First, a quick recap of last week’s race. This recap will be quicker than the pace in last week’s race, which was set initially by Rain Rover, who crawled to the lead with several others sitting 1 length or less off of that pace. That spelled doom for anyone trying to come from well off the pace. Luckily, Aces Over Fours wasn’t that far back. The filly showed that she will be force to be reckoned with through the rest of the 2yo season, as after sitting 5th early, she moved forward and blew the doors off of her previous efforts. Aces Over Fours ($24.60) cruised to a 1-1/2 length victory, her 3rd win in a row, but more impressively put up a blistering 89 SP, a 22 point jump over her previous career high, as she tries to join her full brother Kennedy Camelot at the top of her class. Putting up a solid effort in defeat was Sadlerdini, who sat midpack early and came running late, but was no match for the winner, earning an 87 SP. Rain Rovers, the pacesetter, was able to hold on and take a three-way photo for 3rd, 2-1/4 lengths back (just narrowly edging out Unremembered Rooms and Holy Crap).
This week, the Future Stars Series heads back to the type of race most commonly found at the top of the future stars lists: a longer distance race for 2yo fillies! It remains baffling to me why the filly races are always at the top of the list, but this week we head to Kentucky, where 11 fillies will find their way into the gate of an 8 furlong NW2L dirt allowance. The field is:
#1 – Failing Grayde (Baltimore Gray x Rim Rock [Phoentics x Java Gold]) – Owned by roys – 28/1
Race Record: 4:1-0-2; $45,580
Capsule: Failing Grayde isn’t the most well-bred horse out there, but what she lacks in pedigree, she makes up for with a great trainer. Failing Grayde debuted back on March 2 in a 6f turf owner-restricted allowance, and set the early pace, opening up a sizeable lead on the field and then hanging on to win by a head. She tried a 5.5f turf stakes next, giving a commendable effort for a 5th place finish (of 11) at 42/1. A switch to dirt seemed to do the trick, and she’s run in back-to-back dirt stakes at 5.5f and 6.5f and has finished an upset 3rd after stalking the pace each time, first at 18/1 and then at 30/1, with her most recent effort earning her a career high 78 SP. Failing Grayde is the daughter of Baltimore Gray, and is the first (and possibly only) foal from 19yo mare Rim Rock. Baltimore Gray won 9 of his 36 career races, never higher than an allowance, but it’s very tough to find any information about his stud career. That’s not too much of a surprise, given that in his 17 year sim stud career, he has only sired 24 horses. Of those, 12 have won races. Failing Grayde is already the best sim foal that Baltimore Gray has ever had, and her multiple stakes places have given Baltimore Gray’s 2019 crop of 2 runners his highest ranking to date, at #1,343. There aren’t really enough runners to get a good sense of running preferences, but of the 5 winners that he has had over the past 5 years, 4 of those have won turf races, versus only 1 on dirt, and he has a sim AWD of 6.05. Rim Rock barely had a career on the track, with only 2 career starts and no better than a 6th place finish. Failing Grayde (DI: 3.00, CD: 1.00) is once again the highest price today, but don’t let the oddsmakers or her pedigree fool you – this filly has talent, and the only question now is whether she can handle today’s 8f distance.
