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Forbes' Firsters

 

Forbes’ Firsters 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 Forbes’ Firsters will help fans find the stars of tomorrow as they head postward for the first time.

 

Forbes’ Firsters for Friday, June 27, 2014

Susie Raisher

Forbes’ Firsters for Friday, June 27, 2014

Race 3, 2-year-old fillies, five furlongs, 4:02 p.m.

SUNDAY SONNET (dark bay/brown filly, Any Given Saturday—Red Piano, by Red Ransom) is a half-sister to Pianist, a multiple graded stakes winner.  Pianist’s success has come on turf, with victories including the Grade 3 Gallorette and the Grade 3 Athenia.

Owner: George and Lori Hall

Trainer: Kelly J. Breen

Jockey: Jose L. Ortiz

Sales history: $115,000 Keeneland September yearling

 

HIGH DOLLAR WOMAN (chestnut filly, Super Saver—Melissa Jo, by Fusaichi Pegasus) is the second foal from her multiple graded stakes placed dam. The first, Joedini, was a stakes-placed winner at two. High Dollar Woman worked a quarter mile in 21.00 at OBS.

Owner: Alex Lieblong, JoAnn Lieblong

Trainer: Anthony W. Dutrow

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Sales history: $675,000 OBC March Select two-year-old in training

 

ANGELA RENEE (bay filly, Bernardini – Pilfer, by Deputy Minister) is a full sister to multiple Grade 1 winner To Honor and Serve. To Honor and Serve was a multiple graded stakes winner as a two-year-old who would go on to victories in the Cigar Mile Handicap and Woodward Stakes. Pilfer, a stakes winner, is also the dam of graded stakes placed Elnaawi.

Owner: Siena Farm LLC

Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher

Jockey: John R. Velazquez

 

TimeformUS Analysis for June 27

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Friday, June 27

Race 1:  Four of #2 Heir to Dare's last five races have resulted in TimeformUS Speed Figures that are faster than any race any of her rivals has run since #4 Happy Recap's win over a speed-favoring track back on March 15th.  It is disconcerting to see that she has settled for second-best in 8 of her 18 career starts, but she is down to the lowest level of her career here and is the fastest horse.  #1A Blue Ballerina has speed and a good outside post, and she was in the best form of her career before getting outrun by a fast pace in the mud two back, and then getting out on the turn after making the lead last time.  #3 E Z Passer ran down Heir to Dare in the mud on May 22 after that one was softened up in a pace battle; hoping for a similar scenario here, and another wet track wouldn't hurt her chances.
 
Selections:  2-3-1-5
 
 
Race 2:  #5 Chase My Tail was stuck four-wide on a day when the rail was gold on his return to NY on March 15th, and made amends right away when dueling Bridget Moloney into defeat in her next start; Rudy makes the turf-to-dirt move work, though he is on a bad run right now, winning with just one of his last 37 starters at Belmont.  #4 Jen's Miracle is in good form, but she has little early speed, and there isn't much pace for her to attack in this race.  #7 Cajun Wedding is back quickly for the fourth straight time after blowing a perfect-trip chance when outfinished by the now 2-for-50 Blue Sixty Four last week. 
 
Selections:  5-4-7-3
 
 
Race 3:  Several interesting newcomers on display here, including #4 High Dollar Woman, who just brought $675k after working two furlongs in :21 flat at OBS March.  #8 Angela Renee debuts for Pletcher and is a full-sister to the multiple Grade 1 winner To Honor and Serve.  #2 Sunday Sonnet is cross-entered into a race at her home base, so we may not see her here, but she's one to watch out for, as well, especially on grass down the line, as her half-sister Pianist is a multiple graded-stakes winner over that surface. 
 
Selections: 4-8-2-6
 
 
Race 4:  #2 Dixie Gem and #5 Chasing Paradise exit the same race, finishing behind the promising Lady Kreesa, and while the latter ran the better race that day, Dixie Gem raced wide and was getting in all through the stretch; we're hoping she can improve a bit from that experience, and she'll be a much better price once again.
 
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#7 Keen Katana improved her form when switched to turf last time, though she worked a very good trip in that race and didn't have a strong finish; stretches out a bit here, and will have to run a bit better. 
 
