Overdriven was “green”, “more professional than dazzling”, and even “appeared like a sprinter”. Those were some of the negative comments immediately following his Grade 2 score in the Sanford at Saratoga Sunday.
The predictable Uncle Mo comparisons began to sprout as well seeing as the connections and track form a familiar tale. Will he romp in the Hopeful in September, move on to toy with the field in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, and set a path towards the First Saturday in May?
I will try to stay away from both camps for the time being and judge the race at face-value. In just his second start, Overdriven proved he was undoubtedly in a league of his own compared to the rest of the quality field that included a grade 2 winner, two graded stakes placed runners, and several impressive maiden winners.
He was a little more keen from the get go, staying closer to the pacesetter and making his passing move earlier before the turn. Similar to his maiden win, Overdriven was never really challenged in the stretch and drew off to a comfortable win. The final time of 1:10.60 was decent, not spectacular for the day, but a Beyer figure of 93 still gave him a top five performance among all 2-year-olds.
As for the distance questions, you simply can’t tell at this point. In an earlier entry I did find pedigree signs that indicated he can stretch out-- how far we’ll just have to wait and see.
7/23/11 Del Mar Maiden Special chart / video / Beyer: 97 / BRIS: 107
Bob Baffert continued to flex his 2-year-old muscle on the West Coast with first-timer Secret Circle, who made a mockery of a 10 horse maiden field at Del Mar. You can tell the consistent gate training Baffert employs pays off by the way Secret Circle spurts from the gate. He was able to stay close to the rail the entire trip and really opens up in the final furlong. The final time of 1:03.40 was less than a second off the track record set by Sidney’s Candy and Secret Circle earned the 3rd highest 2-year-old Beyer of the year at 97.
Baffert was non-committal on next race plans as usual, but left the door open for the Del Mar Futurity or shipping to Saratoga (presumably for the Hopeful). Either spot would place the colt against one of the top two 2-year-olds in the country- Majestic City in the West or Overdriven in the East.
Secret Circle most likely wants added distance. He’s the son of Eddington who was on the Triple Crown Trail in 2004 with 3rd place finishes in the Gotham and Wood Memorial before a 3rd in the Preakness and 4th in the Belmont. Eddington’s biggest score would come later in the 8.5 furlong Pimlico Special and a graded turf win at 9 furlongs. Secret Circle is out of a stakes winning Dixieland Band mare who won at 8.5 furlongs on turf.
Secret Circle was sold at the OBS 2-year-olds in training sale for $165,000. You can see his catalog page here
2YO Non-Graded Stakes Results:
7/24/11 Tyro Stakes- MTH- Winner: She Digs Me chart / video / Beyer: 79 / BRIS: 96
The juvenile scene heated up again over the weekend, especially at Hollywood Park with a graded stakes and three maiden breakers who earned Top 25 Beyer figures for the year. Looking forward, two storied meets for 2-year-olds begin on opposite ends of the country this week at Del Mar and Saratoga, with the former hosting a Grade 2 contest Sunday.
Graded Stakes Review
Hollywood Juvenile Championship (G3)
Winner: Majestic City (NP) chart / video / Beyer: 89 / BRIS: 97
Hollywood Park’s stakes offering for juveniles on closing day proved to be eventful both before and during the race. High weighted and heavily backed Majestic City slipped and fell on his side in the paddock. He later showed stubborn reluctance to enter the gate, but once the doors flung open seemed to finally be in his element.
Stalking the second favorite Night Tide (NP) he appeared unwilling to pass that rival even into the stretch. With urging from Flores he changed gears to blow past the pacesetter and eventual 2nd place finisher Brigand.
Trainer Peter Miller indicated Majestic City would move to the Del Mar circuit where he will possibly point to the Best Pal (G2) Aug 7 and definitely Del Mar Futurity (G1) Sept 5.
I wouldn’t give up on the Baffert trained 2nd and 3rd place finishers just yet. The fractions set by Night Tide were too quick and he should improve with a little more distance. Brigand seemed to make a nice finishing move and could catch up to his high price tag.