Watch Level: Medium
#2 – Veto It T (Vittorio D’Oro x Night Spirit [Ghostzapper x Storm Cat]) – Owned by performanc – 17/1
Race Record: 3:1-1-1; $49,470
Capsule: Veto It T made her debut at 5 furlongs on the dirt back on January 18 and bolted for the lead, but couldn’t quite hang on and settled for 2nd. She came back the next month at 6f and again rushed for the lead, tiring late and finishing 3rd. After that, Veto It T was given 5 months off, and most recently stretched out to 6.5f where she finally got the job done, again setting the pace but this time narrowly hanging on, to win by a neck with a career-high 74 SP. Veto It T is by Vittorio D’Oro, and is the 9th foal out of 14yo mare Night Spirit, including the 2nd of her foals by that sire. Night Spirit was a bust in her career, a pricey scratch-bred who won just 1 of 26 career races. A few of her foals have been solid allowance runners, mostly in dirt races with a mix of sprinting and routing (technically 1 is stakes-placed, but it was a 3rd of 4 in a 5f dirt stakes where she was beating by almost 17 lengths). But her fastest foal to date, and the most relevant to Vito It T, is 4yo Marlboro Ghost T, a full sister to Veto It T. That filly has earned over $200K to date in 20 career races, with her fastest races coming at today’s 8f dirt distance. Vittorio D’Oro’s (42MM Yen) first real world crop reached the track in 2018 and he was the #8 ranked first-crop sire in Japan in 2018. In the sim, his 2018 crop hasn’t quite faired as well as his others, and they currently rank 1,288 overall, with only 12 winners from 22 runners to date. Although none of those horses have won beyond the allowance level, two of his 4yo foals have earned stakes victories (one as a dirt sprinter, one as a turf sprinter). Overall, Vittorio D’Oro’s sim horses have a strong bias toward sprinting (73% of earnings in sprints; sim AWD of 6.29), with a pretty even split between turf and dirt racing (56% of earnings on dirt, but winning percentage is 51-46 in favor of turf). Today’s 8f distance will be a sizeable jump, but Veto It T showed marked improvement in her last and her pedigree (DI: 3.00, CD: 0.71) puts this race just at the outer edge of what she may be able to handle.
Watch Level: Medium
#3 – Sholver Sky (Distorted Humor x Sholver Sunshine [Awesome Again x Wild Again]) – Owned by sein2912 – 10/1
Race Record: 2:1-0-0; $60,000
Capsule: Sholver Sky enters this race as the most accomplished filly in the field, as she has a stakes win to her name. That came in her debut, the 6f Running with Redhill Juvenile Filly Stakes, a 5-horse owner restricted dirt stakes on May 4. In that race, Sholver Sky went off as the 3/1 3rd choice, but set an easy pace and then held on late to win by ¼ length. From there, she tried open stakes company, taking on a field of 7 in a 7f dirt stakes on June 23, but after dueling for the lead early, she tired badly and faded to 6th, earning a 70 SP. She makes a class drop here to try and recover from her last. Sholver Sky is a daughter of Distorted Humor, and is the 7th foal out of 14yo mare Sholver Sunshine. Distorted Humor ($50,000), a multiple graded stakes winner at 7-7.5f, was the #26-ranked US sire in 2018. In the sim, his crops have always been towards the top, though his 2018 crop is actually somewhat lowly rated as it is only #18 overall, with 127 winners from 175 runners to date. That crop includes 13 stakes winners and 4 graded stakes winners to date, and it’s interesting to note that his 2yo crop in 2019 already has 5 stakes winners and 2 graded stakes winners. His sim foals are primarily dirt routers, with 69% of earnings on dirt and 61% in routes. That break down is in line with Distorted Humor’s real world AWD of 7.20 and sim AWD of 7.69. Sholver Sunshine was a talented runner, winning 14 of her 54 career races, including 6 stakes victories and a G2-placing at 7f on the dirt. Most of her damage was done in the 6-7f dirt range, and she’s mostly passed that down to her foals. The best of those is 7yo When We Were Young (El Padrino), a G1 winner at 7f as a 2yo and an EOY category leader (I assume it’s 2yo Dirt Filly Sprinter in 2014, though I can’t confirm). The Distorted Humor x Awesome Again cross has been used 88 times over the past 5 years, resulting in 8 stakes winners and 3 graded stakes winners, with a cross that heavily favors dirt but is somewhat split between sprinting and routing. Sholver Sky (DI: 2.73, CD: 0.68) looks to be one of many on the lead today and might have the pedigree to get 8 furlongs (though it’s a stretch), but she’ll need to show that she can carry her early speed better than she did in her last race in order to win today.
