Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: A Wide Open Affair

The 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile appears to be a wide open affair. The favorite may go off at odds of 4/1. Looking at the race, I’ve spotted a few horses who I feel will be overlooked at the window, and that may be a mistake because I truly see this race as the one juvenile race with the greatest chance of a horse with long odds pulling off the upset. Here are the three I’ve singled out.

Unbridled Outlaw: Trainer Dale Romans, Race Record: 3-1-0-2, $36,270, (Unbridled’s Song-Letgomyecho by Menifee)

Unbridled Outlaw’s last race on September 12 in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs was a nightmare. Finishing 3rd, three lengths from the winner Cocked and Loaded, he was checked hard at the 7/16th and 5/16th pole, continued 4 wide into the stretch and was gaining in the end. They stopped the clock going 1 1/16 miles at 1:44.94. This was an excellent performance for this 2-year-old’s first stakes race, and I’m pretty certain he gained some experience from it. Here is the video:

Unbridled Outlaw broke his maiden going 6 furlongs at Ellis Park, in which he ducked in at the start and hit the rail. He was still able to drive past the headers and win by 1/2 a length as the 2/5 favorite. While his Beyer Speed Figures are below many in this field, you can see that he’s had quite a bit of bad racing luck in his last two starts. I feel that this horse has quite a lot of upside to him, and if the pace is hot, he may become the benefactor. Here is a look at his pedigree.

Unbridled Outlaw is by Unbridled’s Song, He was the winner of the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. At stud, he produced over 100 stakes winners, including the 2008 Two-Year-Old Champion and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Midshipman. So being a son of his in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile only enables your chances. His dam, Letgomyecho, won the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes at 7 furlongs. Unbridled Outlaw’s dam sire, Menifee, earned $1.7 million dollars on the track. in 1999, he won the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational and Grade 1 Bluegrass Stakes, finished 2nd in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and finished 3rd in the Travers Stakes. Menifee stands in Korea, where he has been the leading sire from 2012-2014.

Conquest Big E: Trainer Mark Casse, Race Record: 2-1-1-0, $41,240, (Tapit-Seeinsbelievin by Carson City)

Out of the 4 articles I’ve written on Breeders’ Cup Juvenile value plays, this horse is my favorite one to win. Not only is he running in what I consider to be the most wide open field of the four, but I see this lightly experienced horse as the most talented. He is by Tapit, he’s won over Keenland dirt, he’s raced against great company, he has an excuse for his loss, and he is running his third race in peak form. Let me explain.

Conquest Big E ran 2nd in his maiden to Brody’s Cause on Sept. 11 at Churchill Downs, who flattered him by winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity his next race out. Wearing blinkers, Conquest Big E had an unfortunate trip that day. Conquest Big E broke in the air from the one-hole, pulled his way up toward the lead, and was unable to resist a late charge by Brody’s Cause, who won the one-mile race by 1 1/4  lengths. “How we only got beat a length by [Brody’s Cause], I don’t know, because he did everything wrong,” Casse said. Shedding the blinkers on Oct. 2, Conquest Big E was much more professional, winning by 2 1/4 lengths in the slop in 1:44.42 going 1 1/16 miles. The 2nd place horse, Deep in a Dream, won his next out. Here is a video of is maiden score:

Trainer Mark Casse is very high on this horse, saying, “He just got beat [in his debut], and we had a terrible trip that day. I have a lot of confidence in that horse. I think he’s a really good horse.”

Conquest Big E seems to be coming into the race nicely, with a big workout on the Churchill Downs dirt on October 15. He easily outdistanced himself in company with stablemate Conquest Windycity, putting in a 1:00 bullet and 2/40 for the day at the 5 furlong distance. Casse commented, “Conquest Windycity’s not a bad horse himself. I was surprised with how easily [Conquest Big E] handled him. He was impressive.”

Conquest Big E will be overlooked at the window because he is only a maiden winner. But with a clean trip, he just may have beaten Brody’s Cause, who may go into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as the favorite after his win in the Grade 1 Breeder’s Futurity. Conquest Big E should be forwardly placed in this race devoid of much speed, and if he can get the first jump on the leaders (or inherits the lead), we may be looking at a very dangerous horse to reel in. Here is a look at his pedigree:

Conquest Big E was purchased as a yearling for $700,000 and is by superstar sire Tapit. On the track, he earned over $500,000, winning the Grade 2 Laurel Futurity at two and the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Three. In the breeding shed, this year he has a chance of breaking his own record for single season earnings, which he accomplished last year. Out of the 5 Breeders’ Cup Champions he’s produced, three have been in Juvenile races. Conquest Big E’s dam, Seeinsbelievin, produced the stakes-winning filly Aquapazza. Seeinsbelievin is a half-sister to graded stakes winners Softly and Coragil Cat; it is the family of graded stakes winners Til Forbid, Sara Louise, Just Louise, and Mister Marti Gras. His dam sire is Carson City. He is a Chef-de-Race stallion who produced 84 stakes winners and two dozen Graded Stakes winners. He was a known speed influence. Overall, Conquest Big E’s pedigree flashes a bit of speed on both his paternal and maternal side. It is also a very strong one as well.

Tale of S’Avall: Trainer Barclay Tagg, Race Record 2-1-0-0, $70,800, (Tale of Ekati-S’Avall by Awesome Again)

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Tale of S’Avall broke his maiden at Saratoga on August 29th running 6 furlongs. Running without Lasix, he broke from post 10 and chased the pace mid pack before swinging four-wide into the stretch and driving to the wire to win impressively by 2 lengths. Tale of S’Avall stopped the clock at very good time of 1:10.25. Barclay Tagg is not one to have his maiden runners fully cranked up, so his performance was one to take note of. Here is the video replay.

Stretching out to a mile and dropping in to deeper waters in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes, Tale of S’Avall inherited a lead he probably didn’t want and was pressured for most of the race before succumbing and tiring towards the wire, finishing fifth. It was a sloppy surface, which may have not been to his liking. Here is the video:

Tale of S’Avall showed plenty of talent in his debut, and if he can run back to that race and sit mid pack in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he has a chance to be right in it at the finish. Here’s a look at his pedigree.

Tale of S’Avall is by Tale of Ekati, an earner of over 1 million dollars. He was a classy horse, who Contested 14 consecutive Graded Stakes after debut 8 1/4-length Maiden Special Weight win. Tale of Ekati won the Futurity Stakes at two, and won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, the Jerome Stakes, and the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at three. In the breeding shed, he’s produced 6 black type horses, including Preakness Stakes runner-up Tale of Verve and G1 winner Ekati’s Phaeton. Tale of S’Avall had a full sibling sell for $500,000 ass a yearling at auction. His dam, S’Avall, was unraced, but his granddam, Pleasant Home, was the winner of the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Tale of S’Avall’s dam sire, Awesome Again, earned over $4 million dollars and won the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic. At stud, he is currently the #1 active sire in Grade One dirt winners and has produced 4 Breeders’ Cup Champions.




2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies: Is There Another Take Charge Brandi Out There?

The 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is a great betting race. With Songbird from the West Coast and Rachel’s Valentina from the East Coast swallowing up cash, we’re left with plenty of great options to try to win the race at a nice price. Take Charge Brandi did it at 60/1 last year, and I see a few fillies here who could play the spoiler role again. Let’s take a look.

Dothraki Queen: Trainer Ken McPeek, Race Record: 3-2-1-0, $217,680, (Pure Prize-Sharaiji Blossom by Saint Ballado)

This filly won the Grade 2, $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs on September 12, which was a, “Win And Your In” Breeders’ Cup race. She followed that up with a 2nd place finish in a slow running of the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keenland. Dothraki Queen’s slow Beyer Speed Figures and final race times will most likely ensure that she’ll be sent off in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at a price.

After a 7 length romp on the Ellis Park turf in July, Dothraki Queen was quite impressive in the Pocahontas. Going 1 1/16 miles at 7/1, she rallied up the rail when passing the entire field in a little more than an eighth of a mile to win by a half-length over Bold Quality. Her final time was 1:45.80. Here is the race video:

In the Alcibiades Stakes on October 2, Dothraki Queen ran 2nd to a talented Doug O’Neill filly Gomo, losing by 2 3/4 lengths. The final time was a pedestrian 1:45.55 in the slop for a 1 1/16 mile race. She had a tough trip in this one. Watch the video:

This is what Ken McPeek had to say afterwards.”She ran a really big race. She didn’t have a very good trip. She got boxed in a big portion of the way and she ran farther than the winner on the TRAKUS. She’s a really good filly. You want to win, but she’ll be back for the next one. She’s so brave. She had a horse on each side and two in front of her with nowhere to go for three-eighths of a mile, stuck in that pocket. When she got out, she ran like the good horse she is.”

She may have not preferred the sloppy race track, which Gomo seemed to relish in.

Dothraki Queen appears to have talent. She hasn’t run a bad race yet. And there appears to be more to be seen from her if she gets the right trip. She has also run three races at three different tracks, including Keenland, so she is a bit more seasoned than most other runners in the race. Her trainer, Ken McPeek, is known for his success with 2-year-olds. If a hot pace develops in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, I can see her flying home late. Here’s a look at her pedigree.

Dothraki Queen is by Pure Prize, who earned just under a half a million dollars on the track. In the breeding shed, Pure Prize has been quite successful, and is noted for producing fast 2-year-olds. Dorathi Queens’s dam, Sharaiji Blossom, was a $575,000 KEESEP yearling purchase by Darley. She is a half-sister to GI Kentucky Oaks heroine Blushing K.D.,Canadian champion Ambitious Catand, and Hong Kong Horse of the Year Electronic Unicorn. Her dam sire, Saint Ballado, was the U.S. Leading sire in 2005. His best progeny were 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam and champion Ashado. This is a very nice pedigree.

Bold Quality: Trainer Kelly Breen, Race Record: 2-1-0-1, $44,600, (Elusive Quality-Bold Union by Dixie Union)

Bold Quality was last seen in the Grade 2 Pocahontas on September 12 at Churchill Downs, and she also had an eventful trip. Bold Quality stalked just off the pace, and was bottled up behind a wall of runners in the home stretch. She then angled out at the 3/16th’s pole, bumping Dream Dance, and continued on with a nice rally 6-wide to come up a 1/2 length short at the wire. She was disqualified to third for bumping Dream Dance. Here is a video:

Bold Quality broke her maiden impressively going 5 1/2 furlongs at Parx. As the 4/1 second choice, she was blocked around the turn, angled out wide, and ran away from the field to win by 4 1/2 lengths. She stopped the clock at 1:06.66.

Bold Quality should stay in contention in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and with a clean trip you may see her run her best race yet. She covered more ground than Dothraki Queen in the Pocahontas, and will come into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies rested. She is another one whose BSF’s and race times have been slow, but Bold Quality definitely passes the eye test. Kelly Breen has also won a big race in his training career with Ruler On Ice winning the Belmont Stakes. This horse will be overlooked because she’s yet to win a stakes race, she’s only raced twice, and her BSF’s are slow. But in my eyes, the talent is there, and we may have just caught a peek of it in her 2-race career to date. She could be sitting on a big one in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Here’s a look at her pedigree.

Bold Quality is by Elusive Quality. He earned just over $400,000 on the track, with his major win coming with a six-length win in world-record time of 1:31.63 for a mile on grass in the Grade 3 Poker Stakes. He has been an exceptional sire, producing Smarty Jones, Raven’s Pass and Quality Road on his way to 48 Group/Graded winners, 119 stakes winners, and 4 two-year-old champions and counting. Her dam, Bold Union, was a Grade 3 winner and multiple stakes winning sprinter who earned over $350,000 on the track. Bold Quality’s granddam, Bold World, was also a Grade 3 winners and multiple stakes winning sprinter, who earned over $375,000 in her career. Bold Quality’s dam sire is Dixie Union, who had a strong 2-year-old record, winning the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes and Grade 3 Best Pal Stakes and Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship in 1999. His best offspring were excellent 2-year-old runners: Hot Dixie Chick, Dixie Chatter, and Union Rags. This is a good looking pedigree, with a nice blend of brilliance, class, and stamina.

Nemoralia: Trainer Jeremy Nosada, Race Record: 5-2-2-0, $95,453, (More Than Ready-Alina by Came Home)


Nemoralia is cross-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies races, with the Turf being her first preference. But there is a chance that they’ll try her on dirt. Trainer Jeremy Nosada brought her over to the U.S. to run her in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes, and he also sent out Wilco (another European two-year-old) to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 2004. Nosada may be trying to avoid a clash with highly regarded Songbird and Rachel Valentina in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. We’ll have to wait and see on Monday where she ends up, but after seeing her run in the Frizette Stakes, she is definitely on my radar screen as one who can pull off an upset if she decides to run on dirt.

In her U.S. debut in the Grade one Frizette Stakes, Nemoralia made a game run to get into contention, but could not catch the leader Nickname, losing by 3 lengths. Here is the race replay:

As you could see, the track ended up muddy, a surface which was not a preferred one for Nemoralia. Nosada said before the race, “I think she’d still go on it – most More Than Readys do seem to handle it – but we could do without that. It wouldn’t be ideal.” Jockey Joel Rosario said after the race, “Good trip, perfect trip. I put her in stalking position, that’s what we wanted to do. She ran nicely and kicked it in at the end. The horse that won was probably the best today. How the track is, they kind of gallop at one pace. The horse that won was in front of me in a good spot the whole way, but my horse ran great.”

It is only a plus that Nemoralia stayed in the U.S. and settled in at Keenland after her race at Belmont Park. She began her career in England, where after running fifth on June 19th against the boys at Newmarket, she ran a close 2nd to highly regarded Ballydole, whose win on the October 4th Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe card flattered her. She won her next couple of races: a maiden score on the Kempton polytrack, followed by a listed stakes win at Doncaster over 19 horses. After her last win, Nosada said,”I thought the handicapper had given her a big chance. I’ve always felt she was a Stakes filly. She goes on the turf, but I think she is probably a real dirt filly. That (Breeders’ Cup Fillies’ Juvenile) has been in my mind for three or four months, but I’ll have a chat with Frankie and then make a plan.”

Nemoralia appears to be a talented juvenile filly. Her closing 2nd in the Frizette, with less than ideal conditions, was nice to see. That experience, coupled by the potential for a larger field with a chance for more pace to run in to, would in my eyes make her a secretly good contender if she chooses to run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Here is a look at her pedigree.

Nemoralia is Kentucky bred and has a good dirt pedigree. She is by More Than Ready, who earned over a million dollars on the track, winning both the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at two and the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes at three. He has had a fantastic career in the breeding shed, producing 62 Group/Graded stakes winners and 149 black type winners to date. More Than Ready has had great success at the Breeders’ Cup as well, having sired 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Regally Ready, 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Pluck, and 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf victress More Than Real. Nemoralia’s dam is Alina. She was a multiple stakes winner who took in over $200,000 on the racetrack. Nemoralia hails from the same female family as multiple G2 SW sprinter American Royale (254K, 3-3 at 2, 6-8 sprint). Nemoralia’s dam sire, Came Home, won the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at two. In 2002, he won both the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and Grade 1 Pacific Classic. At stud, Came Home has had success in Japan. Yet another fine pedigree that I’ve looked at in this article.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf: Finding Good Value

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf is taking place on October 30, 2015 at Keenland. Throughout these two days of racing there are plenty of talented horses to be found at long odds, and probably none more than in these two-year-old races. Last year, the four Breeders’ Cup juvenile races had winners at odds of 60/1, 13/1, 3/1 and 6/1. This is probably true because handicappers have less of a body of work to go by, and these horses are blossoming at an alarming rate. Here are a few horses that I feel you’ll get great value with in this race if they get in.

Manhattan Dan: Trainer Gary C. Contessa, Race Record: 4-1-1-1, $80,628, (Big Brown-Purely Excessive by In Excess)

MANHATTAN DAN 19 Aug 2015 Photo Adam Coglianese NYRA

When last seen, Manhattan Dan ran 3rd to Conquest Daddyo in the Grade 2, $200,000 Summer Stakes at Woodbine on September 12, going a mile. As the 5-1 fourth choice, Manhattan Dan was sent to the lead and set fractious fractions of 22.74 and 46.25 while 1 1/2 lengths ahead of The Zip Zip Man stalking him second. Entering the stretch, Manhattan Dan opened up a 3 1/2 length lead through a fast 3/4 in 1:11.06, but tired out in the final furlong to lose by 3 1/2 lengths. The time for the race was 1:36.61  Here is a video of his performance:

If Manhattan Dan’s jockey would have been able to slow down the pace a little, his chances of holding on to his lead most likely would have increased. It was nice to see him hold on for third.

Manhattan Dan broke his maiden on August 19 at Saratoga as the 3/1 favorite. Once again, he took the lead early, carried the field through thrift fractions, opened up a 4 1/2 length lead in the stretch to win by 3 lengths, stopping the clock at a swift 1:02.13 for 5 1/2 furlongs. Manhattan Dan earned a very nice BSF for this race (85), and I like the way he won, running the last furlong and a half in under 18 seconds and looking like he wanted more ground.

It is obvious that this fine looking two-year-old likes the lead and has speed to burn. If he can harness some of this speed, we are looking at a horse who could present some danger in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at an excellent price. He is by Big Brown, who almost won the Triple Crown in 2008 and was a winner on grass. He too possessed a great amount of speed. His 3rd dam, Political Parfait, is the Granddam of Indian Charlie, so we see an influential speed influence here. Manhattan’s Dan’s dam sire, In Excess, began his career on grass, and was a front-running router on dirt. In 1991, he won the G1 Woodward Stakes, Grade 1 Suburban Handicap, G1 Metropolitan Handicap, and G1 Whitney Handicap. He was known to spin off early maturing 2-year-old winners and quality turf runners as well.

You never know what may happen if you find a horse loose on the lead and his jockey is able to conserve his energy somewhere along the back stretch of the race. We never saw it happen in the Summer Stakes for Manhattan Dan, but if it can be done, I think he has a chance to steal the race. He has enough talent to compete, and you should find him at 15/1 or higher.

Ray’s the Bar: Trainer Chad Brown, Race Record: 2-1-0-1, $30,038 (Exceed And Excel-Cosmic Fire by Dalakhani)


Here’s a horse who looked pretty special in his U.S. debut for Chad Brown, and with some Euros shipping over and other quality horses in the mix, you may be able to find him at odds of 10/1 or higher. In only his 2nd career start, in the $200,000, Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park on September 26th, going 1 1/16 miles, Ray’s the Bar was last after 3/4 and made a great surge into the stretch, only to be steadied behind a wall of horses. He pushed through a seem late, but ended up 3rd, 3/4 lengths behind Isotherm. His BSF was an 81 for the race, which is right near the top contenders for the race. Here is a video replay:

It was nice to see Ray’s the Bar stretch out so well from his maiden score across the pond at Ascot on July 11, finishing with a late-closing kick to win at 20/1 going 7 furlongs.  He was also coming into the Pilgrim Stakes with over a two month layoff, making his third place finish even more impressive.

