The Future Stars Series took a week off last week, so first a quick recap of the race from two weeks ago. Giant Rebourbon ($10.00) lived up to her name and proved to be a giant in the field. Setting the early pace and being pushed by longshot VT Mansion, Giant Rebourbon quickly dispatched that rival and hit another gear as they entered the far turn. She opened up a 3-1/4 length lead at the top of the stretch before easing her way to a 1-1/2 length victory, earning a 98 SP in victory. It was too little too late for Barbara Tap Out, who was making her way from 7th but ended up 1-1/2 lengths short. It was a close photo for 3rd, but the nod went to stalker Demostolos, who just narrowly held off the late charge of Loyola Ramblers coming from last.
This week, the Future Stars Series is back, and heads to its alma mater’s home, Pennsylvania! There, we find 11 colts battling in a NW2L Allowance at 9 furlongs on the dirt. The field is:
#1 – The Other Guy (Quality Road x Angels Fall [Empire Maker x Theatrical]) – Owned by wilko – 11/1
Race Record: 5:1-0-1; $40,914
Race History: The Other Guy comes into this race off of his maiden score in his first 3yo race back in February. In that race, an MSW at 9.5f on the dirt, The Other Guy assumed his usually stalking position, 2 lengths off the leaders, but unlike his 2yo races, the jockey made his move early and The Other Guy pulled away in the far turn to open up by 2 lengths. From there, it was just a question of whether he could hold off the closers, and the answer was yes, as he won by 1 length and earned a career-high 92 SP. It was his second attempt at routing, with the first a solid 3rd place effort at 8.5f. The Other Guy cuts back a half furlong from his last race for today’s effort.
Pedigree: Quality Road, currently stands for $150,000 in Kentucky and was the #7 ranked US sire in 2018 (#1 in G1 Wins). His 2018 sim crop is lagging behind a bit, currently ranking #118 with 53 winners from 94 runners (winning at a 15% rate). Only one of those 94 is currently a stakes winner, and that horse, Quality Killer, is a G3 winner at 8f on the turf, though he is also stakes placed at 9.5f on the dirt. Quality Road’s progeny strongly prefer dirt (68% earnings on dirt), with a pretty even split in earnings between sprints and routes (though the speed figures favor sprints). Angels Fall, the 15yo he-mare of The Other Guy, was a 5 time winner in his 55 race career, with all of his wins coming in dirt routes (or longer). He was a stakes winner and G3-placed at 10 furlongs on the dirt, and that distance is where he did his best running, with 4 of his 5 wins at the 10f distance. Quality Road has been bred to an Empire Maker mare 7 times (excluding 2yos) in the past 4 years. Although none of the other 6 have had stakes success yet, 3 are allowance winners, and in general all of their best races have come in the 8-9f dirt range.
Expectations: The Other Guy wants to sit about 2 lengths off of the pace, and he’ll use whatever speed it takes to do that. His most recent effort saw a tiring pacesetter fade early, combined with The Other Guy trying an early move to put away the field. It’s not clear that that particular strategy will work in this race, but it’s not The Other Guy’s only option. He has shown in the past that he has something left in the tank at the end of races, and he’ll try to outrun his competition here. He has made steady improvement in his last few races, and if he can improve again today, he’s got a chance, but facing winners for the first time can sometimes be a daunting task.
Watch Level: Medium
#2 – Butterballs (Congrats x Barely Lucky [Dynaformer x Halo]) – Owned by mogul – 9/2 (f-t)
Race Record: 4:1-1-1; $48,866
Race History: Butterballs was bred early in 2018 but waited until races got longer and debuted in October 2018, when he broke his maiden at 7.5 furlongs and indicated that the longer distances were right up his alley. In each of his 3 allowance tries following that win, all in dirt routes, Butterballs has shown a bit of a closing move, but as of yet he hasn’t been able to find the winner’s circle. 2 races back was his closest effort, as he was coming on strong late in a 9f race but ended up getting passed by a deeper closer, finishing 2nd and earning a career high 93 SP. The winner from that race came back to run 3rd at the stakes level next time out. Butterballs enters today’s race off of a 3rd place finish at 9.5f on the dirt, where he sat 2nd behind a loose leader early and closed the gap at the end, but had to settle for 3rd with a 92 SP. He cuts back to 9f here to see if he can finally get the jump on the others.
