First, a quick recap of last week’s race. I didn’t call the results correctly, but I’m even more proud of the fact that I nailed the pace setup. Battle Thy Mom had her nose out in front early, dueling with Henty Kelee, with Safety Guide and Banished From Hell just off of them. Of course, I thought that would create a pace breakdown, and while the pace was reasonably fast, Henty Kelee proved to be much the best in the field, withstanding that pace battle to pull away and win by 1-1/2. The leading charges came from midpack, with Dilys Price putting in a solid effort to come up from 6th to grab 2nd. It was 4-1/4 lengths back to third, where D’Oro Cookies was the leading closer, coming up from 9th early to hit the board.
This week, I decided I was tired of the NW3L dirt mile races (even though the highest point race this weekend again fit that bill). So for a change, this week the Future Stars Series “goes bragh”, as we head to Ireland for a 9f turf NW2L for fillies. The field of 14 is:
#1 – Aerials (Belardo x Turf Crossing [Cape Cross x Dynaformer]) – Owned by lockyer – 25/1
Race Record: 3:1-0-1; $6,410
Race History: A bargain bred, Aerials began her career where many bargains do – At the hot race level. After dominating in that race (against only 1 other human-owned horse), she moved into standard NW2L company, but struggled in her first try at 8f. She comes into this race off a much better effort in her 2nd route try, and 3rd race overall, where she ran 3rd in a NW2L at 8f-T in a field of 9, picking up a career high 85 SP in the process. The two that defeated her each came back to run 2nd in allowances in their next races. Aerials has seen a 16 point SP jump in each of her races, and if she can do that again here, she’ll be in great shape. She comes into this race off a 3.5 month layoff, as her 3rd place finish was back at the beginning of November 2018.
Pedigree: Belardo, the champion European 2yo of 2014, currently stands for $10,000 but entered stud in 2017, so he does not have any real life foals. In the sim, his #324-ranked 2018 crop includes 50 runners to date, of which 22 have been victorious (at a 15% rate). His foals prefer turf, and thus far have shown a preference for sprints (which is similar to Belardo in real life, who did his best running at 7-8f-T), though that could change as they find their way into longer distances. The 2018 class includes Belardo’s only stakes winner to date, Areacode West, who earned that victory in a 5f dirt sprint. Aerials is the 3rd foal from Turf Crossing, a 9yo mare and winner of 9 from 33 races in her career. Following her maiden win, she was claimed for $60,000 and her new owner found success for her at the allowance level in long-distance turf races. She could run all day, with her best racing at the 14-16f distances (including a well-beaten 2nd in a 6-horse 16f turf stakes). Turf Crossing’s 2 prior foals include Exbourne’s Curves (Frankel (GB)), who ran 2 very poor races as a 2yo and has been on the shelf ever since, and Ardamir (Dariyan (FR)), who has done his best running in turf miles.
Expectations: The relative inexperience of Aerials, and the long layoff, makes this race a bit of a question mark. It looks like she’ll sit towards the back early. But there’s some question as to whether she has the stamina to get the distance. Her mother certainly did, and her one racing sibling also has no problem with it, but Aerials’ two efforts at this distance have seen her with a limited or non-existent closing kick. When coming from the back, that’s something that you’re gonna need. Still, she was given a lot of time off from her last race, so she may come back sharp here, but I’m going to wait a race before backing her at the betting window.
Watch Level: Low
#2 – Henty Beam (Shamardal x Dapto Sunbeam [Camelot (GB) x Sea The Stars]) – Owned by dargo – 9/1
Race Record: 2:1-0-1; $35,420
Race History: She might be lightly raced, but Henty Beam comes into this one looking strong. After trying a 6.5f-T race in her debut, where she briefly poked her nose in front before finishing 3rd, she stretched out to 9f-T in her first race of 2019, a local MSW. Against a 14 horse field, she broke for the lead and never looked back, opening up to a 3 length lead in the far turn before gearing down for a 2 length victory. That win earned her a 90 SP, a 16 point jump from her first effort. None of her previous 23 maiden competitors have earned a win following those races, though only 3 from her last race have come back to the track yet.
