The $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G3) is the marquee race at Hollywood Park tomorrow and seven 2-year-old thoroughbreds will go to the starting gate for a chance to earn graded stakes earnings.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sends So Brilliant to the post at the 2-1 morning line favorite.
So Brilliant, a son of Medaglia D’Oro, was rather brilliant winning his maiden debut in a sprint race by 2¼-lenghts at Santa Anita Park on October 22. So Brilliant earned a 95 Brisnet Speed Figure for that performance, leading gate to wire, and covered the 6-furlongs in a sharp 1:09.02.
So Brilliant shouldn’t have a problem stretching out to 7-furlongs and I look for him to be competitive.
Two long shots I like are Empire Way, the 5-2 second choice, and Brother Francis who is 8-1 on the morning line.
Trained by Mike Harrington, Empire Way comes into the race with a win in his maiden debut at Hollywood Park on November 13. Empire Way covered the 6½-furlongs in 1:17.93 and earned an 84 speed figure for that effort.
“I don’t think the race took too much out of him,” said Harrington in a Daily Racing Form news story. “I think he needs another race before I run him a mile and a sixteenth.”
If Empire Way runs a good race, his next start will be in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (G1) at Hollywood Park on December 17, noted Harrington who also has Creative Cause in his stable. If Empire Way continues to move forward, Harrington could have two promising colts on the 2012 Triple Crown trail.
A full brother to Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner Royal Delta, Empire Way has a nice pedigree and I’m anxious to see how well he performs in the Prevue.
Empire Maker, the sire of Empire Way, and grandsire Unbridled both were Classic Champion Thoroughbreds as were the damsire A.P. Indy, and grand damsire Seattle Slew.
The tail-female line of Empire Way is also pretty impressive.
Delta Princess, the dam of Empire Way, was a multiple graded stakes winner on the dirt and turf. Lyphard’s Delta, the second dam of Empire Way, raced in England and won the Vodafone Nassau Stakes (Group 2). Proud Delta, the third dam of Empire Way, also was a multiple graded stakes winner and the 1976 Eclipse Champion Older Mare.
Brother Francis comes into the race off of an impressive second-place finish in his maiden debut. The chart comment line notes: “BROTHER FRANCIS a bit slow to begin, dropped back off the rail, circled five wide into the stretch and finished well to gain the place late.”
Starting from post 12, Brother Francis came from dead last at the three eighths pole and was flying late at the finish. I like the way Brother Francis closed in the stretch and his pedigree indicates that he may have a good mix of speed and stamina that is so necessary to be a factor on the Derby trail.
Lion Heart, the sire of Brother Francis, was a precocious 2-year-old who won the 2003 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G3) and Hollywood Futurity Stakes (G2). As a 3-year-old, Lion Heart finished second in the San Rafael Stakes (G2), Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1).
Brother Francis is a descendant of the Tale Of The Cat, Storm Cat sire line and another 2-year-old winner from that line is Overdriven who won the Sanford Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on July 24.
The distaff part of the pedigree also has a good mix of speed and stamina and the damsire line is impressive with Classic Champion Thoroughbreds in the first three generations.
Spectrum, the damsire of Brother Francis, won the 8-furlong Irish 2,000 Guineas (Group 1) and finished second in the 10-furlong Prix du Prince d'Orange (Group 3). Rainbow Quest, the second damsire, won the 12-furlong Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Group 1). Blushing Groom, the third damsire, was a French Champion Two-Year-Old Colt, a European Champion Three-Year-Old Miler and winner of the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas).
Viapervita, the dam of Brother Francis, was a listed stakes winner in Germany. Way For Life, the second dam of Brother Francis, was listed stakes placed in Germany. Platini, the sire of Way For Life, was a Group One stakes winner in Germany. His sire, Surumu also sired Acatenango – the sire of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.
If Brother Francis continues to improve off of his maiden win, he may have the potential to be a factor on the 2012 Derby trail.
Have a happy and save Thanksgiving everyone.