Saturday, October 1, 2011

Book Update, Weekend Stakes Races

The Keeneland yearling sale was fantastic. I saw a lot of good horses and got a lot of work done with Thomas Herding Technique founder Kerry Thomas on the book we co-authored.

Since my return, I’ve been very busy working on the book and expect to be busy for the next few weeks working on wrapping it up and getting it to the publisher for publishing. While we were at the sale, the publisher sent us a mockup of what the book cover may look like – it’s a good looking cover.

If you’re like me, when I start working on a project and the creativity is flowing, it’s difficult to break away and start on a new one. Nevertheless, the call to the post kept calling me so I took a break to take a very brief look at the stakes races this weekend.

Norfolk Stakes

It at appears that the 8½-furlong Norfolk Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Downs could determine the juvenile leader on the west coast and the two most likely to claim that honor are even odds favorite
Drill and Creative Cause (6-5). I think that both are nice colts but of the two I like Drill a little more.

Here’s what I said of Drill in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) writeup:

Lawyer Ron, the sire of Drill, won three races in 10 starts as a two-year-old including a 10-length romp in an one mile, 70-yard allowance race at Louisiana Downs and an 8½-length romp in the one mile Diamond Joe Stakes at Evangeline Downs.

The dam and grand dam of Drill were not that productive on the racetrack, but the third dam Water Dance won the Twilight Tear Stakes and placed in the Long Look Handicap (G2), Beaugay Handicap, Hannah Dustin Handicap and Miss Liberty Handicap.

Luiana, the fourth dam of Drill, was a Reine-de-Course producer of seven winners including Prayers'N Promises, winner of the Matron Stakes (G1) and Spinaway Stakes (G1), as well as the Preakness Stakes (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Little Current.

Banquet Bell, the fifth dam of Drill, was a Matriarch of the Turf and the dam Chateaugay, winner of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1).

Here’s what I said about Creative Cause:

Giant’s Causeway, the sire of Creative Cause, was undefeated in three starts as a two-year-old in Europe including a 2-length win in both the 7-furlong Futurity Stakes (Group 3) and the 7-furlong Prix de la Salamandre (Group 1).
Storm Cat, the grandsire of Creative Cause, is well known for siring precocious two-year-olds and he is the grandsire of Georgie Boy – winner of the 2007 Del Mar Futurity Stakes (G1). Storm Cat is also the damsire of 2006 Futurity winner Horse Greeley.

Dream Of Summer, the dam of Creative Cause, was a multiple graded stakes winner who was competitive in sprint and route races up to 8½-furlongs and earned over $1 million during her racing career.

Only time will tell if these two colts live up to their breeding and one steps up to claim the title of two-year-old leader on the west coast.

Pilgrim Stakes

State Of Play (2-1) was my favorite in the With Anticipation Stakes (G2) and I also like him in the Pilgrim Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park. Here’s what I said about State Of Play in the With Anticipation Stakes writeup:

State Of Play has good speed and he should be able to easily stretch out to 8½-furlongs. I like his pedigree too.

His sire, War Front, also sired Soldat, winner of the 2010 With Anticipation Stakes (G2) and second-place finisher in the 8-furlong Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes (G2) and 8½-furlong Pilgrim Stakes (G3). Soldat went on as a three-year-old to win the 9-furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).

War Front also sired The Factor, a speedy colt who as a two-year-old won the 7-furlong San Vicente Stakes (G2) and went on as a three-year-old to win the 8½-furlong Rebel Stakes (G2).

Procida, the damsire of State Of Play, was a Group 1 winner of the 7-furlong Prix de la Foret before he was shipped to America where he won the 1984 edition of the Hollywood Derby (G1) at 8½-furlongs.

State of Play also has a lot of good influence from the tail-female line which traces back to the fifth dam Bourtai – a Matriarch of the Turf. Bourtai is ranked third on Roger Lyons of Pedigree Matters Top 40 Dam Lines of SW’s, 1995 to Present.

Alluvial, the third dam of State Of Play, is also the dam of 1979 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Coastal and the grand dam Aptitude who finished second in the 2000 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1).

Dancing Detente, the second dam of State Of Play, was an unraced dam of eight winnners. Valeta, the dam of State Of Play, won three races at the age of four and is also the dam of four winners.

Two other horses I like on pedigree and racing form are Fantastic Song (5-1) and Knock Rock (6-1).

With Lemon Drop Kid and Fantastic Shirl in the first generation of the pedigree and Kingmambo, Charming Lassie, Fantastic Light and Lady Shirl in the second generation, Fantastic Song has a nice pedigree and could be tough in the Pilgrim Stakes.

Knock Rock deserves honorable mention because I like his competitive spirit. He’s a bit erratic, but if he can get it together he’s competitive.

Nashua Stakes

I don’t have a good feel yet of the classic potential for any horses running in the Nashua Stakes (G2) at Belmont on Sunday and the distance of 6-furlongs will not add any clarity.

She Digs Me, the 2-1 morning line favorite, should be tough if he repeats the form of his previous races. Here’s what I wrote about She Digs Me in my Sapling Stakes (G3) writeup:

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).

Two long shots that could be a factor are Jagati (10-1) who finished second to She Digs Me (G3) and Trinniberg (10-1) who finished second to Currency Swap in the Hopeful Stakes (G1).

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

I’m really looking forward to watching the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Sunday as it has always been one of my favorites.

Masked Marvel (20-1) and Treasure Beach (10-1) were two long shots I liked along with Pour Moi in my Epsom Derby racing roundup and I like them along with the outstanding filly Sarafina (5-1) in the Arc too.

I really like their pedigree and their racing form as well. Here’s what I wrote about them in the Epsom Derby writeup:

The type of breeding pattern in the pedigree of Pour Moi where all the stallions on the tail-female line, the damsire line, and the sire line forms what I refer to as a “W” pattern and it’s a powerful influence I look for in the pedigree.

Treasure Beach has the same “W” pattern in his pedigree and he’s the only horse that has raced 12-furlongs. …His sire, Galileo, won the 2001 Epsom Derby and sired New Approach, winner of the 2008 Epsom Derby. Mark Of Esteem, the damsire of Treasure Beach, won the 1996 edition of the 2000 Guineas Stakes (G1) and he is the sire of Sir Percy winner of the 2006 Epsom Derby.

Masked Marvel finished fifth in the Classic Trial (G3) in April and came back in May to win the Iba Cocked Hat Stakes by three lengths. …His sire is Montjeu and his damsire, Mark Of Esteem, is the same damsire of Treasure Beach and a descendant of one of the most important sire lines of Nasrullah.

One of the most impressive influences in the pedigree of Masked Marvel comes from the legendary Classic Champion Thoroughbred and German Derby winner Acatenango – three-time Horse of The Year in Germany and champion sire in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001.

Acatenango is also the damsire of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and when he is present in the pedigree, there are several generations of Classic Champion Thoroughbreds. I followed the line back to the foundation Stallion Darley Arabian and found that 11 of the stallions going back 15 generations were Classic Champion Thoroughbreds – that’s pretty impressive.

Here’s a look at the sire line of Acatenango. The Classic Champion Thoroughbreds are in all capital letters:


Like Masked Marvel and Treasure Beach, Sarafina also has the same “W” pattern in her pedigree and that is a powerful influence that I look for in the pedigree of horses with classic potential.

In nine lifetime starts, Sarafina has never been out of the money and the racing form of her last three starts has been superb with a win in each of those races.

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