ITM analysis of the top 2-year-olds to watch from: August 15 – August 21
(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)
*No Nay Never (turf) (colt, Scat Daddy – Cat’s Eye Witness by Elusive Quality) – After conquering Keeneland and Royal Ascot, this top-ranked juvenile turf runner – trained by Wesley Ward – took his game to France last weekend in the six-furlong Darley Prix Morny at Deauville. With David Flores aboard, the colt took control of the pace and extended his lead to the wire for another impressive victory, his first Group 1 win. He topped previously unbeaten filly Vorda by a length. Although she couldn’t catch the winner, Rizeena, daughter of Serena’s Storm, rallied sharply for third.
No Nay Never was slated to be back in Kentucky by Tuesday. He will be a top contender if he targets the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Replay via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeavwIrj8wk
*Del Rio Harbor (gelding, Harbor the Gold – Bahati by Horse Chestnut) – His peers just can’t keep up with him. This Washington-bred is three for four with two stakes wins after an eye-catching win in the W.T.B.O.A. Lads Stakes at Emerald Downs for trainer Doris Harwood.
*Cloud Harbor (colt, Rockport Harbor – Fragrant Cloud by Smokester) – This Henry Dominguez runner proved his versatility in a gutsy Gold Rush Futurity win, pushing his record to two for two. He came from off the pace and outdueled Ima Happy Strike (Smart Strike) in the stretch for a 20-1 upset win. He won his debut in front-running fashion.
*Burning Warrior (gelding, A.P. Warrior – Burning Woman by Carson City) – We knew he was one to keep an eye on when he romped by more than 11 lengths in his debut. This Louisiana-bred firmly put himself on the radar with a dominating front-running win in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile Stakes. The Henry Dunn runner was never asked and crossed the line in 1:10.47 for the six furlongs. What’s interesting is he boasts a pedigree that suggests he could carry this speed; in both races he’s set swift internal fractions. Dangerous.
New Year’s Day (colt, Street Cry – Justwhistledixie by Dixie Union) – He couldn’t reach winner Indexical (Latent Heat), but what a sharp debut from this Bob Baffert runner. Last at the start in the field of nine going five-and-a-half furlongs at Del Mar, he was put to a rally by Garrett Gomez and closed fast for a good third. Behold the pedigree: a blend of stamina and speed with multi-surface possibilities. He’s out of Justwhistledixie, winner of the Davona Dale and the Bonnie Miss Stakes.
Divorce Party (colt, Broken Vow – Pink Champagne by Awesome Again) – He was one to watch coming out of a likely key turf race at Saratoga and showed marked improvement on the switch to Delaware dirt. He broke slow and spotted the field of seven a few lengths, but as soon as he was asked, he powerfully looped the entire field and proved much the best in this second start. A definite for the virtual stable, and don’t count out this Graham Motion runner if he returns to turf.
Can the Man (colt, Into Mischief – Smolensk by Danzig) – When Bob Baffert names a colt after his son Canyon, it’s wise to take note. He lived up to his billing as the favorite in his debut at Del Mar, tracking right off the pace, making a move in the stretch and maintaining his lead to the wire in the five-and-a-half furlong test. The field was all newcomers, so it’s tough to gauge class level, but he’s by a notable new sire who has had recent success with early runners, particularly up to 1 1/16-miles.
Long Water (colt, Elusive Quality – Round Pond by Awesome Again) – This first-time starter appeared unprepared at the start, and it took him some time, but once he figured out what was happening he really made up ground. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee wasn’t close to winner Strong Mandate (Tiznow) and finished fourth, but he took a lot of dirt in his face and should improve off this effort. A bright future awaits this colt out of multiple graded stakes winner Round Pond.
Demander (colt, Yes It’s True – Bootery by Storm Boot) – This half-brother of Neck ‘n Neck got a solid education in his debut at Ellis Park, weaving his way through traffic to work his way up to fourth in the five-and-a-half furlong test. The Ian Wilkes trainee looked superb on the gallop out. Notable performance from winner Captainof the Nile (Pioneerof the Nile), a first-time starter for William Connelly who topped the more experienced Runkle when he came from off the pace and reeled in that rival in 1:04.79.
Artemis Agrotera (filly, Roman Ruler – Indy Glory by A.P. Indy) – Is this New York-bred as good as advertised in her 11-length debut romp at Saratoga? Or was it a case of a stunned field of newcomers who couldn’t keep up? The Michael Hushion runner set swift internal fractions and stopped the clock in 1:10.53 for six furlongs.
Kohanya (filly, Spring At Last – Potomac Blend by Polish Numbers) – This late closer came within a hair of catching winner Sensible Shoes (Songandaprayer), who had the benefit of a race going into this Delaware Park sprint. Super stride on the Richard Small trainee, who was fifth in the stretch and ended up leagues ahead of the winner on the gallop out.
Aarons Orient (colt, Orientate – Are U Being Served by Jambalaya Jazz) – He had a fight on his hands in his second start at Saratoga when Pure Sensation offered up a duel in the stretch. After a slight hesitation, this Steve Asmussen trainee went right on by his foe and sustained on the gallop out. A speedy final time of :57.69 for the five furlongs. Interesting pedigree appears sprint-heavy at first glance, but some stamina influences on the dam side could be a benefit if he stretches out. He was fourth in his debut, won by Corfu, a race that could prove to be key.
“He’s a very fast horse,” said Asmussen. “Kim Valerio bought him out of OBS off of Bobby Dodd, and he’s been a lovely horse since he came in. Honestly, we were surprised he got beat the first time, but he obviously got beat by a nice horse. . .”We’ll let (him) go back to the track before we do something. I think he’s a stakes-caliber horse, and we’ll find one for him.”
*Divergent View (filly, Congrats – Wasted Wisdom by Gold Fever) – After a good second to Designer Legs in the Prairie Lass Stakes, she followed up with a hard-fought win in a six furlong allowance at Indiana Downs for her second win in four starts. The Tom Amoss runner was all out to hold off her rallying rivals.
*Yodel Up A Storm (filly, Swiss Yodeler – Valley Storm by Moscow Ballet) – We tabbed this California-bred as one to watch after finishing a strong second in her debut in the claiming ranks. She followed up with a solid win against state-bred company and came home in a rapid 1:03.75 for the five-and-a-half furlongs on Del Mar synthetic.
Tribalist (gelding, Tribal Rule – Ultimate Summer by Cee’s Tizzy) – An impressive win for Tamarando (Bertrando), but what a flying finish from this Blake Heap trainee in his debut sprinting at Del Mar. After a slow start, he embarked on a four-wide stretch rally and likely would’ve made second if not forced to check. Takem By Surprise (Bushwacker) offered up some fast fractions and Tamarando took advantage, crossing the wire in 1:03.35 for the five-and-a-half furlongs.
Wild Caroline (filly, Wildcat Heir – Willie Brook by Montbrook) – Sharp score by the winner Miss Scatalicious (Scat Daddy) at 42-1 at Del Mar, but making her best run too late was this Mike Puype Florida-bred. The first-time starter got off to a tough start and took a while to get into stride on the synthetic surface, but once she got into rhythm, she bypassed rivals and finished fifth. An A-plus gallop out.
Ready’s Legend (turf) (filly, More Than Ready – The Legend Grows by Siphon) – She followed up a last-place showing in her debut with a strong rally at Arlington in her second start at on grass. Positioned last until the stretch run, she gained substantial ground to finish in a dead heat for third behind front-running winner Istanford (Istan). Moderate fractions for the race with a final time of 1:37.22 for the mile.
*Union Hall (colt, Dixie Union – One West by Gone West) – He ran behind He’s Got Talent and Ride on Curlin and encountered a sloppy track before finding the winners’ circle in his fourth start. This nice-looking Bret Calhoun runner was shuffled back in between foes, but re-rallied and pulled away to be much the best in the five-and-a-half furlong race at Remington Park.
Give No Quarter (colt, Tiz Wonderful – Roadtohanna by Not For Love) – This half-brother to the brave Tell A Great Story endured a bumpy start and a stretch duel to finish a close second behind Ready for Action (Ready’s Image) in his debut at Presque Isle. The Graham Motion trainee is a little green but is one to keep an eye on.
Naughtynaughtygirl (filly, Bernardini – Win With a Wink by Dixieland Band) – Toss the Saratoga debut – not only because Bill Mott runners often need a race, but for the fact that she hit the starting gate and was wide during the sprint. This filly with a router’s pedigree could take a few races to get on track, but keep her in mind.
Enjoy the Family (filly, Brother Derek – Enjoy the View by L’Enjoleur) – Nice run from off the pace by this first-time starter to catch the more experienced Concert Pianist (Any Given Saturday) in the stretch. The Tom Proctor runner closed the five-and-a-half furlongs in 1:04.26.
Rockford (gelding, Rock Hard Ten – La Treizieme by French Deputy) – A late-running fourth in his debut in a sprint at Golden Gate, this Bill Patterson trainee is one to watch stretching out or, particularly, if he tries turf.
Miss Woodburn (filly, First Defence – Zamindarling by Zamindar) – It was quite a scene: a wall of tired foes far behind this Florida-bred as she cruised home to break her maiden by more than 10 lengths in her fourth start. The competition in this Thistledown test was likely light, but it could also be the Timothy Hamm runner needed the surface switch from synthetic to dirt.