ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: July 18 – July 24
(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)
Wired Bryan (colt, Stormy Atlantic – Red Melody by Runaway Groom) – What’s most impressive about his Sanford win was that it wasn’t gate to wire. After he stormed to an early lead, he was passed by an energetic Hollywood Talent, who appeared to be on his way to putting lengths on the field. The New York-bred re-rallied and drew off to win the six-furlong test by more than five lengths. He’s 2 for 2 and provided the first stakes win for former Todd Pletcher assistant Michael Dilger. Debt Ceiling (Discreet Cat) saw his win streak come to an end with a tough trip on the inside rail, where he was shuffled back and finished last. He’ll likely rebound with a better trip. Southern Blessing (Dixie Union), who won his debut at Churchill Downs, went off at a surprising 22-1 despite being a Steve Asmussen trainee (he’s on a roll with the juveniles) and rallied for a good second.
*Bahnah (filly, Elusive Quality – Flying Glitter by Glitterman) – How fitting that trainers Bret Calhoun and Steve
Asmussen should dead-heat in a marquee juvenile race for fillies; they are dominating this division this season. Bahnah gets the nod because she re-rallied when she looked defeated against the tough Brazen Persuasion (Indian Charlie), but both are stellar fillies representative of a strong group of female 2-year-old runners across the country. Both broke their maidens at Churchill Downs.
*Sprouts (filly, Square Eddie – Ann Summers Gold by Yankee Victor) – This small but strong daughter of Square Eddie solidified her spot as the top California-bred juvenile filly with a gate-to-wire win in the CTBA Stakes. Despite facing more physically imposing foes, she continues to win and is three of four. Eddies Curl completed the exacta for a one-two punch by Square Eddie; he’s developing into a sire to watch.
*Smack Smack (gelding, Closing Argument – Smack Madam by Victory Gallop) – We tabbed him as one to watch after his eye-catching debut, and he followed up with a win in the Prairie Gold Juvenile in which he made a monstrous last-to-first rally in the five-and-a-half furlong race. Could singer Toby Keith and Dream Walkin Stables have a real runner here? He’s trained by Don Von Hemel.
Designer Legs (filly, Graeme Hall – Elegant Designer by Suave Prospect) – This Louisiana-bred topped some tough competition in her second start, the Prairie Gold Lassie Stakes at five and a half furlongs. The Gary Scherer trainee, shipping in from a maiden win at Canterbury, went off at 8-1 and came from off the pace in a five-wide rally.
*My Brown Eyed Guy (gelding, With Distinction – Brown Eyed Woman by De Niro) – A very professional win in the Dr. Fager Stakes for this consistent Kathleen O’Connell trainee, who is two for three with a second and currently one of the top juveniles in Florida.
Scandalous Act (filly, Act of Duty – Seductive Lady by Langfuhr) – She dazzled in her debut, then puzzled with a seventh-place finish in the J J’sdream Stakes. The Florida-bred rebounded, romping by more than seven lengths in the Florida Stallion Desert Vixen Stakes.
Bern Legacy (turf) (filly, Bernstein – Penny Marie by Sky Classic) – The replay will do it justice more than words. She forged to the lead of the five-and-a-half furlong test at Ellis Park, but conceded to Hookah Lady and, lost in a rush of runners, ended up trapped on the rail in fourth. Behind the leading pack in the stretch, she gamely split horses in a courageous move for the win. Impressive run by this first-time starter. Trainer Mike Maker has several strong 2-year-old runners on turf this season. Replay: http://replays.robertsstream.com/racereplays/playf_llnw.php?customer=EllisPark&t=1374622923&h=a7846082f8a9383c82fbd9943aebc469&url=201307211638ELD7
Spring Moon (filly, Zensational -Seattle Shimmer by Seattle Slew) – This debut winner – who cruised five-and-a-half furlongs in 1:04.31 at Del Mar – boasts an appealing pedigree for trainer Bob Baffert. She’s a half-sister to Sway Away. The one to watch out of this race is Baffert’s other runner, Fascinating (Smart Strike), a half-sister to Bodemeister who ran a sneaky-good third up the rail and was strong on the gallop out. She should improve with the experience.
