ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: July 11 – July 17
(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)
Alpine Luck (colt, Lucky J.H. – I Can Yodele by Swiss Yodeler) – He’s 2 for 2 since teaming up with jockey Gary Stevens, and Stevens expertly guided him to a front-running win in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes. This colt appeals because he shows a nice cruising speed – not a speed-and-fade style. He’s by Lucky J.H., a somewhat overlooked California-based sire who is having a lot of success with four winners from nine starters.
Stevens gave some interesting insight after the race: “I wasn’t concerned with being on the lead with him,” he said. “Last time (trainer) Mike (Harrington) told me to ride him like a route horse, but he got a flyer leaving there and was on the lead. I thought Mike was going to kill me, but I told him I rode him like a route horse from the three-eighths and I won with something left. . . He actually reminded me a lot of my first (Juvenile) winner (Hilco Scamper in 1985) going down the backstretch with his ears going like that. I said, ‘How fun is this’? He gave me great acceleration like last time. I was just playing with the runner-up (Ontology June 22). I could have won by six, so I had quite a bit of confidence going in. I actually wanted a horse in front of him just to teach him. I really do think he wants to go a route of ground.”
Mike Harrington: “I keep kidding (Stevens) because I tell him to ride him like a route horse and he keeps going to the front. I told him, ‘You never listen.’ He said he was going (23.05 for the opening quarter mile) and had no choice. I think the owner wants to run him in the Best Pal, so that will be his next start.”
*She’s A Tiger (filly, Tale of the Cat – Shandra Smiles by Cahill Road) – It’s no surprise this sister to top-notch sprinter Smiling Tiger went off as the heavy favorite in the Landaluce Stakes, considering she romped impressively in her debut on dirt at Pleasanton. The manner in which the Jeff Bonde runner held despite heated early fractions boosted her stock. With Frank Alvarado aboard, she went to the front and set fractions of :21.91, :45.55 and :58.47. She crossed the line in 1:12.04 for the six furlongs with E Equalsmcsquared closing fast.
Frank Alvarado: “By the three-eighths I could feel the pressure on the inside and I felt somebody coming on the outside, but I wasn’t worried. I knew what I had.”
Jeff Bonde: “They went very fast and everybody who tried to chase her paid the price. The horse that ran second came with a good charge late. My filly got tired, but she still ran well. I think she’s a really good horse, I really do.”
*E Equalsmcsquared (Einstein), a previous ITM Horse to Watch, is one to monitor as she stretches out. She could’ve been claimed in her previous start for $25,000.
Jockey Mike Smith: “I was impressed with her and she has room to grow. That’s always a good sign. She was a little green down the backside with the dirt hitting her in the face. She wanted out. If I could have gotten her to run a little straighter, it would have been a little tighter.’’
Thank you Marylou (turf) (filly, Birdstone – Menifeeque by Menifee) – One of only two first time starters in the Tippett Stakes field, her pedigree came through in the five and a half furlong test on turf rated good. The Mike Maker runner showed an exceptional late turn of foot for a debut on a wet course. Birdstone first time starters are often ones to watch on off tracks or turf.
Lookingoodinatux (colt, Fusaichi Pegasus – Polish Nana by Polish Numbers) – This Colorado-bred has finished second in two starts but is on the verge of a maiden-breaking win. His greenness cost him in the stretch of the CTBA Futurity, but he was gaining on Fast but Furious (Grand Minstrel) and just needs more distance.
Fast Puff (filly, Grand Minstrel – Customized Cutie by Seattle Sleet) – The CTBA Lassie winner has won her first two races by a combined 18 and 1/2-lengths. Shades of Get Happy Mister?
Deviance (gelding, Bob and John – Trieste Lady by Old Trieste) – The New Westminster Stakes winner is 2 of 3 at Hastings Park.
*Ride on Curlin (colt, Curlin – Magical Ride by Storm Cat) – We tabbed him as one to watch after his eye-catching debut, in which he finished second to highly regarded Conquest Two Step at Churchill Downs. He followed up with one of the most impressive juvenile performances of the season at Ellis Park. With Calvin Borel aboard, he was tested early, took control and drew off with ample energy to a dominating win by more than seven lengths. He set a track record for five and a half furlongs (1:03) and didn’t appear taxed after the race. The William Gowan trainee posted fractions of :22.75, :45.49 and :56.94. It wasn’t a graded stakes field, but the manner in which this colt has handled himself in both starts suggests he is a serious racehorse.
