First, a quick recap of last week’s race. My prediction was pretty accurate early on, as Tapendereya and Discomfortable battled for the early lead, with Tapendereya sticking a nose in front. I likewise predicted that the speed duel up front would creating an opening for one of the closers to sneak through. Unfortunately, I picked the wrong one, as it was OG Tapit Cat ($16.60) that came flying late, picking off horses one by one. Eventually he reached the frontrunners and blew past them like they were standing still, drawing off to win by 1-3/4 and earning a 107 SP. The pace duel didn’t seem to distract the 2 frontrunners much though, as Discomfortable managed to outrun Tapendereya for 2nd, while Tapendereya had a big enough margin to hang on for 3rd.
This week, the Future Stars Series heads back to the Emerald Isle, Ireland, for a NW3L Allowance for turf sprinters, going 7 furlongs. The field of 12 is:
#1 – Blanco Reef (Cape Blanco (IRE) x Lease a Wire [Soft Falling Rain x Speightstown]) – Owned by atw9 – 7/1
Race Record: 10:2-1-3; $82,566
Race History: Blanco Reef began his career in MSWs, but made the jump to winners and broke his maiden in a local NW1y allowance in his 4th career start. From there, it was an ambitious jump to a G3 at 9f on the turf (after having never run farther than 7f), but the effort didn’t go well, so Blanco Reef dropped back down to the local NW2L level. There, his first try at 8f saw him tire to 3rd, so he cut back to 7f where he broke through with a 1-3/4 length victory and an 87 SP. He kicked off his 2019 campaign in a 7f turf stakes effort, where he set the pace early but was outrun and finished 4th of 5. From there, Blanco Reef dropped back down in class to the NW3L level, and he’s been there for the last 2 races, each time setting the pace early before being outrun late, first at 6f and then at 6.5f. His most recent race, the 6.5f effort, saw him hold on to second place, earning a career high 94 SP. Blanco Reef will stretch back out slightly here, to the distance where he’s won twice.
Pedigree: Cape Blanco, the 2010 Irish 3yo of the year and 2011 Turf Eclipse Award winner, currently stands in Japan, though his most recent real life crop is from his US-siring days, where he ranked #137 in 2018. In the sim, his 3yo crop currently ranks #124 overall, with 32 winners from 53 runners scoring at a 17% rate. The big star from the crop is Momentary Triumph, a 3-time graded placed filly that won The Diana Trail-G2 at 11f on the turf in her last race by 3-1/4 lengths. Cape Blanco’s sim foals are much like their sire in running style, as they typically prefer turf routes (75% on turf, 62% in routes). The distance is a little higher than his 7.74 real life AWD, though that distance may be suppressed by having US runners (the number may increase once his first Japanese crop gets underway). Blanco Reef is the only foal from 6yo he-mare Lease A Wire, a winner of 8 races in 30 career starts. Among those 8 wins are 3 stakes victories, all occurring in turf sprints in the 5.5f-6f range. Blanco Reef takes after his “mother”, who was a super-sprinter that had a ton of speed and liked to use it early, with most of his wins coming when he was on the lead or fighting for it.
Expectations: Blanco Reef has a ton of speed and wants to use it early. He has been fast enough to set the pace at the stakes (and even the route graded stakes) levels, and he set a blistering pace in each of his last 2 starts, at 6f and 6.5f. So expect to see Blanco Reef on the front end here. The real question is whether he can carry that speed over 7 furlongs. He’s shown the ability to win at this distance before, but his last few races have shown signs of tiring late, and he certainly won’t get an easy pace today. Still, he’s a solid horse and a possible exotics contender.
Watch Level: Medium
#2 – French Barbara (Siyouni x Diesis x Montjeu) – Owned by musclebarn – 29/1
Race Record: 8:2-1-0; $33,936
Race History: French Barbara has never quite lived up to the aspirations of his owner through 8 career starts, most of them occurring in turf sprints. After breaking his maiden in a 4.5f dirt hot race back in February 2018, he made the switch to turf and hasn’t looked back since. However, his only success in this type of race was in career race #3, when he went off at even money in a 4 horse NW1x at 4.5f on the turf and stuck his head in front at the wire. His only notable race since then was 2 starts back, his 2019 debut, where French Barbara again took on a 4 horse field, this time at 7f on a yielding turf course, and popped a career high 83 SP while running 2nd the entire way around the track. French Barbara comes into this race off of a last place finish in a field of 7 at 7.5f, where he finished behind today’s rivals Petah Tikva (2nd – 96 SP) and Hempriggs (6th – 84 SP), earning a 79 SP (he also ran 12th in a 6.5f turf race against Turns and Burns (7th) back in November 2018).
