Apr 052019
 

First, a quick recap of last week’s race.  I was correct that Minor Boo Boo would have the lead alone.  What I didn’t anticipate is that he would take off like a horse possessed.  He opened up a huge lead on the rest of the field when he probably didn’t need to.  The result was that he was 6+ lengths clear, but tired and couldn’t hold off the late charges.  The strongest late move came from “stalker” Butterballs ($11.30), who found himself farther back early than he likes to be, but also in front of every horse not on the pace, and therefore he got first jump on the rest of the field, particularly Gun Inspector.  Both horses began their moves together, but Butterballs kept pace from Gun Inspector and never let him pass, defeating that rival by ½ length.  Gun Inspector had to settle for 2nd, while Dot To Dot managed to take the 3rd place photo from the tiring Minor Boo Boo.

This week, the Future Stars Series heads back to Ireland, where 9 Irish bred colts will take on a local NW3L Allowance at 9 furlongs on the turf.  The field is:

#1 – Rock It Cadet (Fastnet Rock (AUS) x Dynaformer x Kingmambo) – Owned by scoobysnak – 4/1

Race Record: 4:1-2-0; $60,146

Race History: Rock It Cadet is one of the least experienced horses in the field, but he may have the most promise.  Foaled early in 2018, he sat on the shelf until distances started getting longer, and in his 2 2yo races (one at 7f and one at 8f, both on the turf), Rock It Cadet closed late but came up just short each time, finishing 2nd.  He then headed to the bench again to wait for the 3yo season, but in his 3yo debut he caught an off track, holding him back.  But Rock It Cadet came back with a vengeance in his most recent race, at 9.5f on the turf.  In that MSW, he sat midpack early but made his move on the backstretch, quickly inhaling his competition.  They hit the top of the stretch with Rock It Cadet in front, and he didn’t look back, rocketing to a 1-3/4 length win and a career high 98 SP.  2nd from that race came back to finish 2nd again, with a 97 SP, in his next maiden effort (a very unlucky horse).  Rock It Cadet will cut back a touch here as he takes on winners for the first time.

Pedigree: Fastnet Rock, the #11 ranked European sire and #3 ranked Australian sire of 2018, currently stands for $70,000 and was Australia’s 2005 champion sprinter.  In the sim, his 2018 crop currently ranks #25 overall, with 87 winners from 134 runners winning at a 19% rate.  Among those are 4 stakes winners, with 3 coming in turf sprints (at 5.5-7f-T) and the fourth coming in a residency-restricted turf mile, and two more graded placed horses, one at 6f-T and one at 9f-T.  His sim foals largely prefer turf (79% of earnings on turf), but unlike his actual racing career, his foals tend to be routers (60% in routes), which is in line with his real life AWD of 8.65.  This scratch bred’s Fastnet Rock x Dynaformer cross has been used 26 times in the past 4 years, with 5 of those producing stakes winners (and 2 producing graded stakes winners), including three-time G1 winning turf miler Fastnet Blue.  Turf routes seem to be the most successful races for these foals, and a number of them have shown strong ability in long distance races.  The full Fastnet Rock x Dynaformer x Kingmambo bloodlines have appeared 3 other times in the past 4 years (including one previous runner in a Future Stars Series race, Cat Skoozie, who finished 6th in that race).  Of those 3, each have improved on turf as the distance expands, with the only non-3yo doing his best racing at 12-14f on the turf.

Expectations: Rock It Cadet likes to sit in the middle of the pack and then pounce from there, so expect him to sit 4-7 lengths back early here.  That closing kick has been strong in the past, particularly in the most recent race, and he’ll hope to unleash it again here.  The only real question mark is whether that most recent race was a fluke or a sign of things to come.  The horse he beat put up a similar performance next time out, so I’m leaning towards legit.  And if it’s legit, watch out here.

Watch Level: High

#2 – Islay Malt (Fastnet Rock (AUS) x Yoga Trim [Dubawi (IRE) x Monsun]) – Owned by croissant – 7/2

Race Record: 8:2-1-1; $70,845

Race History: Islay Malt looks like a completely different horse once he matured as a 3yo.  After breaking his maiden at the local level at 8f-T in his 3rd career start, Islay Malt stalled out at the allowance level, eventually making an unsuccessful attempt on the dirt to end his 2018 season.  But once the clock turned, so did Islay Malt.  In his 3yo debut, at 9f-T in a NW2L, Islay Malt sat towards the back early but flew late, romping with a 2-1/4 length victory and earning a career high 97 SP.  He stretched out to 9.5f-T in his most recent race which pushed him a little closer to the pace, and he ran a respectable 3rd with a 93 SP.  He’ll cut back to 9f here as he tries to continue his impressive 3yo campaign.

Pedigree: See Rock It Cadet for a description of Fastnet Rock.  Islay Malt is the first foal from 7yo mare Yoga Trim.  Yoga Trim won 4 of her 30 races, all at the allowance level.  Her trainer bred her to run long, and so that’s what she did.  Even though she broke her maiden at 7f on the turf, she spent 28 of her 30 career races in route/long races, with her best performances coming at the 9-10f distances.  She showed some decent ability on dirt as well, though she only tried the surface 3 times.  Fastnet Rock has been bred to a Dubawi mare 13 times in the past 4 years, with 2 stakes winners (1 graded) in the bunch.  Success has largely come on the turf, with multiple runners peaking in the 9-12f range including the G1 winning 5yo Archie Trunker, who won The Jockey’s Weapon-G1 at 12f-T in October 2018.

Expectations: Islay Malt needs to save up his energy early in order to unleash his closing kick late.  He had always shown a desire to sit back early, but it wasn’t until he became a 3yo that he finally showed interest in running late.  But what a difference a year makes.  This horse has a lot of talent and, with the right pace situation, has one of the best chances in this field.  The issue is whether he’ll get that pace situation.  Strong contender.

Watch Level: High

#3 – Moes Tavern (Rock of Gibraltar x Inglostadt [Medicean x Storm Cat]) – Owned by oolong – 23/1

Race Record: 9:2-0-0; $57,516

Race History: Moes Tavern began his career by winning a 6f turf local MSW, and outside of one failed effort in a 5f turf stakes in his second start, has spent the rest of his career at the local level.  His 3 most recent races, however, have come on dirt.  Two races back, in an 8.5f local NW3L allowance, Moes Tavern earned a career high 77 SP when he battled for the pace early on before tiring badly and finishing last of 7, finishing behind today’s rival Without Reprisal.  His most recent race came just 10 days ago in a 7f local allowance on the good dirt track, where he tried to stalk the early pace but could not keep up with his competition, finishing last of 9.  This is his Moes Tavern’s first race for his new owner/trainer, and he’ll hope that the new trainer has done some magic as he heads back to turf routing.

Pedigree: Rock of Gibraltar, the 2002 European Horse of the Year and #44 ranked European sire of 2018, currently stands for $7,500 with an AWD of 8.48.  In the sim, his 2018 crop currently ranks #245 overall, with 24 winners from 60 runners, winning at an 11% rate.  One of those, Rocktilthemoonsets, is a stakes winner at 9f on the turf. His sim foals are typically turf routers, with 77% of earnings on turf and 70% in routes.  Moes Tavern is the first foal from 11yo mare Inglostad, a winner of 2 of 13 races in her career.  Both of those wins came while sprinting, which is where she spent her entire career.  A majority of her races came on the turf (though she broke her maiden on the dirt), with her best efforts coming in the 5.5-6f range.  Rock of Gibraltar has been bred to a Medicean mare 4 other times in the past 4 years; 3 of those 4 have broken their maidens, and 2 have won allowance level races, with the fastest of those horses running best in the 8-10f range on the dirt.

Expectations: Moes Tavern has been forwardly placed in the past, and he may try to battle for the lead here.  There’s not a ton of pace here, so this might not be a bad tactic in this race.  Unfortunately for Moes Tavern, the other speed in this feed, American Lion, seems to be faster and Moes Tavern may struggle to actually grab the lead.  Moes Tavern has struggled in the past to keep up his pace from beginning to end, and he might need more than 10 days off to recharge.  He’ll need a career best performance today to be competitive in this field.  Pass.

Watch Level: Low

#4 – Highland Visit (Highland Reel x Langer [Dansili x Dynaformer]) – Owned by vkstables5 – 6/1

Race Record: 4:1-0-1; $37,608

Race History: Highland Visit enters today’s race with some experience at the local level.  Two races back, in his 3yo debut, he broke his maiden in a local MSW here at today’s 9f turf distance.  In that race, he took up residence at the back of the pack early, but came flying late, passing every horse and cruising to a 1-3/4 length victory, earning a career high 89 SP.  He came back 1 month later in a NW2L allowance at 9.5f on the turf, but caught an off-track.  Against sitting last of 6 early, he came flying late but ran out of time, finishing 3rd and earning an 88 SP.  That 6 horse field appears to have been pretty strong, as the 4th place horse came back to win an allowance with a 102 SP next time out, and 6th came back to run 2nd in an allowance, also earning a 102 SP.  Highland Visit will try to do the same as those horses here.

Pedigree: Highland Reel, winner of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf, entered stud in 2018 and currently stands for $17,500.  In the sim, his freshman crop currently ranks #180 overall, with 88 runners and 40 winners succeeding at a 14% rate.  His sim progeny are largely turf runners, with 79% of earnings on turf, while the foals seem to be getting better as more routes are available, which is not surprising given the sire’s success in long distance turf races.  What is surprising is that his one stakes winner to date, Reel Ready, pulled off the feat in a 9f dirt stakes race. Highland Visit is the 6th of 7 foals from 10yo mare Langer, who won only 1 race in her 14 race career, but pulled off a 3rd place finish in the GRSimster’s 2011 Championships at 8f on the turf in her 3rd career race to earn a residency-restricted  stakes placing.  Langer found that she was a closer who preferred sprinting, with most of her races coming on turf.  Among her previous foals, the best of the bunch is 7yo Rosslare (Henrythenavigator), who won an owner-restricted stakes at 12f on the turf and did his best running in long races.  There has been a pretty even split of sprinters and routers from Langer’s foals, but most prefer turf.  There is one other sim 3yo with the Highland Reel x Dansili cross, but he is still a maiden through 3 starts.

Expectations: Highland Visit has never felt any particular urgency coming out of the gate, and it would be shocking to see him anywhere other than last early in this race.  But don’t let that early start fool you; once this guy gets going, he doesn’t stop. The only drawback to this race is that it might not be long enough for him.  He has been successful at 9f, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he went on to bigger and better things once he gets out to the 12f range.  But that’s for another day.  For today, at 9f, he’s a solid contender, depending on the pace.

Watch Level: High

#5 – Beloisir (Choisir x Bel Blue Avenue [Bel Esprit (AUS) x Bluegrass Cat) – Owned by king4aday – 10/1

Race Record: 7:2-0-0; $39,120

Race History: Beloisir has spent most of his career on the dirt.  He won his first 2 races there, and then jumped into stakes company, but struggled to keep up with that competition, including a career high 90 SP in a 13th place finish in his only route try, at 8.5f on the dirt on ASR Championship Day.  Beloisir took a little break before coming back to the track for his first 3yo try in February, where he saw a surface switch to the turf for the first time.  Trying a 6f-T NW3L allowance, Beloisir never really showed much interest, sitting midpack early and never firing, finishing 10th with an 83 SP.  He’ll try to bounce back here and run back to that speed figure from the 8.5f effort as he stretches out to a turf route for the first time.

Pedigree: Choisir, a member of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame and both a champion 2yo in Australia and a champion sprinter in Europe, was the #18 ranked sire in Australia in 2018 (and #63 in Europe) and currently stands for $29,700.  In the sim, his 2018 crop currently ranks #171, with 34 winners from 59 runners, scoring at a 15% rate.  The most impressive of those is Darsparkle, who broke his maiden in March's South African Classic-G2 at 9f on the turf, but two others are also graded placed, one in a turf mile and one in turf sprints.  Much like his racing career and his real life progeny, who have an AWD of 6.84, Choisir's sim progeny are also turf sprinters (75% earnings on turf, 64% in sprints).  Beloisir is the first foal from 8yo mare Bel Blue Avenue, a winner of 6 races in her 23 race career.  Only one of those wins was at the allowance level; the rest came in claimers.  Most of her wins came in dirt sprints, but she showed similar abilities anywhere from 6f to 9f on the dirt (the one allowance win was at 9f), clearly preferring the main track to the sod. Choisir has been bred to a Bel Esprit mare one other time in the past 4 years; that horse is primarily a sprinter in the claiming ranks.

Expectations: Beloisir is a bit of an unknown, having only handled this surface once and only routing once, and in different races.  The speed figure from his 8.5f effort makes it seem like he might be better at route distances.  But his running style, including how he handled his 6f turf effort last time out, makes it seem like he doesn’t have the speed to get out in front or the stamina to get the distance.  He has faded at the end of each of his last 5 races.  This is a horse that may have potential; but I’ll wait to see it in a turf route before I back him.

Watch Level: Medium

#6 - Mister Moselle (Churchill x Moselle [Sea The Moon (GER) x King Kamehameha) – Owned by lgbost9y – 3/1 (f)

Race Record: 8:2-2-1; $60,848

Race Record: Mister Moselle has spent almost all of his career here at Ireland, running in the local circuit.  And after breaking his maiden in a hot MSW (his one non-local performance), he kicked off a very strong 3yo campaign at the local NW2L level.  He has put up a 90+ SP in each of his 3 starts in 2019, sitting midpack in each of the 3 races (all at 8.5-9f on turf) and getting closer late.  Mister Moselle’s big break came in his most recent race, where he sat 7 lengths off the pacesetter before pouncing, grabbing the lead just before the wire and winning by ¼ length, earning a career- and field-high 101 SP.  He’ll look to repeat that effort today.

Pedigree: Churchill, the 2016 European 2yo colt champion and winner of the 2000 Guineas, entered stud in 2018 and currently stands for $35,000.  That freshman sim crop currently ranks #111 overall, with 92 runners producing 41 winners at an 11% rate thus far.  Two of those foals have found stakes victory in the sim thus far (one in a residency-restricted stakes), both at 6-6.5f on the turf, though two more are stakes placed at 9-9.5f-T, indicating some potential as the races get longer.  His sim progeny are, unsurprisingly, turf runners, with 82% of earnings on turf.  Mister Moselle is the first foal from 5yo mare Moselle, a local maiden winner in 12 career races.  That win came at 5.5f on the dirt in a field of 4.  Her best race was arguably at 10f on the dirt in a $125K local claimer, but she never really showed a particular prowess on the track.

Expectations: Mister Moselle is likely going to sit towards the middle or back of the pack here, as he’s a late runner that wants a target in front of him.  He put together a tremendous effort last race, his third straight improvement, and there’s a bit of a concern that he may be due for a bounce.  But I think this was just a natural progression as Mister Moselle matured and got more distance to cover, and he can run back to it.  If he does, watch out, because he’s the one to beat.  The open question here is whether the pace will impact his chances.  The pick.

Watch Level: High

#7 - ASR Ravens (Raven’s Pass x Danzig x Kris S.) – Owned by asr3 – 7/1

Race Record: 5:1-1-1; $41,250

Race History: ASR Ravens looked good at the turn of the calendar, as he ended his 2018 season with an MSW victory at 8f-T and followed that up with a 2nd place finish in a 9f-T NW2L allowance to kick off his 2019 campaign.  The maiden score, in which he and many others were bunched up with no clear pacesetter, saw ASR Ravens outrun his competitors to the finish line and win by 1-1/2 lengths, earning a career high 90 SP.  ASR Ravens enters this race off of a 7th place effort at 9.5f-T in a NW2L allowance, where he struggled to keep up with some of the others in the race.  He’ll cut back to 9f here in hopes that the last race was a clunker and he can bounce back here.

Pedigree: Raven’s Pass, a G1 winner on both turf and dirt in his racing career, was the #52 ranked European sire in 2018 and currently stands for $10,000.  His 2018 sim crop currently ranks #339 (his worst ranking in many years), with 29 winners from 63 starters winning at a 10% clip.  None of those horses have hit stakes success yet, with only 1 even stakes placed, at 8.5f on the turf.  His sim progeny have a preference for turf (68% of earnings on turf), and like his real life AWD of 8.36, his sim foals also prefer routes (65% in routes).  The Raven’s Pass x Danzig cross that this scratch bred sports has been used 4 other times in the past 4 years.  Only 2 of those 4 have won at the allowance level, though part of that is because the fastest of the 4 has decided to dominate at the claiming level in 9-10f dirt and polytrack claimers instead.  None of the four have shown a ton of promise, but other than the claimer, the others seem to be slightly better on the turf.

Expectations: ASR Ravens’ best races have come when he has sat a little closer to the pace, but those have also been races with pretty slow paces.  I would instead expect ASR Ravens to stalk the pace, just a few lengths off, so that he doesn’t need to maneuver around a lot of horses to get to the front.  His most recent race concerns me, as he seemed to tire at the end, but he’s shown ability at this 9f distance before, so it’s possible that 9f is just his max.  He’s got a shot in here, but he may be slightly beneath the best horses in this field.  Prefer others.

Watch Level: Medium

#8 - Invincible Lion (Invincible Spirit (IRE) x Lion Fire [Lion Heart x Seattle Slew]) – Owned by jonesstables7­ – 5/1

Race Record: 5:2-0-2; $87,240

Race History: Invincible Lion is the most accomplished horse in this field, as he comes out of back-to-back turf sprint stakes.  After winning 2 of his first 3 starts, both at 7f on the turf, he made the leap and ended his 2018 2yo campaign with a 3rd place finish in a 7f stakes, where he earned a career-high 86 SP after dueling for the lead early and barely losing steam at the end.  He came back for his first race of 2019 and cut back into a 6f turf stakes, but he was never able to get to the lead and didn’t like the dirt in his face, faltering and finishing 5th.  He takes a class drop here and stretches out significantly as he heads across the pond to take on Irish bred horses and tries routing for the first time.

Pedigree: Invincible Spirit, the #18 ranked European sire of 2018, currently stands for $120,000 in Ireland and has an AWD of 7.09.  In the sim, his 2018 crop is currently ranked #36 overall, with 100 runners and 72 winners succeeding at a 22% rate.  The 2018 class includes 6 stakes winners (and 8 more stakes placed horses), of which one, Invincible Scales, has achieved G3 success at 6f on the turf.  Of the other 5, 3 were victorious in turf sprints, one in a dirt sprint, and one at 9f on the turf. Invincible Spirit is a heavy turf sire in the sim, with 70% of earnings on turf, but is pretty evenly split between sprints and routes.  Invincible Lion is the 2nd of 3 foals from G2-winning 6yo mare Lion Fire, who won 16 of her 25 career starts.  Lion Fire was a Turkish bred who rattled off an 8 race win streak in her career, with the first 6 coming in local allowances before he successfully made the jump to stakes company.  Most of her success, including her win in The Winter Forest-G2, came at the 7-8f turf distance, though she won stakes races anywhere from 5-8f.  Lion Fire’s first foal, 4yo Oasis Fire (Oasis Dream (GB)), took his mother’s ability and improved upon it, as in 13 career races he is a multiple graded stakes winner, including taking the 2018 New Zealand 2000 Dark Beers-G1 at 8f on the turf, and he currently ranks as the #12 older turf router.  Meanwhile, Lion Fire’s most recent foal, 2yo No Nay Fire (No Nay Never), recently broke his maiden in his 2nd career start at 6f on the turf with an 80 SP.

Expectations: If you were wondering where the pace in this race is coming from, here it is.  Invincible Lion has been setting the pace in sprint stakes company, and he may open up lengths on this field before you can blink.  There are some distance questions – his mother and his best sibling have done their best racing at 8f, and his sire tends to throw sprinters in the real world.  His career best speed figures are also a cut below the best in this field.  But those efforts were at the stakes level, and the drop down could propel him forward here.  And with the pace setup in this race, Invincible Lion may just be able to steal this one on the front end.  Consider.

Watch Level: Medium

#9 – Without Reprisal (Society Rock (IRE) x Red Trotter [Manduro x Shamardal] – Owned by bazefan – 19/1

Race Record: 5:2-0-1; $28,521

Race Record: Without Reprisal was claimed out of his debut, a $15K NW2L that he won at 4.5f on the turf.  He tried turf one more time, a 4th place finish at 7f, before switching to the dirt for his most recent 3 races.  Without Reprisal’s 2nd win also came at the claiming level, but he enters this race off of 2 local allowance tries.  In his most recent race, he stretched out to 8.5f for the first time, once again on the dirt, and earned a career high 82 SP in the effort, but never really got involved in the race, finishing a well beaten 6th, defeating only today’s rival Moes Tavern.  Without Reprisal will switch back to the turf here, hoping for a dirt-to-turf bump to propel him forward.

Pedigree: Society Rock, winner of the 2011 Golden Jubilee, sadly passed away in 2016 but ranked as the #74 European sire in 2018.  The 2018 sim crop is his last, and it includes 12 runners to date, 7 of which have found the winner’s circle at a 13% rate.  His 5 sim seasons produced only 1 stakes winner to date, from his first crop, and the 2018 class does not include any horses that have been successful at the allowance level as of yet.  That one stakes winner (and his only stakes placed foal) scored at 5f on the turf.  Society Rock’s sim progeny, like his real world AWD of 6.55, are largely sprints, with 70% of earnings in sprints, while also preferring turf (62% on turf).  Without Reprisal is the 3rd foal from 7yo mare Red Trotter, a winner of just a $75K MCL in her 17 race career.  That win came in an 11f dirt race, where she beat a field of 7 by ¾ of a length and earned a career high 87 SP.  She was never a strong horse on the track, but what skill she did have seemed to best come out in that 9-12f distance.  Her 2 other foals to date have spent their careers in the claiming ranks as well, and both have shown to be sprinters, one on the dirt and one on the turf.

Expectations: Having never tried turf routing before, it’s a little tough to know exactly where Without Reprisal fits into this field.  Based on his previous turf and routing efforts, my guess is that he’ll be sitting towards the back of the pack early.  The local circuit is a solid place for this horse to spend his time, and he saw some success at this level 2 back in a 6.5f dirt allowance.  Unfortunately for Without Reprisal, this time he caught a much stronger field.  He’s a longshot here for a reason.  Pass.

Watch Level: Low

That’s the field for this Local NW3L Allowance.  The pace seems pretty easy to predict here, as Invincible Lion is a frontrunning sprinter stretching out for the first time, Moes Tavern is a frontrunner who doesn’t have much speed, and everyone else prefers to sit midpack or farther back.  The result of that combination is that Invincible Lion could probably as fast or as slow of a pace as he wants.  In the real world, this race is a recipe for Invincible Lion to steal the race on the front end at a price.  But I’m not sure that the sim values lone speed as much as the real world does, and there’s a chance that Moes Tavern pushes Invincible Lion more than he is comfortable with.  So I’m gonna guess that some of the horses from the back get close.  Because of that, I’m going with (1) Mister Moselle, (2) Islay Malt; (3) Rock It Cadet.

As an administrative note, the Future Stars Series will be off for the next 2 weeks, but it will be back at the end of April.  Good luck everyone!

Other races to watch this weekend:

1)      Arkansas – Alw NW2L @ 8.5f-T (Division 1) (Division 2)

2)      California – Alw NW3L @ 9.5f-T

3)      Kentucky – LOCAL Alw NW4x @ 8f

4)      Indiana – Allowance @ 8f-T

5)      Oklahoma – Alw NW2L @ 6.5f (Division 1) (Division 2)

6)      New York – Alw NW2L @ 8f-T (Fillies) (Division 1) (Division 2)

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Mar 292019
 

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:

1)      Florida – Alw NW3L @ 6f-T (Division 1) (Division 2)

2)      New York – Alw NW3L @ 8f

3)      Iowa – Allowance @ 9.5f

4)      West Virginia – Alw NW3L @ 8f-T

5)      Indiana – Alw NW2L @ 9.5f

6)      Florida – Alw NW2L @ 6.5f (Division 1) (Division 2)

7)      Virginia – Allowance @ 8f-T

8)      Delaware – Alw NW2L @ 9.5f

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Mar 162019
 

First, a quick recap of last week’s race.  It turns out that class prevailed overall, as the horse with graded stakes experience, Seize The Knight ($14.40) lorded over all.  Settling towards the back of the pack early, nearly 10 lengths off the pace duel between Life To Come and Popest of Maori, Seize The Knight came flying late and was dominant in a 3-1/2 length victory, earning a 99 SP.  Only 1 length separated 2nd from 6th, but it was Quality Ending that followed Seize The Knight into 2ndRatavari, who had sat 2 lengths off of Life to Come early, caught up to that filly and took the photo for 3rd.

This week, the Future Stars Series missed its flight!  So we’re staying in New York, and just bumping up the class.  This week we’ll look at a NW4L Allowance for 3yo fillies, running 8 furlongs on the dirt.  The field of 8 is:

#1 – American Belle (American Pharoah x Belle of Broadway [A.P. Indy x Mr. Prospector]) – Owned by farm304 – 4/1 (f-t)

Race Record: 6:3-0-1; $150,181

Race History: The bluest of bloods, American Belle is not only well bred; she is also the most accomplished in the field, with a residency-restricted (ESR) stakes victory to her name.   That win came in career race #2, at 6f on the dirt, where she dueled for the lead early with today’s rival Giant Rebourbon and then put away that rival, defeating her by 1-1/2 lengths.  From there, American Belle tried G1 company in the Getaway Stakes, but finished 6th.  She comes into this race off of a 3rd place finish in another residency-restricted (ESR) stakes race at 7f on the dirt, where she tried her usual stalking style and ran out of room late, finishing 1-1/4 lengths back.  American Belle earned a career high 95 SP in that effort, her first of 2019, and will try to improve upon that run here while stretching out to a route distance for the first time.

Pedigree: American Pharoah, the 2015 Triple Crown Winner, has a private stud fee and his real foals have not yet hit the track, but his 2018 yearlings sold for an average of $453,273.  In the sim, his 2018 crop currently ranked #3 overall, with 198 runners to date, including 122 winners finding success at a ridiculous 21.7% rate. Among the 122 winners are 11 stakes winners, one of which, Yankee Pharoah, just took home the Fountain of Ute-G2 at 9f on the dirt.  The sim progeny of American Pharoah, much like their sire, have found most of their success on the dirt (79% of earnings on dirt) in routes (59% in routes).  American Belle is the 11th of 12 foals out of G2-winning 17yo mare Belle of Broadway.  Belle of Broadway was quite the belle of the ball in her day, winning 12 of 30 career races, including 3 straight stakes wins ending in the Scary Carrie The Blueberry-G2 back in 2006.  All 3 of those wins were at 6f on the dirt, as were 10 of her 12 career races.  But it wasn’t just on the track where she found success.  American Belle is a half sister to G1-winning Belladonte (Sea The Stars (IRE)), winner of The Humane Distaff-G1 at 7f on the dirt, G2-winning Star of Broadway (Smarty Jones), winner of the Crooklyn Handicap-G2 at 12f on the dirt, and 5 other stakes winners.  Those half-siblings have all been dirt runners, though the ideal distances have varied.  A.P. Indy mares have been sent to American Pharoah 54 times in the past 4 years.  7 of those (6 plus American Belle) are stakes winners, including 2 graded stakes winners, and most of the progeny excel at the 8-10f dirt distances.  Of the 7 others that are the full American Pharoah x A.P. Indy x Mr. Prospector cross, all 7 have broken their maidens and 3 have at least 1 allowance win (5 of the 7 are still 3yos with 3-6 starts).

Expectations: American Belle began her career trying to set the pace, but in her last few races she’s learned to take back a bit, which could help her here.  The last race was particularly impressive, as she made up solid ground in the stretch from her early stalking position before running out of track.  She’ll get an extra furlong here, which might just be enough to put her ahead.  A strong contender.

Watch Level: High

#2 – Barbara Tap Out (Candy Ride x Woodman x Tapit) – Owned by heffbarn – 9/2

Race Record: 7:3-2-2; $82,905

Race History: Never worse than 3rd in her career, Barbara Tap Out comes into this race off of a career best effort last time out.  Stretching out to 9 furlongs in that NW3L effort against 7 others, she stalked the pace early before moving with a vengeance late, pulling away to win by 2-1/4 lengths and earning a career high 97 SP.  That race was her first off of a 2.5 month layoff.  In her prior race, Barbara Tap Out tried routing for the first time at today’s 8f distance and came on strong late, but finished 3rd beaten 1-1/2 lengths.  Barbara Tap Out does have one previous race against one of today’s foes, as she battled Ten Souls in a 5.5f NW1x allowance back in July 2018, but Ten Souls came out on top in the 4 horse field, ½ length in front of Barbara Tap Out.  Barbara Tap Out will try to repeat what she did last time out in the 9f race while cutting back in distance here.

Pedigree: Candy Ride, who stands in Kentucky for $80,000, was the #2 ranked US sire of 2018, largely on the back of 2018 Pegasus World Cup winner Gun Runner.  In the sim, Candy Ride isn’t quite as successful but is still a solid sire, as his 2018 crop currently ranks #49 overall.  That 3yo crop includes 133 runners to date, from which 73 have won races at a 17.5% rate.  3 of those winners have pulled off the feat at the stakes level, all at 8.5f on dirt (one also a stakes win at 7.5f).  Candy Ride’s sim progeny typically prefer the dirt (66% of earnings on dirt) and have shown a slight preference for routes (58% routes), which lines up with his real life average winning distance of 7.07f (about average for a US sire).  The Candy Ride x Woodman cross has been used one other time in the past 4 years, and it was by the same owner, also last year.  That horse, Bonsai Barbara, also showed improvement in her first race as a 3yo, but thus far only has her maiden win to show in 4 career races.

Expectations: Barbara Tap Out likes to stalk the pace, sitting 3-4 lengths back, and then pounce from there.  She’s been able to show a late kick in her past few races, but it wasn’t until her most recent run that she kicked it up another notch.  The downside was that the last race was farther than today’s, and she may need that extra distance to really find her best gear.  The upside is that the last race was also her first of 2019, and the huge run last time out may have just been Barbara Tap Out showing her maturity as a 3yo. Which side will win out here?  It’s anyone’s guess.  But you can’t discount her.

Watch Level: High

#3 – Demostolos (Bodemeister x Fusaichi Pegasus x Dynaformer) – Owned by champions9 – 6/1

Race Record: 6:3-1-1; $107,805

Race History: Demostolos began her career with 3 races at 5-5.5f on the dirt, where she went 2 for 3.  She then moved over to the turf for 3 races, where she saw an immediate SP spike, first in the initial 6f race (going from a 71 SP to an 82 SP) and then against when she stretched out to 8f (going from 82 SP to a career high 90 SP).  After winning her first turf route in a NW2x, she tried her had at an 8f turf stakes in her first 2019 start, but after setting the pace early she tired and finished 4th, 6-1/2 lengths back.  Demostolos’s SP regressed slightly (to an 88 SP), and so she switches back to the dirt here to try a dirt route for the first time.

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 #115, 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.  Interestingly, no Bodemeister sim foal has ever won a G1. 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.  Bodemeister has been crossed with Fusaichi Pegasus 3 times over the last 4 years.  Unfortunately, the other two have not yet won at the allowance level and are a combined 4 for 45 overall.  One has done his best racing in turf sprints, while the other has preferred dirt routes, but both have spent most of their careers at the claiming level.

Expectations: Although she has six races under her belt, Demostolos is a bit of an unknown here.  Her two route efforts have seen her set the pace early, so she may try that again here, but she tired in her last try at the distance.  It’s possible, however, that she just needed the race, as it was her first as a 3yo.  Her initial dirt tries are promising for this effort, but even though she won on the dirt, the races themselves weren’t all that impressive.  So the big question is whether she does like the dirt.  I like the move by the owner to run her here, because it answers the question of where to go next, but I can’t back her here until I know that she likes the dirt.

Watch Level: Medium

#4 – Loyola Ramblers (Adlerflug (GER) x You See LA [Special Week x Storm Cat]) – Owned by barkerblack – 6/1

Race Record: 8:3-1-0; $89,511

Race History: Somebody must have called Sister Jean, because Loyola Ramblers looks like she may have gotten some divine help recently.  After winning her first 2 starts in early 2018, Loyola Ramblers struggled a bit in the middle part of the year in short sprints.  But when she finally got a chance to run, she saw significant improvement.  That first came on the turf, where she finished 4th in a NW3L at 8f.  But from there she moved back to dirt and saw a big pop.  In her first 8f dirt race, Loyola Ramblers stalked the pace early, sitting 3-4 lengths back, and inched closer from there, timing her move perfectly and taking the photo by a head.  Loyola Rambles comes into this one off of a solid 4th place effort in an 8.5f dirt stakes for her first race of 2019, where she and most of the field bunched up close behind the leads and she outlasted the tiring horses, finishing 4th and earning a career high 94 SP (the winner in that one came back to take a G2 next time out).  She drops back in class and cuts back slightly in distance here.

Pedigree: Adlerflug, a 2-time winner at 12f in his racing career, currently stands in Germany for $15,000 and has passed that distance onto his foals, as his real AWD is 10.79.  His 2018 sim crop is Adlerflug’s best to date, and it currently ranks #60 overall.  The class consists of 96 runners and 54 winners, scoring at a 19.5% rate.  Only one of those horses, Storm Sirens, is a stakes winner, and he did so at 9.5f on the turf.  Through 5 sim crops, Adlerflug has only produced 1 graded stakes winner, 4yo Idle Dancer, who picked up the victory in a 5f turf sprint.  Unsurprisingly, most of Adlerflug’s sim foals prefer the turf (75% earnings on turf), and they show a slight preference for routes (57% in routes), though the route percentage may be held down slightly by that G2-winning sprinter.  Based on speed figures, his sim progeny seem to be best at long distance races.  Loyola Ramblers is the daughter of Sim royalty, as she is the 6th foal from 2010 Sim Eclipse 3yo Dirt Filly of the Year You See LA.  You See LA was a monster on the track and was arguably (give-or-take a Final Exit) the best 3yo dirt filly the sim has ever seen.  After defeating the boys in the Derby Lock Prep Chicago Derby-G2, she went on to the Bluegrass Derby-G1 and finished 2nd (by 2 lengths) before moving on to win the Middle Jewel Stakes-G1, one of only 3 fillies to ever win that race.  She finished the Sim Triple Crown campaign with a 3rd place finish in The New Yorker-G1, in addition to walloping the boys in the Clerk of Scales Stakes-G1 (winning by 4-1/2!) and then running 3rd in the Travelers Stakes-G1.  Her sim foals have not been as successful, but they do include 2 stakes winners and 2 more stakes placed horses.  However, none have taken after her dirt routing abilities; they have found success in either dirt sprints or turf routes.  Of particular note, Loyola Ramblers is a full sister to 4yo filly U S C Trojan, who is stakes placed at 8f and 9.5f on the dirt in addition to being a multiple stakes winner at 7.5f.  Outside of the two siblings, Adlerflug has been bred with a Special Week mare one other time in the last 4 years, with that horse’s best races coming in dirt sprints.

Expectations: Loyola Ramblers has no problem letting other horses go early and will likely sit a few lengths back (at least) here.  She may have some distance limitations, so the real question here is whether 8f is gettable, or if she would prefer something in the 7-7.5f range like her full sister.  But she does have a win at this distance, and has been impressive in her last 2 races.  If her dam passed down even half of her abilities on the track, Loyola Ramblers is gonna be a good one for a long time.  Respect.

Watch Level: High

#5 – Giant Rebourbon (Giant’s Causeway x Redoute’s Bourbon [Redoute’s Choice x Gone West]) – Owned by bathred – 4/1 (­­f-t)

Race Record: 7:3-3-0; $141,510

Race History: The sponsor of this race, Giant Rebourbon is one of three stakes placed horses in this field.  That stakes placing came in career race #3, a 6f residency-restricted (ESR) dirt stakes race where Giant Rebourbon battled today’s rival American Belle for the early lead and won that battle, but ultimately lost the war by finishing 2nd, 1-1/2 lengths behind her rival.  Giant Rebourbon rebounded nicely, taking home a 7f NW2L allowance, but then struggled when jumping to open stakes company.  She comes into this race off of 2 solid allowance efforts, both at 7.5f on the dirt.  The first, in a NW3L to end 2018, saw her battle for the pace and then pull away, winning by 1-3/4 lengths with a career high 92 SP.  Her most recent race, her 2019 debut, was a 4 horse field where the jockey made a tactical miscue, letting a competitor set an easy pace, giving Giant Rebourbon no chance to catch her and settling for 2nd with a 90 SP.  Giant Rebourbon adds an extra half furlong and tries routing for the first time today.

Pedigree: Giant’s Causeway, the #19 US sire in 2018, passed away in 2018, making Giant Rebourbon a member of his massive final sim crop.  That sim crop is currently the top ranked class with 381 runners to date.  Of those, 227 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 61% of earnings on dirt.  Giant Rebourbon is the sole foal from he-mare Redoute’s Bourbon, a winner of 6 races in his 25 race career.  That career included three G2/G3 placings as a 3yo at the 8.5-9f dirt range, and 2 stakes wins, one at 8f and one at 7.5f (both on the dirt).  Giant Rebourbon’s granddam was also a multiple graded stakes winner in dirt sprints, making this a family line with a lot of potential.  Redoute’s Choice mares have been sent to Giant’s Causeway 8 times in the past 4 years, with one, Titanom, a graded stakes winner at 8f on the dirt.  The others, to the extent that they’ve had success, have done their best work on the grass.

Expectations: Giant Rebourbon will likely try to sit close to the pace early, but may be willing to concede it to another one or two in this field.  From there, it’s all about outlasting her competitors.  This is the longest race she has ever tried, but she’s certainly shown potential in her prior races.  There’s a bit of a question mark about whether she can carry her speed for the full distance of today’s race.  If her jockey can dial in properly that she’s got a chance here.  Don’t sleep on her.

Watch Level: High

#6 – Ten Souls (Rock Hard Ten x Lost Soul x Medaglia D’Oro) – Owned by fallridge – 5/1

Race Record: 9:3-3-1; $82,258

Race History: Ten Souls started out her career hot, winning 3 of her first 5 races and really breaking through when she tried routing for the first time.  Among those 3 wins was an effort in a 4 horse 5.5f NW1x allowance, where she battled for the lead early and then held off today’s rival Barbara Tap Out, who finished 2nd.  In Ten Souls’ most recent 4 races, however, she hasn’t quite achieved the same level of success.  She comes into today’s race off of a career best 94 SP, when she stalked the pace early in a 9f dirt NW2s allowance but was no match for the winner, finishing 2-1/4 lengths back in 2nd.  That fits a pattern from her last 3 races, where she’s been unable to pick off horses late and hasn’t had the speed to catch up to the leaders.  Ten Souls will cut back in distance here to try and regain some of her early magic.

