ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: August 7 – August 14
(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)
*Danza (colt, Street Boss – Champagne Royale by French Deputy) – As the dueling duo of winner Corfu (Malibu Moon) and Wired Bryan (Stormy Atlantic) unfolded in front of him in the Saratoga Special, this “other” Todd Pletcher trainee – who went off at 14-1 – was rating steadily off the fast pace. He closed swiftly on the inside in late stretch, too late to catch the front two, but with an energy and stride that indicates he’ll enjoy going longer than six-and-a-half furlongs. We tabbed him as one to watch after his gutsy maiden win in which he re-rallied against Permanent Campaign (Sky Mesa). This colt has shown some fortitude in his first two races. Corfu, who set speedy fractions of :21.62 and :44.02 and still held on, is a sprint talent, but will need to learn to rate if he wants to continue winning as the distances increase. In both his wins rivals were getting to him. Wired Bryan has proven himself to be underrated and is one of the top 2-year-olds on the East Coast. His pedigree leans heavily to sprint and middle-distances and could also excel on turf. Replay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaZls_fRot4
*Skylander Girl (filly, Stroll – Heliotrope by Northern Score) – This Ontario-bred is now an impressive two-time stakes winner at Woodbine with a victory in the Ontario Debutante, beating heavy favorite Conquest Whiplash (Hear No Evil). In her lone “off” performance, the Shady Well, she had a troubled start and still managed fourth. Sire Stroll is having a good season with his juveniles.
*Smack Smack (gelding, Closing Argument – Smack Madam by Victory Gallop) – With his top competition Ride on Curlin scratched from the Paririe Meadows Juvenile Mile because of a shin problem (read more here: http://www.saratogian.com/articles/2013/08/10/sports/doc5206c212d3d3e513167025.txt), the path was paved for this favorite to remain undefeated, and he answered the call. The wall of frontrunners, going at a moderate pace, receded in the second half of the race, allowing the closers an opportunity. This Don Von Hemel trainee went five wide and moved ahead of Ethical (Candy Ride) just before the wire. The Kentucky-bred, owned by Toby Keith’s Dream Walkin’ Farms, is 3 for 3.
*Concave (filly, Colonel John – Galadriel by Ascot Knight) – After a debut win on turf, this Doug O’Neill runner adeptly moved to the synthetic at Del Mar and handled a jump to stakes company with a win in the Sorrento Stakes. She had a perfect trip just off the pace under Mario Gutierrez and outdueled the game She’s a Tiger (Tale of the Cat), finishing the six-and-a-half furlongs in 1:17.45. One of the top filly prospects currently on the West Coast; a multi-surface threat and the first stakes winner from the first crop of Colonel John. She’s likely to start next in the Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 31.
*Go Greeley (colt, Horse Greeley – Orchids Halo by Smoke Glacken) – This Ontario-bred is the most versatile 2-year-old on the grounds at Woodbine. He can come from off the pace or win on the lead in determined fashion, as he proved in the Vandal Stakes. It appeared challenger Heart to Heart (English Channel) was going to pass him in the stretch of the six-furlong test, but this John Ross trainee wouldn’t let him pass. The final time of 1:10.33 is solid for the synthetic. He’s 3 of 4 with one second.
Flay Mignon (turf) (filly, Yesbyjimminy – Forest Retreat by Forest Camp) – This New Jersey-bred – who is shockingly not owned by Bobby Flay – moved from a maiden claiming debut win to dominating a large field in the Colleen Stakes at five furlongs on turf. The Eddie Plesa runner proved she can hold her speed, re-gaining the lead after an early battle with Gem City Gal (Mr. Sekiguchi) and pulling away for the win in :56.77. Keep an eye on this unheralded sire by Yes It’s True, as he’s producing some precocious youngsters.
Diamond Bachelor (turf) (colt, War Front – Seasoned by Pulpit) – Astute move by trainer Patrick Biancone to debut this top prospect on grass, where he displayed his quick turn of foot and turned back the field at Del Mar. He appears to be a professional runner both in style and demeanor. He sat off Bourne Hot (Latent Heat), made his move under Julien Leparoux and took control without much urging in the one-mile test. He did get a quick pace and the final time of 1:35.82 isn’t head-turning, but he ran a final split of 11:22 and was very strong on the gallop out. Biancone said the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf on Sept. 4 is likely next. One of many in a slew of War Front – Pulpit crosses to recently win: http://inthemoneypost.com/productive-match-the-war-front-pulpit-cross/
Biancone: “He has created a stir around the stable with his training in the morning. It cost quite a bit of money ($570,000) to buy him in the 2-year-old sale (Barretts March), and from there I put him in the program at Pegasus Farm to get him ready for Del Mar and everything has gone well.
“I think he is really a two-turn horse, that’s why I ran him at a mile for his first race. We’re going to stay two-turns on the turf with him.”
Sweet Whiskey (filly, Old Fashioned – Baby Betty by El Corredor) – There’s always buzz surrounding Todd Pletcher babies at the Spa, but this one seemed to draw particular interest. She delivered one of the most eye-catching – and fastest – performances by a juvenile filly of the meet so far, dispatching the field in a hand ride and finishing the five furlongs in 1:02.81 (track record is 1:02.51). Could new sire Old Fashioned have his first major prospect here? She’s listed as possible for the Spinaway along with stable mates Elena Strikes and Stopchargingmaria.
Due Diligence (turf) (colt, War Front – Bema by Pulpit) – The Chad Brown barn is heating up at the Spa, and with good reason with future stars like this grass runner. The full brother to impressive allowance winner Console bolted to the lead and was never tested in a statement romp going five-and-a-half furlongs. Even geared down he posted a solid time of 1:02.65. The field was made up of newcomers, but the manner in which this colt handled his first race suggests he’s already ahead of his peers. Another one in a line of War Front winning warriors.
Solemnly Swear (colt, Yes It’s True – Sala de Oro by Expelled) – In last week’s edition of Weekly Watch, we noted the success of Yes It’s True’s juveniles this season. This Kelly Breen runner adds his name to the list after a blowout win by more than eight lengths at Monmouth Park in his third start. He put it all together while stretching out to a mile.
Evening Glow (filly, Stephen Got Even – Bronze Glow by Devil’s Bag) – It’s safe to say few expected this kind of performance from this 6-1 debut starter at Penn National. The Pennsylvania-bred snatched the lead and was never tested, pulling away to romp by more than 14 lengths. The Bernard Houghton trainee posted a solid time of :58.27 for five furlongs against state-bred company.
*Fascinating (filly, Smart Strike – Untouched Talent by Storm Cat) – Patience is the key with this half-sister to Bodemeister, who continues to develop with each start. She finished a flying third behind the talented Bajan (Speightstown) and Southern Susnhine (High Cotton) in her second start for trainer Bob Baffert. She’s getting there and likely needs more than these shorter distances.
Stonetastic (filly, Mizzen Mast – Special Me by Unbridled’s Song) – Trainer Kelly Breen is having another sharp Monmouth meet with his juveniles, and this gray filly was a perfect example as she won by more than 12 lengths in front-running fashion on debut. Mizzen Mast continues to roam under the radar as a productive sire.
*Boheme de Lavi (filly, Graeme Hall – Salty N Sassy by Salt Lake) – We tabbed this Florida-bred as one to watch next out after her just-miss debut showing at Gulfstream Park. She followed up as expected, winning handily going six-and-a-half furlongs at Calder. Graeme Hall could have a nice crop of 2-year-olds developing.
Clenor (turf) (filly, Oratorio – Chantarella by Royal Academy) – This Irish-bred, purchased privately in July, made heads turn in her U.S. debut and fourth career start with a last-to-first win on grass at Del Mar. The fast pace set up in her favor, and she took advantage, but she was much the best after going four wide into the stretch and making up substantial ground; she’s a little green, but this is another intriguing juvenile prospect for trainer Doug O’Neill.
Sweet Reason (filly, Street Sense – Livermore Leslie by Mt. Livermore) – Tough to tell if the sloppy track boosted her debut performance, but either way, her late run down the stretch ranks as one of the more memorable efforts of the Saratoga meet. She was last in the field of eight until the stretch rally.
Indigo Kitten (turf) (colt, Kitten’s Joy – Blue Holiday by Cure the Blues) – A terrible start in which this colt hit the gate and collided with a rival negates this ninth-place debut and it should be a toss race. Look for this Wesley Ward trainee when he returns at Keeneland or Churchill. Another one to watch from this race is Breakeven Analysis (Lemon Drop Kid) who finished second for Chad Brown.
Deceived (colt, Broken Vow – Naughty Natisha by Known Fact) – This New York-bred is another to watch next out after a troubled debut. The Leah Gyarmati trainee hit the gate with his hindquarters and started in the back of the pack, yet still managed to finish a rallying third over the sloppy track behind winner Free Mugatu (Utopia).
Bluegrass Flash (turf) (colt, Bluegrass Cat – To Marquet by Marquetry) – A notable debut at 1 1/16-miles on grass for this half-brother of Discreet Marq and Marquet Cat for trainer Christophe Clement. After lagging behind the field in last, he embarked on a rally, surging past the field and landing in a battle with Marvin’s Miracle (Cosmonaut). He fell short, but Marvin’s Miracle had the added benefit of a prior race.
First Daughter (filly, First Samurai – A.P. Investment by A.P. Indy) – She rallied for fourth after a slow start in her debut sprinting at Calder; appealing pedigree and she likely needs more ground.
Mosler (colt, War Front – Gold Vault by Arch) – This Bill Mott first-time starter was fourth in what could evolve into a key Saratoga race that featured winner In Trouble (Tiz Wonderful) and runner-up Sound of Freedom (War Front). This colt should benefit from the experience and boasts a multi-surface pedigree.
Just Call Kenny (colt, Jump Start – Green Jeans by Green Dancer) – Nice debut win at Monmouth for the Virginia-bred, and also an impressive comeback for second by Gadget Man (Honour and Glory), who jumped in the air in the break and rallied from last.
Honorable Judge (colt, Afleet Alex – Lucky Again by Wild Again) – Solid winning debut going a mile at Parx for this full brother to Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Afleet Again; Equibase notes “with speed to spare.”
Arabella’s Muse (filly, Finality – Excited Miss by Mass Market) – This British Columbia-bred is the talk of Hastings Park after she romped by more than 13 lengths in her debut going six-and-a-half furlongs; a stellar time of 1:16.43 for this track and class. Her dam, Excited Miss, was 6 of 8 for her career with five stakes wins at Hastings.
Charismata (filly, Curlin – Jack’s Little Girl by Broad Brush) – Yet another Curlin juvenile lands on the radar after a victorious debut at Emerald Downs for trainer Doris Harwood.
Tower of Texas (colt, Street Sense – Rare Opportunity by Danzig Connection) – He was no match for winner Jose Sea View (Badge of Silver) in his debut at Woodbine, but this colt has a winning pedigree, likely needed a race and could move up with a switch to dirt or turf. He is a sibling of multiple stakes winner Street Sounds and also Silver Highlight, who won a 10-furlong stake on turf at Woodbine.