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Friday, June 25, 2010

Saturday's Juvenile Jaunts

There is solid racing this weekend, including some interesting 2-year-old races on Saturday.

In race 5 at Churchill, a full-field of mostly first-time starters go five furlongs in a maiden special weight. Grigio (with Calvin Borel up) is the highest-price ($350k yearling purchase) colt in the race; by Stormy Atlantic ($35k) out of $16k-winning mare Underworld, he must either be a superior physical presence or hypnotized someone. Don’t know if he’ll win first out, but Paul McGee sends out Ready to Taunt whose dam is a half-sister to this year’s G2 Black-Eyed Susan winner Acting Happy, as well as I Ain’t P T, dam of recent G2 Commonwealth Stakes victor Together Indy. Ready to Taunt’s second dam is the multiple-G1 winning I Ain’t Bluffing, thus he is related to G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup victor Borrego. One of only two with race experience, Singingmyhymnsong has thrown down several nice workouts since his last start. His unraced dam Start the Thunder is a half-sister to G2 winning Silver Music who tragically died this May covering a mare; his owner and fellow blogger Glenn Craven (Fugue for Tinhorns) discusses Silver Music’s family and racing career in this tribute. If he draws into the field, Wesley Ward-trained Tingaleo looks good—sharp workouts, by precocious Dixieland Band, and out of Call Me Up who won the G2 Schuylerville as a 2-year-old. On the other hand, Well Connected (Dynaformer out of G3-winning A.P. Indy mare Indy Groove) looks to want much more than five furlongs.

Five races later, in the G3 Debutante, Salty Strike—with Calvin Borel poised for a front-running rail ride—may be the post time favorite, but I finding it telling that Robbie Albarado abandoned her in favor of Just Louise, a half-sister to speedy Godolphin G2 winner Sara Louise. Still, the one in here that really intrigues me is Internet CafĂ© with apprentice jockey Oriana Rossi up. Her dam is a half-sister to Nancy’s Glitter who won four juvenile stakes at Calder, indicative of early brilliance. Not that she won’t thrive on dirt, but Salty Strike’s pedigree makes me think she would also love turf, as her dam’s half-sister Just One Rainbow produced the nice Minnesota-bred mare Bella Notte who won the grassy Princess Elaine Stakes at Canterbury last weekend. Another half-sister My Rainbow is the dam of Medicine Bow who finished third behind Ruff in the 2000 G3 Miss Grillo over the Belmont turf.

At Woodbine, the My Dear Stakes features in its small field of five Wesley Ward-trainee Final Mesa, easy winner of the Polly Drummond last out; if she crushes this field as easily, I might take a closer look at Miz Vizcaya who challenges Twelve Pack Shelly in an AOC at Delaware, race 8, and has form behind Final Mesa. Steve Asmussen sends out Mimi’s Missy who smoked a field of nine last out; the third-place finisher in that race Devilish Stunt came back to win gate-to-wire by six lengths. Canadian Lady has some back class in her pedigree; her dam is a full-sister to Mysterious Affair, second in the Ontario Debutante Stakes who subsequently won the G3 Hendrie and G3 Whimsical (twice) among several other Woodbine sprints.

It’s back-to-back 2-year-old races at Presque Isle on Saturday. In race 1, Graham Motion sends out first-timer starter Beatnik; by Kitten’s Joy, Beatnik’s second dam is French-G1 Prix de l’Abbaye victress Silver Fling, and his dam won on turf in England. Another who should appreciate the Tapeta surface is Hurricane Denton, a son of War Front out of an unraced Royal Academy mare who’s a half-sister to handicap stalwart Recoup the Cash. Race 2 features second-time starter Rustler Hustler, third here in his previous outing. It’s a first-timer, though, who interests me most: King Samurai (First Samurai) whose Devil His Due dam Hostility not only was a 2-year-old stakes winner, but also set a new track record over the Atlantic City turf course (5f, 55.86). This is her first foal, and he’s posted several sharp bullet work in advance of this start.

Race 7 at Calder for 2-year-old fillies includes first-time starter Delightful Dawn (Act of Duty) who sold for $47k at Ocala’s March Select Sale; her dam Dakota Light won Calder’s Three Ring Stakes at 2 (over subsequent champion 3-year-old Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town) and was runner-up in the G3 Florida Oaks. The Silver Train filly Truly Classy also looks promising, although I’m not crazy about two posted workouts within two days of each other; her unraced Conquistador Cielo dam Interruption is a half-sister to G3 Aristides victor Bold Start. Luna Grande posted a whopping 99 Bris speed figure finishing second in her first outing, but it’s Such A Sweet Girl who I think can improve off her last start; as a full-sister to two-time Sovereign Award winner True Metropolitan, Such A Sweet Girl is likely to improve with both age and distance.

At Hollywood Park, race 3 marks the debut of Richard Mandella-trainee Actual Size (Bluegrass Cat) whose dam Lady Melesi has already produced G2 Dwyer runner-up Doc Cheney and Barbaro Stakes winner Roman Emperor. Nice workouts for Quiet Assault, a full-brother to G3 turf stakes winner Bright Abundance. The only filly in the field is Lucky Sis who’s been unlucky in her first five starts, having yet to hit the board in maiden claiming efforts; she’s by little-known sire Cayoke, a G3 winner in France (once G1-placed) standing in California for $1k. Her breaking through here would be a monstrous surprise.