Pedigree: Rock Hard Ten, winner of the 2005 Big Cap and 2nd in the 2004 Preakness, currently stands in South Korea and was the #20 ranked South Korean sire of 2018.  In the sim, his #160-ranked 2018 crop currently includes 49 runners with 20 winners finding success at a 14% rate.  One of those 20 winners, Moon Rock Magic, is a stakes winning (and G1-placed) turf sprinter. Rock Hard Ten’s sim progeny are predominately routers, with 70% of earnings in routes, while they split pretty evenly between dirt and turf (55% on turf).  It’s the longer the better for his sim foals, as the best speed figures relative to others come in long distance races.  Ten Souls is, not surprisingly, the only sim horse with the Rock Hard Ten x Lost Soul cross (in fact, he’s the only sim horse that can claim Lost Soul as a damsire!).  Lost Soul’s sire, Officer, has been the damsire to one Rock Hard Ten sim foal in the past 4 years, but that horse has done nothing of note in 20 career races (with his “best” races at 8-9f on the turf).

Expectations: Ten Souls is one of many here that are content to sit just off of the pace.  In her past few races, that has been a little problematic as she hasn’t had the late movement of some of the others here.  Her last race was her most impressive, but there’s a bit of a red flag; she finished 2-1/4 lengths back, and it was another 5-1/2 lengths back to 3rd.  That indicates that the race, and the 94 SP, may have been a bit of an illusion as the winner may have dragged her further forward that she otherwise would have.  The cutback in distance should help, but it might not be enough.  Prefer others.

Watch Level: Medium

#7 – Tap Into My Heart (Tapit x Heart of Wire [Giant’s Causeway x Medaglia D’Oro]) – Owned by atw14 – 9/2

Race Record: 10:3-1-0; $101,826

Race History: The veteran of the field, Tap Into My Heart also has arguably the most class in this field.  After winning 3 of her first 4 career starts at 5-6.5f on the dirt, Tap Into My Heart made the leap to G2 company and didn’t make a fool of herself, as she finished a narrowing 4th in the 7f The Motherly Love-G2.  From there she stretched out to today’s 8f distance and dropped down to stakes company, but she was unable to do much and finished 7th.  Since that race, she has tried stakes company in dirt sprints 4 more times, including another G2 effort to kick off 2019.  Her best effort in those came 3 starts back in a 7.5f stakes, where she stalked the pace early and briefly grabbed the lead in the stretch, before being overtaken and settling for 2nd, earning a career high 90 SP.  Tap Into My Heart comes into this race off of a 7th place finish in a 7f dirt stakes, so she’ll drop in class here and stretch back out to 8f for a second try.

Pedigree: Tapit currently stands for a $225,000 stud fee as the #5 ranked US sire in 2018.  His 2018 sim class that currently numbers 276 runners is the #2 ranked sim class of 2018 thus far.  Among those 276 runners are 179 winners (winning at a 21% rate) and 14 stakes winners.  Only one of those 14, however, has achieved Graded Stakes glory, and it took until Legacy of Evil’s most recent race in an 8f dirt G3, to finally break that 0-fer.  Tapit’s sim foals are mainly dirt routers (71% of earnings on dirt, 60% in routes), though in terms of speed figures, Tapit throws horses that are equally adept in sprints, routes, and longer races, so distance may be passed down more from the dam’s side.  Tap Into My Heart is the lone foal from 6yo he-mare Heart of Wire.  Heart of Wire was an OK runner on the track, with 3 wins in 22 career starts.  All three of those victories came in 8f dirt races.  He did most of his running at that distance and surface, but showed some ability on other surfaces as well.  The Tapit x Giant’s Causeway cross has been used a ridiculous 73 times in the past 4 years.  2 of those are G1 winners (one in turf sprints, one in a Bluegrass Derby prep), and 10 of the 73 have earned a stakes level victory.

Expectations: Tap Into My Heart is another one in this field that’s likely to try and stalk the pace, sitting a few lengths off of the leaders.  It has been a while since she’s visited the winner’s circle – not since August of 2018 – but she’s 2 for 3 lifetime at the allowance level and the class drop here should help.  She’s been struggling a bit against better company, but should appreciate the field today.  But have those performances gotten into her head?  Another with a shot.

Watch Level: Medium

#8 – VT Mansion (Frankel (GB) x Smelling Into Cat [Storm Cat x Housebuster]) – Owned by kallor – 12/1

Race Record: 8:3-1-1; $55,010

Race History: VT Mansion has struggled to find her place in the sim through her first 8 races, but she’s hoping that her first route effort will strike a chord.  She has bounced between turf and dirt thus far in her career, with 2 wins coming at 5f on the dirt (in 5 horse fields) and one at 6.5f on the turf (in a 4 horse field).  VT Mansion comes into this race off of back-to-back turf efforts, one being the 6.5f win where she earned a career high 84 SP.  In her most recent race, at the NW3x level at 6f-T, she set the early pace before tiring late and finishing 5th.  VT Mansion’s closest race to today’s came 3 starts back, in December 2018, at 7f on the dirt against the boys, where she battled for the lead early but couldn’t keep up with the other sex and tired to finish 8th.  This will be her longest race to date as she hopes for a turf-to-dirt bump.

Pedigree: Frankel, the best racehorse ever assessed by the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings, currently stands in England for $175,000 as was the #3 ranked EU sire of 2018, with an AWD of 8.47.  His 2018 sim crop is equally impressive, as it currently ranks #4 overall with 122 winners from 198 runners to date (winning at a 19% rate).  Among those are 10 stakes winners and 2 graded stakes winners, both in turf sprints.  All but 1 of the stakes winners have done so on the turf, so it’s not surprising that Frankel’s sim progeny have a strong preference for turf (75% of earnings on turf) and routing (67% in routes). VT Mansion is the 13th and final foal from 21yo mare Smelling Into Cat.  Smelling Into Cat was a 2-time stakes placed horse, both in super sprints on the dirt as a 2yo (4.5f and 5.5f) back in 2000.  She earned 3 career wins in 28 races, all coming (like those stakes placings) in dirt sprints.  She only tried routing once, but the race did not end well and she finished a well-beaten 9th.  But while her track exploits didn’t amount to much, she’s much more known for her efforts in the breeding shed.  Among her offspring is 2009 Sim Eclipse 2yo Dirt Male of the Year Curling (Curlin), who, much like most of Smelling Into Cat’s other foals, was primarily a dirt sprinter (his only on-the-board finish in a route being his Eclipse-sealing victory in the 2009 Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile-G1).  Smelling Into Cat also has 2 other stakes winning foals, both also in sprints but on the turf.  Unsurprisingly, Frankel has been bred to a Storm Cat mare 22 times in the last 4 years – two are stakes winners, one in a residency-restricted dirt route and one in a turf sprint.

Expectations: VT Mansion doesn’t like having dirt kicked in her face, so expect to see her battling for the lead here.  Unfortunately, even if she does get that lead, it doesn’t look like she’ll be there for too long.  Her mother was a sprinter, 9 of her 12 siblings were primarily sprinters, and 2 of her last 3 races have had her running out of gas well before the wire in a race shorter than today’s 8f distance.  The pedigree is there, but today doesn’t look like it will be the day for VT Mansion.

Watch Level: Low

That’s the field for this week’s NW4L Allowance.  Unlike a couple of the most recent races, where there has been minimal pace and a number of deep closers, the horses in this race are likely to be bunched up, and it wouldn’t surprise me if first to last early on was only about 4-5 lengths.  The pacesetter will probably be VT Mansion…if she has the speed to outrun her opponents from the outside post.  Battling her for the lead will likely be Demostolos, with Giant Rebourbon hot on their heels.  Everyone else in the field should be sitting anywhere from 2-5 lengths off of that pace.  But from there, it’s anyone’s guess, as this field of 8 looks wide open.  But since I am anyone, I’ll take a guess!  I’m gonna side with (1) American Belle, (2) Loyola Ramblers, and (3) Giant Rebourbon.  Good luck!

Other Races to Watch This Weekend:

1)      Kentucky – Alw NW2L @ 8.5f (Division 1) (Division 2)

2)      Kentucky – Local Allowance @ 8f

3)      California – Alw NW2L @ 8f-T

4)      Indiana – Alw NW2L @ 8f-T (Fillies) (Division 1) (Division 2)

5)      Surrey (England) – Alw NW3L @ 8.5f-T

6)      Berkshire (England) – Alw NW2L @ 7f (Division 1) (Division 2)

7)      Dubai – Alw NW2L @ 8f-T

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Mar 092019
 

First, a quick recap of last week’s race.  Unsurprisingly, there was very little pace in the race, and as expected, Minimumrequirement set the fractions, with Clue Hunter right behind and then K’s Social Media and Feudal Warrior.  Minimumrequirement ran out of gas in the race, but the others didn’t and with the slow early fractions, no one was able to gain any ground from the back.  The 2-3-4-5-6 horses in the pace setup finished 1-2-3-4-5, with Clue Hunter ($22.30) ultimately winning a head photo over Feudal Warrior, both earning 98 SPs.  K’s Social Media dug in for 3rd, another 3 lengths back.

This week, the Future Stars Series heads to New York, where 10 fillies try their hand at a 9 furlong NW3L Allowance on the dirt.  The field is:

#1 – Popest of Maori (Holy Roman Emperor (IRE) x Legend of Maori [Blame x A.P. Indy]) – Owned by br5four9 – 15/1

Race Record: 12:2-0-0; $37,284

Race History: It’s been a tough slog recently for Popest of Maori.  After winning her first 2 career races at 4.5f on dirt in August 2018 and 5f in a NW1x allowance 2 weeks later, she has failed to hit the board in her last 10 starts, all at the NW3L/NW2x level. That includes tries on turf and dirt, in sprints and routes.  Her fastest race to date came in career start #8, where she put up an 83 SP in a 7f turf NW3L and set the pace early before tiring to finish 4th.  She comes into this race with 4 under her belt as a 3yo already, with 3 on the turf and 1 on the good dirt.  Her most recent race, at 7.5f on turf, saw a bit of a regression, as she set the pace early but struggled to keep up, finishing 13-1/2 lengths back and earning a 74 SP.  Of note, she has competed against today’s rival Officer Queen twice, finishing 10th both times to that rival’s 2nd and 3rd place finishes.  Popest of Maori will try to get a turf-to-dirt bump here as she stretches out to 9f for the first time.

Pedigree: Holy Roman Emperor, the #14 ranked European sire of 2018, currently stands for $15,000 in Ireland.  In the sim, Holy Roman Emperor’s 2018 crop currently ranks #190 with 18 winners from 39 runners, winning at a 13.5% rate (slightly above his 12.5% average).  But what the crop lacks in quantity it makes up in quality, as 2 of those 18 winners are already stakes winners.  One, Holy Hello, is a stakes winner at 8.5f on the turf and G3-placed at 10f-T, and the other, Royal Mate, is a stakes winner at 7f-T.  Unsurprisingly, Holy Roman Emperor’s sim foals prefer turf (68% earnings on turf), and they tend to prefer routes (60% on routes), a little different than his real life foals which average around 7.5 furlongs.  Popest of Maori is the 3rd foal from 8yo mare Legend of Maori, a winner of 8 races in her 38 race career.  Most of those wins came at the claimer/starter level, though she did pick up an allowance win at 7f on the dirt.  Much like that win, most of her success came on the dirt in the 6-7f range.  Unlike their mother, however, both of Popest of Maori’s previous foals have done their best running in routes and both have allowance wins at today’s 9f distance.

Expectations: Popest of Maori likes to be in the front, and her best chance in this race puts her setting the pace early.  It’s interesting then to see that in her 2 previous dirt route efforts, she took back a bit, either sitting just off the lead or setting a slow pace.  This was probably to try and save some speed for the end, but in each case, she ran out of gas quickly and finished over 10 lengths back.  This race pushes the distance out even farther, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like she’ll have the juice to get it done today either.  Pass.

Watch Level: Low

#2 – Seize The Knight (Arrogate x Vilholin [Arch x A.P. Indy]) – Owned by knightmare – 6/1

Race Record: 6:2-2-0; $105,015

Race History: Seize The Knight has taken some big swings in her career, and she hasn’t embarrassed herself.  After winning her second consecutive race (career races #2 and #3), a NW2L at 8f on the dirt, her owner sent her to the Frickazee Stakes-G1 in October 2018.  There, she broke towards the back early, but passed a number of horses and finished a strong 4th, earning an 87 SP.  Seize The Knight followed that up by dropping back down into NW4L territory and took on a field of 4, but couldn’t quite catch up to the winner who got first run on her, finishing 2nd.  She enters this race off of another shot, this time in The SilverBulletBeer-G3 at 8.5f on the dirt in early February, where she again broke at the back and moved up a bit late, but she could only get up to 8th before the wire, 6 lengths back.  She earned a career high 94 SP in that race (her 6th straight SP increase) and she’ll try to build off of that while dropping in class and stretching out to a career long 9f.

Pedigree:  Arrogate, the richest racehorse of all time, entered stud in Kentucky for $75,000.  His freshman crop in the sim includes 151 runners to date, of which 88 have found the winner’s circle at an 18% rate.  The crop currently ranks #15 overall, with 9 stakes winners and 3 graded stakes winners (all in G3s).  The foals have primarily raced on the dirt (88% of earnings on dirt), and the 3 graded stakes winners all scored at 8-8.5f on the dirt, so his sim progeny seem to be improving with distances.  He also sired last week’s Future Stars Series winner, Clue Hunter. Vilholin will only have 1 sim foal, as he was a he-mare used to produce Seize The Knight.  Vilholin was an excellent horse in his own right, a G3 winner at 8f on the dirt in The Hambone Cup-G3, where he earned a career high 121 SP.  He tried some other stakes but could never repeat that amazing performance.  Still, he finished his career with 9 wins from 33 starts and hopes to have passed down some of that talent to his lone progeny.

Expectations: Seize The Knight has faced stronger fields than today’s NW3L, and that experience should help her settle in here.  Furthermore, she’s seen improvement in each of her races to date.  A relatively deep closer, Seize The Knight hopes that the added distance in this race will help her get to the finish line first.  But I’m worried that while she has a closing kick, it might not be as strong as some of the others in this field.  That may be an optical illusion, based on the graded company that she has faced, and this filly has a very promising future ahead of her.  She’s a deserving horse here, but for the price, I’m going elsewhere.

Watch Level: High

#3 – Kelly’s Gold Mine (Arrogate x Mineshaft x Seeking The Gold) – Owned by ddkstables35 – 6/1

Race Record: 5:2-0-0; $69,626

Race History: Kelly’s Gold Mine broke her maiden in her first try at dirt routing, in her second career start back in August 2018.  From there, she took a couple of shots at stakes company, both at 8.5f on the dirt.  In each race, she finished respectably (4th then 5th), with her first attempt getting slightly closer than her second.  To kick off 2019, Kelly’s Gold Mine dropped back down in class to the NW2L level at today’s 9f distance, where she crushed her competition.  In that race, she sat about 5 lengths back early before cruising to a 2-1/4 length victory, earning a career high 92 SP in the process.  That was her 5th straight SP increase, and she looks to make it 6 today.

Pedigree: See today’s rival Seize The Knight for a description of Arrogate.  The Arrogate x Mineshaft cross has been used 4 other times thus far in the sim, with 2 of them being 2yos this year.  Of the other two, only one, Deckon Thar, has broken his maiden, though he is also stakes placed at 8.5f on the dirt.

Expectations: Kelly’s Gold Mine is likely to sit several lengths off of the pace, though her last race, and first at this distance, saw her sit slightly closer than she had previously.  That race worked out well for her, so she may try something similar again here.  There’s also no question about the distance, as she proved in her first race as a 3yo that she can get this distance without a problem.  Kelly’s Gold Mine has a solid foundation with 2 stakes efforts already, and she’s a game one in today’s race.

Watch Level: High

#4 – Life To Come (Graydar x Auyoung [Bernardini x Deputy Minister]) – Owned by vkstakes8 – 8/1

Race Record: 6:2-3-1; $90,340

Race History: A perfect 6-for-6 on the board, Life To Come also enters this race as the most accomplished filly in the field.  Her second career win, which came two races back in December 2018, was a wire-to-wire victory in a residency-restricted stakes race at 8.5f on the dirt.  Life To Come came out of that race sharp and actually improved her speed figure in her most recent race, as she comes into this race off of a career high 94 SP last time out.  In that NW3L effort at 8f, she again set the pace, but couldn’t quite hold off the winner, who pulled in front to win by 1-3/4 lengths, forcing Life To Come to settle for 2nd.  That winner came back to the track and won her next allowance race as well, with a 98 SP.  Life To Come will stretch out to a career long 9f here, as she will try to hold her speed for the full distance.

Pedigree: Graydar, a G1 winner at 9f, currently stands for $7,500 in Kentucky and was ranked the #10 second-crop US sire of 2018.  His 2018 sim crop currently ranks #77, with 95 runners and 52 winners to date (winning at a 13.5% rate, well below his 18% average).  His sim foals strongly prefer dirt, with 79% of earnings on dirt, both are pretty evenly split between sprinting and routing (54% in sprints), even though his real life progeny have an average winning distance of roughly 6.5f.  The 2018 crop includes 2 stakes winners to date, one of which is Life To Come.  The other scored at 7f on the dirt, but another one of Graydar’s 3yos just ran 3rd in a 9f dirt G1, so there’s some stamina potential as well.  Life To Come is the 6th foal from 10yo dam Auyoung, a stakes winner at 5.5f on the dirt.  Auyoung won 4 of her 15 career races, with all of her success coming in dirt sprints where she didn’t have to worry about tiring late.  Most of her sim progeny have also been sprinters, mainly on the dirt, and they have largely taken after their mother’s front-running style as well.  One, Angelwingz (Fusaichi Pegasus), is multiple stakes placed in dirt sprints, and another, Wigmore Drive (Pivotal), is residency-restricted stakes placed at 9f on the dirt.  Graydar has been bred to a Bernardini mare 11 times in the past 4 years, with one graded stakes winner among them in 5yo Radar Magic, who picked up a G3 victory at 6f on the dirt as a 2yo.

Expectations: Life To Come has a ton of speed, and I fully expect her to use it here.  The big question mark is whether she can get the distance.  Most of her siblings haven’t been great in routes, her mother was a sprinter, and her sire tends to throw sprinters in the sim.  Life To Come has put together a couple of very strong races at 8-8.5f, but this race goes even farther.  There’s some indication that she may have been tiring in her last effort at 8f, even though she held on for 2nd.  Life To Come is a strong horse with a strong future ahead of her, but that future may end up being in shorter races than this.  We’ll find out today.

Watch Level: High

#5 – Aces and Apples (Aces Star x Eve’s Apple Pie [Hussonet x Deputy Minister]) – Owned by lawdro2 – 8/1

Race Record: 9:2-2-2; $92,398

Race History: Aces and Apples began her career on dirt, but after 3 tries, she switched over to turf where she first found success at 8 furlongs.  After spending 5 races on the sod, she moved back to dirt for her last race at 8.5 furlongs and put together a career best race.  In that NW2L, she broke midpack early and stuck with her group as they moved forward before kicking into another gear and pulling away to win by 1-1/2.  That effort earned her a career high 89 SP, a 4 point jump from her prior turf effort at the same distance, where she finished 3rd but struggled to gain any ground on the footing.  Aces and Apples sticks with the dirt here and stretches out to a career high 9 furlongs.

Pedigree: Aces Star, a son of Monarchos, currently stands in Sweden, but since I can’t read Swedish I can’t tell much more about him.  But I can read the sim data, and his 2018 class includes 14 runners to date.  They currently rank #1,474 with 6 winners winning at a 9.5% rate.  Typically, his sim horses, which include 3 total stakes winners, are dirt sprinters, with 64% of earnings on dirt and 78% in sprints.  Eve’s Apple Pie, the 8yo dam of Aces and Apples, was a winner of 7 from 21 career races.  That career included a 3rd place finish in an 8 furlong turf stakes as a 3yo, but her best races were actually on the polytrack, where she went 2 for 5 lifetime at the 8.5f distance.  She seemed to like the 8-9f distances in general.  Her 3 other sim progeny to race thus far, however, have mostly done their best running in sprints.  The only exception is 4yo Eden’s Zip Code (City Zip), who has found herself doing her best running at 8-9f on the turf

Expectations: Aces and Apples has run pretty consistently in her 9 races, usually sitting 3-5 lengths off the pace in route races such as today’s race.  She showed a lot of maturity in her most recent race, finally putting together what she had hinted at in much shorter races earlier in her career.  But there’s an outstanding question – was her last race aided by the turf-to-dirt bump?  The race was by far Aces and Apples’ best dirt effort, but was it a sign of maturity as she reached the right distance and age, or was it a fluke.  We’ll see here.

Watch Level: Medium

#6 – Iron Seed (Ironicus x Millview Seeds [Falvelon (AUS) x Advocator]) – Owned by lightng102 – 84/1

Race Record: 9:1-0-1; $22,350

Race History: The longest shot on the board, Iron Seed comes in here with only 1 prior dirt race, her debut effort at 6f in a local MSW in February of 2018.  She went off at 59/1 odds and ran like it, finishing last against males, 9-3/4 lengths back with a 49 SP.  She ended up breaking her maiden in a $60K MCL at 5f on the turf, but 2 races later found herself in G2 company.  She was no match for the competition that day though, and hasn’t shown much in her 4 efforts since that race.  Iron Seed enters today’s race off of her first route attempt, a 12-1/2 length defeat at 8.25 on the turf in an Allowance, where she earned her third straight 68 SP, tied for her career high.  She’ll look for a turf-to-dirt bounce as she heads back to the main track here.

Pedigree: Ironicus, who entered stud in 2017, was an 8-9f turf graded stakes winner in his career and currently stands for $5,000 in Kentucky.  His 2018 sim crop currently ranks #155, with 32 winners from 82 runners, winning at a 12% rate.  Among those winners are 2 stakes winners and one other graded placed horse, with a mix of turf sprinting, turf miles, and dirt miles among them.  Thus far, Ironicus’ sim foals have slightly preferred turf races and routes (57% of earnings on turf and in routes), though the speed figures from his foals thus far show a slight preference for turf sprints.  Iron Seed is the 7th foal from 14yo mare Millview Seeds, a horse who managed 7 career stakes placings but only 1 career win.  Well placed early in her career, that one win came in a 6.5f turf MSW in her 8th career race (at which point she had already picked up 5 career stakes placings, all 2nd place finishes in 4-6 horse fields).  Millview Seeds spent most of her career in turf sprints, but did manage one solid dirt race, where she ran 3rd of 12 in a 7f NW1x allowance.  Her sim foals have taken after her as well, with most of their best races coming in turf sprints, though none have shown much talent on the track (only 2 of the 6 have won an allowance race outside of the local or hot levels).

Expectations: This will only be Iron Seed’s second career race on dirt and only her first since her debut over 1 year ago.  It’s certainly possible that she actually loves dirt and will see a huge improvement here. And it’s very possible that she’ll see a nice turf-to-dirt bounce.  Anything’s possible, so I can’t count her out entirely.  But she’s 84/1 for a reason, and on paper it’s hard to see how she’ll beat any more than 1 horse in this field.  Pass.

Watch Level: Low

#7 – Officer Queen (Officer x Queenavenger [Kingmambo x A.P. Indy]) – Owned by txace04 – 7/2 (f)

Race Record: 12:2-4-2; $119,558

Race History: One of the most experienced horses in the field, Officer Queen comes into this race having come very close, but never quite cracking, the NW3L level.  2 for 2 in dirt routes prior to reaching NW3L races, she has run 3rd, 2nd, 5th, and 2nd in her 4 prior attempts at this level.  A deep closer, Officer Queen comes into this race off of an 8.5f NW3L on the good dirt back in mid-February, where she showed a monster closing kick but ran out of running room, coming up 2 lengths short and earning a career high 96 SP.  She finished 5th on the good dirt in her only other try at 9f, 2 races back, but the horses finishing ahead of her in that one came back to run 2nd in a G2, 3rd in a stakes, and 2nd in an allowance, so that race looks to have had a strong field.  Officer Queen also has some history against a couple of her rivals today.  Back in race #4 of her career, at 6.5f on the dirt, Officer Queen trailed today’s rival Ratavari, who finished 2nd to Officer Queen’s 5th.  More recently, Officer Queen has taken on Popest of Maori twice at the NW3L level and has outrun her rival both times, finishing 3rd to Popest’s 10th in October 2018 and then 2nd to Popest’s 10th in December 2018.

Pedigree: Officer, a 3-time graded stakes winner as a 2yo, currently stands in South Korea and was the #3 ranked Korean sire in 2018.  His 2018 sim crop currently ranks #468, with only 20 runners to date and 9 winners (winning at a 14% rate).  Among those 9 winners is a 3-time stakes winner, who has found her best success sprinting on the turf.  Officer’s sim foals tend to prefer the dirt (63% of earnings on dirt) and sprinting (68% in sprints).  Officer Queen is the final foal (of 14) from 21yo mare Queenavenger, a 6 time stakes winner and 8 time stakes placed horse (including 2 graded stakes placings) in her 69 race career.  Queenavenger did all of her damage on dirt, with most coming in sprints (though she did also pick up 9 of her 21 wins, and her G2 2nd, at the 8-9f range).  Her stakes wins ranged anywhere from 6f to 8.5f on the dirt.  Two of her foals have picked up stakes wins: Avenger’s Ghost (Ghostzapper), a stakes winner and G2-placed at 7f on the dirt, and Northern Avenger (North Light (IRE)), a stakes winner at 8.5f on the turf.  Other siblings include 2 other stakes placed horses as well as 15yo Avenger’s King (Daylami (IRE)), a million dollar earner who won 40 times (and was ITM 72 times) in 105 (!) races, even though his only two stakes attempts were failures (most of those earnings came at 10-12f, and primarily 11f, on the dirt.

Expectations: Officer Queen loves to have something to chase after, and she’ll sit in the back early.  She may look hopeless early, but this is a horse that absolutely flies late.  She’s had experience at this level and has done well, but she has just run out of room every time.  The only hesitation with her here is that her prior 9f dirt race was her worst routing effort to date.  But that field was very strong and the track was rated good, so she’s got excuses.  She came back strong last time out, and has an excellent shot here.  Top prospect.

Watch Level: High

#8 – Miss Vinotinto (Giant’s Causeway x Rucio Moro [Americain x Mr. Prospector]) – Owned by ottox – 5/1

Race Record: 4:2-1-0; $74,151

Race History: The sponsor of this race, Miss Vinotinto, is also the least experienced in the field, with only 4 career races under her belt.  It only took 1 try to break her maiden, and after a close 4th in her first NW2L effort in sprints, she stretched out to route races and popped.  2 races back at 8.5f in a NW2L, Miss Vinotinto stalked the pace and then briefly grabbed the lead, before getting passed by the eventual winner and having to settle for 2nd, 1-1/4 lengths back with an 89 SP.  The winner from that race, Jyuratodus, is 3 for 3 since defeating Miss Vinotinto, including a stakes at 8.5f and a victory in last week’s 9f The Miss Bonnie-G2, putting Miss Vinotinto in solid company.  She proved it in her most recent race, as she stretched out to 9f and dusted her competition, sitting just off the pace early before taking the lead in the far turn and pulling away to win by 3-1/4 lengths.  She comes into this race off of a career high 93 SP.

Pedigree: Giant’s Causeway, the #19 US sire in 2018, passed away in 2018 so Miss Vinotinto is a member of his final sim crop.  That sim crop is currently the top ranked class with 378 (!) runners to date.  Of those, 220 have won at a 20% rate.  Among those are 18 stakes winners and 6 graded winners.  His sim foals are typically routers, and are evenly split among dirt and turf…  Miss Vinotinto is the daughter of 8yo he-mare Rucio Moro, an excellent horse in his day.  He spent most of his career at today’s 9f distance and picked up 15 wins in 33 career starts.  The coup de grace was his victory in 2016’s The Barry Foster-G1, his second G1 win of the year, which propelled him to the Breeders’ Bowl Classic (where he finished 13th after tiring out on the front end).  Miss Vinotinto is one of two horses to be sired by Giant’s Causeway from an Americain mare, but the other has done nothing beyond breaking her maiden in 4 career starts.

Expectations: Miss Vinotinto will probably sit pretty close to the pace in this race, maybe 1-2 lengths off of it early.  Her history shows that she will try to make an early move and then withstand a late charge from some of the others in here.  Her most recent race may have been the most impressive one in this field, based on how significantly she dominated her competition.  Considering she was only 1 length off of a G2 winner 2 races back (and the horses that finished 3rd and 4th behind her have gone 3 for 4 in allowances since that race), she has a very strong resume even without the experience of some of the others in here.  She might be the pick.

Watch Level: High

#9 – Quality Ending (Quality Road x Stormy Ending [Stormy Atlantic x Rahy]) – Owned by mightyforego8 – 5/1

Race Record: 7:2-1-2; $63,805

Race History: Quality Ending broke her maiden at the $100K maiden claimer level, but proved that once she reached route distances, she fit right into allowance company.  She ended 2018 with a 4th place finish in a residency-restricted stakes race, and then came back in early February and put up her fastest race to date.  In that last race, a NW3L at 8.5f on the dirt, Quality Ending sat midpack early, about 5 lengths off the pace, and then came with a rush along with 2 of her other co-midpack runners.  Those other 2 (a G2-placed horse and a stakes-placed horse) were a little quicker than her, so Quality Ending had to settle for 3rd, 4-1/2 lengths behind the winner but also 5-1/4 lengths clear of 4th.  She earned a career high and field high 98 SP for the effort, and big jump over her prior 89 SP, and she’ll look to carry that forward here.

Pedigree: Quality Road, currently stands for $150,000 in Kentucky and was the #7 ranked US sire in 2018.  His sim crop has not quite caught up to his real life counterparts, as the 2018 crop currently ranks #115 with 51 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).  Quality Ending is the first of 2 foals to date from 5yo mare Stormy Ending.  Stormy Ending struggled as a 2yo, but took the aging process well, as she saw a 24 point SP jump from her last 2yo maiden effort to her 3yo maiden-winning debut.  She would go on to multiple stakes placings at 8.5f-9.5f on the dirt in her 15 race career.  That career ended with 3 wins, all as a 3yo and all in the 9-10f range.  Quality Road has been bred to a Stormy Atlantic mare 3 times in the last 4 years, but the other 2 horses are a combined 2 for 15 overall.

Expectations: Quality Ending’s most recent race was eye-opening and moves her to the top of the class here.  She did her best to hang with stakes company and although she wasn’t quite good enough to catch them, she did well for herself in blowing out the rest of the field.  If she can carry that over here, she’s got a great chance.  The concern is that she seems to be a horse that stays towards the back early, but doesn’t have much of a closing kick.  Her best races have come with soft paces up front, and she probably won’t get that here.  But Quality Ending’s mother took a huge leap at 3, and it’s possible that Quality Ending’s last race, her own first race at 3yo, is a genetic thing and a sign of even more promising things to come.

Watch Level: High

#10 – Ratavari (Symboli Kris S x La Madame [Storm Cat x Forty Niner]) – Owned by abarca – 5/1

Race Record: 9:2-5-1; $119,325

Race History: Ratavari cured her seconditis in her last race, and she comes into this one off of a 2 length victory in a 9f NW2L allowance.  That had snapped a run of 3 2nds and 1 3rd at the NW2L that she had going prior to the race.  In that most recent run, her first as a 3yo, Ratavari sat midpack early, about 4 lengths off the lead, before methodically moving up and then pouncing late, pulling away to win by 2 lengths and earning a career high 95 SP.  Of note, one of Ratavari’s 5 career second place finishes was against today’s rival Officer Queen, who finished 5th in Ratavari’s 2nd career race (at 6.5f on the dirt).

Pedigree: Symboli Kris S, a 4-time G1 winner in Japan, currently stands there and was the #14 ranked Japanese sire in 2018.  His 2018 sim crop currently ranks #119 overall, with 29 winners from 64 runners to date, winning at a 16% rate.  Among those is 1 stakes winner thus far, Earth Is Flat, who recently picked up a win in an 8.5f turf stakes.  Symboli Kris S has 2 other stakes placed horses from the class thus far, one at 8.5f on the turf, and one at 6f on the dirt, but to this point, most of his 2018 crop have done their best racing on the turf. Likewise, his sim progeny based on earnings slightly favor turf (58% earnings on turf), as well as routing (62% in routes), though his progeny’s speed figures indicate a stronger preference for sprinting.  Ratavari is the 4th of 5 foals from 16yo mare La Madame.  La Madame was an extremely well-bred mare, but didn’t run like it on the track, as she won only 2 of 45 career races.  La Madame tried different surfaces in spurts, with her two wins coming at 7f on the dirt and 8f on the turf.  Her two best speed figures, however, both occurred in turf sprints, as she ran 2nd and 3rd in NW2x allowances at 6f-T and 6.5f-T.  Her 3 prior progeny to race have fared slightly better on the track, as 2 of the 3 have already earned more wins than her.  Each of those progeny has been stronger on dirt than turf, with one being able to get as far as 10f and the other two living in the sprint/mile range.  Storm Cat mares have been sent to Symboli Kris S 4 times in the past 4 years (3 not including Ratavari), and of the 2 that have reached the track, one is a stakes winner at 8.5f on the dirt, and the other has not yet broken her maiden and has been on the shelf for the past year (along with her stablemates).

Expectations: Ratavari’s win in her last race, her first at 9f, was a huge breakthrough and the culmination of some near misses at slightly shorter distances.  She proved in that one that today’s distance should be no issue, and she made a nice improvement in her first race as a 3yo, which is something you love to see.  There are some strong opponents in this race, but Ratavari has shown that she belongs.  Her track record makes me think she’s more likely to finish 2nd than anything else, but Ratavari looks like she loves this distance and that gives this midpack-style runner a good chance here.  Respect.

Watch Level: High

That’s the field of 10 for this wide open NW3L.  Last week I decided to discount pace entirely, and it came back to bite me.  So I’m going back to my old strategy.  The best news for some of the closers in this field is that Popest of Maori is here, because she may act as a rabbit for some of those late comers by creating a duel up front.  That duel will likely be with Life To Come, with Miss Vintinto sitting just off of them.  Popest of Maori will give way before long, and that’s when the closers will start their runs.  But I think that duel up front might be just enough to work.  So I’m gonna go with (1) Officer Queen, (2) Miss Vinotinto, and (3) Quality Ending.  Sorry to those of you I picked.

Other races to watch this weekend:

1)      Spain – Alw NW2L @ 7f-T (Division 1) (Will be split into 2 divisions)

2)      Paris – Alw NW2L @ 7f-T (Division 1) (Division 2)

3)      Hong Kong – Alw NW3L @ 7f-T (Fillies)

4)      Kentucky – Alw NW2L @ 8f (Division 1) (Division 2)

5)      Ireland – Alw NW3L @ 9f-T

6)      Maryland – Alw NW2L @ 7f (Division 1) (Division 2)

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Mar 012019
 

First, a quick recap of last week’s race.  My estimation of the pace looked pretty close again, as speed demon Star Rock set the pace early before quickly tiring at the distance, dueling with Universal Strike.  Universal Strike held on gamely, but this race was all about those coming from behind.  And the edge in that one went to Looking For War ($15.10), who stalked the pace early and got first run, never looking back and cruising to a 1-3/4 length victory with a 96 SP.  Tete Crick came flying from the back to finish 2nd, and it was another length back to Navy Blue Barbara, who put away some of the tiring horses but couldn’t quite catch up to Looking For War at the front.

This week, the Future Stars Series stretches its legs a little bit.  We head to California, where 13 colts tackle 9.5 furlongs on the turf in a NW2L Allowance.  The field is:

#1 – Dauntless Crown (Awesome Again x Settle For A Tiara [Tapit x Giant’s Causeway]) – Owned by supertaffy – 7/1

Race Record: 5:1-1-2; $52,465

Race History: Dauntless Crown enters this race having never finished out of the money on the turf.  After breaking his maiden at 8f on the turf, Dauntless Crown made a brief detour to dirt before coming back to turf and running 2nd and 3rd in back-to-back NW2Ls at 8f and 9f, respectively.  His last race saw him sit midpack, about 6 lengths back early, before closing late but running out of racing surface.  He finished 2 lengths back, earning a career high 90 SP in the process.  First and second from that race came back to put up a 92 SP and a 90 SP in a 6th and 2nd place finish, respectively, in their next allowance efforts.  Dauntless Crown will get an extra half furlong here as he comes back for his second race of 2019.

Pedigree: Awesome Again struggled a bit in the real world in 2018, as the #50 ranked US sire.  His sim counterpart is a little better, as the 2018 class currently ranks #13 overall, with 107 winners from 180 runners to date, winning at a 20% rate.  Awesome Again is typically a dirt route sire, with 68% of earnings coming on dirt and in routes.  The 2018 class includes 12 stakes winners to date, with 4 of those taking home graded honors, including My Awesome King, the winner of the Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile Turf and Sim Eclipse Award 2yo Turf Colt of the Year (interestingly, his mother was also an Eclipse Award winner). Dauntless Crown is the first (of 2) foals from 6yo mare Settle For A Tiara.  Settle For A Tiara was a moderately successful horse during her career, winning 6 of 27 career races, all at the allowance level.  Those wins were all on the turf, with all but the maiden win coming in the 7-8f range, where she did most of her racing.  Awesome Again has been bred to a Tapit mare 15 times in the past 4 years (2 are 2yos), but only 3 of those have picked up a win at the allowance level.  Most of those horses have done their best running on the dirt, and the best of those have been successful in the 8-10f range.

Expectations: Dauntless Crown has been pretty consistent in his past couple of races, sitting about 6 lengths off the lead both times.  So it wouldn’t be surprising if he tries that again here.  He has shown a steady kick late in each of his turf races, and he’ll try to do that again here.  There’s a bit of a question as to whether this 9.5f distance will dull that kick by pushing him beyond his ideal distance, but Dauntless Crown has been a solid performer to date and he can easily keep it up here.  A contender.

Watch Level: High

#2 – Skibbidy Debop (Dansili (GB) x Scat Daddy x Sadler’s Wells) – Owned by 4stardave – 7/1

Race Record: 1:1-0-0; $30,360

Race History: The newbie of the field, Skibbidy Debop only has 1 career race as he was a 3yo debuter, but that was an impressive debut.  Running in late January in an 8.25f turf MSW, Skibbidy Debop broke in the back early, but kicked into gear late, flying home to win by 1-1/2 lengths and earning a career high 86 SP at 5/2 odds.  None of the top horses from that race have come back to the track, so we’ll need to wait for this race to see how good Skibbidy Debop can truly be.

