The Sanford (G2)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
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.
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
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:
7/20/11 Boltzapper CRC- 4F- 49:00- B- 2/16
7/23/11 Hello Prince CRC- 4F- 49:20- B- 9/96
7/24/11 Creative Cause DMR- 5F- 1.00:80- H- 18/98
Saratoga is place for future stars (PostStar.com)
Top 2YO Speed Figures*:
Top winning 2yo BRIS figs last week: Secret Circle - 103; Overdriven - 99; Panettone - 96; She Digs Me - 96; Space Traveler - 89.
Winning 2yo Beyers last week: Secret Circle - 97; Overdriven - 93; Panettone - 71; She Digs Me - 79; Space Traveler - 68.
*Source: DerbyContenders Twitter
2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Scores and Odds (7/26)
2012 Kentucky Derby: GoHorseBetting (7/23)