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Big Apple Babies


Big Apple Babies is a series that takes a glance at the pedigrees and sales histories of select 2-year-olds who are making their debuts in maiden special weight races at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, or Saratoga Race Course. Many of history’s best horses have commenced their careers in New York, and Big Apple Babies will help fans find the stars of tomorrow as they head postward for the first time.


Forbes’ Firsters for Saturday, September 20, 2014

Jon Forbes

Forbes’ Firsters for Saturday, September 20, 2014

Race 9, All 2-year-olds, 6 ½ furlongs, dirt, 5:17 p.m.

STREET JERSEY (chestnut colt, Street Cry—Jersey Girl, by Belong to Me) is a half-brother to Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap and Grade 2 Kelso Handicap winner Jersey Town. Their dam posted Grade 1 wins in the Acorn, Mother Goose, and Test. Excluding Street Jersey, Jersey Girl has produced eight foals of racing age; four have started and three have won.

Owner: Charles E. Fipke

Trainer: Barclay Tagg

Jockey: Rajiv Maragh


SIGNATURE LOOK (dark bay or brown colt, Medaglia d’Oro—Ensenada, by Seeking the Gold) is a half-brother to Casino Host, winner of the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz, Jr. Handicap and Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap and third in the Grade 1 Eddie Read on the turf. Ensenada, who was second in a minor stakes at the Meadowlands, has produced four winners from as many starters. Ensenada is a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Sahara Gold, the dam of Better Lucky, who has won a pair of Grade 1 races on the grass. Signature Look’s second dam is Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Desert Stormer.  

Owner: Richard Santulli

Trainer: Alan Goldberg

Jockey: John Velazquez


SKILL NOT LUCK (chestnut colt, Lookin At Lucky—Chief Secretary, by Deputy Minister) is a half-brother to Left a Message, a long-distance turf runner who has won the Flamin Page at Woodbine and finished third in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap. Their dam won her only start, which came on the turf, and is a half-sister to Exchange Rate, who won the Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap on the dirt and was third in the Grade 2 Frank E. Kilroe Mile on the grass; and Sabre d’Argent, a Group 3 winner in England. Chief Secretary has produced three winners (one on the dirt) from as many starters. Skill Not Luck is the most expensive of 18 juveniles by his sire to sell at auction this year.

Owner: Klaravich Stables & William H. Lawrence

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: Joe Bravo

Sales history: $40,000 Keeneland September yearling; $320,000 OBS April 2-year-old (one furlong in 10 2/5 seconds, video)


TAKE COVER (dark bay or brown colt, War Front—Juliet’s Way, by Farma Way) is a half-brother three stakes winners: Gleaming Elegance, who took a minor stakes at Sunland Park; Juliet’s Spirit, who garnered a pair of listed stakes on Woodbine’s synthetic surface as a juvenile, and at 3 won a listed stakes at Charles Town and was third in the Grade 3 Victory Ride on the dirt; and Vuitton, who has won stakes at Oaklawn Park and Churchill Downs. Juliet’s Spirit and Vuitton are both by Exchange Rate, a son of Danzig, the sire of War Front. Take Cover’s unraced dam, a half-sister to Grade 2 Razorback Handicap winner Juliannus and multiple stakes winner/Grade 3 placed Julie the Flapper, has produced five winners from six starters.

Owner: Padua Stables & Richard Santulli

Trainer: William Mott

Jockey: Junior Alvarado



FIRST DOWN (bay colt, Street Sense—Storm Lily, by Storm Cat) is a grandson of Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas, Group 1 Coronation, Group 1 Nassau, and Group 2 Henkel-Rennen (German 1000 Guineas) heroine Crimplene. First Down’s first dam has produced two winners from as many starters, including Gold City, who was stakes placed in England as a juvenile. Storm Lily is a half-sister to Crimson Sun, who was Group 3 placed in England.

Owner: Darley Stable

Trainer: Thomas Albertrani

Jockey: Christopher DeCarlo


Race 10, All 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, turf, 5:49 p.m.

SKY TOWER (bay colt, Medaglia d’Oro—Maiden Tower, by Groom Dancer) is a half-brother to a pair of horses who earned black-type in France: Penglai Pavilion, who has won a listed stakes and is Group 2 placed; and Picture Hat, who was second in a listed stakes. Picture Hat is by El Prado, the sire of Medaglia d’Oro. Their dam began her career in France, where she won the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham and was second in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas). In the United States, she was second in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. Maiden Tower has produced four turf winners from six starters.