Watch Level: High
#4 – Lady Zapper (Ghostzapper x Quality Lady [Quality Road x Seattle Slew]) – Owned by stockswami3 – 7/1
Race Record: 2:1-1-0; $47,770
Capsule: Lady Zapper made her debut on April 8 in a 6.5f dirt MSW, where she went off as the 4/5 favorite in a field of 6 and sat a length back early, making up ground late but coming up just short and finishing 2nd. She spent a few months recuperating from the race and came back stronger than ever in early July, as she stretched out to 7.5f. That added distance was all she needed, as after stalking the pace early, she came charging late and got up just in time to win by ¼ length, earning a career high 77 SP. Lady Zapper is the 2nd foal from 5yo dam Quality Lady, who was never much on the track. She won just 1 of her 21 career races, breaking her maiden in a 6.5f local turf MSW, and her first foal hasn’t done much either, with just 1 win in 10 career starts to date (though she has 5 second place finishes in those 10 starts). Lady Zapper is by Ghostzapper, the 2004 US Horse of the Year and a graded stakes winner from 6f-10f (and on a personal note, my all-time favorite horse). Ghostzapper ($85,000) was the #14 ranked US sire in 2018, and his 2018 sim crop currently ranks #13 overall, with 124 winners from 164 runners to date. 11 of those have earned stakes victories, with 3 graded stakes winners among them, including 2019 Arkansas Juvenile-G1 (9f) winner Awesomely Saintly. Ghostzapper’s sim foals are typically dirt runners (66% of earnings on dirt), with a pretty even balance between routing and sprinting (57% of earnings in routes, but a 51-49 split in wins), and his sim AWD of 7.65 is in line with his real world AWD of 7.22. Lady Zapper is the first Ghostzapper x Quality Road horse to be bred in the sim in the past 5 years. Lady Zapper’s pedigree (DI: 3.00, CD: 0.75) suggests that she might be approaching her distance limit today, but her career on the track thus far bodes well for today’s effort.
Watch Level: High
#5 – Lever Capriati (Curlin x Storm Cat x Unbridled) – Owned by 02cencallmoney – 9/2
Race Record: 2:1-1-0; $47,770
Capsule: Lever Capriati made her debut on May 3, going off as the 5/2 favorite in a 6f dirt MSW against a field of 9. There, she sat 1-2 lengths off the pacesetter the entire way around the track, finishing 2nd with a 73 SP. She made a lead forward in her second race though, this time at 7.5f, where she dueled for the pace early and put away her competition in the backstretch, enabling Level Capriati to draw off and win by a solid 2-1/2 lengths. She earned a career-high 80 SP in the win, and she’ll look to repeat that performance again here. Lever Capriati is a scratch-bred daughter of Curlin, out of a Storm Cat mare. Curlin ($175,000), the 2-time US Horse of the Year, was the #6 ranked US sire of 2018. In the sim, his 3yos currently rank #29 overall, with 114 winners from 164 runners. That crop includes 9 stakes winners, one of whom, Curlin’s Storm Cat, took home the 7f Dell Computer Futurity-G1 back in September 2018. The stakes numbers are improving as more horses reach routing distances, which is in line with Curlin more generally in the sim, as he tends to throw dirt routers (68% earnings on dirt, 67% in routes), which tracks with his real world 7.56f AWD (sim AWD of 8.16). The Curlin x Storm Cat cross has been used in the sim 108 times over the past 5 years. It has been very successful, with 88 winners among the group, 21 of which have earned stakes victories and 11 of which have won graded stakes. Today’s 8f distance looks promising for this cross, as the combo has produced a pretty even mix of sprinters and routers (a sim AWD of 7.63), though the large majority of stakes and graded stakes winners in the group are all dirt routers (including 3 of the 5 Curlin x Storm Cat x Unbridled horses). Purely on dosage, Lever Capriati (DI: 4.33, CD: 0.92) may be better suited for sprinting than today’s distance, but based on sim pedigree, Lever Capriati has a great chance in today’s race.