Da House (gelding, Yankee Gentleman – Derby Debut by Royal Strand) – Take note of this Louisiana-bred’s statement-making debut in which he comes from next-to-last and romps by more than seven lengths in a seven-furlong race. Promising look to this Wesley Hawley runner, who was bet down to 4-5 in his first trip over the track.
Kitten Kaboodle (turf) (filly, Kitten’s Joy – Easy Slam by Grand Slam) – The Wayne Catalano filly had to work and weave through traffic in her debut at Saratoga and ran out of time in the stretch, finishing second to Sea Queen (Lemon Drop Kid). A promising beginning and she should do well at longer distances on grass. Another to watch from the race is Ma Billet Doux (Tapit), who was squeezed at the start and finished well in her debut for Bill Mott.
Super Sky (turf) (filly, Sky Mesa – Tortuga Lady by Thunder Gulch) – A slow start hampered the chances of this half-sister to Sunland Oaks winner Princess Arabella at Saratoga. The Todd Pletcher runner continued with a very solid effort for a first-time starter, finishing a closing third behind impressive winner Ready to Act (More Than Ready), who is also one to watch after handling the five and a half furlongs with ease.
Casiguapo (colt, Sightseeing – Emerald Buddha by Buddha) – A strong run for third in his debut, the Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes, indicated his potential, and this Kentucky-bred backed it up with an 11-length romp when he dropped to the maiden ranks for trainer Mario Morales.
Thug Daddy (colt, Scat Daddy – As Promised by Century City) – This New York-bred trailed the field at the start of his debut at Saratoga, but he made up substantial ground after going six wide to finish third behind winner Double Gold. Pedigree suggests the Gary Contessa runner would like turf as well.
*Brothersofthetime (colt, Bob and John – Hostility by Devil His Due) – This closer likes to make a late run, and he made up several lengths on the two leaders in the stretch, splitting them in a gutsy win at Gulfstream in his third start.
Irish Sweepstakes (filly, Any Given Saturday – Miss Blarney Stone by Dynaformer) – This New York-bred’s dominant win at Saratoga gave a nod to Wired Bryan, who won the Sanford Stakes. Was the maiden special weight at Belmont on June 19 a key race?
J. Quirk (filly, Unbridled’s Song – You’re Beautiful by Storm Cat) – No one was beating Stopchargingmaria on this day, but this Gary Contessa trainee exceeded bettor’s expectations with a runner-up finish in her debut at Saratoga at 22-1. The dam is a half-sister to champ Tiznow.
Southern Freedom (colt, Pure Prize – Dixie Crisp by Dixieland Band) – It took this Jerry Hollendorfer trainee some time to get going after the break in his debut at Del Mar. Once he got rolling, however, he was making a strong run late for third behind winner Guns Loaded (D’Wildcat).
Big Sugar Soda (colt, Ready’s Image – Squeakums by Fusaichi Pegasus) – The field was no match for this Steve Asmussen trainee, who ran off to win by more than eight lengths at Saratoga in his second start.
Global View (colt, Galileo – Egyptian Queen by Storm Cat) -With an exceptional pedigree and a good fourth in his debut at Del Mar, this is one to watch when he switches to turf.
Ria Antonia (filly, Rockport Harbor – Beer Baroness by Mr. Greeley) – She endured a tough debut in the My Dear Stakes at Woodbine, bumping with a foe at the break and finishing fifth. The Ricky Griffith trainee bounced back in her second start when dropping to the maiden ranks, beating male counterparts in a nice effort on synthetic. She tracked the pace, reeled in the frontrunners and drew off. She’s half-sister to Beverage Queen.
Glamoride (filly, Ide – Driven by Forestry) – Although a slow final time for the seven furlongs, the manner in which the Louisiana-bred romped by 11 lengths in her third start was impressive.
Lil Miss Kiss (filly, Smoke Glacken – Missmekissme by Sir Cat) – A debut winner by more than seven lengths for Kelly Von Hemel.