Pedigree: Dansili, who was pensioned in 2018, was the #70 ranked EU sire in 2018.  His last sim crop, the 2018 class, currently ranks #9 in the sim, with 110 winners from 206 runners to date (winning at a 20% rate).  Dansili’s sim foals have a strong preference for turf, with 74% of earnings on turf, but are evenly split 50/50 in distances (a little different than his real life foals, that excel at the 9-10f distances).  His 2018 sim crop includes only 1 graded stakes winner among 4 total stakes winners, and the crop thus far, led by G1 winner Battlefield Hero, has shown a preference for sprinting on the turf.  This aptly named scratch-bred (no pun intended) son of the Dansili x Scat Daddy cross is one of 7 currently existing in the sim.  Of those other 6, one, Super Hero Cadet, is a stakes winner at 7.5f on the turf.  3 of the 6 are only 3yos, so there’s not much we can tell just yet.  But for all 6 of those horses, the 8-10f distances (whether on the turf or the dirt) seem to be the best for the ones that have tried the distance.

Expectations: It was a great debut for Skibbidy Debop, as he ran strong late, and that closing kick should serve him well as he gets the extra 1.25 furlongs here.  But with only 1 race under his belt thus far, there is always the question of whether he has the seasoning to get this distance this early.  You also have to wonder if he can make the jump to facing winners, as it’s tough to go from facing maidens to facing winners.  But he’s got a lot of talent and there’s no reason to think that he can’t succeed here.  A top choice.

Watch Level: High

#3 – Ready For Malice (Palace Malice x Diamond Ready [More Than Ready x Rock Hard Ten]) – Owned seamoon- 12/1

Race Record: 7:1-0-2; $46,870

Race History: Ready For Malice broke his maiden 2 races back, in start #6, at 8.5f on the dirt.  After missing in a few tries, he stretched out to his longest distance and it paid off, as his late push saw him get up to take the winning photo by a neck.  Ready For Malice came back in January for his first race of 2019 at the NW2L level, turning back to 8f on the dirt, but didn’t quite have that same finishing push, racing evenly throughout and finishing 6th, 5 lengths off the winner, but earning a career best 86 SP in the process.  The winner there came back with a 5th place finish in an 8f dirt stakes next time out.  Ready For Malice will switch surfaces and try to tackle turf, and this 9.5f distance, for the first time today.

Pedigree: Palace Malice, winner of the 2013 Belmont Stakes, currently stakes for $15,000 in Kentucky but his real progeny have not yet hit the track.  In the sim, his 2018 crop is currently ranked #102, with 50 winners from 96 runners winning at a 13% rate (a little below his average of 16.5%).  Among those 50 winners is 1 stakes winner, Palace Stormer, who has been succeeding in turf sprints. In general, Palace Malice’s sim progeny have preferred dirt (76% of earnings on dirt), with a pretty even mix of sprints and routes.  He has had 1 graded stakes winner to date.  8yo mare Diamond Ready was the winner of 5 races in her 46 race career, all coming on the turf (2 in early career sprints, 3 more in the 8-9f range).  She was stakes placed at 7f-T and 8.5f-T, but she ended up doing most of her racing in the 9-12f distances.  Her first foal (and only other to date), Heart’s Ready (Heart’s Cry (JPN)), matured as a 3yo and has put up some solid efforts in allowance company, but has little to show for it, as he has only 2 wins (an MSW and a local allowance) in 15 career races.  Palace Malice has been bred to a More Than Ready mare one other time in the sim thus far, but that other horse (also a 3yo with 6 career starts) has not yet broken her maiden (her best efforts have been dirt routes).

Expectations: Ready For Malice was happy to get some added distance under him, and his only win has come in his longest race to date, so he should love the extra furlong here.  He has a late gear but needs some time to get into it.  The big question mark for Ready For Malice in this race is whether he’ll take to the turf.  His mom did, and his brother does, but Palace Malice isn’t known as a turf sire, and there’s definitely a question.  If he takes to the surface, he’s got a great chance here; but it might be worth watching for a race first.

Watch Level: Medium

#4 – Audacious Presence (Dansili (GB) x Phantom Astronomer [Galileo (IRE) x Ghostzapper]) – Owned by contesthorses – 5/1 (f)

Race Record: 2:1-0-1; $39,340

Race History: Audacious Presence will take on winners for the first time as a late 2yo debut.  Kicking off his career at 8f on the turf in late December 2018, Audacious Presence broke towards the back early and closed fast, but came up 1-1/2 lengths short, earning an 86 SP.  He came back as a 3yo at 8.5f-T, and this time had no problem catching the leaders, pulling away to win by 1-3/4 and earning a career high 89 SP.  He’ll try to take another step here when adding another furlong.

Pedigree: See Skibbidy Debop for a description of Dansili.  Audacious Presence is the first foal from 6yo mare Phantom Astronomer.  Phantom Astronomer was the winner of 4 races from 31 in her career, all on turf and at a variety of distances.  She showed the ability to get everything from 7f-10f with no problem, adjusting her running style based on the distance (coming from way back in sprints, and sitting closer to the pace in routes).  The Dansili x Galileo cross is a very popular one in the sim, having been used 43 times in the past 4 years.  Among those are 8 stakes winners and 2 graded stakes winners, with the graded stakes coming at 10f-T and 12f-T.  The combo unsurprisingly loves the turf (though there’s a couple of strong dirt runners in there as well), with the route distances being the most popular.

Expectations: Audacious Presence takes after his mother a bit with his running style, but looks like he might have a stronger closing kick than his mother did.  This colt likes to sit well off the pace, and with the longer distance here might sit even further back early.  But he’s got the closing speed to make up the distance, and he should be coming on strong late.  The only question is whether his lack of experience, both at the distance and racing in general, will hold him back.  There isn’t a ton of pace in here, but he’s a strong contender here.

Watch Level: High

#5 – Feudal Warrior (Dansili (GB) x Blood Feud [Giant’s Causeway x Frankel (GB)]) – Owned by mightyforego27 – 6/1

Race Record: 5:1-0-1; $41,082

Race History: Feudal Warrior broke his maiden at 7f-T in his second career start, but has been struggling a bit at the allowance level since that win.  In 3 turf routes at the allowance level, he has 1 third place finish in 3 races.  That 3rd came in Feudal Warrior’s most recent race, a 9f-T NW2L allowance in January, where he sat a few lengths off the leader in 4th early, and finished 3rd, 3 lengths back.  That 3rd place finish earned Feudal Warrior a career high 91 SP.  The 2nd place horse from that race came back to win a NW2L allowance next time out with a 96 SP.  Feudal Warrior will look for some of that to rub off on him as well in this 9.5f-T race.

Pedigree: As the 3rd horse in this field sired by Dansili, see Skibbidy Debop for an overview of the sire.  Feudal Warrior is the first foal from 5yo mare Blood Feud, a lightly raced horse who earned 2 wins in 10 career races.  Those wins were both on the turf – a maiden at 6.5f-T and a NW2L at 8f – as were most of her races.  She was stakes placed at 8.5f-T, and her fastest races were in the 8.5-9.5f range.  She did seem to have distance limitations, though, as she couldn’t quite get 10f.  Dansili has been used with a Giant’s Causeway mare 26 times in the past 4 years in the sim, including 4 stakes (and 2 graded stakes) winners.  The bulk of those are sprinters, though some can get up to 9f without too much of a problem.

Expectations: Feudal Warrior will look to have something to run at, and will probably try to sit midpack in this race, roughly 5 lengths off of the pacesetters.  From there, it’s just a question of whether he can put it into another gear approaching the finish line.  His last race is a bit of a yellow flag, as trying 9f for the first time saw him lose some of that extra oomph and his race was a little more even.  With that said, Feudal Warrior has a lot of talent and that talent alone might be enough to put him towards the top here.  Solid option.

Watch Level: Medium

#6 – Zelflow (Zelzal (FR) x Radar Signal [Pivotal x Vice Regent]) – Owned by lightng106 – 16/1

Race Record: 7:1-1-0; $46,930

Race History: It was a little rocky there for a bit, but Zelflow finally cracked the code in his last race.  In his first try at 9f on the turf, Zelflow sat 5 lengths back early, but turned on the jets let, first picking off tiring horses and then zooming forward to win by 1-1/2 lengths, earning a career high 85 SP.  The horses running 3rd and 4th to him last time out came back to run 3rd and 1st in MSWs next time out.  Zelflow stretches out a bit more here as he takes on winners for the first time.

Pedigree: Zelzal, who entered stud in 2018 and currently stands for $8,000, was a G1 winner at 8f on the turf in France.  In the sim, his freshman crop consists of 57 runners to date, with 21 winners (at a 14% rate) and currently ranks #203 overall.  Among those are 2 stakes winners, one of which Lactical, who was claimed for $10K and went on to pick up a G3 at 8.5f on the turf.  The other stakes winner, as well as one other graded placed horse, have preferred turf sprints, and that’s where most of the earnings have come from thus far (83% on turf, 65% in sprints).  Radar Signal, the 8yo dam of Zelflow, took an interesting route to her only career win. After struggling on both dirt and turf in MSWs, her owner took 13 horses and dropped them all in a 9.5f polytrack open allowance.  She was the only filly among the group of males, but she came out on top.  She would eventually find her way back to turf, and she seemed to have some stamina on the sod, running 2nd and 3rd in a few allowances at 12-16f.  Radar Signal has had 4 foals thus far (of which Zelflow is the 3rd). and thus far all of them have also shown a preference for turf.  Only one has picked up an allowance win to date, coming in an 11f turf contest.  Zelzal has been bred to a Pivotal mare 3 times thus far, but only one of the 3 3yos has picked up an allowance win as of yet (coming in a turf sprint).

Expectations: Zelflow has the running style that he likes, and he sticks to it, sitting roughly midpack.  His most recent race, however, was the first time that he showed any real closing move.  That’s a promising sign as it coincides with his first race a 3yo, indicating that he might be improving in for the future.  His pedigree suggests some improvement as distances increase, so he shouldn’t have a problem with the distance.  The only real question is whether he’s got the speed to outrun the others in this race.  I’m not sure he does.

Watch Level: Low

#7 – Minimumrequirement (Churchill (IRE) x I’m Very Appealing [Declaration of War x Awesome Again]) – Owned by indyatw – 7/1

Race Record: 9:1-4-2; $88,310

Race History: One of the veterans of the field, most of Minimumrequirement’s races thus far were at the maiden level.  After 7 unsuccessful tries on the dirt, he switched over to turf for his last race of 2018 and, at 8.5f-T, broke through in a huge way, sitting off a loose leader early before letter that one tire, and then kicking on to win by nearly 3 lengths, earning an 87 SP (an improvement over his dirt efforts).  Minimumrequirement came back at 9f-T last time out in a NW2L and put up a good showing for himself, sitting midpack early before narrowing the gap and finishing ¾ length back in 2nd, earning a career high 89 SP.  He’ll hope that extra half furlong is enough to make it all the way to the front this time.

Pedigree: Churchill (IRE), winner of the 2017 2000 Guineas, entered stud in 2018 and currently stands for $35,000.  His first sim crop currently ranks #151, with 38 winners among 92 runners, winning at an 11% rate.  Those winners have come mostly on turf, with 81% of earnings coming from the sod.  The 2018 crop includes 2 stakes winners (1 restricted), both coming in turf sprints – though both horses have been progressing well when stretching out.  Minimumrequirement is the first foal from 5yo mare I’m Very Appealing, winner of 2 from 11 races in her career.  Those two wins were back-to-back for a new owner after an auction purchase (I believe), and both came at her best distance of 8.5f on the dirt.  She tried 10f on the turf once in her career, but didn’t have the stamina and quickly tired.

Expectations: Minimumrequirement has some early tactical speed, but he’s also content to let others tire themselves out trying to set the pace.  He caught a very fast pace last time out where he sat further back than ever before, so I’m guessing that he’ll be forwardly placed here, though maybe not on the lead.  He has definitely shown some promise on the turf, and the extra distance shouldn’t hurt.  My main concern is that he didn’t show much of a jump from 2 to 3, and some of the others in here might have moved a little further ahead.  Still, Minimumrequirement has never finished worse than 5th, and coming off a career best race last time out, there’s no reason to think that stat will change today.

Watch Level: Medium

#8 – Dreaming of Giants (Giant’s Causeway x Julia’s Dream [Dynaformer x Sadler’s Wells]) – Owned by zkingab4 – 7/1

Race Record: 4:1-2-0; $58,774

Race History: After not quite closing out two maiden sprint efforts, Dreaming of Giants stretched out to routes and showed a finishing kick. In his first try, at 8f-T in October 2018, he sat towards the back early, but closed late, coming up 1-1/4 lengths short.  The winner of that race has gone 3 for 3 since that win, including a stakes victory at 8f-T last time out.  Among the horses Dreaming of Giants defeated that day was today’s rival Enter The Dragon, who finished 10th in that race. Dreaming of Giants kept stretching out to 9f-T in his first race of 2019 and scored in a big way, winning by 2 lengths, earning a career high and field-high 93 SP (a 13 point jump from his prior race).  He’ll add another half furlong here in his first allowance effort.

Pedigree: Giant’s Causeway, the #19 US sire in 2018, sadly passed away in 2018 and thus Dreaming of Giants is part of his (massive) final sim crop.  That sim crop currently ranks #2 with 377 (!) runners to date.  Of those, 215 have won at a 20% rate.  Among those are 14 stakes winners and 6 graded winners.  His sim foals are typically routers (and impressively, the 2018 crop is already 50/50 with earnings in sprints and routes, as that split is usually much more skewed towards sprints until the horses have gotten older), and are evenly split among dirt and turf. Dreaming of Giants is the 6th (of 7) foal from graded-placed, stakes-winning 12yo mare Julia’s Dream.  Julia’s Dream was a winner of 8 races in her 25 race career, and her best races (including both stakes wins and both graded placings) came at 12 furlongs on the turf.  Her most successful foal is 5yo Dream of Stars (Galileo (IRE)), a 3-time G1 winner at 10.5-12f on the turf.  Dreaming of Giants is a full brother to 6yo Cause It’s a Dream, who was not as successful as his younger sibling, winning 1 race (at 10.5f on the turf) in her 12 race career (though her first 2 foals are both graded stakes placed).  Giant’s Causeway has been bred to a Dynaformer mare 40 times over the past 4 years, and among those, 9 are stakes winners (with 3 winning graded stakes), with most coming in 9-11f races on the dirt.

Expectations: Dreaming of Giants will likely settle a few lengths off the pace early, but he’s found a closing kick in routes that he didn’t have at shorter distances, and the added half furlong should only help that here.  He made a jump at 3, and he looks primed for another step forward in this race.  Looming large.

Watch Level: High

#9 – Demon Dancers (Lentenor x Dancing Evil [Danehill Dancer x Kingmambo]) – Owned by mrbigb – 11/1

Race Record: 4:1-3-0; $33,150

Race History: Demon Dancers had a bit of seconditis in his first 3 starts, as he could never quite close the deal, but he finally broke through in his first race of 2019.  In a 9f MSW on the turf, Demon Dancers sat third early, 3 lengths off the pace, and after the two leaders tired, Demon Dancers grabbed the lead and powered ahead, opening up to win by 2 lengths.  His speed figures nicely progressed in each of his 4 career races, culminating in a career high 88 SP last time out.  He comes back here for his first allowance effort.

Pedigree: Lentenor, a full brother to late 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, currently stands in Indiana for $2,000 and was the #27 ranked Indiana sire in 2018.  His 2018 sim crop currently ranks #474, with 12 winners from 27 total runners to date.  Those 12 have won at a 12% rate (a little below his standard 17.5% rate), but among those 12 is stakes winner Kymarc Craft, who has found success in short turf sprints.  That’s not surprising, as Lentenor’s sim foals often prefer sprints (63% earnings in sprints), though they’re about even on dirt and turf (earnings are slightly higher on turf, speed figures on dirt). 11yo Dancing Evil, the dam of Demon Dancers, has a ridiculous racing record, with 40 wins in 66 career races, though the significant majority of those (34) were in hot allowances.  Prior to those races, she had gone 6 for 25, with all of those wins coming at 8 furlongs on the turf.  Impressively, 3 of those 6 wins were against males (she had a career record of 5:3-1-1 in open company).  Demon Dancers is Dancing Evil’s third foal to date, and while her two older foals have both won on the turf, neither has found victory at the allowance level.  Both have done their best running in turf routes.  Lentenor has been bred to a Danehill Dancer mare three times in the past 4 years, including one other time to a similar Danehill Dancer x Kingmambo cross.  Unfortunately, that horse, Allinforhoosiers, hasn’t done much in her 62 race career.

Expectations: Demon Dancers has shown some early speed in his career, but it looks like his ideal trip might be a couple of lengths off of the pace.  From there, he has shown the ability to gain ground in the stretch, and from his past performances alone he looks well prepared for this 9.5 furlong race.  Dancing Evil will need to take another step forward as he faces winners for the first time, but this Indiana-bred horse has a chance here (if it doesn’t work out, he can always head to local company).  Don’t discount.

Watch Level: High

#10 – K’s Social Media (Kitten’s Joy x K’s New Socialite [Bernardini x Sadler’s Wells]) – Owned by wrecks – 11/1

Race Record: 4:1-0-1; $35,980

Race History: K’s Social Media will try to get a dirt-to-turf bump in this race, as he comes off of dirt effort in his first race of 2019.  In that dirt race at 8f, he put up a career high 83 SP, but never really took to the surface and struggled in the race, finishing 8th.  His prior race, his last of 2018 and first at the allowance level, was also K’s Social Media’s first route effort, where he stalked the pace early but tired late, finishing 6th with an 82 SP.  He caught a tough field that day, however, as the winner from that NW2s allowance is now a stakes winner at 8f on the turf, and 3 of the 4 other horses finishing ahead of K’s Social Media have all picked up wins since that race.

Pedigree: Kitten’s Joy currently stands for $75,000 in Kentucky and was the #1 ranked US sire in 2018.  His sim counterparty hasn’t been quite as strong, and his 2018 sim crop currently ranks #58 overall.  That crop includes 56 winners from 144 runners, winning at a 14% rate (a little below his average 17%).  The winners include 2 stakes winners, and much like those two, Kitten’s Joy’s sim progeny are typically turf routers, with 75% of earnings on turf and 72% in routes.  K’s Social Media is the only foal to date from 7yo mare K’s New Socialite, a stakes winner at 11f-T who won 13 of her 27 career races.  A run of those wins came in hot races, but she was strong even outside of hot company, and picked up 2 other stakes placings at 12f-T.  She did most of her running, and her best running, at the 10-12f turf distances.  Bernardini mares have been sent to Kitten’s Joy 8 times in the past 4 years, with limited success.  The best, 4yo Slinging Fiction, is graded placed at 10f on the turf; the only other stakes placed horse, Missile Silo, preferred the longer dirt races.

Expectations: K’s Social Media has the pedigree to run for days; but his two route races (one on turf, one on dirt) call into question whether he has the stamina to go two turns.  Adding an extra furlong here won’t necessarily help him adjust to the distances either.  He has the benefit of coming back to the turf after trying the dirt, and he may see some improvement off of that effort.  But this field is shaping up to be a solid one, and with the way he’s run in his past couple of races, K’s Social Media may be a cut below some of the best in here.  Pass.

Watch Level: Low

#11 – Excels Ridge (Fiorente (IRE) x Exceptional Choice [Exceed and Excel x Indian Ridge]) – Owned by deeprock48 – 29/1

Race Record: 9:1-0-1; $24,650

Race History: One of the most experienced horses in the field, Excels Ridge was very aggressively placed early in his career.  Excels Ridge broke his maiden at 6f-T in his debut in a local MSW, and after a couple of misses in allowances, jumped up to G3 company, where he finished a respectable 7th of 13.  He moved into stakes company next, but struggled mightily, on both turf and dirt.  Excels Ridge comes into this race off of 2 straight rough performances in NW2L allowances, one on dirt at 8.5f, where he finished last of 10, and one on polytrack at 8f, where he finished 7th of 10.  The polytrack effort earned him a 74 SP, just off the 75 SP career high he earned in a 5.5f dirt stakes back in October 2018.  This will be his second race of 2019, and first turf route.

Pedigree: Fiorente, the 2013 Melbourne Cup winner, currently stands in Australia for $17,600 and was the #20 ranked first-crop sire of 2018.  In the sim, Fiorente’s 2018 crop is struggling a bit, as they currently rank #1,130 with only 7 winners among 36 runners to date (winning at a 5.5% rate, well below his 14% average).  Only 1 of those 7 has picked up a non-hot allowance win (though that horse has already run 16 times), in a turf sprint. Fiorente’s sim foals are largely turf routers, with 68% of earnings on turf and 66% in routes, so the 2018 crop may improve as they start going longer distances.  Excels Ridge is the 4th of 5 foals to date from 8yo mare Exceptional Choice, who won 3 of her 19 career races.  Those wins all came in dirt sprints.  She only tried turf once, in her debut at 8f, but seemed to have some distance limitations in her career, struggling to ever get more than 8f.  Her 3 other foals that have raced to date, have done their best running on turf.  2 of the 3 are allowance winners (the third retired winless in 8 starts), with those wins mainly coming in turf sprints.

Expectations: Excels Ridge has bounced around different distances, surfaces, tracks, and class levels in his 9 race career, and it’ll be interesting to see if he sticks here in turf routes.  The experience at the stakes level will help here, but his prior races have him a level below this field, and he was well beaten in his last 2 races, both route attempts at the NW2L level.  Between the apparent distance limitations and his poor recent performances, he doesn’t look to have a great chance in here.  But it will be interesting to see if he tries to use some of that sprint speed he showed early in his career to try to be a part of a minimal pace scenario here.

Watch Level: Low

#12 – Enter The Blues (Point of Entry x Mambo’s Blues [Big Blue Kitten x Kingmambo]) – Owned by talismanic – 20/1

Race Record: 4:1-0-0; $33,720

Race History: Enter The Blues really put everything together at the end of 2018, and after two poor maiden efforts (including his debut race, against today’s rival Dreaming of Giants, who finished 2nd to Enter The Blues’ 10th), he clicked in an 8f turf MSW.  In that race, he stalked the pace early, sitting 3 lengths before, before slowing creeping forward and then getting up just in time to win the photo by a neck.  That win earned him a career best 82 SP.  Unfortunately, his first race against winners, and first as a 3yo, found him a little overmatched.  In that race, a NW2L allowance at 8f on the turf, Enter The Blues again tried to stalk the pace, but was no match for his rivals and faded to 11th.  He’ll try to bounce back here as he stretches out to 9.5f.

Pedigree: Point of Entry, a 5-time G1 winner in his day, currently stands in Kentucky for $20,000 and was the #7 ranked second-crop US sire in 2018.  His sim progeny from 2018 are currently ranked #270, a big drop from prior years, as only 35 of his 98 runners to date have picked up a victory at a 10% rate (well off his 17.5% average).  Those numbers should improve as the foals age, as much like the sire himself, his sim foals are typically turf routers, with 77% of earnings on turf and 70% in routes.  The 2018 crop does include a graded stakes winner among the 35 winners, in the form of Moves Like Stagger, a multiple G1 winner at 9-10f on the turf.  Enter The Blues is the first foal from 5yo mare Mambo’s Blues, a winner of 6 races from 22 starts in her career.  Most of those races had tags, though she did land a 9f-T NW1x allowance late in her 3yo season, earning a career high 104 SP.  Interestingly, that was her only career race at the distance, which looked to be her best.

Expectations: Enter The Blues has found a style that he likes, and that’s stalking the pace, sitting just a few lengths off of the pacesetters.  His bigger problem has been keeping up at that speed.  In 3 of his 4 races, all turf 8-8.5f routes, he tired and dropped back.  Only in his maiden score did he manage to carry that speed throughout the race.  Impressively, the horses that ran 3rd and 4th to him that day came back to break their maidens next time out, so that race looks to have some potential.  But Enter The Blues’ top speed figure is a level below the best in here, and he’s shown no sign that he can get this distance, so I’m passing on him in this race.

Watch Level: Low

#13 – Clue Hunter (Arrogate x Danzig x Mr. Prospector) – Owned by cadetrx – 10/1

Race Record: 5:1-1-1; $52,976

Race Record: Clue Hunter has been stretching out in each of his races as his owner tries to figure out this horse’s preferences.  Today’s race sponsor, Clue Hunter broke his maiden in start #2 at 6.5f on the turf, but earned a career low 73 SP in that win.  He’s struggled a bit at the allowance level, narrowly missing a 7f-T race and then coming into this race off of two straight off-the-board finishes in routes (1 dirt, 1 turf).  His last race, at 9f-T back in January, was a marked improvement in speed figure as he earned a career high 89 SP (a 12 point jump), but Clue Hunter struggled to keep up in that race and fell to 4th, 4-1/2 lengths off the winner.  The winner from that race, as well as the 5th place finisher, each came back to dominate in allowance wins next time out though, so the field looks like it may have been tough.  Clue Hunter will go back-to-back on the turf here as he stretches out an extra half furlong.

Pedigree:  No expense as spared for this colt that is the bluest of blueblood scratch breedings.  Arrogate, the richest racehorse of all time (off the back of 4 G1 wins), entered stud in Kentucky for $75,000.  His freshman crop in the sim includes 151 runners to date, of which 88 have found the winner’s circle at an 18% rate.  The crop currently ranks #16 overall, with 8 stakes winners and 3 graded stakes winners (all in G3s).  The foals have primarily raced on the dirt (89% of earnings on dirt), and the 3 graded stakes winners all scored at 8-8.5f on the dirt, so his sim progeny seem to be improving with distances.  Clue Hunter is one of 4 horses bred with the Arrogate x Danzig cross.  He is also the only one of those four that has broken his maiden as of yet.  None of the others have yet broken a 79 SP, though each has only run 2-3 times and only one of the other 3 has tried a route race.

Expectations: When sprinting, Clue Hunter stayed closer to the lead, but it looks like, in his route races, he’s tried to keep something left in the tank and sat a couple of lengths off the pace.  Unfortunately, on he hasn’t quite shown that he has the stamina to keep running at full speed at this distance.  In his 8f dirt try he faded severely at the end, and although his last turf effort was better, he still struggled to keep his speed through the stretch.  The added half furlong will only make that tougher.  He’s a decent looking horse with a great pedigree, but this distance looks to be a little too far for him.

Watch Level: Medium

That’s the field of 13 for this NW2L allowance.  Based on past performances alone, there is absolutely no pace in this race.  For that reason, I’m gonna say that Minimumrequirement sets the pace here.  Clue Hunter will probably be there as well, with Dreaming of Giants and Demon Dancers leading the next group.  There’s a real logjam in the middle of the pack though, and it might come down to who has the best position.  I’ve predicted the past races with an eye towards pace setup, and I’ve been horribly off on who’s gonna win.  So this time, even though there doesn’t seem to be any pace, I’m gonna throw that angle out the window.  Instead, I’m gonna pick the ones that have a combination of speed and…my favorite names?  So, with that, my predictions in this race are coming from the back, going (1) Skibbidy Debop; (2) Dreaming of Giants; (3) Audacious Presence.  If you don’t like that angle…maybe try the Dansili trifecta!  It could happen.  Good luck this week!

Other races to watch this weekend:

1)      California – Alw NW3L @ 8f

2)      California – Alw NW2L @ 8f (Division 1) (Division 2)

3)      South Korea – Allowance @ 6.5f-T

4)      New York – Alw NW2L @ 9.5f

5)      New York – Alw NW2L @ 9f

6)      New York – Alw NW3L @ 9f

7)      Berkshire (ENG) – Alw NW3L @ 9.5f-T (Fillies)

8)      Japan – Alw NW3L @ 9f-T

Views (190)

Feb 222019
 

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:

1)      Indiana – Alw NW3L @ 8f

2)      Ontario – Alw NW3L @ 9f-T

3)      Kentucky – Alw NW2L @ 9f-T

4)      California – Allowance @ 9f

5)      Victoria-AUS – Alw NW4L @ 6.5f-T

6)      California – Alw NW2L @ 7f (Fillies)

7)      Arizona – Alw NW4x @ 8.25f

8)      New York – Alw NW2L @ 7.5f-T (Fillies)

9)      Oregon – Alw NW1x @ 6.5f-T

 

Views (183)

Feb 162019
 

First, a quick recap of last week’s race.  Rain came and turned the dirt track good, but that didn’t affect Simply Golden.  The horse that I expected to be setting the pace, Simply Golden actually sat 4th early, a couple of lengths off of pacesetter American Trumpet.  But while American Trumpet had the skill to outlast most of the other competitors, Simply Golden was simply too much, as he grabbed the lead in the stretch and never looked back, winning by 1-1/2 lengths at 6/1 and picking up a 99 SP.  American Trumpet held on for 2nd (with a 97 SP) as the 7/2 favorite, and Aldarity closed from 10th early to edge out Cryptic Sunshine for 3rd at 7/1 (a 96 SP).

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This week, the Future Stars Series heads back to the female ranks and back to Louisiana, where 11 3yo fillies are preparing to compete in a NW3L Allowance at 8 furlongs on the dirt.  The field is:

#1 – Carson’s Prayer (Songandaprayer x Carson City x Hennessy) – Owned by maverick – 10/1

Race Record: 5:2-2-0; $82,715

Race History: A 2 time winner on the local circuit, Carson’s Prayer made a jump from the local races to an open stakes in November 2018 and held her own, finishing a closing 5th at 7.5f on the dirt.  Stretched out to 8f in an open allowance to kick off 2019, she caught a 4 horse field and sat 3rd early before moving and coming up just short at the wire, earning a career high 90 SP for her first route effort.  Normally a deeper closer, Carson’s Prayer may have been hurt by the short field in that race, where there was absolutely no pace.  She has seen SP improvements in each of her 5 races and looks to improve again with a larger field here.

Pedigree: This Florida-bred was bred to be a speedball.  Songandaprayer, pensioned to start the year, was the #5 ranked Florida sire in 2018.  Historically in the sim, he has only had 1 graded stakes winner, 19yo mare Pray For Me, who was a G1 winner at 7 furlongs in the Dancer Cap back in 2004.  Much like her, Songandaprayer produces mainly dirt sprinters, with 75% of earnings on dirt and 63% in sprints.  His 2018 crop includes 29 runners, of which 17 have found the winner’s circle at a 15% rate.   Carson’s Prayer is the best of those, as she is one of only 2 to have won a non-hot allowance. Songandaprayer has been crossed with Carson City 3 times in the past 4 years (and 3 more times between 10 and 15 years ago), and Carson’s Prayer is definitely looking to be the best of the crop.  The cross has produced primarily dirt sprinters, but of the recent three, Carson’s Prayer is the only one with a win above the hot level.

Expectations: Carson’s Prayer is one of those horses that seems to be running well beyond her pedigree, and it’s interesting to see how she’s been doing on the track.  Unlike what you would expect from the pedigree, she’s shown to be a closer that loves the route distances, and unlike her last race, she’ll get a pace that she will love to run into here.  It’s always nice to have those Florida local races to fall back on, but Carson’s Prayer looks like she should be able to fit in just fine in open company here.  A real contender.

Watch Level: High

#2 – Safety Guide (Bernardini x Kingmambo x Storm Cat) – Owned by harrylanlow26 – 9/2 (f-t)

Race Record: 3:2-0-0; $62,940

Race History: Safety Guide’s 6th place finish in race #2, her first try at the NW2L level, looks to be a blip in her form, even though she only finished 1 length back in a blanket finish.  She comes into this race off of a very strong victory in a NW2L allowance at 7.5f back in December 2018.  In that race, she battled for the lead early, then grabbed it and never looked back, cruising to a 1-1/2 length win and earning a career high 89 SP (her 2nd consecutive SP increase).  The second place horse in that race came back to win an allowance next time out with a 96 SP, and 5 of the other 7 horses in that race to have come back to the track also hit the board in allowances (1 of those 5 also earned a victory).  Safety Guide will add an extra ½ furlong here to try routing for the first time in her first race of 2019.

Pedigree: Bernardini, the #33 ranked US sire in 2018 and winner of the 2005 Preakness Stakes, currently stands in Kentucky for $50,000.  In the sim, his 2018 crop currently ranks #39, with 87 winners from 168 runners to date (winning at a 14.5% rate, well below Bernardini’s average of 20.5%).  The class includes 4 stakes winners but no graded winners as of yet, with those 4 spread across turf routes, dirt routes, and dirt sprints.  Overall, Bernardini foals find dirt routes preferable, with 70% of earnings in routes and 67% on dirt (though in general, Bernardini’s turf speed figures are slightly better than the dirt SPs, relative to the competition).  The Bernardini x Kingmambo cross is pretty popular, having been used 17 times in the past 4 years.  Among those 17 is 4yo G2 winner Outback Balkan, a horse that has found most of her success in dirt miles similar to today’s race.  Although she is the only stakes winner from the group of 17, the cross does seem to excel in 8-9f races (both on dirt and turf).  In addition to Safety Guide and Outback Balkan, one other horse from those 17 also share Storm Cat as a DDS, 3yo Bernastorm, who unfortunately has not done more than break her maiden in 7 career starts to date, doing most of her running on the turf.

Expectations: It’s been a solid start to a career for this blueblood, and Safety Guide is looking to continue that trend here.  She’s very likely to sit close to the lead early, and possibly push the pace.  But if there are a lot of other horses doing the same, she may not have quite the same burst as some of the others.  Her second race is a bit of a caution tale, as she only sat 1-1/2 lengths off the pace but had 6 horses in front of her, and she was never able to break through that pack.  Unfortunately, this race looks to be setting up similarly, but may with an extra ½ furlong Safety Guide will have a little more time to push forward.  She’s got a decent chance here.

Watch Level: High

#3 – Dilys Price (Quality Road x Mambo Town [Street Sense x Kingmambo]) – Owned by cwk3 – 7/1

Race Record: 5:2-2-0; $68,815

Race History: Dilys Price didn’t like losing a nose photo 2 back, so she comes into this race off of a dominant 1-3/4 length win in a NW2L Allowance at 7f.  In that field of 8, she sat 4th early, 3 lengths back, before turning on the jets in the stretch and pulling away, picking up a 92 SP for her effort.  She has seen her speed figures improve in each of her 5 races to date, and has progressed in distances to lead to the 8f effort today.  The horse she defeated in her last race came back to win an allowance next time out with an 89 SP.  3 races back Dilys Price struggled in her first allowance try, finishing 7th and trailing today’s competitor D’Oro Cookies (who finished 4th), but she moved forward in her two most recent tries and brings that momentum into this, her first race of 2019.

Pedigree: Quality Road, standing for $150,000 in Kentucky, has moved up the real life ranks and was the #7 ranked US sire in 2018.  His sim crop has not quite caught up to his real life counterparts, as the 2018 crop currently ranks #110 with 46 winners from 93 runners (winning at a 15% rate).  Only one of those 93 is currently a stakes winner, and that horse, Quality Killer, is a G3 winner at 8f on the turf, though his best race to date was a recent 3rd in a stakes 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).  Dilys Price is the only foal of 7yo he-mare Mambo Town.  Mambo Town was very successful in his own racing career, with 6 wins in 32 races, scoring at the stakes level and G2 placed, all at 9f on the dirt.  He did his best career running at the 9f dirt distance, though he ended his career showing some solid efforts on the turf as well.  Street Sense mares have been sent to Quality Road 3 times in the past 4 years with moderate success; one of the others has picked up a couple of allowance wins in short (5f) sprints, whereas the other, 3yo Outlaw Road, has done her best running on the dirt as distances increase.

Expectations: Dilys Price has really come on strong in her last 2 races and is certainly trending in the right direction.  Expect her to stalk the pace here, though if she’s not prepared for her first route race, she may end up closer to the pace than she would normally want.  If she’s able to settle, Dilys Price has shown the ability to pass those horses in front and draw off.  She’s faced strong competition in the past, has a solid career high SP, and has a strong chance in this race…as long as she can get the distance, which could be a concern given her sire.

Watch Level: High

#4 – Need Jumper Cables (Jump Start x Latchkey Kid [Rahy x Broad Brush]) – Owned by scrapmetal – 22/1

Race Record: 2:2-0-0; $39,780

Race History: Need Jumper Cables is one of only 2 undefeated runners in this race, but undefeated may be a little misleading for this miss.  Debuting in a 4.5f local MSW back in July 2018, she beat a 4 horse field (including 1 *CPU horse) by ¾ length with a 68 SP.  Then following a sale at auction, the current owner ran her back at 5f in a local NW1x in December 2018, and again she found a 4 horse field (including 1 *CPU horse) that she soundly defeated, winning by 1-1/2 lengths with a 71 SP.  Need Jumper Cables enters this race off of that win, but this is a monster jump in both class and distance, up to an open company NW3L with 11 horses.

Pedigree: Jump Start, currently standing in Pennsylvania for $10,000, was the #2 ranked Mid-Atlantic sire and #42 ranked overall US sire in 2018.  His sim rankings have not been as strong, and his 2018 crop currently ranks #142, with 26 winners from 49 runners (winning at a 15.5% rate).  Jump Start’s progeny have a preference for dirt, and historically have been pretty evenly split between sprinters and routers, though over the past 3 years they have tended more towards sprints.  His progeny tend to do a lot of racing at the local level.  Need Jumper Cables is the 6th foal from 12yo mare Latchkey Kid, who managed a G2 win among her 8 wins over 32 starts.  That G2 win, as well as her other career stakes win, both came at the 8f dirt distance of today’s race, and she clearly excelled as a miler (primarily on dirt, though she did manage a couple of turf mile victories as well).  Her other progeny have not quite taken after her stakes success, though all 5 prior progeny have managed at least 1 non-local, non-hot allowance victory.  Most of those horses have similarly found success in dirt routes, mainly at the 8-10f distances.

Expectations: It’s tough to tell exactly what to expect from Need Jumper Cables here.  On the one hand, she’s 2 for 2 lifetime.  On the other, it was two very weak fields, and she didn’t put up particularly impressive speed figures to land those victories. She dueled for the lead in both of those races, though at 4.5 and 5 furlongs, there’s isn’t much time to do anything other than duel for the lead.  My take is that she seems like a decent local runner for the PA-DE track, but she looks to be in over her head here.  I expect her to break towards the back and stay there; but who knows.