With Manhattan Dan almost guaranteeing there will be some pace in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, the race sets up rather well for Ray’s the Bar kick.  He is out of Cosmic Fire, a half-sister to Group 2 turf router Smoking Sun.  His sire, Exceed and Excel, was a Champion Australian Sprinter in 2002 & 2003. He happened to sire 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI) winner Outstrip. His dam sire, Dalakhani, was the 2003 European Horse of the Year, winning the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at three.

Excellent European bloodlines, an extremely capable trainer, second race since traveling from overseas; there is a lot to like about Ray’s the Bar. In my opinion, getting him at anywhere from 10/1 and up would be hard to pass on.

Siding Spring: Trainer Mark Casse, Race Record: 2-1-0-1, $97,000, (Warrior’s Reward-Legendary Peace by Peace Rules)

Hot trainer Mark Casse may have three 2-year-olds running in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and this will most likely be the forgotten one, where you’ll be able to get him at around 15/1-20/1. His last start in the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes at Keenland was nice, where he finished 3 lengths behind his stablemate, Airoforce, for the win, and only 1/2 length behind impressive looking Camelot Kitten going 1 1/16 miles. In the Bourbon, he loomed large five wide entering the stretch, but could not keep pace with Airoforce. Here is a race replay:

Siding Spring showed that he can race mid pack, which may aid him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, where there may be some pace to run with and he could be first over. He did run wide throughout this race, so his outcome could have been effected by this. Siding Spring made a very nice move with Airoforce around the far turn to be in contention at race’s end. Most importantly, though, is that this was only his second race, and his first stakes race. There is definitely room to improve.

He broke his maiden on September 14 in a MSW at Kentucky Downs going 1 mile. Breaking from the 11 post at 6/1 odds, Siding Spring was again within reach early and pulled out in the stretch to win impressively by 6 lengths.

Siding Spring is by Warrior’s Reward and was a KEESEP14 $110,000 purchase. Warrior’s Reward was a Grade 1 winning sprinter, and may have been the fastest son of Medaglia d’Oro to date. At stud, he has been a top ten first and second crop sire. Siding Spring’s granddam, Red Mischief, is the dame of Ermine, who earned $880,134 on the track, winning the G1 Apple Blossom Stakes and running 2nd in the G1 Kentucky Oaks. His 4th and 5th dam were also black type producers, with his fifth dam (Beaver Street) being a Reines De Mare as well. Siding Spring’s dam sire, Peace Rules, earned over $3 million dollars while racing, winning the G1 Bluegrass Stakes, G1 Haskel Invitational, and G1 Suburban Handicap (at 10 Furlongs). With a nice blend of speed, class, and stamina, Siding Spring has every right to take a leap forward and be competitive in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, especially after running a nice race over the course in the Dixiana Bourbon. “I don’t know if Siding Spring will get in because he only has the maiden win, but we are treating him like he is,” Casse said. I hope he does, because he would seem to me to be a strong contender.

Camelot Kitten: Trainer Chad Brown, Race Record: 2-1-1-0, $95,000, (Kitten’s Joy-Celestial Woods by Forestry)

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When last seen on October 4th at Keenland in the Grade 3, $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon Stakes, Camelot Kitten overcame a rough trip to come from far off the pace and surge towards the wire, 2 1/2 lengths in back of, but gaining on Airoforce. Here is the race replay:

Camelot Kitten Broke his maiden in a 6-horse field on September 12th at Belmont Park impressively. Sitting towards the back, going through slow fractions of :25.86, :50.52, and 1:15.31, he was still able to fly home in 29 1/5 seconds to hunt down a loose on the lead Steamboat Bill, winning gamely by a neck. Here’s a video from the race:

Here is a look at his pedigree. Camelot Kitten is by Kitten’s Joy, who was the U.S. Champion Male Turf Horse in 2004. A great turf sire. He has, by far, been the leading turf sire over the past 3 years in the U.S. He was also the Leading Sire of North America in 2013. Camelot Kitten’s dam, Celestial Woods, along with Kitten’s Joy gave us 2014 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Champion, Bobby’s Kitten. His dam sire, Forestry, was a $1.5 million dollar yearling and won the 1999 G1 King’s Bishop Stakes. In the breeding shed, Forestry has produced over 55 stakes winners with earnings of over $45 million dollars. A couple of his best offspring are Discreet Cat and Shackleford.

There is bound to be many backers of this horse. His Dixiana Bourbon was visually impressive, he is trained by Chad Brown, and he is a full brother to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Champion, Bobby’s Kitten. He also has a race over the course. But let’s not forget that there will be a strong European contingent coming over, and they have won 6 of the last 8 editions of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. I wouldn’t be surprised if you can get this lightly raced juvenile at 10/1, and to me you’d be finding great value with those odds.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf: The Price Is Right

The 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf is being run on Friday, October 30th at Keenland. Catch a Glimpse, Harmonize, Minding and Alice Springs should share the favoritism, but who will be the live longshots for the race, one where 5 out of 7 runnings have been won by American horses. Let’s take a look.

Gamble’s Ghost: Trainer Josie Carroll, Race Record: 3-2-1-0, $149,126, (Ghostzapper-Gambling Girl by Secret Claim)

Jockey Luis Contreras guides Gamble’s Ghost (left) to victory in the $150,000 Mazarine Stakes yesterday at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns/Photo)

Gamble’s Ghost, left.

You should get 15/1 on Gamble’s Ghost, regardless of her fine record, due to the fact that she has only won a Grade 3 in Canada, a race which was run over polytrack in a 6-horse field, where she was the even money favorite. This horse has tons of talent, having run 2nd in the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes over the Woodbine lawn on September 12th.

In her Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes score on October 4th, she ran against five other maiden winners. The Canadian Bred filly sat fifth going into the stretch, was blocked making her initial move, but upon finding daylight flew by the top four horses to win by 3/4 of a length. She completed the 1 1/16 race in 1:45.62, earning a 74 BSF. Here is the race replay:

Gamble’s Ghost broke her maiden on August on the Woodbine polytrack going away by 8 1/4 lengths at 7 furlongs on August 14th. She was then placed into deep waters in the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine on September 12 over the Woodbine turf. Gamble’s Ghost, going off as the 3/2 favorite, never stood a chance against a loose on the lead Catch a Glimpse, and even with a terrific rally, was 5 lengths behind her and 2nd at the wire. Her trainer, Josie Carroll, commented, “The last time (in the Natalma) she did not break well and I think it was belated when she got running and wasn’t able to catch a free-running leader (Catch a Glimpse).” She earned a 78 BSF, which fits with most horses signed on for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Here is the video:

Gamble’s Ghost is by Hall Of Famer Ghostzapper, the winner of the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic and a truly spectacular thoroughbred. In the breeding shed, has 51 stakes winners, 8 Grade 1 winners, earners of over $40 million dollars, and 5 millionaire horses. He produced 2014 Breeders’ Cup Champion Judy the Beauty as well. Her dam, Gambling Girl, was a stakes winner and earner of over $200,000. She’s produced 6 winners. Gamble’s Ghost dam sire Secret Claim never accomplished a lot, but her 2nd dam sire (Deputy Minister), 3rd dam sire (Sir Ivor), and 4th dam sire (Tim Tam) were all fine producers.

In my mind, Gamble’s Ghost last victory was just a tightner for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. She appears to have talent, and with her late kick, would benefit with someone going out and keeping Catch a Glimpse honest. I like turf horses that come out of Woodbine, and there will be value to be had with her. Gamble’s Ghost has a trainer who some might not be aware of because she trains in Canada. Also, her wins have been on polytrack, losing in her lone turf try by 5 lengths. IMO, she did show an affinity for the turf. I’m excited about her prospects in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Ruby Notion: Trainer Wesley Ward, Race Record 4-3-0-0, $96,718, (Great Notion-Modena Bay by Volksraad).

Ruby Notion was much the best in August's Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park. Photo By Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO

Yes, the furthest she’s run is 5 1/2 furlongs. Yes, she is a West Virginia bred. But if you can get past this, there is a lot to like about this Wesley Ward trained 2-year-old filly. He did win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf with Hootenanny last year, and he had only run 6 furlongs before his triumph at a mile (the distance of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf as well). Her only loss was against the boys at Royal Ascot this Summer, and bringing her there showed that Ward sees talent in her. She should also be the controlling speed in the race, which makes her dangerous. Ruby Notion will be overlooked because of what I mentioned earlier and also because she hasn’t won a Graded Stakes race, but be very careful with this horse…she is the speed of speed and has the talent to wire this field.

Ruby Notion has won 2 stakes races in a row since returning from Royal Ascot. On September 12th, in the 5 1/2 furlong, $75,000 Selima Stakes at Laurel Park that was taken off the turf, Ruby Notion demolished 8 other fillies to win by 8 lengths in 1:05.06. Her time was a second faster than the Laurel Futurity one race later for juvenile boys. In it, she ran with Atara before putting her away and being ridden out for victory. Here is the video:

The race before, on August 16th in the $60,000 Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park, Ruby Notion showed sharp early speed and led from beginning to end, winning the 5 furlong race by 2 1/4 lengths in a sharp :56.77 as the 3/2 favorite. Here is that video:

At Royal Ascot in the Winsor Castle Stakes, Ruby Notion gave a nice effort when finishing fifth to the boys in a 27-horse field. Her maiden score was very nice, winning by 3 1/4 lengths running 4 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs.

Looking at Ruby Notion’s bloodlines, she is by Great Notion, who earned $194,608 on the track, and ran 2nd in the 2003 Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes and Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes. As a sire, he is known as producing quality juveniles and sprinters. His son, Havelock, had 5 Graded Stakes wins when sprinting on turf. His daughter, Jazzy Idea, was a 5-time stakes winner sprinting on turf. And his son, Talk Show Man, stretched it out to a mile to win the Maryland Million Turf over Ben’s Cat. Ruby Notion is out of the dam Modena Bay, a New Zealand bred whose best race in the U.S. came on turf, running 2nd at a mile in the Firecracker Stakes. Her dam sire, Volksraad, was an 8-time champion New Zealand, and gave a an abundant amount of stamina to his offspring.

Ruby Notion has flashed a ton of speed in her young career, and should lead the field for most of the way in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. If she can stretch it to a mile for her first time, she becomes a live shot to win this race at nice odds.

Mirage: Trainer Simon Callaghan, Race Record: 2-1-1-0, $24,918, (Oasis Dream-Applauded by Royal Applause) 

In her last run at Santa Anita Park in the $101,500 Surfer Girl Stakes on October 11th, Mirage made her U.S. debut at 9/1 odds. She came from far back and made an impressive move on the inside, running alongside the leading pair in the stretch, before clicking heals with Lucky Folie and steadying, losing all chances for a victory. Stays in Vegas won by 2 1/4 lengths, and Mirage was moved to 2nd via disqualification. Here is the video:

Mirage should be overlooked by bettors because of her lack of experience and failure to win a stakes race. On paper, it looks like she was soundly beaten by Stays in Vegas, but her race in the Surfer Girl Stakes was deceptively good. She broke her maiden in the beginning of June at 6 furlongs overseas in England, and was sent to the U.S. after being purchased for approximately $592,000 at the Goffs London sale at Kensington Palace in London. She was the second-most-expensive horse at the one-day sale in June, held on the eve of the opening day of the Royal Ascot meeting. It is obvious that her trainer, Simon Callaghan, saw enough talent in Mirage to drop her into a stakes race for her U.S. debut, so there are some reasons to keep an eye out for her if she runs in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Mirage has a gorgeous pedigree. She is by Oasis Dream, who was a Champion 2-year-old in England and the 2003 Champion Sprinter in Europe. At stud, he has sired 94 stakes winners, including 15 Group/Grade 1 winners. He has also become a sire of sires. Mirage’s Granddam, Frappe, produced Multiple Group 1 winner Power and one other black type winner. Her third and fourth dams were both Group winners who produced black type as well. Mirage’s dam sire, Royal Applause, was the 1997 European Champion Sprinter and has produced over 700 winners. He is known to produce quality 2-year-olds and sprinters. He, too, is also a sire of sires.

Mirage is lightly raced, but appears to have enough talent and a strong enough pedigreed to be competitive in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. If she gets in, she’ll go off at a nice price.

Llanita: Trainer Chad Brown, Race Record 4-0-2-0, $31,457, (Rock of Gibraltar-Chill by Verglas

Before you dismiss this gal based on her race record, keep in mind that Llanita is in the hands of Chad Brown, who won this race’s inauguration with Maram, and again last year with the sparkling Lady Eli.

Her last race was the Grade 3, $200,000 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park on September 27th. In it, Llanita made her run 6-7 wide into the stretch and finished in 4th by a head to the 3rd place finisher, and just 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner. She had a bit of a rough trip, getting bumped at the break and having to angle out wide and lose momentum in the home stretch. She still managed to finish with a late rush, just missing an in the money finish. Let’s look at it:

This was the French Filly’s first run in the U.S., after running 2nd in a listed stakes race overseas. Getting acclimated to the U.S. will only help this gal, and she may be sitting on a real nice effort if she gets into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. It’s obvious she was thought after highly when being bet up to 2/1 favoritism in the Miss Grillo Stakes. And she looked very impressive in the race. Under the care of Chad Brown, be very careful of this horse if she gets in. Here’s a brief look at her pedigree.

Llanita is by Rock of Gibraltar. He was the European Horse of the Year and Champion Three Year Old in 2002, going undefeated in 5 consecutive Group 1 races at a mile, before running 2nd to Domedriver in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. As a sire, he has sired 54 stakes winners and 8 Group 1 winners. Llanita’s dam, Chill, was a stakes winner in France and has produced 1 black type winner at 1 5/16 miles. Llanita’s dam sire, Verglas, won the Group 3 Coventry Stakes in England and ran 2nd in the Group 1 2000 Irish Guineas. He sired 28 stakes winners.





Scat Daddy Is Producing Juvenile Winners At An Alarming Rate In 2015

2015 has been a ground-breaking year for Scat Daddy. He currently ranks #10 in total North American Earnings, in which he has never ranked higher than #35. He is also in second place in stakes winners Worldwide for a North American sire. He currently ranks #4 in turf earnings, in which he has never ranked higher than 15th in previous years. Finally, Scat Daddy continues to have a strong presence in Chile, where he is currently the leader in general earnings. After writing my recent piece on value sires, many readers felt that he should have been included. After looking at his progress this year, I wouldn’t disagree. In this article, I’m going to look at his success with juvenile runners in 2015, in which he is currently on top by a large margin in North America, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. On both dirt and turf, Scat Daddy is producing a bountiful amount of two-year-old winners. Let’s take a look.

Scat Daddy has been a strong two-year-old producer in past years, being by Johannesburg, who was the 2001, 2 Year Old Champion in England, Ireland, France and the U.S. He went undefeated that year, and won Group 1 races in England, Ireland, and France. He then ended the year winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in the U.S. Scat Daddy was #3 in juvenile total earnings in 2011, and in 2014 he was #10. In both of those years, he either lead or tied in producing stakes winners (5). But this year, Scat Daddy has really taken things to another level. He is far ahead in first place with just under $1.6 million dollars in earnings (next is Uncle Mo with just under $950,000 dollars). He has 22 winners from 55 runners, showing his versatility as a sire with a fair number of both turf and dirt winners. The second place sire has just 13 winners. He also leads by two horses in Stakes Horses (7) and Stakes Winners (5). Here’s a look at his stakes-winning 2-year-olds so far this year.

The Wesley Ward-trained, freakishly sized Acapulco was an early summer winner at Royal Ascot in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, where she put on a scintillating performance in winning by a length and a half. Later on in the Summer, she ran a huge 2nd to Mecca’s Angel in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes for older horses, both male and female. This is one very fast filly. Ward says, “I think she’s got a big future on turf, she’s a beautiful, gorgeous filly and to look at her you’d think she was four.” We may be seeing her run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf on October 30 at Keenland this Fall.

Azar, at odds of 11/1, won the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga for Todd Pletcher, going 1 1/16 miles on the turf course. In the race, he came flying hard at the end to surge past pace setting Next Shade and win by 3/4 lengths. The great thing about this score was that he broke his maiden here. Azar’s next outing will be this weekend in the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park.

Conquest Daddyo, at odds of 16/1, won the Grade 2 Summer Stakes at Woodbine on the turf, showing a tremendous turn of foot in the process, coming from 7th place to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Mark Casse said, “Scat Daddy’s love the grass and this is a big, long-striding colt that’s just going to get better the farther he runs. I’m sure it is (next stop Keeneland). I haven’t had a chance yet to talk to Ernie (Semersky, co-owner), but he loves the Breeders’ Cup and I’m sure he’ll be excited to get there.”

Pretty N Cool, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, put up a high Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes on dirt earlier in the Del Mar Meet. In the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante Stakes later on in the Summer, she ran 2nd to the very impressive filly Songbird. She’ll be running in the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita this weekend.

Finally, Harmonize won the P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga by 4 lengths. We’ll probably see her in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf for Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott.

Scat Daddy’s 2nd sire, Hennessy, won the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes for two-year-olds in 1995 before running second in a photo-finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His 3rd sire, Storm Cat, won the Grade 1, Young American Stakes at 2 and finished 2nd by a nose in the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He was known to produce speedy, precocious juveniles. Finally, Scat Daddy’s 4th sire, Storm Bird, was the 1980 United Kingdom and Ireland 2 Year Old Champion. So it’s not surprising to see Scat Daddy having the success he’s had with his two-year-old runners. He himself achieved a lot at 2 as well, running 2nd in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes, and winning the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes and Grade 1 Champagne Stakes in 2006. He later went on to win the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and G1 Florida Derby at 3.

Scat Daddy’s sires two-year-olds who show early maturity and speed, but they also have proven to be sound horses who can travel a good distance of ground upon maturing. We will know more about the quality of his 2015 juveniles after the Breeders’ Cup and into their three year old seasons, but so far he has proven to be much the best in 2015 as a sire of quality two-year-old runners. This has been a spectacular year for Scat Daddy, moving him in right alongside with the powerhouse sires in the thoroughbred industry.

Runhappy And His Path To A King’s Bishop Win

“This is the day for anyone involved with the horse. The dream is to win the Kentucky Derby, because there’s nothing like it.”

