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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 Friday, June 13, 2014

Jon Forbes


Forbes’ Firsters for Friday, June 13, 2014

Race 1, All 2-year-olds, Five Furlongs, 1:20 p.m.

NONNA’S BOY (bay colt, Distorted Humor—Nonna Mia, by Empire Maker) is the first foal out of his dam, who was third in the Grade 1 Frizette and the Grade 3 Frizette as a 2-year-old and second in the restricted Loudonville as a 3-year-old. Nonna Mia is a half-sister to Cairo Prince, who won last year’s Grade 2 Nashua and this year’s Grade 2 Holy Bull. Cairo Prince is by Pioneerof the Nile, a son of Empire Maker. Nonna Mia and Cairo Prince are out of Holy Bubbette, a sprinter who won the Whimsical Stakes at Woodbine and the Dixie Miss at Louisiana Downs, and was second in the Grade 3 Chaposa Springs Handicap at Calder Race Course.

Owner: Repole Stable

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: John Velazquez


STANFORD (bay colt, Malibu Moon—Rosy Humor, by Distorted Humor) will become the second starter out of his dam, who was unplaced in three starts. Stanford’s second dam, Show Me the Roses, had only two placings in seven starts, but is a half-sister to Johannesburg, who was named Europe’s and the United States’ Champion Two-Year-Old Male after winning races such as the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Group 1 Phoenix, Group 1 Prix Morny, and Group 1 Middle Park. Show Me the Roses is by Storm Cat, who sired Hennessy, the sire of Johannesburg.  

Owner: Stonestreet Stables, M. Magnier, M. Tabor, D. Smith

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Sales history: $120,000 Keeneland September yearling, $555,000 Barretts March 2-year-old (one furlong in 9 4/5 seconds, video)


SKERKIS (chestnut colt, Majesticperfection—Touch of Joy, by Crafty Prospector) is a half-brother to Sea the Joy, a sprinter who won the Prairie Gold Lassie at Prairie Meadows and Top Flight at Arlington Park as a 2-year-old and the Crank It Up on the turf at Monmouth Park as a 3-year-old. Three of five starters out of Touch of Joy have won, with Sea the Joy being the only juvenile winner. Skerkis’ second dam, Fairway Style, won a stakes at Fairmount Park.

Owner: Magdalena Racing and Sylly Horses Stable

Trainer: Kenneth McPeek

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Sales history: $48,000 Fasig-Tipton July yearling


BLAME IT ON CHRIS (bay colt, Blame—Bayou Bride, by Orientate) is out of a placed half-sister to Prairie Bayou, who won the Grade 1 Preakness and four other stakes, and to Flitch, who won four graded stakes on the grass and was second in the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby on the dirt. Bayou Bride has produced two winners from three starters, including Cajun Wedding, who took a $20,000 maiden claiming race on June 5 at Belmont Park.

