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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 Sunday, September 28, 2014

Jon Forbes

 

Forbes’ Firsters for Sunday, September 28, 2014

Race 1, All 2-year-olds, six furlongs, turf, 12:50 p.m.

PRIMA STORM (bay colt, Stormy Atlantic—Prima Centauri, by Distant View) is out of an unplaced half-sister to Etoile Montante, who won the Group 1 Prix de La Foret and was third in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas). Prima Centauri has produced two winners from four starters. Her lone turf winner, Bodes Galaxy, placed in a pair of group stakes in England as a juvenile. Prima Storm’s fourth dam is Hall of Famer Chris Evert.

Owner: Dixiana Farms

Trainer: Christophe Clement

Jockey: Joel Rosario

 

FORBES’ FIRSTERS ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

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 27

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Analysis for the Biggest Day on the Fall Racing Calendar in New York

It's Super Saturday at Belmont Park

Want even deeper analysis of the Grade 1 Stakes on this card? Click here to go to the TimeformUS Race Preview Page where we'll break it down even more.

Race 1:  #2B Zennor created quite a buzz when debuting in the blue Godolphin silks at Saratoga, and he actually ran quite well that day despite being defeated at a short price.  He was hung up four-wide all the way while trying to contest the pace, and he tired only late to fall out of contention.  Figures to have benefited greatly from the experience for a trainer who gets a 99 rating with second-time starters, and he drew a nice post on the outside.  #6 King Rontos has had some tough luck landing in races at Saratoga vs. the likes of Competitive Edge and El Kabeir, but things may not get any easier for him today in what appears to be a loaded race.  There are several interesting first-time starters entered, including Pletcher's #1 Savoy Stomp.  He brought $875k as a yearling, and is from the family of the multiple Grade 1 sprinter Dream Supreme.  #7 Midhmaar is by superstar stallion Tapit, and his dam Take D' Tour was a multiple Grade 1 winner in her career.  Trainer isn't as potent with his first-time starters on dirt (74 rating) as he is on turf.  

Selections:  2B-1-7-6
 
Race 2:  #3 All My Memories disappointed last time in a race that was full of puzzling performances like his.  We will take the counterintuitive approach to that race and forget about the poor performances, while downgrading the good ones.  Like this distance for him, and he's competitive with his good race.  #5 Noble Cornerstone may be the one to beat as he drops out of the Grade 1 King's Bishop, where he was never going to be competitive.  Has re-found his best form since getting cut back in distance by this trainer.  #2 John's Island ran down Noble Cornerstone over this trip back in May, and he was against an inside-and speed-favoring track last time.  #6 Chapman was with that track when just missing ahead of John's Island there, but he projects to be the main speed in this race.  #8 Round has the upside, and he has flashed ability in his two career starts, but he has missed some time since his maiden win, and he did not make the work tab at all in August.
 
Selections:  3-5-2-8
 
Race 3:  The experienced runners come mostly from one direction in this spot, that being the 1st race from August 30th at Saratoga, and an eventful 8.5 furlongs that was.  #7 Congrats to Ken and #6 Gustnado had the best placings in there, but they also had two of the better trips in the race.  #2 Epsilon took money and was buried in traffic with nowhere to run late, while #5 Vespers At Eight took no money, and raced greenly early before getting hemmed in and trying to bump his way clear in the stretch.
 
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The other experienced runner is #3 King of New York, and he has run well twice while settling for 2nd best both times.  
 
Selections:  2-5-3-6
 
Race 4:  Grade 2 Kelso goes straight through recent Grade 1 Woodward winner #7 Itsmyluckyday, who figures a short-priced favorite.  He has been perfectly handled since returning from serious injury this year, and he has rewarded his connections with a series of top-flight performances this summer.  Most likely upsetter may be #2 Golden Ticket, who is at his best in these one-turn miles. He has run fast enough in the past to give the favorite a scare.  #4 River Rocks has talent, but he's been lucky to get loose on the lead in pair of recent big figure wins, and this is his toughest test to date by a wide margin.
 
Selections:  7-2-4-5
 
Race 5:  Grade 1 Beldame lacks a true standout, which casts the multiple Grade 1 winning 3yo #3 Stopchargingmaria in the role of favorite.  She's good and she has the credentials to be favored in this field, but she's not very fast, and she is far from the scariest favorite we've ever seen.  We'll go against her with #2 Toasting, who admittedly is pushing it over this 9-furlong trip. She has been in good form, and she ran a big race over this distance at the end of last year.  We have never been particular fans of #5 Fiftyshadesofhay, but she fits in a race like this one and is a must-use for us. 
 
Selections:  2-5-3-4
 
Race 6:  #12 Upgrade is something of a 7-furlong specialist, winning 4 of his last 7 over this distance, whether on turf or synthetic, and missing by a nose in one of the losses.  Racing at the level where he fits at this stage of the game.  #3 Compliance Officer also figures to appreciate this cut-back in distance, and he gets some much needed class relief, as well, after banging heads with the top NY-bred turf horses in training over the past few years.  #9 Night Officer was unlucky when blowing the break vs. a few of these last time, and he can factor with a clean trip.  #6 Ragtime is interesting switching to grass for the first time with some pedigree (dam is a half to Grade 1 turf horse Dancing Forever), and he will turn back in distance as well.
 
Selections:  12-3-9-6
 
Race 7:  Excellent running of the Grade 1 Flower Bowl kicks off all Grade 1 Pick 4.  We're siding with the runners exiting the Grade 2 Ballston Spa last month at Saratoga.  #4 Strathnaver seems to be a mare who needs firm ground to be at her best, but she's been back in top form this cycle and doesn't figure to struggle with the distance based on first two starts in this country, both convincing wins going longer.  #1 Abaco outfinished Strathnaver to notch well-deserved Grade 2 win in the Ballston Spa.  Has run big in each of her last two starts and would be a deserving Grade 1 winner.  #9 Stephanie's Kitten may be the horse to beat in this spot off her strong 2nd in the Beverly D.  Has now come running too late in each of her last three starts. 
 
Selections: 4-1-9-7
 
Race 8:  
 
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Speed-laden Vosburgh goes through dual Grade 1 winner #1 Palace.  He has been in terrific form since returning from a layoff in early June, and he projects for a nice trip away from a fast pace.  #2 Coup de Grace is a 3yo facing elders, but he's a closing sprinter who projects for a perfect set-up in this spot after enduring a tough trip in the King's Bishop.  He appears to be a very difficult horse to ride, so we'll take it as a positive that Kerwin Clark is scheduled to come in for the mount.  #4 Salutos Amigos has begun to deliver on early promise since switching to this barn, and he exits a dead-game try chasing a loose-on-the-lead River Rocks without relenting last time. 
 
Selections:  2-1-4-6
 
Race 9:  #5 Main Sequence has impressed in pair of narrow yet impressive wins since arriving stateside for a top trainer.  Has had the benefit of solid paces in both, which is not the expected scenario here, but he's the horse to beat.  Chad Brown sends a strong coupling of #1 Big Blue Kitten and #1A Real Solution.  We prefer the former, who has returned in fine form this summer and gets this distance effectively.  #3 Imagining projects for a more comfortable trip this time after being pushed along on a solid pace when run down by Main Sequence in the Sword Dancer.  He may be a little better off going shorter, but he's dangerous in here if able to relax early.
 
Selections:  3-1-5-2
 
Race 10:  Fun edition of the Grade 1 $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup drew a field of 12.  With enough speed signed on to ensure that horse to beat #11 Moreno is kept honest, we'll try to get #4 Zivo to repeat his fast-closing win over that rival in the Suburban over this track and trip back in July.  Zivo has been in terrific form for Chad Brown, and his 114 Late Pace rating clearly tops the field.  
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3yos #3 Wicked Strong, #8 Tonalist and #10 V. E. Day are all players in here, and while we are against the latter, we will be using the other two.
 
Selections:  4-11-8-3
 
Race 11:  #3 Innovation Economy faces tough distance stretch-out in second start back as a 3yo, but he has the pedigree to handle it (100 Breeding Rating), being from the family of distance-loving turf millionaires Dynaforce and Cetewayo.  He was impressive when flying home as an overlooked runner in his debut, and was up against a tough pace scenario in his first start back.   #8 Trecastle has been OK on turf from the start and has a one-paced style that is suited to these longer races.  Horse to beat is the classy old #4 Grand Rapport.  He has been back in solid form on turf this year and has really taken to distance racing lately.
 
Selections:  3-8-4-12
 
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TimeformUS Analysis for September 26

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Analysis for Friday September 26th Racing at Belmont Park
 
Race 1:  Opener shapes up as a battle between dropdowns #1 Celebrated Talent and #7 Battled.  Battled is faster, having posted back-to-back TFUS Speed Figures of 100 and 103 in December and February, and he projects to be the controlling speed from his outside post.  He also has more questions to answer as he makes his first start back from a 174-day layoff with a three-week gap showing in his published works (as of this writing).  Celebrated Talent drops down for McLaughlin (97 rating going from ALW to CLM races) while making his third start back from a layoff (99 rating).  He hasn't run as fast as Battled, but he has the recency and is this field's lone entrant with a win over this 7-furlong distance.
 
Selections:  1-7-2-3
 
Race 2:  #7 Storm Pursuit has won all three career starts on dirt, and he did all the work while dueling the pace last time and was still able to hold off #4 Take Down Two at the end.  Projects to be the controlling speed in this race.  #3 Non Stop gets a pass for his last start, when racing wide and away from the pace over a Saratoga main track that was heavily slanted toward speed (denoted by the Race Rating box shaded in dark red).  Best race makes him very tough in here, if he can run it.  #5 Bemata took advantage of a wicked pace duel when rallying for 2nd last time.  New trainer gets perfect 100 rating with runners second off the claim, but he doesn't figure to have the same kind of set-up in this spot.
 
Selections:  7-3-5-1
 
Race 3:  #3 J to the Croft earned a 93 TFUS Speed Figure for his well-deserved win two starts back, and that is the top turf figure in the field.  Has the positional speed to avoid being compromised by dynamics, and may still have some upside.  #6 Request has reached something of a pivotal race in just his 5th career start.  He has run better than it may appear in pair of losses to begin his 3yo campaign, and he may be set to break through in his third start off the layoff.  Expected dynamics favor J to the Croft (Pace Projector favors runners on or near the early lead), but Request owns the top Late Pace Rating in the field.  
 
Selections:  3-6-5-4
 
Race 4:  #11 Taghleeb made promising turf debut last time when finishing up strongly after being held up in two different spots through the final turn.  Gets a positive rider change for this and can benefit from the projected fast pace, should it develop.  #1 Coordinate also made his turf debut in that race on August 31st, and he took a tough DQ when best at a huge price in that spot.  He's exposed now, and is coupled with a very well-bred #1A Melville (89 Breeding Rating for turf routes), so you'll be taking a much shorter price if you want to try him again.  #8 Veya shaped with a positive profile according to Timeform analysts in Europe, and he is eligible to come forward in his 3yo debut after running well in pair of starts once arriving stateside last year.  #2 Private Label switches to turf for 3yo debut and may improve quickly based on 89 Breeding Rating for turf routes.  
 
Selections:  11-1/1A-8-2
 
Race 5:  #3 Patty and Nooche has needed pace out in front of him in order to produce his best effort, and he may not have very much of it in this spot (Pace Projector favors runners on or near the early lead), but he's been facing tougher fields than this since dropped in class and is unlikely to find a better spot than this one.  #9 Perfect Disco needed 116 days between his strong effort with a 91 TFUS Speed Figure on May 18th and his dismal effort last time, and he was a vet scratch in the interim, so we'll take it as a good sign that he is entered back in just 15 days.  Performance like that one two races back makes him close to a sure thing in this field.  #5 Artemus Paperboy was much best over a muddy track vs. $20k maiden claimers last time, and he is entered back at the right level for trainer off to a strong start here.
 
Selections:  3-9-5-1
 
Race 6:  All things considered, #11 Unbridled Sonya ran quite well first time out when trying wide run from off the pace on a day when speed was dominating the proceedings on the Saratoga main track.  Picks up Rosario for the switch to grass, and she has a strong Breeding Rating of 96 for turf sprints.  #5 Lismore debuts for a dangerous trainer, and her dam is a sister to Interactif, who won multiple graded stakes races on grass.  #10 Stormy Sky chased a fast pace and tired in main track debut, and she also has enough pedigree to handle a switch over to turf sprints (86 rating).  #1 Giant Crystal is a half to Grade 1 Wood Memorial winner Gemologist but debuts on turf.   
 
Selections:  11-5-10-1
 
Race 7:  #8 Liam's Map made a promising debut when keeping after a fast pace throughout and coming away second-best to a promising runner in Three Alarm Fire.  Going to be tough in here if running as well, or perhaps even better, with that experience under his belt.  #3 Flat Jack has the experience, which is going to begin working against him soon, and has run fast enough to win a race like this one more than once.  More distance may not suit him based on lone route try at Delaware back in June vs. a field rated at just 81.  #2 Marble Falls and #7 Lucid are second-time starters who were behind Liam's Map first time out, but they both hail from barns that do better racing their horses into form.  
 
Selections:  8-3-7-2
 
Race 8:  #3 Spun Silky has run well throughout 2014 without winning, and that was never more true than at Laurel last time, when she did very well to finish as close as she did after almost going down on the far turn.  May be up against it in this field, which is lacking much in the way of pace, but she deserves another chance.  We have long felt that #4 Hillhouse High is at her best when able to rate back and make one run, as evidenced by her most recent race when closing gamely in stakes company.  Turn-back figures to allow her to rate and run, as she did in much-the-best score three starts back.  #7 Paddle Board blew away a next-out winner when switched over to try turf for the first time at Laurel, and she has the best early speed in this field.  May be this good.  #1 More Than Faith is a true wildcard in this race, shipping over from Australia for a top trainer, and she will have lasix for the first time on Friday. 
 
Selections:  3-4-7-1
 
Race 9:  Good spot to try a new face, and #1 La Reverie fits the bill while dropping down in class and switching to grass as a half-sister to a pair of turf winners.  #3 Chrissy Girl took a run up the inside and flattened late last time, and is now third back from a long layoff for a top barn.  Not much to separate (or recommend) the other experienced runners in the field, so we would only suggest avoiding the shorter prices.  
 
Selections:  1-3-4-11
 
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Forbes’ Firsters for Friday, September 26, 2014

Jon Forbes

Forbes’ Firsters for Friday, September 26, 2014

Race 6, 2-year-old fillies, seven furlongs, turf, 3:25 p.m.

GIANT CRYSTAL (chestnut filly, Giant’s Causeway—Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector) is a half-sister to Gemologist, who won the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at 2 before taking the Grade 1 Wood Memorial the following year; and Clear Destiny, who won a listed stakes at Mountaineer Racetrack. Eight of 10 starters out of their unraced dam have won, including two on the turf. Crystal Shard is a full-sister to Withallprobability, who won three graded stakes and was second in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. Giant Crystal was the most expensive of 10 weanlings by Giant’s Causeway to sell at auction in 2012.

Owner: Live Oak Plantation

Trainer: H. Graham Motion

Jockey: Rajiv Maragh

Sales history: $450,000 Keeneland November weanling

 

LIGHTNING LUCY (dark bay or brown filly, Giant’s Causeway—Mary Goodnight, by Grindstone) is out of a mare who won two races on the dirt. Mary Goodnight is a half-sister to four-time Grade 1 winner Devil His Due and has produced four winners from as many starters, including one on the turf.

Owner: Stronach Stables

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.

 

FORBES’ FIRSTERS ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

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