Maiden America Thursday: Hoop Tea's Hooptie Handicapper picks baby races at Churchill Downs and Belmont
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Maiden America Thursday: Hoop Tea's Hooptie Handicapper picks baby races at Churchill Downs and Belmont

It's a nice May Day for well-bred 2-year-olds.

Maiden America 5.20.21

By the Hooptie Handicapper


Brought to you by Hoop Tea.

Yum Yum Gimme Some. Hoop Tea.
Yum Yum Gimme Some. Hoop Tea.RT

We are highlighting three races today for 2-year-olds. Two are from Churchill and one is from Belmont.

Churchill Downs Race 1 - $100K Maiden Special Weight

2yo’s fillies going five furlongs

Mark Toothaker of Spendthrift Farm.
Mark Toothaker of Spendthrift Farm.RT

There is a good mix of experienced runners and 1st timers in this race with our friend, Mark Toothaker of Spendthrift Farm, sporting his cool shirt and still probably unconvinced that Royal Farms has the best Fried Chicken, has entered their Into Mischief filly #8 Gimmick (2/1) trained by Steve Asmussen. A $450K Fasig yearling sale, she is out of Into Mischief and Quick Flip. She just clocked two sweet breeze works from the gate at :47.6 and :47.4, respectively. We all know a lot about Into Mischief, so there is nothing more to be said about that. However, her dam, Quick Flip, a daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Speightstown, absolutely crushed her competition in her first three races to wit: an msw, allowance, then a stakes. She moved to graded competition before being retired to motherhood. Her foals have done very well winning at a 38% clip. Asmussen a stealthy 16% trainer with first timers and Gimmick seems prepped and ready. Did you know that in the last 10 days, jockey Mitch Murrill is winning at a 43% rate? Neither did I until I read the pp’s of #2 Anotherworldinside (7/2). A granddaughter of Bodemeister, she debuted two weeks ago in the slop and was ping ponged at the gate. Thus, getting off to an inauspicious start, she ended up running up to the leader, nearing her by two lengths. She was unable to make a dent in the lead, so she collected place coinage. This was a $23K payday for Carl Hess, which, given the costs associated with this filly, may have darn near put him at par. Regardless of that, she ran a nice race, put up a terrific 84 Equibase figure and has had a freshening since. #4 Cartel Queen (5/2) second time starter for trainer Tom Amoss, has this filly out of Cairo Prince. She debuted on April 22 at Keeneland and went off as the below even favorite where she hopped at the start, ran up to the leader and ended up being too late. She just recently put in a :47.2 breeze and has the benefit of Colby Hernandez riding again. #1 Murgateroyd (6/1) has two races under her belt, and we all know that as an 8% proposition, I am not a fan of third time maidens returning to the same level. Wasn't it Snagglepuss that used to use that exclamation "Heavens To Murgatroyd?" #6 Bali Kuli (15/1) is the second foal of Brazilian Triple Crown winner Bal A Bali, who ended up here, scoring in the G2 Kilroe mile and G1 Shoemaker mile. He had a 25/15-1-4 record on turf for $1.3M and her dam, Paladin Bay, went 18/4-4-4 for $607K on dirt. So, if pedigree holds up, good things are in store for this filly. Her works have been excellent with two gate outings at :48.6 each. Given these are incredibly young horses and you never know what's going to happen, I am going to take a shot with Mattress Mack’s sire, Run Happy, who has the filly #5 Gata Runz (15/1). There are three factors that I consider with this - she put in a 5 furlong breeze at today’s distance of 1:00.4 seconds, her mom, Secret Kitten, has two foals and one won on debut, and Secret Kitten won in her first three races. She has only four published workouts, so it does make you suspicious of whether they are holding back.