Owner: Darley Stable

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Jockey: Manuel Franco



To be eligible for Forbes’ Firsters, a first-time starter running in a non-statebred race must meet at least one of the following criteria:

* Is out of a graded-stakes-winning mare

* Is a sibling to a graded-stakes winner

* Is out of a Grade 1-placed mare

* Is a sibling to a Grade 1-placed runner

* Is out of a black-type earning mare who earned at least $300,000

* Is a sibling to a black-type earner who has earned at least $300,000

* Has a second dam who was a Grade 1 winner

* Has a second dam who produced a Grade 1 winner

* Sold for at least $300,000 at auction


TimeformUS Analysis for September 19

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Analysis for the Racing at Belmont on Friday September 19th
Race 1:  #2 Dr Disco brought a game challenge to repeat winner Pretension before settling for second-best two starts back, and came back 5 days later only to get hooked into a fast duel and tire late.  Pace Projector puts him in charge of the proceedings early, and an effort similar to those last two will make him very tough on this group.  
#5 Say Mr. Sandman drops back down to a more appropriate level after trying tougher recently, and he has enough positional speed to keep himself in range.  #4 Indy Tune likes to sit it out early and run late, a style that may not play in this race, but he's been holding good form since turning back in distance earlier this summer, and his new trainer gets a solid 82 rating off the claim. 
Selections:  2-5-4-7
Race 2:  Tough $25k claimer restricted to non-winners of two features eight well-matched runners.  #7 Ice Wagon was chasing close to a fast pace last time before bouncing off the rail while trying to squeeze through inside in the stretch, and he took the worst of it on a four-wide chase at this level on June 29th.  Has to stretch out, but 88 TFUS Speed Figure earned over this track and trip on June 4th is the top recent number in the field.   #3 Maximus Mike was dropped down quickly by his previous connections,  but he's run two of the fastest races in the field on dirt and figures to appreciate the turn-back in distance.  #4 Master Yank is a logical contender, but he's had some soft trips up close to moderate paces recently and may face a sterner test this time. 
Selections:  7-3-4-2
Race 3:  #5 Sunny Desert has run gamely through sloppy tracks in each of her first two starts back from a long layoff, and she spent the majority of her most recent race down on the rail, which didn't appear to be the place to be on August 21st at Saratoga .  May appreciate catching a fast track for third start back, and her best race makes her a handful.  #1 Girlaboutown has impressed since the unveiling on July 4th, and her last was her best yet, when overcoming a bad stumble at the start to close down the talented Blithely, who blew away a field here on Wednesday.  #4 Carameaway is at her best when able to be part of the pace and figures to have a favorable scenario here according to Pace Projector.
Selections:  5-1-4-6
Race 4:  #8 Blue Collar Cat had an eventful 2yo season, more than once running well without winning, before eventually being tried in a couple of stakes races toward the end of the year.  Returns on the drop with a trainer change, and can be tough on a field like this with routine improvement.  #4 No Nukes has improved his speed figures since getting a trainer change to Jason Servis, but he has continued to settle for minor awards.  Turn-back in distance for this race is viewed as a positive.  #1 King Gettigan and #6 Mineral Water both ran well enough at this level on August 28th to be competitive, but, like No Nukes, both are running out of chances quickly.  #7 Discreet Kaz is interesting, making his debut with a Breeding Rating of 91 for dirt sprints and a trainer who pulls a 94 rating with first-time starters.  
Selections:  8-7-4-6