Pedigree: Congrats, the #24 ranked US sire in 2018, currently stands for $12,500 in Kentucky and has shown some additional promise recently, including with top 2019 Kentucky Derby contender Harvey Wallbanger. In the sim, Congrats’ 2018 crop is currently ranked #94 (#38 in jimj’s recent Message Board rankings), with 43 winners from 84 runners winning at a 15% rate. Among those is 1 Graded Stakes winner, Hey Thanks, winner of the Vermont Is 4 Lovers-G1 at 9f on the dirt and currently the #5 ranked 3yo dirt route filly. Congrats’ sim progeny are largely dirt horses (75% of earnings on dirt), while they are pretty evenly split between sprints and routes (52% sprint), though the speed figures are relatively better when routing. Butterballs is the 5th of 6 foals from G2-winning 12yo mare Barely Lucky. Barely Lucky was a solid runner in her day, winning 16 of 39 career races, including the G2 win in the 9f D-Day Distaff-G2, and 7 other stakes victories, along with 5 G3 placings, all in dirt routes in the 9-9.5f range. Most of her foals (other than her first) have followed suit by preferring dirt routes. The best of those is 5yo mare Luck or Fate (Hard Spun), who is a stakes winner at this 9f distance and twice stakes placed at 8.5f. Congrats has been bred to a Dynaformer mare 2 other times in the past 4 years. One of those has yet to race, and the other, Truly Inspired, is a 4-time allowance winner, with his best races coming in races over 12f on the turf.
Expectations: Butterballs has shown in his past that he can close from far back if he really needs to, but he would prefer to have fewer horses to pass, likely sitting about 3-4 lengths off of the pace. He definitely has the speed to pick off some horses late, but he’s shown some vulnerability in his last 2 races to deeper closers that get the first run on him, as well as loose leaders. But he’s a solid horse who has a chance here.
Watch Level: High
#3 – Break Dancer Bob (Majestic Warrior x Nureyev x Mr. Prospector) – Owned by simlander – 17/1
Race Record: 9:1-1-2; $29,878
Race History: Break Dancer Bob certainly looks like he loves racing. The “youngest” horse in the field, having not debuted until November 2018, Break Dancer Bob has already run 9 times, the most in the field. Most of those were in short 4.5-5.5f sprints on both turf and dirt, and he broke his maiden in mid-February in a 5f turf sprint. He came back 9 days later in a NW2L at 6f on the dirt but showed no interest in wanting to be back already, sitting in last the entire race. His most recent race came 13 days later, when he stretched out to 9f for the first time, and he earned a career high 84 SP but was never really in the race, finishing a well-beaten 12th. Break Dancer Bob will get 20 days of rest leading up to this race, his longest break since career race #4.
Pedigree: Majestic Warrior, a G1 winning sprinter as a 2yo, ranked as the #29 US sire in 2018, but was shipped to Japan in 2016 and currently stands for 1.8MM yen there, where his first Japanese foals are likely to begin running this year. Majestic Warrior’s 2018 sim crop currently ranks #146, with 38 winners from 94 runners, winning at a 10.5% rate. Among those 38 winners are 3 stakes winners, one at 7f on the turf and 2 (one owner-restricted) at 8.5-9f on the dirt. Majestic Warrior’s sim progeny have strongly favored dirt (70% of earnings on dirt), while he has evenly sired sprinters and routers. No one else has bred a Majestic Warrior x Nureyev foal in the past 4 years, but there is one Majestic Warrior x Peintre Celebre (a son of Nureyev) out there. And he has been a solid runner, with 3 wins in 9 career starts, doing his best running in turf miles.
Expectations: Early in his career, Break Dancer Bob showed some true gate speed, as he was fast enough to set the pace in most of his early 4.5f and 5f races. It may be the racing schedule, but he hasn’t shown that same ability in his last few races. I expect that he would want to battle the pace if he could, but he hasn’t indicated that he currently has the speed to take on some of the others in this field. This colt may need a breather before he’s able to compete with the caliber of horses in this NW2L. Pass.