Pedigree: Siyouni, the #19 ranked European sire in 2018, was a G1-winning turf miler in France and currently stands there for $100,000. His 2018 sim crop is currently his best sim class, owing to a solid stud career thus far, and the crop currently ranks #49 overall, with 61 winners from 96 runners to date, winning at a 19.5% rate. Among the foals are 10 stakes winners (4 graded stakes), led by 2018 Breeders’ Bowl Filly Juvy Turf-G1 (and multiple-G1) winner Light So Bright. Siyouni’s sim foals heavily favor turf, with 79% of earnings coming on turf, and are pretty evenly split between sprinters and routers (53% sprints), which lines up with his real life racing preference and his real AWD of 7.86. Most of his top sim 3yos have excelled at the mile distance thus far, though a couple have sprinted well and one G3 winner has found success at 10.5f, with all of those successes coming on the turf. The Siyouni x Diesis cross has been used twice in the sim in the past 4 years. The other instance was with 6yo retired mare Galactic Quest, whose sole win in 12 career starts was in a $12.5K maiden claimer at 8f on the turf. The Montjeu DDS pairing is a little more common for Siyouni in the sim, with 10 3yos or older, though only 1 of those has won an allowance-level race to date (all in fields of 4 or local allowances).
Expectations: French Barbara’s past successes have come when battling for the lead, but it’s not a spot that he seems likely to get in this race. More likely, he’ll sit midpack or towards the back in this race. From there, it’s just a question of whether he can close ground in the race, but he looks a little overmatched here. Pass.
Watch Level: Low
#3 – The Discovery (Oasis Dream (GB) x Perplex [Kingmambo x Dehere]) – Owned by grammy – 9/1
Race Record: 8:2-3-0; $84,332
Race History: It took a bit for The Discovery to snap into his grove, but he finally did it when breaking his maiden in his 4th career race, back in October 2018 at 6f. 2 weeks later, he took a shot at a 6.5f stakes on the yielding turf, but came up empty and finished 7th. Dropping back to a local NW2L allowance at 7.5f-T next time out, The Discovery capitalized, stalking the pace early and then moving late to win by 1-1/4 lengths. He has been more patiently raced in 2019 though, with only 2 races thus far. The first, at 6f, saw him use that same stalking style and move late, but he ran out of track and finished 2nd, earning a career high 91 SP. He stretched out significantly for his most recent race, back in early March, when he took on a local NW3L at 9.5f on the turf, setting an easy pace early but getting caught in the stretch and finishing 2nd with a 90 SP. The Discovery cuts back to sprinting here as he tries to regain his place in the winner’s circle.
Pedigree: Oasis Dream, the 2002 champion 2yo in England and the #28 ranked European sire in 2018, was a multiple-G1 winning sprinter in his career and currently stands in England for $30,000. His 2018 sim crop is a little better than the real life counterpart, as they rank #12 overall, with 103 winners from 158 runners to date, winning at an 18% rate. Among those horses are 11 stakes winners (4 graded stakes winners), most of whom have hit their groove in turf miles. Oasis Dream’s sim foals are turf lovers (72% of earnings on turf), with a pretty even split in distances (52% routes), in line with his real world 7.55 AWD. The Discovery is the 6th of 7 foals from 15yo mare Perplex, winner of 5 races in her 14 race career. 4 of those wins came in her first 4 career starts, all at 8f on the dirt, which is where she spent most of her career. However, her final 2 career races, at 7f and 9f, were both on the turf and they showed some potential on the sod as well (her final race was a 4 length victory at 9f on the turf). Her foals, meanwhile, haven’t shown a consistent preference to one type of race. Most of her foals have won sprint races, but the fastest speed figures have largely come in routes. Two of her foals, Pslambeforthestorm (Dalakhani) and Perplexo (Pyro) are stakes placed, one in a 7f dirt sprint and one in a 8.5f turf route.
Expectations: The Discovery likes to sit just off the pace, which should be a good spot here given the speed duel up front. From there, he has shown in the past that he can make some moves and catch those on the lead. What’s troubling in his past races is when that move occurs. His two wins have seen him take the lead before the stretch, possibly due to horses tiring on the lead. I’m not sure if he’s gonna be able to get the lead that quickly in this race. If he can, then he’s dangerous; only once in his career has he ever ceded a lead that he’s been given, and that was at 9.5f. The question is whether he’ll ever be able to get there. It’s possible.