Pedigree: Shamardal was 2018′s #5 ranked EU sire, with his real life progeny preferring the 7-8f distances (similar to Shamardal himself). In the sim, his 2018 crop currently ranks #22, with 69 winners from 147 runners to date, winning at an 18% rate. His sim progeny are turf specialists (72% of earnings on turf) and seem to improve with distance (62% in routes), though they do just fine in sprints as well. The 2018 class includes 1 graded stakes winner, Opted Back In, who was 2nd in the Breeders Bowl Juvy Filly Turf and is currently the #2 ranked 3yo filly turf router, as well as 6 other stakes winners (5 of whom did so in turf sprints). Henty Beam is the 3rd foal from 7yo mare Dapto Sunbeam, who was a 2-time stakes winner and G2-placed among 6 wins in 21 career races. Most of those races were in the 9-10f-T range, though she did earn a stakes win at 11f-T and was 4th in the 2015 Sydney Derby – G1 at 12f-T. Her first two foals have not been quite as good as their mother, though both have multiple allowance wins. Both of those foals have done their best running in long turf races, finding their home in 10-16f turf races. There is only one other sim horse produced by Shamardal with a Camelot mare to date, and that is 3yo Shamalama, who is similarly 2 races into her career, having just broken her maiden at 8.5f-T in January.
Expectations: Henty Beam may not have the speed to grab the lead in a sprint, but when it comes to routes, she’s got the energy to get out in front and she’s got the stamina to stay there. In this field, that’s a great sign. Another great sign is that she already has experience at this distance, and she was geared down when winning that race, so Henty Beam should have something left in the tank for this race. It’s not an easy field, but she’s faced full fields before and she looks primed for a big run here. The pick.
Watch Level: High
#3 – Realistic Shot (Authorized x Surrealistic [Distorted Humor x Dynaformer]) – Owned by desimster6 – 8/1
Race Record: 7:1-3-0; $62,236
Race History: Realistic Shot comes into this race off of a 2nd place finish in a NW2L at today’s distance at the end of January. In that race, she earned a career best SP of 87, as she sat 2 lengths back early and then was outrun by just 1 horse to the wire. That race was her second of 2019, as Realistic Shot opened her 3yo season with a dirt try in which she struggled with the footing. Most of Realistic Shot’s career races have been at the turf route distances, including her maiden-breaking score at 8.5f-T, where she sat 3rd early before taking the victory. She also competed in a key race for today’s competition in December 2018, in a NW2L 8.5f turf allowance where Realistic Shot finished 8th, behind today’s rival Navy Blue Barbara (6th) but ahead of rival Star Rock (11th).
Pedigree: Authorized, the 2007 European Champion 3yo colt, did his best running at 10-12f on the turf and currently stands for $12,000, where he is the #71 ranked European sire of 2018. That real life performance is a little better than his sim counterpart, where the 23 runners in his 2018 crop currently rank #300, with 14 winners among them winning at a very successful 26% clip. None of the class has moved beyond allowance wins, however. His sim progeny, much like his real life progeny, prefer long turf races, with 68% of earnings on turf and 73% in routes (with the best speed figures coming in races longer than 10f).. Realistic Shot is the 4th foal from 10yo mare Surrealistic, an excellent runner who won 10 races, including 5 stakes, in 33 efforts. She is also G2-placed, and just missed a G1 placing with a 4th place finish in the 2013 Oaks De English – G1 (12f-T). Surrealistic did most of her damage, however, at 9f on the turf. Surrealistic’s first three foals have similarly followed Surrealistic’s path. Each of them is stakes placed, with one, Bumpin In The Club (Variety Club) a 2-time stakes winner, and all 3 have done their best running in turf routes (the 8-10f range).
Expectations: Realistic Shot is the most experienced 3yo in the field, having already raced twice as a 3yo. Her last race also had the benefit of being a dirt-to-turf race, giving her a potential boost in that one. These two facts make it less likely that we’ll see an unexpected jump here. The question is whether she can make a modest improvement to take the victory. She will likely sit about 2-3 lengths off the pace early, and hopes to fend off some of the closers here late. She does have experience at the distance, and has a chance here; she’s just a little less interesting than some of the others.
Watch Level: Medium
#4 – Battle For Uncle (Uncle Lino x Battle For STC [War Chant x Miswaki]) – Owned by stclegions – 18/1
Race Record: 9:1-1-2; $28,064
Race History: The most experienced horse in the field, Battle For Uncle has been struggling at the allowance level since breaking his maiden in his debut, but looks like she may be rounding into form as a 3yo. She comes into this race off of a 2nd and 3rd place finish in her last 2 races, both in January 2019. Battle For Uncle’s most recent race may be the most instructive for today’s contest, as it was her first try at a turf route. In that NW2L allowance at 8f-T, she broke midpack early and raced evenly throughout, passing a couple of tiring horses and finishing 3rd, earning an 81 SP. That SP was down slightly from her prior race, at 8.25f on the dirt in a NW1x, where she set an easy pace before running out of gas late and finishing 2nd in a 4 horse field. Battle For Uncle will stretch out to a career long 9f here to try and improve on those last couple of races.
