Thursday, August 30, 2012

With Anticipation Stakes Racing Roundup

The With Anticipation Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course has proven to be an important Kentucky Derby prep race and harbinger of things to come for Donegal Racing and trainer Dale Romans who sends Craving Carats (8-1) to the starting gate today in the $200,000 graded stakes race.

In 2009, Paddy O’Prado finished third for Romans and team Donegal in the fifth running of the With Anticipation Stakes. Dullahan carried the Donegal colors to a third-place finish in the 2011 With Anticipation Stakes.

The With Anticipation Stakes was a key race for both Paddy O’Prado and Dullahan who would go on in their three-year-old season to finish third in the Kentucky Derby.

With that history, I’m anxious to see how well Craving Carats performs in today’s race. I have been following Craving Carats since June and I believe that he could have the potential to be the best performer that Donegal Racing has put on the Triple Crown Trail.

He’s improved his game in each of his previous four starts and he finally broke his maiden earlier this month in an 8½-furlong turf race at Saratoga – both Paddy O’Prado and Dullahan broke their maiden on their fifth attempt.

His pedigree is pretty good and suggests that Craving Carats may have classic potential. Time will tell.

Joha (7-2), a narrow winner of the Colin Stakes at Woodbine on July 14, is moving up in class and he’s yet to run in a route race. However, if he’s anything like his sire, Johar, he could be competitive in the With Anticipation.

Johar was a pretty good middle-distance runner that was able to stretch out and win in a dead heat with High Chaparral the 12-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) and he narrowly defeated The Tin Man by a head in winning the 10-furlong San Marcos Stakes (G2) in a record time of 1:47.92.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sends Charming Kitten to the starting gate as the 3-1 morning line favorite for owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey.

Charming Kitten, like Craving Carats, is one of the few horses in the field that has raced 8½-furlongs. He comes into the race with a maiden win at Saratoga on July 28 and if he repeats that performance he should be competitive.

Two long shots I like are Notacatbutallama  and Hightail – both at listed at 15-1 on the morning line.
Notactabuallama has run in two solid 8½-furlong races at Saratoga in the month of August. He won his last race on August 20 by an easy 6½-length margin and the time of 1:43 and change for his two previous starts is pretty decent.

Todd Pletcher trains Notactabuallama and he’s wheeling him back into competition off of ten days rest, so he could be ready to run a good race.

Hightail is also moving up in class and he’s yet to run in a route race. But he ran the best race of his career finishing second in his last race when trainer D. Wayne Lukas switched Hightail to the turf.

If Hightail looks good in the paddock and post parade, he could be worthy of a wager because his pedigree suggests that he should be able to easily handle the distance.

His sire, Mineshaft, was a good middle-distance runner that stretched his speed out to win the 10-furlong Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and the Suburban Handicap (G1).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saratoga Special Stakes Racing Roundup

Trainer Todd Pletcher will be looking to earn his first win today in the $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2), when he sends Drum Roll (6-1) and the 2-1 morning line favorite Shanghai Bobby to the starting gate the 107th running of the prestigious stakes race at Saratoga Race Course.

Of the pair, I like Shanghai Bobby the best. He comes into the race undefeated in two starts and in his last outing he won the 5½-furlong Track Barron Stakes at Belmont Park.

His sire, Harlan’s Holiday, was competitive as a two year old winning the Iroquois Stakes (G3), Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes, Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes and Hoover Stakes.

Jockey Rosie Napravnik has had the mount on Shanghai Bobby in his previous two starts and she retains the mount for today’s race.

Spurious Precision, trained by Richard Violette, could be tough to beat if he repeats the performance of his maiden debut win last month at Saratoga.

His Brisnet E1, E2 and LP figures are on par with the figures for today’s race and his 101 Speed figure is the second fastest in the field next to the 103 speed figure Shanghai Bobby earned in the Track Barron Stakes.

“It’s a little bit quick back, not ideal, but he’s doing very well,” said Violette in a track news story. … We have an opportunity to run here, and if the stars align, look ahead to a race like the Champagne [Stakes, G1].”

High Cotton, the sire of Spurious Precision, finished second in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) as a two year. His best 2-year-old to date is Currency Swap who showed promise last year in winning the 7-furlong Hopeful Stakes (G1) but faded toward the end of the season.

A bullet work out at Saratoga on August 7 could have Spurious Precision ready to make the jump to graded stakes competition.

Two long shots I like in this race are In Harm’s Way (6-1) and Dan The Tin Man (8-1). Both colts finished fourth in their maiden debut but made a big improvement in their next start to win by open lengths.

In Harm’s Way has the best breeding of the bunch but it remains to be seen if he will live up to his breeding. His Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile is 63.75 making it the highest profile of the colts entered in the race.

Dan The Tin Man fired a bullet work out at Woodbine on August 5 and he could be ready to run a good race.

If both colts continue to improve, they should be competitive.

Good luck!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Best Pal Stakes Racing Roundup

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.