Watch Level: Medium
#4 – Dawn De Vida (Dawn Approach (IRE) x Pan De Vida [Monsun x Miswaki]) – Owned by gcliffo22 – 8/1
Race Record: 8:2-5-0; $120,466
Race History: Dawn De Vida always seems to show up, but he’s also come down with a case of seconditis in his career, with 5 2nds in 8 starts. 4 of those came in the MSW ranks, all at 5-6.5f on the turf, as he continued to run close but never quite snag the lead. That changed in September 2018 in career race #5, however, as he was able to stalk the pace and finally was able to run down the leads, pulling off to win by 1-3/4 lengths. After closing out 2018 with his only off-the-board finish, Dawn De Vida has looked like a new horse in 2019. His season debut came at 6.5 furlongs on the turf, where he dropped slightly further off the pace than normal but gained ground late, finishing 2nd by 1-1/4 lengths. But stretching out to 7.5f-T in his last race was a real boost, as he sat midpack early and came storming late, destroying the field and earning a career high 98 SP. Dawn De Vida will cut back slightly to 7f here as he tries to continue his successful 3yo campaign.
Pedigree: Dawn Approach (IRE), the #80 ranked European sire in 2018, currently stands in Ireland for $15,000 and was the winner of the 2013 2000 Guineas and was a multiple G1-winner at 7-8f. His 2018 sim crop currently ranks #56 overall, with 106 runners and 66 winners to date, winning at a 16% rate (a little lower than his 20% average). Among those winners are 6 stakes winners, one of whom, Mourning Rainbow, has found graded stakes victory at 6f on the turf. Dawn Approach’s sim foals are typically turf runners (75% of earnings on turf), and evenly split between sprints and routes (51% in routes), in line with his 7.83 AWD, though the top horses from his 3yo crop have been turf sprinters thus far. Dawn De Vida is the 4th of 5 foals from 9yo mare Pan De Vida, a winner of 6 races from 19 career starts. Although she never quite reached the winner’s circle at the stakes level, she was 2-time stakes placed, once in a turf sprint and once in a dirt sprint. She bounced back and forth on the turf and dirt, showing abilities on both, with 4 of her wins and her fastest speeds coming on dirt, but never finishing worse than 5th on the turf (including 4 stakes tries). Her foals have followed in her sprinting footsteps, with her first foal likewise being solid on both turf and dirt and her other allowance winner finding the turf more to her liking. Dawn Approach has been bred to a Monsun mare 12 times in the past 4 years, with limited success to date. Not including Dawn De Vida, only 1 of the other 10 3yo+ horses has picked up an allowance-level win, scoring 3 times in sprints (one on each of the 3 surfaces). Only 5 of the 10 have broken their maidens, though that may be a symptom of each of the maiden 5 having 5 or fewer starts under their belts and each having raced better in routes than sprints.
Expectations: Dawn De Vida has been pretty consistent in his running style over his past few races, and there’s no reason to think that would change here. Expect to see him sit midpack, about 3-5 lengths off of the pacesetters. From there, it’s a matter of making his move at the right time. It seems to take him a little longer to get going than others, but when he does finally start moving, look out. The question is whether 7f will be long enough for him to get into that next gear. If he can, he’s a strong contender, but he might ultimately prove to be a router. Still, one to consider here.
Watch Level: High
#5 – Magic Carpet Vibes (Oasis Dream (GB) x Psychotic Vibes [Teofilo x Kingmambo]) – Owned by 4horsemen – 9/1
Race Record: 6:2-3-1; $76,285
Race History: Magic Carpet Vibes has been very consistent, never finishing off the board in 6 career races. Two of those starts have been wins, both coming at 4.5f on the turf when he was a 2yo. Since then, he’s been on an “every two months” schedule. Magic Carpet Vibes kicked off his 3yo campaign by stretching out to an 8f turf race for the first time, and after sitting 2nd in a field of 5 early, he raced pretty evenly throughout but never showed the forward momentum that he had in his prior sprints, and he finished 3rd, earning an 86 SP, his best turf speed to date. He got 2 months off leading into his most recent race, as he repeated at 8f but this time headed over to the polytrack for a local NW3L in Newmarket. He seemed to take to the polytrack pretty well, as he stalked the pace early and moved in tandem with the other stalker in the race. Unfortunately, that other stalker was ahead of Magic Carpet Vibes when they started their moves, and it ended up the same way with Magic Carpet Vibes finishing 2nd, but he earned a career high 96 SP in the process. Magic Carpet Vibes gets another 2+ months off here as he heads back to the turf and cuts back in distance to try and find the winner’s circle.