Owner: Chris Baccari

Trainer: Michael Mareina

Jockey:  Luis Saez


TimeformUS Belmont Analysis June 12

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Analysis For Belmont's Thursday June 12th Racing
Race 1:  #5 South Sound figures to go heavily favored in the opener, as her speed figures on dirt in California give her a decided edge on her competition; makes first start for the sharp Jason Servis, who gets strong ratings off the claim (100) and switching from turf to dirt (99), and Pace Projector puts her in favorable position on the early lead.  
#1 Lady Luciano drops with a positive trainer change to Rudy Rodriguez, and #7 Da Wildcat Girl ran well off the layoff vs. better horses last time, but the favorite is tough to stand strongly against.
Selections:  5-1-7-4
Race 2:  Have to give #5 Zafiro Azul one more chance on grass, as she finished with interest after getting outrun in her debut last year, and then was caught up in a lot of traffic when returned to turf last time; seems a good spot if she just needs a clean trip.  #2 Aviendra is first back from the layoff and is in for a tag for the first time on grass after facing much tougher than this last year; new trainer enlists Rosario.  #6 Kevin's Steel isn't impossible at a price after contesting the  pace in a race that went to closers last time; drops and projects to have an easier time of it early in here.  #7 Nanoon starts for a trainer who doesn't have a history with first-time starters, but she has some pedigree as a half to Front, who has won five times on grass and banked over $245k on that surface, so far.
Selections:  5-2-6-7
Race 3:
#4 Sidearm is a closer with the top late pace rating in the field by a clear margin; he has had some trouble finding the winner's circle since his debut last summer, and Pace Projector indicates that he may be up against it once again, but we figure that there is a good enough chance that #1 Shot to Win shows speed from the rail, and he has enough of it to keep ML favorite #6 Station Chief occupied up there.  If they get hooked up early, it figures to help Sidearm most, and he ran well last week when chasing odds-on Baffert ship-in Doctor Dempsey.  
Selections:  4-6-1-3
Race 4:  #4 Wing Foot endured a disastrous trip in Keeneland debut in April and never had a chance to run.  Well-connected colt has a big pedigree, being a brother to three stakes winners in Great Britain, including Group 1 winner Lucarno, who banked over $1 million.  There was little separating #3 Hines, #6 Sheldon and #10 Boss Man at the finish when they ran this race over good turf here last month, and they all figure to be contenders once again.  
Selections:  4-3-6-10
Race 5:  One final chance for #2 Loomin' Lori Lou, who gave futile chase to the talented Isabelle when going down to defeat for the fourth straight time at odds of 5/2 or less; drops down for the first time, and, in her defense, she has faced some fast NY-bred fillies to this point.  #6 Sheethots also drops down, and she'll go turf-to-dirt, as well; finished just a head behind the top one when they met back in March.  #5 Kicken Livi gave way badly in her Saratoga debut after taking some money and returns for the first time since then with some class relief; trainer off to good start here.
Selections:  2-6-5-3
Race 6:  One-mile distance may be the equalizer, as both #6 Apex and #7 Real Estate Rich come here in strong form but are questionable on the stretch-out to this distance.  We'll use them, but will take returnee #5 Sinorice on top, as he will have no issue with the trip, and his best race will make him extremely tough.
Selections:  5-7-6-1
Race 7:  Win or lose, we have zero interest in betting any money on either of the two ML favorites, #7 Easy Living or #2 The Lady Says Yes, in this spot, which opens things up a bit.  #8 G Note has run very well in pair of recent turf starts despite failing to get the best of it trip-wise either time; could argue that she would have beaten a stronger field than this one last time but for being forced to move too early to contest the pace. 2014-06-11_11-58-24r7
 #3 Chrysolite got a favorable pace setup and took advantage when overpowering maidens last time, but she has some ability and is on the way up.  #6 Milkyyourway has also run well in her two most recent starts and deserves consideration, though she took advantage of a softened-up G Note when second-best last time.
Selections:  8-3-6-1A
Race 8:  Not easy to separate the contenders in this solid feature, but #2 Bemata got the turn-back that he needed last time (he is now 5-for-9 sprinting on dirt in his career, and 0-for-10 doing anything else), and had an easy time closing that field down once clear of traffic in the stretch; taking him right back.  #3 Ithastobegeorge is also at his best sprinting, so the turn-back here works, and his two most recent sprint efforts were both good ones.  Tough call on #1A Johannesburg Smile, who just hasn't been sharp since claimed for $100k out of his last win, which came over a year and a half ago, but he was up against it last time vs. a good field in a race that featured an uncompetitive pace; being coupled with #1 Start Jumping won't help his price, and we'd want a good one in order to give him a second look.  
Selections:   2-3-1A-5
Race 9:  #3 Four Directions is an unknown on grass, but he's quite a bit better than he looks on dirt after catching a couple of tough trips recently and will likely be enough of a price to be hard to resist; obviously like him more if we're off the grass.  #6 Dowse's Beach is very much the horse to beat, making 3yo debut after acquitting himself well as a juvenile; should be favored in this spot.  #1A Shimba is a firster from Clement, who has been remarkable with runners debuting in turf routes recently, though he's been human at Belmont, where he is 1 for his last 11.  #7 Vischer Ferry landed in some tough spots facing open company at Gulfstream, and switches to turf with some pedigree for the switch.
Selections:  3-6-1A-7