Watch Level: Low
#4 – Well in California (California Chrome x Sadler’s Wells x Fappiano) – Owned by tripleaaa – 5/1
Race Record: 5:1-1-1; $50,878
Race History: Well in California may be across the country from his namesake state, but that didn’t seem to both him much in his most recent race. Trying his third straight MSW at or beyond 9f, Well in California decided to take a new tactic, sitting off the pace for the first time in his career. But while his previous races saw him tire late (including 2 races back, where he took off running early on, opening up 6-1/2 lengths on the field before tiring to finish 3rd), in his most recent run he showed an extra kick at the end. Siegehunter sat 3 lengths off the pace early, but came running late and grabbed a ¾ length victory, earning a career high 96 SP. He’ll take on winners for the first time today.
Pedigree: California Chrome, the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner and Horse of the Year, currently stands for $35,000 in Kentucky but has not seen any real world foals yet, as he entered stud in 2017. That’s enough time for the sim, however, and his 2018 crop currently ranks #66, with 126 runners and 60 winners succeeding at a 12% rate. Only one of those 60 is a stakes winner, at 9f on the dirt, though California Chrome does have 1 G1 winner, Golden California, also at 9f on the dirt from his 2017 crop. His sim progeny have been dirt runners, with 75% of earnings on dirt, and while his sim foals currently show a slight edge in sprints, they have been improving with added distance and he may end up as a sire that has no distance preference. California Chrome has been crossed with Sadler’s Wells 3 other times in the sim. The most successful of those is 4yo Chrome City, a residency-restricted stakes winner at 8.5f on the dirt, though he has proven to be particularly adept on the turf.
Expectations: Siegebreaker did something in his last race that he had never done before – he settled off the pace. In 4 prior starts, he was all in on speed. The question for the casual observer is whether that change was one made by the jockey or one made by the trainer. If it was the trainer, Siegebreaker has a real strong chance in here, as he proved that if he can take back a little, he’s got some leftover stamina to outrun others. If it was the jockey and he reverts back to his pacesetting ways, he may get locked into a speed duel here that could be too much to overcome. My guess? It was the trainer. The pick.
Watch Level: High
#5 – Threewilltestify (Frosted x Rejoice in Storms [Bodemeister x Sadler’s Wells]) – Owned by billzelite – 10/1
Race Record: 5:1-1-1; $48,920
Race History: The sponsor of the race, Threewilltestify has been counting down the races to this one – in his first 5 races (all dirt routes), he finished 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. That 1st place finish was in his most recent race, here in Pennsylvania at 9f at the beginning of March. In that race, He sat 4 lengths off the pace early, which put him towards the back, but came flying beginning on the backstretch and had nearly grabbed the lead by the far turn, eventually taking the lead and pulling away to win by 2 lengths. The race earned him a career high 91 SP, a 10 point jump over his previous effort. Threewilltestify will try to duplicate that most recent performance here as he tries winners for the first time.
Pedigree: Frosted, a 3-time G1 winning horse at 8-9f on the dirt who entered stud in 2017, currently stands for $50,000 in Kentucky. His 2018 second sim crop is currently ranked #82 overall, with 61 winners from 107 runners, winning at a 14% rate. His sim foals are dirt runners, with 73% of earnings on the dirt, while being evenly matched in both sprints and routes (currently 57% overall in sprints, but the 4yo class is 51/49). Frosted has not yet had a graded stakes winner in the sim, but his 2018 class includes 2 stakes winners, one at 7f on the dirt, and one in a residency-restricted stakes at 8.5f on the dirt, and one G2-placed horse at 6.5f on the dirt. Threewilltestify is the only foal from 6yo he-mare Rejoice in Storms, a winner of 3 from 22 races in his career. The big one of those 3 wins was a 9f stakes on a dirt off-track, where he put up a career best SP in winning by 1-1/4. But it wasn’t necessarily a fluke, as Rejoice in Storms had 2 other stakes placings (1 residency-restricted stakes, 1 open) at 8.5f and 9.5f on the dirt. His best racing was done in the 9-10f range, though his 2 other wins were in his first 2 career races, both at 7f.