Pedigree: Oasis Dream’s information can be found under The Discovery above. Magic Carpet Vibes is the first foal from 3yo mare Psychotic Vibes, a winner of 4 races in her 21 race career. 3 of those wins were at the allowance level, though only one came against non-local horses, but this $200K earner did a lot of damage in her career, hitting the board in 16 of those 25 starts. She did most of that damage anywhere from 7f-9f on the turf, though her 3 turf wins and her fastest speed figures all came while routing. Magic Carpet Vibes is the only foal by Oasis Dream from a Teofilo mare in the past 4 years, but the Oasis Dream cross has been common for Galileo, Teofilo’s sire, and the cross has produced an assortment of different runners, showing a very slight preference for routing.
Expectations: Magic Carpet Vibes is likely to try and stalk the pace here, sitting a couple of lengths back early. That should set up well for him in this race. But the real question is what to make of his most recent run. Was this a sign of 3yo maturity, coming, as it did, in his 2nd career start as a 3yo? Or was it possibly a sign that Magic Carpet Vibes prefers the polytrack? It’s interesting to see him come back to the turf here after such a successful poly run, so his owner must think it’s a sign of maturity. If it is, watch out here. But I’m a little skeptical. Bet with caution.
Watch Level: Medium
#6 – The Middle Man (Teofilo (IRE) x The Mediator (Symboli Kris S x Storm Bird) – Owned by liam20 – 6/1
Race Record: 7:2-3-0; $92,051
Race History: The sponsor of this race, The Middle Man comes into this race riding a bit of a hot streak. After struggling in his first 2 sprints as a 2yo, he stretched out to turf routes and found his comfort zone at the front of the pack, setting the pace. Unfortunately, he could never quite break through the maiden ranks, finishing 2nd each time (by a combined 2 lengths). But The Middle Man saw a huge improvement from 2yo to 3yo. In his 3yo debut 2 starts back, he dropped back from routing to a 7f turf MSW here in Ireland. He flashed some insane early speed in that race, opening up over 5 lengths on the field and then withstanding a late charge to win by a head, earning a career high 97 SP. The 3rd place horse in that race, who finished 5-1/4 lengths back in 3rd, would stretch out and break his maiden next time out with a 102 SP. Going up against winners in his most recent race, The Middle Man again showed early speed and none of his competitors ever stood a chance, as he opened up over 3-1/2 lengths before easing to a 2 length victory, earning a 96 SP. He’ll try to make it 3 in a row today.
Pedigree: Teofilo, the 2006 Champion European 2yo Colt, was the #4 ranked European sire of 2018 and currently stands for $40,000 in Ireland. His sim crop hasn’t quite caught up to his real life progeny, but the 2018 class is a solidly-ranked #43 overall, with 72 winners from 110 runners, winning at a 20% rate (above his 16.5% average). The class includes 7 stakes winners to date, 3 of whom have found graded success (all in 9f-T G3 races), with the other 4 finding success while sprinting. Teofilo’s sim foals heavily favor the turf, with 78% of earnings on the turf, and prefer routes as well (65% in routes), matching his real life 9.77 AWD. The Middle Man is the 3rd of 4 foals from 7yo mare The Mediator, a G2-winning router. The Mediator won 7 of her 19 career starts, including the 2015 Full Moon Handicap-G2 at 9f on the turf, and added 3 additional stakes placings (1 G3) to that record. Although she did most of her running, and earned most of her wins, in turf routes, her 2 fastest speed figures actually came in dirt routes (though she won neither race). Her foals to date have both seen some success, though not to her level, with both older siblings to The Middle Man earning multiple allowance wins, one in turf routes and one in dirt routes. Symboli Kris S mares have been sent to Teofilo 4 times in the past 4 years; 2 of the other 3 resulting foals have earned allowance wins, with both of those horses preferring routes (one on the turf, one on the dirt).
Expectations: The Middle Man is a burner who wants to take the lead and never look back. Only once in his 7 race career has he not had the early lead (he was ½ length back early in that race), and it was, by far, his worst performance to date. So expect The Middle Man to be out in front early. From there, it’s just a question of the pace setup in the race. He’s got the speed, but he won’t be alone out there, so the question is whether he’ll burn himself out early. But he’s shown the ability to run quickly and hold off late charges before, so we’ll see if he can do it again. A top candidiate.
Watch Level: High
#7 – Turns and Burns (Star Turn (AUS) x Just Sebring It [Sebring x Portland Player (NZ) – Owned by lindsypark – 16/1
Race Record: 6:2-0-1; $53,360
Race History: Turns and Burns has been slumping a bit recently. After taking 2 of his first 3 starts, both at today’s 7f turf distance, Turns and Burns has failed to hit the board in his last 3 starts. He set the pace and never looked back in his two victories, but failed to get the lead in his 4th career race, a NW3L allowance, and then faded to 7th (though he defeated today’s rival, French Barbara, who finished 12th). He took 3 months off and then made his 2019 debut in a 6 horse stakes race, at 5.5f on the turf, and managed to grab the lead early but was no match for the field off of the layoff, finishing last. He stretched out to 8f for his most recent race, where he dueled for the lead early and briefly stuck a nose in front, but then couldn’t hang onto that lead and faded to 7th, 10-1/2 lengths back. The race earned his a career high 89 SP, however, showing an improvement over his 2yo days. Turns and Burns cuts back to 7f here, where he’s 2 for 2 lifetime, to try and recapture the old magic.
