By J.J. HYSELL
There’s no bigger story in 2-year-old racing right now than new sire Warrior’s Reward.
The son of Medaglia d’Oro is off to a tremendous start with his first crop. He had three winners with his first three starters – all debuting fillies – on May 30. (http://inthemoneypost.com/new-sire-warriors-reward-has-three-winners-from-three-starters-friday/) The impressive romp by Bad Read Sanchez for trainer Doug O’Neill at Santa Anita Park on June 20 made it 4 for 4 for first-time starters.
While these youngsters are racking up the early wins, indications are many of them will show continued success as the distances increase.
Progeny of Lookin at Lucky continue to show early success as well. The sire recorded a winner over turf in Europe, Lady Desire, victorious at Hamilton in her second start.
Lookin at Lucky had two winners in the early 2-year-old races this meet at Churchill Downs, both sharp debuts by colts: Lucky Player (Steve Asmussen) and Conquest Bigluck E (Mark Casse).
I wrote about Texas-based freshman sire Silver City in the May report (http://inthemoneypost.com/itm-2-year-old-report-for-the-week-of-may-19/) and he continues to have winners. Promise Me Silver, one of my top 2-year-olds to watch, won the Debutante Stakes at Churchill and became Silver City’s first stakes winner. The gray filly is also the second straight Debutante winner for trainer Bret Calhoun, who won last year with another Texas-bred star, Fiftyshadesofgold.
Just like Fiftyshadesofgold, who was third in the Grade 2 Adirondack in her third start, Promise Me Silver could make her next start at Saratoga.
“I had a lot of optimism for Silver City because he was a very talented horse, but he never really got to show all his talent because of some injuries,” Calhoun said after the Debutante. “We loved him as a race horse and I thought with his pedigree he would go on to be a good stallion prospect.”
Calhoun’s Alamo City is another Silver City youngster to watch after he won his second start at Lone Star. The trainer and sire could have a stakes double at Churchill as Calhoun is expected to enter Silverhill, a debut winner at Lone Star, in Saturday’s Grade 3 Bashford Manor.
The fillies are stealing the spotlight as we near the end of the Churchill Downs meet. On June 22, trainer D. Wayne Lukas unveiled the promising Take Charge Brandi, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway. She is out of Charming, a half-sister of last year’s 3-year-old champion Will Take Charge, and the resemblance between the two chestnuts is striking.
She was hustled to the lead by jockey Corey Lanerie and extended in the lane for a 2 1/2-length win over Conquest Archangel in the 4 1/2-furlong test.
Conquest Archangel, a daughter of Blame trained by Mark Casse, was hampered by a slow start and should improve with this race experience as well as added distance.
On the same day, Casse’s well-bred Bedford Land, a daughter of Speightstown out of Grade 1 winner Pool Land (Silver Deputy), dominated in her debut at 4 1/2-furlongs. She posted a sharp time of :52.08. Bedford Land will be offered as part of the Melnyk dispersal at the Fasig-Tipton Sale on July 14.
It’s interesting to note that most winners Sunday were lathered up and taxed after their races in the 90-degree heat. Bedford Land was energetic, didn’t appear tired and her final time was slightly better than that of Take Charge Brandi: :52.08 compared to :52.26.
In California, Bob Baffert’s Enchanting Lady, a filly by Tale of the Cat out of the A.P. Indy mare A.P. Baby, showed marked improvement with her scintillating win in the 5 1/2-furlong Landaluce Stakes at Santa Anita. Her pedigree is a nice blend of speed and stamina.
Another new sire climbing the ranks is Midshipman, who notched his third winner with Naval Command. The Florida-bred filly, who went off as the heavy favorite at Gulfstream in her debut for trainer Bill Kaplan, came from off the pace on a sloppy track to win at 4 1/2-furlongs. Based on his pedigree and career on the track, it won’t be a surprise if many of the Midshipman progeny win early and are promising, speedy sprinters/milers.
One of the top performances by a 2-year-old filly this season belongs to Fashion Alert, a daughter of Old Fashioned trained by Todd Pletcher. This filly out of Titan Queen (Tiznow) showed her class by easily winning her first start, the Astoria Stakes at Belmont, in front-running fashion. She defeated highly regarded Liatris and stamped herself as a graded stakes prospect with the eye-catching performance.
Pletcher said the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga is likely next for Fashion Alert.
Sire Tapit hasn’t missed out on some of the early glory. Tapitsphere, trained by Steve Asmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds, showed a nice turn of foot when he came from off the pace to win at 5 1/2-furlongs at Churchill Downs. Like most Tapits, he was slightly green, but he is certainly one to watch.
Distorted Humor always provides some promising early prospects. That trend continues this season. Nonna’s Boy, trained by Todd Pletcher for Repole Stable, handled his debut at Belmont Park with ease. The bay colt went to the lead and separated himself from the field in the win over a muddy track.
Another son of Distorted Humor to watch is Assorted Humour, a half-brother of multiple graded stakes winner Great Hunter trained by Glenn Delahoussaye. This chestnut colt pressed blazing early fractions and still won handily in a five-furlong test at Evangeline.
Several intriguing juveniles have recently been unveiled at Woodbine, with none receiving more attention than the precocious Mark Casse-trained Conquest Tsunami. A strapping Ontario-bred colt by Stormy Atlantic, he has been untouchable in two starts on synthetic, including an easy win in the Victoria Stakes. Stormy Atlantic progeny are known for their affinity for synthetic tracks, so this colt’s ability on dirt is unknown, but look out if he is multi-surface.
Adrosa Sky is another Woodbine-based Casse runner to watch. The chestnut colt by Sky Mesa dominated the field and finished the 4 1/2-furlongs in :52.05.
Seffeara, an Ontario-bred gelding by Old Forester trained by Steve Owens, also made an impression at Woodbine. He set a track record for 4 1/2-furlongs (:51.01) in his tremendous debut, which he won by more than 11 lengths. While Old Forester progeny often take to synthetic, this newcomer looks quite talented.
Other Woodbine winners to watch include Sweet Dreams, a filly by Candy Ride for Gail Cox, and speedy Unhindered, a gray filly by Stormy Atlantic for Ralph Biamonte.
Jerry Hollendorfer is leading the way with his 2-year-olds on the West Coast. Heart of Paradise, a daughter of More Than Ready, tops the list after her five-furlong jog in :57.76 under Corey Nakatani at Santa Anita. She boasts the perfect pedigree for middle distances and could be a multi-surface talent.
Calhoun continues to deliver with promising 2-year-olds on the Texas circuit, including Vivian da Bling. The gray daughter of Too Much Bling won by more than nine lengths going five furlongs in her debut at Lone Star.
Also at Lone Star, Unbridled Kid, a son of Songandaprayer trained by Karl Broberg, romped by more than seven lengths in his debut.
One of the top 2-year-old performances by a colt in Florida belongs to Tizcano. a son of Tiznow trained by Michael Yates. In his first start at Gulfstream, facing challengers with experience, he proved much the best and finished the 4 1/2-furlongs in :51.52.
The record holder for this distance is Dekabrist, a son of Street Boss trained by Gennadi Dorochenko, who won by 15 lengths in his debut and finished in :51.31. He is now 2 for 2 at Gulfstream after a victory in the Kodiak Island Stakes.