— Billy Turner, trainer

Runhappy with Edgar Prado in the winners circle after winning The Kings Bishop Stakes prior to the running of the Travers Stakes horse race at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Photo Courtesy of Hans Pennink

For Run Happy, this dream was gone in the early going on the Derby Trail, yet a different dream for his connections became a reality. On August 29th, Runhappy ran away from the field with a dominant 4 lengths victory in the Grade 1, $500,000 King’s Bishop Stakes at the historical Saratoga Race Course. His time of 1:20.54 was the fastest time ever for the race, and just 2/5 seconds off the track record. Also, the 113 BSF he earned is the 2nd fastest this year behind Beholder and Liam’s Map at 114. A son of Super Saver, he was purchased for $200,000 at the KEESEP13 yearling sale by James McIngvale, with what I’m sure were dreams of running on the first Saturday in May. After he broke his maiden in his debut at Turfway Park on December 28, 2014, he became a You Tube sensation amongst horse racing fans with a visually stunning performance that stamped him as being “special”. Here it is if you haven’t already seen it:

Although he won by 8 1/4 lengths, it could have been by a lot more, as Runhappy broke awkwardly and was very green, weaving in and out throughout the stretch. He displayed a sprinter’s speed by catching up to and passing the field after giving them a huge head start. He also showed a strong desire to race on the lead. Next, on January 17, Runhappy’s connections put him on the Derby Trail and placed him into deep waters by shipping him to the Fairgrounds to run in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes. This would be Runhappy’s 1st race going around 2 turns and his first stakes race in only his 2nd start. Run Happy bumped rivals at the start of the race and again into the first turn, made an early move on the backstretch to take the lead, lost the lead around the turn and then quit. He finished 9th out of 11 horses, 21 1/2 lengths back. Once again, though, Runhappy displayed excellent natural speed and a need to get to the lead.

After the race, the connections made what turned out to be a brilliant decision for the horse by taking him off the Derby Trail and giving him time to grow and mature. They also realized that this horse was meant to sprint. Many owner’s would’ve held on to their Kentucky Derby dreams, and in this case it may have ruined Runhappy. His pedigree definitely said that the Kentucky Derby distance wasn’t out of question. He is out of the 2010 Kentucky Derby Champion Super Saver. Both him and Runhappy’s dam sire, Broken Vow, are sons of the distance influence sire Unbridled. And his 3rd dam sire, Tank’s Prospect, won the Preakness Stakes in a near-record time. In this case, though, performance trumped pedigree, and Runhappy took time off until the Summer, where he was turned over to a new trainer and entered in an allowance sprint race at Indiana Grand Race Course. By giving him a confidence booster at a lesser known track, this showed once again his connections were smart money. After cruising to victory in that race, and the next one at Ellis Park as well, it was time to step way up in class for the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga. The bettor’s had him at 11/1 given the class hike, but his connections felt great about their horses chances, and in the end he won for fun, with speed to burn and on the lead. Runhappy’s trainer, Maria Borell, said after the race, “We were pretty confident going in. He couldn’t have been training any better and we wouldn’t have spent the money to come up here if we thought he couldn’t win. I was a little nervous at the early fractions but I knew he could do it. We really prepared him well at home. I knew he was good, but that was really good.” One more unconventional part of Runhappy’s story is that his connections have always raced him Lasix-free. Another feather in their caps.

This is a story about horse owners doing right by their horse. Runhappy is a  truly gifted horse. He is being pointed to run in the G3, $200,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes on the opening day of the Fall Keenland meet on October 2nd. This will be run on the same track and at the same distance as the Breeders’ Cup Sprint a month later. Runhappy has all of the talent in the world to become a Breeders’ Cup Champion. But if it wasn’t for owner James McIngvale, racing manager Laura Wohlers, and trainer Maria Borell and their handling of him, Runhappy could have only been remembered for the crazy debut he had at Turfway Park. His scintillating win in the King’s Bishop Stakes was a true combination of talent and opportunity. A dream was dashed for Runhappy’s connections in mid January, but in the end their decisions led to a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and bliss in which they most likely weren’t going to see if they had stayed longer at the party.

The 2015 G1 Del Mar Futurity: Who Will Follow In American Pharoah’s Footsteps

del mar 2

Photo courtesy of Michelle Gonzalez

The Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, this Labor Day, which signals the closing of Del Mar’s summer meet, is the pinnacle of the two-year-old racing season at the track. The 7 furlong race has produced its fair share of juvenile superstars, including champions Declan’s Moon, Stevie Wonderboy, Midshipman, Lookin at Lucky, American Pharoah (Triple Crown Champion), and last year’s Kentucky Derby Champion California Chrome. This year’s edition is very strong, with the Uncle Mo’s undefeated, Graded Stakes winning son Nyquist going up against impressive maiden winner Blameitonthelaw. Nyquist drew off to win the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar on August 8th by 5 1/4 lengths, with one of the top Beyers of 89 for 2-year-old males this summer. Blameitonthhelaw easily scored in his debut at Del Mar on August 2, winning by 4 1/4 lengths and earning an 88 BSF for his effort. Both of these two-year-olds are the favorites in the race at 5/2 and 3/1 respectively. The rest of the field is bunched up, with 4/1 Swipe, 5/1 Mt. Veeder, 6/1 Rockin Bayou, 8/1 Nightly News, and 10/1 Annie’s Candy. Archaeo goes off at 20/1. The lines maker is expecting this to be a well contested race, and I don’t disagree. What I’m going to do in this article is give an analysis of past performances from each horse in the field, along with a study of their pedigree. I will then give you my selections for the race. So here we go!

Swipe: Trainer Keith Desormeaux, Race Record: 4-1-2-1, $128,330, (Birdstone-Avalanche Lily by Grand Slam)

Photo courtesy of Los Alamitos Racing

Swipe was last seen on August 8th in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, where he ran 2nd, 5 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Nyquist, and a half-length in front of Annie’s Candy. Swipe is bred to close, so given the moderate pace of the race, this made that a difficult task. He was rather green, though, through the stretch, as seen by this video of the race:

In July 12th’s, $100,000 Summer Juvenile Championship at Los Alamitos, Swipe (5/2, third choice) sat behind the speed and saved ground along the rail, and when asked he switched to the outside and ran down the talented Graduation stakes winner Mrazek in his final strides to win by a head. Mrazek had a two-length advantage with an eighth of a mile to run but couldn’t hold Swipe off. This was Swipe’s first win and he stopped the clock at 1:02.89 for 5 1/2 furlongs. Dubdubwatson was 7 1/4 lengths up the track in third. Here is the replay of the race:

Previous to his maiden score, Swipe had shipped out East and ran a respectable 3rd place in the Tremont Stakes on June 5 at Belmont Park, losing to Cocked and Loaded by 3 3/4 lengths. This was only 2 weeks after his debut at Santa Anita on May 22, where he finished in 2nd place to Dubdubwatson.

Swipe is a big horse with a long stride for a two-year-old. He may be one of the only true closers in the Del Mar Futurity, which makes him dangerous. Swipe appears to have talent, and his racing experience may serve him well here.


Swipe is owned by Big Chief Racing LLC (owners of 2015, 2-year-old stakes winning filly Right There) and was purchased at the KEESEP2014 yearling sale for $5,000. He is out off Avalanche Lily, who is a half-sister to three stakes winners. His granddam, Batanda, was stakes placed. Finally, his 5th dam, La Mesa, was the dam Of Outstandingly, who earned $1,412,206 and was the Champion Two Year Old Filly in 1984. Swipe is a direct descendent from the La Troienne female family, which is always a positive in their bloodlines. He is by Birdstone, who at 3 broke up Smarty Jones Triple Crown bid in winning the Belmont Stakes in 2004. He also won the G1 Travers Stakes that same year, and the Champagne Stakes at 2. He has had some success as a sire, producing Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird in his first crop in 2009. This year he sired G1 Stephen Foster Handicap winner Noble Bird. He has sired 16 stakes winners in all to date. The rest of Swipe’s sire line includes 1996 Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone and 1990 Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled. Tons of brilliance and endurance there. Swipe’s dam sire is Grand Slam. He was a two-time, Grade 1 winner as a juvenile, earning just under 1 million dollars on the track. At 3, he won the Peter Pan Stakes at 9 furlongs. Grand Slam’s best progeny are Limehouse and Cajun Beat, winner of the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He gave a bit more speed than stamina to his offspring. His 2nd dam sire is Batonnier. He won the Grade 3 Illinois Derby, and his biggest accomplishment at stud was his son Cavonnier, who came within a nose from winning the 1996 Kentucky Derby. He had 21 stakes winners. Finally, Swipe’s 3rd dam sire is Canadian Gil. He was unraced, and in the breeding shed was not accomplished either.

Swipe, in my eyes, was a bargain purchase at $5,000.00. With Noble Bird and Thank You Marylou, Birdstone has proved that his 2009 success was not a fluke. He has some decent class in his dam line. His his dam sire line, though, leaves questions about his ability to run long. These questions, however, can probably be erased after looking at his long-winded sire line. Swipe is very attractive and has shown that he can gobble up ground well. He needs to improve off of his career best 80 BSF to make an impact on this race. I’m not sure that he’s as good as Nyquist, given how that horse handled him last out. But he does own a win over the highly regarded Mzarek, so I feel that he has a good chance to win this race with his best performance.

Nyquist: Trainer Doug O’Neill, Race Record: 2-2-0-0, $153,600, (Uncle Mo-Seeking Gabrielle by Forestry)

Photo Courtesy of Benoit Photo


On August 8th, Nyquist made it two-for-two by winning the Grade 2, $200,000 Best Pal Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths at Del Mar. In the race, Nyquist dueled with Found Money and Bistraya throughout the backstretch, and then put them away around the far turn and pulled out in the stretch, hitting the wire easily in front of his rivals. Nyquist stopped the clock at 1:16.84 for 6 1/2 furlongs, running an impressive 6:17 for his final sixteenth. Here is a video of his performance:

This is what the connections said about Nyquist in The San Diego Union-Tribune piece:

“I think it’s safe to say he’s the best of our 2-year-olds,” O’Neill said. “Physically and mentally he’s our best. If he stays injury-free, he’s got the mind of a champ.”

“He’s probably the prettiest horse I’ve ever bought,” Dennis O’Neill said. “He’s just a gorgeous animal, a classy, classy horse.”

“He’s a first-Saturday-in-May kind of colt,” said Steve Rothblum of the O’Neill barn. “He’s young, and he’s going to get better and better the farther he goes.”

This is very high praise coming from his camp. But all along, Doug O’Neil has felt there is something special about him, and he didn’t disappoint in the first Graded Stakes race for two-year-olds in Southern California. His 89 Beyer Speed Figure is the best for a 2-year-old male this summer at Del Mar, but by the slightest of margins.

Nyquist had a brilliant debut at Santa Anita Park on June 5. In race 6, he broke from the one-hole and was harassed the whole race by a short-priced favorite Annie’s Candy, winning by a head in a sparkling :56.43 for 5 furlongs. The favorite came back to win on July 11, and later finished 3rd to Nyquist in the Best Pal Stakes. The third place horse in the race finished 7 1/2 lengths back. Here is a replay of his overly impressive performance:

Nyquist has a ton of speed and can carry it. He also appears to have a strong will to compete and win. Here’s a look at his bloodlines.


Nyquist is also owned by Paul Reddam, and was purchased for $400,000 at the Fasig-Tipton March Two-Year-Old Sale. He is the first winner for Seeking Gabrielle, who is the half-sister of Grade 3 winning sprinter Seeking the Sky, the dam of Grade 1 winning millionaire sprinter Sahara Sky and stakes winning sprinter Animal Style. His granddam, Seeking Regina, won the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes at 2 (6 1/2 furlongs). His 3rd dam, Fullbright Scholar, was a stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles. Nyquist 4th dam, Matriculation, was a multiple stakes winner. Finally, his 5th dam, How I Wonder, was stakes placed. Nyquist has an extremely classy dam line. He is by Uncle Mo. Dermot Ryan, manager of Ashford, where he stands, says,  “Uncle Mo was exceptional at 2 – as good a 2-year-old as we have seen in over a decade – so he has every right to sire good 2-year-olds. He was very well supported in his first year, so he has quality and quantity on his side, and if his progeny retain even a fraction of the ability he had, they will be in good shape.” Overall on the racetrack, he won 5 of 8 starts, for earnings of $1,606,000. At two, he broke his maiden by 14 1/4 lengths at Saratoga, won the G1 Champagne Stakes by 4 3/4 lengths, and ran away with the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, winning by 4 1/4 lengths. He later won the Eclipse Award for 2-Year-Old Male. Unfortunately, an illness kept him off the Triple Crown trail at 3. At stud, he is currently the leading Freshman Sire. Nyquist’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, says, “So far it looks like Uncle Mo is duplicating himself as a sire and the future is bright for him at stud. His offspring have good minds, speed, and physical appearance. When you check all three of those boxes, that’s special.” Nyquist’s 2nd sire, Indian Charlie, also produced Champion’s Indian Blessing and Fleet Indian. He gave off more speed than stamina on to his offspring. Nyquist’s dam sire is Forestry. He was a $1.5 million dollar yearling who at 3 won the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes and Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes. A successful sire, Forestry has over 55 stakes winners with progeny earnings of over $45 million dollars. In 2011, his son Shackleford won the Preakness Stakes. Forestry was known, though, to put a touch of speed into his sons and daughters. His 2nd dam sire, Seeking the Gold, was a Multiple Grade 1 winner who sired 4 Breeders’ Cup Champions, 2 Eclipse Award winners, and whose progeny earned over $85 million dollars. His son, Jazil, won the 2006 Belmont Stakes, and he put a nice amount of stamina into his progeny. Finally, Nyquist’s 3rd dam sire is Cox’s Ridge, who won 10 stakes races on the track, including the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap. At stud, he sired 3 Champions and was a strong stamina influence.

We’ve seen that Nyquist won’t back down from a fight, and his pedigree shows he has the potential to become a special horse who shouldn’t have a problem running two-turns. I don’t think this race will come easy for him, but from what we’re seeing from Uncle Mo’s offspring tis year and by how he looked in the Best Pal Stakes, Nyquist may again prove to be much the best here.


Blameitonthelaw: Trainer John Sadler, Race Record: 1-1-0-0, $42,000, (Blame-Letter of the Law by Stormy Atlantic)   