TimeformUS Analysis for June 11

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Wednesday, June 11
Race 1:  #5 The Lost Tigress was well-bet on her debut , but raced greenly while out-paced along the rail and wasn't asked for much through the stretch; returns with a full makeover of lasix and blinkers for a trainer who does very well off of layoffs.  
#1 Pretty Like Me and #6 All Luv Me both ran in a similar event on April 17th which was coming apart at the end, and they both came up short; All Luv Me has run twice since then, while Pretty Like Meas been freshened up by a sharp trainer.  
Selections:  5-1-6-4
Race 2:  #7 Noble Doss has run infrequently on dirt over the past couple of years, but he holds good form on this surface, and has never raced this cheaply; landed in a likely spot if he's set to go.  #4 Star of Sarava is the horse to beat with the best speed, and isn't easy to stand strongly against.  #5 Moe Man plummets in class for Jacobson after getting outrun at Monmouth last time; has back races to get to that would be too much for this group.
Selections:  7-4-5-1
Race 3:  Early battle may be looming as both #1 Surfspun and #2 Cool Cat Tale both got the best of pace duels to break their respective maidens last out, and they draw right alongside each other on the inside.  
We'll see if catching a set up, along with a drop in class, can help #6 Grand Arrival to turn it around, as he once had potential, but has turned out to be a disappointment.  #5 Patty and Nooche would also like to see the inside two hook it up, as his lone career win came when preying upon a fast duel.  
Selections:  6-5-1-2
Race 4:  Tough race with 9 of the 12 in the body of the race having never tried turf before. We'll try #12 Secret Ops, who drops in for the price on his return from a layoff, and he has viable excuses for each of his first two starts (last away behind a wire-to-wire winner first out, and he appeared to hit the rail in upper-stretch while in behind horses, and, thanks to Trakus, he appeared to be on a dead rail (fog) in start #2);  his half brother Enumerate won a turf sprint the first time he tried the surface.  #6 Read the Mirage also drops down while switching to turf, and he's faced the toughest competition to date; dam was a four-time winner on turf.  
Selections:  12-6-1-2
Race 5:  Won't be running to the windows to bet #4 Brilliant Command as he drops in class here, but we've been fans of his, and this does appear to be a good spot.  #6 School Yard has come up just short without excuse more than once already, but has good tactical speed and figures in the mix.  #8 Romans Paradise had trouble getting away from the gate early on, but he's improved in that regard, and fits well in this spot.  
Selections:  4-6-8-2
Race 6:  #3 Voodoo Tales has been holding solid form for a sharp trainer, and gets a major rider change back to Castellano for this; Pace Projector indicates that she has the best speed here in a race that will favor that running style.  
#6 My Donna Jean has been in career form on dirt this year, and has enough speed to keep herself in range early; forget about the turf race at Monmouth last time.  #5 Coast of Sangria also figures close to the pace, and is dangerous in current form.  
Selections:  3-6-5-2
Race 7:  #8 Dattts Da Boss was given a no-chance trip on the cut back last time, with the rider dragging her out to last and burying her behind horses for the entire running of the race; gets back out in distance, and doesn't figure that far behind crew of uninspiring shorter prices.  Both #2 Dramatize and #6 Lucky Nancy E. exit the 6th race from May 14th, and neither of them had to most comfortable trip in there; we'll use them in lieu of shorter prices #1 Bartiromo and #4 Gondole, who can win but are no great shakes.  
Selections:  8-2-6-1
Race 8:  #1 Irish Score made an impressive turf debut last fall, winning despite tracking a fast pace (denoted by pace figures in red); and she endured a tough wide trip when returned to that surface at Monmouth last month; draws inside and Pace Projector places her on a clear early lead.  
#2 Pink Poppy looked green while lacking a killer instinct in Florida debut, but was much better up here last time, when charging down a pair of next out winners in the stretch.  #5 Run of the River ran to her strong pedigree when rolling over maidens first out at Gulfstream; takes next logical step.  
Selections:  1-2-5-4
Race 9:  #3 Forbidden Talent is a dangerous speed facing three-life restricted claimers for the first time; is inside this time after being beaten to the rail by #8 Happy Recap when they squared off on March 15, a day when the inside was the only way to victory.  #2 Little Gabby Girl is third off the layoff while dropping to the right level for trainer off to a good start here; owns tactical speed in race that figures to have some pace.  #1 Purling fits here, and put up new top figure vs. similar last time.  #6 Kiss Cat is a horse to consider moving up if the predicted rain shows up, as she is 2-3 over wet tracks in her career, and 0-8 when it's fast.
Selections:  3-2-1-6

