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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 Monday, August 18, 2014

Jon Forbes

Forbes’ Firsters for Monday, August 18, 2014

Race 3, All 2-year-olds, 5 ½ furlongs, turf, 2:08 p.m.

CYCLOGENISIS (gray/roan colt, Stormy Atlantic—Mighty Renee, by Maria’s Mon) is a full-sister to Mighty Caroline, who won the Grade 2 Sorrento on a synthetic surface as a 2-year-old, and is a half-sister to Renee’s Queen, who took the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar. Mighty Renee is an unraced granddaughter of Grade 1 Spinaway and Grade 1 Matron winner Over All. 

Owner: Matthew Schera

Trainer: George Weaver

Jockey: Corey Laneri

Sales history: $185,000 Keeneland September yearling


TimeformUS Analysis for August 17

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing on Sunday, August 17
Race 1:  #9 Queen's Parade was a game second-best to the talented Cat's Claw at Belmont two back and then caught a boggy turf course last time and was outfinished by a perfect-trip High Heel Kitten.  Deserves another chance over firmer ground.  #2 Antrim Colleen was narrowly outfinished both two and three starts back, and she also raced over that boggy turf course downstate on July 4th.  Eligible to rebound quickly and she drew the better post.  
Selections: 2-9-8-3
Race 2:  #2 Go Olivia Go is competitive with her best effort but has been unlucky more than once recently, including last time, when she was unsettled in the gate and missed the break but still finished gamely to get 3rd.  Think she's at her best sprinting, and her trainer is in the midst of a very good meet.  
#3 Matching Skies may be the horse to beat as she drops in class off the claim by sharp connections, and she has been holding strong dirt sprint form all year long.  #4 Love to Score is fast enough to be competitive and has raced infrequently at this level, but at 2-for-32 lifetime is tough to take on top.
Selections:  2-3-4-6
Race 3:  #4 Carta de Oro is a half to a turf winner out of a dam who won multiple graded stakes on grass, and her trainer saddled a 2yo debut winner in a turf route up here last year.  #5 Eskenformoney took money in her debut but was outrun early and couldn't impact her front-running stablemate late.  Figures tighter for second start and may appreciate getting more ground to work with.  #9 Tammy the Torpedo debuts for Chad Brown, who does well with runners debuting in turf routes (96 rating), and she has pedigree, being by More Than Ready and out of a dam who is a sister to Criminologist, who was a multiple graded stakes winner on grass.  
Selections:  4-5-9-7
Race 4:  #1 Unbridledexplosion kicked clear to win a dirt route two starts back, and she came away unlucky after having to steady behind Got Lucky (runs in the Grade 1 Alabama on Saturday) before closing late to just miss over this distance last time. Projects to have some pace to close into once again.  #4 House Rules just missed in a couple of graded stakes in Florida over the winter before coming up here and running into the top 3yo filly going longer (Untapable) and the top 3yo filly going shorter (Sweet Reason).  #3 Madaket Millie ran well on a legitimate pace when switched to dirt last time, and actually earned a better TimeformUS Speed Figure than Unbridledexplosion despite finishing just behind that one.  Likely to face more pace pressure in this spot, however.
Selections:  1-4-3-2
Race 5:  #2 Ring Knocker made a very strong debut on opening day despite settling for second-best.  He was away at the back of the field that day and forced into a long wide run all the way through the turn before hitting the front.  He was closed down late by a perfect-trip winner, but he ran the best race that day and will be tough if running as well second time out.  #7 Back Flip is the obligatory Pletcher firster, and he brought $200k at OBS April after working a furlong in 10.1.  Todd has won with five 2yo first-time starters at the meet so far, all of them short prices.  #8 Nagzilla shows up with a solid lineup of works for a trainer who gets a perfect 100 rating with 2yo maidens.  
Selections:  2-8-7-3
Race 6:  #8 Greeley Pack ran well twice here last summer sprinting on grass, and posted his lone career win in one of those races.  Tough go of it last time, getting caught in traffic at the top of the stretch before finishing well.  #7 Ogermeister has tried turf only once before, and that came in a much tougher spot at Royal Ascot.  Has the speed to land the right kind of trip in this race.  #2 Vecino is lightly raced, which is a positive factor in this kind of field, but he got control of the pace when defeating a very weak field of maidens last time.
Selections:  8-7-3-2
Race 7:  #8 Chow Fun was caught out in a wide trip from an outside post behind a wire-to-wire winner here last time, and was facing a much tougher group of horses overall that day (91 Race Rating, as opposed to today's 85).  Finished gamely to close down a solid group two starts back with a better trip, and her trainer has saddled four turf winners already at this meet. #4 Lemon Song lost all chance when leaping up at the break last time, but she has enough speed to pull an up-close trip and she's a good fit in this restricted claimer after facing tougher open company rivals throughout this year.   #2 Aunty Pearl had an easy time on the lead when taking a field all the way last time.  Goes first off the claim and Pace Projector places her in early control once again.  
Selections:  8-4-2-3
Race 8:  #6 Evening Show returned from a long layoff to be a clear second best to Katie's Garden, who was winning for the third straight time.  Should be set for better now and her best will be hard for this field to deal with.  #3 Ms. Cruisen' hasn't won a race since December of 2012, but that's only a 10-race span, and her form has been dirtied up by a couple of turf races and by catching several off tracks during that span.  #7 Ode to Sami returned to form with a convincing win at Belmont off the layoff, and will factor back in this spot if running as well right back.  Pletcher returns #8 Our Amazing Rose to dirt and cuts her back to sprint, which figures to be her best game.  May be her final chance to show something as a 3yo after beginning her career with much potential.  
Selections:  6-3-7-8
Race 9:  #4 Easter Gift ran very well in this race last year despite a tough trip, and he closed out a solid 2013 with a game 3rd-place finish in the Grade 1 Clark.  Big excuse at Monmouth off the layoff when forced to check hard in the early going.  Questions abound with #1 Alpha, who hasn't been seen since trying turf back in January.  Likes this track, but has been at his best up on the pace in the past,  and there is other speed in here. #2 Dawly has picked up his game significantly since getting stretched out in distance at the end of last year, and he has acquitted himself well in some tough spots recently.  Not out of this with his best effort, and he'll have some pace to close into.  
Selections:  4-2-1-3
Race 10:   Like the Arlington Million, its Grade 1 counterpart, the Sword Dancer drew a field of only seven.  They will travel 1 1/2 miles over the inner turf course, and there is a clear horse to beat in the form of recent import #4 Main Sequence.  Main Sequence was a promising horse in Europe after winning each of his first four career starts and then running second in the Epson Derby.  He proved unable to build upon that good start, however, and never won another race over there.  
All of that was forgotten last month in about 2 minutes and 14 seconds, which is the approximate amount of time it took Main Sequence to travel the 1 3/8 miles of the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth.  After settling back in last for the early running, Main Sequence was moved out into the clear and then came storming down the outside of the track to run over a perfect-trip Twilight Eclipse late in an impressive display.  He earned a 111 TimeformUS Speed Figure for that showing, and, based on his European form, is eligible to run even better than that, though he is not likely to need to in this field.  Main Sequence is the horse to beat in the Sword Dancer, and he will not be an easy favorite to oppose.
Rather than bring back that U.N. exacta with ML second choice #7 Twilight Eclipse, we will try to get a couple of other horses into the mix with Main Sequence.  One of those is the logical #5 Imagining, who is already a Grade 1 winner this year for Shug McGaughey.  He got that Grade 1 win over 1 3/8 miles and may not be at his best over this slightly longer trip, but Imagining has been in the best form of his career over the past 12 months, and he emerged from his most recent effort with an excuse after being forced to check hard in the early stages and losing forward position.  Since rounding into form up here last summer, Imagining has won 4 of his last 7 starts and has earned TFUS Speed Figures between 110 and 115 for each of those 7 races.  
We will also include #6 War Dancer in our play.  War Dancer was a Grade 2 winner over 1 1/4 miles as a 3yo, and he has taken on added distance this year without issue.  He was forced to take a wide run to get to the lead before getting run down late in the Grade 2 Elkhorn the first time he tried this distance, but he battled gamely after a more comfortable trip to win the 1 1/2 mile Louisville Handicap one start later.  He figures to be able to get into position tracking along ahead of the closers in this race, and he may be able to hold on for a big piece late. 
Selections:  4-5-6-7
Race 11:  #1 Pulpit's Legacy is second off the layoff as he switches to grass, and he has the pedigree to improve with the change in surface (88 pedigree rating for turf routes). #10 Day Six was compromised by trouble at the break in his debut, and he took a game try up on the front end going longer last time vs. a solid field.  Like his cutting back a bit in distance here, and it is not as tough a spot as that last one.  #3 Breakeven Analysis made a promising debut up here as a 2yo, and he took part in a pair of solid races back at Belmont after that.  Bumped a couple of times after the break when last seen, before trying a wide run through the turn.  
Selections:  1-10-3-7

Forbes’ Firsters for Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jon Forbes


Forbes’ Firsters for Sunday, August 17, 2014

Race 3, 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles, turf, 2:04 p.m.

CARTA DE ORO (bay filly, Medaglia d’Oro—Communique, by Smart Strike) is the second foal out of her dam, who won the Grade 3 Bewitch and Grade 3 Modesty Handicap and placed in the Grade 1 Beverly D. and Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational. Communique, a half-sister to stakes winner Final Count, has produced Woodfield Springs, a winner on the turf who was third in this year’s Grade 3 Transylvania over Keeneland’s Polytrack.

Owner: G. Watts Humphrey, Jr.

Trainer: George Arnold II

Jockey: Brian Hernandez, Jr.


Race 5, 2-year-old fillies, 6 ½ furlongs, dirt, 3:10 p.m.

COVER UP (gray/roan filly, Tapit—Collusion, by Broad Brush) looks to become the third winner from as many foals to race out of his dam, a placed half-sister to Smuggler, named Champion Three-Year-Old Filly after winning the Grade 1 Mother Goose and Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. Cover Up’s second dam is Hall of Famer and Champion Older Female Inside Information, who posted Grade 1 scores in the Ashland, Acorn, Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Spinster, Ruffian Handicap, and Shuvee Handicap. Inside Information herself is a half-sister to dual Grade 1 winner Educated Risk.

Owner: Phipps Stable

Trainer: Claude McGaughey III

Jockey: Joel Rosario


DIVINE PRAISES (bay filly, by Medaglia d’Oro—Grand Prayer, by Grand Slam) is a half-sister to Malibu Prayer, who took the Grade 1 Ruffian Invitational Handicap, and Valid, who won this year’s Grade 2 Monmouth Cup. Their dam won a minor stakes at Monmouth Park and is a half-sister to Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan heroine Tap Dance and Grade 1 Carter Handicap victor Swagger Jack.

Owner: Besilu Stables & Three Chimneys Farm

Trainer: William Mott

Jockey: Junior Alvarado



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

Forbes’ Firsters is a collaboration between Jon Forbes and Susie Raisher.


TimeformUS Analysis for August 16

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing Saturday August 16th at Saratoga

Race 1:  A lot going on in the opener, which features several big-purchase drop-downs, including #2 Harpoon, who has disappointed after just missing in a Grade 3 earlier this year.  He's back to his best surface after the turf experiment didn't work, and we think he's a better sprinter anyway, so this is the right spot and he's the horse to beat.  We are interested in taking a shot against him with his stablemate, #7 Forever Thing, who has never sprinted, but who has run better than it may appear in each of his last two starts after getting tough wide trips.  Either half of the Jacobson entry of #1 Cost Affective and #1A Dyker Beach could be right there at the end, but so far those two horses have made a living off of coming up just short.
Selections:  7-2-1/1A-5
Race 2:  Wide-open turf sprint may simply come down to trips.  This is a good race to let price guide your wagering decisions, but for now we'll put #4 Awakino Cat on top as he drops down a bit in class after having little chance to impact the sharp Console last time.  He likes this turf course, and should have plenty of pace to close into.  #9 Jess Not Jesse was ready off the layoff up here last year, and his connections may have been waiting for a race here once again.  He's a nose away from being a perfect 6-for-6 sprinting over Saratoga turf in his career.  #7 Decisive Move dropped a tough one up here last time out, and he's versatile enough to either set or stalk the pace.  
Selections:  4-9-7-1
Race 3:  Short field for the Grade 2 Lake Placid, but they're a talented bunch of five.  #4 Xcellence held her own in the best races for 3yo fillies in France earlier this year, and she didn't have the best of it when rated wide in the Belmont Oaks, which was dominated up close.  She'll add Lasix as she makes her first start out of Chad Brown's barn, and we'll give her a chance to rebound.  
#6 Minorette was able to take advantage of a very good trip to win the Belmont Oaks after losing a tough one when moving a bit too soon one start prior.  #5 Crown Queen has picked up her game as a 3yo after racing greenly last year, and she was convincing when burying entry level allowance foes with push-button acceleration last time.  Toughest test to date here, but she may be this good.
Selections:  4-6-5-1
Race 4:  Chad Brown has sent out five 2yo first-time starters for these owners so far at the meet, and won with three of them, with another missing by a short head.  They'll team up this time with #1 Can't Happen Here, a half to a pair of turf winners, who will start from a cozy inside post.  #2 Reality and #3 Security Risk settled for 2nd and 3rd behind an impressive debut winner sprinting downstate, and both are eligible to come forward as they stretch out with experience.  #9 Kings Knight debuts for Rusty Arnold, who has saddled a 2yo debut winner in a turf route each of the last three years,  including one up here last summer at 19/1.


Selections:  1-2-3-9



Race 5:  #7 Baratti looked good breaking his maiden with the aid of an inside speed bias, and then was overmatched despite being favored in the Private Terms last time.  Still has upside, and he has speed to land a nice outside stalking trip in this field.  #5 Matterhorn is the horse to beat as he drops out of graded stakes company.  Distance no issue for him, but he lacks early speed and may need things to come back to him a bit late.  #1 Bay of Biscay has already won over this trip, and he just missed going back-to-back last time, though he had no excuse and this is a tougher field than that one. 
Selections:  7-5-1-3
Race 6:  #7 Bold Conquest took a game run at even-money favorite Blame Jim before settling for second best here on July 19th.  Steve Asmussen is 7 for his last 19 (with an additional 7 second-place finishes) with his second-time starting 2yo maidens on dirt at Saratoga.  
#8 Zennor has been working well up here since the end of June and will debut in the Goldophin blue for Kiaran McLaughlin.  #3 Sharm is eligible for better after racing very greenly in the early stages of his debut behind the impressive Competitive Edge.  
Selections:  7-8-3-6
Race 7:  #1 Grand Rapport was right back in form after returning from an extended layoff earlier this year, and he's been even better since getting back to grass for his last three starts.  Finished gamely from last to just fail to run down a wire-to-wire winner last time.  #2 Gourmet Dinner was claimed right back by Bruce Brown after racing gamely through some stretch traffic off the layoff.  He's a maiden on turf but has kept mostly stakes company on this surface.  #6 Happy Fella drops back down after facing tougher up here earlier in the meet.  Won most recent start vs. claiming company at Belmont back in May.
Selections:  1-2-6-8
Race 8:  Guaranteed Late Pick 4 kicks off with a thirteen horse war over seven furlongs.  #11 Celebrated Talent makes his second start off the layoff after getting bumped at the start and left to chase a blowout winner when returned from a long layoff earlier in the meet.  Ran very well up here twice last summer, including maiden win from an outside post over this distance.  #5 Surfing U S A returns to sprinting off the layoff for Pletcher, which figures to be his best game.  Has speed to get the right trip in this big field.  #1 Mosler flashed plenty of ability in two-race juvenile campaign and may ultimately turn out to be the best of these down the line.  Tough post with 12 others stacked to his outside.  #7 Cool Samurai, #8 All My Memories, and #12 Crafty Dreamer are all worthy of inclusion at what should be square prices.
Selections:  11-5-1-12
Race 9:  #2 Orino is perfectly drawn inside to use his tactical speed, and he's holding some of the best turf route form in the field, anyway.  #7 Mobridge swept around a field to post last-to-first score at Belmont last month, and he's a major threat in this field with a similar effort.  #3 Hurry Up Alan intrigues as a new face to this crew and he has been running figures out of town that make him a big player in here.  #9 Why Not Whiskey doesn't win very often, but he will generally put in his run, and he was very game while rallying through traffic last time.  
Selections:  2-7-3-9
Race 10:  Grade 1 Alabama failed to attract division leader Untapable, and may wind up coming down to a battle of attrition as nine fillies try to get the 1 1/4 miles.  #8 Stopchargingmaria is clearly the horse to beat on the back of her convincing CCA Oaks score up here opening weekend.  She may not be a superstar, but she's got the credentials to be heavily favored in this race.  
#9 Size has upside and figures to attract her share of attention as an alternative to the favorite.  Picked up a graded stakes win in first route attempt over a sloppy Prairie Meadows main track, but this is tougher.  #5 Got Lucky earned workmanlike win over allowance company in her prep for this, but she may turn out to be the biggest threat to her stablemate, as she has always held potential and doesn't figure to struggle with the distance. 
Selections:  5-8-9-4
Race 11:  #4 Request is just getting started as a 3yo, but he began in the right way when coming wide to be second-best behind Give No Quarter, who was recently 3rd in a Grade 2 stakes up here.  #9 Shaun's Blessing was impressive in winning his debut and then may have moved too soon when failing to hold on over a longer distance second time out.  #1 Innovation Economy posted surprise win in lone 2yo start for Chad Brown, but he was clearly best that day despite big odds, and he has the pedigree to be a runner.  #3 Woodfield Springs is also well-bred and has offered enough on turf to have a look in here.
Selections:  4-9-1-3