Selections:  2-5-7-1
 
 
Race 5:  #1 Sweet Sway drops off the layoff while getting a trainer change to the hot Michelle Nevin, who gets strong rating off the layoff (94) and off the trainer change (97); has back races that make her better than these, and there is not much speed signed on here.  #6 Bird House takes a big class drop for this and is the horse to beat, though she lacks early speed and Pace Projector indicates that that could be an issue for her in this race.  #4 Bridget Moloney is back down to the right level for this, and she gets a major rider change to Castellano, who knows how to use whatever speed his mounts possess; got the wrong ride when taken back to last and then finishing gamely from behind #5 Typhoon Teri on May 14.
 
Selections:  1-6-4-3
 
 
Race 6:  #2 Charlie's Picnic and #4 Bright Face are the two ML favorites in this MSW for turf sprinters, and we're having a tough time finding reasonable alternatives.  Charlie's Picnic was unlucky more than once on dirt last summer, and his turf debut in the fall of last year was a solid effort.  He didn't reproduce that run down in Florida, but he's been given a break, and we think the key to him may be distance more than surface.  This will be his first start sprinting on turf, and we're hoping it suits him.  Bright Face ran well after going early to contest the pace, just failing to hold off favored Main Man Mike when last seen in Florida.  
Selections:  2-4-1-12
 
 
Race 7:  #4 Captain Toews returned from the layoff to take a step forward last month, and did so despite making a four-wide move into a moderate pace.  He was against speed-favoring tracks in both starts after making an impressive run through the stretch to break his maiden first-time out, and we think he is set for his best effort yet.  
 
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#1 Brass Pear cuts back after proving no match for heavily favored drop-down Ghost Hunter over a mile last time; Pace Projector puts him clear on the early lead once again. #2 Sidearm has run well enough to merit consideration, though he didn't run any better than #7 Horatio as they both chased odds-on Baffert ship-in Doctor Dempsey last time.
 
Selections:  4-7-2-1
 
 
Race 8:  #9 J to the Croft has had a difficult time getting the right trip since being switched over to grass, which is surprising considering how much natural speed he has.  Pace Projector indicates that this race will favor the runners on or near the early lead, and we feel J to the Croft has enough speed to take advantage of a race shape like that one. We expect him to show more speed than the Pace Projector expects.
 
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#3 Watery Moon buried a weak-looking field on synthetic in his debut, and he found trouble early and late when an unlucky loser at Delaware last time. 
 
Selections:  9-3-1-2
 
 
Race 9:  #8 Born in Brooklyn was rated wide behind a moderate pace in his turf debut, and then got bounced around in traffic in the stretch when dropped in class last time; his trainer is quietly having a very strong meet here and scored another win on Wednesday. #9 East Bay Lodge exits the same race as the top one, and also had some traffic trouble in the stretch.  The others are exiting either the 9th race from June 1st or the 2nd race from June 4th; the pace held together in the former, while the latter appeared to be a stronger race overall, with an impressive winner.  
 
Selections:  8-3-5-7-9
 
 
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TimeformUS Analysis for June 26

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Thursday, June 26
 
Race 1: In the opener, there is nowhere to go with any real enthusiasm, at least as far as we can see.  #3 Glickman is the most-talented horse, by far, but is returning from a layoff of over two years.  We can't recommend betting real money on him but don't love the alternatives, either.  #2 Silver Morgan has twice contested the pace and proven no match since switching back from grass recently, and there is plenty of other speed signed on here.  Maybe #1 Indy Sea is the best option, as he got back to a good race on turf last time, can run his race on dirt, and doesn't need the lead.
 
Selections:  1-3-2-4
 
 
Race 2:  With two of the early favorites for this race, #4 Brilliant Jewel and #6 Ridingwiththedevil, difficult for us to endorse strongly, we went looking for alternatives in this race.  The obvious one is #3 Dragonberry (a Todd Pletcher-trained first-time starter by Unbridled's Song), who is from the female family of Paynter and Tiznow, among others. We can use her in here, especially if she winds up being bet strongly, but it is worth noting that all horses debuting out of this barn are not made equal.  While Pletcher is especially dangerous with horses making their first career start at places like Saratoga (with 2yos) and Gulfstream (with newly turned 3yos), he pulls a modest rating of 64 with older first-time-starting maidens overall.  
 