Churchill Downs Race 2 - $100K Maiden Special Weight

2yo fillies going five furlongs on turf

For you Wesley Ward fans out there, #2 Baja Fog (3/1) has had much better works than #9 Bali Dove (2/1). If entered, my choice will be #11 Artos (4/1). She is on the also eligible list, so we will see. She had her debut on April 22 at Keeneland, where she got involved in a whole lot of traffic and finally got up for 2nd place. She has the benefit of that experience and two freshenings since. If not, I’ll roll with Saffie and #1 Rock Along (6/1) a filly out of 22% progeny winners, Beyern, her bow was in the same race as Artos where they both chased the leader before fading off. Saffie is a 30% winner with second time starters, and she worked a :47.2 six days ago. She’s ready. The true test will be if Geroux gets her off the rail fast enough and into the front.

Belmont Park Race 1 - $75K Maiden Special Weight

2yo Staties going five furlongs

Wesley Ward has two debuting, and we all know his epic record of 36% with first time starters. Ward has #3 Miss Alacrity (1/1) $190K Fasig-Tipton yearling sale filly who is sired by Munnings, a colt that is becoming a market mover with one of his foals, a filly, recently selling in March for $475K and two colts selling last week for $380K and $460K. This filly is her momma’s fourth, with one of the other three winning at first asking. In early to mid-April, she put in two solid works in :48.4 for 4 furlongs. She has put in three gate works – two in March and a blistering :34.4 in mid-April. The quicker works were at Keeneland during a time when it was playing fast. So, we will see how that translates today to Belmont. She also scored in Group 2 for her BreezeFig with a short stride length, making her built for sprints. (see below for explanation) Wesley’s other entrant is #2 No Time Alone (4/1). This one is of interest because her dam, Timezone, won at first asking and her sire, Flintshire, did as well. Both dam and sire have had a limited number of foals and both have had a modicum of success with first time starters. Unfortunately, she has only worked out at three furlongs. I tend to be dismissive of this, because a horse can usually get a fast three furlongs. Getting the next furlong and beyond at the same pace of approximately 12 seconds per is truly where you could tell their value. #4 Draw Off (9/2) this filly’s sire, Gormley, won at first asking and has three foals. Two of those won in their bow. Unfortunately, her mom, Sign Off, has three foals who have not won on debut. As a matter of fact, most of them took some time before they crossed the finish line first. She just fired a :48.4 work from the gate on May 7, so she will be a factor. #5 Saratoga Kisses (6/1) clocked a Group 3 BreezeFig and has had two nice :48 works. This filly has not had a work from the gate. So, she's a toss. I am going with #1 She's A Fast One (3/1) who made her debut in mid-April at Keeneland. She finished far back, however; the experience is most valuable. She has had three breezes since with one from the gate. Belmont's leading jockey, Irad Ortiz, is in the irons today, so that is an indication of whom he and his agent feel is the best in this race.

BreezeFigs Defined

Simply stated, a BreezeFig is a speed-figure that combines the time of the work (speed), stride length, angulation, segmental distances in the body and a unique “thrust” factor for each horse that breezes at a 2-year-old in training sale. A true biomechanical study of a horse in motion it works just like most other speed figures—the higher the number, the faster and classier the horse should be— regardless of breeze time and stride length alone. Based on a three-year analysis of live races at a major track we found that 76% of horses that finished first, second or third had the same characteristics detailed above. With the advent of digital video technology, DataTrack also analyzed breeze show data yielding a “Par” BreezeFig for each sale. Fewer than 10% of the horses in any sale turn out to be stakes caliber. The Pars for each sale are so close that we have developed a “National Par” BreezeFig so that horses with similar BreezeFigs can be compared from year to year. BreezeFigs are calculated separately for colts and fillies, and for each breeze distance (one-eighth, a quarter mile, three-eighths, sometimes half a mile) and surface (dirt, synthetic, turf) for each sex. There are four Groups:

G1: Horses qualifying on all Speed, Stride Length and other proprietary numbers;

G2: Horses qualifying on all but one of the above factors;

G3: Horses that qualify on one of the above factors;

G4: Horses that are non-qualifiers on any of the above factors

Class Edge High

  • OBSMAR, Ocala Breeders' in Ocala in mid-March

Class Edge Good

  • OBSAPR, Ocala Breeders' in Ocala in mid-April

  • EASMAY, Fasig-Tipton in Maryland in mid-May

Class Edge Moderate

  • OBSJUN, Ocala Breeders' in Ocala in mid-June

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