Watch Level: Low

#5 – Street Sense Lady (Street Sense x Seattle’s Giant [Giant’s Causeway x Seattle Slew]) – Owned by ddkstables13 – 9/2 (f-t)

Race Record: 5:2-0-3; $73,390

Race History: Never off the board in 5 starts, Street Sense Lady comes into this race off of back-to-back 3rd place finishes in 8.5f allowances, earning a career high 94 SP in her most recent race.  That most recent race, a NW3L allowance in January, saw Street Sense Lady set a slow pace early, but she couldn’t fend off 2 other horses, one of whom was a previous stakes winner and one that was second in the G1 Breeders Bowl Juvenile Filly.  Street Sense Lady showed her talent in that race, however, and finished ahead of today’s opponent D’Oro Cookies (who ran 6th).  She has spent most of her 5 race career at the 8-8.5f distance, and in her best runs has sat a couple of lengths off of the leaders before cruising to victory late.  She’ll try that again here.

Pedigree: Street Sense, the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner and #17 ranked US sire in 2018, stands for $50,000 in Kentucky.  In the sim, he’s been a pretty consistent sire, and his 2018 crop is no different, as it currently ranks #37 overall.  That crop is comprised of 123 runners to date, with 64 winners winning at an 18% rate, and among those winners are 5 stakes winners.  Street Sense’s progeny prefer dirt routes (67% of earnings on dirt, 61% in routes), though the stakes winners from the current 3yo crop are evenly split among dirt/turf and sprints/routes. Seattle’s Giant, a 5yo he-mare, struggled on the track, but with the Giant’s Causeway x Seattle Slew bloodlines, it was pretty much a guarantee that he’d head to the breeding shed.  Seattle’s Giant only won 1 race in his 19 race career, in career race #16, but that win came at 8.5f and was a career high speed figure.  With that said, he retired just as he started to get in the swing of things in the 7-9f range (though 9f may have been his limit) and may have been a horse that got better with age (he only ran once after 3). Very surprisingly given the bloodlines, Seattle’s Giant never tried turf.  Giant’s Causeway is one of the most popular damsires for Street Sense in the sim, with the cross being used 18 times in the past 4 years, resulting in 2 graded stakes winners (1 in turf routes, 1 in dirt sprints).  The dirt sprint winner, 6yo Fifty Sense, is similarly a Street Sense x Giant’s Causeway x Seattle Slew, as are 3 others (one is merely a maiden winner in 18 starts, while the other two are each also 3yos with only 3 career starts).

Expectations: If the pace ends up non-existent, Street Sense Lady could be out in front, but that’s unlikely in this field.  So it’s a little more likely that Street Sense Lady will be sit midpack early and try and use an extra gear to catch the leaders at the end.  It’s hard to look away from a horse that has not yet finished off of the board, especially when that horse has these bloodlines.  And Street Sense Lady comes into this race off of a field-best 94 SP, indicating that she moved forward when maturing to a 3yo.  She ran respectably against 2 stakes caliber horses last time, and she’s got the ability to get the job done here.  Solid chances.

Watch Level: High

#6 – D’Oro Cookies (Goldencents x Madam D’Oro (Medaglia D’Oro x Unbridled) – Owned by gangly2 – 5/1

Race Record: 7:2-2-0; $87,562

Race History: D’Oro Cookies comes into this race, her second of 2019, off of a fading 6th place finish in a NW3L allowance at 8.5f, where she trailed today’s opponent Street Sense Lady (who finished 3rd), but earned a career high 89 SP.  Her speed figures have stayed consistent since reaching the route distances, putting up 87-89 SPs in each of her last 3 races.  Her last win was 3 back at 8f, where she sat just off the leaders early and managed to grab a photo win.  Of note, she finished ahead of today’s opponent Dilys Price in a NW2L allowance at 7f back in September 2018, finishing 4th (with a 79 SP) to her opponent’s 7th place finish.

Pedigree: Goldencents, a 2-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, was the #2 ranked first-crop US sire of 2018 and currently stands for $20,000 in Kentucky.  His 4th sim crop, in 2018, currently ranks #114, with 35 winners from 67 runners scoring at a nearly 18% rate.  His progeny are principally dirt sprinters (70% earnings on dirt, 68% in sprints).  He has not yet had a graded stakes winner in the sim, though he has had 9 total stakes winners from his first 3 crops to date.  The 2018 crop is stakes-less thus far, with 2 horses stakes placed in dirt sprints.  D’Oro Cookies is the 8th foal from 13yo mare Madam D’Oro, a winner of 3 from 17 races in her career.  Madam D’Oro was multiple stakes placed in dirt sprints as a 2yo (in fields of 4 and 7), but did her fastest running in turf 8-8.5f races.  Her best progeny to date, 10yo Indioro (Indian Charlie), is a stakes winner at 7f, but he is stakes placed at 8.5f and was pretty consistent at any distance up to 8.5f on the dirt.  Madam D’Oro’s only other stakes placed foal, Compasso D’Oro (Pure Prize), was most successful in dirt sprints, but most of the rest of her progeny have done their best running in dirt routes.  Medaglia D’Oro mares have been the most popular cross for Goldencents in the sim, with 10 such pedigrees in the sim, of which 2 are stakes placed and in general, those horses find the 8f distance on the dirt to be an ideal place to race.

Expectations: D’Oro Cookies is likely to try to sit just off the pace in this race.  She’s been pretty consistent at this distance, but her last race leads to some concern that other 3yo fillies may have taken a jump that she didn’t, as it’s the first time in her career that she fell off as far as she did.  There’s a chance, though, that 8.5f was a touch too long for her (and the competition in that race was tough, as the top 2 were a G1-placed filly and a stakes winner, respectively, coming into that race), which gives her an excuse.  But you only get one of those; she’ll need to prove here that she has improved with the rest of her 3yo class.  If she does, she’s got a shot.

Watch Level: Medium

#7 – Henty Kelee (Awesome Again x Finke Leeton [Uncle Mo x Smart Strike]) – Owned by chatham01 – 5/1

Race Record: 2:2-0-0; $62,940

Race History: The sponsor of this race, Henty Kelee comes in as one of only 2 undefeated horses here.  But those 2 prior races were very impressive.  In her maiden score back in November 2018 at 5.5f, she sprinted to the lead and never looked back, easily winning by 1-1/2 and earning a 77 SP.  Stretching out to 6.5f in her next race, she decided to sit a length off the leaders early, but exploded in the far turn and pulled away to win by 1-1/4, seeing a massive 14 point jump in SP up to a career high 91.  The only drawback is that only 2 of her previous 19 competitors have come back to the track to win a race (and one of those was in a claimer), and the horse she beat last time out could only manage a 5th place finish in her next race.  Henty Kelee will stretch out another 1.5 furlongs here for her first 2019 race.

Pedigree: Awesome Again, who stands for a private fee, was the #50 ranked sire in the US in 2018.  In the sim, his #12 ranked 2018 crop includes 178 runners, from which 102 have won to date at a 19.5% rate.  The 3yo crop includes 4 graded stakes winners – among them is My Awesome King, the 2yo Turf Male Sim Eclipse Award winner (who appears to be trying out the Bluegrass Derby trail) – and 8 other stakes winners.  Overall, Awesome Again’s sim foals tend to prefer dirt routes (68% earnings on dirt and in routes).  Henty Kelee is the first foal from 5yo mare Finke Leeton, who was sent to the breeding shed early.  Finke Leeton was a winner of 3 from 21 career races, with her best coming at 7-9f on the dirt.  She did manage a 4th place finish in a stakes at 8f early in her career, but she also showed some distance limitations beyond 9f.  That should be fine in this race, but it’s something to consider for the future.  Uncle Mo mares have been sent to Awesome Again 7 times in the past 4 years, and although none have yet achieved stakes success, 2 of the other 6 are allowance winners and 2 others are 3yos with only 2-3 career starts.

Expectations: Expectations are sky-high for this blueblood 3yo, and Henty Kelee has lived up to expectations thus far.  She showed that she can sit off the pace in her last race, but she’s got speed and the real question is how hard she wants to push it.  She’s got the talent, but she’s facing a field that has more experience, and with the quality in this one, that could be an issue.  But the added half furlong here should help and she’s got the ability to get the job done.  She’s definitely got a shot in here.

Watch Level: High

#8 – Banished From Hell (Bernardini x Deputy Minister x Distorted Humor) – Owned by buffalosteve2 – 7/1

Race Record: 4:2-0-1; $72,940

Race History: Banished From Hell is the most decorated horse in the field, picking up a 3rd place in a residency-restricted stakes race at 7.5f 2 races back.  She comes into this race off of a nearly 4 month layoff, where back in October 2018 Banished From Hell picked up a 1 length win in an 8f NW2L Allowance (in her first allowance run after some stakes efforts).  In that race, Banished From Hell battled for the lead early and won the battle, prevailing with a career high 85 SP.  Unfortunately, that NW2L race doesn’t look too strong, as none of her 11 competitors came back to a better than 4th place finish next time out.

Pedigree: Bernardini is described above under Safety Guide.  The Bernardini x Deputy Minister cross has been used 14 times in the past 4 years (not including 2yos).  Among those, only 1, Il Danzatore, has picked up a stakes win, completing the feat at 9.5f on the dirt, though one of the 3yos, Pirate Minister, is stakes placed in a dirt sprint (and seems to be improving with distance).  In general, the cross seems to most prefer dirt classic distances.

Expectations: Banished From Hell has some early speed and can challenge the pace up front.  The good news for her is that she doesn’t need the lead, and is content to merely push the pace.  She may need to sit close, as race #3 of her career saw her try to stalk from lengths behind, but she was unable to make up ground on the 2 ahead of her (which included a maiden).  The speed figures are moving in the right direction, but there might be a little too much pressure up front for a horse coming off of a 4 month layoff.  Banished From hell has some solid potential, especially as she spends more time in routes, but she might need a race here before really ramping back up.

Watch Level: Medium

#9 – Battle Thy Mom (Battle of Midway x Honour Thy Mom [To Honor and Serve x More Than Ready]) – Owned by ehteam9 – 10/1

Race Record: 3:2-0-0; $43,449

Race History: Battle Thy Mom has shown exactly what you would want to see out of a horse with only 3 career races.  After easily breaking her maiden in start #1 at 6.5f in August 2018, she took 3 months off and came back with a solid 4th, seeing a 10 point SP jump.  In her first try of 2019, at today’s 8f distance in a NW2L, she sprinted out of the gate, grabbed the lead, and never looked back, opening to win by 2.5 lengths and earning a career high 92 SP (another 10 point jump).  The second place horse in that race came back next time out to run 3rd with an 87 SP.  Battle Thy Mom will try to make it 3 for 4 here.

Pedigree: Battle of Midway, winner of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, is an interesting tale as he was retired after the 2017 season, but due to a missing gene in his DNA, he turned out to be subfertile, and returned to racing in 2018.  But he got 5 real life mares pregnant, which was enough to establish him as a 1 year sim sire, and that 1 crop currently has 71 runners, of which 26 have found the winner’s circle at a 12% rate.  One of those 26, Torpedo Strike, is a stakes winner at 8f on the turf, but it’s hard to tell whether his progeny would have preferred dirt or turf, or the ideal distances for them to run. Battle Thy Mom is the 4th foal from 8yo mare Honour Thy Mom, a stakes winning mare.  Honour Thy Mom won 3 of 16 races in her career, with her stakes win and other stakes placing coming in owner-restricted stakes races at the 8-9f dirt distances.  Her other 2 wins came in dirt sprints, but she was able to run well anywhere from 7-9f on the dirt.  Her first foal, 6yo Challenge Coin (Goldencents) is an owner-restricted stakes winner and 2-time open stakes placed horse, all in dirt sprints.  Honour Thy Mom’s 2 other foals to date have also managed to run their best races in sprints (one on dirt, and one, to the extent there was a “best” race, on turf).  Shockingly (to me), Battle Thy Mom is only one of two 3yos from Battle of Midway bred to a To Honor and Serve mare; the other has not run past 5.5f on dirt yet, and is 0 for 2 at the MSW level.

Expectations: Battle Thy Mom has speed, and a lot of it.  She’s gonna want to blast out of the gate and try to set the pace, and if her last race is any indication, she’ll be able to set a very fast pace with something left in the tank.  If she can run back to that last race, she’s got a great chance in here.  But it’s interesting to note that her only loss came in the only race where she didn’t have the lead early; so she may need the lead in order to win.  She does have the speed to get that lead though.

Watch Level: High

#10 – Xeromoz (Flatter x Black Tie Affair x Riverman) – Owned by legends4 – 12/1

Race Record: 7:2-1-3; $81,324

Race History: Xeromoz has only missed the board once, in her second career race (where she finished 4th), but it took her 6 tries to break her maiden.  But once she did, the flood gates opened, and she comes into this race on a 2 race winning streak, running nearly identical races at 7f on the dirt. In both, Xeromoz sat 3/4 length back early, pounced in the far turn to grab the lead, and then maintain her speed throughout, winning by 1-1/2 each time.  She comes into this race off of a career high 88 SP from her NW1x try, consistent with her maiden-winning 87 SP (which was a big jump over her prior 75).  The 2nd place horse from her last race came back to run 3rd with an 88 SP next time out.  This will be Xeromoz’s first try in a route.

Pedigree: Flatter, the #10 ranked US sire in 2018, doesn’t get the same sim acclaim that his real life counterpart does.  His 2018 sim crop is currently ranked #125 (trailing only his 2017 crop, ranked #97), with 80 runners and 35 winners, winning at an 18% rate (well above Flatter’s 14% average).  Flatter’s progeny find themselves at their best in dirt sprints (69% earnings on dirt, 58% sprints), exemplified by the best of the 3yo crop, Flat Flap, who is G2-placed and a stakes winner at 6f on the dirt.  But that doesn’t preclude route success, and Flatter The Lady, his other 3yo stakes winner, has done her best running at 8-9f on dirt thus far in her career. Flatter was bred to a Black Tie Affair mare once in the sim, but that occurred back in 2005, so it doesn’t really help analyze Xeromoz here.

Expectations: The nice things about Xeromoz is that her running style has been consistent, so you know what to expect.  She should sit somewhere around 1 length off the pacesetter early, regardless of how many other horses are around her, and then try to grab the lead late.  She may be a little more forwardly placed with that same sprint speed in this route effort, but looking at the pacesetters here, Xeromoz might find herself in familiar territory.  Coming off of 2 wins is nice, and the improvement she saw in breaking her maiden against a decent field is promising.  The only question is whether the 8f will be problematic, and the sprint pedigree scares me a little here.  She’s got a good case to make, but I’ll take this as a “watch, don’t bet” race for her.

Watch Level: Medium

#11 – A Queen Is Born (More Than Ready x Heavenly Touched [Street Cry x Theatrical]) – Owned by stormbound – 21/1

Race Record: 8:2-0-1; $15,966

Race History: After struggling since breaking her maiden on the turf in race #4, A Queen is Born finally broke the slump in a Hot Allowance in her first race of 2019.  Catching 3 *CPU horses at 7.5f on the dirt, she let the pacesetter get away on a loose lead early, before reeling her in and easily winning by 1-1/2 lengths, earning a 75 SP (tied for a career high with an 8.5f effort).  Although her maiden score was at 8f on the turf, her two prior dirt efforts at the 8-8.5f distance saw her sit towards the back early and stay there throughout the race.  She’ll try to improve off the win here.

Pedigree: More Than Ready, the #8 ranked US sire in 2018, currently stands in Kentucky for $80,000.  In the sim, his 2018 crop is stellar so far, currently ranking #7 with 90 winners from 140 runners (winning at a nearly 22% rate).  Those 90 winners includes a G3 winner at 6f in More Than Regal, and 8 other stakes winners, primarily sprinting. More Than Ready’s progeny have a strong preference towards dirt (67% of earnings on dirt) and favor sprinting generally (58% sprints).  Heavenly Touched, the 8yo dam of A Queen is Born, was a G2 winner in during her 28 race career, which ended with 9 wins (3 stakes and 1 G2), primarily on the turf at 8-9f.  Her biggest victory was in the Celine Stakes – G2 (8.5f-T) back in 2014.  The bloodlines look strong initially, as her first foal, 5yo Cry From Above (Mastercraftsman (IRE)) is a G3 winner herself, also finding most of her success (which includes 3 stakes wins and 3 more stakes placings) on the turf at the 8-9f distances.  The second foal, 4yo Dreaming of Jen (Oasis Dream (GB)), has been better on the dirt, indicating some multi-surface ability in the bloodlines.  The More Than Ready x Street Cry cross has been used 13 times in the past 4 years, leading to two stakes winners, the most promising of whom is 3yo Ready For A Forty, who is G2-placed at 7f and has won 3 straight stakes races at 8-8.5f on the dirt.

Expectations: It’s nice to see A Queen is Born pick up a win after 3 very disappointing allowance tries, but that enthusiasm is tempered a bit by the win coming in a 4 horse hot allowance against 3 *CPU horses.  It’s certainly possible that she just needed a tune-up and will blast ahead here.  But her past performances haven’t really put her in the same class as some of her competition here.  Her 75 SP career high is well off the best here, and she’s struggled mightily keeping up with other competition at this distance.  I’ll need to pass here.

Watch Level: Low

—-

That’s the field for this NW3L allowance.  There are a lot of talented fillies here, and most of this field has a real chance to win.  On paper, there looks to be a lot of speed in here.  My guess is that the most speed belongs to either Battle Thy Mom or Henty Kelee, so I expect one of them to be the pacesetter, while Safety Guide and Banished From Hell may push them as well.  But that kind of pace sets up well for those coming from the back.  I think Carson’s Prayer, who should be flying from way back late, will get a good trip, but ultimately I’m siding with Street Sense Lady here, who I think will get first run.  My predictions are: (1) Street Sense Lady; (2) Carson’s Prayer; (3) Battle Thy Mom.  But this is anyone’s race.

Other races to watch this weekend:

1)      Berkshire (ENG) – Alw NW3L @ 7f-T (Division 1) (Division 2)

2)       New York – Alw NW3L @ 7f

3)      Italy – Alw NW2L @ 7f

4)      Kentucky – Local Alw NW4x @ 8f

5)      New South Wales – Alw NW2L @ 9.5f-T

6)      Pennsylvania – Alw NW3x @ 8f-T

7)      Florida – Alw NW3y @ 9f-T

8)      Louisiana – Alw NW3L @ 9.5f

Views (138)

Feb 082019
 

First, a quick recap of last week’s race.  I finally got something right!  Giant Pioneer was much the fastest out of the gate and busted out to a 3-1/2 length lead, but couldn’t hold off the late charge of Serve of Honor.  Serve of Honor was victorious, 2-3/4 lengths ahead of Giant Pioneer.  Rained For Forty stalked the pace and hung in there, finishing a solid third.

This week, the Future Stars Series checks in on some allowance winners for the first time!  We head to the state of Kansas, where 11 3yos compete in a NW3L at 8 furlongs on the dirt.  The field is:

#1 – I Want Money (Wicked Strong x Sunday Silence x Fappiano) – Owned by ashokfarms1 – 25/1

Race Record: 8:2-1-0; $16,014

Race History: One of 5 geldings in the field, I Want Money is the only one that has seen a change in ownership.  Originally bred and campaigned by harrylan5, after 3 poor MSW efforts, I Want Money was gelded and dropped into MCL races.  His first effort there, at 5f on the turf, wasn’t much better, but his second MCL try, this time back at 5f on the dirt in September 2018 for a $5,000 tag, finally saw him break through.  In that race, he once again got away from the gate slow and started last, but unlike his previous 4 efforts, he showed a solid closing kick and closed to win by ½ length, earning a 70 SP.  He took a shot at the starter level but wasn’t able to keep up with the better horses, so he went back to the claiming ranks and tried a $3,000 NW2L at 5f on dirt, where he again broke slow but beat the field of 5 by ½ length.  That win earned him a career-high 79 SP.  Ashokfarms1 claimed him out of that race and tried to stretch him out beyond 5f for the first time, running an a $60,000 NW3L claimer at 8.25f on the turf.  I Want Money was no match for the winner there, but held his own in 2nd, picking up a 74 SP.  He heads back to the dirt for his first dirt route effort, and first 3yo race, here.

Pedigree: Wicked Strong, a real life dirt router, currently stands for $7,500 in Kentucky but has not yet had any foals make their racing debut.  In the sim, he has a little more history, and his third-year crop of 2018 currently contains 86 runners, of which 32 have achieved victory, winning at a 13% rate (lower than his 18.5% rate for older horses).  As a sire, Wicked Strong’s progeny prefer dirt (77% of earnings on dirt) with a very slight preference for sprinting (59% sprints, 145 vs. 143 SP index).  His 3yo crop, meanwhile, has not seen any stakes winners yet, though 2 are stakes placed (one graded) in dirt sprints.  The only other horse with the Wicked Strong x Sunday Silence cross was unsuccessful in 4 career races, with only a 3rd place finish to show (he is still active, but has not raced since 2016).

Expectations: The new owner clearly felt that I Want Money needed to stretch beyond the 5 furlong distance, and I don’t disagree.  He’s a horse that showed slow gate speed but was able to close a bit, and it’ll be very interesting to see what he does with some extra distance on the dirt for the first time.  If he was coming back in a $5,000 NW3L claimer, I’d love his chances.  But this is a huge class jump for a horse that hasn’t been successful above a $5K tag, and thus far he’s been a cut below the best of this field.  There’s definitely some unknown, and potentially untapped, ability in dirt routes, and the Wicked Strong x Sunday Silence cross certainly indicates he might like some distance, but I think he’s probably overmatched here.

Watch Level: Low

#2 – Carson Day Ted (New Year’s Day x Blackwatch Plaid [Carson City x Sadler’s Wells]) – Owned by tcopyright – 6/1

Race Record: 8:1-1-0; ($24,166)

Race History: Carson Day Ted began his career back in April 2018 and was immediately successful.  Debuting in a 5.5f MSW, he sat midpack early before turning on the jets and picking off horses one by one.  He would go on to win the race by ½ length, earning a 70 SP.  That was good enough for his owner to try a stakes race next time out, but Carson Day Ted never stood a chance in that one, only gaining slightly while staying in the back of the back.  Dropping back to the allowance level, Carson Day Ted has been struggling a bit ever since, and comes into this race as the only entrant eligible for a NW2L race. However, while the results have not been there (other than a very close 2nd, after getting caught at the wire in Race #6, by a horse that would go on to post a 99 SP in a 9f allowance win in his 3yo debut),  Carson Day Ted showed a significant improvement is speed figures once he hit the routing distance back in Race #5.  In that race, his 4th place finish in an open allowance earned him an 82 SP, and he has been improving ever since.  He comes into this race off of a solid stalking race where he finished 4th, picking up a 90 SP (a career high) in his 2019 debut.

Pedigree: The 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, New Year’s Day was the #23 ranked second-crop sire in the US in 2018, before relocating to Brazil for the 2019 breeding season.  His 2018 sim crop consists of 25 runners and 13 winners to date, picking up victories at a 16% rate.  His progeny, meanwhile, have been pretty ambivalent about where they run, with relative earnings splits (52/48 turf/dirt, 58/42 sprint/route) across categories. His 2018 crop is likewise split, with his only stakes placed foal most successful in turf routes, but his top earner being a dirt router.  New Year’s Day has a lone graded stakes winner through 6 crops thus far, 7yo Danish New Year, who struck it big in the 2017 Movieland Turf Cup - G1 (10f-T)..  Carson Day Ted is the 7th foal from 17yo dam Blackwatch Plaid, who was 3 of 40 in her career.  Those 3 wins include 2 dirt route allowances (at 8.5f and 10f), where she showed her top abilities.  Her 6 other foals have also shown affinity for the dirt (none of the 16 collective wins from her foals have come on turf), with some preferring routes and some sprints.  The most impressive, Black Days Ted (Harlan’s Holiday), is a 5 time winner (all non-maiden wins at the allowance level) in dirt routes, all at 8-8.5f who has broken a 100 SP 15 times, including a max of 111.  Unfortunately, he could do no better than 5th in 5 career stakes efforts.  New Year’s Day has been paired with a Carson City mare one other time in the sim, but that pairing did not end well, with the horse being a career claimer with only a single win in 11 races.

Expectations: Carson City Ted is going to sit a few lengths back in this race and stalk the pace, but he’ll probably try to stay in the top half of the field.  After losing ground towards the end in his first few route efforts, it appeared that he matured a bit as a 3yo and showed some speed at the end.  But that may have been the result of a pace setup that was unsustainable, which kept Carson City Ted a little further off the pacesetter early than he normally sits, and then left him helpless as some of the closers in the field blew past.  He’s shown some nice progression recently, but he may be up against it here with a jump in class to horses that have already won at this level.

Watch Level: Medium

#3 – Hyperkinetic (Honor Code x Mystic Freak [Unbridled’s Song x Kris S.]) – Owned by amity – 10/1

Race Record: 5:2-0-1; $70,660

Race History: Hyperkinetic will look like a brand new horse here in his 3yo debut, as this will be his first race following his gelding.  Back when he was whole, he began his career sprinting, but after settling for 4th in his debut, he came back at 7f on the dirt in June 2018 and broke through.  Sitting just 2 lengths off the pace early, Hyperkinetic had no interest in sitting back and grabbed the lead as they hit the far turn, grabbing the lead and the holding off a late run by the deepest closer.  The win saw his SP actually drop to 69, but a win is a win, and Hyperkinetic continued to be stretched out.  After a 3rd place run at 7.5f, he finally reached the full mile in his 4th career race and engaged a new gear.  In that race, he sat midpack early, 3 off the leaders, before moving in the backstretch and grabbing the lead, never looking back and pulling away to win by 2-1/2 lengths.  Hyperkinetic earned a career high 81 SP there, but unfortunately the field looks a little suspect, as the competition has combined for 2 wins in 32 collective races following that September 2018 race.  Hyperkinetic comes into this race off of his second 81 SP at 8f, this time in an open allowance where he seemed either overmatched or very distracted, finishing a well beaten 5thAmity hopes that the recent procedure keeps him more focused here.

Pedigree: Honor Code is one of my personal favorites (watching him inhale Liam’s Map in the 2015 Whitney at Saratoga was the single most unbelievable race I’ve ever seen in person)…but if you’re still reading this, you’re not interested in my favorite horses, you’re interested in facts.  Honor Code stands for $40,000 in Kentucky, but his real progeny have not yet hit the track.  In the sim, his #26-ranked 2018 crop includes 126 runners to date, with 54 winners winning at a 19.5% rate.  Of those 54, only 1 3yo has reached the stakes winner circle, in a residency-restricted stakes at 8.5f.  Honor Code’s sim progeny have a strong preference for dirt, with 82% of earnings on the main track.  His foals seem to get better with distance as they age, with earnings being higher in sprints early but increasing for routers as they age (speed figures slightly favor sprints, though he has been consistent enough to throw solid long-distance runners compared to the average sire). Unlike Hyperkinetic, 8yo Mystic Freak was not gelded and therefore was bred as a he-mare to Honor Code to produce this lone foal.  In his 33 race career, Mystic Freak picked up 9 wins, 6 of them at the allowance level.  He also managed a 2nd place finish (in a photo) in one of his 5 (4 non-residency-restricted) stakes races, finding success on the turf at 8.5f.  In general, he was successful on both turf and dirt, and showed ability everywhere from 6.5-8.5f, though his best overall races came on the turf.  As a 4th year sire, it’s interesting to see that sim players LOVE the Honor Code x Unbridled’s Song cross.  27 horses have been bred over the last 3 years with that cross.  Those 27 horses include Unbreakable Code, a G3 winner at 8f on the dirt as a 3yo, and one other stakes winner.  The cross seems to strongly prefer dirt overall, with most of the runners finding most of their success in sprints (though that could be a function of age).

Expectations: Gelding is a relatively new concept in the sim, and one that I have not personally used, so I’m not sure how significant of an impact it makes on a horse.  Hyperkinetic is expected to sit several lengths off the leaders here, probably midpack.  The question is whether he gets a boost from the gelding, his 3yo debut, and/or his 3.5 month layoff.  His last race was a little concerning, but he was facing an open allowance field that he may not have been ready for just yet.  In addition, he seems to be on a pattern; he wins even numbered races.  This is race #6, so can he do it again here?  I think it comes down to the impact of gelding, but if it pushes Hyperkinetic up to the next level, he’s definitely got a shot in this field.

Watch Level: Medium

#4 – Magnolia Barbara (Quality Road x Please Applaud [Street Cry x Jump Start]) – Owned by bjbarn – 8/1

Race Record: 3:2-0-0; $35,280

Race History: Magnolia Barbara, one of the least experienced horses in this race in terms of racing frequency, is one of the most experienced in terms of racing quality.  He began his career back in September 2018 in a 5.5f dirt MSW, and after stalking the pace from 3rd early, he moved forward late and grabbed the lead, drawing off to win by 1 length and earning a 79 SP.  He came back 1.5 months later, this time in a NW1x at 6f, and did it all over again.  Magnolia Barbara stalked the pace early, sitting 3 lengths back in 4th and biding his time, before finally kicking into gear deep in the stretch and grabbing the ¾ length victory, picking up an 82 SP for the effort.  Going 2 for 2 put stars in the eyes of owner bjbarn, who then sent Magnolia Barbara to the 6f Asherons Call Dirt Juvenile stakes, where he took on today’s competitor Simply Golden (who ran 4th).  Unfortunately, Magnolia Barbara showed no interest in the race, earning a career high 84 SP but never firing and finishing 8th of 11.  The 3yo will get his first chance of 2019 here after 1.5 months off in his first route attempt.

Pedigree: Quality Road was the #7 ranked US sire in 2018 (#1 in G1 winners) and currently stands for $150,000 in Kentucky, after siring a number of real life successes.  His sim success has not quite matched that of his real life success however, as his 2018 crop currently ranks only #104, with 46 winners in 93 runners to date (his smallest crop, and worst ranking, in the last 5 years, though it may grow).  The 3yos have won at a 15.5% rate, and among them is G3 winner Quality Killer, the only stakes winner of the crop, who found success at 8f on the turf.  Unlike that horse, however, Quality Road’s sim progeny typically prefer dirt (68% earnings on dirt), including 2 other stakes placed horses from his 3yo crop.  In terms of distances, Quality Road’s progeny are pretty evenly split in terms of success, though the speed figures tend to be slightly higher comparatively in sprints. Please Applaud is the 11yo he-mare of Magnolia Barbara.  His pedigree may have been strong, but his racing career was anything but.  Part of that may be a symptom of his ownership.  He debuted in 2011, where he ran in 6 races, with the best SP coming at 10f on the dirt.  His owner took time off and came back in 2013, running Please Applaud twice in sprints, before leaving the game again.  Please Applaud was picked up again in 2018, but by then he was already 10 years old, well past his prime.  His last owner got him a cheap Hot Allowance win to bring the breeding costs down, but unfortunately his racing career was so sketchy that it’s hard to really know what he could have been on the track.  Quality Road has been bred to a Street Cry mare 7 times in past 4 years, producing 2 stakes winners, both in sprints (one on turf, one on dirt).

Expectations: This is Magnolia Barbara’s first route effort, and so it’s a little tough to figure what he is going to do in this one.  The stalking trips in sprints worked out for him in his first two efforts, before he was outmatched in his last stakes effort.  There’s definitely a possibility, on the pedigree side, that he can get 8f, but it’s a big jump to go from 6f to 8f for the first time, especially with only 3 career races.  The horse needs to learn how to save some of his speed for the longer races, and if anything, he was struggling to keep up in his last sprint.  But 2019 is a new year, and with a new year comes maturity.  I’m going to guess, probably incorrectly, that Magnolia Barbara tries a new tactic here and ends up sitting towards the back of the pack.  Then the only question is whether that stalker move that he made in his first 2 races can become a little more pronounced at 8f.  I’m a little skeptical.  I think Magnolia Barbara has some definite promise, but I think this race will really be the best guide for determining his future.

Watch Level: Medium

#5 – Kymarc Fiat (Munnings x Outback Fiat [Unbridled’s Song x A.P. Indy] – Owned by kymar22 – 5/1

Race Record: 4: 2-1-0; 70,315

Race History: Kymarc Fiat came out of the box strong.  Debuting at 6.5f on the dirt back in April 2018, Kymarc Fiat bolted out of the gate and never looked back, seeing his lead continue to widen until he hit the wire 2-3/4 lengths in front, earning a 75 SP in the process.  But after that race, Kymarc Fiat hit the shelf.  He came back 5 months later, trying a NW4L Allowance, where the time off took away his first step and he settled for sitting just off the pace.  He briefly grabbed the lead before settling for 2nd behind a horse in Mission of Peace (Texas Red) that has gone on to be multiple graded stakes placed in dirt sprints.  That 2nd place finish saw a big jump to an 87 SP, and Kymarc Fiat came back to a NW2L race at 6f, where he battled the pace the entire way and ended up taking the win in a blanket finish by ¼ length.  Trying one more race as a 2yo, Kymarc Fiat struggled in his most recent race at 7.5f, as he was never able to get the front and finished a disappointing 5th, though he earned a career best 88 SP in the race (2nd and 3rd from the most recent race both came back to win allowances in their next race).  This will be Kymarc Fiat’s first race in 2019.

Pedigree: Munnings, the #48 ranked US sire in 2018, currently stands for $20,000 in Kentucky.  Predominately a dirt sprinter in real life, Munnings’ sim progeny have followed suit, with 67% of earnings coming on dirt and 75% in sprints.  The 2018 crop is currently Munnings’ best ranked class, at #65, with 42 winners from 80 runners to date.  None have yet reached the winner’s circle at the stakes level, though Taylor Shepard is multiple-G3 placed at 8f on the dirt and I Ate To Wynn is stakes placed in both turf sprints and routes.  Notwithstanding those oddities, Munnings’ progeny are typically sprinters.  Overall, Munnings has sired 3 graded stakes winners in his sim stud career. Kymarc Fiat is the 6th foal from 10yo mare Outback Fiat, a winner of 2 of 11 races in her career.  Outback Fiat’s best races were in the 8-8.5f dirt range, though she may have been retired before she hit her ultimate stride.  Her best foal to date has been her second, 7yo mare Dapto Fiat (Unusual Heat), who found success with a stakes win when cutting back to a 6.5f dirt sprint.  Most of Outback Fiat’s progeny have done their best running in dirt sprints, though stakes placed Gutha Fiat (Speightstown) has actually excelled in 9-12f dirt races, indicating that there’s at least some stamina in the bloodlines.  Munnings has been bred with an Unbridled’s Song mare 4 other times in the past 4 years (including 2 others to Unbridled’s Song x A.P. Indy mares), but to the extent that any of them have been successful, it has been sprinting (primarily on the dirt).

Expectations: Kymarc Fiat has been consistent since coming back to the track, and has made some promising runs.  He learned that he didn’t need the lead in order to win, though he does like to be close.  But even though the open allowance attempt in his most recent effort was a sizable class jump from the NW2L ranks, and the field seems to have been strong, I’ve got a red flag or two from the race.  Unlike his prior sprint efforts, Kymarc Fiat never challenged, or even stood a chance at getting to the front.  Furthermore, he never passed any horses in that race.  Combined with the pedigree, I can’t help but wonder if Kymarc Fiat is more of a 6f sprinter.  It’ll be very interesting to see what he does here (it’s always possible that the pull-back in the last race was jockey instructions rather than horse ability), but I’m a little worried that he doesn’t have (or want) to use the speed to get to the front here or the extra kick at the end to propel past those frontrunners.  Still, this horse is only in his 5th race and has some solid potential.

Watch Level: High

#6 – Aldarity (Aldrin x Similarity [Smart Strike x Summer Squall]) – Owned by plano25 – 7/1

Race Record: 6:2-0-2; $52,798

Race History: Aldarity enters this race as the horse of the sponsor, so one would expect big things.  The bargain bred gelding debuted in a hot race, finishing 3rd at 6.5f, and then dropped back to 5.5f where he proceeded to set the pace and fade in his next 2 races.  But when Aldarity was stretched out for the first time, in race #4 back in October 2018, he showed a quality that he had never revealed before.  Taking on a field of 12 in an 8f MSW, Aldarity battled for the lead early, then put away his challenger and the rest of the field, opening up to a 2-1/2 length win and earning an 87 SP, a 14 point jump over his prior race.  Trying winners for the first time back at 8f, he again battled for the pace but faded well back to 4th, finishing 8 lengths behind the winner and dropping to an 83 SP.  The winner from that race tried (and failed) at stakes company next time out, while 3rd came back to take an allowance with a 96 SP next time out.  Aldarity, meanwhile, rested for the rest of 2018 and came back as a 3yo in January 2019 in a  NW1x allowance, where he let another horse have the lead and sat 1 length off the pace early, before blasting past the pacesetter and opening up to win by 1-1/2 lengths.  He earned a career high 92 SP in the win (and the 4th place finisher from that one came back to take an Allowance next time out by 2 lengths with a 90 SP).

Pedigree: Aldrin, a ¾ brother to Tapit, entered stud in 2018 and currently stands in West Virginia, opening up Aldarity to the local level of races.  A freshman sire in 2018 in the sim, Aldrin’s 2018 crop includes 25 runners and 6 winners, who have succeeded at a 7.5% rate.  3 of those 6 have been successful in allowances (including Aldarity), and 75% of the earnings from the crop have come on the dirt.  It’s too early to tell distances, but the speed figures of his progeny were comparatively better when routing thus far than they have been sprinting.  Similarity, the 11yo mare, was not a great runner on the track, as she managed a single win from 16 career starts.  That win came in a 8.5f maiden effort, but there wasn’t much else to write home about.  Her 4 other foals have been a little more successful, as the 3 oldest have each picked up multiple allowance level wins.  Those three each had their own favorite distances, but it was all within the 7-10f range on dirt.  The fastest of them, Past Event (Langfuhr (CAN)), cracked the 100 SP barrier 22 times in his 36 race career, primarily at 9.5-10f, picking up 8 allowance-level wins in his career.

Expectations: The pedigree of a basement-level West Virginia sire with a maiden winning mare doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in Aldarity’s abilities.  But through 6 career races, he has shown that it’s not always about pedigree.  He comes into this race off of a field high 92 SP (no other horse in this field has cracked 90 yet) and he looked very strong in that last race.  The key question is whether he can sit off a fast pace here and not get locked in a duel for the lead.  If he gets tangled up early, he’s shown that he’s likely to fade.  But if he can run his own race and sit just off of any horse that wants to duke it out up front, Aldarity has a gear that some others in this field have not yet shown, and he can kick into that gear to grab a piece of the pie.  Aldarity is already the 2nd best foal of Aldrin in the sim, and he might move into the #1 spot after this race.