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We'll see what happens with that horse, but the one we're going to try to breathe some life into is #1 Ribbon Cutter.  Ribbon Cutter, whose second dam is the multiple graded stakes winning dirt runner Runway Model,  has run only twice to date, and not very competitively yet.  However, those races were not particularly easy spots, and she has yet to catch a fast dirt track (let's hope we have one today).  She made her debut at the end of last year's Saratoga meet over a sloppy sealed track against Recepta, who ran next in the Grade 1 Frizette and has since gone on to become a stakes winner on grass.  Ribbon Cutter switched to turf for her next start and went evenly in a wide trip behind another subsequent stakes winner, Walk Close.  
 
It's possible, of course, that Ribbon Cutter just doesn't have that much ability, and if that's the case, not even getting fast dirt for the first time is going to help much.  But she really hasn't had a fair chance yet, and any race where we perceive that the favorites are vulnerable is a race that we want to be involved in.  
 
Selections:  1-3-4-7
 
 
Race 3:  We thought #2 Son of a General ran very well last time. He emerged from that race a very unlucky loser after being forced into a wide run all the way through the turn while the favored winner sat a perfect trip all the way.  He landed in a super-tough $25k claimer two starts back, and while he meets some solid competition in this spot as well, his most-accomplished rivals are showing recent signs of wear and tear.   #3 Battle Hardened is a bit of a wild card here. We want to see one from him in NY before getting on board. And we are against North Ocean in this spot, win or lose, as he has appeared to be on the downside recently and takes a negative drop off the claim.  We are most wary of the #1 entry from David Jacobson, especially the #1A, Joan's Choice, who bled two back but appeared none the worse for wear when galloping over a field at Monmouth 11 days ago.
 
Selections:  2-1A-3-1
 
 
Race 4:  Pace Projector indicates that this race will be run at a fast pace, and to further complicate matters, there are four significant players in the race who are returning from long layoffs.  It is one of those layoff runners, #2 Mississippi Duel, whom we like on top in this race.  Mississippi Duel projects to land somewhere in behind that fast pace, and his turf form is strong.  We will also use #4 Tapitdar in his first start back, as he fits well at this level and has tractable speed.  #8 Dan and Sheila is interesting, as he is a closer on the main track who may appreciate landing in a turf race with some pace, and it is worth considering whether Steve Asmussen claimed this horse with grass in mind.  We're intrigued, and will use him if he stays in.  One other horse to consider is #3 Dreaming of Danny, whom we admit to being leery of given the recent struggles this barn has gone through (Rudy Rodriguez is 1 for his last 39 at Belmont, and has not won a race in the month of June, a run that includes 8 losses with horses that were 2/1 or less at post time).
 
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Selections:  2-8-4-3
 
 
Race 5:  #6 Dan's Gold drops to a more reasonable spot after failing to strongly impact a better group over a sloppy track last time, and he was hooked into a fast duel one start prior to that; drew well on the outside and his best race makes him tough.  
 
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#7 Lucci the Lion has been back in top form recently, and emerged an unlucky loser last time after contesting the pace all the way before falling prey to a pair of closers; this is tougher, but not by that much.  #4 B Shanny has plenty of races to get to that would make him a handful in here, but he has been gingerly handled by these connections since the claim and continues his descent here.  #3 Head Heart Hoof has had trouble getting to his good races recently but would be too much for these should he flash back to early 2013.  
 
Selections:  6-7-4-3
 
 
Race 6:  We like this trainer change for #5 Ocala Jim, and he showed enough on turf last year to deserve a shot, anyway. We are betting him at anything like his ML odds, and making #3 Frogman Mel our other horse.  Frogman Mel makes his first start back as a 3yo after displaying some ability last year, and he ran better than it may appear in the turf finale at Laurel after failing to get any position in the race behind a wire-to-wire winner; Rudy's struggles apply here, as well, however.  #2 Bold Forest is logical, and he's one we've been chasing since last year, so we won't overlook. 
 
