Friday, April 27, 2012

Sophomore Maiden Winners to Watch...

TDN’s Racing Editor Steve Sherack takes a closer look at a pair of recent sophomore maiden winners that could make some noise this summer.

JOHANNES (f, 3, Johannesburg--Born Perfect, by Mr. Prospector) couldn’t have looked any more impressive in her Woodbine unveiling for trainer Reade Baker Apr. 8 (TDN Video).

Drawn on the fence, the $190,000 OBSAPR graduate left the stalls running, and was pressed early through an opening quarter in :21.87. With James McAleney in the irons, the Harlequin Ranches colorbearer began to edge clear on the far turn, opened daylight when briefly shaken up at the head of affairs, and went on to steamroll by an eye-catching 11 1/2 lengths, clocking her final eighth in :11.74. The final time for five furlongs in :56.80 gave the course record of : 56 2/5 a good run for its money. One race earlier on the card, 4-year-old Canadian stakes winner Tree Pose (Old Forrester) covered the same distance in :57.77 in a restricted allowance.

Johannes, bred in Kentucky by Padua Stables LLC, earned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort. The half-sister to Devereux (Forestry), MSW & GSP, $319,860, recently returned to the worktab with an easy five-furlong move over the Woodbine training track in 1:05 Apr. 22.

Have you ever seen a Hawthorne maiden winner crack triple digits on the Beyer scale?

Enter THERMAL CAT (c, 3, Tale of the Cat--Miss Thermal Tech {MSP, $356,658}, by Distinctive Pro). The Coffeepot Stables homebred earned a gaudy 102 Beyer rating when airing by 8 1/2 lengths and defeating older horses in his Apr. 11 debut (TDN Video).

Backed as the 2-1 favorite, Thermal Cat poked his head in front through a :22.37 opening quarter, began to shake clear on the far turn, and drew off nicely in the stretch after a couple of cracks from Harry Vega’s whip. The half-brother to the stakes-winning Feeling Fancy (Sky Mesa) stopped the timer for six furlongs in 1:11.36.

Thermal Cat’s maiden win immediately places him in elite company amongst his fellow crop of 3-year-olds on the DRF Beyer Speed Figure Leaderboard.

His figure of 102 locks him in a three-way tie for fourth on the Sophomore Leaderboard with GISW Creative Cause and MGSW Secret Circle. He trails only the likely Derby favorite in Bodemeister (108), the sidelined GIII Holy Bull S. hero Algorithms (105), and the very promising unbeaten Bourbon Courage (103), who lines up in Saturday’s GIII Derby Trial S. at Churchill Downs.

Looks like Wayne Catalano may have another nice one on his hands.

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