Watch Level: High
#6 – Awe Shocks (Take Charge Indy x Miswaki x Storm Cat) – Owned by massatogain6 – 20/1
Race Record: 4:1-1-0; $10,136
Capsule: Awe Shocks made her debut back on March 9, as the 7/2 favorite in a 6f dirt MSW. Unfortunately, she wasn’t quite up to race, and she finished a dull 8th of 12. So her trainer brought her back 2.5 weeks later in a hot allowance against 3 CPU horses, and she easily won, breaking her maiden. Her first try at the allowance NW2L level went decently, as she saw improvement in her performance at 6.5f and finished 2nd. She comes into this race off of a career-best 73 SP, but that was in a 5th place effort in a 7f NW3L allowance, where she raced towards the back early and stayed there throughout, never showing any closing speed. Awe Shocks is a scratch-bred daughter of Take Charge Indy, out of a Miswaki mare. That cross has been used 6 times in the sim, producing 3 non-hot race winners, only one of whom has won more than 1 race, and none of whom have done so at the allowance level. Take Charge Indy, winner of the 9f Florida Derby who currently stands in South Korea, was the #63-ranked US sire in 2018. In the sim, his 2018 crop currently ranks #55 overall, with 75 wins from 104 runners to date. 6 of those winners have scored at the stakes level, with 3 picking up graded stakes wins (1 is a G1 winner at 8.5f and 1 is a G1 winner at 7f). Overall, his sim foals have a strong dirt preference, with 73% of earnings on dirt, and while the earnings are evenly split between sprinting and routing, the win percentage slightly favors sprinting (56% of wins have come in sprints) and his sim AWD is 7.47. The pedigree of Awe Shocks (DI: 3.00, CD: 0.77) puts today’s distance in question, and she’ll need to show some added stamina from her prior races if she wants to compete today.
Watch Level: Low
#7 – Take An Axe (Violence x Lizzy [Bernardini x Gone West]) – Owned by allenkane – 8/1
Race Record: 2:1-0-1; $38,590
Capsule: Take An Axe debuted back on May 27, where she took an axe to her competition, a field of 12 in a 6.5f dirt MSW. There, she stalked the pace early and pounced in the stretch, grabbing the lead and opening up to win by 1-1/4 lengths, earning a 71 SP. She came back at the NW2L allowance level, stretching out to 7.5f, and saw her SP jump up to a career-high 76 SP, although she wasn’t able to do much against the top 2 in that race and had to settle for 3rd, 4-1/2 lengths back. Of note, the 2nd place horse from that race came back to run 3rd in her next allowance race with an 83 SP, and the 4th place horse (who Take An Axe beat) came back to win an allowance next time out with an 84 SP. Those runs give some promise to Take An Axe’s chances today. Take An Axe is the daughter of Violence, and is the 3rd foal out of 7yo mare Lizzy. Lizzy won 8 of her 30 career races, including a stakes win and a G3 2nd, both at today’s 8f distance. 8 furlongs was her specialty, and she spent a large majority of her career at that distance. Her first foal, 4yo Reef Gold (Medaglia D’Oro), is a stakes winner herself, having won 8 of 17 career races, also primarily in the 8-9f range. The Violence x Bernardini cross has been used 10 times over the past 5 years in the sim, producing 8 winners, 1 of whom is a stakes winning turf sprinter. Violence ($40,000), the #45 overall (and #1 second-crop) US sire in 2018, was a G1 winner at 8.5f in his racing career. His 2018 sim crop currently ranks #154 overall, and consists of 89 runners with 50 winners. Among those runners are 3 stakes winners, including Got Them All, winner of the Wooden Indian-G1 and 17th in the Bluegrass Derby-G1. Violence’s sim foals have shown a preference for dirt (69% of earnings on dirt), and although his foals’ earnings have been pretty evenly split between distances (53% in sprints), the quantity of foals has preferred sprinting (61% of wins in sprints) and his sim AWD of 7.09 and real world AWD of 6.68 further support that preference. Take An Axe (DI: 3.00, CD: 0.73) has the lineage to like today’s distance, and if she can learn some lessons from her most recent race, she should have a chance today.
