Spa offers look at future stars
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.
On Aug. 3, 2012, Oxbow finished last at 22-1 in his debut. The following day, Palace Malice won a maiden race at 1-5 in his second career start. On Aug. 18, Orb, after jumping in the air at the break, rallied to finish third to Violence in what was the career debut for both 2-year-olds.
So, in a span of 16 days, the horses that would go on to win the three Triple Crown races in 2013 as well as a horse that would win a Grade 1 at 2 before getting hurt at 3 – competed in maiden races at Saratoga.
More future stars –- not necessarily the next Kentucky Derby, Preakness, or Belmont winners -– are likely to be unveiled again this summer at Saratoga, where rich maiden races, as well as six graded stakes races, are in the offing for juveniles during the 40-day meet that begins Friday.
Last year, trainer Todd Pletcher won 23 juvenile races from 67 starters. While loaded again this year, Pletcher said “we don’t anticipate we’ll be as successful – that would be hard to match – as we were last year but at the same time we’re still optimistic.”
Pletcher said that “right now our fillies are slightly more advanced than our colts.”
Among the maiden fillies to look for during the meet is My Miss Sophia (Unbridled’s Song). She is the workmate for Ari the Adventurer, a good-looking debut winner at Belmont who is targeting the Adirondack on Aug. 11.
Pletcher has Wait No More, the second foal out of the Grade 1-winning turf mare Wait a While. Wait No More brought a bid of $1.575 million at auction. She is likely to be seen in August.
All in Blue was Pletcher’s first winning 2-year-old colt at Belmont. He will run back in Sunday’s Grade 2 Sanford.
The horse All in Blue defeated by 6 1/4 lengths in his debut was the Pletcher-trained We Miss Artie, a son of Artie Schiller, who had to check early in the race but finished 7 1/4 lengths clear of the field. He is likely to make his second start in early August. None Like Nolan, a runner-up in his debut, is a Malibu Moon colt likely to get a second chance here.
Againsome is by Awesome Again out of the dam Orate, who is a half-sister to Pulpit. Chisholm is by Tiznow out of the mare Icy Warning, who has produced eight winners and is a half to the Grade 1 winner Ops Smile.
Corfu (Malibu Moon) is a $675,000 2-year-old in training purchase. His dam, Fashion Cat, is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Peace Rules.
“A lot of colts we have are bred to run longer, so it’ll be interesting to see how they continue to develop,” Pletcher said.
At last year’s Saratoga meet, trainer Chad Brown had 5 wins and 7 seconds from 21 juvenile starters. This year, he has a bevy of babies that should run here this summer, many with some high-powered pedigrees.
Owner Ken Ramsey has made his intentions known that he wants to win the owner’s title here and has seven progeny of Kitten’s Joy with Brown that have been working since March, including All Star Kitten, High Heel Kitten, Granny Mc’s Kitten, and Turnkey Kitten.
For Rick Porter, Brown has the trio of Cinnamon Spice, a half-sister to Violence; Thirteen Arrows, a half-sister to Cross Traffic; and U.S.S. O’Brien, a daughter of Empire Maker from the female family of Inside Information and Educated Risk.
Idiosyncratic (Thewayyouare) and Groupthink (Majestic Warrior) are others of note.
In 2007, Bill Mott won 11 juvenile races at Saratoga. In the five meets since, he has only won a total of nine, including a hard-to-fathom 1 for 30 last year.
But Mott seems to be well-stocked with juvenile prospects this year, with well-bred babies from Juddmonte Farms, Live Oak Plantation, and Claiborne Farm just to name a few.
Mosler, owned by Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne, is a son of War Front who brought $1,050,000 at auction and has a pedigree made for Saratoga. The dam, Gold Vault, is a half to Pomeroy, a three-time graded stakes winner here. Gold Vault produced Contested, last year’s Test winner.
“He’s a very big colt and really going to be a little bit of a later developer, but he could be ready for a race at Saratoga,” Mott said.
Among the horses Mott has for Live Oak is Souperfast, a half-brother to Uncle Mo, the 2011 juvenile champion. Mott indicated Souperfast may be better suited to Belmont than Saratoga.
Mott has other high-priced auction purchases for Live Oak, including the Irish-bred colt Crowned Heart, a half-brother to Dreaming of Anna and Justenuffhumor; and fillies Ma Billet Doux and West Coast Girl.
Kalyani, Lemon Point, Quilt, and Savvy Star are other fillies that are likely to run at the meet.
Steve Asmussen won 11 maiden 2-year-old races at Churchill as part of his meet-tying 35 victories. Brazen Persuasion, a daughter of Indian Charlie, could be the one to beat in Friday’s Schuylerville.
Untapable, a debut-winning daughter of Tapit, is likely to run in the Adirondack.
Southern Blessing is pointing to Sunday’s Sanford, while Candy Dandy, a five-length maiden winner at Churchill, is targeting the Saratoga Special on Aug. 11.
Among the maidens Asmussen figures to run here are Big Sugar Soda, Sky Drama, Montana Cowboy, and Aaron’s Orient.
Trainer Rick Violette won five 2-year-old races last summer at Saratoga and has several that could get him back to the winner’s circle this year, including Financial Mogul (Street Boss), Currency War (War Front), Away Game (Lemon Drop Kid), and an unnamed English Channel colt that’s a full borther to Daddy Loves Gold, a recent maiden winner at Belmont for Bill Mott. The New York-bred Speed Read is a full-brother to Cribnote, a 13 1/2-length maiden winner here in his second start.
Kiaran McLaughlin, who went just 1 for 15 here last year with 2-year-olds, has the colts Cairo Prince (Pioneerof the Nile) and Double Whammy (Arch), as well as the fillies Heartofthematter, a half-sister to It’s Tricky by Medaglia d’Oro; Dancing House (Tapit), and Almurra (Street Cry).