Watch Level: High

#7 – Private Outerview (Private Interview x Madam Glacken [Smoke Glacken x Dayjur]) – Owned by 1stclass – 28/1

Race Record: 5:2-0-2; $26,250

Race History: This is a sizable class jump for Private Outerview, the longshot in this field.  He began his career in the maiden claiming ranks, debuting in turf sprints.  After 3 tries there, earning him 2 3rd place finishes, Private Outerview was shifted to the dirt where he found a very soft spot in a *150 Hot Allowance in November 2018.  He was forwardly placed in that race and grabbed the lead, pulling away in the stretch and seeing a SP jump up to a 73 SP in the 1-1/4 length win.  Deciding to stay on the dirt, Private Outerview was stretched out to 7f in a $50K NW2L claimer, and although it was only a field of 4, Private Outerview dominated the race from gate to wire.  He set the pace and kept his 2 length lead the entire way around the oval, seeing his SP jump by 13 points to a career-best 86 SP.  That run led to the class jump here for his first race of 2019.

Pedigree: Sadly, Private Interview passed away in December 2018, so the 2018 sim crop will be the last of his sim career.  He previously stood in New Jersey where he was #10 ranked NJ sire in 2018, making Private Outerview a prime local race competitor in the sim.  Private Interview is not the most popular sim sire…his 2018 crop, which is his largest since 2015, matches his real life production and currently consists of 4 runners.  Impressively, 3 of those 4 have already earned victories (winning at a 13.5% rate), one better than the real life counterpart.   He has not sired any stakes winners in the sim.  To the extent his 64 total progeny have shown any preference, it’s been in turf races (59% of earnings on turf), though the speed figures on both turf and dirt have been similar, and his progeny are pretty evenly split in sprints and routes, though his most recent foals have seemed to like to sprint.  Madam Glacken, a 19yo mare, did the best running of her 48 race career on dirt and spent most of her career running in the 7-9f range, though her best races seemed to be over a mile.  She won 6 races in her career, 5 of which came in allowances (one was CPU Value limited), and although she never hit the board in a stakes race, she finished 4th or 5th 3 times (a dirt sprint, a turf sprint, and a dirt route).  Madam Glacken’s first 3 foals, all campaigned in the old sim, were all moderately successful, with the best, Silver Smoker (Silver Train), being stakes placed in dirt sprints.  Her fourth foal, Delta Smoke (A.P. Delta), is a 4yo that has won twice in 13 starts, but has been running at the claiming level and has yet to really show a preference for any particular distance or surface.

Expectations: It’s interesting to see how Private Outerview has been campaigned thus far, and he definitely deserves a chance at open company in this NW3L allowance.  With that said, this is a huge jump in class, and his success at the claiming and hot ranks haven’t seen large fields.  He’s coming into this race off a career best run in his longest race to date, and that bodes well for getting an extra furlong here.  But that last race was a 4 horse field where no one battled Private Outerview for the lead.  There are a lot of questions from those past races, and unfortunately we don’t really have a strong pedigree to lean on and get an idea of what to expect here.  My pure guess is that Private Outerview doesn’t have the same speed as some of the others in this race that will go to the front, and so he’ll have to sit midpack or worse here.  And if he does that, I just don’t think he has the closing kick to get to the front.  But regardless of how he does in this race, this is one horse that has local races calling his name, and I can see some future success at that level.

Watch Level: Low

#8 – Simply Golden (Tapit x Golden Element [Medaglia D’Oro x Forty Niner]) – Owned by 1styearflag – 6/1

Race Record: 6:2-0-1; $99,987

Race History: Simply Golden is the most decorated horse in the field, as one of his 2 prior wins came in a residency-restricted stakes race.  After getting tired in his first race, Simply Golden came back strong in his second career race, a 6.5f MSW on the dirt in June 2018.  There, he sat just off the pacesetters early before powering through the stretch, pulling away to win by 1-1/2 lengths with a 75 SP.  He came back for 2 NW2L allowances, first at 6f and then at 8f, where he sprinted for the lead before tiring in each.  A 4th place finish in the 8f race led Simply Golden to head to a residency-restricted stakes at 7.5f for Vermont.  Against 5 other horses, Simply Golden once again rushed for the lead and got it, never looking back and pulling away to win by 1-3/4 and earning a career-best 90 SP.  Both 2nd and 3rd from that stakes race have come back to place in non-residency-restricted stakes races.  Simply Golden, meanwhile, took a shot in an open stakes race at 6f.  Once again, Simply Golden set the pace, but was unable to hold off some of the others and finished 4th (today’s competitor Magnolia Barbara trailed, finishing 8th).  The top 3 from that stakes all followed up with their own stakes efforts, with 1 win, 1 4th and 1 5th among them.  Simply Golden heads back to routing here for his first 3yo race.

Pedigree: Tapit shouldn’t require too much introduction to sim players, as the $225,000 stud fee for the #5 ranked US sire in 2018 is the fifth highest in the world (and that’s down from $300K in 2018, when he ranked #2 on the list!).  Sim players love this sire too, as his 2018 class that currently numbers 275 runners is also the #1 ranked sim class of 2018.  Among those 275 runners are 166 winners (winning at a crazy 21% rate) and 12(!) stakes winners.  Only one of those 12, however, has achieved Graded Stakes glory, and it took until Legacy of Evil’s most recent race, last week in an 8f dirt G3, to finally break that 0-fer.  Tapit children in the sim are mainly dirt routers (71% of earnings on dirt, 60% in routes), though in terms of speed figures, Tapit throws horses that are equally adept in sprints, routes, and longer races, so distance may be passed down more from the dam’s side. Simply Golden is the first progeny of 6yo mare Golden Element, a 3-time stakes placed mare.  Golden Element raced 28 times in her career, winning 8 (7 at the allowance level).  She checked all of the boxes, winning in dirt sprints, turf sprints, dirt routes, and turf routes, with her highest speed figure coming in an 8.25f turf allowance, but her best results (2 stakes placings) coming in dirt miles (the third came in a 7.5 turf stakes).  Most of her wins came in dirt races in the 8-9f range, though she clearly had ability on all different surfaces (including off-tracks, where she was 2nd in her lone attempt).  Tapit has been bred to a Medaglia D’Oro mare 23 times in the past 4 years, including 8 times in 2018 (including Simply Golden).  Those 23 foals include 1 graded stakes winner, Rubinetto, winner of The Princess Looney – G1 at 6f on dirt.  Most of the success from that cross has come in dirt routes.

Expectations: Simply Golden has a ton of speed, and he’s more than happy to use it.  The only races in which he hasn’t set the pace were his two maiden attempts, and with more experience and longer racing, he’s had no problem getting out in front.  The concern is that his only prior attempt at 8 furlongs, in a NW2L allowance, saw him give all he had to get to the lead, and by the time they reached the far turn it was clear that he didn’t have anything left in the tank.  Simply Golden looked like he had something left at 7.5f, however, so it’s possible that getting that race in gave him the experience he needs to better carry his speed.  Simply Golden will be the pacesetter here; I’m just not sure if he can sustain it for this whole race.

Watch Level: High

#9 – Blue Py (Dandino (GB) x Fourth O’July [Pyro x Bluegrass Cat]) – Owned by oldmoonfarmsde – 19/1

Race Record: 7:2-2-1; $56,764

Race History: One of the number of geldings in this race, Blue Py was gelded before he ever hit the track, but that strategy proved effective early on.  In his debut race, an MSW at 5.5f on the dirt back in February 2018, Blue Py stayed focused and stalked the pace early, slowly finding his way to the front and then continuing on, earning a 1-1/2 length victory and a 66 SP to make his owner happy.  His next 2 races, at 6.5f and 6f on the dirt, saw him run a similar race but never quite able to grab the front.  That third race, in which Blue Py finished 4th, has turned out to be a key race, as the 1st and 2nd place finishers have both gone on to be stakes placed (one on turf, one in dirt routes).  Blue Py jumped over to the turf next, but his first two tries at 5.5f saw him struggle to keep up with the winner.  He finally took a NW1x at 5f on the turf in career race #6, beating a field of 5 by ¾ length in a race with limited pace (2nd in that race came back to run last in a 5 horse stakes as the 7/1 longshot).  Blue Py comes into this race off of a 4th place finish in a return to dirt at 6f, where he ran evenly throughout but never pressed the winners, finishing 4 lengths back and earning a career high 83 SP (2nd from that race came back to win an Allowance next time out).

Pedigree: Dandino (GB) spent a number of years racing, and winning, at 12-14f distances in GB, Canada, the US, and Australia.  He entered stud in 2017 and currently stands in Australia for $5,500.  He has been lightly used in the sim and sits at a bargain-basement price, with only 34 runners in each of his first 2 crops.  The 34 in his 2018 class includes only 8 winners, none of whom have reached stakes caliber (and only one other than Blue Py has won a non-Hot Allowance).  Thus far, 76% of Dandino (GB)’s progeny’s earnings have come on dirt, with 55% in routes, though it’s a little early in his sim sire career to get a real sense of where his foals prefer to run.  Blue Py is the 4th foal from 8yo mare Fourth O’ July, who was 2 for 20 in her career.  Those 2 wins both came in dirt sprints, which is where she did her best running.  However, she never tried routing in her career.  Her other progeny have, and her best foal to date, 6yo Pyros Moon (Denis of Cork), put up her best performances in turf miles (though most of her racing came at the claiming and starter allowance level).  Neither of Fourth O’ July’s other progeny to date have done much of note (3yo Pyros Cat (Five Demon Bag) is now *CPU owned, and as a result, has raced 40 times through the end of his 3yo season).

Expectations: Blue Py is stretching out for the first time here, and we’ll see what that means for his typical stalking style.  Will he still try to sit off the pace, or will he end up challenging the pace here?  I think, if left to the jockey, it’s likely that Blue Py is going to battle on the front end.  I’m not sure if that would be a good thing for this gelding, however, as he looks to have struggled in a couple of races when he tries to hang with faster horses up front.  This is his first race as a 3yo, so he may be a little mature now and be able to rate a bit, but I’m not convinced that Blue Py wants a full mile.  With that said, if he can rate a bit, he’s got some experience passing horses from just off the pace, and he may be able to use that experience here.

Watch Level: Low

#10 – Crypto Sunshine (No Nay Never x Keeper of Sunshine [Dawn Approach (IRE) x Danehill]) – Owned by lawdro9 – 5/1

Race Record: 6:2-1-2; $78,686

Race History: Crypto Sunshine debuted in turf sprints, where in his first two starts he battled for the lead before tiring.  But stretching out to 7.5f on the turf in his third race turned out to be the key.  In that race back in October 2018, Crypto Sunshine sat just off a hot pace in 4th, but pounced as the pacesetters tired out.  He poked his nose in front on the backstretch, and pulled away to win by an easy 1-3/4 lengths with an 84 SP.  He came back in NW2L allowance at 7.5f on the turf, and again found success, again sitting just off of the pacesetter (this time in 2nd) and then pouncing on the backstretch, pulling away to win by 2 lengths with an 85 SP.  Those two efforts led to Crypto Sunshine trying 8f, but he struggled to keep up in his first try, never contending and fading to 8th.  His most recent race, his first try as a 3yo back at 8f, saw an improvement as he kept up with his competition, but he never challenged the winner and finished 3rd, 3 lengths back.  He comes into this race off a career high 89 SP, and has seen his speed figures improve in each race of his career, a positive sign for a next step as he tries the dirt for the first time.

Pedigree: No Nay Never was a sprinter in real life and currently stands for $100,000 in Ireland, where he was the #85 ranked EU sire overall (and #1 first-crop sire) in 2018.  In the sim, No Nay Never’s 2018 crop currently ranks #18, with 70 winners from 107 runners to date (winning at a borderline-ridiculous 21% rate).  Those 107 runners include 3 stakes winners (including Pound The Rock, winner of the End of the Line Futurity – G1 at 8.5f on the dirt and currently the #3 ranked dirt route 3yo).  Overall, No Nay Never’s sim progeny strongly prefer sprinting (76% of earnings in sprints), with a slight preference for turf racing (58% on turf).  5yo mare Keeper of Sunshine was retired and bred early to produce her first foal, Crypto Sunshine.  In her solid career, Keeper of Sunshine ran 18 times, picking up 5 wins, including a stakes win and 2 more stakes placings.  Those efforts all occurred at 8.5-9.5f on the turf, where she seemed to do her best work (her max SP of 110 came in a 3rd place finish in a 8.5f turf stakes) as a horse that set the pace, or at least stayed close.

Expectations: Crypto Sunshine is an intriguing looking horse, and there’s always the turf to dirt bump to look for with a horse like this.  He hung with a 2 time stakes-placed horse in his last race, finishing only 1 length behind that horse.  But everything in his race history is on the turf, his dam loved turf, and his sire prefers turf.  All of that explains why he’s already had 6 races on the turf, but it also suggests that the turf is where he belongs.  I’m also curious if he’s a one-turn horse; the speed figures have been fine at 8f, but he dominated two fields at 7.5f, and even if those fields may not have shown much talent yet, one has to wonder if 7.5f is really his distance.  We’ll get a solid idea of if he takes to the dirt here (and if he does, I’d love to see him try 7.5f on the dirt next), but I’ll wait and see before backing him on the new surface.

Watch Level: Medium

#11 – American Trumpet (American Pharoah x Demona Trumpet [A.P. Indy x Mr. Prospector]) – Owned by danger – 7/2 (f)

Race Record: 3:2-0-0; $62,940

Race History: The other horse competing for most lightly raced in this field, American Trumpet didn’t debut until November 2018.  But when he finally hit the track, he was a monster.  Debuting at 7f on the dirt, American Trumpet sat towards the back early, slowly moving forward over the course of the race, and then exploding in the stretch to pull away for a 2 length victory, earning an 88 SP.  He came back one month later and repeated the performance, sitting back early and then getting first run on one of the stalkers in the race and outdueling him to a ¼ length victory, picking up a career high 89 SP.  Unfortunately, his first 3yo race saw him take a step back in a NW3L allowance at 8f, where he found himself midpack early but never really got settled, and didn’t have the bottom under him to get the distance, falling 8 lengths back behind the winner and regressing with an 83 SP.  He comes back here on 2 weeks rest to try another 8f dirt race.

Pedigree: We don’t know how much American Pharoah, the 2015 Triple Crown Winner, stands for in real life and his real progeny have not yet hit the track, so all we really know is that his 2018 yearlings sold for an average of $453,273.  In the sim, he was added in 2016 at the Frankel level but not quite as high as the sim’s “elite”, though that hasn’t stopped him from cracking the top 11 every year, with his 2018 crop currently ranked #3 overall.  That 3yo crop includes 197 runners to date, including 110 winners finding success at a wild 21.5% rate. Among the 110 winners are 9 stakes winners, and although none have found graded success just yet, one of those stakes winners is graded placed, as are 2 other fillies.  Expect those numbers to rise though, as most of those winners have done so only recently, as they finally stretch out into route races.  The sim progeny of American Pharoah, much like their sire, have found most of their success on the dirt (78% of earnings on dirt) in routes (59% in routes).  American Trumpet is the second foal from 18yo mare Demona Trumpet, who was a solid racehorse back in her day.  She managed to find the winner’s circle 6 times in 18 career starts, all coming in dirt sprints at the allowance level.  But more impressive than her own career has been the racing career of her only other foal to date, 5yo Indy Street Pro (Street Sense).  Much like her mother, Indy Street Pro has found her stride in dirt sprints, winning 9 of her 18 career races to date.  Unlike her mother, those dirt sprints include 5 stakes (3 graded) wins, culminating in her victory in the 2018 Breeders’ Bowl F and M Sprint – G1.  Indy Street Pro is currently the #2 ranked older mare dirt sprinter in the sim.  The American Pharoah x A.P. Indy cross is the most popular one for American Pharoah, as it has been used 49 times since he entered the sim breeding shed 3 years ago.  Those 49 foals include 6 stakes winners (including multiple graded stakes winner Finally The One), with most of the success of these foals coming in dirt routes.

Expectations:  American Trumpet has a ton of promise, and he’s the favorite in this race for a reason.  His father was a Breeders Cup (and Triple Crown) winner.  His half-sister is a Breeders Bowl winner.  He had a monster debut, and he’s 2 for 3 lifetime.  That all adds up to a horse with a very bright future.  And even this race, with a field that includes a number of horses that want to be forwardly placed, seems to set up well for him.  But I’m not sure this is the best race for him.  First of all, the bloodlines on his dam’s side strongly favor sprints.  Second, he’s coming into this race with only 2 weeks off from his first route effort.  And 3rd, that route effort was a step backwards from his sprint races.  It’s certainly possible that the last race was a bounce race, and that he’ll be back to normal here.  And if that’s the case, he’s a strong contender here, as the race sets up very well.  But I’m worried that it wasn’t so much a bounce race as a distance limitation.  I’m not convinced yet that American Trumpet can get the 8f distance.  If I’m wrong, he could easily win.  If I’m right, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the sprint division.

Watch Level: High

There is your field for this NW3L.  The race sets up with a lot of horses preferring to be forwardly placed, but interestingly enough, very few who have shown the need to get the lead.  That should set up well for Simply Golden to set the pace early, trailed by Aldarity, Kymarc Fiat, Private Outerview, and possibly Cryptic Sunshine.  But will the pace be too hot?  My meaningless predictions are: (1) Aldarity, (2) Hyperkinetic, (3) Simply Golden.  I’m betting against the favorite here, so watch and see if I’m right!

Other Races To Watch This Weekend:

1)      Victoria (AUS) – Alw NW2L @ 8.5f-T

2)      Minnesota – Alw NW1x @ 7f (Fillies)

3)      Surrey (ENG) – Allowance @ 5.5f (Fillies)

4)      New York – Alw NW2L @ 8.5f (Division 1)

5)      New York – Alw NW2L @ 8.5f (Division 2)

6)      Louisiana – Alw NW2L @ 6f-T

7)      Surrey (ENG) – Alw NW2L @ 8f-T

8)      New York – Alw NW2L @ 8.5f-T

9)      Tasmania (AUS) – Alw NW2x @ 7.5f

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Feb 022019
 

First, a quick recap from last week.  I may have actually gotten the pace situation right for a change, as the horses that ran 1, 2, 3 and 4 early finished 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 1st, respectively.  After Bomb Cyclone decided to take the front, Kymarc Cap got exactly what he wanted and sat just off a relatively slow pace.  He got first run in the stretch and pulled ahead, grabbing the lead and then holding off a late charge by Mean No Harm to win by 1-1/2 lengths, earning a 92 SP.  Mean No Harm was the only closer to stand a chance in this one, as he finished second, and Bomb Cyclone, the pacesetter, held on for 3rd.

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This week, the Future Stars Series heads home to California.  A full field of 14 colts are looking to prove their route bona fides, as they take on this NW2L Allowance at 8 furlongs on the dirt.  The field is:

#1 – Shipping Tycoon (Written Tycoon (AUS) x No Shipping Cost [A.P. Indy x Deputy Minister]) – Owned by steller1 – 6/1 (f-t)

Race Record: 6:1-2-0; $37,961

Race History: Shipping Tycoon started his career on the turf before finally jumping over to the dirt in race #3.  In that race, a 6f MSW, he battled for the lead early before taking over the pace and trying to distance himself from the field.  He was eventually caught by one other horse, but Shipping Tycoon earned an 81 SP for the effort, which kept him on the dirt.  He stretched out to 8f for his 4th start, in a local MSW October 2018, and sat just ¾ length off the pace early, before pouncing in the backstretch and never looking back, opening up to win by 3 lengths and earning a career best 87 SP. Unfortunately, he struggled in his first NW2L test, unable to keep up with the pace and then falling to 10th.  His most recent start, at 7f in a NW2L, was a stronger effort as he stayed steady throughout the race, but was missing that final push and finished 5th, 2 lengths behind the winner.  Shipping Tycoon has, however, kept his speed figures in the mid 80s, as he heads into his first 3yo try here.

Pedigree: Written Tycoon, a G2-winning sprinter at age 2, currently stands for $110,000 in Australia (a significant increase from the $8,000 he initially stood for) and is the #8 ranked sire in Australia in 2018.  He was a little late to the sim party, but got a big boost in mares in 2018 and covered his largest crop to date, with 105 runners thus far.  That includes 56 winners, who are winning at a 17% rate, and the sire’s first 3 graded stakes winners in his sim stud career.  Their success has been on the turf (including 1 who missed by 1/2 length in the Breeders Bowl Juvy Filly Turf, and another who ran in the Breeders Bowl Juvy Turf), which is unsurprising, given that 71% of his progeny earnings have come on turf.  There may be a bit of a distance limitation on his progeny though, as 65% of earnings have come in sprints and only 1 of the 3 graded winners has been successful at 8f.  Shipping Cost is the 9th foal from No Shipping Cost, an incredibly successful 14yo dam, both on the track and in the breeding shed.  The G2-placed, 2-time stakes winner won 7 of 23 races in her career, at was stakes placed an additional 4 times.  Her success came primarily in dirt routes in the 9-10f range, though she was also excellent on the off-track, picking up a 12f stakes and running 3rd in the 9f D-Day Distaff-G2 as a 4yo. Meanwhile, No Shipping Cost’s progeny include 4 Graded Stakes winners and 1 more graded placed horse (and 6-time stakes winner).  Among those are G1 winner Low Shipping Cost (Street Cry (IRE)), winner of the 6f The Double F Memorial (and 2nd in the Breeders Bowl Sprint) in 2012, and the G1 winning Ship It Here (Medaglia D’Oro), who won the 9f-T Princess Di Cup in 2016.  Her progeny seem to take after their sire when it comes to best abilities, though 3 of the graded stakes winners scored in dirt sprints.

Expectations: Shipping Tycoon seems to have found his home on the dirt, and now the only remaining question is the distance.  His maiden score was very impressive and shows that he can get the 8f distance, the only question is how critical the pace situation is to his success.  If the pace were soft, he’s have a great chance here, but with some other speedballs running, there’s a bit of a concern that he might get caught up.  With that said, he’s got a lot to live up to with his pedigree, and he may see a jump here in his first 3yo effort.

Watch Level: High

#2 – Maximum Fees (Will Take Charge x Unbridled Storm TB [Dehere x Unbridled]) – Owned by adschus03 – 8/1

Race Record: 1:1-0-0; $33,720

Race History: Maximum Fees may be 1 of only 3 in this race that has run a single time, but he did everything you would want a horse to do in one race.  Debuting on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018, in a 7f dirt MSW, Maximum Fees stalked the pace early, sitting 3 lengths back, before being urged forward and drawing off, cruising to a 1-3/4 length victory.  He earned an 88 SP in the victory.  Maximum Fees will stretch out a little bit here for his first start as a 3yo.

Pedigree: Will Take Charge, a real-world freshman sire in 2018, ranked as the #5 first crop sire in the US.  In the sim, Will Take Charge has been breeding for a few years, but his 2018 crop looks to have taken a bit of a drop from his previous few years, currently ranking #163.  He has 96 3yos that have hit the track to date, with 31 winners succeeding at a 15% rate.  A dirt sire (77% of earnings on dirt), Will Take Charge’s sim progeny have shown a slight preference for sprinting (57% of earnings in sprints), and that evenness is exemplified by his 3yo crop.  His 2018 foals includes one stakes winner, See The Wonder, who picked up a stakes win at 7.5f on the dirt in her first time stretching out in distance, and 2 stakes placed horses, the best of which, Charging Bernie, was a close second in stakes at both 7.5f and 8f on the dirt. Unbridled Storm TB, the 7yo dam of Maximum Fees, was a very impressive horse during her career.  She won 12 races in her 32 race career, including two G2 victories (both at 6.5f on the dirt as a 2yo) and 3 other stakes wins (2 of which were part of the Likin’ It Local series in 2015).  Although she was excellent in dirt sprints as a 2yo, she actually found her best running at 8.25-8.5f later in her career, a distance where she picked up 5 wins and saw her speed figures crack 100 22 times.  Her only other foal to date, Dehere Today TB (Tamarkuz), has also done her best racing in 8-9f dirt routes, where she has won 4 of 19 races (though her last few efforts, including 2 wins, have been in the claiming ranks).

Expectations: With only 1 race in his past, there’s a little bit of unknown when it comes to Maximum Fees.  Will that one race turn out to be his career best?  Was he an early bloomer who excelled as a 2yo?  Was that race just the tip of the iceberg for what he can do?  We really won’t know until we see him race some more.  But one thing is pretty clear, and that’s that his maiden win was a solid score and an impressive race.  And his stalking style fits into this race very well.  There’s a bit of a pedigree question on the sire side as to whether he can get this 8f distance, but based on his first run, I’m going to guess that 8f won’t be an issue.

Watch Level: High

#3 – Left Off (Tale of the Cat x Mu Shu Shi Shi [Super Saver x Tiznow]) – Owned by mpm12 – 8/1

Race Record: 10:1-4-2; $67,809

Race History: The most experienced horse in the field, Left Off will be running in his 11th career race here.  After 2 2nd place finishes in the MSW ranks at 5f (one, a hot race), Stuck in a Trappe was dropped into a $100K 5.5f dirt MCL, where he stalked the pace early before running on to win by a widening 1 length.  That win in April 2018 earned him a decent 68 SP, and also a new owner.  That new owner moved him back into the NW2L allowance ranks, where he struggled in some dirt sprints.  He finally hit the board in a 5f turf NW1x, which got him back on track.  He was shifted back to dirt and saw an impressive 11 point SP bounce in a 2nd place finish in a 7f dirt NW2L, before stretching out to 8.5f and running 2nd (in a race where today’s competitor, Mastery of Humor, finished 5th) and 3rd in career races 8 and 9, earning a career high 88 SP 2 races back while stalking the pace in both efforts.  His most recent race, however, at 9f, saw him struggle a bit, as he was unable to keep up with the competition and, after starting off mid-pack, dropped to the back of the pack, finishing 11th.  He still earned a respectable 85 SP, but he’ll look to bounce back here as he cuts back to 8f in his first 3yo effort.

Pedigree: 8yo dam Mu Shu Shi Shi was the winner of 6 races in her 28 race career, all of which were in dirt routes, primarily in the 8-9f range.  She spent a decent amount of her career in claimers, though she did manage one allowance score.  Her only other foal to race to date, Reason To Say No (Century City (IRE)), has been a successful Indiana-bred, winning 11 of 24 races thus far (mostly in the claiming, hot, and local levels).  The wins have varied on surfaces with most coming in sprints, but her best efforts and speed figures have actually come in routes.  She seems to be running in whatever local races are available, but it wouldn’t surprise me if her preferred distance was 8-10f on the turf.

Expectations: If you ignore the last race, Left Off has really turned a corner over the past 4 races.  The oddsmakers agree, making this former claimer an 8/1 choice in a solid field.  The good news for him is that he tends to sit off the pace, so he shouldn’t get caught up in the speed duel up front.  The bad news is that he hasn’t shown much of a finishing gear in his route efforts thus far, and because of the speed up front, he may be farther back early than he’s used to.  In his first 3yo effort, he showed that he doesn’t really like being behind a lot of horses.  That could be an issue here.

Watch Level: Medium

#4 – Seattle Burner (Dialed In x Awesome Slewarooni [Awesome Again x Seattle Slew]) – Owned by trotking – 8/1

Race Record: 3:1-0-1; $35,230

Race History: Seattle Burner was successful for his owner right of the gate, battling for the lead in a 6.5f dirt MSW back in October 2018 for the first half of the race, before grabbing the lead and not looking back.  He would go on to win that race by 1 length with a 77 SP.  He tried to repeat at 6.5f in a NW2L allowance the next month, but used up too much of his energy trying to set the pace in a sprint, quickly tiring and ending up 8th, 6 lengths back.  So instead, Seattle Burner was stretched out to 8.5f for his 3rd and most recent race.  In that NW2L effort, he found it a little easier to grab the lead and set the pace, which he did for most of the race.  He couldn’t quite hold off one of the closers, and he fell to 3rd, 2.5 lengths back, but it was a very respectable performance that earned him a career high 90 SP, a 15 point jump over his previous race.  The 2nd place horse from that most recent effort came back in an 8f open allowance and ran 2nd with a 96 SP.  Seattle Burner also cuts back a half furlong here to try his hand at 8f for the first time.

Pedigree: Dialed In, winner of the 2011 Florida Derby, has been a relatively successful new sire in the real world, ranking #34 in 2018 (and the #3 third-crop sire).  Standing for $25,000, his sim progeny have not been quite as successful as their real world counterparts.  His foals ballooned in 2018, with 109 runners to date (well above his earlier numbers).  Those 3yos have won at a 13% rate, with 46 winners to date.  Among those are 4 stakes winners, all coming in sprints (3 dirt, 1 turf).  Much like those stakes winners, his progeny generally are dirt sprinters, with 67% of earnings on the dirt and 58% in sprints.  Thus far in his sim stud career, Dialed In has only had 1 graded stakes winner, MTK Is Dialed In, a G2 winner at 7f on the dirt.  It’s a little surprising, but Seattle Burner is only the first foal from 17yo dam Awesome Slewarooni, who was the winner of a 10f dirt residency-restricted stakes (and 5 other races) in her 31 race career.  She last ran in 2009, but has been sitting on the shelf since then, which is impressive considering her pedigree and on-track success.  That success was mostly achieved in 8-9f dirt routes, but she actually showed some solid ability late in her career on turf.  An Awesome Again mare has been sent to Dialed In 4 other times in the past 4 years, all but one of whom have seen their best runs in dirt sprints.

Expectations: Seattle Burner takes after his name.  He’s a burner, and he is expected to battle the hot pace in this race.  My thought, based on the fact that his maiden win came out of a 2nd place positioning early, is that he might not have the speed of another in this race, but he also doesn’t need the lead to win.  In fact, he may be better off trying to save just enough juice to pick off a tiring pacesetter or two.  The 90 SP that he put up last time is the 2nd highest in the field, I’m just worried that he’s gonna get too caught up on the front end and burn out here, and the sire side of his pedigree isn’t helpful there.  He’s got talent though.

Watch Level: High

#5 – Gray Alliance (Stephanoatsee x Gray Niner [Graydar x Forty Niner]) – Owned by gnokenny1 – 14/1

Race Record: 9:1-2-0; $42,233

Race History: Grey Alliance is one of the wise old veterans in this race, having run 9 times in 2018.  His maiden victory came back in his debut in January 2018 in a 4.5f MSW.  There, he took on a field of 11 and set the pace, holding his lead and pulling away at the wire to win by 1 length.  Since then, however, Grey Alliance has struggled at the NW2L level.  In 8 tries thus far, he has managed only 2 2nd place finishes.  On the plus side, he has seen a nice progression in speed figures since stretching out to routes, and 2 back posted a career high 86 SP in a 4th place finish (the winner from that race followed it with a 4th place finish in a G3).  He comes into this race off of a solid 2nd place finish in an 8f NW2L allowance, where he finished 2 lengths back after stalking the pace early and earning an 85 SP.

Pedigree: Stephanoatsee, a son of A.P. Indy and half-brother to Shackleford, currently stands in NY but entered stud in 2016, so he has not seen any foals hit the real track yet.  In the sim, the basement-priced sire has had 79 runners thus far, with 49 in the 2018 crop.  Of those 49, 18 have won races at an 11% clip.  Of all 79 runners, only 7 have thus far been successful at the allowance level, and only 1 of those has been outside of the Hot or Local levels.  Most of his earnings have come in dirt sprints (63% dirt, 74% sprint), though the best speed figures from his progeny have come in longer races.  Gray Niner, the 7yo he-mare of Gray Alliance, was the winner of 7 from 34 races in his career.  His best races came in the 8-9f range, and he was a 3-time residency-stakes placed horse in dirt routes, earning a max speed figure of 105 in one of those 2nd place finishes. As a he-mare, Gray Alliance will be Gray Niner’s only foal.

Expectations: Gray Alliance has stalked the pace in his 3 prior route attempts, but it wasn’t until his last effort that he found some success.  He might need a softer pace to keep up with the front and still have something at the end, but his improvement in speed figures over his last 2 races indicates some potential here.  The only question is whether he can take yet another jump as a 3yo.

Watch Level: Medium

#6 – Special Outing (Ad Infinitum x Ivoj Nob Noj [Special Week x Kingmambo] – Owned by magpies2 – 24/1

Race Record: 1:1-0-0; $23,580

Race History: Special Outing is one of 3 horses in this race with only 1 career race, but he is probably the most inexperienced.  That 1 race was a 5 horse password-restricted MSW held by the URC residency.  The race required a sire whose damsire was Miswaki, which resulted in 3 horses by The Factor.  Of course, they were all upset by this Utah-bred who jumped out to the lead and never looked back.  He opened up a 2 length lead early and held it the entire way around the 8f oval, earning a career best 75 SP in the process at the end of December 2018.  Unfortunately, the field is a little suspect, as 4th and 5th from that race would each regress, running last and second to last in their next try at the MSW level.  This will be Special Outing’s first try against winners…or even non-first time starters.

Pedigree: Ad Infinitum, a winner of 3 races in 13 starts, stands in Utah but I can’t find much information about him in real life.  It’s a little easier in the sim, where his 3yo crop includes 13 runners to date.  7 of those have been victorious, winning at an 8% clip (well below his older progeny’s 15% rate), though none of those 7 have been successful above the HOT level.  His 233 career sim foals has produced only 1 graded stakes winners, but he seemed to peak in the 2014-15 years (where he crop ballooned to 81 runners, before dropping back down).  In the last 3 years, he has sired no stakes winners.  In general, his progeny tend to be dirt sprinters (70% earnings on dirt, 67% in sprints).  Special Outing is the 4th foal of 9yo mare Ivoj Nob Noj, a turf router who won 7 races in her 27 race career.  That includes 2 stakes placed efforts, the most impressive of which was a career best 110 SP in a 2nd place finish in an 8f turf stakes.  Her 3 older children have each taken down at least one allowance in their racing careers, but they’re all across the board when it comes to preferred distances and surfaces.

Expectations: Special Outing did exactly what he was bred to do – he won a residency race that clinched a competition for his owner, Punter34.  But the world gets a little more difficult when leaving the friendly confines of residency-restricted races.  And here, this is a tough field to test when tackling winners in open company for the first time.  Still, it’ll be very interesting to see how the race plays out.  Special Outing set a pretty quick pace in his maiden win, and although I’m guessing that he doesn’t have the same speed as a couple of others in this race, I could easily be wrong and he could end up as the pacesetter.  The benefits of this Future Stars Series are that when you’ve got a runner with only 1 career race, and that race was an easy victory, you don’t really know what’s going to happen from there.

Watch Level: Medium

#7 – Giant Pioneer (Pioneerof The Nile x Forty Niner x Giant’s Causeway) – Owned by ddkstables35 – 6/1 (f-t)

Race Record: 4:1-0-0; $36,642

Race History: Giant Pioneer scored as the favorite in his debut at 6.5f on the good dirt track at NY in July 2018.  In that race, he had no interest sitting in the gate, darting out as soon as the doors opened and continuing to widen his pacesetting lead, from ½ length, to 1 length, to 2 lengths, before finally easing up and winning by 1-1/4, earning a 77 SP in the process.  The 2nd place horse from that MSW would go on to break his maiden next time out at 8f.  Giant Pioneer, meanwhile, stumbled when taking a big leap into stakes company, battling for the lead in the 7f event early before faltering late and finishing 11th.  He took a drop in class and distance, trying a NW2L allowance at 6.5f next time out, where he again battled for the lead before dropping back to 4th.  Stretching out to 8.5f in his most recent race, Giant Pioneer was finally able to use his sprint speed to get in front, but the jockey couldn’t quite harness that speed and Giant Pioneer took off, opening up by 6 in the backstretch before faltering and finishing 3-3/4 lengths back in 4th.  His speed figures have been improving in each of his four races, however, and the most recent effort did earn him a career high 88 SP.

Pedigree: Pioneerof The Nile, who was a solid racehorse in his own right during his career, is probably most famous now as the sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, which led to a current stud fee of $110,000 for the #36 ranked US sire of 2018.  He has also been a solid sim sire, as his 2018 crop currently ranks #49, the worst ranking of the past 4 years for the sire.  That may change as his foals start hitting longer races, as 60% of his progeny earnings have come in route races, and the older progeny have seen much better speed figures in routes.  They also prefer the dirt, with 74% of earnings from dirt races.  The 3yo crop includes 136 runners to date, with 68 winners winning at an 18% rate, on par with Pioneerof The Nile’s average.  Among those runners are 3 stakes winners, all three of whom have found that success in route races (though 2 of those 3 horses earned those stakes wins on turf).  The Pioneerof The Nile x Forty Niner cross has been used 11 times in the past 4 years (13 times total), including 2 other 3yos.  Those 2 others have only won 1 combined race (from 10 races total), with one only having run in sprints and one finally hitting his stride in routes.  The cross has one graded stakes winner, Take What’s Given, a 4-time G1 winner who was 3rd in the Breeders Bowl Juvenile Filly in 2017 and threw a clunker in the 2018 Breeders Bowl F and M Sprint (though she came into that race having won her last 4, including the G1 Chestnut Stakes and 2 other G1s).

Expectations: Giant Pioneer has a lot of speed, and it’s pretty safe to say that he’ll be using it to set the pace here.  That’s where he’s had success in the past, and that’s where he wants to be.  The real question is whether he can settle down and save some of that speed for the final furlong.  O. Brim wasn’t able to settle him last time, but hopefully the jockey has learned from the last race as he gets the mount again here. He cuts back a half furlong in distance here, which should help him, and now that he has a route race under his belt, he may be able to more properly harness that energy as a 3yo.

Watch Level: High

#8 – Landeskog (Nyquist x Crestwood [Medaglia D’Oro x Roar]) – Owned by alohabold – 10/1

Race Record: 3:1-0-1; $39,340

Race History: This race was made for Landeskog, as he is the horse that sponsor alohabold has entered here.  And, not surprisingly, he looks like a good fit for this one.  His 3 previous races have all been in sprints, and he started his career at 6.5f on the dirt.  In that MSW, Landeskog sat towards the back early before showing a closing burst, finishing ¾ length back in 3rd.  He stalled a bit in his second race at 7f where he caught a very solid field (the winner came back to run 2nd with a 91 SP in an allowance, and 3rd and 4th both followed up with MSW wins).  But that 2nd race may have been a blip, as he came back in a 7f MSW in December 2018 and took things up a notch.  He sat midpack early, about 4 lengths off the leads, before showing the same gear he had in his first race, closing, grabbing the lead, and then pulling away to win by 1 length and earned a career best 89 SP.  Few have come back to the track from Landeskog’s maiden victory, but the 4th place horse did break his maiden in his next race, at 4.5f on the turf.  Landeskog will try routing for the first time here in his first race of 2019.

Pedigree: Nyquist’s 2018 sim crop currently ranks 53rd, with 118 runners and 54 winners.  Those 54 winners have been successful in 17.2% of their races.  The 3yo crop includes 6 stakes winners, one of whom, Nadera, is a G1 winner who finished 6th in the 2018 Breeders Bowl Juvenile Filly and is currently the #1 ranked 3yo dirt route filly.  The progeny of Nyquist prefer the dirt (83% earnings on dirt), and he has seen success in both sprints and routes.  His highest speed figures have come in sprints for the 3yo class, though speed figures have improved at longer distances as his progeny age.  Crestwood, Landeskog’s 12yo dam, was a dirt sprinter through and through, winning 9 of 34 races in her career, all in dirt sprints.  The 6 other foals from Crestwood, of which 3 have picked up allowance-level wins, have varied in their preferred distances, though almost all have preferred dirt to turf.  Her best foal to date, Highpointe (JPN) (Empire Maker), did most of his best running at 10f, and is stakes placed at the distance (though he was beaten 14 lengths in that race).  The Nyquist x Medaglia D’Oro cross has been popular recently, used 5 other times in the past 2 years, and although none of those 5 have seen too much success on the track, there does seem to be an improvement as distances increase.

Expectations: The second race of Landeskog’s career is kind of a head scratcher, as he struggled to keep up with other horses, but when coming back at the same level 2 months later, he blew away his competition.  I’m left thinking that I should just ignore that race.  And if I do that, Landeskog looks very strong on paper.  He’s a horse that will sit midpack or towards the back, but has the speed to close, and he looks like he’ll get a hot pace in this race.  His pedigree also suggests that he’ll have no problem getting the 8f distance.  He seems like a solid pick here.

Watch Level: High

#9 – Rained For Forty (Bernardini x Forty Niner x Storm Cat) – Owned by zkingab2 – 7/1

Race Record: 4:1-0-1; $40,535

Race History: If there’s one thing you can say about Rained For Forty, this scratch bred horse is consistent.  He went off as the 3/1 second choice in his debut at 6.5f on the dirt in July 2018 and bolted out of the gate, never looking back.  He opened up a 2 length lead late in the stretch before gearing down to win by 1-1/2 lengths, earning a 79 SP. The 3rd place runner from that debut came back to break his maiden next time out at 8f.  For Rained For Forty, however, the jump to allowance ranks wasn’t accompanied by a jump in ability.  He has run roughly the same race 3 straight times, including a dirt sprint, a dirt route, and a turf route, sitting just off the pace early and staying steady without really threatening the winner.  His most recent run, on the 6.5f turf, saw him earn a career high 82 SP in a 3rd place finish, but he has been in the 79-82 SP range in all 4 races.  He returns to the dirt here for his first race of 2019.

Pedigree: 2006 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini was the #33 ranked US sire in 2018 and currently stands for $50,000.  His sim 3yo crop was not quite as good, currently ranking #51, which is one of Bernardini’s lowest rankings.  However, that may be due to the fact that his sim progeny love some added distance, with 70% of earnings coming in routes (and 67% on dirt), while the now-3yo crop has not had much of a chance to stretch out yet.  Of the 167 runners from the 3yo class to date, 82 have found the winners circle, scoring at a 14.5% clip.  That crop includes 3 stakes winners, two of which have been successful in dirt sprints. The third, Glaring Tide, also a Bernardini x Forty Niner colt, took home a turf route stakes.  Rained For Forty is one scratch bred that looks like he can run for days with the addition of Forty Niner in the DS slot.  Forty Niner is the 2nd most popular DS for Bernardini (trailing only Storm Cat, Rained For Forty’s DDS), with 71 sim horses being the product of that cross.  21 of those have been bred in the last 4 years, and 3 of those 21 are stakes winners (2 in dirt routes, 1 in a turf route).  In addition, 2 of the other 20 are also full Bernardini x Forty Niner x Storm Cat horses; 4yo Faces of Arya, a winner of 2 9-10f dirt routes from 10 races, and 4yo Mystic Number, a winner of 2 turf routes in 14 starts.

Expectations: Rained For Forty had an interesting approach in his first 8f race, where he sat farther off the pace than he has in any of his 3 sprints.  To me, that suggests one of two things – either he’ll try to be more forwardly placed in this race, or he might not have the stamina to get 8f.  The pedigree suggests that stamina might not be a problem, so I would instead expect Rained For Forty to battle for the lead here.  But just because a pedigree suggests something doesn’t mean that it happens every time, so we’ll see if he’s able to succeed at this distance.

Watch Level: Medium

#10 – Gold Medal Champ (Best of the Bests  x Bilodeau [Medaglia D’Oro x Distorted Humor]) – Owned by boileau8 – 22/1

Race Record: 4:1-0-1; $27,960

Race History: After a 6th place debut in a local MSW, Gold Medal Champ actually jumped up to the local allowance ranks, and held his own with a 3rd place finish in a 5f NW1x. He returned to the MSW level and promptly struggled, finishing 7th at 7f, before stretching out to 8f in December 2018 and scoring in a big way, winning by 1-1/2 lengths and earning an 84 SP, a 15 point jump from his prior best effort.  That most recent effort saw Gold Medal Champ sit towards the back early, before moving up on the far turn and grabbing the lead in the stretch, pulling away from other closers.  This was his first time dropping that far out early, but he showed an additional gear in doing so.  Unfortunately, the field from his most recent race doesn’t seem to be the strongest, as 3 of his competitors headed the MCL ranks right after, and only 1 broke his maiden there.

Pedigree: Best of the Bests (IRE), a son of Machiavellian that died in 2015, was the #85 ranked Canadian sire in 2018.  He was a late removal in the sim, so the 2018 crop was his final one.  That crop includes 11 runners, and Gold Medal Champ is the only winner among them, leaving his 3yos at a 3% win rate.  Historically his horses have aged a little better, as the 3 previous crops have all seen 10 winners from the 12-13 foal crops.  Best of the Bests’ foals tend to prefer turf routes (64% earnings on turf, 58% in routes), though one of his 3 career graded stakes winners (of 302 total runners) did so on the dirt.  Gold Medal Champ is the second foal from 7yo mare Bilodeau.  Bilodeau was a multiple restricted-stakes placed filly in her racing career, winning 2 of 22 career races.  Both wins, and her best career races, came at the 8-9f distances on the dirt.  Her first son, Nile of Gold (Pioneerof the Nile), has yet to hit the board at the allowance level in 9 tries (12 career starts), though he has shown some of the same closing ability as Gold Medal Champ showed in his most recent race.

Expectations: Gold Medal Champ’s most recent race, his maiden breaking run, was a significant style change and one that worked out well for him there.  It was also his first route effort, so it’s possible that he just needed the extra distance to achieve his full potential.  However, I’m a little skeptical given the field that he was up against, and I think he’ll need to outkick some better horses here if he has a chance to win.  Still, if he can improve on his last race in his first 3yo attempt, he’s got a solid chance here.

Watch Level: Medium

#11 – Mastery of Humor (Mastery x Comare [Distorted Humor x Heatseeker]) – Owned by waiting – 15/1

Race Record: 5:1-0-0; $34,694

Race History: Mastery of Humor looked solid in his first effort at 7f back in July 2018, where he sat just off the pace early before pouncing and pulling away to win by 1-1/2 lengths.  In that race, he earned a strong 79 SP.  The horse he beat in that one would stretch out to take a MSW and a NW2L in 2 of his next 3 races.  Mastery of Humor, however, seemed to regress, first struggling in an 8f NW2L tiring to 6th, and then looking sluggish in a 5f NW2L, seeing speed figures drop into the 60s in both efforts.  He has tried NW2L races 2 more times since hitting rock bottom in that 5f race, once at 8.5f on the dirt and once at 7f on the turf.  The results weren’t there either time, finishing 5th in the 8.5f race and a dull 7th in the turf effort.  However, he earned a career high 82 SP in the 8.5f dirt try 2 races back (in which today’s competitor, Left Off, ran 3rd, and which saw the winner try, but falter, in a stakes the next time out), and an 80 SP in the turf race, so his trainer has done a good job getting Master of Humor refocused.

Pedigree: Mastery, a multiple G1 winner at 7f-8.5f, entered stud in 2018 so has no real life progeny to hit a track.  In the sim, however, his freshman year was a decent showing, as he has 66 horses to have hit the track to date.  From those 66, 31 found the winner’s circle, winning at a 14% rate.  None of those 66 runners has found the ultimate success in stakes races, but 2 have gotten close (one in a residency-restricted stakes).  Mastery’s progeny have earned 72% of earnings on dirt thus far, and the speed figures of his 3yo crop indicate abilities in both sprints and routes.  Mastery of Humor is the second foal from 8yo mare Comare, who was the winner of 6 from 32 races in her career.  Although she bounced back and forth between dirt sprints and routes, and has a 4th place finish in a 6.5f dirt stakes, her best races seemed to come at the 8.5-9f distance.  Likewise, her first foal, Active Shooter (Bernardini), has also found her best running in dirt routes (or longer), with the stamina to easily get the 10-12f distances.

Expectations: In an ideal world, Mastery of Humor would probably like to sit just off the pace.  But the pace in this race is going to be fast, and Mastery of Humor doesn’t have the gate speed of some of the others in this race, so he’s more likely to sit mid-pack here.  That could be an issue for him, as he has never really showed much of a second gear to get to the leaders, and will instead need them to come to him.  He’ll hope for a turf to dirt bump in this race, but the field here might be a little too tough for him at this early point in his career.

Watch Level: Low

#12 – Neptune Beach (Savabeel (AUS) x Thunda Tee Gee [Thunder Gulch x Bugatti Reef]) – Owned by gustav – 17/1

Race Record: 8:1-1-1; $55,076

Race History: Neptune Beach was eased into racing and has seen increasing distances for 8 straight races.  So it’s tough to tell how much of his early slowness was due to being a young 2yo or not having enough distance.  He frequently showed he had more stamina, but it wasn’t until race #7, an MSW at 8.5f and his second try at routing, that he finally broke through.  Following a 2nd place finish in an 8f MSW, he came back in November 2018 to show his extreme closing kick, dropping over 10 lengths out of the race early before flying home in the stretch and winning by 1-3/4, earning a career best 86 SP in the process.  3rd in that maiden would come back to break his maiden with a 93 SP next time out.  Neptune Beach’s first try at the NW2L level in his 2019 debut didn’t go quite as well, as he dropped back early and had no kick, beating 12 lengths.

Pedigree: Savabeel, the 2004 Cox Plate winner, currently stands in NZ for $60,000 and was the #27 ranked Oceanic sire in 2018.  He may be New Zealand’s leading sire in the real world, but his sim progeny have not fared quite as well. His 2018 crop is currently ranked #228, with 25 winners from 67 runners who have succeeded at a 10% rate.  The 3yo group includes only one stakes placed horse, Ryans Approach, who has been successful at the 5.5-6f turf distance, where he has missed in 3 ungraded stakes races by a combined 1-1/4 length.  The turf is unsurprising, as 75% of his progeny earnings have come on the sod, although his foals do see to get better with distance, as 58% of earnings have come in routes.  As a note, Savabeel is only 3 years removed from a #46 ranked crop in 2015, which includes 15 stakes winners (and 3 Graded Stakes winners) from 120 runners. Neptune Beach’s dam, 11yo Thunda Tee Gee, was a winner of 3 from 31 career races.  She was 5th in her only stakes try, at 9.5f on the dirt, but found most of her success at the 8-9f distances.  Neptune Beach is her 6th foal, and although none have reached the stakes level, 3 of the 5 have succeeded in the allowance ranks, and all three of those have found their best runs in dirt routes. Savabeel has been used with a Thunder Gulch mare 3 times (none in the past 4 years), and the 2 others are a combined 3 for 58 lifetime.

Expectations: Neptune Beach is going to need a fast pace to run into, as he is a deep closer.  He cuts back in distance here, which could be worrisome as it gives him less time to catch the leaders, but he’s shown some skill at this distance in the maiden ranks and may be able to do it again here.  There’s definitely a red flag from his first race as a 3yo, where he regressed from his 2yo campaign, but it’s possible that 9f is just too far for him, in which case this race sets up perfectly.

Watch Level: Medium

#13 – Serve In Honor (Nyquist x Lincecums Hair [To Honor and Serve x Medaglia D’Oro]) – Owned by revnhusker – 7/1

Race Record: 2:1-1-0; $45,895

Race History: He may only have 2 races under his belt, but Serve In Honor comes into this race as arguably the most distinguished in the field.  He began his career in November 2018 in a 6f dirt MSW and sat about 4 lengths off a loose leader before his jockey pounced in the stretch, pulling past all of the other horses and taking the winner’s photo 1 length in front of the horse that sat 2nd early.  That 2nd place horse came back to break his maiden at 6f next time out, and then followed that up with a 3rd place finish in a 6.5f dirt stakes.  So it’s unsurprising that Serve In Honor earned an 88 SP for his debut win.  He was then stretched out to 8.5f in his 2nd race, a NW2L allowance, and he again sat about 4 lengths off of a loose leader.  That loose leader ran out of gas, but another closer had the first run and pulled away, leaving Serve In Honor to settle for 2nd, 2-1/2 lengths behind the winner, earning a career (and field) best 92 SP.  The winner from Serve In Honor’s most recent race, A.P. Exaggerator, is the 7/1 second choice in a 8.5f dirt stakes on Saturday.  Meanwhile, Serve In Honor will repeat at the NW2L level.

Pedigree: Nyquist is discussed above under Landeskog.  Serve In Honor is the 2nd foal from 8yo mare Lincecums Hair, a horse that spent nearly her entire career in dirt sprints.  That career included 12 wins in 32 races, though most of that time was spent in the claiming ranks (only 2 of those wins were in allowances).  Her first foal, M. H. Gilford (Shackleford), likewise has spent his time in dirt sprints, though only the only one of his 4 wins in 31 career starts that was at the Allowance level was in a NW1x.

Expectations: Serve In Honor may not have the flash of some of the other pedigrees in this race, and he might not have the gate speed of others, but this horse has some serious potential.  He has already put up two very strong races, and his running style where he sits several lengths off the pacesetter should help here.  In his last 2 races, he has had to deal with loose pacesetters, and he’s handled both of them.  This time, he should get a heated pace duel, making it even easier for him to catch those.  The only question is whether a closer will get first run over him.  But him hitting the board here is your best bet of the race.

Watch Level: High

#14 – Stuck In A Trappe (Trappe Shot x Charmed II [Silver Charm x Gone West]) – Owned by fabman49 – 15/1

Race Record: 1:1-0-0; $23,580

Race History: Stuck in a Trappe debuted back in December 2018 in a 5f dirt MSW.  In that race, like others in this field, he blitzed out of the gate and grabbed the lead, sitting 1-1/2 lengths in front the entire way around the oval.  He held on to win by 1-1/4, earning an 83 SP.  The pace in that 5f race may have been a little slower than some of the others put up in this field, or the field wasn’t particularly strong, as the 2nd place horse chased Stuck in a Trappe the entire way around the course and remained another 1 length clear of 3rd.  The only horses to have come back to the track from that race were ones towards the back of the pack, who repeated in back-of-the-pack performances in their next races.

Pedigree: Trappe Shot, a dirt sprinter in real life, stands for $7,500 but has really come on in the last couple of years, ranking #61 in the US in 2018.  A bargain sire, Trappe Shot was used as a sire 20 times in his 2018 crop, a drop of over 50% from previous years.  Of those 20, 8 have picked up a win (at a 13% rate), with the best thus far, Surprise Packet, being stakes placed at 8.5f on the dirt.  Trappe Shot’s progeny are primarily dirt sprinters like their father, with 77% of earnings coming on the dirt and 59% in sprints.  Historically, Trappe Shot has had 4 graded stakes winners in the sim, with his best, Silver Shot K, most successful in 8-9f dirt routes (she was 2nd in both the 2014 Bluegrass Oaks and the 2015 Breeders Bowl Distaff). It was an interesting journey to this breeding for 19yo mare Charmed II, as she was retired back in 2005, but Stuck in a Trappe is only her 2nd foal.  Her career included 34 races, of which she was victorious in 5.  She was a sprinter throughout her career, with 4 of her wins coming in dirt sprints.  Most of those were in the claiming and starter allowance ranks, as she only picked up 1 allowance win in her career (which came in a turf sprint).  Charmed II showed some ability on turf early in her career, but her fastest races came on dirt.  Her first foal, 16yo Crazyrider (Tapit), was much more successful in her career, winning 11 of 40 races, all in dirt sprints.  Crazyrider really loved the claiming ranks, as she was 6 for 6 in dirt sprint claimers, but those 11 wins do include 3 allowance-level wins.  Crazyrider has been a very popular mare in the sim, having been bred 10 times, but Charmed II got lost in the shuffle so it’ll be interesting to see if time has been generous to this mare.  The Trappe Shot x Silver Charm cross has been used 2 other times in the sim (both 5 years ago), and one of those, Ole Conrad Proctor, is a multiple stakes placed horse at 7f on the dirt.

Expectations: With one race under his belt, Stuck In A Trappe is a little bit unknown.  His first race was a solid victory, but the field looks possibly suspect and this is a big leap from 5f to 8f while taking on winners for the first time.  There are two main red flags here.  The first is that he looks like another sprint pacesetter in a field with several of them.  The other is that both his sire and his dam seem to prefer dirt sprints, making it very questionable whether he can get the distance here.  Stuck in a Trappe is definitely one to watch, but my uneducated guess is that he tires out in this race.

Watch Level: Medium

That’s your field for this California NW2L Allowance.  I’m notoriously bad at judging pace here in the sim, but this race looks to me like it sets up to be a fast one.  Giant Pioneer looks like he’ll do anything to be the pacesetter, but I can easily see Seattle Burner, Stuck in a Trappe, Rained For Forty, Shipping Tycoon, and Special Outing battling for it as well.  This race looks pretty wide open to me.  I’m gonna go with (1) Serve In Honor, (2) Landeskog, (3) Maximum Fees.  But if there’s one takeaway from these past few weeks, it’s that I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to these predictions.

Other races to watch this weekend:

1)      Kentucky – Alw NW2L @ 6f (Fillies)

2)      Florida – Alw NW2L @ 7.5f (Fillies)

3)      California – Allowance @ 8f

4)      Berkshire (ENG) – Allowance @ 8.25f (Fillies)

5)      Florida – Allowance NW2L @ 8f-T

6)      Kentucky – Alw NW2L @ 8.5f

7)      Thailand – Alw NW2L @ 7.5f-T

8)      Texas – Alw NW2L @ 7f-T

9)      New Jersey – Alw NW2L @ 7f-T (Fillies)

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Jan 252019
 

First, a quick recap of last week’s race.  I predicted a hot pace with at least 5 different horses battling for the lead.  So of course, the pace ended up being very relaxed, with only 1 horse even bothering to try to grab the lead.  That horse was Silly Magic, who ran the first quarter mile in a mild 23.10.  Bospityev sat just off of that in 2nd, and then pounced on the far turn, grabbing the lead from Silly Magic and never looking back.  Bospityev pulled ahead and drew away to win by 1-1/2 lengths, earning a 92 SP as the 14/1 second longshot and showing that she could handle route races just fine (again, contrary to my earlier prediction).  Betting favorite Henty Iron was the only horse from off the pace that showed any speed, as she made a solid move in the stretch to finish 2nd and looking like she might enjoy some longer distances.  Silly Magic dropped back a little, but still put in a solid run, finishing 2 lengths behind the winner in 3rd.

This week, the Future Stars Series goes international! We head to the City of Lights, Paris, France, where 12 3yo colts have gotten together to compete in a NW2L Allowance at 8 furlongs on the turf.  The field is:

#1 – Sunset Ave (Gleneagles x Consul at Sunset [Lemon Drop Kid x Starcraft (NZ)]) – Owned by bonk28 – 15/1

Race Record: 1:1-0-0; $3,000

Race History: Sunset Ave made a late debut as a 2yo, kicking off his career in December 2018 in a HOT MSW in Ireland.  The race was at 8 furlongs on the turf, but it was a “get ready and go” hot race, so only 4 runners entered, 2 of which were *CPU horses.  The race was the home of 2 debuts from non-CPU horses though, and Sunset Ave sat just off one of the CPU horses early, before that colt tired and Sunset Ave found himself way in front.  He cruised to a 2-1/2 length victory, earning a 74 SP in the process.

Pedigree: Gleneagles, a champion turf miler, entered stud in 2016 so does not have any horses to hit the track yet.  In the sim, he has been solid so far.  His 2018 class includes 109 runners to date, of which 49 have scored a victory, winning at a 13.5% rate (well below the 19% of his older classes).  Gleneagles sim progeny seem to improve as they age, which makes some sense, given that his progeny prefer turf routes (85% earnings on turf, 62% in routes).  The 3yo crop includes 2 stakes winners, one of whom, Paradise Dreams, took home The Juvenile Filly-G1 at 8f-T back in December, and is currently the #4 ranked 3yo turf route filly.  Also among his first 3 sim crops is Sim Eclipse Award winner Walder Frey, who won the 2017 3yo Turf Colt of the Year.  Sunset Ave is the first foal from Consul at Sunset, a 6yo stakes placed mare, who won 13 of 29 races in her career.  Most of those races came in turf routes, where she excelled at longer 9-12f races.

Expectations: It’s tough to know what to expect here, when this colt is coming straight from a hot race with minimal competition.  But with that said, Sunset Ave did what you would want to see a horse do at that level; he dominated a race.  The speed figure may not be at the top of this race, but it didn’t need to be.  I don’t expect him to be on the lead here, and I expect him to be midpack, several lengths off the lead.  At 15/1, he may be the 2nd longshot on the board, but he’s a live one.

Watch Level: Medium

#2 – Kymarc Cap (Red Rocks x Alycap [Marscay x Alydar]) – Owned by kymar26 – 8/1

Race Record: 5:1-2-1; $60,160

Race History: Gelded before his first start, Kymarc Cap took 4 races to finally break his maiden, though he was in each of the 3 races prior to that win.  In his debut race at 5.5f-T, Kymarc Cap sat midpack early and then closed, pulling within 1 length of the winner, who would go on to win a residency stakes (and open stakes placed), and finished ¼ length ahead of a horse who would go on to be stakes placed at 8.5f-T.  In his second race, at 6f-T, he finished 3rd, 1 length behind a horse that is G3-placed at 8f-T (though still a maiden).  In Kymarc Cap’s 4th career race, in October 2018, he was finally stretched out to 8f-T, and he showed his affinity for longer races.  He stalked the pace early, and then pounced in the backstretch, pulling ahead and opening up lengths on the field, before cruising to a 2-1/2 length victory and earning an 87 SP, a career best.  His first try at the NW2L level, however, did not go as well.  Kymarc Cap didn’t break as well in the 8.5f-T race, and had to sit midpack early.  He couldn’t keep up with some of the others, and finished 8th, earning an 83 SP.  The winner of the NW2L repeated in a 7f-T stakes on January 20, while the 3rd and 6th place finishers also came back to win NW2L races next time out.

Pedigree: Kymarc Cap is a member of Red Rocks’ last crop, as the sire passed away in 2018.  Winner of the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Turf, Red Rocks excelled in long distance turf races in his career.  In the sim, his 3yo crop includes 22 runners, of which 9 have won with an 8% win rate (well below the 15% win rate that Red Rocks progeny typically have).  One member of the crop has a 4th place finish in a stakes race, but otherwise there is nothing of note to date.  In total, Red Rocks has 1 Graded Stakes winner in the sim, 8yo gelding Wu Tang Adjacent (Dynaformer), who could run all day and was strongest at 16f.  Kymarc Cap is the also the last foal of 21yo mare Alycap, a winner of 2 from 19 races in her career.  A pure sprinter, her past performances show that she was on the rise as a 5yo when she was finally retired.  Her best foal of the 12 is 12yo multiple G3-winner Argyle Star (Elusive Quality), who was very successful at 8f-T in his career (including a 2nd place finish in the G1 Sydney Mile in 2011).  Additionally, Alycap has 1 other stakes winner (a dirt sprinter) and 3 stakes-placed horses.  Kymarc Cap is the full brother of 4yo Red Alycap (Red Rocks), who was stakes placed at 6.5f-T as a 2yo in a heavily raced career that saw her run 37 times in her 2yo-3yo seasons.

Expectations: Kymarc Cap would like to sit just off the pace in this race, and hopes that the pace won’t be too quick up front.  If he can sit up front early, he’s got the ability to get the first run on some of the others coming from behind.  He’s faced stiff competition in the past and has shown some ability that could put him near the top today.  The question is whether he can bounce back from the dull 8th last time out.

Watch Level: Medium

#3 – English Towne (Wootton Bassett (GB) x Rockette [Street Cry x El Prado]) – Owned by gunbow – 11/1

Race Record: 5:1-0-0; $36,810

Race History: English Towne kicked off his career in rough fashion, missing the board in each of his first 3 starts on turf.  But after getting 1 8f race under his belt, he showed some improvement in his 4th race, an 8.5f-T MSW back in October 2018.  In that race, English Towne caught a slow pace and sat 3rd, 1-1/4 off of the pace early.  From there, he moved up and grabbed the lead in the stretch, pulling away to win by 1-1/2 and earning an 81 SP (the pacesetter stuck around, finishing 2nd).  He came back in an 8.5f-T Local NW1x, but couldn’t quite hang with the top horses in that one, gaining ground briefly before finishing a well-beaten 4th.  It was a solid field, as the winner came back to run 2nd in a 9.5f-T stakes and the 2nd place horse came back to take a 9f-T NW2L by 2-1/4 lengths, and English Towne earned a career-best 84 SP for the 4th place effort.

Pedigree: Wootton Bassett (GB) was a G1 winner at 7f back in 2010, and his stud fee increased to $40,000 this year after some successful real-world progeny (up from $6,000 initially).  His 2018 sim crop includes 45 winners from 88 runners, winning at a 16.5% clip, well above his 12% overall rate.  His 2018 class is currently ranked #95 overall, which is his highest ranking to date, indicating that his abilities may have been boosted in recent years.  Among the 2018 class is 1 stakes winner (1 of only 2 all-time for Wootton Bassett) and 1 G2-placed gelding, both of which have been most successful in 6f turf sprints.  That’s where Wootton Bassett’s progeny typically live, with 68% of earnings coming on turf and 69% in sprints.  Rockette, the 15yo dam of English Towne, spent most of her 30 race career in longer turf races (10f-12f), and she picked up a stakes placing in a 4 horse field.  In total, she was 3 for 30.  English Towne is the 10th foal of Rockette, and 8 of the previous 9 have picked up at least 1 allowance win.  Rocky Rockette (Stormy Atlantic) is the only stakes winner of the group, succeeding in both turf and dirt sprints, though in general her progeny have found easy spots in which to find success.  Wootton Bassett was bred to a Street Cry mare 3 times in 2018, and although none have yet won above the maiden level, all 3 (including English Towne) have been improving as they stretch out on the turf.

Expectations: English Towne is another one in this race that is hoping for a soft pace.  He likely won’t sit on the pace, preferring to stalk or come from mid-pack, but he doesn’t seem to have the closing kick as some others.  So he’ll need some help on the front end to keep himself closer and the closers at bay.  He last race may look a little concerning based on the result, but he caught 2 solid horses and narrowly missed 3rd, so he may be able to move forward off of that run.  If he does, he’s got some potential here.

Watch Level: Low

#4 – Monk Brew (Redoute’s Choice x Dynaformer x Kingmambo) – Owned by deyoto10 – 5/1 (f-t)

Race Record: 2:1-0-0; $31,484

Race History: Monk Brew began his career in October 2018, entering a huge field of 18 in a 4.5f turf MSW.  He showed some ability, running 5th, but it wasn’t until he was given some room to run in his 2nd race that he really hinted at promise.  In December 2018, Monk Brew was stretched out to 8f-T, and he showed that he loved the extra distance.  There, he stalked the early pace, sitting 1 length off of the pace in 3rd, but pounced in the far turn, taking the lead and not looking back.  He headed to the winner’s circle with an expanding 1-3/4 length win and earning a career best 90 SP.  3rd in that MSW came back to finish 2nd in a 9f-T MSW next time out, with a 92 SP.

Pedigree: Redoute’s Choice was the #20 ranked Australian sire in 2018, and his sim crop is similarly impressive, currently ranked #24.  His 3yo sim crop includes 130 runners and 73 winners, who are winning at a 20% rate.  Among those 73 winners are 6 stakes winners and an additional 7 stakes placed horses.  The best to date is Choose Your Dream, winner of a G2 and twice 2nd in G1s, all at 6f on the turf.  Redoute’s Choice does tend to throw turf horses (73% earnings on turf), though his charges usually prefer routes (62% in routes).  His 3yo crop, however, has been stronger in sprints, though one would expect that as more progress to longer races, they will find more success there.  The Redoute’s Choice x Dynaformer cross has been particularly popular and successful, with 26 foals bred in the past 4 years.  Of those 26, 5 are stakes winners (3 graded winners), and one, Dariel, may be familiar to you, as he was the 2016 Sim Horse of the Year (also 3yo Turf Male of the Year).  The cross was used 3 times in 2018, with one horse still looking for her maiden win and the other a winner of 3 from 6 races (primarily turf sprints).

Expectations: Much like Redoute’s Choice’s progeny seem to get better as the distances increase, so too has Monk Brew.  His last race was a dominant performance, and if he can repeat that here, he should be in great shape in this race.  Expect him to sit just off the pace and pounce, as he makes his first effort of his 3yo campaign.

Watch Level: High

#5 – Bomb Cyclone (Charm Spirit (IRE) x Battle Rages On [Diesis x Lyphard]) – Owned by abcde8 – 12/1

Race Record: 6:1-0-1; $31,767

Race History: Bomb Cyclone, a French-bred horse, has liked the home sod here, where she picked up her only win in her 2nd start, a local-bred MSW at 5.5f-T back in March of 2018.  Unfortunately, that maiden race doesn’t look particularly strong, as only a few of the 11 horses have managed to pick up a win since that time.  In his last race, Bomb Cyclone tried routing for the first time in a local NW2L here in Paris, but struggled to keep up with the field for the full 8.5f, falling to midpack early and continuing to lose ground, finishing 8th of 9, 8-3/4 lengths back, with a 78 SP.  The winner in that one, who earned an 86 SP, came back to take a NW3L local allowance next time out with an 89 SP, so there is some potential at the top of end of that field.  Bomb Cyclone comes into this race off of a 2 month layoff, and he hopes to progress in turf routes as a 3yo here.

Pedigree: Charm Spirit, a G1 winning turf miler, stands for $17,500 in real life with 1 Graded Stakes winner, but seems to be far more popular in the sim.  He is the #31 ranked 2018 sire currently, with 103 runners and 55 winners from the crop (winning at an 18% rate).  Those 55 winners include 3 stakes winners, of which 2 are graded stakes winners.  Remember The Name, the best of his 3yo crop and 2nd best foal to date, is a G1 winner at 8f-T, running 2nd in the Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile Turf before taking the win in The Futurity-G1.  His sim progeny generally loves turf, with 75% of earnings coming on the grass, which his progeny has no real preferred distance (a 53/47 split between earnings in sprints and routes).  Battle Rages On, a 16yo mare, has 8 foals in total, of which Bomb Cyclone is the 7th.  A stakes-placed horse at 8f-T, Battle Rages On was best at the 8-9f distances, earning 7 of her 8 career wins in 39 career starts in route races.  Four of her 6 other foals to race thus far have picked up allowance wins, with her first, Galeos (Galileo (IRE)), finishing 4th in a 12f-T stakes.  Preferred distances vary wildly with her progeny, running the gamut from 5f to 16f, though most prefer the turf.  A Diesis mare has been sent to Charm Spirit one other time in the past 4 years, and that horse is also part of the 3yo crop, but she has not yet done more than breaking her maiden in a sprint.

Expectations:  Bomb Cyclone had been improving in every race until his last step backwards, where he struggled out of the gate and never had a chance in the race.  But he gets a nice break here and doesn’t need to travel as he heads back onto the track.  Expect him to be a little more involved early than he was in his last race, though he’ll still probably sit a few lengths off the pacesetters.  From there, it’s just a question of whether he can make a strong transition to the 3yo season.  I’d keep an eye on him in this one to see if the last race was a fluke or a trend.

Watch Level: Medium

#6 – Milanesa (Snitzel x Mellon Collie [Kingmambo x Northern Dancer]) – Owned by curiostud – 7/1

Race Record: 4:1-0-0; $35,147

Race History: Milanesa broke his maiden in his 2nd career start, and first at 8f-T, back in September 2018.  In that MSW, he sat midpack early, 2-1/2 lengths off the leader, before getting the first jump and showing a strong kick.  He drew off to win by 2 lengths, earning a career-best 78 SP.  Unfortunately, things stalled a bit from there.  None of Milanesa’s competition in the 9 horse maiden field has gone on to break their maiden, and Milanesa has struggled in the NW2L ranks since.  In his last race, cutting back from 8f to 7.5f, he fell out of the race early, staying in the back the entire way and finishing 10th of 12.  He did move up a bit in the stretch, passing a couple of tiring horses, but he comes into this race off of stagnating speed figures in hopes of taking the next step as a 3yo.

Pedigree: Snitzel was the #1 ranked Australian sire in 2018, his second year in a row as leading Australian sire, with 4 real life G1 winners in 2018.  His sim abilities have not yet fully caught up to his real world abilities, but his 2018 crop is his best to date, currently ranked #35.  The crop includes 122 runners and 66 winners, who are winning at a 20.4% rate (well above Snitzel’s 15% overall win rate, though that rate is skewed by a clear boost that Snitzel received back in 2014).  The 3yo class includes 4 stakes winners and 1 G3 winner (in a turf sprint), and also includes a multiple G1-placed gelding (in turf sprints) and a multiple-4th place G1 filly (in turf routes).  Milanesa is the 6th foal of Mellon Collie, an 11yo winner of 3 from 24 races.  Mellon Collie showed a preference for turf routes in her career, winning an eye-catching NW2L in her first route attempt at 9f-T.  She spent most of her career in the 9f-10f turf races.  Her most successful daughter, Aye She Is Hot (Teofilo), is a multiple stakes-placed mare at 8.5f-9f-T.  2 other siblings are also allowance winners, both at 9f-T or longer races.  The Snitzel x Kingmambo cross is particularly popular, with 18 horses being bred over the past 4 years.  Unfortunately, none of the 18 has achieved stakes success, and to the extent that they have found success, it has been primarily in turf sprints.

Expectations: The 7/1 odds on Milanesa indicate that the oddsmakers like this colt’s chances here, but I’m not sure I’m on the same page.  Milanesa has strong bloodlines, but he looks like he’s hit a bit of a wall at the allowance level.  I expect him to break towards the back of the pack here, and I’m not sure if he has the gear necessary to take down this race.  The hope is that he’ll make the jump as a 3yo, but I’ll wait a race to see if that jump comes before backing him.

Watch Level: Low

#7 – Tete Gaahlskagg (Pivotal x Victorious Fowl [Dawn Approach (IRE) x Rock Hard Ten]) – Owned by sabbath4 – 12/1

Race Record: 2:1-0-0; $28,170

Race History: Sabbath4 sponsored this race as a way to stretch out his colt beyond 6f-T, where he ran both of his previous races.  Tete Gaahlskagg broke his maiden at first asking, earning a 79 SP and stalking the pace before grabbing the photo by 1/4 length.  2nd place in the maiden race came back next time out on dirt to break his own maiden, as did the 6th place horse.  Unfortunately, Tete Gaahlskagg regressed a bit in his 2nd start, finishing 4th of 6, 3-1/2 lengths behind the pace-setting winner, after again trying to stalk the pace and coming up empty in the stretch.  He earned a disappointing 72 SP for the effort.  He’ll make his first route effort here.

Pedigree: Pivotal was the #61 ranked sire in the US/EU in 2018, with 2 G1 winners and an average winning distance of 9f.  His 3yo sim crop includes 109 runners to date, with 55 winners who are winning at a 17.6% rate, on par with Pivotal’s overall win rate in the sim.  Those 55 winners include 2 stakes winners (one of whom is G3-placed), both of which have been successful in super-sprints (5-5.5f) on the turf.  This is no surprise for Pivotal progeny, as 70% of earnings have come on the turf.  Historically, Pivotal progeny prefer routes (65% earnings in routes), but the last 2 crops seem to show a shift towards the shorter distances (62% earnings in sprints for 2017, 71% for 2018).  Likewise, the speed figures recently have been slightly better in sprints than routes when compared to the averages.  Tete Gaahlkagg is the first child of 6yo stakes-winning mare Victorious Fowl, who was retired after 2 off-the-board efforts in turf sprint stakes to end her career.  She was 5 for 20 in her career on the turf, including a stakes win at 7f-T.  She showed some distance limitations, but seemed to be able to get up to 8f-T without too much of a problem, earning her second best career SP of 107 in an 8f turf stakes where she ran 4th of 14 (at 31/1 odds).

Expectations: Tete Gaahlskagg sat just off the pace in 2 sprints and pushed pretty hard to do it, so it’s likely to see him sit close to, if not on, the pace in this race.  But there are some definite concerns about the distance.  His mother was primarily a sprinter, and his sire, while a longer distance sire in real life and earlier in the sim, seems to be throwing sprinters recently.  The poor 2nd start is also not a good sign for this one.  Hopefully he can bounce back in his first race of 2019, but I’d look elsewhere here.

Watch Level: Low

#8 – Call Boy (Harzand (IRE) x Stage Fright [In The Wings x Lion Cavern] – Owned by delwoodleah7 – 13/1

Race Record: 8:1-0-0; $31,965

Race History: Call Boy is the veteran of the field, having already raced 8 times in his career, including 1 race already in 2019, back on January 9.  Thus far, those 8 races have resulted in only 1 on-the-board finish, when he broke his maiden in a Local MSW at 8f-T back in August 2018 in his 5th career race.  That race ended up on the good turf after some rain, and Call Boy sat midpack early, about 3-1/4 lengths back, before gaining on some tiring horses and striking the front.  He would pull away to win by 1-1/4, earning a 75 SP in his first route attempt.  He has struggled in the leap to the NW2L ranks and out of local races, with a 4th, 5th, and 7th place finish in 3 tries.  Call Boy saw a decent SP bump in his first 2 tries following the maiden score, earning an 81 and an 83 SP in an 8.5f-T and 8f-T allowance, respectively, and he caught some solid fields (the top 2 from his first NW2L attempt are G3-placed and stakes-placed).  But his first race of 2019 showed a bit of a regression, as he was beaten 12-1/2 and put up a dull 76 SP.  He comes back 2.5 weeks later here, hoping that the poor showing last time out was a fluke.