Race 5:  #4 Helm impressed putting up new career top TimeformUS Speed Figure of 100 when stretched back out over synthetic at Presque Isle two back, and raced on gamely after taking a wide trip behind front-running Silver Freak back on turf at Saratoga last time.  #6 Monument Hill continues to hit hard at age 8, posting TFUS Speed Figures of 109-105-105 in his three starts this year.  Tried gamely when forced to close into a moderate pace last time.  
#7 Admiral Perry returns to turf after focusing on synthetic races for most of 2014, and he has back races that make him competitive.  #9 Inchcape has had trouble finding the winner's circle so far, but he will appreciate the turn-back in distance for this race and may be an interesting price. 
Selections:  4-6-7-9
Race 6:  #13 Gypsum Johnny gave the appearance of being a first-time starter who may not have been suited by a wet track in his debut as he dropped back early while in behind horses, but was racing on well through the stretch once out in the clear.  Deserves another chance on a dry track.  #7 Watergate was in a tricky spot contesting the pace between horses all the way in debut on the main track.  Switched to turf for second start, but breeding rating of 82 for dirt, as opposed to just 69 for turf, suggests he may appreciate switching back.  Interesting firsters abound in this race, which goes as the first leg of the late Pick 4.  #9 Royal Asset has a Breeding Rating of 93 for dirt sprints and starts for a trainer who is adept at having his first-time starters ready to go.  #11 Agent Van Alden brought $120k after working a furlong in 10 flat in March, and he's a half to Pegasus Diamond, who has banked over $200k sprinting on this circuit.  
Selections:  13-7-9-11
Race 7:  Tough to knock the work #10 Ziptronic has been doing this year, and he'll drop back down here looking for four in a row.  He's the horse to beat, and one of his competitors will either have to step it up or re-find prior good form to defeat him.  Not sure what happened with #5 Isn'tlovejustgrand last time as he showed zero early speed and was left with far too much to do through the stretch.  He raced on, and galloped out, but he must stay in contact early today.  #6 Hear the Footsteps also failed to establish early position in his last race upstate, and wound up rallying without threat behind a wire-to-wire winner.  Drops in class and is very dangerous in this field with something approaching his best race.  
Selections:  5-6-10-7
Race 8:  One final chance for #10 Mills, who gets a trainer change to Bill Mott for this after an apparent private purchase.  Began his career with much promise before tailing off, so the change of scenery may do him some good, and he was way up against it last time when wide behind a wire-to-wire winner.  #4 Middleburg has settled for second-best in three straight, but he's run well each time and has the tactical speed to pull the right trip in a race projected to favor runners on or near the lead.  #9 Tigah is an interesting new face in a race where most of the entrants are impossible to trust.  Has run some very big races in the past in California, but will need some pace to develop.  #6 Brickyard Kitten has run well in both starts since getting a trainer change to Tony Dutrow, and #3 Battle Force, third back from a layoff, is looking to re-find his prior good form.  
Selections:  10-4-9-6
Race 9:  Both #3 Ocean Foam and #6 My Senses exit strong maiden races at Saratoga behind the highly promising Lady Eli, and they are clearly eligible to improve for the experience, but neither did so much running (after good trips) in that spot that we can't look around for alternatives.  #7 Path had no speed in muddy track sprint debut, but dam was a better turf/synth horse, so this switch may work for her.  #9 Neilinger made a promising debut without a very good trip at Saratoga before trying a stakes race in NJ last time.  Stretches out for third career start with an 87 Breeding Rating for turf routes and may be an interesting price.  
Selections:  9-7-6-3

