Hearty congratulations to the connections of Oklahoma-bred Shotgun Gulch on winning Thursday's G1 Vinery Madison at Keeneland over Amen Hallelujah. Hey, I’m a sucker for underdogs, and this little filly caught my attention last spring after winning the Dixie Belle at Oaklawn. Up and down all year, she finished 2010 with a promising third-place finish behind Switch and Malibu Pier in the G1 La Brea, but was no match for Havre de Grace and Blind Luck in March’s 8.5-furlong G3 Azeri. The distance, surface and jockey Garrett Gomez just worked perfectly for her. And, of course, the fact that she’s a damline descendent of Foolish Pleasure is fantastic.
For this year’s Epsom Oaks, you could have gotten 50-1 on regally bred John Gosden-trained Field of Miracles, but those odds should drop a bit after she smartly broke her maiden over Kempton’s all-weather surface going 12-furlongs on Thursday. By Galileo, Field of Miracles is the daughter of a winning Arch mare who is a full sister to the great Canadian champion mare Arravale.
Race 1 at Keeneland on Friday is a 4.5-furlong maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies and—no surprise—Wesley Ward’s coupled entry is the morning line favorite. Since Jeffrey Sanchez is named on both Gypsy Robin (Daaher) and Judy The Beauty (Ghostzapper), one or the other will be scratched. Does it really match which one? Regardless of pedigree and apparent lack of precociousness, Ward is a magic man with juveniles so ignore them at your peril.
Honestly, I tried to get excited about this race, but nothing pedigree-wise stands out for most of the entries. Despite posting no workouts, Larry Demeritte-trained Where Is Wilder (Half Ours) is somewhat intriguing; her dam Me And Myun (Relaunch) broke her maiden in her third outing at 2, and her prowess in the breeding shed is impressive—6 winners from 6 starters, including juvenile stakes-placed Curve Ahead (Laabity). Still, nothing “screams” out about her.
On the other hand, Eric Reed sends out More Discreet, by first-crop sire Discreet Cat who easily broke his maiden first up at 2. She’s out of the unraced mare Absolute Magic (Unbridled) who is regally-bred, being out of multiple G1 winner Chaposa Springs (who broke her juvenile maiden at first asking by 4 lengths)—and whose own dam was champion juvenile filly in Peru. This is also the family of G1 Met Mile victor You and I; G2 San Rafael runner-up Tenfold; G3 winner Mendip; and 9-furlong Yaddo Handicap winner Ransom’s Pride—all juvenile winners.
No surprise here...Ward’s Judy The Beauty ($4.20 win) took the prize after passing front-running 3-1 Wish To Opine ($4.00 place) about mid-way down the stretch. Trained by Ronnie Werner, Wish To Opine (Purim) is a daughter of minor juvenile stakes winner Flying Gal (Flying Chevron). According to Trakkus, 2-1 second choice More Discreet ($2.40 show) travelled 19 feet farther than the winner, but only nosed out 20-1 Where Is Wilder for show money. The latter filly is one to watch—I know I was impressed with her beautiful break from gate and running line thereafter.