Maiden America Sunday: The Hooptie Handicapper picks 2yo races at Saratoga and Del Mar, including two stakes
Maiden America 08.08.21
It’s been an intriguing weekend thus far for us watching the 2yo’s as they enter the conversation of the Derby & Oaks trail.
On Friday at Del Mar, we saw a gutty performance by Elm Drive as she held back Eda in a fabulous stretch duel in the G2 $200K Sorrento Stakes. It’ll be interesting to see these two young ladies battle again this fall. On Saturday, Steve Asmussen broke Dale Baird’s record of 9445 wins with Stellar Tap and putting up an 87 Equibase score on his first trip. We’ll see more of that Tapit son. Practical Joke, a sire to pay attention to, sent his son Joker Boy in a 5.5 furlong $70K Maiden Special at Del Mar yesterday. He took control at the 16th pole and closed the deal against a heavily favored Baffert son of Danzig Candy, Gold Rush Candy. In the $100K Tyro Stakes at Monmouth, the Irish daughter of Carvaggio, Her World, took over easily on the NJ turf at the turn and won going away. An excellent performance by the filly out of the Wesley Ward barn. In the G2 $200K Best Pal at Del Mar, Pappacap, a Gun Runner progeny, got away from the crowd at 2/1 odds for Mark Casse. Yes, it’s early to talk about where these young ones will be in May, yet it’s fun to think about.
Also, yesterday in The Whitney, Knicks Go, at even odds, was a gift. Anyone who read Seabiscuit knows that after years of watching wild horses get into it, and noticing the leader always won, Tom Smith inherently knew that for Seabiscuit to beat War Admiral, he had to have the lead first. Those other four horses were either dumbass trained or Knicks Go was just too much. I’ll go with the latter. Somebody is going to have to pull a Seabiscuit vs War Admiral strategy to beat Knicks Go. Otherwise, he is untouchable.
Today we have two more stakes races for two year olds – the G2 $200K Adirondack at Saratoga and the Cal bred $100K Graduation Stakes at Del Mar. We also have a Maiden Special from Saratoga that has some interesting entrants
Saratoga Race 6 - $100 Maiden Special
2yo Fillies going 6.5 furlongs
1 – Popular Vote (6/1) $725K KEE SEP yearling filly out of Constitution that debuted on June 25 at Belmont and ran 4th with a 67 Equibase number. She was second on the tote board and ran a distant fourth in that race which was decided at 5.5 furlongs. Interesting, according to the chart, she was "keen at the bit at the top of the stretch and lugged in at the 3/16ths pole on the wrong lead before switching to the correct lead at 8th pole and weakened in the late going." Two other entrants in that race went on to break their maiden. She has had three works since and that learning experience in her last was important to the connections and new rider Joel Rosario. 2 – Free Chickens (10/1) $160K OBS SPR SALE, out of black type Arch, is out of the dam, Lil Super Bear, who has one foal from Tiznow that broke maiden at first ask as well as the dam. Free Chickens has a sharp gate work on July 26 going 1:00.8 followed by three, five furlong breezes since. From the hot barn of Jorge Abreu for maidens, (29% for first timers and 24% for MSW types), she’s going to surprise at a price. #3 Amani’s Image from the Todd Pletcher barn, is out of Chilean star Amani, who broke maiden at her first ask in Santiago and went on to peel off seven wins in a row after. She has one colt out American Pharoah who appears to have struggled at the start and is steadily improving. Amani's Image has two most recent gate works of :101.7 and :48.1. #4 Madamoussepousse (5/1) debuted on turf for Wesley Ward on June 18 and went off at 6/1, which is surprisingly high for a Ward firster. Today, she switches to dirt and has shown little in the mornings on this surface. #6 Shanghai Shamrock (10/1) debuted and ran another on turf in her first two for the Mark Casse barn, gets a switch to dirt and if her recent morning drill of :47.7 is indicative for her choice of surface, she’ll be a player today. #7 Fabulous Fanny (4/1) is a pass for me today as Steve Asmussen had her working at speed surface Keeneland, before moving her north where her only work was a pedestrian :50.7. #8 Dream Lith (20/1) $590K FTK FALL sale, is out of Robertino Diodoro’s barn (21% first timers) just drilled a 4/31 1:00.8 gate breeze on July 22. Her dam’s two foals didn’t exactly light the board at first ask, so she’s a respectable type in the morning and will need a race or two. #9 Li Bear (9/2) showed a never give up nature in her debut against tough rivals on July 15. She’s had two freshenings since and her ML price seems overblown. #10 Mommasgottarun (7/2) out of the Tom Amoss barn that is 2/2 with 2yo sprinters in their first starts at the meet. She just chased stablemate Microbiome, a very strong contender in today’s Adirondack, in a :48 drill on July 29. Must respect.
My choice is 1-Popular Vote (6/1) the stretch out will give Rosario the time to settle her before letting her loose.
Saratoga Race 8 – The G2 $200K Adirondack Stakes
2yo fillies going 6.5 furlongs
2-Ontheonesandtwos (5/2) put up a game 90 Equibase number in the Debutante on June 26 to monster Behave Virginia to come up a length short. Her three works since indicate she came out of the race well and will be tough to beat. 7-Wicked Halo (7/2) bobbled at the start in the same Debutante and ran up to take the lead before giving way in the stretch. Based on her four works of late, it appears that race took some punch out of her. Pass. 8-Mainstay (3/1) ran a tough second in the Schuylerville on July 15 where she bobbled as well and put in a game effort to winner Pretty Birdie. She’s had one work since, and it was so-so. Tough to gauge. 9-Microbiome (5/1) based on that last race against open maidens, running away from them to win by 5.5 lengths, she will be a tough out today. However, with no empirical data to back this up, as a mere observation, the 2yo’s who have broken maiden and entered a stakes race, have not fared well without that one stakes race experience. #4 Shesawildjoker (10/1) broke her maiden here on June 18 and whereas I’d like to stick with the Practical Joke sire angle, this will be a tough test.
2 -Ontheonesandtwos is my choice
Del Mar Race 6 – The $100K Graduation Stakes
Cal bred 2yo’s going 5.5 furlongs
1-Mr. T’s Thirsty (2/1), 2-Trip To Spain (2/1) and 4 Rock N Rye (8/5) are the contenders in this race and with Rock N Rye having the only stakes race under his belt. That’s my choice as he’s come back to have excellent am drills.
6th – Popular Vote
8th – Ontheonesandtwos
6th – Rock N Rye
Happy Hunting 😊