By J.J. Hysell
While attention is focused on the 3-year-olds and the Triple Crown bid by California Chrome, it’s never too early to examine notable trends in the 2-year-old ranks.
One of the most interesting topics among the juveniles is the emergence of Texas-based freshman sire Silver City. The son of Unbridled’s Song stands at Valor Farm for $2,000 and is making quite a name for himself. He’s had two impressive winners from five starters, both fillies trained by Bret Calhoun at Lone Star Park.
Promise Me Silver won at first asking on May 11 with a 6 3/4-length win at 4.5 furlongs on dirt. Silver City Sal won her debut easily on May 15 with a 5 3/4-length win at 4.5 furlongs on dirt.
It’s early in the 2-year-old season, but this is a strong indicator of this sire’s potential.
Another new sire with progeny showing promise is ITM Sire to Watch Lookin at Lucky. His first U.S. winner, Lucky’stormwarning, recorded a win on May 16 at Gulfstream Park. The filly, trained by Wes Ward, won by 2 3/4-lengths in the 4.5-furlong test.
Lucky Player, a Florida-bred son of Lookin at Lucky, is set to debut in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs Friday for trainer Steve Asmussen.
At Churchill Downs, the name of the game so far has been sire Sky Mesa. He had two winners in maiden races in filly Milehigh Butterfly, trained by William Connelly, and colt Sky Bistro, a half-brother of Street Sense Stakes winner Coastline trained by Mark Casse. Sky Bistro looks like one to follow for the future as well as two others from that May 16 race at five furlongs on dirt. Runner-up Move the Chains, a son of Eskendereya trained by Wes Ward, made up ground late and should like stretching out. Third-place finisher Unbridled Graduate, an Ohio-bred son of Magna Graduate trained by Steve Asmussen, was last at the start but rallied late and likely benefitted from this debut.
Another promising prospect by Sky Mesa is scheduled to debut in the Friday race featuring Lucky Player. Cloverdale Nine, trained by Wes Ward, is half-brother of Whywhywhy and Spellbinder. Add in the well-bred Corps of Discovery, out of Comely Stakes winner Touching Beauty, and you have the makings a what could be a key juvenile race.
In the Rollicking Stakes at Pimlico on May 16, it appeared none in the field of four appreciated the muddy track. Favorite Hootenanny, a son of Quality Road trained by Wes Ward, was fractious in the gate and couldn’t last, finishing third. Governmentshutdown, a gelding by Exchange Rate trained by John Robb, was taken out of his game plan when he and jockey Jose Betancourt were forced to take back. It worked out better for the gray, who rallied from off the pace to win the five-furlong test.
At Santa Anita, some are wondering if lightning might strike twice. A day before the year anniversary of California Chrome’s maiden-breaking win at Hollywood Park, Kristi’s Copilot, a California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit trained by Art Sherman, won his debut.