Pedigree: Uncle Lino, a freshman sire in 2018, currently stands in Pennsylvania for $4,000. His freshman crop in the sim is currently ranked #203 overall, with 29 winners from 59 runners to date winning at an 18.5% rate. Among those is Uncle No No, a stakes winner at 5.5f and G1-placed at 8.5f, both on the dirt. That’s where his progeny have preferred to be thus far, with 79% of earnings on the dirt to date. It’s too early to judge the right distance for his foals, though the early route speed figures are looking stronger than the sprint ones. 14yo dam Battle For STC was a winner of 4 races in her 25 race career, with all 4 of those (and most of her career races) coming on the dirt. The best stretch of her career was an “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” situation, where she proceeded to run 2nd in 5 straight allowances at the 8-9f distance, before finally breaking the slump at 10f. That 8-10f distance was her preference. Her only other foal to date, 11yo Save The Birds (Birdstone) never did anything on the track, going 0 for 6 in her career (technically, she is still active, though she has not raced since 2011).
Expectations: Looking at her past performances, it’s interesting to see that Battle For Uncle seems to race more evenly on turf, but may run slightly faster on dirt. This 9f contest will be a good indication of where she stands, as if she can race evenly though this distance, she could end up running her best race to date. She’ll probably sit midpack here and see what she can do from there. I’m not sure that she has the speed to catch the pacesetters or outkick the closers in this particular race, but this race could be very instructive for where she ends up in the future.
Watch Level: Low
#5 – Navy Blue Barbara (Fastnet Rock (AUS) x Kris S. x Montjeu) – Owned by barbsbarn – 6/1 (f-t)
Race Record: 4:1-1-1; $47,880
Race History: One of the co-favorites, Navy Blue Barbara comes into this race off of a strong 3rd place finish in a NW2L allowance at 8.5f-T last time out, her first race of 2019. In that race, Navy Blue Barbara sat a length off the pace early and briefly grabbed the lead from a tiring pacesetter at the top of the stretch, before dueling down the stretch and coming out on the short end of a 3-horse photo. The effort saw her pick up a career high 89 SP, her 3rd straight 80+ SP. The race prior to that one was a key race here, as she outran today’s opponents Realistic Shot (8th) and Star Rock (11th) when running 6th in her first allowance effort. Navy Blue Barbara will stretch out to a career long 9f distance here.
Pedigree: Fastnet Rock, the #3 ranked Australian sire and #11 ranked European sire in 2018, is a very successful dual-standing sire with a $70,000 stud fee. In the sim, Fastnet Rock’s 2018 crop is currently ranked #55, with 77 winners from 134 runners winning at an 18% rate. Much like real life, where his foals have their best success around 9 furlongs, his sim foals mildly prefer routes, with 60% of earnings in routes, while 79% comes from the turf. The 2018 crop includes 4 stakes winners (but no graded winners) to date, with most of those coming in turf sprints. The Fastnet Rock x Kris S. cross has been used 14 times in the past 4 years, including 6 times in 2018. The cross has resulted in one excellent horse, 4yo Secret Kitten, winner of the 2018 Equinics – Cecil Roo – G1 (8f-T) as a 3yo. Like her, the cross has excelled on turf, though they are split among sprinters and routers. Among the 3yos, all 6 have broken their maidens, but only 1 has moved beyond that to win a NW2L allowance thus far.
Expectations: Navy Blue Barbara does have some early speed, as she showed in her 6.5f-T debut, where she dueled for the lead the entire way before coming up 1 length short. But as she has stretched out to routes, she’s tended to come from farther back. Her most recent race saw her only 1.5 lengths back early, but the pace there wasn’t too fast, so it’s more likely that she’ll sit 3 or 4 back here. In this field, that will probably put her closer to the front. And if she’s there, she’s got the speed and stamina to hold off some from the back. She’s consistent, and she’s the co-favorite here for a reason. Respect.