Expectations: Threewilltestify seems like he may be a bit of a slave to the pace setup in this race. He wants to be roughly 3-4 lengths off the pace, and so he’ll expend whatever energy it takes to get there. But the unique thing about Threewilltestify is that he seems to have a lot of stamina, so a hot pace could actually benefit him, as he will outlast horses that are tiring. He doesn’t have quite as strong of a closing kick as one might expect, given his running style, but he may be improving with age. His most recent race was a big jump from his prior efforts, and if he can move forward in this race, he’s in it. But I’m siding elsewhere here.
Watch Level: Medium
#6 – Peach Barbara (Bodemeister x Lucky You Barb [Exceed and Excel x Rahy]) – Owned by lukebarn – 17/1
Race Record: 5:1-0-0; $16,860
Race History: Peach Barbara won his debut race back in September 2018 at 7f on the dirt, stalking the pace early and then getting up by a neck in a field of 12. But since then, he has been struggling at the allowance level. In 4 races since that maiden win, Peach Barbara has finished no better than 6th. With that said, his speed figures have been improving ever so slightly in each of his 5 races. In his most recent race, he was stretched out to 9f after trying a 6.5f sprint, and that stretch out may have been too much for him, as he broke towards the back and was never really in the race, finishing 15-3/4 lengths back in 8th. He did, however, earn a career high 80 SP. He’ll try 9f again today, this time with a little experience at the distance under his belt.
Pedigree: Bodemeister, second in the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, currently stands for $25,000 in Kentucky and was the #49 ranked US sire of 2018. In the sim, his 2018 crop currently ranks #102, with 52 winners from 121 runners to date, winning at a 12% rate (below his average 16%). Only one of those has picked up a stakes win thus far, Bodement, who did so in his most recent race at 8.5f on the dirt. Bodemeister’s sim foals strongly prefer dirt (76% of earnings on dirt) and are pretty evenly split between routes and sprints (55% in routes), though in real life his foals are successful at slightly longer distances, with an AWD of 7.23. Peach Barbara is the first foal from 6yo mare Lucky You Barb. Lucky You Barb was a winner of 7 races in her 24 race career, with 4 non-hot, non-local allowance wins among those. All 7 of those wins, and in fact all 24 of her career races, were in turf sprints, with most coming in the super short 4.5-5.5f range. Bodemeister has been bred to an Exceed and Excel mare 4 times in the past 4 years. One of those, Bodeworld LV, is a stakes winner at 8f on the turf, and the others (aside from Peach Barbara) have likewise done their best running in turf routes (or longer).
Expectations: Peach Barbara is looking to rebound in his 2nd race at 9f here. But it’s tough to see a scenario where he finishes near the front. His last several races have indicated that he doesn’t have the speed to be competitive early, nor does he seem to have the stamina to get these distances. That’s not much of a surprise if you look at his pedigree, given that his dam was a turf sprinter. In fact, it’s a little surprising that Peach Barbara hasn’t tried the turf through 6 career starts (including today), as this writer’s uneducated guess is that he would be better on the grass than the dirt. That’s certainly something to look for in the future, but for this race, there’s a reason that Peach Barbara is one of the biggest longshots. Pass.
Watch Level: Low
#7 – Gun Inspector (Gun Runner x Mr. Prospector x Nijinsky 2nd) – Owned by sjmeola9 – 7/1
Race Record: 6:1-1-0; $50,244
Race History: A very well-bred 3yo, Gun Inspector was gelded after a poor first effort, but while he saw improvement after the procedure (which was also when he stretched out to a mile), he still struggled throughout his 2yo season, finishing with 1 2nd place finish in 5 races. But he saw a significant improvement in his 3yo debut in February, his most recent race. In that race, a MSW at 9.5f on the dirt, Gun Inspector sat midpack early and then unleashed a closing move that he had not previously hinted at in his prior races, grabbing the lead and pulling away to win by 1-3/4 lengths and earning a career-high 97 SP, a 13 point jump over his previous high. This will be Gun Inspector’s first attempt against winners, as he hopes to prove that the improvement wasn’t just a blip here.
