It’s the season debut of In the Money 2-year-olds to Watch. These are the top juveniles to keep an eye on from June 1 – June 25.
Kobe’s Back (colt, Flatter – Well by Well Decorated) – He made quite a statement in his debut, the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes at Hollywood Park. Lagging behind at the start by as many as seven lengths, the John Sadler trainee showed an impressive closing kick by circling the field to win the 5 1/2-furlong test by 3 1/4-lengths. The colt closed into some swift early fractions (:22.18. :46.00) and finished in 1:05.42. He’s half-brother to Gallant Bob and Jersey Shore Stakes winner Well Spelled.
Fiftyshadesofgold (filly, My Golden Song – Hadif Cat by Hadif) – This Texas-bred clocked down to favoritism just as the field of 11 in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs was loading in the gate, and bettors had it pegged. The Bret Calhoun runner gave what Calhoun deemed a “monster performance,” dispatching early head-to-head speed rival More Than Beauty and strolling off to win by eight lengths. She covered the six furlongs in 1:10.63. She has won her first two races by a combined 18 lengths. Calhoun has yet to make future plans for his emerging star, but did say she will continue to train at Churchill until a decision is made. Calhoun has several other intriguing 2-year-old fillies, including Bahnah, who is likely to race at Saratoga, and Closing Report, who made our list after her eye-catching win at Lone Star.
No Nay Never (turf) (colt, Scat Daddy – Cat’s Eye Witness by Elusive Quality) – Prior to the trip, trainer Wesley Ward gave an honest assessment of his Royal Ascot competitors, stating that this son of Scat Daddy was his most likely winner. No Nay Never, who won his debut at Keeneland in wire-to-wire fashion in April, returned with a scintillating performance with Joel Rosario on the big stage in the Norfolk Stakes. Not only did he turn back Aidan O’Brien’s talented Coach House, he set a track record for five furlongs (:58.80). His next target is the Prix Morny at Deauville in August. Interesting to note that Laddie Boy, who also made our list, came out of the No Nay Never race at Keeneland and won his next start by 13 lengths.
Teardrop (filly, Tapit – Wild Vision by Wild Again) – Don’t give up on the Steve Asmussen runner after her disappointing seventh-place finish in the Debutante. She flashed talent in her debut and, being by fiery sire Tapit, likely needs some time. The Debutante was a solid education for the youngster, as she was placed between horses and took some dirt. “I think this filly has still got a lot to learn,” said jockey Rosie Napravnik. “She’s a Tapit, so she’s wired tight. I still think she’s very talented. She’s just got to kind of get it together.”
Conquest Whiplash (filly, Hear No Evil – Saint Sammi by Saint Ballado) – Another nice debut from a Florida-bred owned by the emerging Conquest Stables and trainer Mark Casse. This filly easily defeated five foes in the Victoria Stakes going five furlongs in front-running fashion at Woodbine. Conquest Stables also sent out highly regarded winner Conquest Two Step, who won her debut at Churchill; their runners merit watching.
Sprouts (filly, Square Eddie – Ann Summers Gold by Yankee Victor) – This California-bred, owned by Reddam Racing and trained by Edward Freeman, is now 2 of 3 after winning the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park by more than three lengths. She’s the first stakes winner for new sire Square Eddie.
In Luv with Willie (filly, With Distinction – Willie’s Luv by Williamstown) – Sweetmarys Success was much the best in the JJ’sdream Stakes at Calder, but this Florida-bred was flying late for a good second. She’s one who could benefit from a stretch out to six furlongs.
True Blue Nation (filly, Bluegrass Cat – Truly Spectacular by Yes It’s True) – Disregarded at 17-1 in a field of six at Belmont Park, this Tom Albertrani trainee – owned by St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds – never trailed a horse and drew off to win her debut by more than five lengths. She covered the five furlongs in :58.26. Another to watch from this field is Todd Pletcher’s Candy Kitty (Lemon Drop Kid – Worthy Cat by Tale of the Cat), who made up ground to finish second after a sluggish start and likely needed the race.
Elena Strikes (filly, Smart Strike – Ticket to Houston by Houston) – This is a serious-looking filly from Stonestreet – have we heard that before? – who won her debut at Monmouth Park in sharp fashion. The Todd Pletcher runner simply outclassed her foes and looks like a quality filly. She’s a half-sister to Runway Model, a multiple graded stakes winner.
Harlan’s Special (filly, Harlan’s Holiday – Special Brush by Broad Brush) – A late-closing second by this Gary Hartlage trainee to Untapable (Tapit – Fun House by Prized), a half-sister to Paddy O’Prado, in what could be a key maiden race. Another one to watch is Madly Truly (Malibu Moon – Beautifulballerina by Nureyev), a Mark Casse trainee who was stymied by a troubled start.
Laddie Boy (colt, War Pass – Lil’s Lassie by Lil’s Lad) – Malcolm Franklin executed a perfect rail ride from the No. 1-post that helped this colt to a 13-length romp at Indiana Downs in his second start for trainer Chuck Peery. He has improved from his debut, in which he was rank early and finished eighth in the race at Keeneland, won by Norfolk winner No Nay Never.
Theoryofrelativity (colt, Einstein (BRZ) – Border Bound by Boundary) – New sire Einstein is now 2 for 2 with his runners after this Michael Gorham trainee was untouchable in his debut at the claiming level at Delaware Park. Winning by over five lengths and finishing the 4 1/2 furlongs in :52.98, he looked like a steal at $25,000.
Closing Report (filly, Closing Argument – Majestic Report by Corporate Report) – Another example of how Bret Calhoun has his 2-year-olds ready to fly this time of year. This Louisiana-bred filly practically cantered home in her debut against eight foes going five furlongs at Lone Star Park.
She’s A Tiger (filly, Tale of the Cat – Shandra Smiles by Cahill Road) – This half-sister to champion sprinter Smiling Tiger showed she’s got the genes with a head-turning romp at Pleasanton; she came home in :57.49 for the five furlongs in the nine-length win. Granted, it was a short field, but when the Equibase chart reads “workout fashion” for a debut, take note.
Hop the Six (filly, Artie Schiller – Pulpit Fiction by Pulpit) – She makes a good physical impression and looks like she could be a multi-surface threat after romping on the synthetic surface at Presque Isle in her second start for trainer Ron Potts.
Red Outlaw (gelding, Tribal Rule – Anachristina by Slewpy) – Well-bred, stunning chestnut was much the best in his debut at Hollywood Park for trainer Peter Miller.
Aibhilin (filly, Sky Mesa – Carocita by Anees) – Debut romps aren’t uncommon at Parx, but this one from the barn of Cathal Lynch really caught the eye at 4 1/2 furlongs.
None Like Nolan (colt, Malibu Moon – Green Lyons (IRE) by Green Desert) – A Todd Pletcher trainee to keep an eye on after he made a late rally into a hot pace set by winner Jake’s Magic Hat at Belmont. He needs more than five furlongs.
Ride on Curlin (colt, Curlin – Magical Ride by Storm Cat) – Calvin Borel’s charge almost caught the speedy Conquest Two Step who was loose on the lead after setting fast fractions in the five-furlong test. Nice stride on this William Gowan runner.
Poblano (gelding, Minister Eric – Jalapena by Dixie Union) – New Mexico-bred dusted his foes with an 11-length jaunt at Sunray Park.
Yodel Up a Storm (filly, Swiss Yodeler – Valley Storm by Moscow Ballet) – Caught by Stunning Drama after a pace duel in a 4 1/2-furlong test at Hollywood Park, she finished a solid second and was claimed by John Sadler off the debut.
My Corinthian (turf) (gelding, Corinthian – Texas Rush by Wild Rush) – Dane Kobiskie’s debut runner proved too tough for the competition in a five-furlong grass test at Colonial Downs; speedy final time of :57.78.
On Rainbow Bridge (filly, Bold Executive – Miss Deputy by War Deputy) – An Ontario-bred to watch at Woodbine after her late-closing debut at 4 1/2-furlongs.
Ride the World (filly, Tiz Wonderful – Sweet Baklava by Forestry) – From a family of winners, it was no surprise this Florida-bred was victorious in her debut at Woodbine. The swift time of :51.78 for the four furlongs over synthetic is notable.