The New York Racing Association

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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 Saturday, June 14, 2014

Jon Forbes

Forbes’ Firsters for Saturday, June 14, 2014

Race 4, 2-year-old Fillies, $100,000 Astoria, 5 ½ furlongs, 2:53 p.m.

FASHION ALERT (bay filly, Old Fashioned—Titan Queen, by Tiznow) is set to make her debut in a stakes stakes. She has one sibling of racing age, Renee’s Titan, who placed in a pair of stakes as a 2-year-old and won the Grade 2 Santa Ynez as a 3-year-old. Their dam is a placed full-sister to Roman’s Run, who was staked placed at Jebel Ali in Dubai, and a half-sister to Big Band Sound, who took the Grade 2 Play the King on the turf at Woodbine, and Silver Prospector, who captured the restricted Don Rickles at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Owner: George Bolton

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: John Velazquez

Sales history: $125,000 Keeneland September yearling


TimeformUS Analysis for June 13

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Friday, June 13
Race 1:  Be interesting to see how they bet the opener, as Pletcher saddles two and both are eligible to be runners.  #1 Nonna's Boy is by Distorted Humor and is from the family of Cairo Prince, and #2 Stanford, who brought $550k after working 9.4 at Barrett's March, is from the female family of Johannesburg and Tale of the Cat.  #3 Skerkis is bred for speed on both sides of his pedigree, and sharp trainer Michael Mareina also saddles a pair, including the Blame colt #5 Blame It On Chris, who is from the family of Preakness winner Prairie Bayou.  
Selections:  2-1-3-5
Race 2:  The ageless #7 Awakino Cat has won two in a row at age nine, including his NY return last time in convincing fashion over a stronger overall field than this one.  #1 Non Stop is logical, and was in excellent form over the winter, but he may be tailing off now after fading behind the top one last time, so we'll go to a couple of longer prices underneath.  #2 Fan Base was an interesting claim by Michael Dubb and co. in March and was turned over to Marcus Vitali, and he did a ton of racing on a contested pace going longer last time.  #3 Glory Game was in good form over synthetic when claimed at the end of last year, but hasn't been seen since.  
Selections:  7-2-1-3
Race 3:  No one to trust in maiden claiming field full of disappointments, so we'll put biggest dropper #7 Seldom Seen Slim on top, though without much conviction.  #6 Sampson County has layover back races to get to, but he's had nothing to offer since dropped down; interesting that Velazquez sticks despite claim.
Selections:  7-6-4-5
Race 4:  #10 Place Card returns after a 219 day layoff as a 3yo sprinting; trainer Graham Motion has a rating of 94 with similar spacing.  She made an impressive debut over shorter distance on synthetic behind subsequent graded stakes winner Aurelia's Belle; no chance in lone turf try in race that held together up front.  
#3 Skipping switches to grass with a trainer change to the streaking Clement, and she is a half-sister to a pair of multiple turf winners, including Meribel, who earned over $520k; has dangerous speed.  #6 Pedal Princess was off slowly and outrun early but closest at the finish in well-bet debut; has big pedigree to live up to and attracts Castellano for this.  
Selections:  10-3-6-4
Race 5:  #5 Bounty Pink has been on a roll with regular racing this year, and enters here off back-to-back blowout wins; this field is tougher, but only by degrees.  #2 Ms. Bird Watch has been back in form at Finger Lakes, and she's managed to run her race on this circuit in the past.  #3 Guayana ran better when shipped out of town off the claim last time; hard to trust after no-show performance at short price when brought to NY in April.
Selections:  5-2-3-7
Race 6:   #3 Devious Maddy pegged at shortest of ML prices with acceptable form in suspect field, but we'll give #5 Piccolo Flats one more chance on grass, as she was within range vs. a much better field last time.  Difficult to endorse the others.
Selections:  5-3-6-7
Race 7:  Something's gotta give in turf sprint loaded with speed types and projected to be run at fast pace.  
We'll try #1 Slamarama, who lost all chance at the break off the layoff in a super-tough $40k claimer, and figures to be gunning off the break; maybe he can discourage the other speeds early.  #4 Ziptronic drops out of that same $40k race, and has proven capable of tracking a pace in the past.  #6 Luigi P is an infrequent winner, but fits well here with his best race, and wouldn't mind seeing a contested pace develop.  #10 Fast Time gave way after getting hooked into a duel vs. $50k claimers last time; won at this level here opening weekend, but this is a tougher crew for the price.  
Race 8:  #5 Touchofstarquality has plenty of potential, and he was impressive in overcoming pace scenario in NY return last time; will need to step up a bit vs. this hard-hitting crew, but appears plenty capable of doing so.  
#1 Mighty Ian has been in strong form for sharp connections, and is paired with #1A Abraham, whom we aren't big fans of, but who can be given a chance to rebound in second start back from the layoff.  #4 Groomedforvictory is better going shorter, so picking up a little extra ground may not suit him, but he was sharp last time.  
Selections:  5-1-1A-4
Race 9:  Difficult to go against #6 Point Roll, who was impressive in burying maidens last time, and comes back in next logical spot.  #5 Tapitation did not get a good trip or ride in turf debut last month, and did well to finish second-best in there.  #4 Analysis stepped up with distance off the layoff, and can be given the chance to improve further for a good trainer, though he'll have to.
Selections:  6-5-4-7

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