Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer Bird Gets My Vote For Champion Male

Commenting on Summer Bird’s win in the Travers Stakes, David Grening of the Daily Racing Form said: He is no longer the other bird.

There is also talk that Summer Bird is now the leading contender for the title of champion 3-year-old male. If I had a vote, I’d cast it for him.

I’m happy that Summer Bird won the Travers and it’s good to see him finally get some respect. But respect is not handed to you on a platter. You have to earn it

Summer Bird, definitely, has earned it.

Summer Bird ran his first race in March and since then he has been playing catch up to the rest of the 3-year-old males on this year’s Triple Crown trail. Along the way, he has become a Classic Champion Thoroughbred winning the Belmont Stakes (G1), Travers Stakes (G1) and finishing second in the Haskell Invitational (G1). In just his third start of the year, Summer Bird finished a respectable third in the Arkansas Derby (G2).

Summer Bird is the 30th thoroughbred to win the Belmont-Travers double. The last to accomplish that was his sire Birdstone who won it in 2004.

In my mind, Summer Bird has always been The Bird. He was my favorite for the Kentucky Derby. I also backed him in the Belmont and Travers.

Every now and then when I’m studying pedigrees I have a “Wow” moment. In 2009 my “Wow” moment occurred in March while studying the pedigree of Summer Bird.

I was so impressed with the pedigree of Summer Bird that I thought he had the potential to become a Classic Champion Thoroughbred and here’s an excerpt of what I posted on the DRF FormBlog hosted by Dan Illman shortly before he ran in the Kentucky Derby:

At first glance, with only three life-time starts and $100,000 in Graded Stakes earnings, Summer Bird would not appear to be a likely Kentucky Derby winner. His Dosage Profile – a numbering system created by Dr. Steven A. Romans to measure the number of Chef-de-Race stallions in the first four generations of a horse’s pedigree – is a modest 16. Summer Bird’s great grandsire, Unbridled, is the only Chef-de-Race to be found in the first three generations. Dear Birdie and Weekend Surprise are the only Reines-de-Course (Queens of the Turf) mares found in the first three generations.

So, there is not a lot of Blue Blood up close in the pedigree of Summer Bird. But, appearances can be deceiving and upon further inspection, the pedigree of Summer Bird appears to be a who’s who of Classic Champions and important sires.

In the first generation of Summer Bird’s pedigree is his sire Birdstone – the Classic Champion Belmont winner who upset Smarty Jones’ bid to be the second undefeated thoroughbred to win the Triple Crown.

In the second generation are the Classic Champions Grindstone and Summer Squall. Grindstone was a strong closer and in the 1996 Kentucky Derby he rallied for the win – trailing by 15 lengths at the half-mile mark – to edge Cavonnier by a nose in the final stride. Summer Squall finished second in the 1990 Kentucky Derby losing by three and one-half lengths to his rival Unbridled. However, in the Preakness Summer Squall turned the tables on Unbridled beating him by two and one-quarter lengths in a near-record time of 1:53 3/5. Summer Squall did not race in the Belmont because of bleeding issues and Unbridled finished third. Also in the second generation is the Reine-de-Course mare Dear Birdie – the dam of Birdstone and 2006 broodmare of the year.

In the third generation are the Classic Champions Unbridled and Alysheba; two strains of the important sire Storm Bird and the Reine-de-Course mare Weekend Surprise. In addition to being the sire of Summer Squall, Storm Bird was also the sire of the influential sire Storm Cat; the grandsire of the 1994 Preakness and Belmont winner Tabasco Cat and the damsire of the 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner Thunder Gulch. Dubbed “America’s Horse” by racing fans, Alysheba won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness en-route to an 11-8-2 career record in 26 starts and $6,679,242 in earnings. The outstanding broodmare Weekend Surprise was the dam of Summer Squall and 1992 Belmont winner and sire of sires A.P. Indy.

In the fourth generation is one of the most outstanding sons of Mr. Prospector and important sire Fappiano; the important sire Drone – damsire of the 1996 Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone and 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic; two strains of the sire of sires and Classic Champion Northern Dancer – winner of the 1964 Kentucky Derby and Preakness; the Classic Champion Secretariat – winner of the 1973 American Triple Crown and the Classic Champion Nijinsky – undefeated winner of the 1970 English Triple Crown. In addition to being a Classic Champion, Nijinsky was an outstanding stallion who sired the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand; Epsom Derby winners Golden Fleece (1982), Shahrastani (1986) and Lammtarra (1995); Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Lammtarra (1995) and Prix du Jockey Club winner Caerleon (1983). Nijinksy was also the grandsire of the Epsom Derby winners Kahyasi (1988) and Generous (1991); Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Marienbard (2002) and Belmont winner Bet Twice (1987). Also in the fourth generation is the legendary Alydar and if Affirmed had not been his rival, Alydar would have been the 1978 Triple Crown winner. Alydar was also an important stallion who sired the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Alysheba (1987); Kentucky Derby winner Strike The Gold (1991) and the Belmont winner Easy Goer (1989).

Posted by: Calvin Carter on April 25, 2009 at 10:53 PM

Summer Bird did not finish in the money in the Kentucky Derby but he did finish a respectable 6th place in just his 4th start. However, Summer Bird did come back later to win the Belmont.

Pedigree is no guarantee for success on the race track. Some colts live up to their breeding and some do not.

I’m glad that Summer Bird is doing well. I’d like to see him win the division title.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thomas Herding Technique, Caballo Press, Sign Book Deal

Thomas Herding Technique founder Kerry Thomas and Caballo Press, an Ann Arbor, MI., award-winning independent publisher specializing in books related to Thoroughbred horse racing, have signed a book deal to publish Thomas’ innovative research focusing on the equine athlete.

Tentatively titled A View Form the Hoof: The Thomas Herding Technique, Volume One, the book is scheduled for release in the coming year. The book will include Thomas’ position essays and a number of his research articles that have brought him national and international recognition, as well as an interview with Thomas in which he expands on his theories pertaining to the equine athlete; the mental capacity of the equine controls the physical output of the athlete.

Thomas, an expert in equine behavior who helps horse owners provide better care for their horses, unveiled his unique research in 2006. Since then his theories have been hailed by industry insiders and Kerry has been filmed with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and Kentucky Derby winning trainer John Shirreffs. The Thomas Herding Technique (THT) is seen by many as revolutionary and timely.

Commenting on the project Caballo Press publisher and CEO Rudolph Valier Alvarado stated that, Kerry Thomas’ research is intriguing and of value for anyone who is searching for a new approach to understanding, training and communicating with the equine athlete. Caballo Press is committed to publishing books with a unique perspective, or subject; Thomas’ book certainly meets the criteria.

A natural investigator, inspired by his love and admiration for wild horses, Thomas made his first trip to Wyoming and Montana in the late 80’s to study the wild Mustang in its natural habitat. Thomas focuses on the natural behavioral dynamics of both the prey and the predator, knowing that any real hope of dissecting the social and individual equine behavioral patterns lay within the cause and effect of the environmental stimuli.

Years of independent studies of America’s Wild Mustang has slowly developed into a focus centered on the psychology of the equine as nature intended. This led to the cornerstone of THT’s core belief, which, as Thomas explains, is to advance the natural herd dynamic into the artificial world.

Working closely with Dr. Brett Dolente, THT’s Chief Medical Advisor, who was formerly with University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, Thomas has been able to blend equine behavioral research and psychology with the physical, clinical horse in order to develop concrete theories that include methods to implement them. One of those methods is a highly specialized emotional soundness grading system called EthoGrade. THT uses this system to assess herd hierarchy of wild horses and the emotional soundness and behaviorial and training potentials of domesticated horses in all stages of training and life.

Not only is EthoGrade a unique behavioral insight tool it is also a pioneering effort into equine behavior.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Green Desert Sire Line Key To Prix Morny

If you read Sid Fernando’s August 22 blog it may have helped you to single Arcano who upset favored Canford Cliffs to win the Group 1 Darley Prix Morny today at Deauville Racecourse.

Here’s the link to Fernando’s blog entry:

Fernando mentions that pedigree authority Alan Porter recently pointed out to him that the Green Desert sire line is one to watch. Green Desert is the grandsire of Arcano (Oasis Dream-Tariysha by Daylami). In the past several months, the Green Desert line has been red hot producing the outstanding Group 1 winner Sea the Stars (Cape Cross-Urban Sea by Miswaki) and recently Monitor Closely (Oasis Dream-Independence by Selkirk) won the Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur Stakes.

Fernando also mentioned that Jack Werk pointed out the importance of the Green Desert line in his April 23 blog:

It’s easy to get caught up in what’s going on here in the U.S., but these days, especially, it pays to follow global trends – and there’s something huge brewing in Europe that bears watching. One of the biggest sire-line developments of recent times is the growing influence of sons of Green Desert (by Danzig).

Arcano’s victory today marks the fourth time in the past 15 years that a Danzig sire line thoroughbred has won the Prix Morny. Bushranger (Danetime-Danz Danz by Efisio) won the Prix Morny in 2008. Myboycharlie (Danetime-Dulceata by Rousillon) won in 2007. Orpen (Lure-Bonita Francita by Devil’s Bag) won in 1998.

Arcano is now undefeated in three sprint races. With the success of the Green Desert line, Arcano will bear watching when he stretches out to a route race.

Here’s the Racing Post writeup of the Prix Morny:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saratoga Special Stakes Picks

D’ Funnybone heads a field nine 2-year-olds today in the 104th running of the $150,000 Saratoga Special (G2) at Saratoga Race Course. D’ Funnybone (6), trained by Rick Dutrow, is the 7-2 morning line favorite and comes into the 6½-furlong race with a second-place finish in the Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes at Calder Race Course.

West coast invader Zip Quik (3) is the 4-1 second choice. He gets first-time lasix and he is trained by two-time Saratoga Special winner Patrick Biancone. Zip Quik has two bullet works at Saratoga and he comes into the race with a third-place finish in the Williard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes and a second-place in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (G3) at Hollywood Park. Zip Quik’s sire, City Zip, won the Special in 2000 and sired Runaway and Hide – winner of the 2008 Special. Zip Quik’s grandsire, Carson City, sired the Saratoga Special winners Cuvee (2003) and Chace City (2006).

Flatter Than Me (4), trained by Merrill Scherer, is the 9-2 third choice. Flatter Than Me has been working good at Saratoga and he comes into the race with a second-place finish to the impressive Backtalk in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.

Steve Asmussen sends the 5-1 fourth-choice Thiskyhasnolimit (1) to the starting gate. Thiskyhasnolimit has been working good at Saratoga and he comes into the race with an impressive seven-length maiden win at Churchill Downs. Asmussen won the Special with Kodiak Kowboy in 2007 and Cuvee in 2003.

Fearless Cowboy (9), at 8-1 morning line odds, comes into the race with a second-place finish in the Victoria Stakes and a win in the Colin Stakes at Woodbine. Fearless Cowboy will be making his United States debut for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

At 20-1 morning line odds, Activity Report (7) will enter the starting gate for D. Wayne Lukas who has won the Special three times with Jump Start (2001), Bright Launch (1995) and Sovereign Don (1985). In his last start debuting for new trainer Lukas, Activity Report got caught in a speed duel early but faded to seventh in mid-stretch in the Sanford (G2) Stakes.

Todd Peltcher’s China (6-1), Barclay Tagg’s Insightful (12-1) and Tiny Woods (8-1), trained by Bob Baffert come into the Special off maiden wins.

Handicapping 2-year-olds in sprint races is very difficult and picking winners is something that I am working at doing better. Quite often there are several that could possibly win and in this field, I like Thiskyhasnolimit, Zip Quik and Flatter Than Me. All three have faced nice fields in their previous races and they should be tough in the Saratoga Special.

Activity Report and China (2) could be two good potential long shot bets.

Activity Report blew his last race in a speed duel and if Lukas can get him to relax he could be a factor in the Special.

China only has a maiden win to his credit but he won that in an impressive manor and he has the highest Brisnet Speed figure (100) of all in the field. I also like China’s breeding. His sire, Tale of the Cat, has produced several $1 million stakes winners such as Gio Ponti, Lion Heart and Tale of Ekati. His damsire, Indian Charlie, produced the $1 million stakes winners Indian Blessing and Fleet Indian.

I’ll probably play a small win/place and exacta bet on China and Activity Report. I’ll also use Thiskyhasnolimit, Zip Quik and Flatter in the exactas and trifectas.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Brother Bird - Tracking Cherokee Run Sire Line Colts

Brother Bird, a Yonaguska colt and a half-brother to this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and Preakness Stakes (G1) runner-up Mine That Bird, finished a very green third in his career debut Saturday – a 6-furlong $55K maiden race for 2-year-olds at Saratoga Race Course.

Here’s the chart call:

BROTHER BIRD was reserved early, lodged a three wide move to reach contention at the quarter pole and flattened out.

Here’s what trainer Todd Pletcher said in a David Grening Daily Racing Form interview a couple days before the race:

He’s been training steadily, but he gives us the impression that he’s going to want more distance and might need a race or two to get it all together. We’ve done everything we can do in the mornings, so it’s time to go over there and start the process.

Although Brother Bird did not win, he did finish a respectable third and it is evident that he will need more time to blossom into a promising thoroughbred. However, Brother Bird is getting an earlier start than some previous Cherokee Run sire line colts.

Musket Man (Yonaguska-Fortuesque by Fortunate Prospect) did not go to the track until October of 2008 when he won first out in a Maiden Special Weight at Belmont Park. Musket Man would go on to win this year’s Tampa Bay Derby (G3), Illinois Derby (G2), and finish third in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

The Pamplemousse (Kafwain-Comfort Zone by Rubiano) also made his first start in October of last year where he finished fourth in a Maiden Special Weight at Santa Anita Park. In November, The Pamplemousse made his second start finishing third in a Maiden Special Weight at Hollywood Park. Finally, in December, The Pamplemousse broke his maiden in a Maiden Special Weight at Hollywood Park. The Pamplemousse would go on to win this year’s San Rafael (G3) and Sham Stakes (G3). The Pamplemousse was one of the favored horses going into the Santa Anita Derby before an injury knocked him out of the Derby and off of the Triple Crown trail.

It is still early and only time will tell if Brother Bird will have an impact on the Triple Crown trail.

So far, he’s off to a decent start.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Brother Bird - Mine That Bird's Half-Brother To Make Debut

Brother Bird, a half-brother to this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and Preakness Stakes (G1) runner-up Mine That Bird, will make his debut Saturday, along with eight other first-time starters, in a 6-furlong $55K maiden race for 2-year-olds at Saratoga Race Course.

In addition to Brother Bird being a half-brother to Mine That Bird, what makes this race so potentially significant is that Brother Bird is a Cherokee Run sire line colt and I have been tracking the 2-year-old colts descended from Cherokee Run and his sons Kafwain and Yonaguska.

In my July 3 blog I noted that it is important to keep abreast of new emerging trends and sire lines. In the past seven years, there have been a total of nine thoroughbreds descended from the Cherokee Run sire line that have proven themselves to be good middle-distance stakes winners and several have had an impact on the Triple Crown trail.

Brother Bird’s sire, Yonaguska, sired Musket Man who won this year’s Tampa Bay Derby (G3), Illinois Derby (G2), and finished third in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Kafwain sired The Pamplemousse who won this year’s San Rafael (G3) and Sham Stakes (G3). The Pamplemousse was one of the favored horses going into the Santa Anita Derby before an injury knocked him out of the Derby and off of the Triple Crown trail.

Dogwood Stable’s President Cot Campbell paid $485,000 via telephone bids for Brother Bird (Yonaguska-Mining My Own by Smart Strike) at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale. After the sale, Brother Bird was sent to the Saratoga barn of trainer Todd Pletcher where he has been training regularly since June.

"He’s a lovely mover, and he has got the right family behind him,” Campbell said in a interview after the sale. “You could send him to the races, I think, with a great deal of confidence.”

Campbell could be right. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Saratoga Special Stakes Nominations

A total of 30 thoroughbreds have been nominated to the 108th running of the 6 ½-furlong Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds to be run August 20 at Saratoga Race Course.

Here are the past performances:

Goldmark Farms’ Backtalk, impressive winner of the Bashford Manor (G3) and Sanford Stakes (G2), is nominated. Backtalk is undefeated in three starts and trained by Tom Amoss.

Steve Asmussen leads all trainers with four nominations: Padua Stables’ Enumerate and Ackerley Brothers Farm’s Louisvilleluminary – both beaten by Backtalk in the Sanford; owner and breeder Robert A. Gentry’s Prince Rooney – a 15-length winner of the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes and Cathy Zollars’ Thiskyhasnolimit – a seven-length winner of a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs July 4.

D. Wayne Lukas, Kiarian McLaughlin and William Phipps have three nominations each.

Robert C Baker’s Dublin may be the best entry for Lukas. In his debut, Dublin finished fourth to Backtalk and second-place finisher Thiskyhasnolimit in a 5-furlong maiden special weight June 11 at Churchill Downs. Dublin came back on August 1 in a 6-furlong maiden special weight and broke his maiden by 3 ¼ lengths. Lukas’ other two entries are Activity Report and Soundman. Both are owned by Westrock Stables and they were soundly beaten in the Sanford Stakes.

Two of Kiarian McLaughlin’s entries have stakes racing experience. Gulf Coast Farms’ Fearless Cowboy finished second in the Victoria Stakes and first in the Colin Stakes at Woodbine. James J. Barry’s Dahlgren Chapel finished third in the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 26.

Paul Pompa Jr.’s D’Funnybone is trained by Richard Dutrow and finished second in the Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes at Calder Race Course July 11.

Flatter Than Me, owned and trained by Merrill R. Scherer, is also nominated. Flatter Than Me finished second to Backtalk in the Bashford Manor Stakes.

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Honor in Peace finished 16th in the Chesham Stakes at Ascot and is trained by Wesley Ward.

Flying Zee Stables’ Zip Quick, trained by Patrick Biancone, has a third-place finish in the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes and a second-place finish in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (G3).

First-time starter Gresham Palace and Ryvit, a 6th place finisher in a maiden special weight August 6, are also nominated. Both are owned by Trade Winds Farm and trained by William Phipps.

Several Classic Champion Thoroughbreds on the Triple Crown trail have won the Saratoga Special Stakes: Colin (1907), Regret (1914), Morvich (1921), Blue Larkspur (1928), Bimelech (1939), Triple Crown winner Whirlaway (1940), Native Dancer (1952), Bold Forbes (1975), Conquistador Cielo (1981), Swale (1983) and Summer Squall (1989).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Best Pal, Vandal Stakes Picks

Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert will send Lookin At Lucky to the starting gate today as the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds at Del Mar. Lookin At Lucky will be making only his second start in the Best Pal – coming off maiden win July 11 at Hollywood Park.

Smiling Tiger, the 5-2 second-choice, comes into the Best Pal with two impressive wins – a six-length win in his maiden debut on May 1 and an eight-length win in the Lost In The Fog Stakes June 13 at Golden Gate Fields. Smiling Tiger is trained by Jeff Bonde.

Classical Slew, the 7-2 fourth-choice, will be making his fourth start in the Best Pal and he is the only other horse in the field of six with stakes experience. Classical Slew won the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes on June 4 and finished third in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes July 12 – beaten 4 ¼ lengths by Necessary Evil. Classical Slew is trained by Doug O’Neill.

Hurricane Ike, the 3-1 third-choice, will be making his second start in the Best Pal and he comes into the race with a one and one-half length win in his maiden debut at Hollywood Park on July 5. Hurricane Ike is trained by John Sadler.

Lookin At Lucky (Smart Strike-Private Feeling by Belong To Me) is a half-brother to Kensei – winner of the Dwyer and Jim Dandy Stakes. Baffert will have him ready and he should be tough in this spot.

My personal pick, though, is Smiling Tiger (Hold That Tiger-Shandra Smiles by Cahill Road). Smiling Tiger has been working good, his Brisnet speed figures are good and his previous wins have been impressive. His sire, Hold That Tiger, stands at stud in Australia and is not that well known in the states. Hold That Tiger has sired 143 progeny to race with 66 winners (46.15%).

If Smiling Tiger’s odds remain at 5-2 or go higher I may use him with a win/place bet.


Who’s Big Daddy (4) heads a field of eight horses as the 5-2 morning line favorite in 53rd running of the $150,000 Vandal Stakes for 2-year-olds today at Woodbine.

Trained by Fairlie Scott, Who’s Big Daddy (Where’s The Ring-Cosa Rara by Tethra) has the most experience with four previous starts including a win in the Clarendon Stakes and a second-place finish in the Colin Stakes. His sire, Where’s The Ring, entered stud in 2005 and in his first crop of two-year-olds he had 15% total wins. Who’s Big Daddy’s damsire, Tethra, won the 1994 Vandal Stakes.

Ghost Fleet (Arch-Destroy by Housebuster) is the 4-1 second-choice and is trained by Sid Attard. Ghost Fleet (7) won his debut by three-quarters of a length in a 5 ½ furlong maiden race July 19 at Woodbine and the Vandal will be his second start. Ghost Fleet’s sire, Arch, was a multiple graded stakes winner. Arch’s best runner to date is the $1 million multiple graded stakes winner Arravale – Canadian Horse Of The Year and Champion Female Turf Horse. Ghost Fleet’s damsire, Housebuster, was a $1 million multiple graded stakes winner and an Eclipse Champion Sprinter in 1990 and 1991.

Stormy Lord (5), trained by Ian Black, is the 6-1 third-choice. The Vandal will be Stormy Lord’s second start. He comes into the race with a three-quarter length win over Boadini (8) who is also entered in the Vandal at 10-1 morning line odds.

Bold Canadian (1) at 15-1 morning line odds and 8-1 Takiddm (9) look like intriguing long shots. Bold Canadian is trained by Steve Asmussen and Takiddm is trained by Josie Carroll. Of those two, I especially like Bold Canadian.

Bold Canadian’s sire Bold N’ Flashy was a multiple stakes winning sprinter and as a sire, in 10 crops of runners, he averaged 11% two-year-old winners.

Bold Canadian’s grandsire is the Canadian Hall Of Fame thoroughbred Bold Ruckus – 10-time leading sire in Canada. Bold Ruckus is the sire of the Vandal Stakes winners: Fred C Dobbs (1985), Bold Revenue (1986) and Highland Ruckus (1987). In addition, Bold Ruckus is the grandsire of Vandal Stakes winners: Catahoula Parish (1998) and Stuck In Traffic (2007). Bold Ruckus is also the sire of Bold Canadian’s second dam Florisa.

Bold Canadian’s damsire is Conquistador Cielo – winner of the 6-furlong Saratoga Special (G2), 12-furlong Belmont Stakes (G1), 8-furlong Metropolitan Handicap (G1), 9-furlong Dwyer Stakes (G2) and Jim Dandy Stakes (G3); Horse of the Year and 1982 Champion 3-year-old colt.

The sire of Bold Canadian’s third dam Periphery is Vice Regent – a Hall of Fame Thoroughbred and Canada’s all-time leading sire. Vice Regent sired the Vandal Stakes winners: Haliburton Huskie (1982) and Archregent (1983). In addition, Vice Regent is the damsire of 1988 Vandal Stakes winner Harry Laric.

In nine crops of runners, Takiddm’s sire Mutakddim averaged 19% two-year-old winners. His best runner is the $1 million multiple graded stakes winner Lady Tak – winner of the Ballerina Handicap, Test Stakes and Fair Grounds Oaks. Takiddm’s damsire is Grindstone – winner of the 1996 Kentucky Derby. His great damsire is Unbridled – winner of the 1990 Kentucky Derby. The sire of his second dam First Prom is the multiple graded stakes winner Black Tie affair – with over $3 million in career earnings.

My selections:

W/P = 1-9
Exactor box = 1-7-9
Triactor box = 1-7-9

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tracking Cherokee Run Sire Line Colts

In my July 3rd blog I noted that it is important to keep abreast of new emerging trends and sire lines and this year I was going to keep a watchful eye on the two-year-old colts from the sire line of Cherokee Run and his sons Kafwain and Yonaguska.

In the past seven years, there have been a total of nine thoroughbreds descended from the Cherokee Run sire line that have proved themselves to be good middle-distance stakes winners.

In 2008, Illinois Derby winner Recapturetheglory finished a respectable 5th in the Kentucky Derby and I can not help but think that if War Pass had ran in the Derby, Cherokee Run would have had two sons to finish in the top five.

Not bad for sire known mostly as a sire of sprinters.

It’s still early, but so far I have not seen any outstanding two-year-old runners from the Cherokee Run sire line. Here’s a look at some recent workouts:

Monmouth – August 5, Track Fast

Horse: Fog Harbor (During-Beach Barbicue by Tabasco Cat)
Surface: Dirt
Distance: 4 furlongs, breezing
Time: 0:51.60, 45/51

Saratoga – August 2, Track Fast

Horse: Dickie B. (Cherokee Run-Can Ihavethisdance by Menifee)
Surface: Dirt
Distance: 4 furlongs, breezing
Time: 0:48.40, 44/192

Non Compete (Yonaguska-Higher Earnings by Corporate Report)
Surface: Dirt
Distance: 4 furlongs, breezing
Time: 0:49.55, 111/192

Horse: Brother Bird (Yonaguska-Mining My Own by Smart Strike). Brother Bird is a half-brother to Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.
Surface: Dirt (Gate)
Distance: 5 furlongs, breezing
Time: 1:01.06, 25/77

Presque Isle Downs – August 2, Track Fast

Horse: Chiricahua (Cherokee Run-Shouldn’t We All by Woodman)
Surface: All Weather
Distance: 4 furlongs, breezing
Time: 0:51.20, 12/14

Woodbine – July 31, Track Fast

Horse: Asset (Kafwain-Poltapenny by Wagon Limit)
Surface: All Weather
Distance: 4 furlongs, breezing
Time: 0:52.00, 39/43

Nick Zito sends out the first time starter Dickie B. today in a 5 ½ furlong $75,000 maiden claiming race at Saratoga.

Only time will tell if the Cherokee Run sire line produces any good runners on the 2010 Triple Crown trail. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping a watchful eye open for any of their precocious runners.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Breeders' Stakes, Haskell Invitational Picks

Only five horses have previously won the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown and it remains to be seen if Eye Of The Leopard (winner of the Queen’s Plate) or Gallant (winner of the Prince of Wales Stales) will be able to capture the last leg today with a win in the $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack.

Both Eye Of The Leopard (4), the 5-2 morning line favorite, and Gallant (3), the 4-1 second-choice, appear to be very tough in this spot and they definitely have the breeding to get the 1 ½ miles on the turf. The first leg was run on the Polytrack at Woodbine and the second leg was on the dirt at Fort Erie.

Trained by Mark Frostad, Eye of the Leopard’s sire A.P. Indy is also the sire of Marchfield – winner of the 2007 Breeders’ Stakes. His damsire, Smart Strike, sired the 2002 Breeders’ Stakes winner Portcullis who also was trained by Frostad. Vice Regent, the sire of Eye Of The Leopard’s second dam, sired the Breeders’ Stakes winners Hangin On A Star (1987) and Bounding Away (1984).

Gallant is also from the sire line of A.P. Indy. His sire, Aptitude, finished second in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont. At the age of four, Aptitude won the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), Saratoga Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2) and Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) – all at 10-furlongs. Gallant’s damsire, Touch Gold, won the 1997 Belmont Stakes and is descended from the Deputy Minister/Vice Regent branch of Northern Dancer. That sire line has produced several Canadian Classic Champion Thoroughbreds including the 2006 Breeders’ Stakes winner Royal Challenger.

Gallant is trained by Mark Casse who won the 2007 Breeders’ Stakes with Marchfield.

Catherine Day-Phillips has won back-to-back Breeders’ Stakes with A Bit O’Gold (2004) and Jambalaya (2005). She’s looking for her third win with Mr. Foricos Two U (11) who finished a respectable second, beaten by a neck, to Eye Of The Leopard in the Queen’s Plate. Mr. Foricos Two U came back in the Prince of Wales and finished a dull fifth – beaten seven lengths by Gallant.

Full Throttle (2), looks like an intriguing long shot and at 20-1 morning line odds he may be worth a small win/place bet.

Full Throttle’s sire, Dixie Union, is from the Northern Dancer sire line and he has produced several nice graded stakes winners. Full Throttle’s damsire, Langfuhr, has sired three Breeders’ Stakes winners – Triple Crown winner Wando (2003), Jambalaya (2005) and Marlang (2008). Full Throttle’s second damsire, Danzig, sired the Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly (1991).

Full Throttle is trained by Mike Keogh who also trained the Triple Crown winner Wando.

My selections:

W/P = 2
Exactor = 2/3-4 & 3-4/2
Triactor = 2-3-4 box


A field of seven thoroughbreds will enter the starting gate today for the 9-furlong $1,250,000 Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park.

Preakness Stakes winner Rachel Alexandra (6) has been made the 4-5 morning line favorite. Munnings (4), winner of the Tom Fool Handicap in his last race, is the 3-1 second choice. Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird (2) is the 7-2 third choice.

Rachel Alexandra, Munnings and Summer Bird are the class in this race. But my personal picks lean more toward Rachel Alexandra or Summer Bird.

What can one say about Rachel Alexandra but awesome.

Summer Bird appears to be in top form and he has been working out good at Monmouth.

Munnings is the wild card - never having won a route race. His sire, Speightstown was a first-class sprinter but he has yet to prove himself as a sire of top-notch route runners. Munnings grandsire, Gone West, passes on stamina and he is also the grandsire of Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones. Munnings damsire, Holy Bull, won the 1994 Haskell and passes on a lot of stamina.

If you want some value, Duke of Mischief (1) and Papa Clem (3) appear to be the best long-shot plays. But if either of them won, that would be a big shocker.

My selections:

Trifecta = 2-6/1-2-4-6/1-2-3-4