ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: July 31 – August 7
(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)
*Boji Moon (gelding, Cactus Ridge – Philadelphia Moon by Malibu Moon) – The Iowa-bred proved his superb debut win was no fluke when he followed up with a 12 1/2-length tour of force in the Iowa Cradle Stakes. He’s won his two starts by a combined 23 1/4 lengths. The real test for this Chris Richard runner will be open company if he lands there. With that pedigree, it will be no surprise if he will be competitive with any rivals; an under-the-radar one to watch.
*Alberts Hope (gelding, Run Away and Hide – Accepting Fate by Saint Ballado) – Trainer Mike Puype bumped him up to stakes company after his impressive debut win at Hollywood Park, and the Kentucky-bred proved he belonged with a hard-fought win over Celtic Moon (Denis of Cork) in the Best Pal at six-and-a-half furlongs. Alberts Hope had the edge on trip thanks to jockey Alonso Quinonez electing to move to the outside instead of venturing inside for the stretch battle.
Mike Puype: “I was kind of surprised by his first time out (win) because I had never really pushed on this horse. I think there’s a little bit more even than you’ve seen today. Obviously the next step is on to the (Del Mar) Futurity. We’ll give it a shot and see if he’s good enough. He doesn’t owe anyone anything after this win (considering) what we paid for him ($40,000).”
*Yes I’m Lucky (turf) (colt, Yes It’s True – Whenthedoveflies by Dove Hunt) – The wins keep coming for juveniles by sire Yes It’s True. This Eddie Plesa runner remains undefeated in three starts with a win going five furlongs on the grass in the Tyro Stakes. Strong ride on the inside path by Paco Lopez as Yes I’m Lucky dueled with stable mate Run for Logistics (Bernstein) and dispatched him in late stretch. This is a multi-surface stakes winner with appealing qualities for sprint to middle distance. Draw a line through this race for Choctaw Chuck (Bwana Charlie), who stumbled at the start and had difficulty finding his footing on the turf.
*General Jack (turf) (colt, Giant’s Causeway – J’ray by Distant View) – His superb maiden-breaking win in the Shakopee Juvenile at Canterbury – in which he stopped the clock in a notable 1:29.70 for the seven-and-a-half furlongs – flatters one of our top 2-year-olds to watch on turf, Tiger Bourbon. This Mike Maker runner was second to Tiger Bourbon in his debut and looks to have a bright future.
Got Shades (turf) (colt, Pollard’s Vision – Melancholy by Run Softly) – He benefitted from remaining positioned behind the fray – in which several horses were forced wide on the first turn – but there’s no doubt this was an inspiring performance in the Sunny’s Halo Stakes by this Kentucky-bred. He posted a solid time of 1:29.77 for the seven-and-a-half furlongs on turf.
Nevada Deputy (turf) (filly, Pollard’s Vision – Northern Deputy by Deputy Commander) – The favorite in the Donnie Wilhite Memorial Stakes was stymied by traffic issues and could only muster third; she remains one to watch.
*Lookingoodinatux (colt, Fusaichi Pegasus – Polish Nana by Polish Numbers) – Our post on him after his last outing, a second place finish in the CTBA Futurity: “This Colorado-bred has finished second in two starts but is on the verge of a maiden-breaking win.” In his next start, he won the Silver Cup Futurity as the heavy favorite.
Rise Up (colt, Rockport Harbor – Appenzell by Johannesburg) – He’s won two straight – on two different surfaces – including a dominating win in the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes.
Awesome Baby (filly, Awesome Again – Miss Attractive by Running Stag) – You know a Bob Baffert youngster with this name has to be good – and she proved it in her first start, a speedy win at Del Mar that is the top-ranked of the meet so far. She set blistering fractions on the lead (:21.80, :45.03) and finished up easily in 1:03.14 for the five-and-a-half furlongs. Physically she displays the toughness that appears to be a genetic trait of the Awesome Again line. Keep an eye on this one.
King Cyrus (colt, Bellamy Road – Queen of Empire by Empire Maker) – While his win wasn’t lauded by the railbirds, this was an impressive first start for the Todd Pletcher trainee. He didn’t have everything his way, as he was forced to concede his early lead and stalk the pace, sitting wide off the two leaders. That was no quick pace or easy set up, either, as the front-runners cruised in moderate fractions. He took control in the stretch and drew off to win by 11 in 1:24.68. The Bellamy Road progeny haven’t been the buzz of late – this colt might change that.
Louisiana Flyboy (colt, Fusaichi Pegasus – Montanis by More Than Ready) – A Calidoscopio-like performance by this Louisiana-bred first-time starter. He broke awkwardly and was bumped hard, spotting the field of 10 about seven lengths. He weaved his way through the crowd, was guided to the outside going six wide and passed the entire field to win going away. An impressive and memorable debut for this Patrick Mouton trainee: http://www.harrahslouisianadowns.com/racing/Live-Racing.html#.UgFCJEnD9es
Dunkin Bend (colt, Dunkirk – Misty Run by Vindication) – He had things his way in his second start, winning easily on the front end against mostly inexperienced foes. Most important to note is he is the second winner, along with Base Case Scenario, to emerge from a key race won by Candy Dandy (Candy Ride) at Churchill Downs. The buzz will be his when he runs in the Saratoga Special.