Pedigree: Gun Runner, the 2017 American Horse of the Year, was a dominant horse on the track, primarily in the 9f-10f range on the dirt and currently stands in Kentucky for $70,000. A freshman sire in 2018, Gun Runner’s #22-ranked sim class currently consists of 137 runners, of which 81 have won at a 15% rate. The large majority of his sim foals have preferred dirt (83% of earnings on dirt), but they are starting to show more promise as they stretch out to route distances (currently 47% of earnings in routes, but growing). The 2018 class includes 2 stakes winners – Sniper’s View, a colt squarely on the Bluegrass Derby trail and a G2 winner at 8.5f on the dirt, and The Bourbon Double, winner of a residency-restricted stakes at 8.5f on the dirt, and multiple stakes placed at 8-9f. Gun Runner has been crossed with Mr. Prospector 2 other times thus far in the sim (both with Northern Dancer, Nijinsky 2nd’s sire, as the DDS), and all 3 were bred and are owned by sjmeola. One has shown strong ability in dirt sprints, with a maiden win in 4 tries thus far, while the other is winless through 5 races.
Expectations: Gun Inspector is looking to sit roughly midpack, which in an ideal world would put him just 2-3 lengths off the pace, but might pull him back a little farther in this race. But what you think of Gun Inspector really depends on how you see his last race. Was it the sign of a horse that reached his maturity as a 3yo? Or was it a fluke? Nothing in his prior route efforts indicated he wanted an extra 1.5 furlongs, as he had tended to race pretty evenly. But it’s certainly possible that he filled out once he aged up. And if that’s what happened, he’s a solid choice here. Don’t discount.
Watch Level: Medium
#8 – Minor Boo Boo (Mineshaft x Boodha [Buddha x Belong To Me]) – Owned by dalegend – 12/1
Race Record: 4:1-0-1; $40,241
Race History: Minor Boo Boo didn’t have much of a boo boo when he stretched out to 8f in his second career race, back in September 2018. Able to set the pace at the distance, he overpowered 9 rivals to wire the field by 2 lengths. He came back at 8.5f in December 2018 and again set the pace, but faded to 6th. Minor Boo Boo showed a marked improvement in his first 3yo effort and most recent race, however. There, he once again set the early pace, opening up a 2-1/2 length lead at the top of the stretch before running out of gas late. He ended up fading to 4th, beaten 3-1/4 lengths, but he earned a career high 95 SP for the effort. The 3 horses that managed to pass him in that race each came back to run 3rd, 1st, and 2nd at the allowance level in their next races, earning SPs of 95, 95, and 90. Minor Boo Boo will hope that he can improve his stamina off of that most recent race and get an extra half furlong here.
Pedigree: Mineshaft, the 2003 Horse of the Year and the #35 ranked US sire in 2018, currently stands for $20,000 in Kentucky. His 2018 sim crop currently ranks #100, with 117 runners and 56 winners to date, winning at an 11% rate (well off of his 17% average). It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Mineshaft was downgraded in 2018, though it’s also possible that the horses will get better with age, as he tends to throw horses that prefer routes (69% of earnings in routes). His progeny have, in recent years, been stronger on dirt, though overall his progeny have been pretty evenly split between turf and dirt. The 2018 crop includes 3 stakes winners to date, 2 of those in dirt sprints and 1 in a residency-restricted dirt route. Mineshaft is also the sire of Sim Hall of Famer The Gun Went Off. Minor Boo Boo is the 9th foal from 16yo mare Boodha, winner of the 2008 edition of the 8.5f Steadhemp Handicap-G1. In addition to that G1 win, Boodha earned 7 other wins in her 35 race career, including 1 other stakes victory at 8f, and added 5 other stakes placings (including a G3 placing) at distances ranging from 6.5f-8f in her career). Her most impressive efforts were in the 2 back-to-back stakes wins at 8f and 8.5f, though she spent a lot of her early career sprinting, and proved to be a solid runner anywhere from 6.5f to 8.5f on the dirt. But the main trait that she has passed down to her sim progeny has been speed, as all but one have done their best racing in sprints (most on the dirt). One of her foals, 7yo Boozin (Hansen), is stakes placed at 6f on the dirt, while 3 of the other 7 are winners in non-local, non-hot allowances.