Pedigree: The 2016 Epsom Derby winner, Harzand currently stands for $10,000 and entered stud in 2017, which means does not have any real life progeny on the track yet (his weanlings sold for an average of $25,426 in 2018).   In the sim, Harzand’s 3yo crop includes 89 runners to date, including 33 winners who win at a 13% rate (his 4yo crop is slightly higher, at 16.5%).  His progeny strongly prefer turf, with 89% of earnings coming from the grass.  The 3yo crop includes 1 stakes winner, Bonezander, who was 13th in the Breeders Bowl Filly Juvy Turf.  The dam, Stage Fright, is a 20yo mare that has 9 children, of which Call Boy is the 8th (her last foal has not yet raced).  Only 3 of her 7 prior children have an allowance win on their record, and all of those allowance wins were in sprints (2 on turf, 1 on dirt).  Stage Fright herself was 1 of 16 in her career, with her best races coming in sprints (and her only win coming in a dirt sprint).

Expectations: Call Boy is not very quick out of the gate, so will rely on either a slow pace, that he can sit close to, or some closing speed in order to get to the front.  His ideal style would be to sit a few lengths off of the pace early and pick off some tiring horses, but his first race as a 3yo is a bit of a red flag here.  He’s got some potential, but this may not be his best spot.  If he had caught an off-track here, he might have a better chance, but unfortunately the rain clouds held off.

Watch Level: Low

#9 – Mean No Harm (Into Mischief x Dark Interval [Unbridled’s Song x Seattle Slew]) – Owned by plano8 – 5/1 (f-t)

Race Record: 3:1-2-0; $54,720

Race History: Mean No Harm has done everything that you could ask for in his first 3 races.  In his first race, at 5.5f-T, he ran 2nd to a horse that would come back to take a NW2L Allowance with a 93 SP, before faltering at the G2 level.  Mean No Harm stretched out to 7f-T for his second race in November 2018 and sat back early, but showing another gear in the stretch to pass horses and grab the lead, pulling away to win by 1-3/4  and earning an 83 SP in a race where the horses setting the pace stayed in the top 6.  The 3rd place finisher in that race would come back to take a 5.5f-T MSW next time out with a 79 SP.  Mean No Harm comes into this one off of a 2nd place finish in an 8f-T NW2L allowance, where he again sat midpack early and caught all but one horse, finishing 2nd by 2 lengths (3 clear of 3rd) and earning a career best 87 SP.

Pedigree: A G1 winner at 8.5f, Into Mischief has really come on in the past few years in the real world, ranking as the #4 US sire in 2018.  In the sim, he comes in as the #5 ranked sire in 2018, with 140 runners and 77 winners to date.  Those 77 winners have done so at a 19% clip, which is in line with his progeny winning percentage over the past 5 years.  It’s a bit of a surprise to see Into Mischief sire a horse in this race, as his progeny typically prefers dirt sprints, with 75% of earnings on the dirt and 62% in sprints.  Into Mischief’s 3yo crop includes 2 G1 winners, one of whom, Into Being Nice, is the 2018 Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile winner and may have a new title after next week.  He was also represented in the Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile by Loyal Chief, who ran 11th there.  Only 3 of his top 10 3yos have shown any real affinity for turf, with one being multiple stakes-placed in turf sprints.  Mean No Harm is the 4th foal from Dark Interval, a G1-winning 9yo mare who won 11 races in her 28 race career.  That G1 win was in the Breeders Bowl Game-G1 at 8f on the turf, on New Yorker day back in June of 2014.  Dark Interval was a fairly ambivalent horse, winning 5 of 11 on dirt, 6 of 17 on turf, 7 of 11 in sprints, and 4 of 17 (including 2 of her 4 stakes wins, and her G1 win).  That ability on both surfaces seems to have been passed down to her most successful foal, 5yo Might Is Right (More Than Ready), who is G1-placed at 7f on dirt and put up a solid effort in his first turf try 2 weeks ago.  The progeny do tend to prefer sprints, which fits into the Into Mischief mold.  Likewise, the Into Mischief x Unbridled’s Song cross seems to prefer dirt sprints above all else, with 1 6-time stakes winner in the 5yo crop, all in dirt stakes.

Expectations: Mean No Harm is yet another horse that is going to let those at the front go while he settles in towards the back.  Although the breeding says that he should prefer sprints, he held his own last time out in his first route effort.  If he can run back to that one, he’s got a good shot here.  And although I think he’s got a solid chance in this race, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if he tried dirt, specifically in the 7-7.5f race.  I think he has even more potential there, and his past success in turf races may be masking his true maximum abilities on a different surface.

Watch Level: High

#10 – Nustfahs (Sea The Stars x Shaftsun [Mineshaft x Monsun]) – Owned by gtrain – 24/1

Race Record: 5:1-1-0; $38,885

Race History: A very well-bred foal, Nustfahs had high hopes in his debut, a 6f-T MSW in Ireland, but he struggled to keep pace with a strong field and finished 8th, beaten 5-3/4 lengths.  The winner of that MSW, Pirates Hurricane, who go on to take down The M.L. Trophy-G3 at 6f-T 4 races later.  Nustfahs came back in his second race in a 5.5f local dirt MSW, and he travelled in a huge pack at the start before getting his nose in front and breaking his maiden by ¼ lengths.  However, he only earned a 64 SP in the process.  He would come back at 5.5f on the dirt and finish 2nd of 4 in a NW1x, but his most recent 2 races, one at 6f on the dirt and one at 7f on the turf, saw him run 10th and 11th, not breaking a 70 SP.  He will try routing for the first time here.

Pedigree: Sea The Stars, the 2009 European Horse of the Year, was the #23 ranked sire in the EU + NA in 2018. In the sim, his 2018 crop is currently ranked #11, with 171 runners to date and 97 winners, winning at a 20% 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.  However, he has no graded stakes winners to date.  Nustfahs, which is Shaftsun backwards, is the first foal from the 10yo mare.  Shaftsun was a winner of 7 from 34 races, including stakes wins at 7.5f and 8.5f on the turf.  She bounced back and forth between sprints and routes in her career, but seemed to prefer the 7f-8.5f range generally.  Of note, she was 4:1-2-1 in her career on a good or yielding turf course.

Expectations: The breeding screams “success”, but unfortunately, nothing this colt has shown on the track so far gives hope in this race and the oddsmakers noticed, making him the biggest longshot in the field.  He struggled to keep up with horses in his last race, a 7f NW2L on the turf, where he was disinterested and kept dropping back, finishing 11th of 12 and beaten 13-1/2 lengths at 15/1.  If he couldn’t keep up there, unfortunately there’s no reason to think he can do so here.  His inability to break a 70 SP through 5 career races is another concern in this race.  There’s always a chance that he can pop as a 3yo, but I would look elsewhere in this race.

Watch Level: Low

#11 – Earthworm Jim (Not This Time x Earn Earn Earn [War Front x Unbridled’s Song]) – Owned by nepenthe28 – 8/1

Race Record: 5:1-1-2; $41,895

Race History: It took 5 tries, but Earthworm Jim finally came through in his most recent race, an 8f-T MSW at the end of December 2018.  After running 2nd in his debut to a horse that would come back to run 3rd in a 6.5f-T stakes next time out, Earthworm Jim tried 8f-T for the first time but couldn’t quite sustain his run through the entire race.  After a turn back to sprints and then a polytrack try, he finally found his way back to the 8f-T distance and showed that a little seasoning can go a long way.  In that race, he stalked the pace, sitting 3 lengths off the pacesetter, and got first run in the stretch, passing the two horses in front of him and pulling away to win by 2 lengths, earning a career best 87 SP.  He comes into this one off of that maiden score.

Pedigree: Not This Time, a son of Giant’s Causeway, entered stud in 2017 so he has no real life runners, but his weanlings averaged $76,833 at auction in 2018.  His 3yo sim crop includes 74 runners to date, of which 26 have won with wins coming at an 11% rate.  One of those 26, Diora Danger, has managed to pull down a stakes victory, in a 6.5f turf sprint stakes.  Although there is only limited sim information on Not This Time, his progeny thus far seem to be the opposite of what we see in this race; they prefer dirt sprints (66% earnings on turf, 78% in sprints).  However, when it comes to speed figures, the route speeds have popped a little more than the sprint speed figures have.  Earthworm Jim is the 2nd of 3 foals from 7yo mare Earn Earn Earn.  Earn Earn Earn was a winner of 6 from 38 races in her career, and she spent all but her first and her last 2 races at the allowance level.  She found most of her success in dirt mile races, preferring 7.5f-8f dirt races.  She only tried turf once, but it was one of the worst races of her career.  Earthworm Jim’s only sibling to race thus far, Serpens (Pyro), is a maiden winner from 13 races, but seems to be a solid horse on both turf and dirt.  His last 3 races have come in turf sprints, with a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at the allowance level.

Expectations: With minimal pace in this race, Earthworm Jim is the type who can sit on or near the lead.  His last race was a very solid run and bodes well for the future, but the real question is whether that race was legit or a fluke.  None of his competitors from that maiden win have gone back to the track yet, so we don’t know exactly how strong that field was.  Meanwhile, his pedigree is another one that suggests dirt (and possibly even dirt sprints), a surface that he has yet to try.  I’d be curious to see how he did on the dirt.  Plus, with a name like Earthworm Jim, spending time on the dirt makes too much sense.  With that said, I think there’s reason for optimism in this race.

Watch Level: High

#12 – Baby Be Fast (Lope De Vega x Royal Baby [Frankel (GB) x Seattle Slew]) – Owned by redhill11 – 5/1 (f-t)

Race Record: 2:1-1-0; $38,250

Race History: Baby Be Fast debuted in November of 2018 in a 6f-T MSW, and in that race he dueled for the lead early and throughout the entire race, but his competitor, who had a few races under his belt, was able to win the battle and Baby Be Fast had to settle for 2nd, earning a 78 SP. 3rd in that race would go on to break his maiden next time out at 8f-T with a 90 SP.  Baby Be Fast took what he learned in his debut and applied it in his most recent race in December 2018, an 8f-T MSW.  In that race, he decided not to get into a pace duel and sat 2 lengths off of the leader in 4th.  But Baby Be Fast was much the best in that race, and took over the lead at the top of the stretch, pulling away to win by 2 lengths and earning a career best 82 SP.  He makes the jump to the NW2L level here looking to repeat his last performance.

Pedigree: Lope De Vega was the #33 ranked sire in EU + NA in 2018, with 6 graded stakes winners (including 1 G1 winner).  In the sim, his crop is not as highly rated, as his 2018 crop clocks in at #172 overall thus far.  That 3yo crop includes 77 runners and 32 winners who succeed at a 14% rate (slightly below his 15.5% average).  Among the 32 winners are 3 stakes winners, with all 3 coming in turf sprints.  Lope De Vega’s progeny typically prefer turf, with 71% of earnings on turf, while the sprint/route split is pretty even (though his progeny’s speed figures, particularly in this 3yo crop, are more impressive in sprints that routes).  Royal Baby, the 8yo dam of Baby Be Fast, was a very successful runner herself, a winner of 9 from 34 career races.  Those 9 wins included a stakes win at 7.5f-T and a G3 win at 8f-T.  Her best performances were in 8-9f turf races, though she showed some ability at 7.5f as well.  Baby Be Fast is the 2ndfoal from the G3 mare.  His older sister, Bend The Knee (Shamardal), took after her mother and is also a G3 winner.  That G3 win was in The Vanguard, a 9f turf stakes for 3yo fillies.  That 9f distance has been her best thus far through her 13 race career.

Expectations: Baby Be Fast isn’t a need-the-lead type of horse, and in future races I can see him stalking the pace or even sitting midpack.  But there seems to be almost no pace in this race, and he showed in his debut that he’s got early speed.  So I see him going for the lead here.  The real question is whether he’ll be able to sustain that speed for the full 8 furlongs and hold off some of the late charges.  His best speed figure isn’t quite as high as some of the others in this field, but he’s shown nice progression in 2 races and has a solid pedigree foundation to fall back on.  I like his chances here.

Watch Level: High

So that’s the field of 12 in this NW2L allowance.  My predictions are (1) Baby Be Fast, (2) Monk Brew, (3) Earthworm Jim, with Sunset Ave as my longshot pick.  Last week I said there would be tons of speed, and yet the pace ended up slow.  This week, I think that there’s so little pace that if I personally ran in this one, I might be the pacesetter.  So I’m going with the 2 horses in this race that are solid and have shown some speed in the past.  Of course, that probably means that 6 horses will get caught up in a speed duel and they’ll burn through an opening quarter in 20.80 seconds.  But there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to watch the race! (Or check back next week).  Until then…

Other races to watch this weekend:

1)      New York – Alw NW3L @ 8f (Friday)

2)      Ireland – Alw NW4L @ 8f-T

3)      Vermont – Alw NW2L @ 6.5f

4)      New Mexico – Alw NW2L @ 8f (Fillies)

5)      Paris – Alw NW2L @ 6.5f-T

6)      Germany – Alw NW3L @ 9f-T (Fillies)

7)      Ireland – Alw NW3L @ 8f-T (Fillies)

8)      Texas – Alw NW1x @ 6f (Fillies)

9)      Deauville – LOCAL Alw NW4L @ 9f-T

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Jan 192019
 

First, a quick recap of last week’s race.  Forty Niner Cause looks like the real deal, as he blitzed to the lead in the 9f NW2L Allowance and never looked back.  He opened up as many as 6 lengths on the field going into the stretch, before jockey W. Kelly eased up, allowing Forty Niner Cause to cruise to a 1-3/4 length victory.  Subjecttothefates, answering the call when stretching out, showed a strong closing kick, moving from 10th (12-1/2 lengths back) early to finish 2ndForrester’s Dancer sat midpack early and gained some in the stretch, narrowly getting edged out by Subjecttothefates and finishing 3rd, 2 lengths back.  It was another 9-1/4 back to 4th.  The top 3 look like legitimate watch horses for the future, and in particular the winner, as Forty Niner Cause’s 101.475 SP was the 2nd fastest 3yo allowance winning SP of the weekend (trailing only Bode Girl, the runner-up in the Breeders Bowl Juvenile Filly and the winner of the Texas NW3L Allowance that was #3 on last week’s “Other Races To Watch” list).  Subjecttothefates and Forrester’s Dancer both earned 99 SPs.

Before we get to this week’s race, a couple of administrative notes.  First, the races being spotlighted here may not be the most interesting 3yo Allowance races of the week.  I am not able to get the full list of entries for the race until the day before the race (for example, if the race is on Saturday, I won’t have access to the full final entry list until Friday morning).  This simply isn’t enough time to write up a proper preview of the level I’m comfortable with.  So instead, I’m basing my decision on which race to cover on entries for a race by horses entered through either Monday or Tuesday on a given week.  I’ll still cover all of the actual entrants in the preview, but it’s possible that there may have been other races that become more “interesting” as new horses get entered throughout the week.  However, I’ll still list the other most interesting races at the bottom of the article, so even if I’m not previewing the most interesting, you’ll still know which ones they are.  Second, I’m going to limit the races to Allowance races being run on the weekend (Saturday or Sunday).  Every once in a while I may throw in a race from a different day to the list of other races to watch, but the preview itself will always be for a weekend race.

Ok, that’s enough administrative stuff.  This week, we travel to Indiana to check out the 3yo filly division, where 11 fillies line up for a NW1x Allowance at 8.25 furlongs on the dirt.  The field of 11 entering the starting gate is:

#1 – Ocean Park Wind (Ocean Park (NZ) x Ransom’s Ecstacy [Red Ransom x Pulpit]) – Owned by chibound – 9/1

Race Record: 5:1-2-0; $56,786

Race History: It took 5 tries, but Ocean Park Wind comes into this race off of a maiden breaking score back in December 2018.  The maiden win, her first on the dirt after 4 races on the turf to start her career, saw her take down a 7f MSW by ½ lengths, earning a career best 86 SP.  In that race, she shot out of the gate and never looked back, setting the pace and holding on to win.  Ocean Park Wind debuted at 6f on turf, but was quickly stretched out to 8f and showed an affinity for the distance.  She’ll try to repeat those efforts on the dirt here in a pace-setting style.

Pedigree: Ocean Park, the 2012 Cox Plate winner and 2012-2013 NZ Horse of the Year, currently stands in New Zealand for $30,000, with 1 stakes winner from his first 2 crops.  He is not super popular in the sim, as his 2018 crop has only 24 runners to date.  Of those 24, 17 are winners, including 1 stakes winner.  That stakes win came in a 5.5f turf sprint, which is what Ocean Park’s sim progeny tend to prefer (79% earnings on turf, 65% in sprints).  His 3yo crop is winning at a 20% rate, significantly better than his overall 15% win percentage.  Overall in the sim, he has 1 career graded stakes winner, Pacific Playground, who was a G2 winner at 7f on the turf.  On the dam side, Ocean Park Wind is the 5th foal of 16yo Ransom’s Ecstacy.  Ransom’s Ecstacy was a stakes winner at 8f on dirt and winner of 5 races from 36 tries.  Only one of her children is an allowance winner (a career best effort at 6.5f on the turf in a 5 horse field), and her four previous children have all preferred turf, relying on her pedigree more than her race record.  Ocean Park has been bred to a Red Ransom mare 5 other times in the past 4 years, and that list includes 2 stakes winners, Seaside Playground and Waikato Ransom (both in turf sprints).

Expectations: Ocean Park Wind is very likely going to contest the lead, and she has some sprint speed to do it.  Her last race was promising and a career best, but the 2nd and 3rd place horses, who were sitting close to the pace, were getting closer as the wire approached, so this filly with a sprinter pedigree might not quite have the stamina to get this distance.  But her mom did show off some skills at 8f, and the last race was a very promising first dirt effort, so if she improves in her second dirt try, she might have a shot here.

Watch Level: Medium

#2 – Silly Magic (Zulu Magic x Silly Claim Games [It’s No Joke x Montjeu]) – Owned by bad – 11/1

Race Record:  6:1-2-3; $60,985

Race History: Silly Magic broke her maiden in her third race on the dirt, but comes into this one off of 2 turf runs.  The two turf races, both at the NW2L level at 8f, were consistent with her prior to races at 8f on the dirt, as she earned 80-82 SPs for each of the 4 races, with 1 win (in her maiden score) and 3 3rd place finishes.  She has either set or sat just off the pace in each of her races to date.  The 2nd place horse in her maiden score popped a 94 SP on a good dirt track at the end of 2018 to break her maiden.  Silly Magic is coming off a career high 82 SP in her last race, on the good turf track back in December 2018.  Here, she will try to get a boost from shifting back to dirt.

Pedigree: Zulu Magic, a son of Johannesburg, previously stood in Michigan for a $1,000 stud fee before dying in 2017 at the age of 12.  But he was unknown enough in real life that he hasn’t left stud duty in the sim just yet.  He was the #6 ranked sire in Michigan in real life in 2018, with 4 winners from 7 runners.  In the sim, his 2018 crop includes 2 winners from 6 runners (to date), and this 3yo crop is his best to date.  That is boosted by Silly Magic, who, as a maiden winner, is already Zulu Magic’s 4th best horse of all time in the sim.  He has only sired 4 allowance winners out of 24 total runners, and much like the sire himself, most of his sim progeny prefer dirt sprints.  Silly Claim Games, the 14yo mare, is a G3-winning turf sprinter, winning stakes races in the 6.5-7.5f range.  Silly Magic is her third child, but both prior children prefer turf miles (neither has won above the claimer/HOT allowance level).  This is actually the second Zulu Magic x It’s No Joke cross in the sim; the first, Michigan Jungle, is one of the 4 allowance winners, at 9f on dirt.

Expectations: Silly Magic is going to make a run for the lead here, but will probably have to sit just off of what will likely be a hot pace.  That pace certainly won’t help her, as she hasn’t been able to withstand the rush of others in any of her three previous allowance attempts.  She’s probably a cut below the best here, but as the first race of her 3yo year and going turf to dirt, there’s certainly a chance she could pop a solid performance here.

Watch Level: Low

#3 – Minesaver (Super Saver x Legendary Gold [Mineshaft x Quiet American]) – Owned by trotter1 – 6/1

Race Record: 6:1-2-0; $70,981

Race History: Minesaver broke her maiden in her third attempt, back in August 2018, in her first route effort, stalking the pace and then drawing off to win by 1-1/2.  She has run 3 times at the allowance level, including a 2nd place finish in the ESR My Day Will Come Hopeful (a fitting name for a horse in this series) 2 races back.  That 2nd place finish, where she set the pace and held on for 2nd, earned her a career best 90 SP.  The winner from that one followed up the race with a closing 6th place run (91 SP).  Minesaver comes into this one off of a 4th place finish in an 8f allowance, where she picked up an 85 SP after setting the pace and getting edged out of a top 3 finish.  This will be her longest race, after 4 straight 8f tries.

Pedigree: Super Saver, the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner, finished 2018 as the #67 ranked sire in the US in real life.  His 2018 sim crop is not ranked as highly, with his 89 runners combining for only 37 winners who have won at a 14% rate.  This is slightly off the 17% rate that his older horses maintain.  Super Saver’s sim horses strongly prefer the dirt (75% earnings on dirt), but while the earnings are higher in routes, the fastest of the horses tend to be sprinters.  He only has 1 stakes winner from the 3yo class, who succeeded at 8.5f on the turf.  Legendary Gold, Minesaver’s 13yo dam, was a stakes placed mare at 8f on the dirt, and excelled at the 7-8.5f distance, picking up 11 wins in 36 races.  Minesaver is her 4th child, and her sim-¾ brother, Securitas Depot (Bank Heist), is a G3-winning dirt sprinter.  Super Saver has paired with a Mineshaft mare one other time in the past 4 years, and that other pairing resulted in a long-distance dirt runner who has won 9 allowances in 31 races, with a max SP of 115.

Expectations: Minesaver should be at or near the lead, and should put a solid run together.  The real question is whether there are other horses that can keep up with her.  The added 0.25 furlongs might be pushing her limits, but she’s still got a chance here.

Watch Level: Medium

#4 – Henty Iron (Nyquist x Outback Iron [Tapit x Kingmambo]) – Owned by tulloch – 9/2(f)

Race Record: 3:1-0-2; $39,610

Race History: Henty Iron looked strong in her debut at 6f back in August 2018, breaking her maiden at first asking after sitting off the pace and pulling ahead to win by 1 length.  The 2nd place horse in that race went on to put up a 90 SP in her last race at 8f.  Henty Iron’s was then stretched out to 8f, where she ran 3rd in back-to-back NW2L allowances.  In each of those races, she stalked the pace, sitting a few lengths back early, but never really showed the turn of foot to find the winner’s circle, as she let other horses pass her in both efforts.  But her most recent race was promising; after sitting 7th early, she managed to catch the front-runners and pass them, only to get passed by the 2 horses who were sitting behind her early.  That race earned her a career best 86 SP, and she hopes to improve off of that one here.

Pedigree: Nyquist, the 2016 Kentucky Derby winner, currently stands for $40,000 and although his real life progeny have not yet hit the track, his weanlings sold at auction in 2018 for an average of $279K.  In the sim, Nyquist has been a pretty strong sire in his first 2 classes, as his 2018 crop currently ranks 45th, with 53 winners out of 113 runners.  Those 3yos have won 17.4% of their races thus far, and that crop includes 6 stakes winners, one of whom, Nadera, is a G1 winner who was the 4th choice in the 2018 Breeders Bowl Juvenile Filly (she finished 6th).  His progeny tend to prefer the dirt (84% earnings on dirt), and he has seen success in both sprints and routes (though the highest speed figures tend to be in sprints).  Outback Iron, Henty Iron’s 8yo dam, was a 5-time stakes winner at the 10-11f dirt range, so she brings some needed stamina to the pedigree.  Henty Iron is her 3rd progeny (all fillies thus far).  Her first two fillies are by Uncle Mo, so it’s no surprise she went to Nyquist here.  The first foal, Finke Iron, is a stakes winner herself, taking down a 12f dirt stakes.  Tapit mares, meanwhile, have been bred to Nyquist 13 times already, with 1 stakes winner and 1 stakes placed horse (each at 8.5f) among them.

Expectations: Henty Iron has seen her speed improve in each of her three races, although her 2 allowance tries saw her stagnate late.  But her most recent run was a little better looking than it may first appear, as she was only outrun by 2 deeper closers against a hot pace.  She seems likely to get another hot pace to run into here, and she’ll likely sit mid-pack early.  The real question is whether she can make the jump at 3 to really progress off of that last race.  If she can, she’ll be dangerous here.

Watch Level: High

#5 – Babelsburg (Unified x Al Mufti x Adjudicating) – Owned by plano29 – 15/1

Race Record: 1:1-0-0; $3,000

Race History: The least experienced filly in the field, Babelsburg only has 1 race under her belt, and it was a HOT MSW.  In that race, back in December 2018, planoaxius sent out 11 of his fillies to see what he had.  Babelsburg looked slow out of the gate, but she navigated the 8f distance expertly for a first-time runner and closed from 6 lengths back to win by 1.  Importantly, the 3 pacesetters held on for 3rd, 4th, and 5th, well ahead of the horses behind them, indicating that either (a) it wasn’t an easy pace to close into, or (b) the top 5 horses from that race were a real cut above the rest.  None of those 5 has been back on the track since that hot race, so we’re a little blind into the competition there.

Pedigree: Unified, a winner of graded stakes from 7f-9f, was a freshman sire in 2018, so there is no real life data to look at.  His first sim crop has seen 37 runners to date, from which 15 have broken their maidens with a 12.4% win rate overall.  Those 37 runners have strongly preferred dirt, with 85% of earnings coming from dirt, but only 3 of his progeny have thus far won an allowance race, and 2 of those 3 were HOT allowance races.  The fastest speed figures of his progeny have tended to be in sprints.  A couple of his progeny that looked like they might appreciate extra running room backed up a bit when they stretched into the route category.

Expectations: It’s hard to know what will happen for Babelsburg in this race, as she has only run once, in a hot race, she has a freshman sire with middling, at best, popularity, and she is a scratch-bred filly.  So it’s no surprise that the oddsmakers made her the longshot.  But that maiden score showed real promise.  She’s already proven at 8f, unlike some others in this field, and she demonstrated a solid closing kick.  Add to that the fact that this race has a lot of early speed, and there’s a big opening for a solid closer.  Babelsburg is one to watch here.

Watch Level: High

#6 – Peace Bond T (Peace and Justice x Itoupava’s Flower [Sadler’s Wells x Kris S.]) – Owned by pup – 7/1

Race Record: 7:1-2-3; $70,206

Race History: Peace Bond T comes into this race off of a 4th place finish in a field of 4 in her first allowance try, beaten 7-1/2 lengths in an 8.5f NW3L.  But she picked a tough field to run against that day, as the winner was a stakes placed sprinter stretching out for the first time.  Peace Bond T’s previous race was her maiden-breaking run, where she earned a career high 86 SP winning by 2 lengths in an 8f MSW.  Peace Bond T’s first race, at 6.5f, saw her run 2nd to a filly that is stakes placed on the turf.

Pedigree: Peace and Justice, a son of War Front, standing in PA for $2,500, entered stud in 2017 and so has no real world children.  In the sim, his 3yo crop includes 41 runners, of whom 33 have won at a 15% clip.  He has 2 stakes winners (one residency, one local) from his 4yo crop, both on the turf around 8f, but no graded winners to date.  Meanwhile, his 3yo crop has preferred dirt races (60% earnings on dirt), and in general seems to be a sprint sire.  The dam, 18yo Itoupava’s Flower, has given birth to 14 sim runners, of which Peace Bond T is the 13th.  She was primarily a dirt sprinter, regardless of what her pedigree would suggest.  Peace Bond T’s sim-¾ sibling, Angry Dude T (Due Diligence), is the only stakes winner of the lot, all in dirt sprints of the 6-7f range.  Only 3 other siblings are allowance winners, mostly in turf routes.

Expectation: Peace Bond T looks to sit close to the lead in this one, but her first allowance try saw her struggle to keep up with horses at this level.  It took her ¾ sister 6 or 7 races to really show what she could do, and there was another improvement as a 3yo, so it’s possible that some progression is coming here.  But the struggle last time in a 4 horse field, plus the fact that most of her siblings have not won an allowance, is a little concerning.

Watch Level: Low

#7 – Seaside Fantasy (Sea The Stars x Raging River Snake [Dansili x Storm Cat]) – Owned by empirez – 6/1

Race Record: 5:1-1-2; $63,390

Race History: Seaside Fantasy comes into this race as the most accomplished filly in the field, as she picked up a 3rd place finish 2 races back in a 8f turf stakes, making her the only stakes placed horse in the field.  That stakes run, on a yielding turf course, followed her maiden breaking performance, in an 8.5f turf MSW in her 3rd start back in September 2018.  In that maiden score, Seaside Fantasy sat midpack early and then pounced in the stretch, running down the pacesetter and drawing away to win by 1-3/4 lengths.  Her most recent race was her most disappointing run, as she finished 6th as the 3rd betting choice in an 8.5 turf stakes, beaten 8-1/4 lengths, though she earned a career high 85 SP in the process.  That field looks pretty solid, as running 4th in that one was Let, who was 4th in the 2018 Breeders’ Bowl Filly Juvy Turf, but Seaside Fantasy struggled to keep up with the field, sitting 6th the entire race and never gaining on the leaders.  She will try dirt for the first time here, hoping that she can carry some of the closing speed she found in her maiden score onto the dirt track.

Pedigree: It’s no surprise that this is Seaside Fantasy’s first try on dirt, as her pedigree screams turf.  Sea The Stars, 2009 European Horse of the Year and one of the highest rated sim sires ever when he entered stud, was the #23 ranked sire in the EU + NA in 2018.  That ranking pales in comparison to his sim ranking, where his 2018 crop is currently ranked #11 (his lowest ranking).  That 2018 crop is made up of 170 runners to date, of which 95 have earned a win, and the class has collectively won at a 20% rate.  Sea The Stars is, not surprisingly, a turf route sire, with 75% of earnings coming on turf and 69% in routes.  His 3yos include 6 stakes winners to date, all but one of whom has done so on turf.  Raging River Snake, a 9yo mare, has had 3 fillies thus far, but Sea The Stars is the most expensive sire that she has been sent to.  Raging River Snake won 7 of 38 in her career and spent most of her time on the turf, though she was equally good on the dirt.  Her best run was a 4th place finish in a 7f turf stakes.  Her first child, The New Girl (Gold Allure), picked up where she left off and is a G3 winner at 8f on the turf, while also winning multiple stakes in the 6.5f-7f range.  She’s still active and has earned just over $600K to date.  The second filly, Rock River Cat (Rock Hard Ten), narrowly missed a stakes placing, finishing 4th in a 7f turf stakes, and has never finished worse than that 4th in 14 turf races (her debut, at 4.5f on the dirt, was far less inspiring).  Sea The Stars has been bred to Dansili mares 25 times in the past 4 years, with 4 stakes winners and 1 graded stakes winner among the group (all on turf).

Expectations: Seaside Fantasy’s pedigree and quality of past competition puts her high up on the list in this field, and she comes into this one with improving speed figures.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see her run very well here.  But there are some red flags.  The pedigree SCREAMS turf, and although her mother was equally good on dirt, her only dirt-trying sister proved that the dirt track isn’t for everyone.  She has also struggled in her last couple of turf races to keep up with faster horses through the stretch.  Definitely don’t count her out of this one though.

Watch Level: High

#8 – Tempe Nights (Drefong x Street’s Closed [Street Cry x Dehere]) – Owned by worldclass9 – 9/1

Race Record: 5:1-1-2; $53,699

Race History: It took a few tries for Tempe Nights to break her maiden, but she finally got to run like she wanted to when she was stretched out to 8f in her 4th race back in September 2018.  Her previous 3 tries in 5-6f sprints had her closing from well off the lead but running out of room, so when she got an extra 2 furlongs, she was finally able to pounce.  In a field of 9, she sat last early, but decided to start her move early, and by the time they hit the stretch, she was already second.  She easily ran down the leader and drew off to win by 3, earning a 77 SP.  Tempe Nights was given some extra time off after that race, and came back at the end of November like a horse on fire.  Running in an 8.5f NW2L, she fell more than 10 lengths back in the backstretch, but slowly started gaining ground and then unleashed a strong kick in the stretch, coming up a mere neck short of the victory and earning a career best 92 SP.  The winner from that one repeated next time out in a 9f allowance, where she drew off to win by 2.  Tempe Nights cuts back by ¼ furlong here for her first race as a 3yo.

Pedigree: Drefong, the 2016 Champion Sprinter in the US, entered stud in 2018 in Japan, so he has no real life progeny to note.  The freshman sire has 60 sim runners to date, and 20 of those have found their way into the winner’s circle.  His first crop is winning at only an 11% clip, but among those is Dragon Seed, a two-time stakes winner at 5-5.5f on the dirt.  Much like Drefong, his progeny have been primarily dirt sprinters, with 82% of earnings coming from the dirt and 83% in sprints.  But his bloodlines (Gio Ponti x Ghostzapper) indicate some stamina, so we may see some longer runners as the races stretch out for his 3yo crop.  Tempe Nights is the 8th foal of 16yo mare Street’s Closed, who was a winner of 2 from 14 races in her career.  Street’s Closed did her best work in dirt sprints, but her progeny have shown more stamina than she ever did.  She has one stakes winner, Sara Cadet (Fort Wood), a local stakes winner at 8.5f, and one stakes placed horse, Raven’s Pumpkin (Raven’s Pass), who is stakes placed at 9f.  Most of her progeny seem to prefer dirt routes.

Expectations: Tempe Nights may only be 9/1 according to the oddsmakers, but from this uninformed fan, she looks like the one to beat.  The 92 SP in her last race is the highest in the field, and worldclass9 has given her some extra time off after that race to recoup.  She is a deep closer who finds a race filled with pace, and her siblings all like dirt routes.  She may want slightly more ground than this, but she’s got a real good chance in here.

Watch Level: High

#9 – Seeking Zensation (Zensational x Seeking a Miracle [Seeking The Gold x Northern Dancer]) – Owned by daydreams0 – 5/1

Race Record: 3:1-1-0; $22,645

Race History: Seeking Zensation made a splash early, as she was slow to get out of the gate in a 5f MSW back in August 2018, but quickly passed horses in her move from 11th on her way to a 1 length maiden victory.  That run led to a stakes attempt at 5.5f, but it turns out that 5.5f may not have been enough ground.  She again started slow, and again picked off horses, but she could only get as close as 6th, 2-3/4 lengths back, before the wire.  The 77 SP she earned there was about the same as the 78 SP from her maiden, so for her next race Seeking Zensation made a big jump to 8.5f, while dropping in class to a NW2L allowance.  There, she demonstrated that routing is where she wants to be.  Again starting slow, opening in 11th of 12, she harnessed that closing power and moved up as the race went on, and then unleashed a kick in the stretch to pull her within ¾ of the pacesetting winner, 3 lengths clear of 3rd.  The winner came back to run 2nd in an 8f turf stakes next time out, while 3rd from that race ran 4th next time out with a 90 SP in a 9f race.  Seeking Zensation comes into this race off a career best 88 SP in that NW2L allowance.

Pedigree: Zensational, a G1-winning sprinter, currently stands in Argentina and I can’t find much about his current success or failure in the real world.  In the sim, however, his 2018 crop is currently the #46 ranked crop, with 50 winners from 88 runners to date.  The standout horse from his 3yo progeny is Rockfest Bandit, winner of the G1 Frickazee Stakes (at 8f) and 5 of 8 races overall.  4 others from the crop are currently stakes placed.   Much like his racing career, Zensational’s sim progeny strongly prefer dirt sprints, with 81% of earnings on the dirt and 67% in sprints.  The 3yo crop shows a strong affinity for dirt, though there are some strong route runners in the class as well.  Seeking Zensation is the 3rd foal, all fillies, of stakes winning 14yo mare Seeking A Miracle.  Seeking A Miracle went 8 for 39 in her career, with 2 stakes wins at 7.5f on the dirt.  Although most of the wins were in sprints, her limited exposure to route races showed that she had some ability at the 8-9f range as well.  Her first daughter, Drosselmiracle (Drosselmeyer) is an allowance winner in dirt routes, while her second daughter, Mathematical (Algorithms), is an allowance winner in dirt sprints, though Mathematical has also shown a closing kick and ran decently (a closing 6th) in her only route attempt at 8f.  Zensational has been crossed with a Seeking The Gold mare 13 times in the past 4 years, and that cross has produced 1 stakes winner, who did so in dirt sprints.

Expectation: The pedigree may lean sprint, but Seeking Zensation has been screaming for more distance and she will get a chance here to prove that her last race was not a fluke.  She’s coming off of a strong improvement in a 2nd place finish in her first route effort, and the fact that she’s got some stakes history that didn’t cause her to crack is a sign of good things to come once she finds the right distance.  With the speed up front, expect to see her coming late with a strong bid here.

Watch Level: High

#10 – Bospityev (Street Boss x Pulpit x Nureyev) – Owned by kody15 – 14/1

Race Record: 4:1-0-1; $41,026

Race History: Bospityev struggled early in her career, but once she was given some running room beyond 5.5f, she was finally able to stretch her legs.  In her fourth and most recent race, a 7f MSW back in November 2018, she came back to the dirt after a failed turf effort and was finally able to run like she wanted to, and pounced.  After having to settle behind other horses in a mad sprint for the finish line at 5f, in the 7f MSW she was able to grab the lead early, and she never looked back.  Bospityev started out setting a reasonable pace, and the was left to run free, and she opened up a 3-1/4 length lead at the top of the stretch.  She then cruised to a 2 length victory, earning a career best 84 SP, a significant jump over her prior best 67.  The 6th place horse from that maiden race came back next time out to win a 9f MSW with an 87 SP.  It was a nice change for Bospityev from the short sprint, and she’ll try to stretch out here again.

Pedigree: Street Boss, a G1-winning sprinter, was the #94 ranked sire in the EU + North America in 2018 in the real world, and is currently the #215 ranked sire for his 2018 sim class.  That class includes 72 runners, of which 27 have currently broken their maidens, winning races at an 11.6% rate (lower than his approximately 14% rate overall).  But what the class lacks in raw numbers, it makes up for in class.  The 27 winners include 3 stakes winners and 2 graded stakes winners (all in dirt sprints).  Among the graded winners are G1-winning Land Boss, who won the G1 Hopeless Stakes at 7f before faltering when stretched out for the Breeders’ Bowl Juvenile, and Winter Is Boss, a filly who took down a 6.5f G3 on dirt.  This shouldn’t be surprising, as Street Boss’s progeny have earned 65% of earnings on dirt and 60% in sprints. Pulpit has been used as the dam-sire for Zensational 5 other times over the past 4 years, and although the cross has not resulted in any stakes winners, 3 of the 5 are allowance winners, and the 7-8f distance has been the most successful.