Watch Level: Medium
#6 – Sea Da Bears (Sea The Stars x Starrahy Eyed [Rahy x Danzig]) – Owned by palehose – 7/1
Race Record: 1:1-0-0; $30,360
Race History: The least experienced horse in the field, Sea Da Bears comes into this race off of her maiden breaking debut back in January. In that race, a local 7f-T MSW, she caught a field of 8 and after sitting 2 lengths off the pace early, she showed a strong burst of speed late, drawing off to win by 3 lengths. The win was good enough for an 84 SP. None of her competitors have come back to the track yet, so it’s a little difficult to judge the caliber of her competition, though they were a combined 0 for 20 prior to that race. Sea Da Bears takes a big leap in distance here, stretching out to 9f-T for her first route effort.
Pedigree: Sea The Stars, the 2009 European Horse of the Year, was the #7 ranked sire in the EU in 2018. In the sim, his 2018 crop is currently ranked #8, with 183 runners to date and 106 winners, winning at a 20.5% rate. His progeny prefers turf routes (75% earnings on turf, 69% routes). The 3yo crop, in particular, includes 6 stakes winners to date, all but one of whom has done so on turf, with one of those, Shine Underneath, recently breaking through with a G3 victory in the Super Hero Role Playing Stakes-G3 at 10.5f on the turf. Starrahy Eyed, the 12yo dam of Sea Da Bears, was a G1-winning millionaire in her racing days. She won 14 races in her 39 race career, with the biggest coming in the Super Gold Handicap-G1 (6f-T) as a 2yo in 2007. Her best results, including all 3 graded stakes wins and 4 non-graded stakes wins, all came in turf sprints at 6-7f, though Starrahy Eyed’s fastest SP actually came in dirt sprints. She proved to be equally good on dirt later in her career, though she never stretched beyond the level on that surface. Starrahy Eyed’s 4 older foals have taken after her preferences as well, as all four have picked up all but 1 win in sprints (mostly on the turf, though a few on the dirt). The “star” of the foals is 6yo Star Incanto (Per Incanto), a 4-time stakes winner in 5.5f-6f turf sprints. 8yo Black Patch (Exceed and Excel) was also stakes placed at 6.5f on the turf. Sea The Stars has been bred to a Rahy mare 4 times in the past 4 years, and one of those, 6yo See Me Shine, is a stakes winner at 7.5f-T (though most of her wins came at 8f-T).
Expectations: It’s tough to know exactly what to expect from Sea Da Bears here, as she only has one race under her belt thus far, and that race was a 7f-T sprint. She sat towards the back there, but I have a feeling that she’s going to try to stalk the pace this time. She may even end up more forwardly placed. Sea Da Bears looked like she had something left in the stretch of that race, but I can’t help but be concerned about this distance given her pedigree. Her mother was a sprinter; her siblings are all sprinters; and her bloodline cross also looks to be best in sprints. Sea Da Bears is definitely a live one in this race, but I feel more confident in others here.
Watch Level: High
#7 – Looking For War (War Front x World Stage [Frankel (GB) x Mr. Prospector]) – Owned by dora – 6/1 (f-t)
Race Record: 3:1-0-1; $41,026
Race History: Looking For War waited until the races were a little longer, and has seen some improvement in each of her 3 races to date. She comes into this NW2L off of a maiden score at 8.5f-T in her first start of 2019. In that race, she sat mid-pack early before steadily moving to the front and winning by 1-3/4 lengths, earning a career best 85 SP. 2 races back in an 8f-T ESR-restricted MSW, she struggled to keep up with the others and finished 6 lengths back in 4th, but the winner from that race went on to take home an ESR stakes race next time out, and the top 4 horses from that race (including Looking For War) are a combined 5 for 5 since that race. Looking For War will try to make it 6 for 6 here.
Pedigree: War Front currently stands for $250,000 in Kentucky and was the #23 ranked US sire in 2018. In the sim, he was even better, as his 2018 crop currently ranks #13, with 96 winners from 179 runners to date (at an 18% win rate). His sim progeny are equally adept at sprints and routes (though the speed figures are better in routes than sprints), but they do typically prefer dirt races, with 69% of earnings on dirt. The 2018 class includes 6 stakes winners, 2 of which have landed G3 wins. One of those two, Expert Panel, is a G3 winner at 8f on the turf and ran 4th in the Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile Turf, while the other, Telah (son of Sim Hall of Famer Final Exit), has found his success at 8.5f on the dirt. World Stage, the 7yo he-mare of Looking For War, was a winner of 10 races in his 29 race career. Those 10 wins included 5 at the stakes level, and he came up just 1-3/4 lengths short of being a G3 winner, with all of those races coming in the 7.5-8.5f-T range. Much like his only daughter, he preferred to come from midpack or further back. The War Front x Frankel combination has been used 5 times in the past 4 years (including Looking For War), but only 3 of those have broken their maidens yet and none have picked up an allowance win. The speed figures look slightly better in sprints than routes, but there’s not quite enough data to know for certain which is preferred (4 of the 5 horses are currently 3yos).
Expectations: Looking For War is looking for her second consecutive victory here, and if she does it, she’ll do it from midpack. She likes to have something to run towards, but she is also more methodical about it and doesn’t have quite the same closing kick as some of the others in here. I’m a little curious what would happen if Looking For War sprinted. In this race, she’s certainly got a chance, but I think she might struggle to get first run on some of the others coming from farther back.
Watch Level: Medium
#8 – Newspaperofrecord (Shamardal x Sadler’s Wells x Blushing Groom) – Owned by sjmeola4 – 6/1 (f-t)
Race Record: 2:1-0-1; $38,100
Race History: Like her real life namesake, Newspaperofrecord has shown some real turf ability in her 2 race career. In her debut in November 2018, she settled second to last early on, before showing a strong closing kick and drawing off to win by 1-1/2 lengths, earning a 77 SP. She came back as a 3yo with a vengeance, entering an open-gender local NW2L at today’s 9f-T distance. Running against 6 boys (and 2 other girls), Newspaperofrecord sat last early, dropping over 10 lengths back, but came flying late and just ran out of real estate, losing a photo for 2nd and finishing 2-1/2 lengths back. That effort earned her a career- and field-high 92 SP. She gets the comfort of only fillies this time, as this lightly raced filly tries to duplicate her most recent performance.
Pedigree: While Newspaperofrecord’s racing preference may match her real life namesake’s, her pedigree does not. See Henty Beam above for a description of Shamardal. Sadler’s Wells is the most popular sim cross for Shamardal, and it’s been used 32 times in the past 4 years, including 11 times in 2018. The bulk of those horses have shown an affinity for turf, and while some of the older ones have been strongest going long distances, the younger ones have been equally adept at sprints and routes. Among the 3yos of the group is Dreambot, who recently picked up a 3rd place stakes finish at 8.5f on the turf. The full bloodlines of Shamardal x Sadler’s Wells x Blushing Groom has been used 3 other times in the past 4 years, with the filly among them just hitting her stride at the 7-8f range when she was retired, and the two colts doing their best running in the 9f-T range.
Expectations: Newspaperofrecord likes to have horses to chase, and it’s pretty likely that she’ll be placed toward the back here. Her last race was arguably the strongest in the field, and if she can run back to that one, she’ll have a great chance here. But there are a couple of questions: did she go too hard when trying to tackle males last time? And will there be a pace to give her a chance to close here? She comes back to the track after a month, which is far shorter than her first break of 2.5 months, but she’s already got a 3yo race at this distance under her belt, and that experience should help here. A top contender.
Watch Level: High
#9 – Universal Strike (Australia x Universal Marvel [Smart Strike x Dynaformer]) – Owned by intheirons2 – 9/1
Race Record: 4:1-0-1; $36,938
Race History: Universal Strike enters this NW2L after finally breaking through her maiden in her 4th try, at today’s 9f-T distance, in her first race of 2019. Her first 3 races, as a 2yo, saw her struggle to get the route distances, as she tired in each effort and faded late. In the second of those 3, she trailed today’s rival Sea Cry, finishing 8th to Sea Cry’s 4th. But in her most recent race, Universal Strike struck, sitting just off the pace early and then grabbing the lead and holding on to win by ¾ lengths. She earned a career high 89 SP for the effort. Only one horse from her last race, the 8th place finisher, has come back to the track as of yet, but that horse managed to break her maiden at next asking.
Pedigree: Australia, an expert at 10-12f on the turf, currently stands for $35,000 and was the #4 ranked first crop sire in Europe in 2018. In the sim, Australia’s 2018 crop is currently ranked #115 and includes 88 runners, of which 39 have won at a 16% rate (slightly below his 19% average). One of those 39, So What’s The Plan, is the only stakes winner, but that stakes was The Wooden Reserve-G3 (8.5f-T), and she followed that up with a 2nd place finish in The Saint Cloud-G1 (10f-T). The significant majority of his sim progeny prefer turf, with 86% of earnings coming from the sod, while 68% come from routes; however, the speed figures for his progeny have been better in sprints than in routes. Universal Strike is the first foal from 6yo mare Universal Marvel, a 3-time winner in 30 career races. Those 3 wins came in an 8.5f-T MSW, an 8f-T $100K claimer (from which she was claimed), and a 6.5f-T NW3L allowance. Universal Marvel often struggled at the 8-8.5f distances while being forwardly placed, but found her groove at 7f, where she could sit off the lead and still have a little left at the end. A Smart Strike mare has been sent to Australia 5 times in the sim, with two success stories to date. One, 5yo Nightcliff, is a winner everywhere from 6f-12.5f on the turf, though she has done her best running (and is stakes placed) at the 7.5-8f range. The other, 5yo Western Australia, is G3-placed on the dirt, loving as much distance as he can get, with his best races (and his G3 placing) coming at 11-12f, though he has not raced in 2 years so we will never know what his best distance or surface really was.
Expectations: Universal Strike is going to try and get out of the gate pretty quickly and sit close to the lead, though probably not on it. She looks like she may have turned the corner as a 3yo, finally showing the stamina that her pedigree suggests she should have and withstanding the 9f distance. Her last race was a nice improvement from the race before, and if she can make a similar improvement here, she’s got a strong chance. Her chances get even stronger if the pace is as weak as expected.
Watch Level: High
#10 – Hushwing Accolade (Acclamation x Hushwing Lily [Dalakhani x Storm Cat]) – Owned by hushwing – 23/1
Race Record: 7:1-0-1; $33,410
Race History: Hushwing Accolade has spent most of her 7 race career in routes, but it took her 6 tries to finally break her maiden. She was given 2 months off at the end of 2018 but has been pushed pretty hard in 2019, as she’s already raced 3 times this year. The first try of the year saw Hushwing Accolade finish an even 3rd, and she came back 10 days later to finally break her maiden at 8f-T, winning a head-bob photo and earning a 77 SP. 2 weeks later, she was back for her first NW2L effort at 8f-T, but after breaking towards the back of the pack, she never showed any interest, running a well-beaten 11th. Even though she was well beaten, she did earn a career high 79 SP, which was pretty consistent with her other 3yo efforts of 77 and 78. Hushwing Accolade will enter the starting gate here off of another 2 week break as she tries to show more effort here.
Pedigree: One of 2 sim sires with the same name, this Acclamation was the #17 ranked EU sire in 2018 and currently stands for $40,000 in Ireland. A sprint sire in real life, in the sim his progeny are also turf sprinters, with 70% of earnings coming on the turf and 65% in sprints. His 2018 sim crop is currently ranked #83, with 46 winners from 87 runners. Among those winners are 2 stakes winners: Memory Queen, who is a G3 winner at 7f on the turf, and Acclaim The Cold, who is a stakes winner and G2-placed at 8f on the turf. Hushwing Accolade is the 3rd foal from 10yo mare Hushwing Lily, a mare who earned 2 wins in a 52 race career. Her best race was a 3rd place finish in a 9f dirt stakes back in 2012, which was her only time placing in 11 career stakes efforts. She bounced around distances and surfaces, generally running every 2-3 weeks, but her best distance seemed to be in the 9-10f range on dirt. Her first foal, 6yo Hushwing Peach (Shanghai Bobby), is her most decorated, as she was stakes placed at 11f on the dirt (though, like her mother, that was her only placing in 14 career stakes efforts). Hushwing Lily’s other foal, Hushwing Heart (Heart’s Cry (JPN)), has done his best running in sprints. Acclamation has been bred to a Dalakhani mare 4 times in the past 4 years, with the most successful being 5yo Fist Fighter, who has found his stride at the 7-8f turf distance.
Expectations: Hushwing Accolade will stretch out to her longest race here, but she made need a break if she’s going to be able to get the distance. She struggled to keep up with the field in her last race, at a shorter 8f-T distance, so there’s some question as to whether she’ll be able to keep up here. Some time off might help, but she looks in over her head in this race.
Watch Level: Low
#11 – Star Rock (Star Witness x Zero Rock [Galileo (IRE) x Duke of Marmalade]) – Owned by michaelb9 – 36/1
Race Record: 8:1-0-0; $32,283
Race History: One of the veterans of this field with 8 career starts, Star Rock has been struggling at the allowance level since breaking her maiden at 5f-T back in race #4. In 4 races since, she has finished no better than 4th, and no closer than 4 lengths from the winners of those races. Her most recent race, her first as a 3yo, was a toss-out, as she finished last in a 4 horse field, 9-1/2 lengths back in a 5.5f-T open allowance. The most instructive for this race though was her start 2 races back, her only route attempt to date. There, Star Rock earned a career high 76 SP and set the pace early, but didn’t have the stamina to keep it up and faded to 11th, 10 lengths behind the winner. That NW2L is a key race here, as 2 of Star Rock’s rivals in today’s race also competed there; Navy Blue Barbara (6th) and Realistic Shot (8th). Star Rock will give it another shot here.
