Saturday at Keeneland race 2 is a maiden special weight event for juvenile fillies going 4.5 furlongs, with a full field of 12. Naturally, since these are all first-time starters, the Wesley Ward filly Tiz Terrific (Tiznow) is the pre-race favorite. Her unraced dam Terrifee (Menifee) is out of Here I Go (Mr. Prospector) who smashingly won her 5.5-furlong juvenile maiden effort by 9-lengths at Saratoga, and later that year was runner-up to Silverbulletday in the then-G3 Golden Rod (albeit 10 lengths back). Bred on a similar Storm Bird cross, Terrifee’s half-sister Summerly (Summer Squall) broke her maiden second-out (by 14 lengths) going 8.5 furlongs, before finishing third in the G2 Golden Rod—and later won the Kentucky Oaks. There does appear to be some precociousness in this family and Tiznows do well on synthetics, so a solid choice.
The highest-priced filly in the field is $155k Keeneland yearling purchase Ingenue (Mr. Greeley), conditioned by Neil Howard. Her dam Meadow Breeze (Meadowlake) completely dominated going 4.5 furlongs in her first start, winning by over nine lengths, and later won the juvenile G1 Matron over Featherbed and Octave. Ingenue has posted three very sharp workouts, including two from the gate, and looks quite playable with Julien Leparoux aboard.
Wayne Catalano sends out Grace Abounds (Stormy Atlantic) whose Mr. Prospector dam Dance With Grace was a juvenile winner. Grace Abounds is a half-sister to G1 Santa Anita Derby runner-up Setsuko who actually took five efforts to break his maiden as a juvenile. However, another half-brother Indy Dancer (AP Indy) won his first 2-year-old start going one mile—by over 4 lengths—and later finished third behind Empire Maker and Trust N Luck in the G1 Florida Derby.
Trainer-owner Marco Castaneda has two entrants: Mi Margarita (Mingun) and Piskacha (Master Command), both rather inexpensive ($1k and $2k, respectively) Keeneland yearling purchases. Honestly, in terms of breeding, there isn’t much up close to recommend them, although Mi Margarita’s second dam is a half-sister to Gone West. As progeny of sons of AP Indy, you wouldn’t expect precociousness either, especially sprinting, but both Mi Margarita and Piskacha have posted some nice 3 furlong gate works.
In addition to Master Command, two other first-crop sires are represented in this race. Given his juvenile precociousness (including winning the G1 Hollywood Futurity), Stormello should hit the ground running with his progeny, and here he is represented by Stormy Donna Gail. It took ten attempts for her dam Silver On Gold (Artax) to break her maiden, but Silver On Gold’s dam Lyrical Princess is a full-sister to G1 Frizette victress (and Hall of Fame mare) Princess Rooney who won her first 2-year-old race. Oriana Rossi rides for trainer John Hancock. The other first-crop sire represented is Inamorato, but I can’t find any compelling reason to back his daughter Diamond Exchange. Ditto with Dancninthlillies (Mancini) whose unraced dam has yet to produce a winner among three starters—and it’s not for lack of trying. Dancinthlillies’ full-brother Manivicinitall raced 10 times without a place, while half-sibling Glenna’s Choice (Fly Till Dawn) made 15 starts.
In addition to Stormy Donna Gail, trainer John Hancock also sends out Stormylittlerosey (Consolidator) with Greta Kuntzweiler aboard. Her dam Bonita Beach (Geiger Counter) was only a maiden winner (at three), but her previous 2-year-old starter Holy Cause (Holy Bull) won at first-asking. The far outside 12-post probably doesn’t help this one’s chance, though.
Rahy Girl (Eddington) has posted strong workouts over this track. Her full-brother Mr. Eddington finished second by a narrow half-length in his first juvenile start last July at Charles Town. There’s some quality in the damline, with her unraced dam Rahy Connection (Rahy) being a half-sister to G1 John A. Morris winner Link River. Claresmiezie (Forestry) interests me a bit. Her dam Deputy of Wood (Deputy Minister) was unplaced in three starts, but her second dam Wood of Binn (Woodman) won the G3 Prix Eclipse as a 2-year-old. Deputy of Wood’s half-brothers include G2 Illinois Derby victor Distilled and G3 Kent winner Three Wonders, both juvenile winners.
Chocolate Drops (Honour and Glory) goes out for trainer Eric Reed whose Curfew Tower finished second in Friday’s juvenile opener. Her dam Magnificent Miss (Chester House) placed on turf in her second juvenile effort, but never broke her maiden in six tries. I suspect this one needs more ground to be successful.
No real surprises, as high-priced Ingenue ($4.40 win) defeated Tiz Terrific ($3.80 place) by a length, and both of them were nearly 4 lengths ahead of Grace Abounds ($4.00 show). Chocolate Drops was another 3 lengths back in fourth. The order of finish beyond that: Piskacha, Stormy Donna Gail, Stormylittlerosey, Rahy Girl, Claremiezie, Mi Margarita, Diamond Exchange and Dancninthelillies.