Borel gives the “look back” on Ride on Curlin: http://replays.robertsstream.com/racereplays/playf_llnw.php?customer=EllisPark&t=1374026783&h=8d0e174419cc68d7559e3f13e918afac&url=201307131522ELD4
Tiger Bourbon (turf) (colt, Big Brown – Tigresa by Tejano) – This debut winner on turf for Eddie Kenneally is a physically imposing, well-built colt who towered over his competition size-wise and won with a challenging run between foes. The top three runners in this six-furlong race are ones to watch as General Jack (Giant’s Causeway), who dueled with Tiger Bourbon, finished third despite hitting the starting gate. He is out of the talented mare J’Ray an should improve with more experience. Bashart (War Front) was the most impressive of the runner-ups, as he was game on the inside and re-rallied at the wire, matching strides with Tiger Bourbon on the gallop out. Replay: http://www.nyra.com/saratoga/videos/race-replay/BED/2013/20130712/4/pan/
Sweetsoutherndame (filly, Colonel John – Southbound by Southern Image) – With a test run in her debut behind her, this Timothy Hamm runner made a statement in her second start on synthetic at Presque Isle, winning by more than five lengths going five and a half furlongs. Nice, long stride on this filly part-owned by WinStar. One of several Colonel John juveniles with potential; his offspring appear particularly dangerous on synthetic and turf.
Danza (colt, Street Boss – Champagne Royale by French Deputy) – How fitting a colt named for Tony Danza, actor and a former boxer, would prove to be a fighter. He was thrown a challenge in his first start and responded impressively. The Todd Pletcher runner and favorite Permanent Campaign separated themselves from the rest of the field in a stretch battle, the pair matching strides until Danza pushed ahead. Don’t be fooled – Street Boss is not just a turf/synthetic sire.
Albert’s Hope (gelding, Run Away and Hide – Accepting Fate and Saint Ballado) – Surprisingly, he went off at 33-1 at Hollywood Park despite Mike Puype’s recent success and the win-early pedigree tailored for synthetic. He rallied three-wide on the outside and drove past the field to win the five-furlong test. Bajan (Speightstown) is the one to watch out of this race with a sharp second as a filly taking on males.
Boheme de Lavi (filly, Graeme Hall – Salty N Sassy by Salt Lake) – The late run for second at Gulfstream on a sloppy track indicated good things could be in store for this Florida-bred.
Concave (turf) (filly, Colonel John – Galadriel by Ascot Knight) – A sure-footed Ontario-bred for trainer Doug O’Neill, she tracked the pacesetter, reeled her in and drew off by more than three lengths in her first start, a turf sprint. Familiar connections with jockey Mario Gutierrez and Reddam Racing. Sierra Electrica (Tapit), third, is one to watch as she had some traffic issues and was quite energetic on the gallop out.
Yucca (filly, Cactus Ridge – Brittney Brat by Pikepass) – What a flashy debut by this Kenny Smith runner at Prairie Meadows – she dusted the competition by more than 10 lengths.
Sky and Sea (filly, Latent Heat – Peaceful Sky by Sky Mesa) – The Minnesota-bred half-sister to Lew and Mike, trained by Bernell Rhone, demonstrated her speedy genes with a 15 3/4-length romp at Canterbury Park in her debut.
Baroness Rose (turf) (filly, Curlin – Sandra’s Rose by Old Trieste) – Stonestreet-bred filly was slightly green when alone in the stretch, but she was much the best in her debut win on firm grass at Ellis Park. She came from off the pace, split horses and was confidently handled by jockey Victor Lebron. Another juvenile winner for Curlin, and it looks like Mike Maker has some nice 2-year-olds this season.
Pagini (turf) (filly, Saint Afleet – Joyful Gal by Etbauer) – This Louisiana-bred couldn’t reach the winner, but she navigated through traffic and displayed a notable turn of foot as she rallied for second in her debut against mostly experienced foes.
Lunarwarfare (colt, War Pass – Lunar Star by Silver Ghost) – Sharp debut by this Florida-bred, who won by more than six lengths and blazed 4 1/2 furlongs in :51.39.
Heart to Heart (colt, English Channel – Ask the Question by Silver Deputy) – A debut win on the Arlington synthetic for this Ontario-bred against four foes; commanding victory by more than eight lengths. He covered the five and a half furlongs in 1:06.93.
Who’s in Town (filly, Speightstown – Who’s Cozy by Cozzene) – This Maryland bred rated off the pace and handily outdistanced the short field in her debut at Delaware Park. She covered the five furlongs in :57.82. A rare first-time starter win for trainer Michael Matz.
Lia’s Miracle (filly, Marcavelly – Joanne Jubilation by Monarchos) – Professional debut by this Ontario-bred, by In the Money Sire to Watch Marcavelly, who started in the back of the pack and rallied six-wide on the Woodbine synthetic to win at five and a half furlongs. She’s trained by Steve Asmussen and owned by Zayat Stables.
Enjoy the Movie (colt, Old Forester – Hippicritical by Hail the Ruckus) – A front-running win at Woodbine for this Ontario-bred going five and a half furlongs in 1:04.62 on the Woodbine synthetic.