Pedigree: Star Witness, who currently stands in Australia for $22,000, struggled a bit in 2018, ranking #69 in Australia (after ranking #18 and #21 in his 2 previous seasons). The sim version of Star Witness hasn’t had quite the same success that the real life version has, nor has he been given much of a chance. His 2018 sim crop consists of 18 runners, of which 10 have found victory at a 17% rate. But while the numbers might be small, that hasn’t prevented success, as one of those 10 winners, Second Island, is a G3 winner at 8f on the turf. Star Witness’s sim progeny prefer the turf, with 61% of earnings coming on the surface, while they are also more likely to be sprinters, with 62% coming in sprints (and likewise, the speed figures are usually better in sprints). Zero Rock, the 8yo dam of Star Rock, was a winner of 2 races in her 23 race career. Both of those wins came at 10f on the turf. A closer by trade, Zero Rock did her best running at that 10f distance, but that was also the farthest she could run, as she struggled to show any closing speed beyond that. Her first foal, Last Furlong (Siyouni), took after his mother, as a deep closer who likes longer races (though he’s been able to put up decent speed figures as far out as 12f). Zero Rock’s second foal, 4yo Rocky Highway (Black Minnaloushe) is a turf sprinter who is typically towards the front of the field. Star Witness has been used with a Galileo mare 3 times in the sim, though the other 2 were bred at the start of the new sim, so they’re not very instructive (neither was successful on the track, as they went a combined 1 for 23 lifetime).
Expectations: Star Rock looks like she is going to battle for the lead here, as she’s got some early speed and likes to use it. Unfortunately, that will likely be the only time that Star Rock is on or near the lead in this race. She’s raced a fair amount since debuting in June 2018, but she looks like she has distance limitations and her speed figures have not been progressing in the way that you would want to see for a strong 3yo competitor. I’ll pass here.
Watch Level: Low
#12 – Cat Skoozie (Fastnet Rock (AUS) x Sappho [Dynaformer x Kingmambo]) – Owned by quivertree – 8/1
Race Record: 6:1-0-2; $37,660
Race History: Cat Skoozie broke her maiden at 7f-T at 2nd asking, but has struggled in 4 NW2L allowances since. She picked it up recently though, and comes into this race off of 2 straight 3rd place finishes. Her speed figures have been improving in every race, and Cat Skoozie comes here off of a career high 88 SP at 8.5f-T. The winner from her last race, who she finished 2 lengths behind, came back to win an allowance next time out, and the winner from 2 back (where she also finished 2 lengths behind) followed up that win with a 2nd in a stakes race. This will be her first race of 2019.
Pedigree: See Navy Blue Barbara for a description of Fastnet Rock. Cat Skoozie is the 9th foal from15yo mare Sappho. In her 53 race career, Sappho managed 6 wins, including 4 at the stakes level, and another 7 stakes placings throughout her career. All but one of those came in turf sprints, primarily in her 2yo and early 3yo campaigns. Her 8 previous foals to date have all showed strong abilities on the track, and particularly on the turf. The best of those is 7yo Landlubber (Sea The Stars), a 3-time G2 winner at 7-8f-T and a winner of 7 total stakes races in his 39 race career. But 5 of Cat Skoozie’s other 7 siblings are also stakes winners in turf sprints and routes. They seem to generally excel in the 7-9f range, though the speed figures have generally been the fastest in routes. Fastnet Rock has been bred to a Dynaformer mare 26 times in the past 4 years, with 4 of those (including Cat Skoozie) being the full Fastnet Rock x Dynaformer x Kingmambo cross. None of those 4 is among the 5 stakes winners of the group, though the 3 others all seem to prefer longer distances.
Expectations: Cat Skoozie is a dead closer who will be looking for a quick pace here. She has broken in the back in each of her 4 route efforts, and her late closing kick has been getting stronger and stronger in each race. In her last 2 races, she closed 6-7 lengths in the stretch (and 9 lengths total each time), and she should relish the extra ½ furlong here. A real contender.