TimeformUS Analysis for September 18

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Analysis for the Racing at Belmont Park on Thursday September 18th

Race 3:  #5 Untiltherewasyou crushed maiden claimers over 9 furlongs two starts back, then switched back to turf to no avail.  86 TFUS Speed Figure earned for that maiden win makes her tough, and her main rivals, #1 Clock Stopper and #7 Ocean Boulevard, both have to stretch out.  Clock Stopper drops in class for the first time (trainer gets perfect 100 rating with runners dropping from ALW to CLM races) and has dangerous speed.  Ocean Boulevard can be given another chance at this level after catching a sloppy track last time, but she'll need to run the fastest race of her life if the top two show up with something approaching their best.  
Selections:  5-1-7-3
Race 4:  #8 Mama Zee is a question mark returning below the level of the claim after being listed as a vet scratch on September 10th for a $25k tag, but she has a good post, has run the fastest races, and is the best alternative to ML favorite #1 E Z Passer.  E Z Passer enters here off of three straight blowout wins, but she was odds-on vs. just 3 others in the first two (one of those at Suffolk), and she rode the crest of a strong inside-speed-favoring track last time at Saratoga.  #3 Discreet Force has had trouble putting races together, but she's lightly raced and has shown potential.  Buried a field after a perfect trip when dropped in for the first time here July 3rd, but hasn't been seen since.
Selections:  8-1-3-7
Race 5:  Turf route features a clear horse to beat in the form of #4 Honor the Kitten. He dropped down into a restricted claimer for the first time upstate and endured a tough wide trip behind a front-running winner, but he should have enough pace in front of him in this spot.
#6 Distorted Dream has some of that speed, and he may have found the right distance here after being forced to go either shorter or longer on turf to this point.  #7 Spirit of Peace also has speed, which may be a problem, but he's run better than it may appear on turf several times in the past, and he'll be an interesting price.  
Selections:  4-6-7-2
Race 6:  Interesting rematch among three talented NY-bred sprinters in #1 Cuantos, #4 Swell and #6 Giantinthemoonlite, who did battle on August 25th at Saratoga.  Cuantos did the best of them in that race, but he also had a perfect outside tracking trip as the other two fought out the pace, and things may play out differently for him this time from his rail draw.  We liked Swell quite a bit in that spot and were surprised to see him dueling the pace from the start.  He was badly behaved before the race despite being announced as a new gelding, so that may have had something to do with his newfound pace tactics, and we'll take him to do a bit better this time around.  Giantinthemoonlite has plenty of potential and is eligible to come forward quickly as he puts races back to back for the first time.  
Selections:  4-6-1-2
Race 7:  #1 Harlans Six hasn't had enough speed to keep up in a pair of starts going shorter, but she was running through the stretch of her turf debut last time and may appreciate a more evenly paced route.  #10 Bebop Raindrop raced greenly throughout her debut while kept on the outside and came away second-best while appearing to be the type to do better with some experience.  #12 Ack Naughty debuts for Chad Brown (100 rating with first-time starters in turf routes) and is a half to three turf winners, including So Lonesome, who won a stakes race on turf here last year. 
Selections:  1-10-12-3
Race 8:  #9 Transparent was a later-developing 3yo of some potential last year, putting up TFUS Speed Figures of 110 and 112 for back-to-back wins before diving into Grade 1 company.  Returns from unsuccessful trip to Dubai for trainer who can have them ready off of layoffs (gets perfect 100 rating off this kind of layoff in routes).  
#3 This Hard Land recently hasn't shown any of the positional speed he once possessed, but he has proven himself to still be capable of a competitive effort, and he has a long history of outrunning his odds.  #1 Our Caravan is a 3yo facing a tough group of elders, but he has flashed some potential, and his last race, which came over a sloppy track vs. Tonalist, is easily forgivable.  
Selections:  9-3-1-5
Race 9:  Field of 8 fillies and mares entered for turf, and they know each other well, having run against each other plenty recently.  #10 Edie has the best recent form, having won 4 of her last 8 on grass, and she just missed when second at this level last time.  #4 Sheza Heartbreaker has trouble finding the winner's circle, but she's competitive with her best race, and she went well off the trainer change last time.  #2 Swakopmund was wide throughout as both Edie and the winner of that race saved all the ground, and she raced on well to the finish.  #3 Cotton Pickin matched up well with this group down here over the summer despite not winning, and she'll be a big price in this race.
Selections:  2-4-10-3
Race 10:  #5 Graceful Gal made a positive impression in her debut when outrun early and finishing up well late.  She galloped out strongly after the wire and has the pedigree to handle the stretch out.  #3 Dreaming as Always is also well-bred for routing on grass (85 rating), and she starts for a trainer adept at having them ready to go first time out.  #2 Sakonnet Point failed to show up with much run when last seen in November, but ran well enough in her second start to give her another look as she returns from a layoff.  
Selections:  5-3-2-1