To read more about winner Majestic City’s breeding and maiden win check out the entry from May 24th here
7/16/11 Hollywood Park Maiden Special chart / video / Beyer: 98 / BRIS: 107
Trainer: Mike Harrington
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Creative Cause not only dispatched a good-looking group of maidens last Saturday, he also did it in less than a tick off the track record to earn a blistering 98 Beyer figure. Under Rafael Bejarano, Creative Cause took the shortest route of the 5 furlongs on the rail. He did need a little reminder the race was not over into the stretch, but pulled away willingly just before hitting the wire.
A son of Giant’s Causeway out of the G1 winning mare Dream of Summer, stretching out should not be an issue seeing as both sides show signs of stamina. He was an original $135,000 purchase before failing to get pinhooked earlier this year. His Keeneland sales page can be found here
7/16/11 Prairie Meadows Prairie Gold Juvenile S. chart / video / Beyer: 81/ BRIS: 92
Facing the season’s second highest Beyer speed earner Canigotoo (NP), Jake Mo was able to lead a surprisingly quality field all the way around the 5 ½ half furlong contest. He was tapped with the whip several times in the stretch and ended up nearly 3 lengths ahead of second place finisher Let’s Get Crackin.
Brian Zipse over at Horseracing Nation had a hunch Jake Mo was the real deal and he was right. What’s even more intriguing is his stretch out potential considering he is the son of Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo. While his dam preferred sprint distances and he is a half-brother to a graded stakes placed turf sprint runner, his damsire With Approval showed versatility with game finishes in the Tampa Bay Derby, Breeders Cup Turf, and Arlington Million. For Jake Mo’s catalog sheet click here
7/14/11 Arlington Park Maiden Special chart / video / Beyer: 92 / BRIS: 108
Trainer: James DiVito
Jockey: Francisco Giles
Twelve Hundred was an authoritative winner of an Arlington Park maiden special contest last Thursday. Never challenged at any point, he glided to a 5 ¾ length win.
A mere $1,000 purchase, Twelve Hundred’s breeding suggests he shouldn’t have been that big of a bargain. His sire Cape Town stamped himself a serious Kentucky Derby contender in 1998 by winning the Florida Derby and Holy Bull Stakes. He’s out of a winning mare whose sire Devil’s Bag won the Champagne Stakes and Laurel Futurity.
Following a busy July 4th weekend of two graded races and eye-popping maiden winners, this past week was definitely a change of pace. However, things should get going again this weekend with a graded race in Hollywood that includes arguably the top rated 2-year-old of the season so far (Majestic City). Plus a listed stakes that features a strong cast starring a 96 Beyer earner (Canigotoo)…
7/9/11 Belmont Maiden Special chart / video / Beyer: 79 / BRIS: 95
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
Yet another Pletcher/Velazquez Notable Performance at Belmont. Stat was the heavy favorite in the maiden contest that featured some other well-bred challengers. The good-looking gray started towards the back before motoring his way along the outside into the final turn. With little urging by Velazquez he grinded his way to a 2-length win.
Originally a yearling purchase of $260,000 he was pinhooked last April for $400,000. Out of a stakes winning mare, Stat is a half brother to graded stakes placed Lenaro. Although the damsire Gilded Time won the Breeders Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles, that half of Stat’s pedigree leans towards sprinting.
However, the sire line shows more stamina, starting with Unbridled’s Song who won the Breeders Cup Juvenile, Florida Derby, and Wood Memorial before finishing 5th as the favorite in the 1996 Kentucky Derby. For Stat’s Keeneland catalog page with more pedigree info click here
2YO Non-Graded Stakes Results:
7/8/11 Iowa Stallion Futurity- Prairie Meadows- Beware The Devilchart
Nothing like having your horse break his maiden in a prestigious grade 2 at Belmont. That’s exactly what Skeedattle Stable’s Jack’s In The Deck did Sunday against a short field of 5 other juveniles. Second favorite Team Six set the early lead but began to sputter into the stretch. It appeared favored Tarpy’s Goal (CTD NP) was poised to make a move toward the front but he began to veer towards the stands. That parted the seas for Jack’s In The Deck to split horses and hit the wire 4 lengths ahead.
Jack’s In The Deck is a son of Love of Money, a grade 2 winner at 1 1/8 miles. The unraced dam is by Partner’s Hero who was best sprinting. For more info on his breeding you can read the TrueNicks article here.
While the breeding is modest and his stretch-out potential questionable, we’ll make him a CTD NP based on his big performance.
Taking advantage of a hot pace, Exfactor and Calvin Borel were able to begin the Bashford Manor Stakes in the back of the pack and slowly pick off the 6 challengers to win the first graded race for 2-year-olds. Showing quick speed in his debut win, it was somewhat of a surprising tactic to hold him back Saturday, but it paid off and could pay off in spades further down the road.
He’ll head to Saratoga for a still to be determined race. Quotes from trainer Bernie Flint were exuberant which is understandable, but confidence in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at this stage seems a little hasty. The local newspaper even put “Derby 2012” in the headline, which doing so in July is especially premature.
For more info on Exfactor and his breeding read the entry from June 14th here
Perhaps I need to see a head-on view, but it appears Sum Of The Parts was about to get going down the stretch just before Exfactor and Calvin Borel came into his lane. Neither the chart or articles mention any interference, but I’m inclined to give Sum Of The Parts another chance in his next one.
Jack’s In The Deck
7/1/11 Belmont Maiden Special Weight: chart / video / Beyer: 100 / BRIS: 111
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
From the same team that brought us Uncle Mo (Pletcher/Velazquez/Repole), we now have a 2-year-old maiden breaker with the first triple digit Beyer speed figure of the year. The blistering final time was less than three quarters of a second off the track record-- and Overdriven was merely flashed the whip. Breaking awkward from the start he eventually came up to track behind J C’s Pride in the backstretch. After the final turn he was encouraged by jockey John Velazquez to overtake the pacesetter and finish clear by 3 ½ lengths. It should be noted, while J C’s Pride finished a well beaten 2nd, he was still 13 lengths ahead of the others and wound up with a high debut Beyer of 89.
Pletcher stated he was impressed with Overdriven's performance and will point to the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga with either the Sanford (G2) or just training in between.
A $350,000 yearling purchase, Overdriven is a half-brother to Smooth Air who was a multiple grade 2 winner and Kentucky Derby entry. His big scores came in distances from 7 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, and along the Derby Trail he won the Hutcheson and finished 2nd in the Florida Derby.
Overdriven’s sire is the successful Tale Of The Cat, whose runners have excelled at multiple distances and surfaces.
Note: The Pletcher/Velazquez/Repole tandem also had another impressive maiden winner in the 4th race that day by the name of Zow.
7/2/11 Arlington Park Allowance Optional Claiming: chart / video / Beyer:85 / BRIS: 101
Trainer: Joel Berndt
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Hogy was able to stay undefeated by winning his second try at Arlington Park Saturday. He allowed a speed duel to ensue up front and professionally bided his time before kicking into gear down the lane. With the first 2-year-old stakes at Arlington still 3 months away, you have to believe his connections will move him to another circuit in the near future.
Hogy is the son of Offlee Wild, who was a fixture on the Derby Trail in 2003 by winning the Holy Bull and finishing 3rd in the Bluegrass before ending up 12th in the Kentucky Derby. His most notable win would come 2 years later in the grade 1 Suburban at the Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles. Hogy’s damsire Petionville also tried out on the Derby Trail with a win in the Louisiana Derby before lackluster performances in the Illinois Derby and Santa Anita Derby. He would later win the Ohio Derby at 1 1/8 miles.
2YO Non-Graded Stakes Results:
7/2/11 D. S. Shine Young Memorial S. (R)- Evangeline Downs- Broadway Kingchart