Pedigree: Star Turn, a multiple graded stakes winning sprinter and son of Star Witness, entered stud in Australia in 2017 and currently stands for $22,000. His freshman sim crop from 2018 currently ranks #172 overall, with 26 winners from 55 runners to date, winning at a 20% rate. The number of runners may be low, but he already has 3 stakes winners from his first crop, all in turf sprints. That’s where most of his runners have win to date, with 84% of his earnings on turf and 91% in sprints (which will likely come down as 3yos stretch out, though it should still strongly favor sprints). Turns and Burns is the 5th of 6 foals from 11yo mare Just Sebring It, a two-time stakes placed mare who won 4 of her 27 career starts. She spent all but 2 of her career races in turf sprints, including both of her stakes placings and all 4 of her wins, with her best efforts coming in the shorter 5-6.5f sprints. Her foals haven’t done much to date, with Turns and Burns’ 5 siblings going a combined 5 for 40 lifetime. 2 of those have picked up allowance wins, one in a turf sprint and one in a dirt sprint. This is the only time that Star Turn has been bred to a Sebring mare in the past 4 years, and only 1 other horse has been bred to the More Than Ready DS line, a 2yo out of a Verrazano mare that ran 2nd in her debut.
Expectations: Turns and Burns wants to be on the front end, and would set the pace if he could. In this race though, there’s a ton of pace, and my suspicion is that Turns and Burns is not quite as fast out of the gate as a couple of other pacesetters in this field. He’ll certainly push the front, but he may have to settle behind horses, which has not been a favorite place of his in the past. Siding elsewhere.
Watch Level: Medium
#8 – Petah Tikva (Dansili (GB) x Sunday Silence x Blushing Groom) – Owned by harrylanexp7 – 7/2 (f)
Race Record: 3:2-1-0; $53,955
Race History: The most lightly race horse in the field, Petah Tikva also goes off as your post-time favorite. The reason for that is his 3 strong performances to date. He debuted in December 2018 in a 6.5f turf MSW and stalked the pace early before pummeling them late, drawing off to win by 1-1/2 and earning an 88 SP. He came back in late January to a local NW2L at 7f on the Newmarket turf, where he put on a show, sitting just off the pace early back making an early move to grab the lead and never looking back. That win earned him a career-high and field-high 99 SP, but even more impressive may be that the second place horse would go on to take his own allowance race next time out, and the 3rd place horse would come back to pick up a stakes win in his next start, indicating some solid competition. Petah Tikva’s most recent race, a 7.5f turf NW3L, saw another stalker get the first move on him and he had to settle for 2nd, earning a 96 SP, but the winner of that race would come back to win a NW4L next time out with a 101 SP. Petah Tikva also defeated today’s rivals Hampriggs (6th) and French Barbara (7th) in that race. Petah Tikva cuts back ½ furlong here as he tries to make it 3 for 4 in his career.
Pedigree: Dansili, who was pensioned in 2018, was the #23 ranked EU sire in 2018. His final sim crop, the 2018 class, currently ranks #15 in the sim, with 134 winners from 233 runners to date (winning at a 21% 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, as Dansili has a real life AWD of 9.2). His 2018 sim crop includes only 1 graded stakes winner among 5 total stakes winners, but that 1 graded stakes winner is 4-time G1 winner (and #1 ranked 3yo turf sprinter) Battlefield Hero, who along with the bulk of Dansili’s 2018 class has shown a preference for sprinting on the turf. It’s not very often that you see Dansili, a big time turf sire, paired with Sunday Silence, usually thought of as a dirt distance horse, especially in a scratch bred. But it’s not completely unheard of; the Dansili x Sunday Silence combo was used 1 other time in the past 4 years. That horse, 3yo Party On Saturday, has unfortunately not done much in his 7 career starts, as he’s still trying to break through his maiden. The Blushing Groom DDS has been slightly more popular with Dansili, having been used 11 times in the past 4 years, with 1 stakes winner among them (whose stakes win came at 10.5f on the dirt, though her fastest races were actually in the 8-9f turf range).