Selections:  5-3-2-1
 
 
Race 7:  #1 William'sluckygray hasn't run on fast dirt since wiring maidens over the inner dirt back in March; has speed, and was badly compromised by a stumble at the break last time.  #5 Let Me Be Nuts drops down while making second start off the layoff for an underrated trainer and is one of only two in the field with a prior win over this track and trip. #3 Resolute Babe projects to be on the lead early in here as she drops to the lowest level of her career; has never been beyond 6.5 furlongs.  
 
Selections:  1-5-3-4
 
 
Race 8:  Turf sprint for experienced NY-breds is open to several different horses, so let price be your guide.  We thought that both #4 Western Tryst and #6 Leilani's Ticket ran very well when wide and closing behind #2 Mr Rosenthal and #3 Special Selection last time.  Leilani's Ticket figures to be the better price. So we'll land there for now.  
 
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#5 Bug Juice handles any surface and picks up Castellano after finishing second-best in a minor stakes race at Finger Lakes last month.  #9 Ziptronic settled for third behind a couple of strong rivals in his first start back from the layoff and figures tighter for this.  
 
Selections:  6-4-5-9
 
 
Race 9:  Tough to decipher finale in which all ten (in the main body of the race) who have tried turf have run similar figures consistently.  We'll put #3 Rose Quartz over #10 Lavender Road, as they both drop in class for the first time, but the former has already been long and the latter drew poorly on the outside for a race over this distance on the inner.  #6 Bi Light of Day will face maiden claiming company on turf for the first time, and #4 Race and Shine finished gamely into a strong pace set-up last time. 
 
Selections:  3-10-6-4
 
 
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TimeformUS Analysis for June 25

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Wednesday, June 25
 
Race 1:  #8 Lane Allen is a well-pedigreed Darley homebred who brought only $8k at auction and has been beaten a combined 30+ lengths in his two starts to date, so it is a bit odd to say that he is the clear horse to beat in the opener. But he is.  He is well drawn on the outside, and Pace Projector indicates that he has the speed to make a clear early lead in this spot.  His trainer, Chris Englehart, has strong ratings both with horses dropping 50% or more in claiming price (100) and with horses switching from turf to dirt (98).  And Lane Allen earned the top TimeformUS Speed Figure in the field for his debut, during which he was in an early pace duel before tiring.  
 
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#3 Wild Skye took money in his debut for a low-percentage barn and will add lasix for start #2; be little surprise to see some improvement.  
 
Selections:  8-3-4-6
 
 
Race 2:  The 1 1/4-mile distance is the key to the second leg, as no one in the field has ever won a race beyond 1 1/16 miles.  The first horse to reckon with is #7 Bluegrass Flash (a half-brother to the Grade 1 turf winner Discreet Marq), who is switching back to grass for the first time since last summer.  Bluegrass Flash should have won his debut, but he was compromised badly by breaking slowly and then being forced into a wide run.  The problem with him is that he has been mostly a disappointment since then, losing his next four starts at low odds, and it has been interesting to see Christophe Clement, who also trains Discreet Marq, steadfastly keep this horse on the main track (he was entered MTO when breaking his maiden last time).  We think it is reasonable to try to beat this horse at a short price, and will do so primarily with #9 Trainingforsuccess and #1 Elroi. Trainingforsuccess was wide all the way when wired two starts back, and he endured a brutally tough trip last time.  
 
Selections:  9-1-2-7
 
 
Race 3: It will be interesting to see how this $25k claimer for older sprinters plays out, as there appears to be plenty of speed signed on, yet Pace Projector envisions a race shape that favors runners up close.  We will defy that scenario a bit, on the thinking that #1 Hillswick has to go from the rail, which will help #5 Haverhill to produce his late run in this spot.  Haverhill caught some pace last time when returned from the layoff, and he finished gamely to fall just short of Coolusive, who got the jump on him that day.  He is not a dead one-run closer, but has the top late pace rating in the field, and his new trainer won with a horse first time off the claim here on Sunday.  
 
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Hillswick is getting up there at age 8, but he was able to handle a quick turnaround to post a narrow win at Monmouth last month, albeit with a big drop in class; has back races that would overwhelm this field, but questionable whether he can still reach that level of performance.
 
Selections:  5-1-4-3
 
 
Race 4:  #3 Macagone is very much the horse to beat here, as he turns back out of a longer route vs. open company to rejoin NY-breds.  He did a ton of racing behind the promising Point Roll two starts back after taking a hard bump at the break and getting shuffled out to the back of the field.  He wound up settling for 3rd that day, but he clearly ran the second-best race.  #1 Raffies Bay has been strongly rated in his 3 NY starts to date, but has the speed to take advantage of his inside draw, which is paramount over this distance on the inner turf.  We like him and think he's better than he looks.  #2 Hushhushmushmush will likely be over-bet, but he is eligible to step forward a bit in second start off the layoff for Chad Brown.  #6 Iced Over ran very well in his turf debut at Churchill last time, racing on gamely behind a pair of MSW droppers after catching a wide trip; "hung" comment from the chart caller highly uncharitable there.  
 
Selections:  3-1-6-2
 
 
Race 5:  Maybe it was just the muddy, sealed track that enabled #4 Get Gorgeous to run what was perhaps the best race of her career as an 8yo, but we think it may have had more to do with the trainer change, as she earned that victory by taking part in a multi-horse pace battle and surviving, and then driving clear of favored Darnley Bay, was was sitting in a perfect trip all the way; has proven form from off the pace, as well.  #2 Familyofroses is 2-for-2 with this rider and won big the only other time she went turf-to-dirt in her career, and #6 Accomplish First stretches a bit farther looking for four in a row.  
 
Selections:  4-6-2-3
 
 
Race 6:  Turf sprint for NY-bred fillies and mares appears open to several different horses, despite #8 Fancy Boss being a strong favorite on the ML.  That horse has made no mistakes to this point, but has gotten away pretty easily on the pace in each of her two starts this year, and this figures to be tougher for her.  
 
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We are interested in #7 Elmra as she switches to turf for the first time. She has plenty of pedigree, being out of a dam who was a winner and was Group 3-placed in France, and she has already displayed plenty of ability on the main track; trainer Mark Hennig has a strong 83 rating with turf sprinters. Dominick Schettino has quietly been sending out nothing but live runners at this meet, and his #5 My Jopia fits very well in this field, as she has mostly faced tougher than this while winning three times over turf.  #6 Ornellia is capable of a performance that would be competitive with this group, and she had real trouble in that first start back from the layoff, though everyone seemed to notice, which tends to attract unwarranted money. 
 
Selections:  7-6-5-4
 
 
Race 7:  #6 Protonico buried a weak group of maidens at Delaware last year before coming to NY to try graded stakes company, and he did not run poorly in that Nashua; turned over to Pletcher for his 3yo season, but he'll have to be set to go right away vs. this field.  #5 Magic Cash is also in receipt of a trainer change for third lifetime start, and he impressed greatly in pair of Maryland efforts.  #2 Venetian Mask is another who showed disdain for a field of maidens out of town, and he will now stretch out a bit for his second start.  Both #1 Lieutenant Seany O and #4 All My Memories have more experience than the top 3, but they can both run and are dangerous in here.
 
Selections:  6-5-2-1
 
 
Race 8:  #8 Frege has lost her last two as the favorite, but she ran very well in narrow defeat two back, and endured a tough trip last time; enough pace lined up for her to have her best chance here.  #2 Lawless Miss is the lone entrant with multiple wins over this distance, and she was gamely second-best to an impressive winner when returned from the layoff last month.  #3 Roses for Romney is talented enough to be a big player here, but has been difficult to handle in her races, and may be at her best when simply allowed to race freely on the lead; dangerous if turned loose.  #6 Tokyo Time has been truly unlucky at times, but may also be at her best when free-running up front.  
 
Selections:  8-2-3-4
 
 
Race 9:  Pace Projector indicates that a fast pace is on tap for this maiden claimer over turf, which we hope most benefits #6 Whyalwaysme, who drops in class for a trainer in the midst of a solid meet and is a half-brother to I Bet Toni Knows, who was a NY-bred stakes winner on grass. #3 Sequestrate gave way after contesting the pace in his debut run, which was rained off to the main track; drops in class, and he's a half to a pair of turf winners.  #10 Readyfortheday is another class-dropper switching to turf, and he is by turf influence More Than Ready.  #7 With Expression may be the horse to beat, and he also drops down for a trainer bringing the goods so far at this meet. 
 
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Selections:  6-3-10-7
 
 
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