Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Stakes Racing Roundup

(The preceding story, originally published in the July/August 2010 issue of HorsePlayer Magazine, has been updated with current information and statistics.) 
Now that the Triple Crown is over, the next crop of 2-year-old thoroughbreds are ready to begin racing. Pedigree, of course, is one of the most important tools handicappers have when wagering on precocious juve­niles-it can determine which horses have the potential to be rising stars and stakes winners.
Not surprisingly, descendants of the Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer sire lines perform extremely well as juveniles, and it would do the horseplayer some good to pay attention to these pedigrees as the prestigious 2-year-old races at Del Mar and Saratoga get underway.

Del Mar July 18 to September 5

Del Mar hosts two marquee races for juvenile colts: the Best Pal Stakes (G2) and Del Mar Futurity (G1).

The Best Pal Stakes (G2) is eponymously named after the California-bred racehorse, who began racing at two and had more than $5.6 million in earnings when he retired at the age of eight. The Best Pal Stakes (G2) produced the 2010 Preakness (G1) winner, Lookin At Lucky, who also won the 2009 Del Mar Futurity (G1).

Traditionally held on the closing day of the meet, the Del Mar Futurity (G1) has long been a springboard for top run­ners. Del Mar Futurity (GI) winners that became classic champions include:

·         Lookin At Lucky (Preakness)
·         Silver Charm (Kentucky Derby, Preakness)
·         Gato del Sol (Kentucky Derby)
·         Tomy Lee (Kentucky Derby)

Saratoga July 20 to September 3

Saratoga hosts the Sanford Stakes (G2), Saratoga Special Stakes (G2), and Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (G1) - all prestigious races in their own right.

Sanford Stakes (G2) winners that went on to become classic champions include:

·         Affirmed (Triple Crown winner)
·         Secretariat (Triple Crown winner)
·         Afleet Alex [Preakness, Belmont)
·         Regret (Kentucky Derby)
·         Vagrant (Kentucky Derby)
·         Spendthrift (Belmont)
Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) winners that became classic champions include:

·         Union Rags (Belmont)
·         Whirlaway (Triple Crown winner)
·         Morvich (Kentucky Derby)
·         Regret (Kentucky Derby)
·         Swale (Kentucky Derby, Belmont)
·         Bold Forbes (Kentucky Derby, Belmont)
·         Native Dancer [Preakness, Belmont)
·         Bimelech [Preakness, Belmont)
·         Conquistador Cielo (Belmont)
·         Blue Larkspur (Belmont)
·         Colin (Belmont)
·         Summer Squall (Preakness)
Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (GI) winners that became classic champions include:

·         Affirmed (Triple Crown winner)
·         Secretariat (Triple Crown winner)
·         Whirlaway (Triple Crown winner)
·         Foolish Pleasure (Kentucky Derby)
·         Morvich (Kentucky Derby)
·         Regret (Kentucky Derby)
·         Ben Ali (Kentucky Derby)
·         Afleet Alex (Preakness, Belmont)
·         Man O'War (Preakness, Belmont)
·         Native Dancer [Preakness, Belmont)
·         Nashua (Preakness, Belmont)
·         Bimelech (Preakness, Belmont)
·         Needles (Kentucky Derby, Belmont)
·         Middle Ground (Kentucky Derby, Belmont)
·         Zev (Kentucky Derby, Belmont)
·         Jaipur (Belmont)
·         Peter Pan (Belmont)
·         Summer Squall [Preakness}.

Sire Lines for the Last Seven Key 2-Year-Old Stakes

Sanford Stakes (G2), $200,000, 6-furlongs, July 22
Year-Horse, Sire, Sire Line
2011-Overdriven, Tale Of The Cat, Northern Dancer
2010-Maybesomaybenot, Sunday Break, Mr. Prospector
2009-Backtalk, Smarty Jones, Mr. Prospector
2008-Desert Party, Street Cry, Mr. Prospector
2007-Ready’s Image, More Than Ready, Nasrullah
2006-Scat Daddy, Johannesburg, Northern Dancer
Note: In 2005, the Sanford Stakes (G2) was not run.

Best Pal Stakes (G2), $150,000, 6½-furlongs, August 5
Year-Horse, Sire, Sire Line
2011-Creative Cause, Giant’s Causeway, Northern Dancer
2010-J P’s Gusto, Successful Appeal, Man o’ War
2009-Lookin At Lucky, Smart Strike, Mr. Prospector
2008-Azul Leon, Lion Heart, Northern Dancer
2007-Salute The Sarge, Forest Wildcat, Northern Dancer
2006-Principle Secret, Sea Of Secrets, Northern Dancer
2005-What A Song, Songandaprayer, Mr. Prospector

Saratoga Special (G2), $200,000, 6½-furlongs, August 12
Year-Horse, Sire, Sire Line
2011-Union Rags, Dixie Union, Northern Dancer
2010-Kantharos, Lion Heart, Northern Dancer
2009-D’ Funnybone, D’ Wildcat, Northern Dancer
2008-Run Away and Hide, City Zip, Mr. Prospector
2007-Kodiak Kowboy, Posse, Northern Dancer
2006-Chace City, Carson City, Mr. Prospector
2005-Henny Hughes, Hennessy, Northern Dancer

Three Chimney’s Hopeful (G1), $300,000, 7-furlongs, September 3
Year-Horse, Sire, Sire Line
2011-Currency Swap, High Cotton, Northern Dancer
2010-Boys At Tosconova, Officer, Man o’ War
2009-Dublin, Afleet Alex, Mr. Prospector
2008-Vineyard Haven, Lido Palace, Mr. Prospector
2007-Majestic Warrior, A. P. Indy, Bold Ruler
2006-Circular Quay, Thunder Gulch, Mr. Prospector
2005-First Samurai, Giant’s Causeway, Northern Dancer

Del Mar Futurity (G1), $300,000, 7-furlongs, September 5
Year-Horse, Sire, Sire Line
2011-Drill, Lawyer Ron, Northern Dancer
2010-J P’s Gusto, Successful Appeal, Man o’ War
2009-Lookin At Lucky, Smart Strike, Mr. Prospector
2008-Midshipman, Unbridled’s Song, Mr. Prospector
2007-Georgie Boy, Tribal Rule, Northern Dancer
2006-Horse Greeley, Mr. Greeley, Mr. Prospector
2005-Stevie Wonderboy, Stephen Got Even, Bold Ruler

In the past seven years, of the 35 key 2-year-old stakes races at Del Mar and Saratoga, 15 races have been won by sire-line descendants of Northern Dancer; the Mr. Prospector sire line produced 13 winners; the Man o’ War sire line produced three winners; the Bold Ruler sire line produced two winners and the Nasrullah sire line produced one winner.


  1. Hi Calvin,

    As we look towards another summer of debutantes, and study the bloodlines trying to eke out any potential stars emerging, do you have any details on this years progeny specifically, and names and trainers that we should be keeping an eye out for?? Is there some form of service that lists the offspring of prominent sires that are now 2yo and tracking of who those horses are, names and where they are currently stabled?? I would really love to get in some early research and am looking for resources.

  2. Hi Calvin,

    My research comment above is from Julius in CA but posted as anonymous as I could not find another working profile...sorry.

    Julius Orth

  3. Julius,

    I begin researching the young colts at this time of year and there are several sources where you can find free information about young Thoroughbreds.

    Here is a list of links:





    If you want to explore on your own, you can search for offspring of sires on pedigree.com. For example, type in name of sire like Empire Maker. When his pedigree comes up, click on reports on far left side and then click on progeny and you will get a list of his offspring. You can click on the headings at the top – Horse, Color, Sex, Year, Dam, BM Sire, Earnings, Family – and it will reorganize those categories.


    As the season progresses, I write about the young colts I like when they run in an important stakes races.

    I hope this listing helps. Thanks for following my blog.

  4. Hi Calvin,
    Upon finishing your blog, I naturally had to look up some of the horses mentioned.You always inspire a history lesson. lol.
    I knew of the Best Pal stakes, but was unfamiliar with the accomplishments of the horse it was named after.
    An interesting pedigree (Princequillo on both sides!)Trying to find video on youtube of him, so far only found the Hollywood Futurity 1990 and the BC classic in 93. He had quite an impressive racing career til the age of 8.
    Good to see Mr. Prospector still going strong in his influence. As always, thanks for passing on your research!

  5. Sharon,

    Thanks for the kind words and thanks for following my blog. Interesting that you mention Princequillo as I've been doing some research on his line.