The 78th running of the Sapling Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park Saturday is shaping up to be competitive edition of the $100,000 stakes race with the potential for several of the 11 two-year-old Thoroughbreds entered in the race to earn Graded Stakes honors.
Steve Asmussen, looking for his fourth win in the Sapling, will send the 3-1 morning line favorite Voodoo Daddy and She Digs Me, the morning line third-choice, to the starting gate. Asmussen previously won with Western Smoke (2010), Lantana Mob (2007) and He’s Got Grit (2005) and I look for his two entries in Saturday’s race to be competitive.
Voodoo Daddy has a 102 Brisnet Speed Figure which is the highest of all the other horses entered in the race. He earned the speed figure winning his maiden debut by 3½-lengths in a 5-furlong sprint race at Saratoga on August 17.
City Zip, the sire of Voodoo Daddy, was a precocious two-year-old winner of the Hopeful Stakes (G1), Saratoga Special Stakes (G2), Sanford Stakes (G2) and Tremont Stakes (G3) and he is well known for siring precocious juveniles. His current leading juvenile money earner is Majestic City, winner of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (G3) and the Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes.
City Zip is ranked 10th on the Thoroughbred Times 2011 Juvenile Sire List with seven winners in 14 starters for a 50% strike rate.
She Digs Me is the only horse in the race with a stakes win to his credit. He comes into the race with a 2-1-0 record in four starts including a 2-length win in the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth on July 24. She Digs Me earned a 96 speed figure for the stakes win and covered the 5½-furlongs in a sharp 1:03.95.
Henny Hughes, the sire of She Digs Me, was a precocious two-year-old who won the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) and Tremont Stakes and finished second in the Hopeful Stakes (G1), Champagne Stakes (G1) and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1). Hennessy, the grandsire of She Digs Me, also won the Hopeful Stakes (G1), Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (G2) and the Sapling Stakes (G3).
Henny Hughes is ranked fifth on the Thoroughbred Times 2011 Juvenile Sire List with 11 winners in 27 juvenile starters for a 41% strike rate.
High Heat finished fifth in his maiden debut on July 12, beaten 7¾-lengths by Union Rags who also was making his maiden debut. In his next race, Union Rags won the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) in an impressive 7¼-length romp over a sloppy sealed track.
High Heat followed up his fifth-place finish three weeks later with an impressive 3¾-length win in a 6-furlong sprint at Delaware Park on August 1.
Trained by Michael Trombetta, High Heat appears to be an improving two-year-old colt out of first-crop sire Latent Heat who is ranked seventh on the Thoroughbred Times 2011 Freshman Sire List with six winners out of 18 juvenile starters for a 33% strike rate.
Jockey Jeremy Rose had the mount on High Heat in his first two races and he retains the mount in the Sapling. A sharp bullet work out on August 27, the only one High Heat has fired, could have him ready to run a good race on Saturday.
Managed Account comes into the race off of an impressive 5¼-length maiden debut win at Monmouth on August 13. If Managed Account repeats that form in the Sapling, he should be competitive.
Malibu Moon, the sire of Managed Account, is also known to sire precocious juveniles. His best two-year-old was Eclipse Champion Declan’s Moon who won the Hollywood Futurity (G1), Del Mar Futurity (G2) and the Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G3).
Ranked 22nd on the Thoroughbred Times 2011 Juvenile Sire List, Malibu Moon has a 25% strike rate with 7 winners in 28 juvenile starters.