Expectations: Once Bospityev got away from speed demon horses, she was able to settle down, set the pace, and ease her way to victory.  It’s possible that will continue has she lengthens her race distance even further, as she did not seem to have distance issues at 7f.  But looking at the pedigree, sprinting seems more likely, and 8-8.5f might be the farthest that she can go.  In a race with no other pace, she would be a good pick.  But here, where there are a number of other burners looking for the lead, I worry about possible distance limitations here.

Watch Level: Medium

#11 – Fuzzy Peso (Speightstown x Danzig x Unbridled’s Song) – Owned by jmslocalracers – 8/1

Race Record: 6:1-1-2; $47,660

Race History: Fuzzy Peso broke her maiden at first asking, in a 5.5f MSW in March 2018 (5 of her 12 competitors from that race have gone on to break their maidens since).  After that, she bounced back and forth between URC races.  Her last 3 races, a URC allowance, a NW2L allowance, and a URC stakes, were all in turf routes, where she consistently earned 80-81 SPs, with a strong closing kick in the 2 allowances (finishing 3rd both times), but struggling in the stakes effort.  Her 3 dirt races prior were significantly slower efforts (66-68 SPs), but all were at 5.5-6.5f.  In her 3rd race, a 4 horse NW1x at 5.5f, she showed a little bit of a closing move in finishing 2nd to an eventually stakes placed dirt sprinter.  Fuzzy Peso has improved slightly in each of her last 3 races, and she will try to get a turf to dirt boost in her first dirt route here.

Pedigree: Speightstown, a champion sprinter, was the #15 ranked US sire in 2018, and his 2018 sim crop currently ranks at #12, with 70 winners from 115 runners.  Those runners are winning at a superb 22% rate, well above Speightstown’s overall 17.5% win rate.  He largely throws dirt sprinters (71% earnings on dirt, 64% in sprints), though his top 3yos do include a couple of turf runners.  His 2018 sim foals include 7 stakes winners, of which 3 are turf runners and the others have won dirt sprint stakes (though 1 of those is graded placed at 8.5f).   The Speightstown x Danzig cross is most popular usage of Speightstown in the sim, with 31 bred in the last 4 years, including 9 now-3yos.  Of those 31, 4 are stakes winners in dirt sprints (2 of which are graded winners, including the G1-winning Danzig on Holidays), and another one that is stakes winner in turf routes.

Expectation: Fuzzy Peso should be taking her time in this race, sitting back in the pack and hoping that a speed duel breaks out up front.  If it does, she’s got a chance to come on late, but there’s a chance this race could be a touch too long for her pedigree.

Watch Level: Medium

That’s the field of 11 fillies for this NW1x Allowance.  My predictions are: (1) #8 – Tempe Nights, (2) #9 – Seeking Zensation, and (3) #5 – Babelsburg (my longshot pick).  I just think there’s too much pace in here, and especially without route experience, it’s possible that a couple of these frontrunners are actually just sprinters, which would make the pace even hotter.  But who knows?  I’m not a very good handicapper…

Other Races To Watch This Weekend:

This week, some of the best races are on Friday, so I’ve included those here.

1)      Kentucky – Alw NW3L @ 9f (Friday)

2)      Japan – Alw NW3L @ 9f-T

3)      Ontario – Alw NW1x @ 6.5f-T

4)      Kentucky – Alw NW2L @ 8f (Fillies) (Friday)

5)      California – Alw NW2L @ 8f

6)      Germany – Alw NW2L @9f-T (Fillies) (Friday)

7)      Kentucky – Alw NW2L @ 8f-T (Friday)

8)      South Africa – LOCAL Alw NW3L @ 8.5f (Fillies)

9)      Germany – Alw NW3L @ 9f (Fillies)

 

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Jan 122019
 

Welcome to the first (and probably longest) race preview of the Future Stars Series. Here, we’re breaking down each horse’s racing history and pedigree, then giving some expectations for the race.  Lastly, we’re listing a “Watch Level” – How strongly we feel that a given horse might become a future star (at least when compared to the rest of the horses in the race).

This week, the Future Stars Series kicks off with a 3yo NW2L Allowance in Louisiana, running on Sunday, January 13.  12 solid horses are scheduled to run 9 furlongs on the dirt in this wide open field, including one who is already Stakes Placed in his young career.  Let’s take a look at the field of 12 and see what possible future stars we have.

#1 – Forty Niner Cause (Giant’s Causeway x Forty Niner x Street Cry) – Owned by ddkstables22 – 7/2(f)

Race History: It took four tries for Forty Niner Cause to break his maiden, but when he finally did it, he did it with a bang.  He began his career with a 2nd, missing by ¼ length at 7f against an allowance winner that has already earned $100K in just 6 starts (and defeating today’s rival Subjecttothefates).  He followed that up with another 2nd at 8f, and then ran 3rd as he tried to cut back in distance to 6.5f.  A frontrunner, he was stretched back out to 8.5f in his last race, back in November 2018, and he showed that shorter isn’t always better for pacesetters, blowing out the competition by 3 and earning a career best 97 SP.  The 3rd place horse from that race switched to turf next time out and took down an MSW of his own in front-running style with a 96 SP, so Forty Niner Cause looks to have had some decent competition in his past.

Pedigree: This pedigree probably doesn’t require too much discussion, as Giant’s Causeway, the leading North American sire in 2009, 2010, and 2012, was one of the most in-demand sim sires.  Forty Niner Cause is one of 337 (!) horses that have already hit the track from Giant’s Causeway’s final crop.  That crop is currently ranked #2 in the sim, with 12 stakes winners and 6 graded stakes winners already.  Typically, Giant’s Causeway progeny in the sim prefer routes, with 63% of career earnings coming in the longer races, whereas dirt/turf preference is pretty even.  From the 2018 crop, 63% of earnings thus far have come from the dirt, but that may even out as more races are run by these horses.  The Giant’s Causeway x Forty Niner cross has been used 32 times over the last 4 years, with 3 of those going on to graded stakes victories, all on dirt.

Expectations: Between the pedigree and his last race, Forty Niner Cause comes into this race with high expectations and he’s got a good chance of living up to them.  Expect to see him get out to the lead in this one, and then it’s only a question of whether he can stay there.  But I think it’s pretty likely that he does.

Watch Level: High

#2 – Pete’s Best (English Channel x Fifth Beatle [Rahy x Nijinsky 2nd]) – Owned by dochman9 – 12/1

Race History: As a son of English Channel, Pete’s Best began his career in short sprints on the turf, but 2 poor races in a row resulted in a switch to the dirt.  He popped there, finishing 2nd behind pacesetter Cents Boy (4th in his first stakes attempt last time out) and seeing a 12 point SP jump.  He earned an 81 SP breaking his maiden next time out at 7.5f, but then cut back in distance to see a disappointing 5th on the slop, before rebounding to a 2nd place finish last time out at 5f with a career high 82 SP.  Overall, Pete’s Best is 6:1-2-0, but this is his first time routing and he takes a big jump in distance, going from 5f to 9f in this one.

Pedigree: English Channel, the 2007 Turf Eclipse Award winner, has been a successful real life sire on both turf and dirt, ranking as the #17 US sire in 2018 with 4 G1 winners.  He has not been quite as successful in the sim, ranking 127th with his now-4yo crop.  Pete’s Best is one of 60 runners (to date) from the 2018 crop, which has seen only 1 stakes winner (on the turf) and has only a 5.8% win rate (overall, English Channel’s progeny is a little better, with an approximately 16% win rate).  Sim progeny of English Channel tend to prefer turf routes (75% earned on turf, 73% route), and the longer the better for these children.  On the dam side, Pete’s Best is the 10th child of Fifth Beatle, a 15yo mare who went 2 for 32 in her career.  Those 2 races were both in dirt sprints, which is where she did her best work.  Her first child, An Inconceivable, by Unbridled’s Song, was a stakes winner at 2, but only 2 other children have won at the allowance level.  There is no consistent theme with Fifth Beatle’s other children, as they have all differed on preference for surface and distance (most, however, cap out at 8.5f-9f).  English Channel has been bred to a Rahy mare 2 other times in the past 4 years, one of which has won 8 allowances from 27 races with a high SP of 109, on the turf.

Expectations: Pete’s Best is coming off a career high SP and has shown some solid ability to sit just off the pace in sprints, so I would expect him to be in the front here.  Whether he can keep it going for 9f is an open question, but I think there’s some potential for a solid race here.

Watch Level: Low

#3 – Verdugo y Medio (Uncle Mo x Que Verdugo [Tiznow x Affirmed]) – Owned by verdugos – 6/1

Race History: Verdugo y Medio has run 3 previous times in his career, and has hit the board in all 3.  His first attempt was at 7.5f, where he finished a respectable 3rd, but he came back in September 2018 and scored at 8.5f, winning by ½ length and seeing a sizable SP bump up to 84 SP.  2 months later, he tried his hand at the allowance level, once again finishing 3rd at 8.5f.  He lost a little ground to the pacesetter in that race, but that pacesetter went on to win and came back with a 3rd place finish in a 9.5f stakes last week with a 93 SP.  Verdugo y Medio earned an 87 SP in that last race, and comes into this one with a 3:1-0-2 record.

Pedigree: Uncle Mo, the Eclipse winning 2yo of 2010, has quite the impressive resume for a 4th year sire in real life, including Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.  In the sim, most of his horses prefer the dirt (74% earnings on dirt), but they are pretty evenly split between sprints and routes.  The faster Uncle Mo horses in the sim tend to prefer sprints, but there are a number of solid routers as well.  The routers include Miss Mo, a sim eclipse award winner.  Verdugo y Medio is one of 170 runners thus far from the 3yo crop, which have won at an 18% rate (slightly below the 19% overall rate) but only includes 2 stakes winners (though 4 are graded placed).  The he-mare, Que Verdugo, is a G2-winning 7yo horse who won 11 of 33 races in his career.  That G2 win was in the Trial By Night Stakes at 8f, and 3 races later he was narrowly beaten in an 8.5f G2.  His best races came at the 8.5-9f distance, and although he was capable on turf, most of his success was on dirt.  As a he-mare, Verdugo y Medio is and will be the only child of Que Verdugo.  The Uncle Mo x Tiznow cross has been used 5 other times in the last 4 years, with 2 of those 4 being allowance winners and a max SP of 119 (2 others have broken the 100 SP mark).

Expectations: Verdugo y Medio has made some nice gains over his first 3 races, and he hopes to continue the trend here.  This is a colt with some promise, though he couldn’t quite keep up with a stakes-caliber horse last time out.  He will likely get a better pace to run into this time, but 9f might be pushing the limits of how far he can run.  We’ll see on Sunday.

Watch Level: Medium

#4 – Subjecttothefates (Street Sense x Humaliwo [Malibu Moon x Danehill]) – Owned by Sarasota – 9/1

Race History: Subjecttothefates debuted at 7f back in June 2018, running a hard-charging 5th, 2-3/4 lengths behind an allowance winner with $100K earnings in 6 starts, and 2-1/2 lengths behind today’s rival Forty Niner Cause.  Screaming for more distance, owner Sarasota…pulled him back to 6.5f?  That decision shows why Sarasota is a better trainer than I, as Subjecttothefates came from dead last and romped to a 2-1/4 victory in August 2018.  Coming back in September at 6.5f, he was able to gain some ground at the end, but finished 4th at the allowance level, losing to stakes winner and G3-placed Mission of Peace.  He comes into this 9f affair with a 3:1-0-0 record, and coming off a career high 79 SP in the allowance loss.

Pedigree: Street Sense, the 2006 Eclipse Award winning 2yo, finished as the #16 ranked North American sire in 2018 in his return from Japan.  On the track, he excelled at the classic 10f distance, including wins in the Kentucky Derby and Travers.  Here in the sim, Street Sense is consistently ranked in the top 40, with his progeny preferring Dirt Routes (63% earnings on dirt, 61% routes).  He had his busiest year in 2018, with 116 runners to date from the 3yo crop.  Those 116 runners have won at a 17% clip, with 4 stakes winners among them (and 2 graded placed horses).  Subjecttothefates is the 2nd child of G2-winning 7yo mare Humaliwo, who won 7 of 24 races in her career.  Although she spent a significant chunk of time on the turf, she found her calling back on dirt, where she won 2 sprint stakes before taking down the 7f G2 Delta Tau Chi Sprint.  She spent most of her career as a sprinter, never quite having the stamina to make it in the route races.  Her first child, Gilmored (by More Than Ready), broke his maiden at 6f in his 5th career race back in December.  Street Sense x Malibu Moon has occurred 8 other times in the past 4 years, and one of those, Cry Tough, is a stakes winner at 9.5f with a 119 SP. 4 of those 8 are also 3yos, and one, Jenny Lake, is stakes placed, picking up a 2nd place finish in her last race at 8.5f.

Expectations: Although Subjecttothefates has shown some closing power, there’s a little concern in the pedigree, as his mother could never quite get this distance, and his half-brother has run his best races in sprints.  But Street Sense brings some needed stamina, and his past races show that he might relish the extra distance here.  Still, I think Subjecttothefates drew an unfortunately classy field for his 4th career race, and it might take a little longer until he rises to the level of his competition here.

Watch Level: Low

#5 – FSS Arrogation (Arrogate x West Coast Humor [Distorted Humor x Seattle Slew]) – Owned by mightyforego8 – 9/1

Race History: This will be the 8th race of FSS Arrogation’s career, and he comes in with a record of 7:1-2-1.  FSS Arrogation began in Pastures of Green’s Freshman Sire Series, running 2nd in his debut to eventual residency stakes winner Empirical Rule, which moved him into the Freshman Sire Series finals, where he ran 9th.  A shift to the turf saw 2 top 3 finishes in MSWs, before he finally scored in an 8.5f turf MSW in his 5th try on September 21, 2018 (only 1 of 2 horses from that race to be a winner at this point).  The allowance ranks wer ea little tough for him, as he followed that maiden score with 2 disappointing 83 SPs, finishing 7th and 6th.  He moves back to the dirt for this one.

Pedigree: Arrogate, the 2016 3yo Eclipse Winner, holds 2 track records, 1 at 9f at Gulfstream Park, and 1 at 10f at Saratoga.  As a freshman sim sire in 2018, he does not have any real life progeny, but he does have 150 now-3yos in the sim.  Of those, 90% of money earned by his progeny has come on the dirt.  He has 5 stakes winners from the crop, including 2 G3 winners (both out of A.P. Indy mares), both at the 8-8.5f distance.  On the dam side, FSS Arrogation is the first (and so far only) child of early-breeder West Coast Humor, a now-5yo mare who earned 1 win from 6 starts on the track.  That one win was on a good turf course at 9.5f in her second career start at a 3yo.  She never tried sprinting, though outside of her off-track win she didn’t seem to have much stamina in the longer races.  She ran 5th and 12th in her 2 starts on dirt.  Arrogate was bred to a Distorted Humor mare 3 times in 2018, with a high SP of 87 earned by the only non-winner of the group (though he has only run 2 races).

Expectations: The veteran of the field, FSS Arrogation has improved his SP in each of his 7 races, and he switches back to dirt here hoping for the extra turf-dirt boost.  Still, in his 3 allowance efforts (2 on turf and 1 as part of the Freshman Sire Series on dirt), he struggled to keep up with the rest of the field, starting midpack and tiring from there at 8.5f.  So although his pedigree calls for stamina, he hasn’t shown much of it on the track yet.

Watch Level: Low

#6 – Medalex (Afleet Alex x Gold In Vancouver [Medaglia D’Oro x Seeking The Gold]) – Owned by ehteam1 – 10/1

Race History: Medalex’s debut did not go well.  Entered in a 6.5f MSW, Medalex got out of the gate well, but tired quickly and finished a well-beaten 8th.  So ehteam1 took drastic action, sent Medalex to the farm, and gelded him.  But it looks like it worked.  Back in action in November 2018, Medalex was entered in an 8.5f MSW, and whereas at 6.5f he tired, here he sat toward the back (though it was a very bunched pack) and closed to win by a head, earning an 88 SP, the highest jump in this race.  None of his top competitors in that race have run since that race, so it’s still not clear how strong the competition was.  Medalex comes into this race with a 2:1-0-0 record.

Pedigree: Afleet Alex, the 2005 Eclipse Award winning 3yo, showed that he is a stamina horse with wins in the 2005 Preakness and Belmont.  The sire of 7 G1 winners in real life, he stands for $6,500 in Kentucky, though he is not ranked on any US sire lists.  In the sim, his recent crops have not fared as well as his early crops may have.  His 2018 yield includes 43 runners to date, but none of those 43 have reach the stakes level.  He is the #248 ranked sire for 2018 in the sim.  Unsurprisingly, his progeny tend to prefer dirt (71% earnings on dirt), but surprisingly (based on his own race record), he tends to throw slightly more sprinters in the sim (52% in sprints; 70%+ in the last 3 years).  The 3yos are winning at a 12% clip, slightly down from the 13% average for Afleet Alex.  On the dam side, Gold in Vancouver is a 12yo mare who earned 1 win in 20 career starts, with most of her races (and her best races) coming on turf. Medalex is the 7th child of this well-bred mare. 2 of the children are stakes winners, having won the Eh Team Get Your Preak On stakes at 9f in back-to-back years.  Most of the children have preferred the 8f-10f dirt distances, though some have shown proclivities for longer races.  Afleet Alex has been bred to a Medaglia D’Oro mare 7 other times in the past 4 years, with Sipi Falls being a G1 winner at 9f and one other stakes winner in the bunch.

Expectation: Gelding has worked for plenty of horses in the past, and there’s no reason to think that wasn’t the key to get this 3yo running the way he should.  And if he runs back to his last race, he’s certainly dangerous.  The worry here is that the pace might be a little hotter than it was in his last, where the pacesetter and the 12th place horse were only separated by 3-1/2 lengths early.  He will probably be farther back this time.  But he should have the stamina to get the distance, and the speed has been there before.  This one has a real shot.

Watch Level: High

#7 – Forrester’s Dancer (American Dance x Forrester Flyer [Deputy Minister x Gulch]) – Owned by splitenzex – 6/1

Race History: Forrester’s Dancer comes into this race as the most accomplished horse in the field.  Debuting in the ASR Sons of A.P. Indy MSW at 7.5f in October 2018, Forrester’s Dancer beat a field of 12 (including fillies and colts), closing from midpack to win by 3/4 length at 21/1.  He followed that up with a 2nd place finish in open company in a NW2L allowance at 8.5f (second to a horse who most recently ran 7th in stakes company), before returning to the residency ranks and narrowly missing in the ASR Sons of Sires Dirt Stakes, finishing 2nd by 1/4 length at 8f.  He comes into this race 3:1-2-0 off a career best 91 SP.

Pedigree: Not a horse you hear about every day, American Dance was 3 for 13 in his career, finishing 3rd in the 2008 Remsen Stakes before heading to Trinidad and Tobago and standing in Jamaica.  But he’s so unknown as a sire that it’s actually possible that he died in 2017…  However, the sim still has him listed as a sire, and so he has currently had 29 children hit the sim track.  They have won at a 12% clip, primarily on the dirt, but by far, the most successful of them has been Forrester’s Dancer.  Only 3 others have picked up an allowance win thus far.  While his sire may be unknown, his dam, Forrester Flyer, is not.  Forrester’s Dancer is the 12th child, and 6th son, of this 18yo mare who went 7 for 27 in her career, including multiple stakes placings at 7f-8f as a 2yo.  She was fairly well balanced between dirt and turf, but most of her money came from the 8-9.5f range, which she cleared loved.  She has produced 3 stakes winners to date, including the G2-winning Lemon Drop Flyer (9.5f-T), multiple stakes winner and G2-placed The Minor Details (8.5f-9f-T, 9f-D), and stakes winner War Flyer (8f).

Expectations: Forrester’s Dancer looks like this race is perfect for him.  His siblings all loved this distance, his mother loved this distance, and he’s been steadily improving in each of his 3 career races.  9 furlongs might be his limit, but I still expect him to get it.  The only question is whether he’ll successfully make the jump from 2yo to 3yo.  But this is a very promising colt and a very promising race.

Watch Level: High

#8 – Spirit Orb (Orb x Free Spirits Joy [Awesome Again x A.P. Indy]) – Owned by phillipj4 – 11/1

Race History: Spirit Orb kicked off his career in a 7f MSW in July 2018, breaking dead last and closing to finish a decent 4th (5 of the other 10 from that race have gone on to win).  Opting for more ground, he was next sent out in an 8f MSW in August 2018, and got up just in time to win the Head photo, earning an 83 SP in the process.  That was enough for phillipj4 to opt for an 8.5f stakes race where Spirit Orb went off at 8/1, but he threw a clunker, regressing down to a 73 SP and finishing 11th, 16 lengths behind the winner.  He’s been resting at the farm for 3 months and looks to come back strong here in 2019.

Pedigree: Orb, the 2013 Kentucky Derby winner, was the #11 first crop sire in 2017 and the #12 second crop sire in 2018 in the US.  His best runs came at the 9f-10f distance.  In the sim, he has ranked in the bottom half of the top 100 in most years.  Orb’s 2018 crop appears to be the weakest so far, as the 96 runners to date are winning at only a 12% clip (Orb’s average is around 17%), with only 35 winners in total, a significant decrease from 82 of 104 from the 2017 crop.  Part of that problem may be that Orb tends to throw dirt routers (79% earnings from dirt, 62% from routes), meaning that the horses only get better as they age.  Only 2 of his 2018 class have stakes wins on their resume.  Spirit Orb’s dam, Free Spirits Joy, is a stakes winning, and multiple G1-placed, 13yo mare who picked up 23 wins in 45 races in her career.  She could run all day, with her stakes wins and graded placings coming at 16f.  She had a huge turn-of-foot, and has passed that to several of her children.  Free Spirits Joy’s first child, Val’s Fortune, and her second child, Tiger on the Loose, are both stakes winners (and the latter is graded placed) at 14f-16f.  Spirit Orb is the 6th child of Free Spirits Joy, and 4 of the previous 5 inherited their mother’s stamina.  The Orb x Awesome Again cross has been used 6 times in the past 4 years, with 3 stakes winners among them, including Orb Trail, another from Orb’s 2018 crop; however, the stakes wins for all 3 are in dirt sprints.

Expectations: Spirit Orb’s past races may not be quite up to the same caliber as some of the competition here, but if one this is for sure, this horse can run all day and is likely craving more ground.  He gets it here, and stepping down from stakes caliber should help.  He will get some pace for his closing style, and that should help as well.  If he returns to his form 2 back, he has a strong shot in this one.  The question is whether the stakes race did some damage; hopefully the 3 months off will help get him back on track.

Watch Level: Medium

#9 – Space Cadet TB (Space Shot x Sea Tale [Tale of the Cat x Future Storm]) – Owned by testlocal2015 – 18/1

Race History: Space Cadet is one of the lightest raced horses in this field, and the one with the least quality experience overall.  His debut came in a Local $100K Maiden Claimer at 8.5f in September 2018.  There, he sat just off the pace and then pounced, taking the race by 2 lengths at 11/1 and earning an 80 SP.  Space Cadet TB stayed at the local level in his second race, again at 8.5f but on a good dirt track, where he flipped positions with the 2nd place horse from the MCL, Trippin Falls.  Trippin Falls would go on to finish 12th in a G3 in his next race.  Space Cadet TB earned an 85 SP for his 2nd place finish, a ¼ length defeat, and comes into this open-company allowance NW2L looking better than initially expected.

Pedigree: Space Shot, a son of Seattle Slew, was a winner of 1 race in 11 tries from 2004-2005, with that win coming in a 6f MSW at Fair Grounds as a 3yo.  He stands in Louisiana for a $500 stud fee, and was ranked the #296 sire in the Southwest in 2018, with 3 winners from 4 runners.  In the sim, Space Shot averages around 15-20 runners per year, with 14 runners to date from his 2018 crop.  Of those, 5 are winners, and the crop is winning approximately 11% of its races (overall, Space Shot horses win at approximately 13%).  Space Shot has not shown a preference for dirt or turf per earnings, but does tend to thrown sprinters more than routers (61% earnings in sprints).  In total, Space Shot has sired 5 stakes winners in the sim, but only 1 in the last 5 years.  Space Cadet TB is the 7th child of Sea Tale, a winner of 4 from 27 races lifetime.  Those wins all came in dirt sprints in the 6f-7f range.  Two of Sea Tale’s children, My Pale Tale TB and Catsfish TB, are stakes placed, though both are by My Pal Charlie (and Catsfish TB’s stakes placing is a residency stakes).  The other children have mostly raced in sprints, though none have done much on the track, especially outside of local races.

Expectations: It does not surprise me that Space Cadet TB is the longshot in this race, at 18/1.  Coming out of local races, and the maiden claiming ranks, by an unknown sire, is not usually the recipe for success in the sim.  And the fact that the dam was a sprinter, the sire throws sprinters, and Space Cadet TB’s half-siblings are sprinters, doesn’t bode well for him getting the distance.  But I’m not quite ready to discount him just yet.  The horse that beat him last race improved off his winning speed figure, and Space Cadet TB gets a fast dirt track in this race.  That, plus the added half furlong, should cause Space Cadet TB to move forward off of his previous race.  He may not win, but I can see him finishing a little better than might be expected.

Watch Level: Medium

#10 – Macalelon (Connect x Bondoc Peninsula [Australia x Orfevre (JPN)]) – Owned by theduke104 – 10/1

Race History: Macalelon debuted in a 5.5f MSW in November 2018, and put up a decent, though not spectacular, debut race.  He ran 4th, beaten 3-1/2 lengths by a horse that came back to win an allowance next time out.  He picked up a little steam at the end of the race, and Theduke104 decided to stretch him out for his second race.  Running at 8.5f in December 2018, Macalelon easily broke his maiden, pulling away to win by 1-1/4 and earning an 88 SP.  The 2nd place horse from the maiden score has not yet raced again, but 3rd and 4th both broke their maidens next time out, indicating that this was a solid field that Macalelon beat.  He adds an extra half furlong here, coming in with a 2:1-0-0 record.

Pedigree: Connect was a G1 winning horse who excelled at mile races, winning the Cigar Mile in 2016 and the Westchester Handicap in 2017.  He was a freshman sire in 2018, so there is no real life progeny to look at.  In the sim, Connect has had 73 runners from his 2018 crop take to the track, and they are winning at a 16.5% clip.  Of those 73, 3 are stakes winners and 1, Connectorbone, has a G2 win at 6.5f under her belt.  85% of progeny earnings have come from the dirt.  The dam, Bondoc Peninsula, was an early-bred 5yo mare that won 4 of 21 races, and Macalelon is her first child.  All 4 wins came on the dirt, though she spent a similar amount of time on the turf.  She was successful anywhere from 6.5f to 10f.  Macalelon is the only sim horse with the Connect x Australia cross thus far.

Expectations: Macalelon took a big jump from his 76 SP debut to his 88 SP maiden breaking run as he sat just off the pacesetter and then pounced in the far turn.  If he can do something like that here, he’s got a real shot.  This is a horse that looks to be on the upswing, and I think he’ll put together a solid performance in this one.

Watch Level: High

#11 – Ottno (Gun Runner x Deputy Minister x Seattle Slew) – Owned by asrstar3 – 12/1

Race History: Ottno debuted at 7f, where he struggled to keep up and finished 6th, before bouncing back and breaking his maiden second time out at 6.5f in July 2018.  The 2nd place horse in his maiden score went on to back-to-back 4th place finishes in stakes company, including last week at 9.5f, so there is some quality in Ottno’s backtrack.  However, things went downhill at the allowance level, where he ran no better than a dull 3rd in 4 tries leading into this race.  He comes into this race with a record of 6:1-0-1.  His last effort, at 6f on the turf, was a career best 78 SP, and he hopes that he can keep that improvement going as he jumps back to the dirt for this one.

Pedigree: Gun Runner, the 2017 American Horse of the Year, was a dominant horse on the track, going 19:12-3-2 in his career.  The majority of his wins came in the 9f-10f range on the dirt.  As a freshman sire, however, we have no real world data about his progeny, so we’re left with only sim data, where he has had 129 runners hit the track so far from his first crop.  They are scoring at a 15% rate, but thus far, he has only produced one residency stakes winner (2 others are graded stakes placed).  82% of the money his progeny have earned has been on the dirt, and his stats are good enough to be ranked the #25 sim sire of 2018 thus far.  As a scratch bred, there is no dam data, but Gun Runner was bred to a Deputy Minister dam 3 times in 2018.  One of the other 2, The Bourbon Double, has 3 wins from 5 races, includes a residency stakes race, with a max SP of 92 at 8.5f.

Expectations: Ottno’s speed figures thus far have been a cut below some of the others in this field, but there might be a little promise here.  Gun Runner came on as a 3yo, and a look back at the 3 dirt allowances losses show losses to multiple allowance winners and 1 G3 winner.  Still, he’s been struggling a bit at getting the extra ground, and some of the others in this race seem to be in a slightly better class.

Watch Level: Low

#12 – The Goonies (Liam’s Map x Haunting Indy [Ghostzapper x A.P. Indy]) – Owned by sprinter2 – 11/1

Race History: Sprinter2 is the sponsor of the race, so you know that this is a race that The Goonies is expected to like.  And why not?  The Goonies began his 3 race career at 6.5f on the dirt, where he finished 3rd, beaten 6 lengths (the top 2 from that race have not won a race beyond their maiden victories).  His second effort stretched him out to 8f, where he finished 4th by 4-1/2.  His big breakout was in his most recent race, at 8.5f here in Louisiana back in November 2018.  There, he drew an off-track and flourished, unleashing a closing kick to pull off a neck victory and earning an 86 SP, a jump of 14 points over his previous best.  3 others from that race (including the 2nd place finisher) have come back to run 2nd or 3rd next time out with SPs in the 85-87 range, but no others have as of yet broken their maiden.

Pedigree: Liam’s Map was an excellent dirt miler and winner of the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile.  His real life children have not yet reached the track, though his yearlings averaged $158,000 at auction in 2018.  In the sim, Liam’s Map’s children win at approximately an 18% clip, but are primarily dirt sprinters (81% money earned on dirt, 64% sprint).  His 3yo crop includes 5 stakes winners (but no graded stakes winners as of yet), and he has 1 G1 winner in the Sim.  The Goonies’ is the 5th child, and 3rd son, of Haunting Indy, who found her niche at the 8-8.5f dirt level, and picked up 9 wins (all at the MSW/allowance level) in 33 races.  The four previous children are all allowance winners, with her first 2 children excelling at the 8-9f range and the more recent 2 children preferring shorter, 7f races (all 4 prefer dirt).  Liam’s Map has been bred to a Ghostzapper mare 4 other times in the past 5 years, but none have, as of yet, picked up an allowance win and the maximum speed figure thus far has been a 91, in the 8-9f dirt range.

Expectations: Sprinter2 is the sponsor of the race, so you know that this is a race that The Goonies is expected to like.  And why not?  He keeps getting better as the distances increase.  But the competition in this one is tough, and the sun is expected to be shining in Louisiana.  So lean towards others.

Watch Level: Low

————

So that’s the field for this NW2L Allowance.  If I had to pick a top 3, I’d go with (1) #7 – Forrester’s Dancer, (2) #1 – Forty Niner Cause, and (3) #6 – Medalex, with my longshot as #9 – Space Cadet TB.  But let’s be honest; this series is less about who will win this particular allowance, and more about who will go on to be a G1 winner.  And for that, we’ll just have to wait and find out.

Here are some of the other “highly rated” races for the weekend of 1/12; you can check out the runners and decide for yourself who you think is the Next Big Thing:

1)      New York – Alw NW2L @ 7f-T (1/13; will be split into 2 races)

2)      New York – Alw NW2L @7f (Division 1) (Division 2)

3)      Texas – Alw NW3L @ 8.5f

4)      Ireland – Alw NW2L @ 6.5f-T (Fillies)

5)      Denmark – Allowance @ 6.5f

6)      Ireland – Alw NW3L @ 8f-T (Fillies)

7)      Japan – Alw NW2L @ 9f-T (LOCAL)

 

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Jan 102019
 

There is something invigorating about “getting in on the ground floor”.  Something special about discovering someone, or something, before it was famous.  “I knew them when…”  It applies to businesses, celebrities, athletes, musicians, and many areas of the real world.  For me, it applies to horse racing as well.  Many of my favorite horses of all time (e.g., Ghostzapper, Uncle Mo, Honor Code) are my favorites, in part, because I watched them before they were famous Graded Stakes winners.  I followed their progression from the maiden ranks up to the highest levels of the sport, cheering them on along the way.

It’s also interesting to look back at the early careers of great horses and learn about when they, maybe, weren’t going to be the best and look at who they faced.  American Pharoah’s first start was actually won by Om (AP finished 5th).  Om has gone on to be a multiple Graded Stakes winner.  2nd place in that race, Iron Fist, is also a Graded Stakes winner. 4th in that race was Calculator, and yep, you guessed it – he’s another Graded Stakes winner.  3rd  (One Lucky Dane) and 6th (Daddy D T) both ended up Graded Stakes placed.  In a MSW field of 9 back in August of 2014, 4 horses would eventually go on to earn Graded Stakes victories, and 2 more would be Graded Stakes placed.  Not to mention that one of those horses would go on to win the first Triple Crown in 37 years.  But on that day in August 2014, did anyone at the track, or watching on a TV somewhere, realize that they were watching such a tremendous field of horses compete?

It’s also an interesting thing to look at in the Sim.  Did you ever stop to think that your multiple G1 winner lost his maiden race to a horse that could never win another race?  What about your $5K claimer, who managed to break his maiden against 2 Graded Stakes winners?  Back in March 2008, liam debuted his well bred son of Kitten’s Joy, Ormond.  Ormond went off as the 6/1 4th choice, but won by 3 lengths, easily breaking his maiden.  It was the best race of Ormond’s 16 race career, as he would never again finish better than 7th in a race (including some bottom level claimers).  But does liam realize that, finishing 2nd, 3 lengths behind Ormond in that maiden race, was eventual G2 winner (and $313K earner) Votary, owned by twinhollow?  Or even better, that the 3rd place finisher in that maiden race, 6-1/2 lengths behind Ormond (!), was thebigshow’s eventual Bluegrass Derby winner and Sim Hall of Famer Hot And Spicy?  Yes, that’s right – Sim Hall of Famer Hot And Spicy lost his debut race to a horse that would never finish better than 7th again!

It’s fascinating to look at the early races of Sim horses and wonder “what if?”  And as I spent some time wondering about my 2yos, I started thinking “hmm…I wonder if any of these other horses that my 2yos are running against will turn out to be good”.  If you’ve ever had that thought, or even if you haven’t, this new BTB series is for you.

Welcome to the Future Stars Series.  In this series, I will be dipping back into the race previews that the BTB is most known for, but with a slight twist.  Rather than focusing on the current best horses in the Sim, who are all running in major G1 races, I will instead be focusing on the horses that may be the best horses in the future, to try and get you in on the ground floor of the next big thing in the Sim.

What does that mean, you ask?  Well, since we already known that stakes horses are good, it means that we’re going to look at a level below stakes caliber horses.  In real life, this would likely be focusing on maiden races with the hot names in the barns of Baffert, Pletcher, Brown, and the like.  But the real world is a little different.  In the real world, the trainers can tell you that a horse is training particularly well, or is “the best horse I’ve ever trained”.  Clockers, exercise riders and track denizens can see who is running particularly well in the mornings.  We can see where all the $2 million Keeneland auction buys are planning on running next.  So there is plenty of data to scope out when looking to find the next big thing before they ever even hit the race track.

In the sim, we have very little data before a first race.  Sure, you can see a pedigree, or who the dam was (if there was one), but that is a pittance of data.  So instead, this series will move up slightly, to the allowance level.  Specifically, the 3yo allowance level (As the year goes on, this may expand to cover 2yo allowance races as well).

Using a points system that I have devised, based on prior wins, ITM finishes, speed figures, and length of victory, each week this series will preview a 3yo allowance race that has a decent chance of being a “key race” that produces some of the Sim’s future stars.  The series will preview the race just like your normal previews (possibly with some additional emphasis on pedigree, as there will be less of a racing history), but instead of celebrating each horse’s history, we’ll be celebrating their potential future.  At the end, I will also throw in some additional races that could be the home of future greats.

My hope is that this series will hit on an eventual Sim Eclipse Award winner, or at least a Graded Stakes winner, so that you, the reader, can say “I knew that horse when…!”  It’s just as, if not more, likely, that we’ll end up celebrating the limitless potential of a bunch of horses that will eventually become bottom level claimers.  But that’s the great thing about getting in early – you never know if you’re gonna have the next Ormond or the next Hot And Spicy. But isn’t it fun to watch them to find out?

As a preview for what’s to come, here were the 10 highest scoring races for the 1st week of 2019:

1)      New York – Alw NW2L @ 9f – Won by Union Sports (razer1), 96.336 SP

2)      Texas – Alw NW2L @ 6f (Fillies) – Won by Saint Ego (legends7), 87.645 SP

3)      Louisiana – Alw NW2L @ 9f – Won by Urban Special (superimpose), 95.012 SP

4)      California – Alw NW2L @ 8f – Won by Groom Delay (azul25), 92.506 SP

5)      Victoria – Alw NW2L @ 8.5f-T – Won by Legend of Zeus (deyoto8), 98.463 SP

6)      New York – Alw NW2L @ 8.5f – Won by A.P. Zapper (silversky1), 91.389 SP

7)      Arizona – Alw NW2L @ 8f (Fillies) – Won by Purple Raider (stagedoorjohnny), 88.278 SP

8)      Kentucky – Alw @ 7.5f – Won by Record of the Year (stagedoorjohnny), 99.460 SP

9)      California – Alw NW2L @ 9f-T – Won by Lever Zerrett (00cencallmoney), 94.489 SP

10)   Dubai – Alw NW2L @ 9f-T – Won by Always an Optimist (chorwon), 102.800 SP

There are some very promising 3yos ran in those races (including 2 winners from the stagedoorjohnny stable).  In fact, 4 of the 5 fastest 3yo Allowance wins of the weekend came from this group of 10 races (including the fastest, Always an Optimist).  Let’s see what happens with these horses as the year progresses.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the Future Stars Series as we try to spot the “Next Big Thing” in the Sim…before they are on anyone else’s radar.

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