Watch Level: High
#8 – Imbil Baillif (Distorted Humor x Outback Baillif [Awesome Again x A.P. Indy]) – Owned by nomadic- 7/1
Race Record: 2:1-0-1; $38,590
Capsule: Imbil Baillif, the sponsor of today’s race, easily broke her maiden at first asking back on April 1, debuting in a 5f dirt MSW as the even money favorite and stalking the pace early, before coming on late and drawing off to win by 1-1/2 lengths. After a couple of months to gain some strength, she came back out on June 23 at 7f in a NW2L dirt allowance and changed things up a bit, this time trailing the field early on. She put a bit of a move together late, but could only get up for 3rd, 4 lengths behind the winner. She earned a career high 76 SP in that effort, however, and she’ll look to take another step forward as she stretches out to 8f here. Imbil Baillif is the daughter of he-mare Outback Baillif, and is by Distorted Humor. 4yo Outback Baillif only raced 14 times in his career before being retired back in March, but it was quite the 14 races, as he ended up as a G2 winner by taking the Pea Shooters Handicap-G2 (6f) as a 3yo. He was a 2-time stakes winner, and 4-time stakes placed, dirt sprinter, though his fastest career race actually came in a 3rd place finish in a 9f dirt stakes, where he closed strong late. I’m a little surprised to see him retired, as he looked to just be maturing into his own, but it’ll be interesting to see if he has passed his talent on to Imbil Baillif. For information about Distorted Humor and the Distorted Humor x Awesome Again cross, see Sholver Sky above. Imbil Baillif (DI: 2.76, CD: 0.69) looks like she should get today’s distance, but it would be nice to see a bit more of her he-mare’s closing kick if she wants to take today’s race.
Watch Level: High
#9 – My Mistress Chris (American Pharoah x Storm Goddess [Storm Cat x Mr. Prospector]) – Owned by dundey8 – 2/1 (f)
Race Record: 1:1-0-0; $33,720
Capsule: There were high hopes for My Mistress Chris, a royally bred filly, and she did not disappoint in her debut. Entered in a local MSW in Kentucky at 7.5f on July 31, My Mistress Chris had to endure a major rainstorm that left the dirt track listed as sloppy. But sloppy or not, this filly was undeterred, and after breaking 4th as the 2/1 favorite, she pounced in the backstretch, taking over the lead and opening up to lead by over a length, gearing down late and still running off to win by 2-1/4 lengths. The effort earned her a field-best 84 SP, and now the only question is whether she can repeat that performance on a fast dirt track. My Mistress Chris is by American Pharoah, and is the 14th foal out of 18yo mare Storm Goddess. American Pharoah is currently the #1 ranked first-crop sire in the US, with 9 winners (and 1 Graded Stakes winner) from 31 starts, and his 2018 sim crop currently ranks #4 overall, with 199 runners and 146 winners to date. Of those, 17 have earned stakes victories (5 graded stakes winners) so far (both the fewest of any of his sim crops thus far). While the 2018 crop may not be his best, it does include American Dane, who was 2nd in the 2019 Bluegrass Oaks-G1, and My American Lady, winner of the Players Club National Oaks-G1 and the Birmingham Stakes-G1 (10f) in her last 2 races. His sim foals tend to prefer the dirt (78% of earnings on dirt), with an ever growing preference towards routing (61% of earnings in routes, with a sim AWD of 7.81). The American Pharoah x Storm Cat cross has been used 20 times in the sim, with 18 of those horses having earned a victory and 3 stakes winners (1 graded stakes winner) among them. The cross produces primarily sprinters. Storm Goddess was a 4-time stakes winning dirt sprinter in her career (just narrowly missing a G3, finishing 2nd), and overall she won 11 of her 41 career races. All of those wins came in dirt sprints, primarily in the 6f range. But not only was Storm Goddess a solid runner, she’s also been an excellent broodmare and has passed her abilities down to her foals. The large majority of those foals have also been dirt sprinters, and 4 of her previous 13 foals are graded stakes winners (with 2 more stakes winners and 3 more stakes placed horses). Interestingly, while the quantity of Storm Goddess’s foals favor dirt sprinting, the quality is actually a little different; her best foal, 7yo Traped Again (Curlin), was a multiple G1-winning turf sprinter as a 2yo and went on to win the 2014 Sim Eclipse Award for 2yo Turf Male. My Mistress Chris (DI: 4.60, CD: 1.07) has a pedigree that heavily favors sprinting and leaves an open question as to whether she can get today’s distance, but this is an exceptionally talented filly from a very strong female line, and there’s no reason she can’t run to her overall quality today.