TimeformUS Analysis for June 8

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Belmont Analysis for Sunday, June 8
Race 1:  Open-looking MSW race to start off the card, and we'll try second-time starter #5 Summit Moon, who was out in a wide trip throughout his debut against a much-the-best winner.  #2 The Big Beast was a beaten favorite last time after taking a wide trip of his own, but he has run well in each of his first two starts for a very good trainer, and is a logical contender.  Another second-timer, #3 T Sizzle, made a solid debut out of town and finished gamely.
Selections:  5-2-3-6
Race 2:  Top four finishers for the 6th race here on May 16th are back for more, and are joined by a Linda Rice drop-down in #4 Justoneatheguys, who has speed.  We liked #6 Bargaining Table in that May 16th race and see no reason not to take her right back. #9 Starship Pleasant is a contender, but she exits back-to-back no-excuse losses and we cannot take her on top.
Selections:  6-4-9-8
Race 3:  #6 Indy's Million ran an okay race over this distance vs. a much tougher group; this is a better spot.  #3 Belle de Nuit is a Galileo filly stretching out for her second start after putting in a mild run going shorter at Tampa.  She may improve for the experience, and her more experienced rivals have been far from impressive to this point. #7 Antrim Colleen is first back from the layoff, and she has run the best races of anyone to date, but this is a tough trip right off the bench.
Selections:  6-3-7-4
Race 4:  #5 Starship Captain has been holding solid form, and he ran well last time behind drop-down winner Schoolyard Dreams; plenty of speed-types signed on here to give him his best chance.  
Two of our favorites, #8 Straight Fax and #2 Buckeye Heart, are plenty good enough to win this, and both of them will also benefit from any hitting that goes on up front.
Selections:  5-8-2-4
Race 5:  #7 Citizen Wells returns to dirt for the first time since last February, while also getting a big drop in class;  lone previous start for a tag resulted in a convincing score in one-turn route to break his maiden.  #2 Park City has disappointed twice since dropped in class for Pletcher, but he was wide against a gold rail two back, and was wide again when wired by Beeliner last time.  #5 Mystic Strike has been a bust for Jacobson, but he did have some trouble in 3rd place finish two starts back; back quickly while stretching back out in distance.
Selections:  7-2-5-8
Race 6:  We liked #7 Patent last time, and thought that was a weirdly run race that he didn't have a fair chance in; he ran better than it looks in both Gulfstream starts, and was a very strong winner when breaking his maiden at Aqueduct; gets another chance from us.  #4 Picozza feels like the horse to beat for Pletcher as he drops out of graded stakes company; we're not way against him, but he still has much to prove.  #6 Tourist has made only one career start on turf, but he defeated Picozza fair and square that day; hasn't been seen since that race. Mott rated highly with last-out maiden winners (93).
Selections:  7-4-6-9
Race 7:  Very strong first-level allowance brings together a trio of talented fillies.  #2 West Coast Chick had a world of trouble in her Saratoga debut, then showed up next at Gulfstream to defeat the promising Thirteen Arrows, who won here the other day as though graded stakes are in her future.  #5 Suzy Malibu ships in from California off  a visually impressive debut at Santa Anita, and she had some trouble in there.  #3 Smashing is another one full of potential for Jimmy Jerkens, and would be no surprise.
Selections:  2-5-3-4
Race 8:   We're happy to see #11 Byrama turning back to sprint on turf, which we think is her best game by far.  She ran well in the Beauguay, albeit with a good trip, and we're banking on her improving with the cut-back.  
We liked the race that #4 Vicki's Dancer ran last time when returned to turf, and she is worth including here at a price.  #10 Free as a Bird wasn't so impressive in winning last time as a heavy favorite, but she's a solid turf sprinter and will factor here.  #7 Zia Zia Zia is the speed for Pletcher as she returns to grass; dangerous.
Selections:  11-4-10-7
Race 9:   #8 Mike and Bill took some money for his January debut, and was unlucky to be stuck three-wide throughout on a day when the rail was gold. #2 Curious Cal improved with first lasix in his second start, but ran into an impressive winner. #10 Mighty Zealous is logical turning back out of a sloppy track mile, but has now had three starts and appears vulnerable to his more lightly raced rivals, or to any live first-time starter.
Selections:  8-2-10-5