Watch Level: High
#13 – Sea Cry (Sea The Stars x Street Cry x Nijinsky II) – Owned by dreaming – 11/1
Race Record: 4:1-0-2; $39,628
Race History: Sea Cry took 3 tries to break her maiden, finally pulling through in a 6.5f-T MSW in November 2018. In that race, she closed from midpack early to pull away, winning by 1 length. In her first effort at the allowance level, an 8f-T local NW3L to end 2018, Sea Cry sat much further back early, hanging out at the back of the pack, and closed to finish 3rd, though she was still 6 lengths off of the leaders. She earned a career high 85 SP, a 9 point jump from her maiden win, and comes into this race on a high note. Of note, her 2nd career race (and first attempt in a route) saw her finish 4th, beating today’s opponent Universal Strike, who finished 8th that day. This will be the longest attempt for Sea Cry, and her first race of 2019.
Pedigree: “Sea” Sea Da Bears above for a description of Sea The Stars. The Sea The Stars x Street Cry cross has been used 26 times in the past 4 years, including 9 times in 2018 alone. One of those 9 is stakes placed at 7.5f-T, and 4 of the 26 overall have gone on to pick up a stakes victory. The cross largely produces turf runners, with long distances (especially over 11f) seeing the best results.
Expectations: Sea Cry is yet another horse that will be duking it out…towards the back of the pack. Her pedigree indicates that she’ll love longer distances, but her previous 4 races hint that she may be a sprinter. At 6.5f, she was able to show a solid kick to outrun her opponents, but at 8f, she’s struggled to really gain any ground, merely passing horses that are more tired than her and racing evenly. That indicates that Sea Cry has some stamina, but doesn’t really have the speed to back it up. She might improve in her first 3yo effort, but she’s drawn a tough field for that to succeed here.
Watch Level: Medium
#14 – Tete Crick (Kodiac (GB) x Tete Dinaal [Iffraaj (GB) x Forty Niner]) – Owned by anothercrick7 – 12/1
Race Record: 4:1-2-0; $54,149
Race History: It took 4 tries, but Tete Crick comes into this race off her maiden score. After coming up just short in her 2 prior races in turf sprints, she stretched out to 8f-T and joined 3 other fillies taking on 7 colts in a local MSW back in December 2018. There, she sat towards the back early before flying late, getting up by a head and earning a career high 86 SP. The runner-up from that race came back to break his maiden next time out with a 97 SP. This will be Tete Crick’s first 3yo start.
Pedigree: Kodiac, the #10 ranked European sire of 2018, currently stands for $65,000, and in real life he is primarily a sprint sire. In the sim, Kodiac is also a turf sprint sire, with 66% of earnings coming in the short races and 68% on the turf. Kodiac’s 2018 sim crop hasn’t quite jumped like his real life counterpart, but it is his best to date, ranking #78 thus far with 51 winners from 90 runners (winning at a 19% rate, well above his 13.5% average). Among those are 7 stakes winners, one of whom, Justice My Way, is G3-placed at 7f-T. Tete Crick is the first foal from 5yo mare Tete Dinaal, who was claimed for $2K in early 2018 and then pushed into the breeding shed after only 1 start for her new owner. That start was her career best effort, in which she earned a 102 SP while coming up 1 length short in a 9f-T $2K starter allowance. She was a late bloomer, but looked to be turning the corner once she hit 4 years old, enjoying the 8-9f races.
Expectations: Tete Crick changed up her running style when facing males last time out, as she sat much farther off the pace than she had in her previous 3 sprint efforts. It’s the opposite of her mother, who was a deep closer when sprinting but leveled out a little more in routes. Regardless, that running style worked to perfection last time out, and I would expect her to do try something similar here. She’ll look to take the 3yo leap here.
Watch Level: High
That’s the full field for this week’s NW2L. Interestingly, when it comes to pace, it looks like the biggest battle is going to be for who can sit in last early. Very few of these horses want anything to do with the pace, and one of the few that might actually take the lead, 36/1 Star Rock, doesn’t look like she has the stamina to make it count. But she may be the wildcard, because without her, it’s Henty Beam’s pace to set (Universal Strike and Sea Da Bears look like the only other two that could be close). If Star Rock pushes the pace, Henty Beam might end up running a little faster up from than she wants to. But if she doesn’t push, the race setup would allow Henty Beam to set whatever pace she wanted to, and she’s got the stamina to withhold some of the late charges from the closers. Ultimately, I think the pace plays a big role in this one, and the closers just won’t have the chance to get there. I’m going with (1) Henty Beam, (2) Cat Skoozie, (3) Tete Crick. But don’t quote me on that.
Other races to watch this weekend: