Week In Review and Notable Performers: 8/22 - 8/28

Not that the Kentucky Derby is right around the corner, but we did have some advancement of sorts with the unveiling of the logo for the 138th running// Another week without any major stakes for 2-year-olds, but that’s all about to change with three upcoming graded races.   The highlight will be the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga on Monday, but Derby starters have graduated from the With Anticipation (G2) and Sapling (G3) as well.

Notable Performers

Midnight Serenade
8/27/11 Seacliff Stakes- Calder
Trainer: Stephen DiMauro
Jockey: Jose Alvarez
Chart: Equibase
Beyer/BRIS Speed: 75/94

What makes juvenile horse racing so frustrating yet fascinating is how quick a 2-year old can surprise and progress.  Midnight Serenade, trained by Stephen DiMauro, ended up out of the money in his first two starts before being dropped to the claiming ranks.  He was able to finish first in his maiden claiming debut (and avoid a claim), but was eventually disqualified for impeding a rival.

Sensing he had a horse with promise, DiMauro moved him back up to special company where he finally broke his maiden.  This past Saturday Midnight Serenade made his stakes debut at Calder and earned what was once an unthinkable black-type score.

DiMauro credits apprentice jockey Jose Alvarez with suggesting the gelding could excel as a closer.  Beginning 10th of 11th Midnight Serenade bided his time in the back while his competition set a dawdling pace up front.  Usually a closer will need quickness in front in order to pass tired horses, but Midnight Serenade turned on the afterburners nonetheless and made a wide sweeping move into the final turn to blow past all of the entries. 

Midnight Serenade is the son of Kentucky Derby starter Bandini (himself the son of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus), who won the Bluegrass Stakes and finished 2nd in the Fountain Of Youth along the trail.  On the dam side, Midnight Serenade is out of a winning mare, who is a half-sister to two stakes winners and two stakes placed runners that raced primarily at a mile or less.

Midnight Serenade’s catalog page can be viewed here   

Fire On Ice
8/27/11 Saratoga Maiden Special Weight
Trainer: John Kimmel
Jockey: David Cohen
Chart: Equibase
Video: YouTube
Beyer/BRIS Speed: 88/99
Articles: Saratogian

Yes, another quick maiden winner from Saratoga.  This makes CTD NP #6 from the short meet, and Fire On Ice did it in much the same fashion as the rest: bolt out of the gate, set the pace up front, and never look back.  His Beyer of 88 was the highest of the week and well above any of the seven juvenile stakes races.  The winning margin was an off-the-screen 10 3/4 lengths.

A $160,000 purchase, Fire On Ice is by Unbridled’s Song out of a Storm Cat mare.  This represents the second CTD NP sired by Unbridled’s Song, who won the Breeders Cup Juvenile, Florida Derby, and Wood Memorial in the lead up to his 5th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. 

The unraced dam is a half sister to champion sprinter Squirtle Squirt, which could suggest Fire On Ice might not prefer stretching out. His full catalog page can be viewed here

2YO Non-Graded Stakes Results:
8/26/11 CTHS Sales S- ASD- Winner: Danger Rules- chart
8/27/11 Seacliff S.- CRC- Winner: Midnight Serenade- chart
8/27/11 Fasig Tipton Turf Dash- CRC- Winner: Musical Flair- chart
8/27/11 Florida Stallion Affirmed S.- CRC- Winner: Fort Loudon- chart
8/27/11 Birdcatcher S.- NP- Winner: Dougs Buddy- chart
8/27/11 Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association Lads S.- EMD- Winner: Chu And I- chart
8/27/11 Western Heritage S.- MD- Winner: Langfuhr Max- chart

8/22/11 Sum of the Parts CD- 4F- 51:00- B- 16/34
8/22/11 Worthington RP- 4F- 52:38- B- 21/21
8/23/11 J C's Pride SAR- 4F- 48:60- B- 14/32
8/23/11 Bay Park Boy SAR- 4F- 48:30- B- 10/32
8/24/11 Power World SAR- 4F- 50:93- B- 48/60
8/24/11 Tarpy's Goal BEL- 3F- 39:88- B- 13/13
8/26/11 Twelve Hundred AP- 5F- 59:20- B- 1/29
8/26/11 Majestic City DMR- 6F- 1.12:00- H- 1/8
8/27/11 Thursby FH- 4F- 49:20- B- 5/9
8/27/11 Team Six FH- 5F- 1.02:00- B- 1/6
8/27/11 Hogy AP- 1M- 1.40:60 B- 1/1
8/27/11 Currency Swap MTH- 5F- 1.02:00- B- 7/28
8/28/11 Secret Circle DMR- 7F- 1.29:40- H- 7/8


Top 2YO Speed Figures
Top winning 2yo BRIS figs last week: Fire On Ice - 99; Midnight Serenade - 94; Musical Flair - 94; A Toe By Three - 93; Fort Loudon – 92

Winning 2yo Beyers last week: Fire On Ice - 88; Midnight Serenade - 75; Musical Flair - 75; A Toe By Three - 77; Fort Loudon - 68

*Source: DerbyContenders Twitter

2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Scores and Odds
2012 Kentucky Derby: GoHorseBetting

Notable Performers & Week In Review: 8/16- 8/21

All was quiet on the graded stakes front, but CTD NP and Futurity (G1) winner Jack’s In The Deck passed his first allowance test and we have an exciting maiden breaker who is a full brother to the 3rd favorite in last year’s Kentucky Derby…

Notable Performer

Sweet Swap
8/20/11 Del Mar Maiden Special Weight
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Chart: Equibase
Video: YouTube
Beyer/BRIS Speed: 82/94
Articles: DRF

Sweet Swap lived up to his hype and favoritism on Saturday at Del Mar.  In his debut for trainer John Sadler, who also handled the colt’s full brother Sidney’s Candy before he was sold earlier this year, Sweet Swap was able to lead at every call in the 5 1/2 furlong maiden contest.  Essentially the first horse in the carousel, he was able to stretch his winning margin to almost 2 lengths.  The final time of 1:03.76 was just over a second slower than the track record set by his brother.

Sidney’s Candy was a serious contender on the 2010 Derby Trail when he won all of his California preps including the 9 furlong Santa Anita Derby.  Most of his major scores have come on synthetic or turf, but he is a graded winner on all three surfaces.  Sweet Swap's and Sidney’s Candy’s sire Candy Ride was also versatile by winning on both turf and dirt and at distances up to 10 furlongs.

Their dam was never a winner, but she was by the famous Storm Cat. It’s worth noting Storm Cat still ranks #2 on the current broodmare sire list, with 2011 Kentucky Derby favorite and 9 furlong winner Dialed In contributing to the those high earnings.

2YO Non-Graded Stakes Results:
8/20/11 Continental Mile (T)- MTH- Winner: Finale- chart
8/20/11 Louisiana Cup Juvenile- LAD- Winner: Top Cat Boogie- chart
8/21/11 Gold Rush Futurity- ARP- Winner: Chips All In- chart

CTD NP Results:
8/20/11 DEL- Allowance- Winner: Jack’s In The Deck- chart

8/17/11 Power World SAR- 5F- 1.01:14- B- 5/23 (Good)
8/18/11 Jake Mo LS- 5F- 1.01:60- B-1/11
8/18/11 Creative Cause DMR- 4F- 48:40- H- 14/50
8/18/11 Secret Circle DMR- 5F- 59:60- H- 4/38
8/19/11 Thursby FH- 5F- 1.02:00- B- 6/15
8/20/11 Team Six FH- 5F- 1.01:00- B- 8/43
8/20/11 Majestic City DMR- 6F- 1.14:80- H- 12/18
8/20/11 Canigotoo CD- 4F- 52:60- B- 27/27
8/21/11 Currency Swap MTH- 4F- 49:60- B-18/52
8/21/11 Mr. Style SAR- 4F- 49:03- B- 18/53
8/21/11 Laurie's Rocket SAR- 5F- B- 1.02:66- 8/12

Other News:

Top 2YO Speed Figures
Top winning 2yo BRIS figs last week: Voodoo Daddy - 102; Union Rags - 100; Sweet Swap - 94; Feels Like Flying - 92; Top Cat Boogie – 91

Winning 2yo Beyers last week: Voodoo Daddy - 90; Union Rags - 95; Sweet Swap - 82; Feels Like Flying - 72; Top Cat Boogie – 7

*Source: DerbyContenders Twitter

2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Scores and Odds
2012 Kentucky Derby: GoHorseBetting

Week In Review and Notable Performer: 8/8 - 8/15

Union Rags was a shoe-in CTD Notable Performer based on his splashy graded stakes win at Saratoga Monday, plus two other previous NPs Hogy and Twelve Hundred added stakes wins to their resumes over the weekend…

Graded Stakes Review

Saratoga Special S. (G2)
Winner: Union Rags
Trainer: Michael Matz
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Chart: Equibase
Video: YouTube
Beyer/Bris Speed: 95/101
Wrap-up Articles: Bloodhorse / DRF / Brisnet / TTimes / Saratogian / NYRA

The setup was not spectacular with a short field, extremely sloppy track, and no buzz horse in the mix.  However, the Saratoga Special on Monday unfolded in spectacular fashion.  Union Rags, set off at a modest 5-1 odds, joined the favorite Stat in setting a blistering quarter in 21.78 and half mile in 45.55.  Unbelievably, those two were never challenged with Union Rags eventually separating himself for a triumphant, if eventful, 7 1/4 length victory. The colt did dart towards the stands in the stretch, but was able to straighten out before hitting the wire.

Jockey Javier Castellano sung praises by mentioning Union Rags in the same breath as phenomenal champions Ghostzapper and Bernardini, whom he also rode.  The usually stoic and understated Kentucky Derby winning trainer Michael Matz also showed enthusiasm by admitting “I’m really excited about him”. 

Union Rags, an eventual $390,000 purchase, is by Dixie Union who was also a promising 2-year-old when establishing himself as the leading juvenile in the West in 1999.  Injured when finishing 5th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile he would skip the Derby trail and end up winning the 9 furlong Haskell Invitational.  Dixie Union has sired multiple stakes winners at various distances and surfaces.

On the dam side, Union Rags is by the winning Gone West mare Tempo, who produced a stakes placed runner.  Looking deeper, the second dam suggests he could like added distance as she won up to 11 furlongs.  Both sides of Union Rags’ pedigree suggest he would like mud, which was proven Monday.  His full catalog page can be viewed here.

Matz says they will skip the Hopeful Stakes (G1) and most likely aim for the Champagne (G1) at Belmont October 8th.

Notable Performances:

Union Rags (see above)

Bay Park Boy
8/13/11 Saratoga Maiden Special Weight
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
Chart: Equibase
Beyer/Bris Speed: 88/102

Don’t worry, it kind of annoys me too, but we have another juvenile to watch from the Todd Pletcher barn. Bay Park Boy took to the off track last Monday and proved much the best against a small group of 2-year-olds.  Quickly taking the lead alongside Panthro, Bay Park Boy continually extended his line all the way to the finish for a 4 3/4 length win.

Sired by a Breeders Cup Juvenile winner and Kentucky Derby participant (Johannesburg), Bay Park Boy’s dam was a stakes placed runner out of the legendary Seattle Slew.  She’s also a full sister to stakes placed Seattle Glory (8.5 furlongs).

2YO Non-Graded Stakes Results:
8/13/11 Sales S.- NP- Winner: Golden Cup- chart
8/13/11 Lafayette S.- EVD- Winner: Indian Assault- chart
8/13/11 Prairie Meadows Juvenile Mile- PRM- Winner: Twelve Hundred- NP- chart
8/14/11 Brian Barenscheer Juvenile S.- CBY- Winner: Hogy- NP- chart
8/14/11 Cavonnier S- SR- Winner: Longview Drive- chart

8/08/11 Majestic City DMR- 5F- 1.01:60- H- 35/46
8/09/11 Power World SAR- 4F- 49:54- B- 19/44
8/11/11 Secret Circle DMR- 6F- 1.14:60- H- 12/16
8/12/11 Thursby FH- 5F- 1.01:00- B- 3/8
8/13/11 Jack's in the Deck LRL- 4F- 53:00- B- 52/52
8/14/11 Majestic City DMR- 5F- 59:40- H- 2/65

Other News:
Early contenders by bloodlines (Horse Racing Fantasy)

Top 2YO Speed Figures*:
Top winning BRIS figs last week: Bay Park Boy-102; Jagati-98; Vexor-98; Hogy-92; Clip The Coupons-92; So Tough-92; Senor Rain-91

Winning Beyers last week: Bay Park Boy-88; Jagati-82; Vexor-80; Hogy-68; Clip The Coupons-82; So Tough-73; Senor Rain-72

