On Saturday, the $100,000 Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood features some very talented two-year-old fillies. Steve Asmussen invades from Kentucky with Elocution (Mutakddim-Imaginary Number, by Hero’s Honor) who broke her maiden on Keeneland’s polytrack and last out finished behind Sky Mom in an allowance race at Churchill. She could be a factor here, if she handles the ship in well. I have already stated my support for Bill Currin’s Ever So Pretty, full sister to Stormello, who looks very strong here, and is probably my top pick. However, I also see Wesley Ward’s Billie Bob (Bring the Heat-Purgatory, by Devil’s Bag) as a legitimate threat.
In the $100,000 Astoria Stakes at Belmont, Steve Asmussen ships in the unfortunately named Dubit (E Dubai-Ucandoittoo, by Honour and Glory) with the top Bris speed rating (96), and Garrett Gomez up. The other regrettably named filly here is My Mammy (Came Home-Divine Dixie, by Dixieland Band) who blew away her maiden field by 13 lengths at Delaware, posting a Bris speed of 94. She too changes jockeys, picking up the talents of Edgar Prado. My Mammy is a half-sister to G1 winner Bandini, so certainly, the precedent is there for some talent, and who can argue that previous victory? Todd Pletcher sends out two: Glacken’s Gal (Smoke Glacken-Lady Diplomat, by Silver Deputy) and Bridal Song (Vicar-Bridal Memories, by Unbridled). The former, of course, is out of sprint champion Smoke Glacken (and has the advantage of having run over the Belmont surface before), and the latter has a prestigious pedigree—her dam is out of multiple G1 winner Memories of Silver. Neither thrills me. I find it hard to take Pure and Simple (Trippi-Chris’ Rocket Girl, by Seattle Dancer) seriously here: her maiden victory was at 2 furlongs, and she does not have a posted workout over four furlongs. Halcyon (Aldebaran-Timely Broad, by Broad Brush) closed nicely in her first outing to win by a head, but I’ll pass. My longshot choice: Snow Storm Lady (Snow Ridge-Lady Zoom Zoom, by Gilded Time). Her dam’s sire won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, while her paternal grandsire Tabasco Cat finished third in the Juvenile—before winning the Preakness and Belmont at three—so there is precociousness there, and Snow Storm Lady herself won at first asking on April 20, well-before any of the others here. Trainer Tim Salzman gave her some time off, and then resumed solid works recently. Two of the fillies she beat in that race have won since: Brewtiful Girl (May 27, Delaware) and Cherokee Feather (May 5, Pimlico). Moreover, she gets Eibar Coa up.
In the $100,000 Tremont Stakes at Belmont, eight colts go, including Todd Pletcher’s Fort Drum (Wiseman’s Ferry-Elmira Gulch, by Gulch) who won impressively in his maiden outing here on June 1 with Johnny V up. Interestingly, he passes on Fort Drum to ride Ready’s Image (More Than Ready-Clever Phrase, by Clever Trick), and rightly so, after his third place finish in the sloppy G3 Kentucky Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Churchill. This is an impressive colt, and if he wins here, definitely one to put on the watch list leading up to the BC Juvenile in October. Don’t forget, his daddy won this race in 1999…Steve Asmussen brings Lantana Mob (Posse-Lantana, by Copelan) in from Kentucky, and even with Garrett Gomez up, I’m not sure he can beat Ready’s Image. Nordic Wind (Cartwright-Pixies Lass, by Nordic Prince) should go to the lead, and may be able to carry that speed throughout, but I doubt it. Kent Desormeaux is no slouch on Fort Drum who should get in the money.
Monday at Prairie Meadows, Steve Asmussen sends Posse Valley in the $50,000 Prairie Gold Lassie Stakes, but she’s not the pick here. Pixie (Minardi-Tyke, by Storm Boot) is the 9-5 favorite after winning her first outing April 23 by 8 lengths. Still, her works since then have been so-so, thus I’ll pass. Zuella (Forestry-Zarzuela, by Seattle Slew) has posted two bullet works since her maiden victory, including an impressive :46.4 on June 27, so I like her chances here. For longshot picks, I’ll take two local runners. Rasierra (Kafwain-Sierras Kiara, by Moscow Ballet) who won by 6-1/2 at first asking, has posted two nice works since then. Amazing Tale won her maiden on June 11 by nearly 11 lengths, posting a 96 Bris speed figure; she hasn’t worked since, but has quality connections. Either one of them (or both) could finish in the money, and pay well.
One race later, in the $50,000 Prairie Gold Juvenile Stakes, Asmussen does look to have the winner in Possetothemax (Posse-Storm Witch, by Twining), although Preachin Man (Songandaprayer-Sweet Cameron, by Devil’s Bag) is the 9-5 morning line favorite. However, I’m going for a long, longshot here…one that wouldn’t be if he weren’t still a maiden…wait, no, he hasn’t even technically run a race yet. That’s Rockin Rocket (Golden Missile-Epithet, by Gulch) who reared at the start and refused to run in his first start on June 10. However, his trainer Wilson Brown has been working him hard from the gate since, including a bullet 1:00.1 on June 24. I would not be surprised to see a big upset here.