Blameitonthelaw is impressive in his debut #Blame #DelMar #horsesofinstagram #futuritybound
Blameitonthelaw debuted in a 5 1/2 furlong MSW at Del Mar on August 2. As the 3/1 favorite, he broke well and stalked the pace in 3rd. He then moved up along the rail to grab the lead by the 1/8th pole and pulled away from there, hitting the wire at 1:04.40 for a 4 1/4 length victory. He came home in a sparkling 6.06 for his final sixteenth, and earned a sharp 88 BSF for his effort. This is the video of his performance:
It was nice to see Blameitonthelaw’s ability to rate off the leaders, and his strides looked powerful as he closed to the finish line. I must note that Blameitontelaw did have a fairly easy trip, tracking a blistering fast first quarter-mile of :21.91 and having the rail favorably open up for him around the far turn. It was also 18 1/4 lengths back to the third place finisher, which makes me question the caliber of competition he faced. But on Beyer figures alone, along with his tactical speed and the way he looked charging for home in his maiden score, Blameitonthelaw should be very competitive in the Del Mar Futurity.
Here’s a look at Blameitonthelaw’s pedigree.
Blameitonthelaw is owned by Doubledown Stables, Inc. and was purchased for $320,000 out of this year’s OBS March 2YO Sale after working a strong :10 flat for a furlong at the Under Tack session. His dam is the stakes-winning sprinter Letter of the Law. She’s produced three winners from three runners. His 3rd dam, Runaway Spy, produced Still Secret, the dam of Mother Russia ($528,996) and Tencendur. Blameitonthelaw’s dam line is rather ordinary. He is by Blame, the American Champion Older Male Horse of 2010. He won three Grade 1 races that year: the Stephen Foster Handicap, the Whitney Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. In that race, he became the only horse to defeat the great filly Zenyatta. He wound up winning 9 of 13 races, with earnings of $4,368,214. Blame is from the same family as excellent sires Sadler’s Wells and Nureyev. In the breeding shed, he’s produced March (G2 Woody Stephens), Far From Over (G3 Withers Stakes), and Chide ( 3rd, Mother Goose Stakes). Like their dad, his offspring seem to be late-to-mature. Blameitonthelaw’s dam sire seems to be the one he is more similar to; the sprinter Stormy Atlantic. He ‘s been known to put out some great juvenile runners, including Conquest Typhoon (2014) and Wired Bryan (2013). A sire of over 90 stakes winners, Stormy Atlantic tends to give more speed than stamina to his offspring. His 2nd dam sire, Saint Ballado, was the Leading Sire of North America in 2005. He sired both 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam and champion filly Ashado, and is a source of stamina for his offspring. His 3rd dam sire, Mt. Livermore, was a quality sprinter whose progeny earnings were over $61 million dollars.
Overall, Blame may give him the ability to run long, although this has yet to have been proven. Stormy Atlantic produces precocious juveniles with good speed. Since Blame was a late bloomer, we may not see the best of Blameitonthelaw until he turns three. Although he put up a strong BSF in his debut win, the way the race unfolded and the level of competition he defeated leaves me a bit hesitant to go all in on this horse.
Mt. Veeder: Trainer Bob Baffert, Race Record: 1-1-0-0, $42,000, (Ghostzapper-Glenbriar Girl by Gold Case)
Bob Baffert has won the Del Mar Futurity 12 times in the past 19 years. This year, he will have Mt. Veeder running in the race along with Nightly News. On August 15, Mt. Veeder broke his maiden at first asking, winning by 2 1/4 length at Del Mar and stopping the clock at 1:04.41 as the 5/2 second choice. In the race, Mt. Veeder stalked the speed in second, approached the horse midway around the far turn, and then pulled clear in the stretch to hit the wire first under some urging. He went on to gallop out rather nicely, indicating that he may want more distance. Here is a replay of his race.
While Mt. Veeder was always prominent in the race and looked rather professional in winning, the field he ran against was not very strong, and he only earned a 73 BSF for his effort. He could be a pace factor in the Del Mar Futurity, and maybe this is a two-year-old who will relish the added distance, but I think he would need to step it up in order to compete and win. With Bob Baffert in his corner, though, he’s got a puncher’s chance to defeat his rivals here.
This is what his pedigree looks like.
Mt. Veeder is owned by Stonestreet Stables LLC, and George Bolton. He was purchased as a yearling at KEESEP2014 for $200,000. Mt. Veeder’s dam is Glenbriar Girl. She had 2 wins at two, and has 6 winners from 7 foals. His granddam, Spa Warning, is the dam of 9 winners, including multiple Grade 2 winner Two Item Limit ($1,060,585). Mt. Veeder’s 5th dam, Portage, is a Blue Hen Mare, who has over 100 stakes winners in her female family line. Mt. Veeder is by Hall of Famer Ghostzapper. In 2004, the massively talented Ghostzapper, at four,  completed a 4 for 4 season by winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic in gate-to-wire fashion. He won that year’s Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year. Ghostzapper was a late bloomer, and typically his runners get better with age. Some of his best progeny include Moreno, Judy The Beauty, Hunter’s Bay, Contested, Better Lucky, and Za Approval. Ghostzapper gives a bit more speed than stamina to his offspring. Mt. Veeder’s dam sire is Gold Case. He sired 21 stakes winners and was a heavy influence for speed. His 2nd dam sire, Caveat, won the 1983 Belmont Stakes. He was the leading stallion in Maryland from 1991-1993. Caveat also typically produced speedy types. His 3rd dam sire, Sir Gaylord, was a multiple stakes winning sprinter and successful sire, who is a half-brother to Secretariat. He produced Epsom Derby winner and Great Britain’s leading sire Sir Ivor, and also another leading Great Britain sire, Habitat.
Mt. Veeder seems to have a good amount of speed, and this is confirmed by the looking through his bloodlines. While he should be able to complete two-turns successfully, his outlook to become a classic-type horse is in doubt. Mt. Veeder will have to step up his game in order to win the Del Mar Futurity. This may happen, given that this will be only his 2nd race, and it appeared he wanted to go longer in his maiden score. Being out of Ghostzapper, though, indicates that it may take some time before this horse is hitting his best strides.
Rockin Bayou: Trainer Jeff Mullins, Race Record: 1-1-0-0, $42,000, (Forefathers-La Salle Glory by Lit de Justice)
On August 18th, Rockin Bayou broke his maiden at 5 furlongs on a sloppy track in a sharp :58.75, winning by a neck over 15/1 Uncle Leo. It was 5 1/4 lengths back to the third place, even-money favorite Toews On Ice. In the race, Rockin Bayou stalked early, dueled for the lead, then took a small advantage in mid stretch and gamely held on for the victory. He earned a 65 BSF. Here is a race replay:
Rockin Bayou had a three-wide trip for most of this race, and the heart he showed in holding off his rival was very nice to see. His speed figures, though, are a bit below the top contenders of the race. You also don’t know how a sloppy track may have aided this fast horse. Let’s look at his pedigree to see if we can find any clues as to how he’ll run on Labor Day.
Rockin Bayou is owned by Patterson, Randy, Rey, Donna and Rudolph, Scott and bred in Louisiana. He was purchased at ESLSEP2014 as a yearling for $16,500 and then sold to his trainer Jeff Mullins at OBSAPR2015 for $57,000, 28 times his sire’s stud fee. Rockin Bayou’s dam, La Salle Glory, was a stakes-placed sprinter who earned close to $500,000 on the racetrack. His granddam, Wianno, was a stakes-winning sprinter who was the granddam of both African Rose ($423,656) and Mewannarose (Grade three winner). His 4th dam, Barranca, is a half-sister to Riva Ridge. Finally, his fifth dam, Iberia, was the 1971 Broodmare of the Year. There is a lot of class in this dam line. Rockin Bayou is by Forefathers. He was Multiple Grade 2 placed at 3 and was never in the money past a mile. Rockin Bayou is his 3rd winner. He has the distinction, though, of being a half-brother to Pioneerof the Nile. While Forefathers has done little in the breeding shed, his sire, Gone West, was a major sire who produced Speightstown, Zafonic, Marsh Side, Da Hoss, Came Home, Johar, and Commendable amongst others. Rockin Bayou’s dam sire is Lit de Justice. He was the 1996 winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and was the Champion sprinter that year. He earned close to $1.4 million dollars on the track. Lit de Justice was a steady influence of speed over stamina. His 2nd dam sire, Waquoit, won races from distances of 6 furlongs to 12 furlongs, and earned over $2.2 million dollars on the track. He gave off stamina onto his offspring. His 3rd dam sire, Linkage, won the 1982 G1 Bluegrass Stakes and finished 2nd by a neck to Aloma’s Ruler in the 1982 Preakness Stakes. He sired 10 stakes winners.
There is a lot of speed in Rockin Bayou’s family, and I can see Jeff Mullins sending him early to try to grab the lead in the Del Mar Futurity and play come and catch me. I just can’t see a son of Forefathers winning a Grade 1 race just yet. I liked how he competed in his maiden score, but feel he lacks the talent and pedigree necessary to win this race. There are a few other horses in here with speed also, so it may be hard for him the get an uncontested lead in this affair and go run and hide.
Annie’s Candy: Trainer Peter Miller, Race Record: 4-1-2-1, $76,400, (Twirling Candy-Wildcat Princess by Forest Wildcat)
Photo Courtesy of Kelley Carlson
In his last race on August 8 in the G2 Best Pal Stakes, Annie’s Candy stalked the pace wide, and was wide into the turn and through the stretch as well, getting edged by Swipe for 2nd place. Annie’s Candy showed a lot of speed throughout the race, and not having to travel as much distance may have produced a different outcome. Annie’s Candy broke his maiden the race prior at Los Alamitos on July 11. As the 1/5 favorite, he dueled outside the runner-up, inched clear approaching the eighth pole, and pulled away to win by 3 3/4 length. Here is a video of his maiden score:
The race prior, Annie’s Candy posted his best BSF of 84 as the 3/5 favorite, finishing 2nd by a head to Best Pal Stakes winner Nyquist. Once again, Annie’s Candy showed speed throughout. In his maiden voyage, he lost by a nose as the 3/2 favorite.
Obviously, Annie’s Candy is highly regarded, seeing how he’s been favored in 3 of his 4 races. He’s a very fast horse, and in the Best Pal Stakes either Nyquist took a big step forward since they competed, or that the trip Annie’s Candy had was not what he prefered. His best bet may be to grab the lead at the break and don’t look back, which is very possible. Let’s look at his pedigree.
Annie’s Candy is owned by Chad Littlefield and Rockingham Ranch. He was purchased at KEENOV13 for $52,000 as a weanling and later purchased as a two-year-old at BARMAR15 for $105,000. Annie’s Candy is out of Wildcat Princess, and he is her first stakes performer. His granddam, Weed It Out, was stakes placed and gave out 3 stakes placed horses. His 3rd dam, Jungle Princess, placed in the G2 Hollywood Oaks. She was the dam of 11 winners, including 4 Graded Stakes winners. Annie’s Candy is by Twirling Candy. A physically imposing racehorse On the track, he was an all-surface, Multiple Graded Stakes winner who was known for his speed. He won from 6 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, and lost the 1 1/4 Pacific Classic by a head. He broke the 7 furlong track record at Santa Anita in the G1 Malibu Stakes in 2010 (1:19.70). Twirling Candy had 7 wins from 11 starts with earnings of just under a million dollars. This year as a Freshman Sire, he is 3rd in total earnings and has the most winners as well. His average 2-year-olds this year sold for $186,000. With the racing record he achieved and his great looks, you can see how he is producing high quality 2-year-olds early. Annie’s Candy’s 2nd sire, the excellent racehorse and stallion Candy Ride, was also extremely fast. Annie’s Candy’s dam sire line is another source of speed. Forest Wildcat, his dam sire, was a Multiple Grade 3 sprinter. He gave off that speed on to his offspring. His 2nd dam sire, Clever Trick, was also a stakes-winning sprinter who gave off more speed than stamina. His son, the popular sire Phone Trick, was also a strong influence for speed. Annie’s Candy 3rd dam sire, Jungle Road, earned $134,875 racing in 33 starts.
By looking at his pedigree, you can definitely see where Annie Candy’s speed comes from. This is not a mile and a quarter horse in my opinion. From the look of things, I don’t think Annie’s Candy appreciated racing behind the leaders in the Best Pal Stakes. I feel that if put on the lead, he may have a better chance to come away with a victory. Annie’s Candy raced wide in the Best Pal, so with a ground saving trip you should get a stronger effort from him. He was only a head apart from Nyquist in June, so the ability seems there for him to have a shot in the Del Mar Futurity this Monday.
Nightly News: Trainer Bob Baffert, Race Record: 1-0-1-0, $14,000, (Misremembered-Shameful by Flying Chevron)
Nightly News ran 2nd in his one mile debut on August 26 for Bob Baffert, losing to On Fire by 1/2 a length with a time of 1:38.77. On Fire was flattered when he lost to Exaggerator, who went on to win the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. In the race, the 10/1 Nightly News drew the 9 hole and trailed outside, then three deep. He went wide into the turn and finished very strongly. Nightly News earned a 64 BSF for his 2nd place performance. Here is the race replay:
Nightly News had a very wide trip from his post, and appears to be more like a grinder than a true closer. It looked like he needed the entire stretch to catch up to On Fire at the wire, so I’m uncertain that a shortening of distance is what this horse wants. It’s interesting that Baffert is running him back in less than 2 weeks for this race; maybe he saw something he really liked in this horse. I just question if he’s fast or talented enough to compete with the leading contenders in the Del Mar Futurity. He has an interesting enough pedigree. Let me show you.
Nightly News is bred and owned by Hal J Earnhardt. His dam is Shameful, who was a G3 placed sprinter that earned $241,345 during her racing career. She is also the dam of Indian Blessing. She earned just under $3,000,000 over her career, winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and earning an Eclipse Award in 2007 for Champion 2-Year-Old Filly, and again in 2008 for Champion Female Sprinter. His 4th dam, Pia’s Lady, gave out Multiple Graded Stakes winner Roamin Rachel ($528,778). Nightly News is by Misremembered, who earned over $1.1 million dollars and is most remembered for his win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in 2010 at 10 furlongs. Misremembered did not race at two. In the breeding shed, Misremembered is the #37 first-crop sire, having 3 winners out of 7 runners. Nightly News 2nd sire is the superb racehorse and sire Candy Ride. He was a Champion miler in Argentina who came to the United States and won both the Grade 2 American Handicap on turf and the Grade 1 Pacific Classic on dirt (in record time). As a sire, he has produced Champion Shared Belief, Sidney’s Candy, Evita Argentina, Twirling Candy, and Capt. Candyman Can amongst others. Nightly News dam sire is Flying Chevron. He won the NYRA mile and earned $383,610 on the track. He is a speed influence. His 2nd dam sire is Matchlite, who only earned $49,769 on the race track. He stood stud in Michigan, where he had earners of over 6 million dollars. Nightly News’s 3rd dam sire, Wavering Monarch, Won the G1 Haskell Invitational and sired 38 stakes winners (including Maria’s Mon). He was the broodmare sire of another 40 stakes winners, including Champion and Preakness Stakes winner, Prairie Bayou.
Looking at Nightly News’s pedigree, seeing that he is a 1/2 brother to Indian Blessing, you would think that he’d become a strong sprinter. But Misremembered won at a classic distance, so you just don’t know. It may take Nightly News some time to grow and develop, given his dad never ran at two. I feel that with a better trip, Nightly News would have beaten On Fire, because he covered more ground than him. Again, though, I don’t think he’s ready quite yet to take on this contentious a group of juveniles and come away with a victory. I have a feeling that Baffert is entering him into this race so soon because his other entrant, Mt. Veeder, doesn’t exude enough confidence for him in this race.
Archaeo: Trainer Doug O’Neil, Race Record: 1-0-0-0, $1,400, (Arch-Design For Life by Aptitude) 
On August 8, the day that Nyquist won the Best Pal Stakes for Doug O’Neil, Archaeo was annihilated by Young Brian in a 5 1/2 furlong maiden sprint, finishing 5th and 22 1/2 lengths back from him. At 5/2 odds, this was a disappointment, but obviously bettors and now O’Neil saw potential in this horse to run him in the Del Mar Futurity. In his maiden race, Archaeo raced four wide in the early goings, found a spot on the rail, and when he attempted to make his run he lacked a response. His BSF was a 33. Here is the race replay:
Archaeo will have had to have grown by leaps and bounds to be competitive in this race. It’s hard to draw a line through his last start given it was his only one. He is trying blinkers for the first time, and O’Neil is hitting at 24% with 1st time blinkers. Let’s look at his pedigree.
Archaeo is owned by Great Friends Stable, Keh, Steven and Vaccaro, Gary. He was purchased for $140,000 at the FTFMAR 2-Year-Old sale. Archaeo is out of the dam Design For Life. She was unraced. His granddam, Private Line, was a stakes winner in England and The United States. She was the dam of 5 winners, including 1 Group 3 stakes winner and 1 listed stakes placed. His 3rd dam, Miss Summer, won a stakes race in France and was the dam of 9 winners. Both her and Archaeo’s 4th dam, Miss Manon, are Reines-de-Course mares. Archaeo’s sire is Arch. He earned close to $500,000 on the racetrack, winning the Grade 1 Super Derby. In the breeding shed, he has been very strong. Arch has sired 7 G1SW, 4 Champions, 62 Stake winners, and 15 Graded Stake Winners. His best progeny include Blame, London Bridge, Arravale, Les Arcs, Hymn Book, and Archarcharch. He is also the broodmare sire of I’ll Have Another and Uncle Mo. There is a ton of stamina in Archaeo’s sire line. Archaeo’s dam sire is Aptitude. He won 2 Grade 1 races at 1 1/4 miles at four. Aptitude sired 19 graded stakes winners and was a strong source of stamina. His 2nd dam sire, Private Account, produced the great undefeated filly Personal Ensign. Private Account also gave endurance to his offspring. Finally, Archaeo’s 3rd dam sire, Luthier, was a 4 -time leading sire in France and an 8-time leading broodmare sire there as well.
Archaeo’s pedigree is very strong and leans towards long distance. 7 furlongs may be a tad short for this horse. If he can display talent, I wouldn’t doubt seeing him perform well as the distances got longer. But after his debut, he remains a question mark for the Del Mar Futurity. It would appear he’s short on talent, but with these two-year–olds who have only raced a few times, if that, who knows what can happen.
While it is hard to find any faults in what Nyquist has done so far on the racetrack, I’m choosing Longshot Annie’s Candy as my top selection to win the Del Mar Futurity. I see him breaking and going out to the lead and holding onto it for the win. He had a wide trip and was behind horses in the Best Pal Stakes, and this was not to his liking. Tomorrow, he is the inside speed, and I love the jockey switch to Victor Espinoza, who excels at getting horses to the front. His 3 furlong blowout on Friday gives me a clue of his connections intentions for him in the race. He has the speed to do this, as shown by his race 3 back against Nyquist, who he lost to by only a head in a very fast race (84 BSF). This horse has been placed the favorite in 3 of his 4 starts, so it is obvious bettors think he has talent. Having that racing experience should only enhance his chances. My 2nd choice is Swipe. He will get the pace scenario in this race which he needed in the Best Pal Stakes, and is the only true closer in this race. His win over the highly regarded Mrazek two races back tells me he’s got a ton of talent. He’s another horse with race experience that should be helpful. Finally, my third choice is Nyquist. He’s shown a ton of talent in his 2 career wins, but I don’t care for his connections speaking of him as if he is the next Uncle Mo. Doug O’Neil is only batting 3% in Graded Stakes races; this does not exude a ton of confidence towards placing a win wager on Nyquist in this race.
Good luck with all your wagers and I hope you enjoyed this article.
Written by Bob Schless



5 Top Value Sires

What makes a value sire? It’s not only one whose stud fees are low, though that is nice and can be a starting point for value. But you should look at other indicators, such as which sires a particular one is performing better than at half the cost. It should be a sire who is on the rise and showing better results in numerous categories as years pass. A sire who is just starting to produce stakes winners and Graded Stakes winners for the first time or in greater amounts than normal; that’s a sign of a value sire. Let’s look and see who I view as 5 current value sires and why.

Street Boss, Photo Courtesy of Darley

3-year-old Holy Boss’s win in The Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga on August 1st, his 3rd straight stakes win, put a spotlight on his sire, Street Boss. A late-developing, superbly talented sprinter who set three track records in 2008, Street Boss has been producing stakes-winning three-year-olds on both coasts so far in 2015. He is also 4th in 2-year-old earnings this year as well. Ever since Darley lowered his stud fees after his 2012 Freshman season from $15,000 to $10,000, Street Boss’s numbers have steadily risen, in areas such as general earnings, 2-year old earnings, turf earnings, all-weather earnings and lifetime AEI. Darley even shuttles Street Boss to Australia, where he’s produced stakes winners Thiamandi and The Quarterback. Street Boss can be viewed as a value sire, since he is out producing numerous stallions who cost twice as much at stud. I can definitely see his stud fees going up if his sons and daughters continue to have the success they have shown so far this year. Let’s look at Street Boss and see why I see him as a value sire in 2015.

A Multiple Grade 1 winner, Street Boss was consistently good on the track; he had 7 wins, 3 seconds, and a third place finish from 13 starts, earning $831,800. After not racing until the Fall as a three-year-old, he went on to set three track records on the track in 2008 as a 4 year old: at 5 1/2 furlongs in a Santa Anita allowance, six furlongs in the Grade 3 Los Angeles at Hollywood Park, and six furlongs in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar. He was a physically imposing racehorse who had a relentless ability to wear down his opponents, usually coming from 5-7 wide in the stretch to accomplish this. He ended his career by doing so, in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he finished third.

In the breeding shed, Street Boss has sired 15 stakes winners to date, and has produced better numbers at stud ever since his 2012 freshman campaign. This season, so far, has really catapulted him to new heights. Let’s look at his numbers since Darley lowered his stud fees after 2012.

North American Earnings

2015/46, 2014/69, 2013/96

Stakes Winners:

2015/6, 2014/5, 2013/4

2-Year-Old Earnings:

2015/7 (tied for 2nd with 8 winners so far this year), 2014/40, 2013/38

Turf Earnings:

2015/39, 2014/53, 2013/52

All Weather Earnings:

2015/12, 2014/94, 2013/113

Australia Earnings:

2015/$1,289,995, 2014/$1,160,60, 2013/$266,990

Lifetime AEI:

2015/43, 2014/65, 2013/80

So, as you can see, Street Boss has shown dramatic improvement in 2015. Overall, Street Boss is also known as a stallion who produces a nice % of winners from starters. Darley purchased him on the merits of his track record as an “A” list sprinter on top of a physique that would draw attention from breeders. I think we’re beginning to see what they saw in him by the offspring he’s now producing. Let’s look at some of them.

While Street Boss competed and in and won Grade One events on all-weather surfaces, he’s produced runners who’ve shown their talents on both dirt and turf. Street Boss didn’t race at two, and won at first asking in September at 3. Because of this, many of his progeny have run their best races as they’ve matured a bit. That’s why it’s nice to see him collecting some strong numbers from his 2-year-old runners this year, lead by Get Rhythm. who won the Ontario Debutante Stakes, and the talented filly Decked Out, a closer who’s run 2nd in the Astoria Stakes and 3rd in the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga in 2015. Street Boss first garnished attention as a sire in 2013, when Capo Bastone, at 28-1 odds, came from the back of the pack to win the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga. As a 2-year-old, he had finished 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. In 2014, Danza came on the scene. He was a lightly raced, Grade 2 placed juvenile who scored a dominant victory in the Grade 1 Arkansas victory at 41-1 odds. He followed that up with a game 3rd place finish to California Chrome in the Kentucky Derby. He was later retired to Spendthrift Farms. Capo Bastone and Danza both show off some of the versatility Street Boss has going for him as a sire; the ability to produce high-class sprinters as well as long-distance routers. On August 1st of 2015, we saw his three-year-old son Holy Boss win the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes (6 1/2 furlongs) at Saratoga in fine fashion, as this was his 3rd stakes win in a row and his 1st Graded Stakes score. He will most likely run in the G1 King’s Bishop Stakes at the end of the month. Other runners that have made 2015 a special one for the sire are Long Hot Summer (G3 Placed Senorita Stakes, Turf), Soul Driver (Multiple Stakes winner on turf, 1 at Del Mar), Bench Warrant (stakes winner, turf), Metaboss (winner, G3 El Camino Derby, synthetic), King of New York (stakes placed at Saratoga, dirt), Highway Boss (stakes placed, dirt), and Petits Filous (AUS, G3) . These horses are all three-year-olds and competed in distances from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. They also ran and won on all 3 surfaces. These successes show how Street Boss produces horses who blossom throughout their three-year-old seasons. Street Boss has an AWD of 6.5, which means his progeny have a tendency to win at sprint distances. This is not surprising, given that he was a top-notch sprinter with a gift for speed. It is his sire line, with Street Cry and Machiavellian influences, and his dam sire line, with Ogygian and Blushing Groom, that help him produce routers when bred to a distance-laden female family and gives hope that he can one day produce a classic-winning horse. Let’s look more into his pedigree to find clues as to what we may expect from Street Boss in the coming years.