TimeformUS Analysis for September 17

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Analysis for Wednesday September 17th at Belmont
Race 1:  Short field in the opener, which is set for one mile on grass with only five entered for turf.  #6 Kenzadargent is heavily favored on the ML after overpowering a solid field at Saratoga in her stateside debut for Chad Brown, and she's likely to be a solid single for most in the early Pick 5 and Pick 3.  #4 Image of Anna made her turf debut in much too tough of a spot, and she was racing on gamely through the stretch after steadying back to last at the start.  
Selections:  6-4-2-1
Race 2:  #1 Invasion Point projects to be on a clear early lead as he switches back to dirt and drops in class, which may be enough in a field lacking much in the way of current form. Lone start sprinting on dirt came in debut, vs. much better horses.  
#9 Artemus Paperboy has run the best race to date, but that came a year ago at Churchill Downs, and he hasn't had much to offer since arriving in NY.  Drops back down to the level of the claim for a barn off to a hot start at the meet.  #7 Royalty Reigns has done little running to this point, but he was away slowly in his debut, and his trainer has solid ratings with runners switching from turf to dirt (92) and with older maiden claimers on dirt (100).    
Selections:  1-9-7-4
Race 3:  #9 Blisstering Strike has made only one start on turf, which we will view as a positive in this field, and she ran very well that day to gun down a loose leader with a game finish.  Has speed in a race that is projected to favor runners on or near the early lead.  #2 Stage Name should also be up close, and she drops in class while getting a turn-back in distance, which may suit her.  #3 Dattts Da Boss has continued to run well recently without winning, as have #4 Saratoga Karaoke and #10 Malibu Queen.  
Selections:  9-2-3-10
Race 4:  Guessing to be done in field full of 2yo first-time starters set to sprint six furlongs.  #4 R Y Squadron goes for reliable debut trainer Chad Brown (100 rating with 2yo first-time starters) and she pulls a strong Breeding Rating of 95 for turf sprints.  #9 Hot Like Hepburn brought $230k earlier this year and is also well-bred for turf sprints (93 rating).  #3 Pink Freud Live is another daughter of Freud with a strong Breeding Rating for these races (90) and her trainer is dangerous with first-time starters.  #8 Light Years Away is a full to turf stakes winner In Te Domine.  
Selections:  4-9-3-8
Race 5:  With plenty of speed signed on to this route for $20k claimers, we'll take a shot with #3 Lure of the South, hoping he can close into a setup late.  He's third back from a layoff today while dropping in class and switching from turf to dirt (85 rating for this trainer), and we've always liked him better as a dirt horse anyway.  #4 North Ocean has been in questionable form recently, and it's hardly inspiring to find him cut in half for his first start off the claim.  He's the best horse in the field; just not sure we'll see his best race.  #2 M J Plus drops back down for trainer off to a fast start at the meet after landing in a paceless race vs. tougher last week.  
Selections:  3-4-2-5
Race 6:  #8 Boss Man finally picked up long overdue first win on the drop at Saratoga last month, and returns in the right kind of spot for first start with winners.  Versatility an asset in race projected to be run at a fast early pace.  Expected pace may work against #7 Broadway Zen, who is dropping back down in class after facing much tougher competition recently (Race Ratings of 100 and 99 for last two starts, as compared to today's 89).  #3 Forever Thing is back to turf off the claim after becoming a disappointment on dirt.  Went well enough on grass early in his career.
Selections:  8-7-3-2
Race 7:  #2 Skye Saratoga starts back as a 3yo while trying her available condition for the first time since impressive maiden score last November with an 83 TFUS Speed Figure.  2014-09-17_08-56-09Has run exclusively in stakes company since, and is eligible to move forward quickly.  #7 Blithely has perhaps been a little lucky so far, as she rode a gold rail to impressive maiden win last September, and was almost able to upset heavily favored Girlaboutown after that one stumbled very badly at the start last time.  On the other hand, she has shown plenty of potential to start her career, improving her figures from start to start (71-88-92), and may be set for best yet in second start back from the layoff.  We can be against her if she's a short price, or with her if she's not.  #8 My Girl Madison is also lightly raced with upside, and is herself making her second start back from a layoff.  Has speed in a race that is projected to favor frontrunners.  #1A Very Accomplished also has speed, and she will appreciate the little cut-back she gets today.  
Selections:  2-7-8-1A
Race 8:  Now-or-never time for #8 Blue Pigeon, who has had legitimate excuses in each of his two starts this year (too close to fast pace on July 26, buried in traffic on August 23).  #10 Balderdash has failed to build upon solid start to his career on turf as a 2yo, but he took a step in the right direction last time when taking the first run while wide through the second turn before flattening out late.  #3 Charity Reins has improved off the claim for this trainer, and he also had trouble on August 23rd behind several of these.  #2 Salisbury Knight has been a disappointment on dirt but is a half to a pair of stakes winners on grass, so perhaps the surface switch will wake him up.  
Selections:  8-10-4-5
Race 9:  #5 Boston Strong has run well in both starts to begin his career (as well as the three favorites on the ML have, in our opinion), so we'll take him on top in competitive NY-bred maiden race.  #9 Tiger D has been narrowly defeated in first two starts and feels like the horse to beat, but he exits a no-excuse loss after getting control in a race that was slow early and fast late.  #4 Talladega is a logical contender off of his first two starts.  #6 Luv Dakota Skye makes 3yo debut with a trainer change to George Weaver (99 rating), who will take the blinkers off (100 rating); eligible to improve quickly.  
Selections:  5-9-6-3