Expectations: Petah Tikva may be the most lightly raced in the field, but he’s also the favorite for a reason. The pace in this race sets up perfectly for his stalking style, as the duel up front has the chance to break down and there aren’t many closers in the field. He has shown in his 3 races that he can hang with some high quality runners, and so he shouldn’t be intimidated by some of the accolades from this field. The top choice.
Watch Level: High
#9 - Hempriggs (Almazor x My Kitty Dancer [Kitten’s Joy x Danehill Dancer]) – Owned by bperry7 – 17/1
Race Record: 19:2-3-2; $55,786
Race History: The most experienced runner in today’s field, this will be start #20 for Hempriggs, who has generally campaigned on a 2-3 week schedule since being acquired back in September 2018. He has gone winless in 9 starts since taking up residence for his current owner. The previous owner found success for Hempriggs at the claiming level, as he broke his maiden at 5.5f in a $35K maiden claimer and would go on to post a record of 2-2-1 in 5 turf sprint claimers for his prior owner. After claiming race #3, Hempriggs was gelded by his former owner. Following the acquisition, bperry moved Hempriggs up to the allowance level, but to limited success. His best race to date came 3 starts back, in a 9.5f local turf NW3L in Deauville (FR), where he earned a career high 86 SP while stalking the pace early and then tiring to finish 5th. 2 starts back, in a 7.5f turf NW3L, he finished 6th with an 84 SP, trailing today’s rival Petah Tikva (2nd) but defeating rival French Barbara (7th). Hempriggs comes into this race off of a last place finish in a 7f NW3L, where he tired to finish 12 lengths behind the winners, earning a 76 SP. He’ll try to bounce back here.
Pedigree: Almanzor, the 2016 Cartier Champion 3yo Colt, was a dominant European horse at 10f on the turf and entered stud in France 2018, where he stands for $35,000. In the sim, his freshman crop is currently ranked #107 overall, with 83 runners and 49 winners to date, succeeding at a 15.5% rate. Four of his foals have won stakes races thus far (2 in turf routes, 1 in a turf sprint, and 1 in a dirt sprint), with one of those, Manzored, picking up a G3 victory in a turf mile. His sim foals have preferred the turf thus far, with 77% of earnings on turf, while it’s still a little early to tell whether he will throw more sprinters or routers. Hempriggs is the first foal from 5yo mare My Kitty Dancer. My Kitty Dancer put ended up with only 1 win in 15 career starts, but put up her best career start in her 2nd to last race, a 9.5f NW2L allowance on the turf, where she showed a closing kick that she had never previously demonstrated and finished 3rd, proving that routing was her best distance (she had some ability on dirt as well, though not the same closing speed). Almanzor has only been sent to a Kitten’s Joy mare one other time, resulting in 3yo Kiss on the Deck, who has just started to find his stride as a pace-setting turf router (though through 7 starts, he only has a local MSW to show for his efforts).
Expectations: Hempriggs is one who may sit midpack, or slightly closer, early on, but doesn’t really seem to show any interest in being up on the pace. He may be taking after his mother in that regard, but up until now, he hasn’t really shown the same closing kick that she demonstrated late in her career. What he has seemed to do in his career is run evenly, but the 7f distance may not help him here. He may be one that prefers to run longer, as he seems to have some stamina that others might be lacking. With his experience, we’re not really expecting anything out of the ordinary from Hempriggs today, and his best probably isn’t enough to get the job done in this field. Prefer others.
Watch Level: Low
#10 – Galileoff (Zoffany (IRE) x Unpredictability [Galileo x Kingmambo]) – Owned by phillipj4 – 5/1
Race Record: 5:2-0-1; $96,140
Race History: The most decorated horse in the field, Galileoff was gelded before he ever hit the track. That “equipment change” looked to pay off early, as in two straight local races at 7.5f and 8f on the turf, he sat just off the pacesetter and then made an early move, winning both races. That prompted a huge class jump the The International-G2 at 8f-T in November 2018, and he put on a strong performance, stalking the pace and holding his own to finish 3rd with a 91 SP, earning him a Graded Placed badge. From that race, Galileoff was given a…Gali-layoff (*rimshot*)…and returned in February at 8.5f in a turf stakes. Unfortunately, he didn’t take to the yielding track and finished a tiring 5th. He tried graded company again last time out in the Irish 2000 Guineas Trial-G3, where he sat further back than he ever had before and never really got into the race, finishing a well-beaten 9th but earning a career-high 95 SP. He’ll make a big class drop and cut back in distance here as he tries to get his 2019 back on the right foot.