Milam (filly, Street Sense – Autumnal by Forestry) – After jumping to a quick lead in :22.43, it looked like it was all over for Milam when J J Julep drew alongside of her in the first turn of the six-furlong test at Ellis Park. Instead of conceding to her experienced foe, this first-time starter for Eddie Kenneally, with jockey Brian Hernandez aboard, turned back the challenge and put some distance on the field, winning by more than three lengths. The final time of 1:09.72 is standout for this level and circuit. A definite for the virtual stable.
Guilty Verdict (filly, Medaglia d’Oro – Smuggler by Unbridled) – She couldn’t reach winner Enquete (Indian Charlie), but this debut starter for Shug McGaughey – who is out of multiple Grade 1 winner Smuggler – flashed some talent and showed she just needs more distance than six furlongs. She broke last in the field of five and started to make up ground in the stretch; her appealing long stride stood out in this field.
Noosito (colt, Harbor the Gold – Julia Rose by Basket Weave) – This full-brother to Emerald Downs legend and recently retired Noosa Beach flashed his genetic talent with a debut win at five-and-a-half furlongs. He was a bit green in the stretch but much the best.
Crowded Hour (gelding, Two Step Salsa – Foxy Duck by Foxhound) – Sharp debut run from off the pace as this Troy Wismer trainee went five-wide to move past the leaders. He would’ve won by more, but he was forced to check in the stretch run of the five-and-a-half furlong test at Presque Isle.
Whatsallthedrama (filly, Whatsthescript – Drama Cat by Tale of the Cat) – After forging her way through traffic, this Jerry Hollendorfer trainee displayed a powerful late turn of foot when she left the field behind and won by more than three lengths. No one claimed her for $50,000 out of the Del Mar sprint, so look for this California-bred to move up the class ladder.
Interchange (colt, Fairbanks – Princess Lynn by Devil His Due) – Appealing stride on this Thomas Clark runner who won his debut at Delaware Park.
Lotsa Mischief (colt, Into Mischief – Saucy Countess by Tabasco Cat) – Strong second-start showing by this Dan McFarlane trainee. He set fast fractions on the lead (:22.27, :45.91), and, instead of succumbing when challenged on the turn, he drew a second wind and ran off by nine lengths. Sire Into Mischief continues to impress with juvenile winners, particularly at sprint distances.
Hayq’s Fable (gelding, Elhayq – Fairy Fable by Fairy King) – Fractious and distracted in his debut, he returned for his second start more focused and delivered an eye-catching, front-running romp at Fairmount Park. This Illinois-bred boasts an intriguing pedigree as the son of the Shadwell runner Elhayq, who won the Bowling Green Handicap, and a strong Northern Dancer influence throughout.
City by the Bay (filly, City Zip – Glitter Time by Glitterman) – Speedy debut by this William Morey trainee, who covered the five furlongs in :57.62 at Santa Rosa.
Wry (colt, Distorted Humor – High Heels by E Dubai) – He failed as the favorite in his debut at Ellis Park, but he was hampered by a troubled start that left him spotting the field about 15 lengths. He will likely benefit from the race and move forward with that appealing pedigree.
High Roll (gelding, Roman Ruler – Wild Crazy Lady by Touch Gold) – No surprise this half-brother of Muppet Man took to the synthetic in his debut. The James DiVito runner snatched the lead and didn’t look back, posting swift fractions and crossing the wire in 1:05.45 for the five-and-a-half furlongs, a solid time for first-timers on synthetic at Arlington.
My T Swift (filly, Spring at Last – T Swift by Tomahawk) – The stretch run came down to a battle between this first-time starter and an experienced foe, Stormin Wendy, who got the edge. This was a sharp debut in the slop for the Hamilton Smith Maryland-bred, who might appreciate a fast strip or surface switch next out.
Aotearoa (gelding, Good Journey – Madera Royal by Lil Tyler) – Sharp debut by this California-bred against state-bred competition. He tracked the leaders and maintained a high cruising speed in the stretch, pulling away to win by more than four lengths and finishing the five-and-a-half furlongs in 1:03.76.
Andallthatitmeans (gelding, Cause to Believe – Mascaretta by Regal Remark) – With a couple of solid races to his credit, this British Columbia-bred put it all together in the British Columbia Cup Nursery Stakes, romping by more than 10 lengths. Decent time of 1:17.34 for the six and a half furlongs. Sire Cause to Believe, a multiple graded stakes winner, is one to watch on the Canadian circuit.