Saturday, July 9, 2011

Second Half Players...

--Steve Sherack

A pair of recent maiden winners at Belmont Park appear primed to join the upper echelon of the sophomore filly division following sharp debuts.

Darley homebred Kinda Spicy (f, 3, A.P. Indy–Isola Piu Bella {Chi}, by Rich Man’s Gold) opened some eyes in her unveiling for trainer Tom Albertrani, airing by 6 3/4 lengths June 19 (TDN Video). Asked to go a mile by a barn not known to have them fully cranked at first asking (Albertrani was winning at a 7% clip from a 70-horse sample prior to her debut, per DRF Formulator), the 9-2 chance chased in fourth through early fractions of :23.20 and :46.35. Waiting for room behind foes in a compact field of five, the bay found a seam at the top of the stretch and was hand-ridden to the wire to win in style. With John Velazquez aboard, Kinda Spicy stopped the clock for a mile in 1:37.19, good for an 82 Beyer Speed Figure.

Kinda Spicy
Adam Coglianese photo

The second foal out of Chilean champion and U.S. multiple graded stakes winner Isola Piu Bella has posted two easy four-furlong workouts at Belmont since, going :51.11 July 1 (21/23) and :51.39 July 7 (22/23).

Counterparty (f, 3, Exchange Rate–Passionate Bird, by Birdonthewire), a $575,000 KEESEP yearling purchase by Cheyenne Stables LLC, proved she had the talent to back up her good looks in her July 3 unveiling for the Todd Pletcher barn (TDN Video).

Drawn widest of all in post six, the gray ducked out a couple of paths at the start, but quickly recovered to rate in fourth through an opening quarter in :22.79. Counterparty cruised up in hand to gain command at the quarter pole as Velazquez took a peak back, and blew the doors off in the stretch to score by 3 1/2 decisive lengths.

Her final time of 1:12.39 for six furlongs was faster than a pair of graded stakes for juveniles contested later on the card--the GII Futurity S. (1:13.36) and GII Matron S. (1:12.68). The daughter of the multiple stakes winning mare Passionate Bird also earned an 82 Beyer over a drying out “fast” track, which appeared to have plenty of moisture in it.
Adam Coglianese photo

Wouldn’t be surprised to see either of these promising fillies in stakes races at the upcoming Saratoga meeting.

Key Race Alert...

Juvenile filly Bluegrass Atatude (f, 2, Two Punch–Potomac Bend, by Polish Numbers) stamped herself as one to watch with a stylish come-from-behind debut victory going 4 1/2 furlongs at Pimlico Apr. 15 (see Sherack Apr. 17 TDN blog entry), but hadn’t been heard from since.

Well, the chestnut is finally back in serious training for John Salzman Jr., posting a pair of three-furlong moves in :38.20 and :37.40 at Laurel July 2 and July 8, respectively. The Maryland-bred’s two-length win at Old Hilltop registered only a 59 on the Beyer scale, but she continues to be flattered by the also-rans as she sits on the bench.

The second and third-place finishers that day, Dancing Anna (Cuvee) and Defy Gravity (Bandini) both registered impressive next out maiden wins, then earned trips to the GII Matron S. at Belmont July 3. Defy Gravity tired to finish a well-beaten fifth as the 9-5 favorite in the Matron, but Dancing Anna held her own, staying on to place third after pressing the early pace at odds of 11-1.

Two other fillies from that eight-horse key maiden heat at Pimlico have also earned their diplomas since, fifth-place finisher Silkystar (Cuvee) and sixth-place finisher Forever Noble (Noble Causeway).

Pretty good results from one of the first two-year-old races of the season, and it looks like the best is still yet to come.


LM said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LM said...

Yeah, thought Kinda Spicy looked real nice. Good stuff, Steve...

Anonymous said...

THX dude.. -SS