Pedigree: Zoffany, a G1-winning sprinter in Ireland, was the #25 ranked EU sire in 2018 and currently stands for $25,000 in Ireland. His 2018 sim crop is currently ranked #71 overall, with 61 winners from 97 runners to date winning at a 16.5% rate. 4 of those 61 winners have found victory at the stakes level, all in turf sprints (though one has been promising in longer routes), but none of his 2018 foals have reached graded stakes glory as of yet. Overall, Zoffany’s sim progeny have shown an affinity for turf (77% of earnings on turf) and have preferred sprinting thus far (57% in sprints), matching Zoffany’s real life race preference but slightly shorter than his real life AWD of 8.21. Galileoff is the 2nd foal from 7yo mare Unpredictability, a winner of 4 from 15 career races. Her two best efforts came in 3rd and 4th place finishes in turf stakes at 8.5-9f, which also happened to be the distance of her 4 career wins. Her first foal, Daiwability (Daiwa Major), has upped his game since being gelded in mid-2018, and he is 5:1-3-1 in turf allowances since the change, all coming at the 9.5f-10f distances.
Expectations: Galileoff has shown a lot of talent throughout his young career, and the cutback in distance will likely push him slightly closer to the pace here than his last run. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to the cutback, as this will actually be the shortest race of his career. But in terms of raw talent, Galileoff has it. The horse he defeated in his maiden score has gone on to be a stakes winner, and he has proven that he belongs in graded stakes company. The class drop should help him as well. My only objection is the price; 5/1 doesn’t give you quite the value of some of the others in here. But he’s a tough horse to knock. A legitimate threat.
Watch Level: High
#11 – Iron Fisted (Ironicus x Larf Da Housedown [Limehouse x Distorted Humor]) – Owned by flurgen3 – 14/1
Race Record: 5:2-3-0; $61,725
Race History: Iron Fisted may be a lightly raced colt, with only 5 career races under his belt, but he’s been very successful thus far. He began his career on the dirt, where he set the pace in each of his first 3 races (all as a 2yo) before being caught each time, finishing 2nd in all 3 races (two sprints and one route). To kick off his 3yo campaign, Iron Fisted switched from the dirt to the turf, as he took on a field of 7 in an 6.5f turf MSW. There, he opened up a sizeable lead early and never looked back, holding on to win by 1-1/2 lengths and earning an 84 SP (the 2nd place horse would go on to break his maiden next time out, earning a 90 SP in the victory). Iron Fisted then stretched out to 7.5f on the turf to face winners for the first time and found a gear that he had never shown before. With no other pacesetters, Iron Fisted drew off early, opening up a 5+ length lead on the field, and then geared down in cruising to a 1-1/2 length victory, earning a career high 95 SP. He will try to make it 3 for 3 on the turf 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 #160, with 33 winners from 83 runners, winning at a 11% rate. Among those winners are 3 stakes winners and one graded stakes horse, Ironicus Bandit, who took down a G2 at 12f on the turf. Thus far, Ironicus’ sim foals have slightly preferred turf races (55% of earnings on turf) and his foals’ earnings, along with their speed figures, show a slight preference for turf sprints thus far. Iron Fisted is the 5th of 6 foals from 14yo mare Larf Da Housedown, winner of 13 of 51 races in her career. A stalwart at the stakes level, primarily sprinting on the turf, Larf Da Housedown picked up 12 career stakes wins, and 21 career stakes placings, including a win in The Bally’s Best-G3 at 6f on turf in 2009. Her foals haven’t been quite as perpetual at the stakes level, but 2 of her foals are stakes winners and a third is stakes placed. One of the foals, Giggly Jiggly (Shamardal) is a stakes winner at 7f on the turf (and stakes placed from 7-8f-T), and another, You Make Moi Laugh (Pour Moi (IRE)), is a Local Stakes champion at 9f-T (and 2-time Local Stakes-placed at 11-12f-T). The Ironicus x Limehouse combination is a new one for the sim (nor do I see any crosses between Ironicus x Grand Slam, the sire of Limehouse, or any other sons of Grand Slam, or Ironicus x Gone West, the sire of Grand Slam).
Expectations: Iron Fisted is a speedball. He wants the lead, and through 5 career starts he’s never not had it early. This might be the first time in his career when he’s tested on the lead. But while he struggled to hold off horses on the dirt, he’s been dominant once switching over to the turf. The speed figure in his last might be deceiving, as he didn’t need to run hard to secure the win, though we don’t know much about his competition there (the 5th place horse ran 2nd next time out in a local allowance, but he’s the only one that has come back to the track yet). Iron Fisted has room to grow, and he’ll be one to watch here. A contender. Unsurprisingly, Cape Blanco has never been bred to a Soft Falling Rain mare. In fact, there are only 14 horses to have been bred in the past 4 years with Soft Falling Rain in the DS spot, with only 3 of those (including Blanco Reef) having picked up an allowance win.