*Source: DerbyContenders Twitter

2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Scores and Odds
2012 Kentucky Derby: GoHorseBetting

Week In Review and Notable Performer: 8/1 - 8/7

Creative Cause winning the Best Pal (G2). Photo:
Graded Stakes Review

Best Pal S. (G2)
Winner: Creative Cause (NP) chart / video / Beyer: 88 / BRIS: 91
Trainer: Mike Harrington
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Wrap-up articles: Bloodhorse / DRF / Brisnet

Hammered to 4-5 odds, Creative Cause (NP) supported his backers with a professional performance in his stakes debut Sunday.  Allowing I’ll Have Another and Brigand (NP) to battle the first stages of the race on the frontend, Rafael Bejarano was able to keep Creative Cause relaxed in a stalking position.  At the top of the stretch it appeared I’ll Have Another had another gear, but Creative Cause apparently had another two gears as he blew past that rival on the outside and drew off to a 1 3/4 length win.

Confidence was overflowing for the connections afterward.  Bejarano said the colt will only get better with experience and added distance.  Trainer Mike Harrington even insisted he has two other Heinz Steinmann-owned juveniles that show more promise than the winner.

The Del Mar Futurity (G1) on Sept 7 is the next stop where Creative Cause will most likely meet Majestic City to determine who’s the best in The West.

Notable Performances:

Currency Swap
8/6/11 Saratoga Maiden Special chart / video / Beyer: 98 / BRIS: 108
Trainer: Teresa Pompay
Jockey: Rajiv Maragh
Artilces: NYRA

Yet another high Beyer earner from the Saratoga circuit, Currency Swap was a surprise winner on Saturday.  Sent off at 10-1 odds, he was facing the more highly regarded Takes The Gold ($140,000 Fasig-Tipton July) and Todd Pletcher entry Street Fight ($200,000 Fasig-Tipton February). 

Currency Swap had an excellent break and looked as though he would try to set the pace, but the two favorites decided to duke it out instead.  Appearing to retreat in the backstretch, Rajiv Maragh was able to spark Currency Swap’s interest and make a 4-wide move heading into the stretch.  With Takes The Gold reeling from the fast early fractions, Currency Swap passed him easily and extended to a 6 length win.

Trainer Teresa Pompay decided to ship him to the tough Saratoga circuit based on clocker reports at Monmouth, where they claimed he was among the best 2-year-olds in training there.  She said the Hopeful (G1) on Sept 5 would be the next target, which would pit him against two highly touted 2-year-olds in Overdriven and J C’s Pride.

Currency Swap is the second CTD Notable Performer from freshmen sire High Cotton, who was a Derby Trail participant but won his biggest race afterwards in the 1 1/16 mile Northern Dancer at Churchill.  Currency Swap is out of an unraced mare who is a half sister to a stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles.

His catalog page can be viewed here 

2YO Non-Graded Stakes Results:
8/6/11 Mountaineer Juvenile S.- MNR- Winner: Back Door Kenny chart
8/6/11 Cleveland Kindergarten S.- TDN- Winner: Private Cause chart
8/6/11 Sunny’s Halo S.- LAD- Winner: Tequilla Factor chart
8/6/11 Florida Stallion Dr Fager S- CRC- Winner:  Fort Loudon chart
8/6/11 Silver Cup Futurity- ARP- Winner: Mr Barman chart
8/6/11 Iowa Cradle S.- PRM- Winner: Peaks of Legend chart
8/6/11 Harlequin S- MD- Winner: Canadian Union chart
8/7/11 Premio Esmeralda- EMD- Winner: Silver Boxcar chart

8/1/11 Boltzapper- CRC- 4F- 50:40- B- 11/23
8/2/11 Stat- SAR- 5F- 1:01.23- B- 2/15
8/3/11 Majestic City- DMR- 4F- 48:60- H- 16/31
8/3/11 Twelve Hundred- AP- 4F- 1:00.80- B- 2/19
8/3/11 Jakemo- LS- 5F- 1:03.00- B- 1/2
8/5/11 Hogy- AP- 5F-1:00.00- H- 2/34
8/6/11 Jack’s In The Deck- LP- 4F- 50:00- B- 36/61
8/6/11 Canigotoo- CD- 4F- 49:80- B- 12/36

Other News:

Top 2YO Speed Figures*:
Top winning 2yo BRIS figs last wk: Currency Swap-108; Gun Boat-98; Hunt Crossing-95; Champions Gate-94; Peaks of Legend & Silent Thunder-93

Winning 2yo Beyers last week: Currency Swap-98; Gun Boat-83; Hunt Crossing-87; Champions Gate-79; Peaks of Legend-73;Silent Thunder-64

*Source: DerbyContenders Twitter

2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Scores and Odds
2012 Kentucky Derby: GoHorseBetting

Week in Review and Notable Performer: 7/25 - 7/31

The Juvenile graded stakes schedule heads back to the West Coast Sunday with the Best Pal Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.  Majestic City, the leader of the California 2-year-old division, will skip it and prepare for Del Mar Futurity (G1) in September. 

This week’s Notable Performers are out of the same maiden special race at Saratoga…

Notable Performances:

J C’s Pride
7/27/11 Saratoga Maiden Special chart / video / Beyer: 101 / BRIS: 107
Trainer: Robert Barbara
Jockey: Jose Lezcano
Articles: Saratogian / DRF / TTimes / Bloodhorse / Hand Rides [half way down] (Bloodhorse) / J C’s Pride sets record [halfway down] (Albany Times Union)

A bettor now has many tools at his or her disposal to decipher 2-year-old maiden races: pedigree stats, workout reports, trainer stats, and even advanced stride measurements. 

None of those tools were really needed to determine the favorite in the third race at Saratoga last Wednesday. 

J C’s Pride came into the race exiting a maiden special won by arguably the best 2-year-old in the nation Overdriven.  In that race J C’s Pride beat the 3rd place finisher by over 13 lengths and recorded a top 5 Beyer speed figure among all racing juveniles.

In his 2nd test on Wednesday he didn’t spring from the gate on fire- he was scorching.  The final time of 56.54 set a track record for 5 furlongs at prestigious Saratoga.

There are murmurs J C’s Pride will likely be sold, but a deal has not been published yet.

The colt has already changed owners three times at various auctions, topping out at $200,000 earlier this year.  He’s the son of Henny Hughes, who also had success at Saratoga by winning the Saratoga Special Stakes and finishing 2nd in the Hopeful.  Although he finished a strong second in the 1 1/16 mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he was best suited at sprints.  J C’s Pride is out of a Silver Deputy mare who is a half sister to 9 furlong grade 3 winner Blind Date.

His catalog page can be viewed here

Mr. Style
7/27/11 Saratoga Maiden Special chart / video / Beyer: 91
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez

Mr. Style was in the unfortunate position of chasing the track record setter around the oval, but wound up almost 9 lengths clear of the rest of the field. His Beyer speed figure for that debut was a very respectable 91.  He didn’t quite level off until midway down the stretch, but even a professional lead change would not have been enough to win.

Another Pletcher/Velazquez juvenile with tons of potential, Mr. Style is the son of Bluegrass Cat, a serious Kentucky Derby trail participant in 2006 who finished second in the big race to the mighty Barbaro and was later 2nd in the Belmont. His mother is a Tiznow mare who is a half sister to a six furlong stakes winner.

Mr. Style was a $135,000 purchase as a 2-year-old in training. His catalog page can be viewed here

Upcoming Graded 2YO Stakes:
8/7/11 Best Pal S. (G2) Nominations / PPs

7/26/11 Boltzapper CRC- 4F- 50:60- B- 12/26
7/26/11 Night Tide DMR- 5F- 1.00:80- H- 7/17
7/27/11 Mr. Besilu SAR- 4F- 51:00- B- 20/25
7/30/11 Hello Prince CRC- 4F- 50:20- B- 29/90 (W)
7/30/11 Worthington LS 4F- 52:00- B- 21/32
7/30/11 Canigotoo CD- 4F- 52:40 B- 30/33
7/31/11 Creative Cause DMR- 6F- 1.12:80- H- 8/14

Top 2YO Speed Figures*:
Top winning 2yo BRIS figs last week: J C's Pride–107; Giant Surprise–95; Take Charge Indy–94; Shared Property–93.

Winning 2yo Beyers last week: J C's Pride–101; Giant Surprise–90; Take Charge Indy–84; Shared Property–75.

*Source: DerbyContenders Twitter

2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Scores and Odds (8/2)
2012 Kentucky Derby: GoHorseBetting (8/1)