A little catching-up: Colonel John’s 3-year-old full-brother Mr. Hot Stuff dramatically broke his maiden at Santa Anita a week ago Sunday (February 1, race 5), coming from last to first in the stretch. Visually, it was impressive, and, after four previous disappointing efforts, you could almost see that something clicked on inside him—I’ll anxiously await his next run.
Zanjero’s younger full-sister Acacia opened her four-year-old campaign with an allowance victory at Fair Grounds on Sunday (race 1). She’s a nice filly, G2-placed (albeit only because the Fair Grounds Oaks came up with only four entries when Proud Spell and Indian Blessing scared everyone off), but she’s always had a bad case of third-itis—in fourteen lifetime starts, she’s finished third eight times—on grass and dirt.
Circular Quay’s half-brother The Roundhouse, last since running off the board in the G1 Breeders Futurity at Keeneland in 2007, returns after a 16-month layoff in an allowance race at Gulfstream on Friday. It looks to be a pretty weak race, highlighted by a last out $20k claiming winner, a 5-year-old who broke his maiden first-out in his only race thus far—more than one year ago—and two real contenders, Maria’s Charm and Vacation, who both have their issues. The former appears to fire better first back, and Julien Leparoux is like GOLD first-up these days.
Gee, those Zayats are so clever. On Wednesday at Gulfstream (race 3) their 3-year-old colt B Z Warrior makes his debut, and before you ask, yes, his dam Carson Jen is the mother of Zayat’s other little warriors—G1-placed colt E Z Warrior, G3-placed filly J Z Warrior, and the yet-unraced 2-year-old colt Z Z Warrior. He's had steady works since last October so you'd hope Todd Pletcher has him ready to fire. Still, the intriquing horse in this race looks to be Zifzaf (how dare Shadwell use a "z" name!); he's a full-brother to G3-placed Ghurra, and a three-quarter brother to stakes winner Farqad who stands in Serbia and G1-winner Hayil who stands in Australia (where he has yet to produce a single black-type runner).