Undefeated Scherer Magic heads a field of eight 2-year-old Thoroughbreds who will go to the starting gate Sunday in the 42nd running of the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (G2) at Del Mar racetrack.
Trained by John Sadler, Scherer Magic easily won his maiden debut by 7¼-lengths at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 14 and followed up that romp a month later at the same track with a 2½-length win in the Hollywood Juvenile Championships Stakes (G3).
Jockey Joe Talamo who’s ridden Scherer Magic in his previous two starts retains the mount in the Best Pal. A bullet work out on July 30 should have Scherer Magic primed and I look for him to run another good race.
Two horses I especially like in this race are Heir of Storm and Moreno who faced off in their maiden debut last month at Betfair Hollywood Park. Heir of Storm won the 5½-furlong contest by only a half-length and Moreno made a nice move in the stretch to narrow the three-length lead of Heir of Storm and finish third.
Here’s the chart call:
HEIR OF STORM off a bit slowly, moved up inside to stalk the pace then was shuffled back into the turn, came out into the stretch, rallied under urging to the lead in deep stretch, inched away and held gamely. … MORENO was bumped and squeezed at the start, settled off the rail, went outside on the turn and four wide into the stretch and finished well between foes late.
Ghostzapper, the sire of Moreno, is a good sire but he’s yet to get an outstanding 2-year-old runner in his previous five crops. However, I like the move Moreno made in his debut and if he improves off of that start, he should be competitive in the Best Pal.
Moreno also has a nice pedigree and if he lives up to his breeding he should be competitive in the summer and fall stakes races.
Moreno’s sire, Ghostzapper, was an outstanding, fast runner who dominated in his sprint races and was able to carry to his speed to a 3-length victory in the 10-furlong, 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic – in a record-setting time of 1:59.02.
Awesome Again, the grandsire of Moreno, won the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic and he also won the Canadian Classic Queen’s Plate Stakes. The damsire line is reinforced with the influence of the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds A. P. Indy and Seattle Slew – winner of the 1977 Triple Crown.
The tail-female line of Moreno descends from the outstanding Canadian-bred Reine-de-Course mare No Class, the dam of outstanding champions Sky Classic, Regal Classic and Grey Classic. Dancethruthedawn, the second dam of Moreno, was a Classic Champion Thoroughbred winner of the Queen’s Plate Stakes and third dam Dance Smartly was a Canadian Triple Crown winner. Danceinthesunlight, the dam of Moreno, was unraced.
The Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile of Moreno is 77.5, which is pretty good. Only time will tell how well Moreno fares in his juvenile season of racing.
Honorable mention goes to Miss Empire, a filly trained by Peter Miller, and the first-time starter Know More who is trained by Doug O’Neill and owned by Reddam Racing LLC – the same connections of the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winner I’ll Have Another.
Miss Empire showed promise in her stakes debut winning the Cinderella Stakes by 4¾-lengths. However in her last race, the Landaluce Stakes, Miss Empire finished third, 4 ½-lengths behind the winner Executiveprivilege.
Miss Empire also has good breeding. Her Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile is 86.25 but she has yet to live up to her breeding and she’ll need to improve her game if she’s going to win the Best Pal.
One never knows how first-time starters like Know More will fare in their maiden debut. However he has some nice breeding in sire Lion Heart who won the Hollywood Prevue (G3) and Hollywood Futurity (G1) as a 2-year-old.
The damsire of Know More is the Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and the dam, Seattle Qui, has three winners from four starters and one stakes winner.
If Know More looks good in the post parade, he might be a nice long shot.