Street Boss was a KEESEP2005, $300,000 yearling purchase by Bruce Headley, Marsha Naify and Simon Yu. His dad, Street Cry, was a physically gifted horse who earned over 5 million dollars on the track by winning the 2002 Stephen Foster Handicap and 2002 Dubai World Cup. Street Cry was an honest horse, never finishing out of the money in 12 career starts. His racing career was unfortunately muttered by injury, as he had to miss both the Kentucky Derby at 3 and the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 4, an injury that ended his career. As a young and talented international sire, along with Street Boss he produced the great filly and 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta and Street Sense, the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Champion and 2007 Kentucky Derby Champion. He unfortunately passed away at 16 years of age. Street Cry has been represented by progeny that have earned more than $84.3 million worldwide, including six champions, 49 graded stakes winners, 78 stakes winners, and 17 Grade 1 winners. Street Cry was by dual Group One winner Machiavellian, a son of the influential sire Mr. Prospector. He was one of Europe’s finest stallions who also produced another Dubai World Cup winner in Almutawakel. Another Machiavellian son, Storming Home, was a two-time Grade One turf winner in the U.S. Street Boss is out of Ogygian, a listed stakes winner. She produced Habiboo, who was a Multiple G2 stakes placed filly. She is a full sister to stakes placed Tiny Decision, and a half-sister to half-sister to Fruhlingserwachen (dam of Fruhlingssturm-1st G2 Euro-Cup (Ger) and Champion 3-year-Old in Holland in 2003). His 2nd dam, Fruhlingshochzeit, was a stakes winning miler in France. His 3rd dam, Fuhrlingstag, was Group 1 placed and the dam of Running Stag, who was a Multiple Grade 2 winning horse in the U.S. who also placed 2nd in the prestigious Group One Hong Kong Cup.  Street Boss’s dam sire is Ogygian, and this is who he most resembles in looks and in speed. He was a Graded Stakes winner from 7 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, and won 7 races from 10 starts. While becoming just an ordinary sire, he was a superior broodmare sire, producing Street Boss, Champion Sprinter Johannesburg, Multiple Grade 1 winner Gygistar, and Multiple Grade 2 winner Friendly Island amongst others. Ogygian was a known speed influence. His 2nd dam sire is Blushing Groom. A Champion Two and Three year Old in Europe, Blushing Groom became a Brilliant/Classic Chef-de-Race in the breeding shed. He gave off both speed and endurance onto his progeny. Finally, Street Boss’s 3rd sire, Orsini, was the 1958 Horse of the Year in Germany and was also a four-time Champion Sire there as well. He won numerous races at 1 1/2 miles and is a stamina influence. Street Boss has a nice blend of speed, stamina, and class in his bloodlines. While his dam sire, Ogygian, probably gave him his speed, some of the distance horses in his pedigree were probably the reason why he could go 6-7 wide while sprinting and clear the field. Street Cry, Machiavellian, Blushing Groom, and Orsini may help Street Boss eventually produce a classic winner.

Street Boss is the epitome of a value sire. His numbers keep getting better in all areas, he’s putting out more stakes winners with each passing year, has proved he can produce Grade 1 winners, and he has a strong pedigree that should lead towards producing quality, good-looking horses that have started to produce nicely upon hitting the track. I see Street Boss on the rise, and I don’t see why he can’t continue to have more success as a sire for years to come. At his current price of $10,000, I view him as a steal.

Afleet Alex, Photo Courtesy of Gainesway Farm

The pinnacle moment in Afleet Alex’s racing career was his Preakness Stakes, where heading for home he stumbled so badly that he nearly fell to his knees, and his nose was just a few inches from dirt, only to regroup himself and regain momentum to win by 4 1/4 lengths. He ended his career with a dominant 7 length score in the Belmont Stakes, There was a lot of promise for Afleet Alex to become a talented stallion, but he has had his ups and downs there. Standing for an initial fee of $40,000, Afleet Alex has dipped as low as $12,500 at this present time. And here is where his value lies. His son, Texas Red, not only won the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at 2 in 2014, but also took the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes recently at 3. Materiality, meanwhile, won this year’s Florida Derby. Finally, in 2014, Iotapa won back-to-back Grade 1’s and then finished her career with back-to-back 3rd place finishes in Grade One races, including the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She was later sold at a KENNOV2014 sale for $2,800,000. With Afleet Alex’s numbers on the rise these past 3-4 years, I would expect his stud fees to rise accordingly. His arrow is pointing upward, and furthermore he’s performing much better overall than many of his counterparts commanding much more money at stud. Let’s look at Afleet Alex and what makes him a true fan favorite to many horse racing fans.

Afleet Alex was a good one from the start. In 2004, after winning his maiden and an allowance race, he won the G2 Sanford Stakes (in a stakes record time) and the G1 Hopeful Stakes. He finished up the year running 2nd in both the G1 Champagne Stakes and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Then, as a three-year-old, he won the Mountain Valley Stakes at Oaklawn before finishing last in the G2 Rebel Stakes. It was later discovered that he had a lung infection, which explained his finish. Once that cleared, Afleet Alex put out a scintillating performance in the Arkansas Derby, winning by a record 8 lengths. As one of the betting favorites in the Kentucky Derby, he finished 3rd, losing by one length to longshots Giacomo (50-1) and Closing Argument (72-1). Jeremy Rose, Afleet Alex’s jockey, was criticized for his ride on Afleet Alex. Critics say that he lost Afleet Alex the Derby by whipping him right-handed in deep stretch, forcing the colt toward the rail, onto a deeper, slower part of the racetrack. Afleet Alex next ran at Pimlico, and that is where his spot in horse racing lore was cemented. His stumble and recovery on the road to victory, for many fans, was one for the ages. Moving on to the Belmont Stakes, he made his 7 length win look extremely effortless. He was one length from being a Triple Crown winner, and was awarded the 2005 Eclipse Award for a 3 Year Old Male Colt. Afleet Alex was retired in 2006 due to injury. He ended up with a record of 12 starts with 8 wins, 2 second place finishes, and a third place finish. His total earnings was $2,765,800.  Afleet Alex would be remembered for his ability and athleticism on the race track. Now let’s look at his sire data, which should give you an idea that he’s a sire on the rebound.

Afleet Alex has already made a mark as a stallion. At stud so far, he has had 50- plus stakes horses, 30-plus stakes winners, 12 Graded winners, with earnings of over $30,000,000. In 2013, his stud fee went from $15,000 to a low of $12,500. Here are his numbers from 2012 until now.

North American Earnings:

2015/22, 2014/19, 2013/59, 2012/51

Stakes Winners:

2015/5, 2014/7, 2013/4, 2012/5

Two-Year-Old Earnings:

2015/0ut of the top 150, 2014/3, 2013/60, 2012/139

Turf Earnings:

2015/42. 2014/57, 2013/124, 2012/108

All Weather Earnings:

2015/35, 2014/46, 2013/89, 2012/123

Lifetime AEI:

2015/50, 2014/54, 2013/56, 2012/53

Japan Earnings:

2015/$20,473, 2014/$78,635, 2013/$296,088, 2012: N/A

Afleet Alex has made dramatic improvements in most categories over the past two years, especially North American earnings, turf earnings, and all weather earnings . Afleet Alex has been known to be one who gets his offspring to develop a little bit over time; this is why it was so nice to see what Texas Red accomplished in his Breeders’ Cup race. Early on as a sire, Afleet Alex sired Afleet Express, who won the Grade One Travers Stakes in 2010, and Dublin, who won the 2009 Hopeful Stakes. Now, fast forward to 2015, and Afleet Alex has added 4 more Grade One winners: Texas Red, Iotapa, Materiality, and Sharla Rae. That’s a huge spike in production, showing Afleet Alex is trending in the right direction as a sire. Here’s a look at some of his best offspring.

Afleet Alex’s first crop numbers in 2009 were nothing to write home about. He finished 7th in earnings, but did have Dublin win the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga, the same race he won in 2004. Dublin went on to finish 3rd in the G1 Arkansas Derby and earn $438,949. 2010 brought us the first cropper Afleet Express and a nose win at the G1 Travers Stakes. He injured himself and has gone on to become a sire. Afleet Alex also had another first-crop horse in Afleet Again, who in 2010 won the Grade 3 Withers on his way to winning the Breeders’ Cup Marathon the following year. Other horses of note that Afleet Alex produced before 2014 were Harissa, a stakes-winning filly at 3, who won the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie in 2011 at 4, first-crop Afleeting Lady, who became a graded stakes winner in 2012 at age 5 with wins in the Grade 2 Falls City and the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm. There was also Second-crop Bizzy Caroline, a dual Grade 3-winning filly on turf, the third-crop Called to Serve, who won the Grade 3 Discovery in 2012 and was third in this 2013 Santa Anita Handicap, and the second crop Miss Valentine, who was a multiple stakes winner. Things were then pretty quiet for Afleet Alex until his daughter, Iotopa, won the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap and Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes during the Summer of 2014. He then struck again in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, when his son Texas Red blew open the race, winning going away by 6 1/2 lengths. The Spring of 2015 welcomed Materiality on to the Derby Trail, with a win in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and a spot as one of the favorites in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished 6th. Finally, this past August of 2015 has been mammoth for Afleet Alex. Not only did Texas Red announce to everybody that, after injury, he was back in the 3-year-old fray with a win in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy, but this past weekend three-year-old filly Sharla Rae scored in the G1 Del Mar Oaks. Afleet Alex is showing us that he’s much better than his stud value indicates, and I feel horse breeders and owners will have had to take notice

Afleet Alex is by Northern Afleet, who was a strongly-built miler and has produced over 70 stakes winners with earnings over $59 million dollars. More importantly, he’s given us 29 Graded Stakes winners, four champions, and five millionaires, incl. Afleet Alex, Big City Man, Teaks North, and Evening Jewel. His 2nd sire, Afleet, was the 1987 Canadian Horse Of The Year. He was sent to Japan, where he had progeny earning of over $125,000,000. While Northern Afleet had a propensity to throw speed into his runners, Afleet would give off stronger amounts of endurance. Afleet Alex himself puts a healthy does of stamina into his offspring. Afleet Alex’s dam, Maggy Hawk, also produced his full brother, the stakes winner Unforgettable Max. His 2nd dam was the Grade 1 winner Qualique, and his 4th dam was multiple stakes placed Gaylord’s Touch. She also produced Multiple Grade 3 winner Island Charm. Afleet Alex’s dam sire, Hawkster, was a Multiple Grade 1 winner and earner of close to $1.5 million dollars. He set a world record for 12 furlongs on turf at Santa Anita (2:22.80). As a sire, he only produced 4 stakes winners. His 2nd dam sire, Hawaii, was the 1968 Horse of the Year in South Africa, and the 1969 U.S. Champion Turf Horse. In the breeding shed, Hawaii had 39 stakes winners, including Kentucky Derby Champion Henbit. Finally, Afleet Alex’s 3rd dam sire is Sensitivo. He earned $248,557 on the track and attained 13 wins from 57 starts.

As far as Afleet Alex’s bloodlines are concerned, not many names that you’ll find in it would be over-appealing to Kentucky breeders. On top of that, although Afleet Alex is a nicely put together colt, he is not the most imposing colt. Even his breeder named him an “Ugly Duckling”. While this is a part of why his stud career has not grown to great heights, he appears to be heading in the right direction, and I can look at Afleet Alex today and say, “This horse is a value sire”.

Mahubah's Corner: Yes It's True

Yes It’s True, Photo Courtesy of Lee Thomas

Veteran sire yes It’s True has raised up his game for Three Chimneys Farm ever since his stud fee was lowered after his 2012 season. Although he has been at or near five million dollars in earnings for nine straight years, he only costs $10,000. Yes It’s True is as consistent as it comes. If you are looking for a quality dirt sire, look no further. You will pay half the price, in many cases, for his results. Yes It’s True has been inside the top 35 sires in total earnings for three straight years. And his two-year-olds have been showing well, ranking 24th in earnings this year and tied for 2nd in stakes winners. Let’s look at this stallion and see how he’s on the rise in his twilight years.

Yes It’s True sold at BARMAR98 2-year-old sale for $800,000 (3rd highest price of sale). His athleticism, good looks, and precocity followed him on to the track. He possessed an abundance of speed from the get go. where at 2 he raced 9 times, and came away with 5 wins (Multiple Grade 3 victories), 2 seconds (including G1 Futurity Stakes), and a third. At three, he became a top flight sprinter, winning 6 races of 11, including the Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash (G1), Riva Rige S.(G2), Maryland Breeders’ Cup (G3), Lafayette S. (G3), Swale S. (G3), and Jersey Shore Breeders’ Cup (G3). Unfortunately, the colt’s 4-year-old season was poor, as he started only twice and finished out of the money both times. He retired to stud having won half his 22 starts and earning $1,080,700.

Yes It’s True began his stud career at Pauda Stables in Florida. His pedigree was not seen as one that would demand attention from horse breeders and owners. But after finishing 2nd in the country in first-crop earnings, he was brought to Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky, where he’s been a consistently good sire. Yes It’s True has put up increasingly good numbers in many areas, yet he stands for a mere $10,000. Let me show you.

North America Earnings:

2015/26, 2014/24, 2013/33, 2012/59

Stakes Winners:

2015/5, 2014/8, 2013/9, 2012/5

Two-Year-Old Earnings:

2015/24, 2014/33, 2013/17, 2012/44

Turf Earnings:

2015/not ranked, 2014/125, 2013/74, 2012/129

All Weather Earnings:

2015/144, 2014/99, 2013/58, 2012/62

Lifetime AEI:

2015/76, 2014/79, 2013/88, 2012/86

International Earnings:

2015/$51,579, 2014/$79,714, 2013/$76,645, 2012/$387,500

Broodmare Sire Earnings:


In most categories, Yes It’s True has dramatically raised his game since his stud value was dropped in 2012. As you can see, Yes It’s True is strongly slanted as a dirt sire, but he is a very good value none the less. You are paying double in many cases for sires putting up his kind of numbers, and being such a consistently good stallion for many years would seem to be very enticing when deciding who you want to breed your mare with. Let’s look at Yes It’s True’s progeny to see the kind of horses he has produced.

Yes It’s True has over 52 stakes winners in his stud career and over 100 stakes horses. A couple  of his best horses have come on the seen this past couple of years. Top sprinter The Big Beast , standing at over 17 hands tall, captured the 2014 G1 King’s Bishop Stakes, gobbling up ground going six wide and putting his head in front of Fast Anna for the win. An injury forced him to miss the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and after a 4 month layoff since finished  4th in the G1 Carter Handicap. Since then, Big Beast finished a game second recently, losing by a nose to the up-and-coming Rock Fall in the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. Yes It’s True’s ever consistent, Multiple Grade 2 winning filly, La Verdad, has won 14 of her 20 starts and has earned over $1 million dollars on the track. She first came on the scene in the Spring and Summer of 2014 with 4 straight stakes wins (1 Graded). In 2015, she is undefeated in four starts (3 Graded scores), and stepped up in class to win the Grade 2 honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga on July 29th. Yes It’s True 3-year-old son, The Truth or Else, found himself on the 2015 Derby trail with a 2nd place finish in the G3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Finally, 3-year-old filly Calamity Kate was the winner of the $300,000 Delaware Oaks. Other notable progeny of Yes It’s True include Multiple Grade 2 winner Aikenite, Proud Accolade (G1 Champagne Stakes), Yesbyjimminy (stakes winning sprinter, $586,940), Maltese Massive (stakes winner in Japan), B.B. Best (multiple stakes winner, $787,761), and Earth Sound (stakes winning sprinter in Japan, $1,656,918). You can see that Yes It’s True has been flourishing over the last couple of years, and the veteran sire’s steady production should make him rather appealing to horse breeders everywhere, especially for economic reasons alone.

Yes It’s True is an outstanding physical specimen, whose yearlings and two-year-olds routinely sell for $100,000 and up. His sprinter speed has carried over onto his progeny, because his AWD is very low. If you are looking to breed a quality dirt sprinter, Yes It’s True fits the bill. His pedigree, while unflashy, is interesting and you’ll see why he makes a strong sire. He is by Is It True, who was the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, upsetting heavily favored Easy Goer. He earned $819,999 on the track. Is It True sired 2 Grade 1 winners, one being Yes It’s True. Overall, he sired 29 stakes winners, as he stood in Australia and Kentucky. His AWD was very low as well, showing that he was a producer of mainly sprinter types. Yes It’s True Grandsire is Raja Baba, who was the Leading Sire of North America in 1980. At stud, he sired 62 stakes winners (23 Group/Graded) and 2 Champions. Yes It’s True’s dam is Clever Monique, who was unplaced in her only race. She is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Prince of the Mt., and produced one other stakes winner, Honest Deceiver.  Yes It’s True comes from female family branch A1, whose descendants include Gato De Sol, Tizway, and Regret amongst others. Yes It’s True’s dam sire is Clever Trick. A fine sprinter, he had 18 wins from 29 starts and won 9 stakes races. Clever Trick had a nice stud career, producing 67 stakes winners with earnings of $43.5 million dollars. He was a sire of sires, with his sons producing 120 stakes winners with earnings of $85 million dollars. Clever Trick is another in Yes It’s True’s bloodlines who put sprinter speed into his progeny. His 2nd dam sire, Prince Of Ascot, earned $61,576 and had only 1 stakes winner. Yes It’s True’s 3rd dam sire, Speedy Frank, earned only $8,645. While Yes It’s True’s pedigree seems to be lacking, the promising thing about it is that it is an outcross to practically every major American sire line. He is free of  Mr. Prospector, Northern Dancer, In Reality, Seattle Slew, Hail to Reason, and Ribot. Thus he has been tried with mares having a large diversity of genetic backgrounds, and has been quite successful.

Yes It’s True has been as consistent as you can get over his 10+ years at stud. Every year he seems to put up numbers that are stronger than other sires who cost more than him. With his stud fees at a low of $10,000, his value has climbed high, because in these last couple of years he has put together high quality sprinters who are competing in and winning big races. Once again, if you were a breeder looking for a dirt sprinter, Yes It’s True would be a smart choice to bring you’re mare to; and a value one.

