For several years, the residents at the EWC have bred two year olds and competed them in a debut race against each other. The EWC supports races at a number of tracks and one of the breeding requirements is to use a sire located at one of those tracks. (Sorry, KY is not one of them). The debut race was held in February with a stakes race scheduled for October where these horses would reunite and we’d get a chance to see how they matured during the year. There were two races held in March covering both the dirt and turf.
This article focuses on the Dirt race that will be held in California. The Sire Showcase Stakes race will be at a distance of 8 furlongs. Back in February, 9 horses ran in the maiden race, which was run at 5.5 furlongs on a “good” track surface, with only four of the original nine have opted to enroll into this rematch. Of the four, only one of the entrants is a winner and comes into this race undefeated. Three of the four are shipping from New York with the other coming in from Kentucky which may have an impact, but we’ll see. Here’s a view of the field:
1 AXIS OF EVIL HF 5/1
This runner is the son of Big Brown and out of game mare Moon Cannon, a three time winner, which is owned by Hemarfarms. In the Sire Showcase debut race, he went off at 11/1 odds. The track surface did not seem appealing and he ran the majority of the race five lengths off the leader and crossed the line the same distance back in 7th. He stayed in California where the Showcase was held and tried a 6.5f distance, this time on dry land and lost distance throughout the race, finishing 7th out of 9 and eleven lengths behind.
A change of scenery brought him cross country to New York for local bred MSW for a distance of 6f, but the location change did not bring any life to this runner as he ran last during the entire race. His last start was also in New York and finishing 9th out of 11 was nothing to applaud as he raced the same distance. Speeds have been flatlining in the low 60′s. He ships across the country for the reunion in California and goes a mile for the first time and perhaps his forte will come in longer distances.
2 EWC LITE TWO 3/1
This gelding is sired by Johannesburg and out of game mare What A Wildcat who is an allowance winner with 5 victories and mother to G3 winner Wildcat Tap. This guy put in a surprising outing in the Showcase race in February, sent to the gate at 10/1, he went out early and linked up in a speed dual with the eventual winner. He crossed the line just under a stride behind to finish second with a 67 speed. He then went to LA where he found good positioning early on in the third slot but could not find any late kick and ended up fourth missing by over two lengths. In May, he dropped in distance to 4.5f and moved to WY where the jockey pulled him to the back end of the field early on, hoping to conserve something for a late run which never developed and the horse finished 6th.
The last two starts for EWC were held in NY and at 7.5f in July, he was allowed to move back to the front of the field in the early stages but after running second for most of the race had nothing left in the tank for the stretch journey and flattened to finish fifth but with a career best speed of 70. His last start in August was at a mile distance and he made it to the front right away after firing out of the gate. But was unable to break away as he received pressure and was worn down after a half mile and ended up fifth. Owner Cuetec probably has the horse that will be driving out for the lead but having the stamina to wrap things up may be a challenge.
3 SHOWMAN OF CAIRO 5/1
Denovo brings his horse that was sired by Half Ours into this race who was bred with stake winning mare Moon of Cairo. This mare won 8 times in her career and is the mother of stake winning Bluemoon of Cairo. In the Showcase debut race, he entered at 7/1 odds and held the fifth position throughout the duration of the race and never was a serious threat. He shipped to OH for a race at the same 5.5 furlongs and made a lukewarm move to jostle and get a fourth place finish. He hiked from there to MA to try the same distance and put in his worse performance finishing last.
July brought him to FL for a tryout on the turf, at 5.5 f and in the large field of a dozen, his odds crept up to 12/1. The turf surface yielded no improvement as he finished eighth. Up to this point, speeds have been charted in a narrow 59-63 range and that did not improve when he moved to NY for his most recent race at 6 furlongs. In this race, the speed was captured at 64 and in another field of a dozen, he showed a bit more aggression, racing fifth for a good part of the race before descending to finish seventh. He’ll be testing the mile distance with hopes of finding some life.
4 AMERICAN PI 2/5
This colt is out of two time winning mare, Miss Stake, who has bred a stake winner by the name of Miss Staken. Kashbarn bred this horse with American Pharoah as sire and so far the breeding has been successful. This is the winning horse in the Showcase race and he did it with a lot of pressure coming from EWC Lite Too who will more likely press the front end battle once again. As a slight 2/1 favorite, he notched a speed of 69 in the race.
This entrant has the least number of starts with only two other races. He raced in KS with a distance drop to 4.5 furlongs and got into a bit of a front end fight again, this time being the one in second. He eventually wore down the leader and drew off to win by a length with a speed drop to 66. His last start was in July in KY and moved up to 6 furlongs. He relaxed a bit this time out and sat second behind the pace setter in a small 4 horse field. At even money, he was the second choice in the field and he was able to take down the favorite, who tried to wire the field, and won by over a length with a 79 speed. Pi comes into this race undefeated and looks the best on paper. He does stretch out in distance, but there are two others doing the same. He comes off a three month rest which may be a concern.
American Pi has defeated these horses before and can do it again. His speeds have been a few notches higher than his foes and is my top pick.
EWC Lite Two is only runner with experience at a mile and that could work to his advantage with the rest of the field. Additionally, he finished the closest to the favorite in the Showcase debut and will be seeking revenge.
Going with Showman of Cairo for third as he outran Axis of Evil HF in debut, but this spot is up for grabs.