Expectations: Minor Boo Boo is going to try for the lead, and he’s shown in the past that he has the speed to get there. He may even be able to open up lengths on the field early, similar to what he did in his last race. But the real question is whether he’ll be able to maintain that speed for 9 furlongs. He did it in his maiden score at 8f, but he’s struggled at 8.5f to finish strong, and adding the extra half furlong here doesn’t look like it will help. His siblings are all primarily sprinters, and one is left to wonder if it might be worth trying a race at around 7 furlongs, to see if he can get to the lead and maintain it. A strong horse, but this might be too much for him.
Watch Level: Medium
#9 – Siegebreaker (Dubawi (IRE) x Queen Anne’s War [Declaration of War x Kingmambo]) – Owned by borodino – 8/1
Race Record: 3:1-0-1; $39,944
Race History: The least experienced horse in the field, Siegebreaker began his career with 2 starts on the turf. After breaking his maiden at first asking at 8f on the turf, he stretched out to 8.25f-T but faded late. He was shifted over to the main track in his most recent race, a 9f NW2L allowance back in February. There, he sat midpack early, well off of a very hot pace, and finished a well-beaten 5th, but early a career high 92 SP (a 9 point jump over his previous turf high) in the process. The first and third place finishers from that race came back to run 3rd and 1st in their next allowance races, each putting up high 90s SPs. Siegebreaker will try 9f on the dirt again here.
Pedigree: Dubawi, the #1 EU sire in 2018, currently stands in England for $250,000. In the sim, his crop wasn’t quite as strong, as the 2018 class currently ranks #52 overall, with 88 winners from 163 runners, winning at a 17.5% rate. None of those 88 has won a graded stakes yet, though 2 are graded stakes placed at 8-8.5f on the turf and 3 others are stakes winners (all at 8-8.5f, 2 on turf and 1 on dirt). Dubawi’s sim progeny strongly prefer turf routes (71% of earnings on turf, 78% in routes), which is a little surprising given his somewhat low-end real life AWD of 8.76 (you’d expect slightly more sprinters, even though routes would still be preferred overall). Siegebreaker is the first foal from 6yo mare Queen Anne’s War, a winner of 6 from 28 races in her career. Among those wins was a stakes win at today’s 9f dirt distance. She proved to be talented on both turf and dirt in her career, ultimately earning more on turf (backed by 4 of her 6 career wins), even though her two stakes placings were both on dirt. She was a solid runner anywhere from 7f-9f.
Expectations: There’s a little bit of uncertainty around Siegebreaker because he’s had so few races in his career. What is his preferred running style, since he didn’t have much of a chance to show it with the blistering pace of his first dirt try? How much of his last race was a turf-to-dirt bump? There’s also a distance question, as he’s tired late a bit in each of his first 2 races as a 3yo. But more experience at the distance could help that. He’s one of many with a shot in here.
Watch Level: Medium
#10 – The Trumpinator (Giant’s Causeway x A.P. Indy x Blushing Groom) – Owned by champions8 – 5/1
Race Record: 5:1-2-0; $62,056
Race History: The Trumpinator came up just short in his 2nd race, at 7f on the dirt back in October 2018, as a photo proved he was defeated by a head, but it was a bit of surprise that it would take 3 more tries before he could finally break his maiden. A stretch out to routes indicated a bit of a closing kick, but it wasn’t until his most recent race, his second as a 3yo at 8.5f on the dirt, that he finally put it all together. There, he sat just off the pace early before hitting another gear in the stretch, pulling away from the pacesetter to win by 2 lengths and earning a career high 91 SP. He’ll add another half furlong here as he tries to make it two in a row.
Pedigree: Giant’s Causeway, the #19 US sire in 2018, passed away in 2018. And if it feels like Giant’s Causeway is covered in this series every week…it’s because he has. This is the 4th straight week with a Giant’s Causeway horse. And the reason? His 2018 sim crop currently has 385 runners to date. That #1 ranked class includes 238 have won at a 20% rate. Among the winners are 18 stakes winners and 6 graded winners. His sim foals are typically routers, aligning with his real world 8.09 AWD, and his sim foals are evenly split among dirt and turf, though the 2018 crop is favoring dirt thus far, with 60% of earnings on dirt. Giant’s Causeway x A.P. Indy is one of the most popular crosses in the sim, with 87 bred in the past 4 years. 15 of those 87 are stakes winners, but only 1 has hit the graded stakes jackpot, with a G3 win at 8f on the dirt as a 2yo. Overall, those horses seem to prefer dirt, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a distance preference as a whole.