Birdstone, Photo courtesy of Gainesway Farm

Casual horse racing fans will hear the name Birdstone and draw a picture in their mind of the horse who broke up Smarty Jones’s Triple Crown bid in 2004, gunning him down in the Belmont Stakes to win by 1 length. To the more astute fan, Birdstone was remembered on the track as being the only horse other than Easy Goer (1989) to win the Champagne Stakes, the Belmont Stakes, and the Travers Stakes; all in New York. They may also know that his first crop at stud produced 2 classic winners in 2009, with Mine That Bird winning the Kentucky Derby and Summer Bird the Belmont Stakes. After that season, Birdstone’s stud fees hit a peak at $30,000 at Gainesway Farm. But ever since his freshman year, Birdstone was a disappointment as a sire, with his stud fee plummeting to $5,000 at this time. But here is where the value lies, because Birdstone has raised his game over the last few years and is showing improved numbers in many areas. And with Thank You Marylou placing in the 2014 Breeders’s Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, along with Noble Bird winning this year’s Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap, he’s made it clear that, once again, he can produce high quality racehorses. Let’s look at what makes Birdstone possibly the greatest $5000 stallion in the world.

Birdstone, who was trained by Nick Zito and is owned by Marylou Whitney, made a scintillating debut on Aug. 2, 2003 at Saratoga, accelerating from just off the pace and dusting the field to win by 12 1/2-length, running six furlongs in 1:10.32. He then moved on to the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes, where he finished 4th, losing by 6 1/2 lengths. Later that Fall, in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes, Birdtone surged past a pace-setting Chapel Royal to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Unfortunately, it appeared that Birdstone hadn’t carried is stellar two-year-old form into his tree-year-old season. After an easy allowance win at Gulfstream, he ran fifth in the Grade 2 Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park, losing by 10 3/4 lengths. He went on to finish 8th in the Kentucky Derby. Birdstone became an afterthought for bettors in the 2004 Belmont Stakes, letting him go off at 36-1. In the race, Triple Crown hopeful Smarty Jones and jockey Stewart Elliot made a pre-mature move and were leg-weary with one furlong left, and Birdstone had him in his sights and charged at him, galloping by him at the wire as silence and a few boos overcame Belmont Park. Smarty’s Party had been crashed. Even when he lined up for the Travers Stakes, people had their doubts in his ability, making him the 4th choice at 5-1. In the race, Birdstone loomed large, sitting 5th at the top of the stretch, and when asked he responded by gobbling up ground to pass his rivals and win by 2 1/2 lengths. In his last race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he finished 7th to eventual horse of the year Ghostzapper. For a career, Birdstone had 9 starts with 5 wins and earning of $1,575,600.

Birdstone was not seen as an overly-promising sire when he went to stud. This was probably because of his unimpressive stature, in which breeders would find less than desirable. He did have positive qualities; he was made pretty well and was a nice mover. His pedigree was also a good one, being by a Kentucky Derby Champion and out of a Broodmare of the Year. With all of that, though, his initial stud fee was only $10,000 and he only had 67 named foals in his first season. But in 2009, all changed, as he was 2nd in earnings as a second-crop sire based on the successes of Mine That Bird and Summer Bird. This was amongst such talented stallions as Medaglia d’ Oro, Tapit, Speightstown, and Candy Ride. Then, a fall from grace in 2010 where, as a third-crop sire, he finished 29th in earnings. But I’m going to show you how Birdstone has started to make a comeback by looking at some of his numbers. $5000 is too low of a stud fee now for what he has been putting out on the track.

North American Earnings:

2015/74, 2014/106, 2013/not in the top 150 (stud fee $10,000)

Stakes Winners:

2015/4, 2014/3

2-year-Olds Earnings

2015/42, 2014/not in the top 150, 2013/73

Turf Earnings

Not ranked in pat 3 years

All Weather Earnings:

2015/102 (1 SW), 2014/70 (2 SW), 2013/not in top 150

Lifetime AEI:

2015/90, 2014/94, 2013/81


2015/$178,800, 2014/$93,380

To put things in perspective, in 2015, there are just 2 sires standing for $5000 or less that are ahead of Birdstone, in North American Earnings. Behind Birdstone, this year, there are more than 25 sires who have higher stud fees than him who have less in total North American earnings. I’m thinking value. Especially seeing that many of his numbers have increased the last couple of years. And now after seeing that he’s produced his first Grade 1 winner since 2009, a Breeders’ Cup placed filly, and a two-year-old who looks like he’s on to better things, his $5000 stud fee is almost laughable and most likely will be adjusted by Gainesway heading into the 2016 season. Let’s look at the horses who have lifted this bird off the ground again.

2014 was the start of the comeback for Birdstone, and surprisingly, it was led by a three-year-old filly sprinter, Thank You Marylou. After winning the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs, she ran 3rd in the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes and followed up that performance with a third place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Stakes. Thank You Marylou finished the year with another third place finish in the La Brea Stakes, and is still running at 4 this year. Other quality performers in 2014 for Birdstone were Blue Tone (stakes winner and Grade 3 placed at Del Mar), Florida Won (Grade 3 Ontario Derby) and Conquest Titan (2nd place, Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes). 2015 introduced us to Noble Bird. He flew onto the seen on Kentucky Oaks day with a 2nd place finish in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes, and followed that race up with a surprising score in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap. In that race, he beat Lea and Hopportunity, and it was a “win and you’re in” race to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Other top performers of Birdstone in 2015 are Stoneware (2nd place Wakango Stakes-Japan), Florida Won (2nd G2 Dominion Day Stakes, G2SW Seagram Cup Stakes), Blue Tone (winner Santana Mile Stakes), and the promising 2-year-old Swipe, who won the Summer Juvenile Championship Stakes and finished 2nd in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar. Before 2014, Mine That Bird, Summer Bird, and Birdrun had been Birdstone’s most notable offspring. For a $5000 stallion, this is quite a strong resume. He’s already passed his mark of stakes winners this year, with four, and the year is far from over. This is turning into a nice comeback for a horse who’s never seemed to garnish a ton of respect, on and off the track.

While commercial breeders didn’t line up to hand their mares over to Birdstone upon his retirement in 2005, I doubt it had anything to do with his pedigree. He is by Grindstone, the 1996 Kentucky Derby winner, and hails from the Unbridled sire line, which gave us recent Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, through his son Empire Maker (2003 Belmont Stakes winner). Talented sire Unbridled’s Song was a son of Unbridled as well. He sired over 100 stakes winners and had over $90 million dollars in career earnings. Besides winning the Kentucky Derby, Grindstone also won the Louisiana Derby and lost by a neck in the Arkansas Derby. He earned $1,224,510 on the racetrack. Grindtone’s offspring are not overly large, and inherit more endurance than speed from him. He has sired 25 stakes winners to date, and has stood in Oregon since 2007. Birdstone’s 2nd sire, Unbridled, not only won the Kentucky Derby in 1990, but that year captured the Breeders’ Cup Classic and became the U.S. Champion Three Year Old Colt. Unbridled holds the distinction of being the last stallion to have sired at least one horse in each American Triple Crown race: Grindstone (Kentucky Derby), Red Bullet (Preakness Stakes), and Empire Maker (Belmont Stakes). Overall, Unbridled sired 48 stakes winners in an abbreviated stud career, which included four Eclipse Award Champions (three-year-old fillies Banshee Breeze and Smuggler, and two-year-olds Anees and Halfbridled). Unbridled’s progeny were also known to win at longer distances. Because of American Pharoah’s success, I’d imagine this would only make Birdstone a more desirable sire. It is Birdstone’s female family where you see the true class of this horse. His dam, Dear Birdie, is the dam of 12 foals to race, in which all are winners. Amongst them, she gave us Bird Town, who won the 2003 Kentucky Oaks with the fastest time in the races history. In 2004, Dear Birdie became the Broodmare of the Year. Birdstone’s 3rd dam, You All, won the Ashland Stakes at 3. His 4th dam, Honey Dear, won the New York Handicap in a course record on the Belmont Turf (1 1/4 miles in 2:03.80). Birdstone’s dam sire, Storm Bird, was a 2-year-old champion in Europe and sired both Storm Cat and Summer Squall, who, by the way, had a great rivalry with Unbridled during their racing career. He was the sire of 63 stakes winners, and also the broodmare sire for over another 100 stakes winners, including Thunder Gulch and Commentator. His 2nd dam sire is Silent Screen, who was a U.S. Champion 2 Year Old Colt. He never won beyond a mile. Birdstone’s 3rd dam sire is Hall of Famer Nashau, won 22 races from 30 starts, and was the 1955 Horse of the Year. A winner of the Belmont Stakes, he broke 3 track records during his career, at 6 furlongs, 9.5 furlongs, and 16 furlongs. So while Grindstone has underachieved as a sire, the Unbridled sire line is extremely strong, and his dam line would seem to be a huge draw to those interested in breeding their mare with Birdstone.

Birdstone, for the most part, has played the underdog role, on the track and in the breeding shed. He’s definitely had his moments of greatness, but all have come as a surprise to most. Sitting with a current stud fee of $5000, I think it would be to no one’s surprise if that was to rise in the near future, given the success of some of his horses since 2014. I think it would make many racing fans happy to see Birdstone continue to soar higher and higher in the coming years, after having the fall from grace he’s experienced as a sire.

Discreet Cat, Photo Courtesy of Darley

Discreet Cat is standing at Darley for $7,500, and I don’t know why. In 2014 and 2015, he was and is ahead in North American Earnings over numerous sires that cost double or more than him. So far in 2015, he ranks 16th in 2-year-old earnings. His 2-year-olds at auction this year have averaged $89,000. His son, Dads Cap, won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap this past April. Finally, he was tremendous on the racetrack at both 2 and 3. I have one thing to say about Discreet Cat, and that is he’s a steal at $7,500.

Discreet Cat was known on the racetrack to have a high cruising speed and an ability to win his races with a sense of ease. He put on a spectacular performance in his debut at Saratoga, winning by 3 ½ lengths and getting six furlongs in 1:09.76, earning a 106 Beyer Speed Figure. After the race, he was purchased by Sheikh Mohammed for $6 million dollars and sent to race in Dubai. At 3, he won the Grade 2 UAE Derby by 6 lengths. Coming back to the United States, he won the G2 Jerome Handicap by 10 1/4 lengths. His 3-year-old season culminated with a Grade 1 win in the Cigar Mile against older horses, where he equaled a track record of 1:32.46 set by Easy Goer and earned a 116 BSF. Discreet Cat was the co-highweighted 3-year-old on the 2006 Northern Hemisphere World Thoroughbred Rankings, sharing a 128 ranking with Eclipse Award winner Bernardini. At 4, he had his undefeated streak broken when finishing last of seven in the Dubai World Cup after a poor break. Discreet Cat closed out his racing career with 2 third place finishes in the G1 Vosburgh Stakes and G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile. He ended up with 6 wins and 2 third place finishes from 9 starts with earnings of $1,694,180.

In 2013, Discreet Cat’s numbers were very strong. He was the 3rd ranked third-crop sire, so his stud fee was set for $20,000 for the upcoming season. You could have said that this was too low, given his credentials. In 2014, his numbers dipped, so Darley lowered his stud fees to $7,500. Once again, given what he was putting out, in relative comparison to other sires, this seemed like too low of a number. Let’s look at his numbers and stack them up against other sires to see where his value lies.

North American Earnings:

2015/56, 2014/63, 2013/39

Stakes Winners:

2015/5, 2014/6, 2013/13

Two-Year-Old Earnings:

2015/16, 2014/75, 2013/29

Turf Earnings: 

2015/60, 2014/50, 2013/38

All Weather Earnings:

2015/not ranked in the top 150, 2014/not ranked, 2013/not ranked

Lifetime AEI:

2015/81, 2014/83, 2013/70


2015/$390,000, 2014/$671,000, 2013/$1.15 million dollars

First off, I don’t see such a drop off in numbers in 2014 to bring about such a reduction in stud fees. And it was only in one year…it was not like a pattern had been formed. Darley has been bringing in a lot of mares to be bred with him, so it’s not like they are throwing  in the towel on him. But for a horse who’s already sired 5 Grade 1-Grade 2 winners since 2011, $7,500 seems like a bargain price. Especially, when comparing  his 2015 North American Earnings to date to other big-name sires such as Midnight Lute ($25,000), First Samurai ($15,000), Eskendereya ($17,500), Quality Road ($35,000), Warrior’s Reward ($25,000), Into Mischief ($35,000), and Tale of Ekati ($15,000). Let’s look at some of Discreet Cat’s progeny which give him strong appeal.

Discreet Cat has produced 20 stakes winners, over 190 winners, with earnings of over $18 million dollars. He also has a healthy 12% stakes horses from runners. 2013 was a big year for him, as he got his 1st Grade One winner with Discreet Marq in the Del Mar Oaks on the turf. She has gone on the place in 6 other Grade One events to date, with earnings of $1,263,900. Dads Caps is another of Discreet Cat’s millionaires. He won both the 2014 & 2015 Grade One Carter Handicaps (7 furlongs). Discreet Cat has 2 other millionaires, Qisah and Air Khalifah, who run in Japan. His other Grade 1 winner is Secret Compass (G1 Chandelier Stakes). Discreet Cat’s other Graded Stakes winners are Discreet Dancer (G2 Gulfstream Park Handicap, placed G1 Carter Handicap), Mamma Kimbo (G2 Fantasy Stakes), Out Of Bounds (G3 Sham Stakes), Sage Valley (G3 Maryland Sprint Handicap & G3 James Marvin Stakes), and Debt Ceiling (G3 Bashford Manor Stakes). This is a pretty solid resume for a horse whose stud value is less than $10,000. Let’s see what his pedigree tells us about the attention he draws from horse breeders.

Discreet Cat is by Forestry. He was a muscular and good-looking colt, who was consistent during his racing career, with a record of 11 starts, 7 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds, earning $531,225. At 3, he equaled a record time set by Holy Bull in the Dwyer Stakes. He than set a track record in the 1999 King Bishop’s Stakes, stopping the clock at 1:21 flat for 7 furlongs. At stud, he sired Graded Stakes winners Diplomat Lady, Smokey Glacken, Old Forester, Forest Danger, and Woodlander amongst others. He also sired Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford. Forestry as over 50 stakes winners with over $45 million dollars of progeny earnings. He is also an emerging sire of sires, and is a known speed influence Discreet Cat’s 2nd sire is the influential Storm Cat. He won the Grade 1 Young America Stakes in 1985 in an abbreviated racing career. His stud fee of $500,000 was one of the highest in the world. Storm Cat was a leading sire of North America in both 1999 & 2000. He sired earners of more than $127 million, eight champions, and 108 graded stakes winners, including winners of the G1 Preakness Stakes, G1 Belmont Stakes, G1 Kentucky Oaks, and five Breeders’ Cup races. He was known to produce speedy, precocious 2-year-olds. Discreet Cat is a half-brother to G1 winner and sire Discreetly Mine, and Multiple Stakes winner Pretty Wild, through his Reines-de-Course dam Pretty Discreet. She won the G1 Alabama Stakes in 1985, and placed in the G1 Matron Stakes and G1 Frizette Stakes at 2. She is also the Granddam of G1 winners Awesome Maria, SW Chary, SW Concorde’s Edge, & SP Bound Notebook. Discreet Cat’s 3rd dam, Bury The Hatchet, was unraced, but produced Kentucky Oaks winner Buryyourbelief, who also ran 2nd in the G1 Ashland Stakes and G1 Santa Anita Oaks. His 4th dam is a Reines-de-Course mare Christmas Wishes, as was his 5th dam, Happy Mood. Discreet Cat’s dam sire is Private Account, Who won the Grade 1 Gulfstream Handicap (1 mile) and Grade 1 Widener Handicap (1 1/4 miles). At stud, he was the sire of the undefeated, superstar filly Personal Ensign and Inside Information, the American Champion Older Female Horse of 1995. Private Account produced 4 other millionaires, 61 stakes winners, and progeny earnings of over $44 million dollars. He was a known stamina influence. His 2nd dam sire, Believe It, won the 1978 Grade 1 Wood Memorial, and finished 3rd, to Affirmed and Alydar, in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He is the dam sire of Real Quiet, whose Triple Crown bid was spoiled in the Belmont Stakes by a nose in 1998. His 3rd dam sire is Tom Rolfe, the 1965 Champion Three Year Old Colt and Chef-de-Race, who was known as a strong broodmare sire and one who gave long distance to his progeny. You can see that Discreet Cat possesses a great balance of speed, class, and stamina in his pedigree. So far, he’s produced mostly miler types, but when matched to a distance- oriented  female family, may be able to produce a horse who can travel long. What is know is that when breeding to Discreet Cat, you are breeding to class, by looking at his dam line.

Discreet Cat has produced Graded winners that suggest at $7500, he is undervalued as a sire. If he continues to produce solid numbers, such as the ones he’s putting together in 2015, he should be called a steal based on the quantity of sires who cost more than and numbers are beneath him. Discreet Cat owns the racing career, the progeny, and the pedigree that makes him very desirable to breed to. I see him climbing back towards the numbers he produced in 2013, and, to me, that what makes him a current value sire.


A value horse is one where you say, “for where is stud price is, he’s much better than many horses behind him whose prices are double.” You can say that about all five horses I’ve covered in this article. You can also see that they are on the rise; they’re moving forward off last years’ numbers. These are sires that you’re pretty certain you’ll see an increase in their stud fees probably in 2016. I hope you enjoyed reading about them as I did studying them, for there is something special to be found in a value sire.









An Education On Japan

Japan - Racehorse's photo.

Photo Coutesy of NYRA

“Sushi is something very exclusive. It is not like McDonald’s, not like a hot dog, not like a French fry. It’s very high-class cooking in Japan.”-Nobu Matsuhisa 

The highly patient Bill Mott has been on a roll recently, winning stakes races with late-developing three-year-olds at different tracks in the month of July. First, well regard and undefeated Speighster impressively won the Grade 3, $500,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park on July 4th, earning a 104 BSF. Than on July 18, Mott’s improving Tiz Shea D picked up a Graded Stakes score in the $500,000 Grade 2 Indiana Derby, while Syntax picked up his first stakes win in the $200,250 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park on the turf. Now Japan, the late-blooming winner of the 3-horse, $150,000 WinStar Farm Easy Goer Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard on June 6, is scheduled to run against a deep field of three-year-olds in the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes this Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. The field includes Materiality, Frosted, Texas Red, Upstart, and Frammento. Japan will be stepping up in class, having only a maiden win to his credit, before his stakes score, and earning just a 89 BSF in it, but Bill Mott is high on this well-bred horse, and he could be ready to peak at the right time for his trainer, like these other July stakes winners have. There’s always been a quiet buzz about this horse, ever since he wintered at Gulfstream Park. We’ll see if he has the talent to compete with these other 3-year-old rivals, a few who had big wins on the Derby trail this spring.  What I do see, though, is a horse who has the bloodlines that place him right in the thick of things.

Past Performance

When Japan came onto the scene down in Florida this Winter, he was under the care of trainer Mike Hushion. He had been training last summer at Saratoga, “but we pulled the plug,” Hushion said. “It was clear he wasn’t going to be an early 2-year-old.”

In his debut on February 21st at Gulfstream Park going 6 1/2 furlongs, Japan was all the rage, as his odds went from 15-1 ML to becoming the 2-1 favorite. In the race, Japan broke from post 12 in a fourteen horse field and had a horrible trip from start to finish. He was off slow, went far wide into the far turn, bumped with Pool Winner in the stretch, and finished a distant sixth.

A little while after the race, Hushion became ill, and Japan was placed in the barn of Bill Mott. He shipped him to Keenland to run on April 4th in a MSW. Stretching out to 1 1/16 miles, Japan went off as the 3-1 second choice, and ran second to even money favorite Wisecracker, losing by 2 1/2 length. It was another 6 lengths to 3rd. Once again, Japan suffered from another tough trip. This is how the Equibase chart read, “JAPAN tracked three wide, was caught in tight and jostled between horses near the three-eighths pole, shifted out five wide to be clear and continued on well for the place.” So with better racing luck, Japan most likely would have gave a better account of himself. Here’s a replay from the race:

Bill Mott moved Japan to Churchill Downs for a another chance to break his maiden on April 30th, and the third time was the charm, as Japan easily handled a field of 9 other runners as the 3/5 favorite, winning going away by 7 lengths in a 1 1/16 mile MSW, stopping the clock at. Finally, Japan caught a clean trip in this one, in which he tracked the pace before making a move on the far turn and drawing off nicely, geared down towards the wire. Here’s the video from his maiden score:

Japan showed his Hall of Fame trainer enough talent and development for him to move him into stakes company off his maiden win, shipping out East to run on the Belmont Stakes undercard in the $150,000 WinStar Farm Easy Goer Stakes. A small field of five got even smaller, when both Donworth and Combat Driver scratched out of the race, leaving it a three-horse affair. The 2-5 favorite, Stanford, was thought to get the early lead and never relinquish it. He broke slowly, though, and had to go and catch Todd Pletcher’s other fast runner, Nonna’s Boy. But in the stretch, Japan, at 3-1, drifted out and edged past both horses to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Here’s how it looked:

Bill Mott said after the race, “He’s just getting it together. He’s a young, inexperienced, immature horse and he’s just getting it together I’d say. He was impressive today.” Jockey Junior Alvarado added, “I’m very comfortable with the horse, riding him the last three times, and I’ve always been high on him.  I just tried to be patient. They tried to box me in, but I had the best horse. As soon as I put him in the clear, he took off for me.”

Japan is a big, good-looking horse with a nice, long stride. His connections are probably being wise in placing him in this race, as opposed to Sunday’s Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park vs. Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah. While one might look at this as a major class hike for Japan is taking, by looking at his past performances throughout his brief career racing, you are looking at a talented horse who, like Mott’s other late-developing three-year olds this past month, may be getting really good at the right time. Here’s a look at his pedigree,


Japan is owned by Barry Schwartz and was purchased at KEESEP2013 yearling sale for $300,000.

Medaglia d’Oro, Photo Courtesy of Darley America

Japan is by the very successful sire Medaglia d’Oro. He currently stands for $125,000 at Darley. This is a sire who keeps putting up better numbers year after year. In 2015, he is 4th in North American earnings, up from 6th in 2014 and 14th in 2013. He is currently the North American leader in stakes winners, where he finished tied for 4th in 2014 and 4th in 2013. Finally, he currently ranks 2nd in turf earnings, where he was 7th in 2014 and 11th in 2013. It is easy to say that Medaglia d’Oro is a “hot” sire at this time.

On the racetrack, Medaglia d’Oro was a force. An earner of over $5 million dollars, this handsome and powerfully shaped colt was very fast, and could carry his speed a long ways. He was also known as a fighter with tons of determination. Medaglia d’Oro was a consistent horse, and was also a late developer, which may explain why Japan has emerged into a stakes winner in the Summer of his 3-year-old season. Medaglia d’Oro ran first or second in all 17 of his career starts except twice. His big wins came in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, Grade 1 Whitney Handicap, Grade 1 Donn Handicap, and Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes. He finished 2nd in the Belmont Stakes, 2nd twice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, 2nd in the Pacific Classic, and finally 2nd in the Dubai World Cup.

Madaglia d’Oro made a name for himself at stud with his second crop of runners, producing Grade 1 winner Gabby’s Golden Gal, Grade 2 victor Payton d’Oro, and superstar filly Rachel Alexandra. Overall, he’s sired 11 Grade 1 winners and 9 millionaires worldwide. Some of his best offspring include Lochte, Coffee Clique, Marketing Mix, Plum Pretty, Vancouver, Mshawish, Medaglia Beat, A Shin Memphis, and Al Khali, who we’ll talk about later.

Japan’s 2nd sire is El Prado. He was the 1991 Irish Champion 2-Year-Old, winning 3 stakes races that year. He was an excellent sire in North America, producing 82 stakes winners and becoming the 2002 North American Leading Sire. Some of his best offspring were Artie Schiller, Borrego and Kitten’s Joy. His 3rd sire, Sadler’s Wells, was a 14 time Leading Sire in Great Britain and Ireland and is a Chef-De-Race. He was also the 1984 Champion Miler in France. He is a known strong stamina influence.

Japan is out of the dam Maya, who is also the dam of Multiple Grade One placed Al Khali, through Medaglia d’Oro, making Japan a full brother to him. Al Khali also won the G3 Saranac Stakes at 3, and the G2 Bowling Green Handicap at 11 furlongs at 4. This is a female family which carries great horses, such as Queena (1991 Champion Older Mare), Hungry Island (Multiple Grade 2 turf winning filly), Somali Lemonade (Grade 1 Diana Stakes), and Verrazano (Multiple Grade 1 winner). Japan’s dam line is built on class.

His dam sire is Capote. He was best known for becoming the American Two-Year-Old Champion Colt in 1986. He won 3 of 4 races that year, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, in a front running win against a great field that included future Champion Sprinter Gulch, Polish Navy, future Champion and Hall of famer Alysheba, and Belmont Stakes Champion Bet Twice. Capote did not carry his two-year-old form as a three-year-old, and finished 16th out of 17th in the Kentucky Derby.  He is a half-brother to millionaire Exceller (11 Grade/Group 1 wins, on both dirt and turf) and three other stakes winners. Capote was also produced from 1986 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Too Bald. His was a successful sire, with 62 stakes winners (21 Graded Stakes). His top progeny was another 2-Year-Old Champion, Boston Harbor, and 2-Year Old Champion in Ireland, Basim. His son, Surfing Home, was the South African Horse of the Year in 1995 and Champion stayer. Capote was a moderate influence of stamina. Japan’s 2nd dam sire is Lyphard. He was a Multiple Grade 1 winning miler and excellent sire. He was the Leading Sire in France in 1978 & 1979, Leading Broodmare Sire in France in 1985, and Leading Sire in North America in 1986. Overall, he sired 115 stakes winners and was the broodmare sire for another 196 stakes winners. He is one of the best known stamina influencing sires there’s been for quite some time. Japan’s 3rd dam sire is the great thoroughbred influencing sire Mr. Prospector. His descendants have been a dominant force in the Triple Crown Series for over 30 years. He was the Leading Sire in North America in 1987 & 1988 and The Leading Broodmare Sire from both 1997-2003 & 2005-2006. He gives off a healthy amount of endurance to his sons and daughters.

Overall, it’s easy to see why Japan was a high-priced yearling. He was produced by Medaglia D’Oro, a great looking and brilliant horse on the track who has risen to be one of the best sires there is out there today. Japan’s dam line is littered with distinguished broodmares, who produced high-quality horses on the track. Finally, his dam sire line is one that contains horses who were leading sires and broodmare sires numerous times, and produced runners who could travel a great distance of ground. This is a top-notch pedigree.

Japan has the talent to go with the pedigree. The extra 1/16 of a mile he’ll be running in the Jim Dandy Stakes should only help him. Here is a horse that developed late, had some tough racing luck to begin his racing career, but is now peaking under the unhurried guidance of trainer Bill Mott. He is in with a tough crowd in this race, but these horses were pointed to peak on the first weekend in May, while Japan was pointed to these summer events as his biggest races to run. If you base your wager strictly by Beyer Speed Figures, you’ll most likely scratch him off. But if you don’t, and you peel the onion back a little, you are looking at a horse whose best, I feel, puts him right in there with these. If Upstart and Materiality burn themselves out on the front end, Japan may have first crack at them before Frosted, Frammento, and Texas Red get there. This a huge advantage for Japan, and with some racing luck, this horse’s time to shine may be now. All of us just might be learning a thing or two about Japan this Saturday at Saratoga.


The Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes: An Overview Of The Race

2014 Schuylerville Stakes winner Fashion Alert, Photo: Erica Miller @togianphotog

The opening day of the Saratoga Meet is this Friday, July 24th. This is a happy time for all horse racing fans, and on this day we are treated with the first stakes race at the Spa, the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. This 6 furlong event is rich in tradition, with this being the 97th running of the race. Last year’s runner-up, Take Charge Brandi, went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and earn the Eclipse Award for a 2-Year-Old Filly as well. This year’s edition has drawn a deep field of talented juveniles who either own stakes wins or impressive maiden debuts. Most of these fillies also own impressive pedigrees, so it will be hard to pinpoint one to put a win wager on. There does seem to be a good amount of speed in the race, so the pace scenario may be the way to handicap the race. I’ve taken a look at each contestant from a past performance & pedigree standpoint. At the conclusion of this piece, I’ve given my own race analysis as well, including making selections. I am really looking forward to this race, because it seems like it should be one where any number of the entrants have a chance to win. I don’t see it being a two-horse affair like last year. Who do you like to win and why?


Positively Royal: Trainer: Todd Pletcher, Race Record: 1-1-0-0, $45,000, (Bernardini-Fashion Storm by Storm Cat)

Bernardini, Photo courtesy of


In a MSW at Belmont Park on June 18, Positively Royal was made the 1/2 favorite and did not disappoint her backers. Breaking third and hustling up to take the lead early, she never relinquished it, pulling away and winning the 5 furlong affair by 3 1/2 lengths, while stopping the clock in a fast time of :58.49. Here is a replay of her impressive performance:

Here is also a post race interview with Todd Pletcher on Positively Royal:

Positively Royal was very impressive in her race, especially because she broke slow and was still able to take the early lead. Todd Pletcher is great with two-year-olds, and he seems to think rather highly of this one’s potential.


Positively Royal is owned by Mathis Stable LLC and was purchased for $325,000 in the 2014 KEESEP yearling sale. Her dam, Fashion Storm, was unraced, and is a half-sister to Eddington ($1.2 million, G1 Pimlico Special winner, only raced once as a two-year-old) and Star Crowned ($600,000, third in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen) through her granddam, GSP router Fashion Star ($214,759). Positively Royal’s 4th dam, Sandy Blue, was a Multiple Graded Stakes winner and the winner of the G2 Hollywood Oaks at 1 1/8 miles. Positively Royal’s sire, Bernardini, was a late bloomer who amassed over 3 million dollars on the track. He won the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Travers Stakes at three. As a sire, Bernardini seems to put out horses that take some time to develop. His best 2-year-old was his first Grade/Group 1 winner, Biondetti, who won the Group 1 Gran Criterium in 2010. Her 2nd sire, A.P. Indy, really blossomed at 3 as well. Storm Cat is Positively Royal’s dam sire, and he is known to put out speedy and precocious 2-year-olds.  Her 2nd dam sire, Chief’s Crown, was the Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Male in 1984. Finally, Positively Royal’s 3rd dam sire, Sir Ivor, won the Group 1 National Stakes and Grand Criterium at 2.

Looking at Positively Royal’s pedigree, there is class from her dam line, late developing brilliance from her sire line, and early maturing horses from her dam sire line. She should become a two-turn horse and appears to be a talented filly. I have some reservations as to if we’ll see her race at a high level during her two-year-old season, given she is out of Bernardini. In the Schuylerville Stakes, Positively Royal is another runner who should be towards the front and cruising along. Todd might have tipped his hand with this one when Tonasah, an impressive maiden winner as well, was not entered in the race. She does look like an intriguing prospect who we’ll probably be hearing more from as her two-year-old season progresses.

Areolite: Trainer Steve Asmusssen, Rave Record: 2-1-0-1, $36,200, (Tapit-Catera by Gone West)


Tapit, Photo Courtesy of Gainsway Farm


Areolite broke her maiden at first asking on May 21 at Churchill Downs in a 5 furlong MSW. Going off at 2/1, she was bumped at the break, but recovered and came to even turns with a quarter-mile left to run, got a narrow lead with a furlong left and held it, winning by 1 length over eventual Debutante Stakes winner Cosmic Evolution in :58.82. Here is the video of the race:

In her next race, the $100,000 Debutante Stakes, she ran third, losing by 4 1/4 lengths. There, she fell back early, went six wide into the far turn, made a bid in the stretch but flattened out. Here is the replay:

I was surprised to see trainer Steve Asmussen elect to run Areolite and One Minute over 2nd place Debutante winner Adhara, who seems the best of the three to me. Trainer Lon Wiggins electing not to enter Cosmic Evolution in the race may be saying something about Areolite’s chances against this tough group of fillies. She appears to me to be a step behind them in talent. But she is a Tapit, so anything goes, right? Let’s look into her bloodlines in greater detail.


Areolite is owned by Ron Winchell. she is out of Catera, who is a stakes placed half-sister to the precocious G-1 winner and sire Cuvee and the stakes winning sprinter Will He Shine. Her granddam, Christmas Star, is a half-sister to G1 winner and Multiple Grade 2 winner Olympio (millionaire) and Call Now (368,785, Grade 2 Del Mar Debutante). Her 3rd dam is Reines de Course mare Carol’s Christmas. Untapable reigns from this family as well. Areolite’s sire, Tapit, broke the North American record for sire earnings in one season last year. Some of his best offspring were Breeders’ Cup winners Stardom Bound, Tapitsfly, Tapizar, Hansen, Breeders’ Cup and Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable, and Belmont Stakes Champion Tonalist. Her 2nd sire, Pulpit, had 63 stakes winner and was becoming a sire of sires before he passed away, with Tapit, Corinthian, Ice Box, Lucky Pulpit, Ordained, Parading, Sightseeing, Sky Mesa, and Stroll. Both her sire and 2nd sire produced horses that could cover a nice distance of ground. Areolite’s dam sire, Gone West, is known as a superb sire and sire of sires also. He produced 7 millionaires, 3 Breeders’ Cup Champions, a Belmont Stakes winner, and the sire Elusive Quality, who produced Smarty Jones, Raven’s Pass, and  Quality Road. He was a small influence on stamina. Her 2nd dam sire, Star De Naskra, was the 1979 U.S. Champion Sprinter, and produced Grade 1 winners Carr de Naskra and Sewickley. He gave his progeny more speed than stamina. Finally, Areolite’s 3rd dam sire, Whitesburg, didn’t do much on the track or in the breeding shed, and gave off just a slight amount of stamina.

Overall, Areolite gets a nice amount of class from her dam line, and being a daughter of Tapit doesn’t hurt a bit. Her dam sire line gives her a touch of stamina, but Areolite might find herself best at a mile in as her career moves on. Her maiden win was fine enough, but she took a step backward in the Debutante Stakes. She has enough class to be competitive in this race. I just don’t know if she possesses enough talent to win this race against the field she’s competing against.

One Minute: Trainer Steve Asmussen, Race Record: 5-1-1-1, $62,700, (Run Away And Hide-Bach Hamilton by Cherokee Run)

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Run Away And Hide, Photo Courtesy of Darby Dan


It took One Minute 3 times to break her maiden, but she did so in a big way on May 14th at Churchill Downs, when as the even money favorite, she was bumped early and blocked late, before altering course and leaving the field in the dust, winning by an impressive 7 1/4 lengths. She travelled five furlongs in a sharp :58.2. Here is the video:

Steve Asmussen stepped her up in class afterwards by sending her to Belmont Park to run in the $225,000 Astoria Stakes on June 4th. She ran 3rd in the four-horse race, losing by 6 1/2 lengths to Moment Is Right. Asmussen next tried her on polytrack at Woodbine on June 28th, and she definitely did not like it, finishing last in the $125,000 My Dear Stakes.

One Minute races her best just off the lead, but seems to not have enough talent to keep up with this Schuylerville field. On her best day, she may hit the board in my opinion. Even if you throw out the polytrack try, she just doesn’t show as much promise as the majority of this field.


One Minute is owned by Heiligbrodt, L. William and Corinne. She is out of Bach Hamilton, a multiple stakes-placed sprinter. Her granddam, Chilling Effect, was stakes-placed at 3. There is no black-type throughout the rest of her dam line. One Minute’s Sire is Run Away And Hide. He was a MGSW at 2. Run Away and Hide has sired seven stakes winners, 12 stakes horses, and earners of $4.4 million from his first three crops. He gives more speed than stamina to his runners Her 2nd sire, City Zip, has 58 stakes winners. He’s sired Champion Sprinter Work All Week and Champion Female Turf Horse Dayatthespa. City Zip is also more of a speed influence. One Minute’s dam sire is Cherokee Run. He was the Eclipse Champion Sprinter in 1994 and amassed more than $1.5 million dollars. His best offspring is War Pass, the 2007 Eclipse Champion 2-Year-Old and now sire. He adds a touch of speed onto his progeny. Her 2nd dam sire is Gold Fever, who was a Graded stakes winning sprinter and never accomplished a lot as a sire. Finally, her 3rd dam sire is The Minstrel, a Multiple Group 1 winner who at stud was a well-known stamina influence.

One Minute’s pedigree is not full of superstar sires or high-class dams, but it looks like she may become a decent sprinter over time. In my opinion, she is taking a big hike up in class in the Schuylerville Stakes, and also appears to be a step behind in talent.

Decked Out: Trainer Keith Desormeaux, Race Record: 2-1-1-0, $83,600, (Street Boss-Once Around by You And I)

Street Boss


Decked Out scored in her debut at 4 1/2 furlongs on May 7, 2015 at Santa Anita Park. In the race, Decked Out closed from the back of the field along the rail and won going away by 3 1/2 lengths. She stopped the clock in a sharp :51.59, very close to a track record of :51.22 set by Wake Up Nick in 2014. Here is the replay:

Decked Out next travelled East to race in the $250,000 Astoria Stakes on June 4 at Belmont Park. The winner, Moment Is Right, ran out to a four-length lead before Decked Out chased her down, matching her stride to stride inside the last furlong, before giving away and losing by 1 1/2 lengths. Watch the highlight here:

“This filly is going to enjoy more real estate and I had her off her feet, just trying to keep up with the black horse in front of her,” Kent Desormeaux said. “I don’t think I would have challenged her even if I attempted to be closer, but from the quarter pole to the eighth pole, I didn’t think I could lose. I just got to the winner and the winner had something left.”

Decked out has shown to be very precocious and professional in her first two starts. Her ability to close should provide her with a feather in her cap when competing against these rivals on Friday, given that there is a decent amount of speed signed on for the race.


Decked out is owned by Big Chief Thoroughbreds, LLC and Voss and was purchased at the KEESEP2014 yearling sale for $75,000. She is out of Once Around, a Multiple Stakes winning filly who won the Revidere Stakes on turf going 1 1/16 miles. Her granddam, Persimmon Hill, won four times at 3 and 4, and is the dam of Odysseus (2010 Tampa Bay Derby winner over Super Saver) and stakes placed Persimmon Honey. Decked Out’s 3rd dam, Rose O’Riley, is the dam of Graded Stakes placed Dayton Flyer. Her 4th dam, Rosetta Stone, is the dam of Champion Turf Filly of 1981 De La Rose and Upper Nile (G1 Suburban Handicap). Finally, her 5th dam, Rose Coral, was a Group 2 winning sprinter. This is a dam line full of class. Decked out is by Street Boss. He was a very fast sprinter, who was known to wear down his opponents. At 4, he won the G1 Bing Crosby Handicap in record time for 6 furlongs at Del Mar, and the G1 Triple Bend Invitational. He also set a course record at Hollywood Park for 6 furlongs in the Grade 3 Las Angeles Handicap and equaled a course record for 5 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita. Street Boss ran 3rd to Midnight Lute in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. His best progeny to date have been Danza (2014 G1 Arkansas Derby winner, 3rd place Kentucky Derby) and Capo Bastone (2013 G1 King’s Bishop winner). Although a synthetic specialist, these 2 horses showed that he could put out high quality dirt runners. Street Boss is a known speed influence. Her 2nd sire, Street Cry, earned over 5 million dollars on the track by winning the 2002 Stephen Foster Handicap and 2002 Dubai World Cup. As a sire, along with Street Boss he produced the great filly and 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta and Street Sense, the 2007 Kentucky Derby Champion. Street Cry also put a touch of speed into his offspring. Decked Out’s dam sire is You And I. He was a Multiple Graded stakes winner who won the G1 Metropolitan Handicap. In the breeding shed, he sired 15 stakes winners, is best being five-time Grade 1 filly You. He is borderline as a stamina influence. Her 2nd dam sire is Conquistador Cielo. He was the Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt and Horse of the Year 1982 , winning the Belmont Stakes. At stud, he sired over 60 stakes winners and was a decent influence of endurance. Finally, Decked Out’s 3rd dam sire is Nijinsky II, the 1970 winner of the English Triple Crown. He sired 155 stakes/Group winners, and was the North American leading broodmare sire of 1993 & 1994. He too was a decent stamina influence.

Overall, Decked Out’s pedigree is a fine balance of class in her dam line, brilliance in her sire line, and stamina in her dam sire line. She’s showing signs from her sire line of a horse with great acceleration and closing speed. Decked out should become a two-turn horse. She shows signs of early maturation, which is nice to see, since Street Boss ran only one race before his four-year-old season. Decked Out appears to have the goods to be very competitive in the Schuylerville on Friday, but the one post just may be to big of a detriment to overcome for this closer. If she is able to navigate through it, she may find a bunch of tiring horses to pick off throughout the race.

Moment is Right: Trainer Wesley Ward, Race Record: 2-2-0-0, $171,600, (Medaglia d’Oro-Rite Moment by Vicar) 

moment is right

Photo courtesy of Joe Labozzetta


Coming off of an 8 1/2 length gate-to-wire maiden victory on May 15th at Gulfstream Park, Wesley Ward placed Moment is Right in the $250,000 Astoria Stakes at Belmont Park on June 4th, and this 2-year-old filly responded with a 1 1/2 length score, in which she led throughout, despite bobbling at the break. When 3/5 favorite Decked out approached her, she looked like she was going to be passed. But then Moment is Right re-broke and eased away from her to get the win. She completed the 5 1/2 furlong race in 1:04 and 3/5 seconds. Here is a video of the Astoria Stakes:

After the race, trainer Wesley Ward had this to say,”It was a short field but she showed a lot of heart. She busted out there, and when that filly [Decked Out] came by her, she dug right in and went by her so we’re excited. She’s been very well schooled, she’s never had an issue, never had any problems. Probably Saratoga is next for her, we’ll look there, maybe one of the first couple of stakes they got there and kind of take a look at it.”

It’s obvious that Moment is Right has speed to burn. We also know that Ward must be respected with his two-year-olds. There is other speed to her outside, and unless she can outbreak it and take an early lead like she did in the Astoria, we may not see the same result and she may succumb to it.


Moment is Right is owned by Ten Broek Farm and was a $190,000 purchase out of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga 2014 Yearling Sale. She is out of Rite Moment, who earned $398,602 on the racetrack, winning at 4 the G2 Distaff BC Handicap (6 furlongs) and the G2 Bed O’Roses Handicap (7 furlongs). Her sire, Medaglia d’Oro, earned well over 5 million dollars on the track, but only raced once as a two-year-old. He is the sire of over 116 stakes winners since 2003. His offspring generally take some time to mature. His best two-year-old may have been Violence,  winner of the G2 Nashau Stakes and G1 CashCall Futurity. Moment is Right’s 2nd sire, El Prado, was the 1991 Irish Champion 2-Year-Old. Moment is Right’s dam sire, Vicar, also blossomed at three and won the G2 Fountain of Youth and G1 Florida Derby. He is known to put a touch of speed into his offspring. Finally, her 2nd dam sire, Lost Code, really came out at 3 when he won seven consecutive stakes races in 1987. He was a definite speed influence.

Moment is Right is going to have to buck her pedigree, ones that trends towards late maturation, to blossom during her juvenile season. Her arrow, though, is pointing up as she develops. Given that her dam was a classy sprinter, and Medaglia d’Oro showed a bunch off natural speed, it is not surprising to see her running on the lead in both of her races. It will be interesting to see if she can stretch out and perform well at longer distances, after looking at her distaff family. In the Schuylerville Stakes, though, her speed may be a disadvantage, because there is a good amount of it in the race, and a couple of real fast ones to her outside that may dog her for the entire race.

Banree: Trainer Wesley Ward, Race Record: 2-1-0-0, $40,000, (Macho Uno-Grand Glory by Distorted Humor)

Macho Uno. Photo Courtesy of Adena Stallions


Wesley Ward broke Banree in against the boys on April 16 at Keenland. He can be very good with this move, and it paid off here. Banree showed good speed throughout and won the race by 4 lengths. She stopped the clock in this 4 furlong race in a sharp :52.04. Here is a replay of her maiden score:

“She’s very fast, and she’s a big filly. I originally thought she’d need more ground but once we started out, I was amazed at how fast she was,” Ward said.

He must have thought very highly of her talents after her debut, because he trained Banree to ship out to Belmont Park and run against the boys again, this time in the $250,000 Tremont Stakes. In the race, she had a horrible trip and finished 5th out of 7 horses. Here is what her Equibase chart read:

“Banree tossed her head at the start and conceded three lengths to the front, chased four wide from near the rear, got bumped solidly by DR. SHANE five wide three furlongs out due to pressure from SWIPE overreacting to rider’s instructions, swung six wide into upper stretch and made no headway.”

It’s obvious that Banree’s break cost her the Tremont Stakes. She needed to be up towards the lead for a chance to run her race and win. It appears that she has talent and speed, especially after seeing the confidence that Ward has in her by running her with the boys. You should also respect any two-year-old Ward spots for a race. He also has Moment Is Right running in this race as well (winner of Astoria Stakes).


Banree is owned by Mark Dodson and was purchased at the KEESEP2014 yearling sale for $80,000. She is out of Grand Glory, a winner at 3. Her granddam, Royally Chosen, was a multiple stakes winner and earner of $594,175. She was also a sister to G3 placed Chosen Royalty. Banree’s 3rd dam, Her Royalty, was also a multiple stakes winner and earner of $345,525 on the race track. She was a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Memorable. Banree is by Macho Uno. He was the 2000 Eclipse Champion 2-Year-Old Male, a year in which he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, beating both Point Given and Street Cry. Macho Uno is out of Broodmare of the Year Primal Force and is a half-brother to Elite Sire Awesome Again. At stud, Macho Uno has had six Grade 1 winners and four millionaires. He’s sired a star classic winner in Breeders’ Cup Classic Champion Mucho Macho Man and a star sprinter in the super-fast Multiple Grade 1 winner Private Zone. Macho Uno’s runners usually go a mile or more and tend to get better with age. Her 2nd sire is Hall of Famer Holy Bull, who was the Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Colt in 1994. At stud, Holy Bull sired 51 stakes winners, including 2005 Kentucky Derby Champion Giacomo. Banree’s dam sire is Distorted Humor. He’s been an overly successful stallion, producing over 132 stakes winners and with earnings of over $110 Million Dollars. His top progeny include Funny Cide, Drosselmeyer, Commentator, Hysterical Lady, Boisterous, Any Given Saturday, and Flower Alley. Distorted Humor gives out an average amount of stamina. Her 2nd dam sire is Multiple Grade 1 winner In Excess. At stud, he was a dominant sire in California and he also gave off a moderate amount of stamina to his offspring. Finally, Banree’s 3rd dam sire is King Of Kings. He sold for $470,000 as a yearling and is a full or half sibling to 5 stakes winners and 4 stakes placed winners. He was unplaced on the racetrack, and didn’t make an impact at stud either.

Banree’s pedigree has a touch of class, and we’ll see on Friday if she can buck Macho Uno’s tendency to produce late bloomers. Banree should be up with the pace in the Schuylerville on Friday, and the pace should be swift. She is obviously talented, despite her poor performance in the Tremont Stakes. She had an excuse there, and with a clean break, this filly should be a bunch of horse amongst this deep field of contestants

Off The Tracks: Trainer Roderick R. Rodriguez, Race Record: 1-1-0-0m $21,600, (Curlin-Harve De Grace by Boston Harbor)

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Photo Courtesy of Stonestreet Farm


Off The Tracks broke her maiden at Gulfstream Park on June 13 in a MSW at 5 furlongs. As the 8/5 favorite, she broke and took up with the 2nd flight of horses. Up close, she edged up to duel for the lead, battled with Star Milly into the final furlong, and finally eased away and pulled clear for a 4 1/4 length victory, stopping the clock at 58.67. Here is the replay:

Off The Tracks was rather professional in her debut win, but she is going to have to move up a little in class when competing against her rivals in the Schuylerville Stakes. The race does seem to set up for the running style she displayed in her debut, though. And her pedigree suggests that she has the class needed to be competitive in the race.


Off The Tracks  is owned by J Stables and was purchased at the KEESEP2014 yearling sale for $50,000. She is out of Harve De Grace (b. 2000). She is the dam of Concord Point (MGSW, $669,260), and a half sister to two-time grade III winner Tasha’s Miracle. Her 3rd dam, A Penny Is a Penny, earned over $500,000 on the track and was a Multiple Graded Stakes winner. Off The Track’s dam line is has some class. Her sire is Curlin, who broke the North American record for total earnings on the track, was the Breeders’ Cup Classic Champion in 2007, and Horse of the Year in 2007 & 2008. At stud, last year Curlin was the leading 3rd crop sire. He is the sire of 2013 Belmont Champion Palace Malice and 2015 Grade 1 winning fillies Curlina and Stellar Wind. His offspring tend to mature with age, and they can travel a good distance of ground. Her 2nd sire, Smart Strike, was the Leading Sire in North America in 2007 & 2008. There is plenty of brilliance in Off The Tracks sire line. Her dam sire is Boston Harbor. He was a Champion 2-Year-Old Colt in 1996, where he won more money, $1,934,605, than any other 2-year-old in North American history. He was sent to breeders in Japan, where he has produced millionaire colt Café Bostonian, millionaire filly Healthy Addiction, and is the dam sire of 2007 Canadian Horse of the Year Sealy Hill. He gives more speed than stamina to his offspring. Off The Tracks 2nd dam sire is Relaunch, who was a Multiple Grade 3 winner. He was best remembered as a sire, which included him being thee grand sire of Tiznow, the dam sire of Ghostzapper and City Zip, and the sire of With Anticipation and Skywalker. He was known to put precocious speed into his progeny, but also to be a steady source of stamina as well. Her 3rd dam sire is Temperence Hill. He was the 1980 Champion 3-Year-Old Colt, where he won both the Belmont Stakes (at 53/1 odds) and Travers Stakes. Temperence Hill was an adequate sire and gave a small amount of stamina to his offspring.

Off The Tracks has every right to win the Schuylerville based on her pedigree, but keep in mind that both Harve De Grace and Curlin were late bloomers. She only has run once against what was probably an easier field than those who ran at Keenland, Churchill Downs, and Belmont. Plus, trainer Roderick Rodriguez is not exactly a household name in the horse racing industry. My feeling is that this filly might be trying to take on too much too soon in the Schuylerville. With all the speed in the race, though, she may be picking up some pieces in the race and has a chance for an upset. Off The Tracks may become a good one later on as she develops, because her pedigree is loaded with brilliance and class.

Little Miss Miss: Trainer Robert E. Reid, Jr., Race Record: 1-1-0-0, $35,280, (Mineshaft-Hey Carmen by More Than Ready)   

Mineshaft, Photo Courtesy of


Little Miss Miss broke her maiden at first asking on June 21 at Parx Racing, in a 5 furlong MSW. With only 3 fillies competing, Little Miss Miss dueled with her rivals, taking over three wide before hitting the stretch and pulled away, winning by 5 lengths. She stopped the clock at a moderate time of 1:00.56. Here is a replay from her run:

While Little Miss Miss looked good in her debut, she only ran against 2 other horses. On top of that, Parx Racing is not known for stabling the finest of horses from around the country. It’s hard for me to see how she can carry this race into a win in the Schuylerville on Friday, but this is horse racing and these are two-year-olds, so anything can happen.


Little Miss Miss is owned by Swilcan Stables LLC and was purchased at EASSEP2014 as a yearling for $30,000. She is out of Hey Carmen. Her 3rd dam, Guiza, earned $576,585 on the racetrack and was a Multiple Graded Stakes turf winner. She gave us stakes winner Drama Critic. Her 5th dam, Jem Jen, won the Pretty Polly Stakes in England. There is not a lot of class in Little Miss Miss’s dam line. She is by Mineshaft, who while racing amassed over $2 million dollars and was the 2003 Horse of the Year, winning the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, Woodward Stakes, and Suburban Handicap. At stud, his best progeny have been Fly Down, Dialed In, It’s Tricky, and Discreetly Mine. His son Effinex just won the 2015 Suburban Handicap. He’s had 38 stakes winners in all. Mineshaft’s offspring usually need time to mature, and many can run a good distance of ground. Her 2nd sire, Hall of Famer A.P. Indy, was a great racehorse (1992 Horse of the Year) who became a dominant sire (Leading Sire in North America in 2003 & 2006). He is a known stamina influence. Little Miss’s dam sire is More Than Ready. He has accounted for 149 stakes winners-2nd amongst active North American sires. He also has Worldwide progeny earnings of $123,600,000. His runners show more of an affinity for speed than endurance, and an affinity for turf success. Her 2nd dam sire, Theatrical, was the 1987 Champion Turf Horse in North America and Champion Older Horse in Ireland. He earned over $2 million dollars on the track. As a stallion, Theatrical was a success. Some of his top horses were Media Puzzle, the 2002 Melbourne Cup winner, Zagreb (Irish Derby), and Royal Anthem, whose wins include the Canadian International Stakes (1998) and the International Stakes (1999). Theatrical was also the dam sire of Rail Link, winner of the 2006 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. His runners had a decent amount of stamina. Finally, Little Miss Miss’s 3rd dam sire is Golden Act, who earned just under a million dollars and won Graded races on both turf and dirt. He provided more stamina than speed for his sons and daughters.

Overall, Little Miss Miss is an unknown. She broke her maiden in a three-horse field and will be taking a large class hike moving from Parx Racing to Saratoga. Her pedigree would suggest that she would be more of a late bloomer, so while she’ll probably play as a bit of a pace factor in the Schuylerville on Friday, winning the race would be a lot to ask of her in my opinion.

Race Analysis:

As I’ve said before, there is a good amount of speed signed on for this 6 furlong affair, so the pace should be swift. I expect Banree, Positively Royal, Moment Is Right, and Little Miss to fight for the lead up front, with Off The Tracks and Aerolite, Decked Out and One Minute sitting 2 to 4 lengths behind them. I don’t feel Moment is Right is going to get the big lead she earned in the Astoria, but she did show grit in holding off Decked Out there, so she might stay around for a while. She most likely will see more pace pressure than she did in the Astoria Stakes, which was none. She put in a bullet work at Keenland on July 17 (1/13, :59.3 for 5 furlongs), so she’s coming into the race sharp. Positively Royal was bumped at the start of her maiden win, and still was the controlling speed there. She is to Moment Is Right’s outside, so she may cause her a bit of trouble, if able to get a clean break this time, and could maybe grab the lead from her. Todd is great with two-year-olds, and this talented filly also fired a bullet workout on July 17 at Saratoga (1/46, :48.1 for 4 furlongs). This shows an affinity for the track, and I see her as the one to beat in the race. Banree, another speedy filly, should sit right off these leaders and appears to have a lot of talent, if you throw out her Tremont Stakes run against the boys. She has the outside post, which is a good thing for this fast horse, whose jockey can choose where to place her going into the first turn. She fired a bullet workout at Keenland on July 17 (1/13, :59.3 for five furlongs), so she seems primed for a big effort, and I can definitely see her get up for win honors, especially if she can get first jump on the first 2 horses mentioned without burning out. Finally, the other speed horse, Little Miss Miss, appears too slow and outclassed to have an impact on this race. I’m a big Decked Out fan, and she seems to have the ability to accelerate and close, which could be a nice asset in this race. I really don’t like her one post, though. She doesn’t appear to have the ability to outbreak the field, and with a bunch of speed coming down on her, she may be shuffled too back far to contend. I can see her picking off tired horses, but feel she may leave herself with too much to do in the end to win the race. While this is Keith Desormeaux’s first trip to Saratoga, his brother Kent is on board, so that leaves her with an experienced jockey who knows the track well. I do like where Off The Track sits in the race, which is probably a length or two from the leaders. She ran a professional race in his debut, but the BSF he earned was 7-10 points slower than some in this field. She is another one who has bulleted her last couple of works (1/5 GSW, :48 for 4 furlongs, 1/3 Saratoga, :37.2 3 furlongs), so  she could be sitting on a big race. Her pedigree is A+, so don’t count out Off The Tracks from pulling a mild upset. Both Steve Asmussen fillies should be coming from off the pace in this race. Areolite showed speed in her maiden, but I don’t think Asmussen wants to put her close to the lead, unless he feels that it’s her only way to win, given her poor performance in the Debutante Stakes. She did tire in her last one, and I feel she is a step behind in terms of talent with this group. If she can bounce back off her stakes try, though, she does own a BSF in her maiden score that makes her slightly competitive. The other Asmussen filly, One Minute, appears to be outclassed in this race, but she is in the hands of a strong trainer, and in a race with 2-year-olds, strange things can happen. Overall, I see the speed holding out for the most part, with Positively Royal, Banree, and Decked out running 1,2,3.