Monday, August 29, 2011

Second Chances II: Saratoga Maiden Watch

--Steve Sherack

TDN’s Steve Sherack reveals three juvenile maidens to keep an eye out for following promising debuts at Saratoga. To view the first installment of the Second Chances Aug. 18 blog, click here.

PENN’S GRANT (c, 2, Empire Maker--Mystery Itself, by Pulpit) stamped himself as one to watch from the Barclay Tagg barn with a well-beaten, rallying third-place finish behind “TDN Rising Star” Fire On Ice (Unbridled’s Song) on the GI Travers S. undercard Aug. 27 (TDN Video).

Not given much respect at the windows at 25-1 debuting for an outfit not known for having them fully cranked at first asking (8% striking rate with firsters out of a 53-horse sample entering the card, per DRF PPs), the Lael Stable homebred was in no hurry to exit the stalls, and trailed the field of eight by 10 lengths through an opening quarter in :22.29. With Cornelio Velasquez in the irons, the dark bay caboosed the bunch as they turned for home, but came alive in the stretch, weaving his way through traffic and blowing by rivals to just miss second by a neck, finishing 11 lengths adrift the promising winner. Fire On Ice earned an 88 Beyer; Penn’s Grant received a 60 rating. The final time for the six-furlong affair over the fast going was 1:09.67.

The Jacksons also bred and raced Penn’s Grant’s dam Mystery Itself, a daughter of multiple Grade I winner You’d Be Surprised (Blushing Groom {Fr}), to a stakes victory at Delaware Park and a runner-up finish in Belmont’s GIII Pebbles H.--both grass events going two turns.

More ground and possibly a surface switch to the green stuff should be right in Penn’s Grant’s wheelhouse. Curious to see if Tagg works him on the turf going forward; his 11 breezes entering his debut were all on dirt.

SWEET ZAPPER (f, 2, Ghostzapper–Sweet Symphony, by A.P. Indy), asked to tackle two turns and turf at first asking at the Spa Aug. 19 (TDN Video), broke slowly and was settled while last of seven through fractions of :23.67 and :48.68. Tipped out five wide into the lane by Jose Lezcano, she produced a sustained rally down the center of the course while never seriously threatening the winner to complete the exacta at 24-1, two lengths behind St Pancras (Scat Daddy). The final time for the 1 1/16 miles over the firm going was 1:44.05. Sweet Zapper was awarded a 68 Beyer Speed Figure.

Owned and bred by Kinsman Farm, the chestnut is trained by Bill Mott, who was connecting with only 6% percent of his firsters from a 124-horse sample (courtesy DRF) entering the day’s action. Mott also trained Sweet Zapper’s dam Sweet Symphony for the famed Steinbrenner operation, a dominating heroine of the 2005 GI Alabama S. at Saratoga. The 9-year-old mare has also produced an unraced 3-year-old filly by Awesome Again named Sweet Again, and foaled a Medaglia d’Oro colt earlier this year. Sweet Symphony never raced on turf during her 11-race career.

STREET SAVY (f, 2, Street Sense--Home Court, by Storm Cat), a granddaughter of champion older mare Jewel Princess (Key to the Mint), fired a best-of-84 four-furlong bullet in :47 at Saratoga Aug. 1, and was backed as the 6-5 chalk in her debut for trainer Chad Brown over a sloppy sealed track Aug. 21 (TDN Video).

Urged along in the early stages to race in a close-up fifth through a :22.70 opening quarter over the off going, she made her move on the outside to challenge for the lead at the head of the affairs, but was no match for the Phipps homebred Spare Change (Bernardini), who splashed her way home to an eight-length victory. Street Savy was second-best, 10 1/4 lengths ahead of the third-place finisher. She was given a 53 Beyer. The final time for seven furlongs was 1:26.48. The well-bred bay didn’t seem to be handling the off going from the get-go and deserves another shot to see what she can do over a fast track.

Street Savy’s owner/breeder AGS Thoroughbreds extended to $1.4 million to acquire her graded-stakes placed dam Home Court in foal to Gone West at the 2005 Keeneland November sale. The operation has done quite well selling her offspring since--$300,000 Gone West filly ‘07 FTSAUG; $500,000 Unbridled’s Song colt ‘08 FTSAUG; and $350,000 Bernardini filly ‘09 KEESEP. AGS decided to hold on to Street Savy after she RNA’d for $95,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

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