Watch Level: High
#10 – Crimson Surprise (Forty Tales x Locked In Again [Dialed In x El Gran Senor]) – Owned by fabman54 – 17/1
Race Record: 3:1-1-0; $48,613
Capsule: Crimson Surpirse, a NY-bred filly, has taken advantage of that status thus far in her career, as this will be her first race outside the local circuit. She debuted back on April 22 in a 6f local dirt MSW, where she went off at 13/1 and set the pace early, before tiring to finish 4th. With her sealegs under her, she came back a month later and set the pace again, this time staying on late and just getting edged out at the wire, finishing 2nd. But the third time’s the charm, as they say, and for her third race she stretched out to 7f, dueled on the lead again, and then decided that she was done messing around, as she pulled away to win by 2-1/4 lengths, earning a career-high 78 SP (beating a horse that would come back to break her own maiden next time out). Crimson Surprise is by Forty Tales, and is the 2nd foal out of 8yo mare Locked In Again. Forty Tales ($3,000), a multiple G2-winning dirt sprinter, was the #17 ranked New York sire in 2018. In the sim, his 2018 crop currently ranks #826 overall (his worst ranking to date), with 12 winners from 23 runners. Only 2 of those have even won at the allowance level, but Forty Tales has been a little better as a sire in the past, with 2 G3 winners among his first 2 sim crops (both in dirt 8-9f races). Forty Tales’ sim foals have strongly preferred dirt sprinting overall, with 77% of earnings on dirt and 73% in sprints, and his sim AWD of 6.57 is slightly shorter than his real world AWD of 6.93. Locked In Again was a 2-time stakes winner in her 32 race career, picking up 9 total wins, primarily in dirt sprints. Her ideal distance was 7.5f, where she earned both of her stakes victories. Her first foal, 3yo Still Locked In (Graydar), is looking to be a solid gelding himself, as he recently picked up a stakes win at 6.5f on the turf to bring his record to 6 for 11 lifetime (including 5 of 6 on the turf). Crimson Surprise (DI: 3.00, CD: 0.88) made a statement in her last race at 7f, but her pedigree suggests that might be her limit, so we’ll see whether she can break through that cap today or whether she’ll take after her mother and find the 7-7.5f range more appealing.
Watch Level: Medium
#11 – Kanchenjunga (Violence x Seeking The Gold x Secretariat) – Owned by plano8 – 7/1
Race Record: 2:1-0-0; $20,804
Capsule: Kanchenjunga’s debut on May 9 was an excellent start to this filly’s career. Debuting at 6f on the dirt, she faced a field of 11 and sat midpack early, before moving forward late and drawing off to win by 1-1/2 as the 2/1 favorite, earning a career high 74 SP. Her most recent race saw her jump to the NW2L level, where she tried a 6.5f dirt allowance, but the effort was a bit of a step backwards from her debut, as she sat midpack but never really got into the race, passing only tiring horses and finishing 5th with a 70 SP. Kanchenjunga will try to reverse course in today’s race as she stretches out to routes. Kanchenjunga is a scratch-bred daughter of Violence, out of a Seeking The Gold mare. For information about Violence, see Take An Axe above. The Violence x Seeking The Gold cross hasn’t been prolific in the sim, but it has been used 5 times thus far, with 4 winners (but no allowance-level winners) among the group. Those wins have all come on the dirt, with most in dirt sprints. That aligns with Kanchenjunga’s DI/CD (DI: 3.33, CD: 0.85), and it suggests that today’s 8f distance might be a little too long for this filly, but you never know until you see her in action on the track.
Watch Level: Medium
That’s the field for today’s NW2L. It looks like this one should have a pretty hot pace, with Veto It T, Sholver Sky, Crimson Surprise and Lever Capriati all vying for the early lead. But that will set this race up well for those coming from the back. I’m not sure exactly who will win, and it’s hard to pick against My Mistress Chris, a horse with a top pedigree who comes from a female line of multiple graded stakes winners and enters with a field-high SP in her only career start. But she’s 2/1. And this is likely the last time you’ll see 28/1 odds on Failing Grayde. Frankly, I’m not sure that she’s the best horse in the race, but she’s got experience and gets a class drop reprieve here, so I can’t pass up those odds. Therefore, I’m going with (1) Falling Grayde, (2) My Mistress Chris, and (3) Lever Capriati. Good luck everyone!
Other Races to Watch this Weekend: