ll run all day long.”

Jockey Mario Gutierrez on Rum Point (Malibu Moon), fourth: “It was kind of a weird trip. Everybody was trying to pick the perfect spot. The inside rail was full of water, the outside too, but everyone was pushing each other to the outside. My horse handled the track pretty good after all. He’ll get better after this one. He has a lot of room to improve.”

*Poker Player (colt, Harlan’s Holiday – Revel in the Win by Red Bullet) – The Bourbon Stakes was taken off the turf and moved to the synthetic track, which remained saturated after record rainfall. Many runners in the race showed visible difficulty handling the track, so this could be a toss race for some of these contenders who will prefer dirt and firm turf in the future. One colt who relished the soggy going was this Wayne Catalano trainee, who did his best running late in the 1 1/1/16-mile test. He remained positioned in the back of the pack of the 13-horse field until the stretch run, when he powered past a tiring Bashart (War Front) to win by a length in 1:43.46. This is a multi-surface talent who also boasts a nice win on turf at Kentucky Downs. Keep an eye on All Cash (English Channel), who tried to rally up the rail but couldn’t reach the leaders and finished fourth. All Cash is better on turf and was third behind Pilgrim winner Bobby’s Kitten at Saratoga.

Jockey Channing Hill on Poker Player: “He put me in a really good spot, just even down the backside when he broke so well. He relaxed nice into the backside. He got a little jumbled down the backside and into the turn, but he really matured even from the last race at Kentucky Downs into today. He really found himself and when I took him out I knew that we were going to be really tough to beat. He was a still a little green (early in the race), but he was absolutely professional getting to the wire.”

John Velazquez on Bashart: “We had a decent enough trip. They kind of backed up right in my face on the backstretch and I was finally able to pull him out and tried to get him to relax behind the other two horses. Then outside, another horse made a premature move and that cost me a little bit. . . When he took the lead, he pulled up. He was looking out in the infield and the horse coming on the outside he didn’t even pay attention to; he just kept looking in the infield.”

Jockey Ricardo Santana on All Cash: “My horse put in a beautiful (effort). I was stopped everywhere. I tried to find him some room. I tried to find a hole. But my horse still tried to finish nice.”

It was a disappointing effort from favorite Boji Moon (Cactus Ridge), who went into the race undefeated and was making his first start on synthetic. Boji Moon was wide into the turn while competing with the leaders for the early pace, then faded.

Trainer Chris Richard on Boji Moon: “He broke really good and got himself into the race early. I don’t think he was quite into the bit as he normally is. That was a little concern of mine. The surface was a question mark with him. I am not going to use it as an excuse. I don’t think it is his favorite kind of footing. I think he will be able to get two turns, but not on (all-weather) footing.

“Our goal with him has always been the spring races (at Oaklawn Park). We’ll probably give him a break and point for that series.”

*Life is a Joy (gelding, Globalize – Tadita by Indian Charlie) – This California-bred can track the pace or win gate to wire, likes synthetic or dirt and is three for three after a romp in the Charlie Palmer Futurity at Fresno.

*Flay Mignon (filly, Yesbyjimminy – Forest Retreat by Forest Camp) – Never a nervous moment for this New Jersey-bred, who moved her record to three for four at Monmouth Park with an easy win in the Jersey Juvenile Stakes. Jockey Paco Lopez didn’t have to move a muscle as this filly pinned her ears back and persevered to the wire in the six-furlong race.

Trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr.: “She’s one of the nicest 2-year-olds in the barn.  She’s shown how good she is and that she can run on anything.”

*Ami’s Holiday (colt, Harlan’s Holiday – Victorious Ami by Victory Gallop) – He beat just three rivals in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes – her first try in stakes company in her second start – but it wasn’t easy. Big Bazinga (Bluegrass Cat) looked home free until this Josie Carroll trainee rallied from third to catch him late in the stretch for a victory in the 1 1/16-mile test on synthetic. Top all-weather pedigree on this Ontario-bred.

Unspurned (filly, Lemon Drop Kid – Banga Ridge by Snow Ridge) – She couldn’t reach eye-catching winner Madly Truly (Malibu Moon) in the Mazarine Stakes, but she had an excuse for her slow start (stumbled) and rallied five-wide to be in the mix late. She was lengths ahead of her foes on the gallop out as well. Toss her previous race on turf, the Natalma Stakes, as she was involved in the unfortunate incident involving a fallen rival.


Lady Paradime (filly, Parading – In for a Dime by Include) – The video of this filly’s amazing second start at Delaware Park went viral on Oct. 3. She dropped to her nose at the start at the rail post, stumbled badly and almost lost jockey Angel Serpa. She appeared out of the race after being outdistanced by double-digit lengths early – until, at the turn, she began to gain momentum and raced down the stretch to beat leader Riviera Romper by a half-length. One of the most amazing performances by a juvenile we’ve seen this season. She’s one of a few early winners for new sire Parading.

*Super Sky (filly, Sky Mesa – Tortuga Lady by Thunder Gulch) – She bounced back from the loss to Sky Painter, the valiant runner-up in the Miss Grillo, with a sharp win over the soggy synthetic going seven furlongs at Keeneland. This Todd Pletcher trainee, a half-sister to Princess Arabella, seemed to like the stretch-out and is improving with each race.

Coastline broke his maiden at Keeneland in his second start.

Coastline broke his maiden at Keeneland in his second start.

*Coastline (colt, Speightstown – Culinary by El Amante) – It was no surprise this Mark Casse trainee took a step forward and broke his maiden at second asking in a seven-furlong test at Keeneland. The gray colt was the only one who kept pace with the talented newcomer Almost Famous (Unbridled’s Song) on Sept. 13 at Churchill Downs. While he’s sprint-heavy on the sire side, his dam, Culinary, won several stakes – including the Arlington Washington-Lassie – and her optimal distance was 1 1/16-miles.

Cairo Prince (colt, Pioneerof the Nile – Holy Bubette by Holy Bull) – This first-time starter for Kiaran McLaughlin sat off a moderate pace (:23.12, :45.16) and maintained his advantage in the stretch over favorite Harpoon (Tapit) to win the six-furlong test at Belmont in 1:10.21. Harpoon endured a bit of an odd trip, moving from an inside position behind horses early to the outside of Cairo Prince and Yankee Dime in a three-way duel for the pace. Harpoon was rank throughout, often bumping and weaving; he’s one to watch for improvement with removal of the blinkers. Cairo Prince is out of multiple stakes winner Holy Bubette, a well-traveled mare who was best sprinting.



Prepared (filly, Giant’s Causeway – Pension by Seeking the Gold) – In her second start for trainer Kellyn Gorder – a 1 1/16-mile test at Keeneland – this filly tracked a tepid pace (:24.70, :50.57) and caught the leader in the stretch after a wide rally to win by a length. While the early fractions and final time (1:46.88) were



slow, the final split of 6:04 is solid. She was primed to improve off a solid third-place effort sprinting in her debut, and she boasts a pedigree well-suited for routing on synthetic and grass. Favorite Streethomealabama (Street Sense) was hampered by a bobble at the start and managed second.

Loufoque (turf) (filly, Malibu Moon – Just Reward by Deputy Minister) – A very promising debut by this Richard Mandella trainee, 22-1, going six-and-a-half furlongs on the downhill turf at Santa Anita. She closed with a rush and almost nailed the winner on the wire; A-plus gallop out. It’s unlikely we’ll see those generous odds again for this half-sister to Personal Ensign winner Persistently.

Sheikinator (colt, Curlin – Im a Dixie Girl by Dixie Union) – The lone first-time starter in the seven-horse field of the 1 1/16-mile test at Keeneland was easy to spot. He broke very awkwardly at the start, spotted the field several lengths and trailed early in the race. The Ken McPeek runner didn’t give in, however, as he passed rivals one by one in the stretch before falling shy to winner Dobra Historia (Unbridled’s Song). A strong performance considering the difficult start and the two-turn distance; he’s one who could improve with a switch to dirt.

Cabo Cat (turf) (colt, Kitten’s Joy – Sway by Swain) – He proved much the best in his debut when he forged his way through a narrow spot between horses and put some distance between himself and the rest of the field. A flashy chestnut with strong acceleration, this is a definite for the virtual stable from the Mark Hennig barn.


Rare Eagle (colt, Birdstone – Brite Diamond by Deputy Minister) – Sluggish at the start of his debut for trainer Tom Albertrani, he started to show interest late in the 1 1/16-mile test at Belmont and moved up the rail for third at 45-1. This is a long-distance pedigree that would also excel on an off track.

Access to the Moon (filly, Malibu Moon – Access Fee by Menifee) – Nice stride on this Lawrence Murray trainee, who came bounding down the stretch to win her six-furlong debut at Laurel by a nose.

Belly of the Whale (colt, Red Giant – Miss Nashwan by Nashwan) – He remains one to watch after his runner-up finish to Here’s Johnny (Colonel John) in his first try at routing and debut on synthetic at Keeneland. The Christophe Clement trainee’s debut win at Saratoga is shaping up to be a key race.

Tepin (filly, Bernstein – Life Happened by Stravinksy) – The Mark Casse runner was fourth as the favorite in her debut at Churchill Downs, but the switch to synthetic worked in favor of the half-sister to Vyjack. She muscled her way between horses in the stretch to grab the lead and didn’t falter with a 3 1/4-length win in the seven-furlong race. Bernstein progeny are ones to watch first-time synthetic and sprinting on turf.

Fingers Crossed (turf) (filly, Elusive Quality – Ruth E by A.P. Indy) – She showed substantial improvement switching from dirt to turf and stretching out to a route. This Kiaran McLaughlin trainee won’t be a maiden long, particularly if she stays on grass.

Smiling Charlie (turf) (colt, Pulpit – Pro Pink by Touch Gold) – Second to Mexikoma in his monster performance, this McLean Robertson trainee put on a show of his own when he returned to turf and powered home to a 6 3.4-length win at Delaware Park.

Morning Lily (filly, Thunder Gulch – Goodgollymisspolly by Lil E. Tee) – Last at the start of her debut at Remington Park, this Steve Hobby runner did her best running late and made up ground to finish fifth. She should improve with experience.

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Keeneland: Darley Alcibiades Preview

October 4th, 2013

A closer look at Friday’s Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies:

1. Designer Legs (Graeme Hall – Elegant Designer by Suave Prospect) (Bridgmohan/Stewart) (10-1)

She boasts class and experience and possibly had an excuse last out in the Adirondack over the sloppy track. She’ll be stretching out beyond seven furlongs for the first time, which could be a challenge, and also making her debut on synthetic while boasting a pedigree that appears better suited for dirt.

2. Richies Party Girl (Any Given Saturday – Very Special Lite by Majestic Light) (Velazquez/Ward) (4-1)

Richies Party Girl prior to her allowance win at a mile on turf.

Richies Party Girl prior to her allowance win at a mile on turf.

This filly has the makings of a top-notch turf sprinter. She was all out to hold on going a mile on grass last out as the pacesetter; it would be a difficult task to wire the field here, but she switches to top jockey John Velazquez, who could use different tactics. Pedigree indicates a transfer to synthetic is no issue, but the stretch out is a legitimate concern.

3. Sweetsoutherndame (Colonel John – Southbound by Southern Image) (Morales/Hamm) (20-1)

That was an impressive closing rally for second from an outside post in the Arlington Washington Lassie; she endured the widest trip. She’s competed at three different tracks and been in the mix in three of her four races; her mid-pack closing style suits this pace scenario and she’s proven on synthetic. This filly is an appealing exotics play at a whopping 20-1.

4. Maria Maria (Curlin – Hollow Miss by With Approval) (Torres/DiVito) (10-1)

She was left in the back of the pack at the start of the Arlington Washington Lassie, a variation from her previous races, and encountered substantial traffic in the stretch. DiVito after that race:  “I think she’ll run much better next time around two turns and she’ll be better as she runs farther. She’s much better than that race.  She never got clear sailing.”

5. Personal Diary (City Zip – Latest Scoop by Tiznow) (Lanerie/Oliver) (20-1)

This is a late closer who doesn’t need a swift pace up front to make her run. She’s won at a mile on turf and boasts a superb pedigree for the transfer to synthetic. Although City Zip progeny are destined to sprint, they can often succeed at up to 1 1/16-miles, particularly on synthetic and turf. Concern: if she’s too far back at the start, she’ll be left with too much to do against this classy, faster group.

6. Battlefield Angel (Proud Citizen – Langara Lass by Langfuhr) (Hill/Catalano) (20-1)

Shipping for the first time but she showed she liked the Keeneland surface with an outstanding work on Sept. 27. Catalano is always dangerous at this meet, particularly with 2-year-olds. She had an excuse in the Arlington Washington Lassie with traffic issues, but the distance is the question here as she was caught by Maria Maria at seven furlongs in her debut and was all out to win at a mile. Catalano after last race: “She had a rough trip, but was only beaten three lengths.  Go back and look at the race. Nothing went right for her. She stumbled a bit and had traffic the whole way.”

7. My Conquestadory (Artie Schiller – Golden Artemis by Malibu Moon) (Da Silva/Casse) (3-1)

What an eye-catching debut against males in the Grade 2 Summer at Woodbine on turf. It’s not often you see a filly or colt dominate in that manner at a mile in a stakes race at first asking, so it’s no wonder she will be a top choice here. Progeny of Artie Schiller excel mostly on turf but can transfer to synthetic as well; plus, there’s the Malibu Moon on the dam side for added insurance. She’s had one work at Woodbine since the win.

8. Lil Honey Badger (Flatter – Legendary Lady by Virginia Rapids) (Albarado/Romans) (15-1)

Many will dismiss the filly as she’s coming in off an easy-lead maiden sprint win at Indiana Downs, but take a closer look. Her gallop out after the race was outstanding and her final time of 1:10.89 is sharp. Sire Flatter’s numbers on synthetic are decent overall. The Romans barn has had some 2-year-olds step up at big prices, and if not a win candidate, a lovely exotics pick at 15-1.

9. Harlan’s Special (Harlan’s Holiday – Special Brush by Broad Brush) (Johnson/Hartlage) (12-1)

Harlan's Special was disqualified from first last out at this distance, but was much the best.

Harlan’s Special was disqualified from first last out at this distance, but was much the best.

She didn’t show much when moving up to tough stakes company and stretching out in the Pocahontas, but her follow-up win was strong despite the disqualification; she was much the best on dirt at today’s distance. She’s transferring to synthetic with what could be classified as the best all-weather pedigree in the race (along with Personal Diary); only question is class.

10. She’s Offlee Good (Offlee Wild – La Belle by Dixie Union) (Leparoux/Scherer) (8-1)

Arlington Washington Lassie winner is undefeated in two starts on synthetic and was able to avoid trouble in that traffic-heavy stakes race. She’s shown her versatility, tracking the pace closely in her debut but coming from mid-pack in her stakes win. She has her third jockey in as many races, but it’s Leparoux, who is always a win threat at Keeneland, particularly in route races. A top contender, but can she handle breaking from the outside in a full field for the first time?

11. Who’s in Town (Speightstown – Who’s Cozy by Cozzene) (Saez/Matz) (6-1)

Disqualified to fourth in the Adirondack, she’s been competitive at sprints, but her pedigree and running style don’t indicate routing will be her game. She should play a key role in the pace scenario.

12. Rosalind (Broken Vow – Critics Acclaim by Theatrical) (Lebron/McPeek) (6-1)

A physically imposing filly with a nice stride, she’s a great prospect for this race whose only drawback is the outside post. She was running very well late in the Pocahontas at this distance and also has the suitable running style for the race set-up. First-time Lasix for a barn that often pops winners at nice prices at this track. She will be on top of my tickets.

13. Russian Night (Midnight Lute – At Night by Dayjur) (Schulepov/Dorochenko) (50-1)

Russian Night and Victor Schulepov face a tough test from the outside post.

Russian Night and Victor Schulepov face a tough test from the outside post.

Tough post for the second-time starter who didn’t offer much in her debut at this distance on dirt. Sharp four furlong work over the track.


Analysis: 2-year-olds to Watch

October 1st, 2013

ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: September 26  – October 2:

(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)


*Bond Holder (colt, Mineshaft – Cielo Girl by Conquistador Cielo) – A maiden going into a Grade 1 stakes race often appears overmatched, but several factors pointed to this Doug O’Neill trainee as a real contender in the FrontRunner at Santa Anita. He showed steady improvement with each race, had a late-closing style that indicated he would be primed for the 1 1/16-miles and – important as a son of Mineshaft – he was making his first start on dirt. These factors, along with a helpful swift pace up front, led to the 2 1/4-length win over Dance With Fate (Two Step Salsa). This is a colt who should continue improving with distance. He boasts the advantage of experience against top-level competition. O’Neill is off to a strong start at the Santa Anita meet and don’t forget he has a top turf juvenile filly in Clenor (Oratorio).

Jockey Mario Gutierrez: “This race set up great for my horse because he likes to come from behind. He seemed to like the distance today and I think that played a major part in his win. I don’t think the dirt made much of a difference because he runs everywhere; it was the distance that was the biggest factor.”

Leandro Mora, assistant trainer: “We had great expectations for this horse even though he was a maiden. He ran a huge race at Del Mar and we knew we had a legitimate horse. Mario has ridden the horse every time. We told him just to let the horse alone and let him do his thing the last quarter of a mile. That’s the way this horse likes to run; the last quarter of a mile.”

Trainer Peter Eurton’s Dance With Fate remains one to watch as he appeared full of energy post-race.

Eurton: “I think he broke well, which was a big key. I think he laid up close which I think was an important factor for him. I think the dirt bothered him a little bit in his face, which is why he took it outside. It hit him a little bit on the first turn. I think he’s maturing, but I think overall, he rated well. It was a good productive race.

”He’s only run three times now, and second down in Del Mar was a big key, because he had never run against that caliber of horses before. Over here was a key to see if he can handle the dirt as well as he handled the synthetic. He’s trained well on it, but he’s still learning. I think we’re going in the right direction for Breeders’ Cup.”

California-bred Tamarando was a late-rallying third in his first start on dirt.

Julien Leparoux on Tamarando:  “He moved right before they opened the gate. He put his head to the side, and we tried, but we missed the break. I tried to get closer to the pace on the first turn, but I was behind two horses. If I tried to move too early I was going to be wide, too, so after that, I had to be patient and see where I could move.”

*In Trouble (colt, Tiz Wonderful – Ballpark Butterfly by Grand Slam) – The year of Tiz Wonderful juveniles continues as this impressive Tony Dutrow trainee increased his record to two for two with a win in the Grade 2 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park. With Joe Rocco aboard, he adeptly tracked speedy pacesetter Corfu (Malibu Moon) through swift fractions of :22.09 and :44.75 before he reeled him in and cruised to the wire in 1:09.64. It was a small field of five, and the top tier await the Champagne, but this colt is one to watch, particularly for sprints to middle distances.

Tony Dutrow: “I was feeling that we have a talented horse, and I’m not surprised at what I saw. I wasn’t predicting this, but I’m not surprised. He’s pretty good. . . I’d say within a week after his (maiden) race, (we pointed for) this race. It shows you a lot. This was the second race of his life and he was able to relax and give up the lead and finish up against quality horses. I think that’s a big statement for him.”

It was a puzzling effort from Sound of Freedom, a son of War Front making his third start for Todd Pletcher. He started last, fnished last and never factored in the race.

*Secret Compass (filly, Discreet Cat – Maria’s Pride by Maria’s Mon) – The distance made the difference for this Bob Baffert trainee in her dirt debut. Stretching out from the seven-furlong Del Mar Debutante, in which she finished fourth behind She’s a Tiger (Tale of the Cat), and with Rosie Napravnik aboard for the first time, this filly charged from off the pace to win the 1 1/16-mile Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita. Her running style has been consistent throughout her four-race career and indicated she might catch the speedy She’s a Tiger when going two turns. Napravnik kept her in a perfect mid-pack spot, where she stalked and moved stealth-like to rally and win by a head in 1:44.91. The final split was on the slow side (7:25).

Napravnik: “I was worried when I got to Gary’s horse (She’s a Tiger) that he would sprint away. He did for a little bit but my filly just kept running and she was all out sticking her nose out for the win. We’ll have to see if I’ll be riding her in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. I don’t know where Bob is going with her, so we’ll see.”

She’s a Tiger, a half-sister to Smiling Tiger, is one of the most talented 2-year-old fillies on the West Coast. She can hold her speed, but it’s likely her optimal distances remain sprint to middle.

Jockey Gary Stevens on She’s a Tiger: “She showed me two things today: she went to the gate quieter than she’s ever been, which is a big positive in stretching out, and she proved she can rate as well. She kicked clear coming into the stretch but I was pretty empty, but she still put up a fight.  When she switched to her right lead, she was really laboring and I knew they were coming. I thought we might finish fourth. I wound up getting beat a head, or whatever it was, and she even started to come back the last sixteenth.”

Fascinating (Smart Strike), third, made her trademark closing run from far off the pace, but once again came up short. Watch for this half-sister to Bodemeister to be closer to the pace if she competes in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, where she also looms a factor. She took a lot of dirt to the face in her debut on the surface.

Rafael Bejarano on Fascinating: “I had a good trip. She doesn’t like the dirt in her face. She’s not comfortable. We started to make a run but those two horses on the lead had too much of an advantage. It was kind of tough to catch them in the end.”

Bob Baffert on Fascinating: “She was so far back. I was a little worried about her today because I thought she was going to be a victim of the race track. She falls so far back and then comes running, but I really think she’ll move forward off of this. They’ll both (Secret Compass) be a lot better for the Breeders’ Cup.”

“It’s tough right now. You sort of have to ride the race track. It’s deep and it’s a little bit loose, still a lot of sand, so unfortunately, you have to have a good horse but you have to ride the track.”

*Aarons Orient (colt, Orientate – Are U Being Served by Jambalaya Jazz) – If the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint still existed, this Steve Asmussen runner would be front and center in the mix after a dazzling win in the Kip Deville Stakes at Remington Park. He snatched the lead and never relinquished it. The colt, who broke his maiden in similar fine fashion at Saratoga, won by 3 3/4-lengths and finished in a speedy 1:09.59. This is a serious young sprinter.

*Wired Bryan (colt, Stormy Atlantic – Red Melody by Runaway Groom) – Trainer Michael Dilger opted for the New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes over the Futurity at Belmont and watched as his gray colt stormed to a seven-length victory in 1:10.50. Despite recent disappointments when facing top company, the Grade 2 Sanford winner is obviously a graded stakes-class sprinter.

*Del Rio Harbor (gelding, Harbor the Gold – Bahati by Horse Chestnut) – The Washington-bred turned the tables on his nemesis Noosito (Harbor the Gold), who defeated him last out in the DRF Dennis Dodge Stakes, and appeared to enjoy stretching out to 1 1/16-miles in the Gottstein Futurity win at Emerald Downs.

*Secret Kitten (filly, Discreet Cat – Mossy Bank by Smoke Glacken) – The wins keep coming for this Kathleen O’Connell trainee. She’s three for three on the Florida circuit and boasts wins on two different surfaces.

Sing the Dream (colt, Songandaprayer – Out of My Dreams by Two Punch) – He’s won his last two races by a combined 18 1/2-lengths; most recent win was the Tin Cup Chalice Stakes at Finger Lakes.

Mister Pollard (colt, Pollard’s Vision – Sweet Summer by Summer Squall) – This Indiana-bred is three for three at Indiana Downs, including his most recent win, the Hillsdale Stakes.

*Regal Conqueror (filly, Sky Conqueror – Classic Stamp by Regal Classic) – She proved that flashy debut romp was no fluke as she handled stakes company with a win in the Victorian Queen going six furlongs at Woodbine. Her competition was getting to her late, though, and passed her on the gallop out.

Dallon’s Gold (gelding, Private Gold – Winning Weave by Basket Weave) – Another intriguing Washington-bred who has worked his way up from the claiming ranks to win the NWSS Cahill Road Stakes and increase his career record to three for three at Emerald Downs.


Brian Hernandez guided Legend Forever to a debut win the day after he won the Homecoming Classic with Fort Larned.

Brian Hernandez guided Legend Forever to a debut win the day after he won the Homecoming Classic with Fort Larned.

Legend Forever (gelding, Street Boss – Footsie by Touch Gold) – This Chris Richard trainee’s debut effort at Churchill Downs proved even more impressive upon analytical review. He started from the rail post in a large field – never an easy task for a first-time starter – ducked toward the rail and bumped rival Prayer on a Wing (Fusaichi Pegasus) before embarking on his journey. Jockey Brian Hernandez guided him boldly between runners, and the gelding responded fearlessly, moving efficiently and quickly through the pack to take the lead in late stretch. This runner showed a lot in his first trip; a final time of 1:11.64 on a track that was fast but had taken moisture earlier in the day. Prayer on a Wing is also one to watch from this race. The Mark Casse runner endured a tough trip, was wide in the stretch, and rallied from last to second in the six-furlong test.

Purple Sky (colt, Pulpit – Tessa Blue by Awesome Again) – One of two to flatter the promising Honor Code (A.P. Indy) last weekend by emerging from that key race to win, and this Al Stall trainee did it most impressively. Last at the break of the one-mile test, he weaved his way through traffic under the guidance of Robby Albarado and found himself in the middle of the track behind a trio of horses in the stretch. Albarado swiftly guided him to the rail, where he gathered even more steam and boldly passed his rivals, just nailing Commanding Curve (Master Command) at the wire. The fractions were pedestrian (:24.31, :48.00), thus not an easy set-up for the rally. The late-closing Al Stall trainee offered one of the most eye-catching wins at this distance of any juvenile so far this season. Pedigree suggests he can handle longer distances; his dam won the Indiana Oaks and the Inside Information Breeders’ Cup Stakes (by 12 1/2 lengths). Look out.

Misconnect (ridgling, Unbridled’s Song – Summer Raven by Summer Squall) – Just when it appeared Endowment Manager (Master Command) was cruising to victory, this Todd Pletcher trainee took a few taps from Javier Castellano and sped past the rival, ears pricked. A sharp victory for this full-brother to Winslow Homer; he won the seven-furlong test in 1:22.65. He’s one of two to flatter Honor Code; he was second to the son of A.P. Indy in his debut and Purple Sky (Pulpit), who was third, won at Churchill.

Miss Personality (filly, Broken Vow – Lucky Striker by Van Nistelrooy) – Apparently word wasn’t out on this Bob Baffert first-time starter, who went off at a cool 4-1 and romped by more than four lengths at Santa Anita. She tracked early – no easy lead – and although a bit green in the stretch despite blinkers, once focused, she really got into stride late in the race. She finished the six furlongs in 1:10.22. Her dam, Lucky Striker, was ultra-consistent, not finishing worse than third in nine career starts.

Survival (turf) (colt, Giant’s Causeway – Matlacha Pass by Seeking the Gold) – Just like his half-brother, Point of Entry, the Shug McGaughey trainee didn’t win first-time out, but delivered a promising performance. He overcame a very bumpy beginning and maintained position mid-pack behind the soft fractions before rallying late. He made a spirited move inside horses to get third behind winner Storming Inti (Stormy Atlantic) in the 1 1/16-mile test. A definite for the virtual stable.

Baby Lis, half-sister of Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, was seventh in her debut.

Baby Lis, half-sister of Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, was seventh in her debut.

Taketheodds (filly, Street Sense – Belterra by Unbridled) – Last at the start of the six-furlong test at Churchill under the lights, she gained substantial ground in the stretch for third at 33-1 behind gate-to-wire winner Jubilant Vision (Pollard’s Vision). Just what you would want to see in a debut of an Ian Wilkes trainee with the perfect router’s pedigree. Also to watch from this race is Baby Lis (Ghostzapper), a half-sister to Plum Pretty who was quite nervous in her first start and finished seventh. She should improve with time.

Interrupted (turf) (filly, Broken Vow – Alternate by Seattle Slew) – Where did she come from? She wasn’t even in the picture midway through the homestretch of the mile grass test at Laurel Park and 50-1 shot Big N Toasty looked home free on the lead. Granted the longshot was tiring, but the manner in which this Graham Motion trainee made up so much ground to win was impressive – she moved from ninth to the lead in the blink of an eye. She’s a half-sister to Alternation. Take note: Motion is loaded with intriguing 2-year-olds this season.

Kids Rule (turf) (colt, Lemon Drop Kid – Noisette by Broad Brush) – Wild finish to this mile turf test at Arlington as several closers rushed in at the wire and there were two disqualifications. This first-time starter showed immense fortitude when he bullied his way between horses to get to the finish in time over Full Metal, who had clearance on the outside. The Michael Stidham runner resembled his dam, Noisette, who powered her way to a win the Modesty over the same course.

Vero Amore (filly, Mineshaft – Summers Edge by The Cliff’s Edge) – She finished fourth in a key race won by Gracer (Exchange Rate) at Saratoga and followed up with a flashy win at Parx going five-and-a-half furlongs. Obviously the class relief was a help, but the Robert Reid filly looked strong while winning by more than seven lengths in 1:04.93. Nice router’s pedigree, so she should stretch out beyond these sprints.


*Shiva Ryan (turf) (ridgling, Tapit – Desert Queen by Wavering Monarch) – We tabbed him as one to watch after his third place debut on the Calder grass for trainer Bisnath Parboo. He shipped west to Santa Anita and displayed that fast turn of foot once again, rallying late and falling just shy of catching sharp winner All for Us (Tiz Wonderful), another winner for ITM Sire to Watch Tiz Wonderful. Long-striding Shiva Ryan prefers to come from far off the pace and could improve once he stretches out beyond a mile. All for Us endured a troubled trip in his debut on synthetic at Arlington and is also one to watch for trainer Tom Proctor. This was a solid turf test that could evolve into a key race.

Lulu Le’ Mon (turf) (colt, Lemon Drop Kid – Emanating by Cox’s Ridge) – This Ontario-bred’s powerful victory going 1 1/16-miles on grass at Laurel flatters Bobby’s Kitten (Kitten’s Joy), as he was fifth behind that winner in what is shaping up to be a key turf route at Saratoga. This Tony Dutrow trainee is promising in his own right, moving from last to first and extending his lead throughout the stretch. A solid final time of 1:43.32 and final split of 6:41.

Groupthink (colt, Majestic Warrior – Road to Mandalay by Sea of Secrets) – He’s failed as the favorite twice now, finishing second each time, and he tends to become one-paced when behind a leader, but this is Chad Brown-trained colt should improve with experience. He could be one to take after his dam, who took a while to get started but won the Remington Park Oaks later in her career.

Movie Night (colt, Congrats – Feature Film by Forest Wildcat) – This Florida-bred was a late-rallying fourth in his debut at Parx going six furlongs; he made up more than 10 lengths in the stretch. Outstanding gallop out.

Georgia (filly, Tiz Wonderful – Lone Peak by Wild Rush) – This second-out winner for Bob Baffert improved on the move to dirt going a mile at Santa Anita and won in gate-to-wire fashion. Yet another on a long list of Tiz Wonderful’s winners.

Demonica (filly, First Defence – Storm Hearted by Lion Hearted) – She showed notable improvement from her debut when moving from synthetic to dirt. The John Sadler trainee made up substantial ground to finish third behind winner Versye (Square Eddie) at Santa Anita. Shee’s suffered from a slow break that’s hampered her efforts in both starts.

Sheltowee’s Boy (colt, Nobiz Like Shobiz – Miss Sheltowee by Najran) – Notable debut by this Brad Cox trainee, who liked like a veteran when he passed by tiring Malibu Heir (Malibu Moon) and won by more than six lengths on the sloppy track at Indiana Downs. A solid time of 1:10.52 for the six furlongs.

Alpha and Omega (gelding, Omega Code – Holy Belle by Holy Bull) – After a sharp runner-up showing in his debut, this Oklahoma-bred followed up with a romp by more than nine lengths in 1:04.23 for the five-and-a-half furlongs.