Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Second Chances: Juvenile Maidens to Keep an Eye On

--Steve Sherack
The maiden watch continues in Steve Sherack’s latest installment of Second Chances. Click here to view previous blogs.

CONQUESTA (f, 2, Empire Maker--Turn to Lass {SW, $138,760}, by Bright Launch) ran a remarkable race to place second at 39-1 in her unveiling over the Belmont lawn Sept. 11 (TDN Video).

The Marc Keller colorbearer was away without a hitch from the dreaded one hole and settled into stride while racing in eighth through fractions of :22.46 and :46.40. With Joe Bravo aboard, the $200,000 FTKJUL yearling purchase made an eye-catching sweeping move on the turn for home to slingshot herself into the lead at the head of affairs. She quickly opened a clear advantage and looked to be well on her way to a victory in the stretch, but understandably got a little leg weary late, and couldn’t hold the rally of firster Somali Lemonade (Lemon Drop Kid), who powered to a 1 3/4-length win. The final time for the seven-furlong affair over the “good” going was 1:23.30. Conquesta, bred in Kentucky by Hurstland Farm and Kevin McLaughlin, was awarded a very respectable 82 Beyer. She has returned to the worktab with a pair of easy four furlongs moves over the Belmont training track, most recently covering the distance in :50.81 Oct. 3.

It’s been a pretty quiet year for trainer Robert Ribaudo [five wins from 52 starters], but his barn has suddenly come alive during the Belmont fall meeting, saddling two winners and a second-place finisher from only six starters.

DENDRITE (c, 2, Rockport Harbor--Tustin, by Conquistador Cielo) could be live at a price following a sixth-place finish at 59-1 in his grass debut at Belmont Sept. 17 (TDN Video). Away from the stalls sharply, he bumped slightly with the eventual winner at the start after breaking outward, then quickly dropped back to settle in sixth through easy fractions of :24.25 and :49.29.

Racing well within himself beneath five-pound apprentice Irad Ortiz Jr, the bay began to advance while under a tight hold entering the bend, made a strong four-wide move on the turn to challenge for command at the top of the lane, but failed to quicken in the stretch, and reported home 3 3/4 lengths behind the well-bred Our Entourage (Street Cry {Ire}--Sand Springs). The final time for the 1 1/16-mile affair over the “firm” going was 1:43.81. Our Entourage has been entered to make his next start in Saturday’s GI Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

Dendrite, owned in partnership by William Punk Jr. and Philip DiLeo and trained by David Donk, earned a 63 Beyer. Bred in Kentucky by Richard Forbush, he failed to meet his reserve twice in the sales ring, RNA’ing for $19,000 as a KEENOV weanling and $14,500 as a KEESEP yearling. The bay turned in a three-furlong move in :35.85 over the Belmont training track Oct. 4. He is entered to make his second career start in the fifth race at Belmont on Saturday, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on grass (BRIS PPs).

There’s plenty of upside for Samuel H. Rogers Jr.’s homebred SATURDAY'S FOR FUN (c, 2, Any Given Saturday--Changing World {GSW, $394,749}, by Spinning World), who finished with interest to complete the trifecta at 8-1 in his Belmont unveiling on the turf Sept. 28 (TDN Video).

Nudged along in third through an opening quarter in :23.59, the Barclay Tagg trainee showed a little immaturity in the stretch, but looked good once leveling out late to finish within 3 1/2 lengths of good-looking first-time starter Summer Front (War Front), a $475,000 KEEAPR graduate. The final time for six furlongs over the “good” course was 1:11.80. Saturday’s for Fun earned a 54 Beyer.

Rogers’s history with Saturday’s for Fun’s family dates all the way back to the third dam Reach for It (Ack Ack), who he acquired as a broodmare for $65,000 at the 1992 KEENOV sale. He enjoyed more than his share of success campaigning Saturday’s for Fun’s first two dams--Changing World and Reach the Top (Cozzene)--collecting graded stakes victories with each.

Woodford Racing’s BATTLE FORCE (c, 2, Giant’s Causeway--Leo’s Pegasus {SP, $193,312}, by Fusaichi Pegasus) looks like a good one to keep an eye out for on the West Coast.

Making his debut going a mile over the Santa Anita sod Oct. 1 (TDN Video), the bay showed little early interest trailing the field of nine through fractions of :23.22 and :47.73. With Mike Smith in the irons, he hit the gas with a sharp outside move on the turn for home, entered the stretch at least six wide, and was outkicked to the wire by Silentio (Silent Name {Jpn}), who shot through an opening along the rail in the stretch after saving all the ground to score by 3/4 of a length. Battle Force completed the exacta at odds of 10-1.

The final time over the “firm” going was 1:35.73. Battle Force, trained by John Shirreffs, earned a 68 Beyer. He was bred in Kentucky by Manganaro LLC.

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