Watch Level: High
#12 – Only What You Do (Giant’s Causeway x The Black Wolf [War Front x A.P. Indy]) – Owned by victoryland – 9/1
Race Record: 6:2-0-0; $61,680
Race History: Only What You Do has taken on some of the highest caliber competition of anyone in this field. After breaking his maiden at 6f-T at first asking in June 2018, Only What You Do was stretched out to 7f-T and entered into The Vintage-G2. There, he stalked the pace and ran evenly throughout, finishing 5th. A 2nd attempt at a 7f turf G2 in the Nationwide Stakes-G2 didn’t work out quite as well, as he sat midpack early and never really find, finishing 7th. Only What You Do was then sent to rest up for his 3yo season. After a dull debut in a dirt route, he switched back to the turf and tried an 8f race. He earned a then-best 85 SP in the effort, but it was a poor run, as he tried to stalk the pace early but tired badly, finishing 9th. He came back 3 weeks later in a 6.5f turf NW2L, and there he showed that he is a sprinter at heart, as he stalked the pace early and then pounced late, getting up to win by 1-1/2 lengths and earning a career high 91 SP. Only What You Do will stretch back out to 7f here as he tries to repeat his last performance.
Pedigree: Giant’s Causeway, the #19 US sire in 2018, passed away in 2018. His 2018 sim crop currently has 405(!) runners to date and ranks #1 overall. That class includes 264 winners, which have won at a 20.5% rate. Among the winners are 25 stakes winners and 8 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 66% of earnings on dirt (boosted by a certain Bluegrass Derby winner). Only What You Do is the first of 2 foals from 5yo mare The Black Wolf, winner of 6 from 20 career starts. One of those wins, her best career race, came in a 6.5f dirt stakes, where she battled for the lead and then pulled away to win by 1. She did spend some time on the turf, though her best performances all came on the dirt, and she was a sprinter through-and-through. Although Only What You Do is the first foal from The Black Wolf, it’s interesting to note that her second foal, Like An Angel (Pivotal), broke her maiden at first asking at 6f on the turf in March, and then went on to a 3rd place finish last week in a 6f turf stakes race, where she stalked the pace early and was moving up at the end. Giant’s Causeway has been bred to a War Front mare 9 times in the past 4 years in the sim, with 3 stakes winners and 2 graded stakes winners among the bunch. One of those graded stakes winners is Giant’s Kash, the winner of the 2019 Bluegrass Derby-G1, while the other, Every Atom of Me, is a G3-winning turf miler who just ran 2nd in the 2019 The 2000 Guineas-G1. Both of those graded stakes winning 3yos share the full Giant’s Causeway x War Front x A.P. Indy cross with Only What You Do, as does 1 other turf sprinting allowance winner.
Expectations: Only What You Do has a lot to live up to, with 2 top 3yos sharing the same bloodlines. And although Only What You Do hasn’t quite achieved that level of success yet, he’s still young and the promise is there. He does look like he’s a sprinter all the way, as he likes to stalk the pace early and then pounce late (he doesn’t seem to have the stamina for that running style in routes). Furthermore, he’s been improving in every turf start, and he’ll look to continue that trend here. But it looks like he’ll need a pretty sizeable improvement from his previous best to take down this field. It’s certainly possible, but he may be better served underneath your bets rather than on top. A Kingmambo mare has been bred to Oasis Dream 49 times in the past 4 years, with 10 stakes winners and 4 graded stakes winners among the group. Most of the progeny are turf runners, and although the graded stakes winners have mostly been successful in 8-9f turf races, the group as a whole seems to have some sprinting ability.
Watch Level: Medium
That’s your field of 12 for this NW3L allowance. And surprisingly, with that many horses, there aren’t any true closers, which is a bit of a bummer because the front end should be hot here. I’ve done a pretty good job in the past of predicting the pacesetters, but I’m at a bit of a loss here, as there are 3 horses in this field that are willing to go all out to get the lead early. Blanco Reef has set the fastest paces of the three in the past, but he’s been pushed in those races. So instead, I’m gonna say that The Middle Man sets the pace, dueling neck-and-neck with Iron Fisted, followed by Blanco Reef about ½ length back and then another length to Turns and Burns. But most of the horses in this field are going to cluster about 2-4 lengths off of that pace, so expect to see Petah Tikva and Dawn De Vida a little further back than you would normally expect them to be. But honestly, I think that could help them here. I’ve been wrong about the impact of pace on these races before, but I just can’t see the frontrunners not getting caught here. So my prediction is: (1) Petah Tikva; (2) The Middle Man; (3) Dawn De Vida, with longshot pick Iron Fisted. Good luck to everyone!
Other races to watch this weekend: