The team of trainer Todd Pletcher and Mike Repole had considerable success last year with a talented two-year-old colt named Uncle Mo and it looks like they might have another talented young runner in Overdriven who will go to the starting gate Sunday as the 3-5 morning line favorite in the 97th running of the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course.
Repole, a multimillionaire from Queens, New York and the creator of the beverage drink VitaminWater, burst onto the racing scene last year with Uncle Mo who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) and was the early favorite for the 2011 Kentucky Derby.
However, it appears that Overdriven may be farther along at this time of year than Uncle Mo who won his maiden debut last August at Saratoga going gate-to-wire in a 6-furlong sprint - earning a 110 Brisnet Speed Figure.
Overdriven comes into the Sanford with a 111 Brisnet figure he earned in his debut win, defeating a field of five horses by 3½-lengths in a 5-furlong sprint at Belmont Park on July 1.
That impressive maiden win was enough to earn Overdriven a bid in the Sanford.
"He had a good breeze over the track, and we're excited about running in the Sanford," Pletcher said in a Saratoga Race Course news article. "He's a big, strong colt who carries plenty of conditioning, and we justly believe he can move forward off that race."
Overdriven has a nice pedigree and if he lives up to his breeding he should do well on the trail.
Overdriven is a descendant of the Northern Dancer sire line, and since 1990 that line has produced four Sanford winners: Scat Daddy (2006), Polished Brass (1997), Dehere (1993) and Mountain Cat (1992).
Tale Of The Cat, the sire of Overdriven, was a Black-type winner of the King’s Bishop Stakes (G2) but he is mostly known as the sire of Gio Ponti, Lion Heart and Tale Of Ekati – multiple graded stakes winners, each with over $1 million in earnings.
Out of the dam Air France, Overdriven is a half-brother to $1.1 million dollar stakes winner Smooth Air. The tail-female line traces back to the sixth dam Bold Irish, a Matriarch of the turf, who is the fifth dam of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Fusaichi Pegasus and the fourth dam of Preakness (G1) Stakes winner Pine Bluff.
Tale Of The Cat is ranked 13th in earnings on the Thoroughbred Times 2011 Juvenile Sire List with five winners in 13 starters for a 38% strike rate.
Power World is the 5-1morning line second-choice and I believe he is deserving of that ranking. He comes into the race with a 2¾-length runner up finish in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) to Exfactor at Churchill Downs on July 2 and I look for him to be competitive.
Power World is a descendant of the Mr. Prospector sire line, and since 1990 that line has produced the most Sanford winners with six victors: Maybesomaybenot (2010), Backtalk (2009), Desert Party (2008), Afleet Alex (2004), Whywhywhy (2002) and City Zip (2000).
Distorted Humor, the sire of Power World, is well known for getting precocious two-year-old sprinters and middle-distance runners as well as the occasional classic winner. Distorted Humor is the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide and Belmont Winner Drosselmeyer.
Distorted Humor is ranked 18th on the juvenile sire list with four winners in 12 starters for 33%.
Storm Cat, the damsire of Power World, is also well known for getting precocious two-year-olds. He is the sire of Sanford winner Mountain Cat and the great grandsire of Sanford winner Scat Daddy.
The tail-female line of Power World traces back to the fourth dam Lady Be Good, a Matriarch of the turf, who also is the fourth dam of Epsom Derby winner Motivator and the second dam of Wavering Monarch, the grandsire of Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.
Lady Be Good is also the fourth dam of the outstanding filly Goodbye Halo – winner of the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (G1), Demoiselle Stakes (G1), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), Kentucky Oaks (G1), Mother Goose Stakes (G1) and Las Virgenes Stakes (G1).
In addition, Lady Be Good is ranked 11th on Roger Lyons of Pedigree Matters Top 40 Dam Lines of SW’s, 1995 to Present.
Two long shots I like are Black Rhino (12-1) and Maan (8-1).
Trained by Wesley Ward, Black Rhino comes in to the race off of an impressive 8-length win, defeating a field of 11 horses, in a 5-furlong sprint on the turf at Churchill Downs on June 25.
Black Rhino earned an 89 speed figure for that effort and if he repeats that turf form in the Sanford, he should be competitive.
El Corredor, the sire of Black Rhino, is also a descendant of Mr. Prospector and some of his more notable progeny include Dominican, Backseat Rhythm, El Gato Malo and Adieu. But to date, with two juvenile winners in 12 starters for a 17% strike rate, El Corredor has not been as productive as Tale of the Cat and Distorted Humor.
Pure Profit, the second dam of Black Rhino, is also the dam of $1 million graded stakes winners Inside Information and Educated Risk.
One of the unique features that I like about the pedigree of Black Rhino is that five of the eight mares in the distaff four-generation pedigree are Reines-de-Course (Queen of the Turf): Pure Profit, Clear Ceiling, Grey Flight, Natalma and Key Bridge.
One doesn’t find that many outstanding mares close up and it is a potent influence.
Grey Flight, the fourth dam of Black Rhino, is a Matriarch of the turf and the dam of stakes winners Full Flight, Misty Morn, Gray Phantom, Misty Flight and What A Pleasure – sire of Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure and Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Colt Honest Pleasure.
Maan, trained by Eddie Kenneally, is stepping up in class and comes into the race off of a 1½-length maiden win at Churchill Downs on July 3. Maan earned an 84 speed figure for that effort and covered the 6-furlongs in a time of 1:10.99.
If Maan repeats the form of his maiden win he should be competitive.
Malibu Moon, the sire of Maan, has three juvenile winners in seven starters for a 43% strike rate.