Expectations: If The Trumpinator gets the race that he wants, he’d probably sit 2-3 lengths off the pace early. But the pace in this race might be a little faster than he’d like, and he might be forced to sit a little farther back. That’s not necessarily a death knell, as The Trumpinator has shown a bit of a closing kick in some previous races, and the 9f distance here might help that a bit. But he caught a very soft pace in his maiden win and this is his first time facing winners, so it’s a question about whether he’s up to the level of some of his competition here. He’s got a possibility, but I’m siding with others.
Watch Level: Medium
#11 – Dot to Dot (Connect x Short Notice [Bernardini x Saint Liam]) – Owned by johnscall – 9/2 (f-t)
Race Record: 7:1-2-2; $51,912
Race History: Dot to Dot has shown steady improvements in speed in each of his 7 career races, which has also corresponded to increasing distances. He enters this race off of his fastest race to date, when he earned a career-high and field-high 98 SP at 10 furlongs in a NW2L allowance back in February. In that race, he stalked the pace in 4th and moved up as they hit the far turn, but he was outrun by a few others to the finish line and he had to settle for 4th. The 2nd place horse from that race came back to win a NW2L allowance next time out with a 95 SP. This race will be Dot to Dot’s 5th try at the NW2L level, but he’s never finished worse than 4th, or farther back than 3-1/2 lengths, in any of those races. He’ll cut back in distance for the first time here, to match the distance he ran 2 back, where he sat midpack early and closed to a 3rd place finish.
Pedigree: Connect, a freshman sire in 2018, currently stands for $20,000 in Kentucky and was a strong dirt miler in his racing career. In the sim, that freshman class currently ranks #141 overall, with 40 wins out of 79 runners, winning at a 16% rate. The crop may not be as large as some others, but it already includes 5 stakes winners, including Connectorbone, a G2 winner at 6.5f on the dirt and 4 others that run the gamut from 6.5f on the turf to 10.5f on the dirt. Connect’s sim progeny have thus far been dirt sprinters (82% of earnings on dirt, 74% in sprints), but the sprinting may change as his first crop gets a real chance to route. Dot to Dot is the 3rd foal from 10yo mare Short Notice, a winner of 8 races in her 44 race career. 6 of those wins came at the non-hot, non-local allowance level, and most of those wins came in long distance races. Short Notice could run for days, and did her best running at 10-12f on the dirt. Her two prior foals have inherited some, but not all, of that stamina, as both of them have been best at the 8-9f range (one on dirt, one on turf), and both have picked up 2 non-hot, non-local allowance wins thus far in their careers. There is one other sim colt from Connect x Bernardini parentage, and he has likewise done his best running through 6 career races thus far in 8f dirt races, though as of yet he only has a maiden win to his name.
Expectations: Dot to Dot likes to sit midpack, probably anywhere from 3-5 lengths off the pace, if he can. If the pace is this race is a little hot, as it was 2 races ago, he may sit slightly further back. Where he has run into trouble recently is that his closing kick is not as strong as some of his competition, and so he’s susceptible to others getting the first run over him. Dot to Dot comes off of a very strong race that would have had an even better result for him if the wire had come one furlong sooner, and so he’ll get the benefit of a cutback here to try and propel him forward even more. A strong contender.
Watch Level: High
That’s the field of 11 taking on this NW2L Allowance. Unlike some of the past races in this series, I’m not sure I can accurately break down the pace scenario here. I think it’s likely that Minor Boo Boo tries to set it. The question is whether he has it alone, or whether Well in California tries to join him (and then whether Break Dancer Bob will try to keep up). I think it’s most likely that Well in California tries to rate like he did in his last race, so that leaves Minor Boo Boo on the lead alone. But there will be a huge crowd sitting 2-5 lengths off. This race will come down to two things: (1) will Minor Boo Boo have the stamina to wire the field, and (2) if not, who gets first run from those coming from off the pace. Ultimately, I think it’s someone from off the pace. My projections are: (1) Well in California; (2) Butterballs; (3) Gun Inspector, with The Other Guy as my longshot pick. Apologies to those 4, and good luck to everyone.
Other races to watch this weekend: