Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Second Chances...

Steve Sherack

TDN’s Racing Editor Steve Sherack takes a closer look at a pair of very well-bred maidens coming off runner-up efforts in their debuts at Hollywood and Churchill, respectively.

STANWYCK (f, 3, Empire Maker--Set Them Free {MSW, $173,275}, by Stop the Music) looks like another promising runner for Team Zenyatta following a debut second behind “TDN Rising Star” Distracting (Distorted Humor) at Betfair Hollywood Park June 23 (TDN Video).

Out of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss’s multiple-stakes winning bluehen mare Set Them Free, the half-sister to GI Kentucky Derby hero Giacomo (Holy Bull) and MGISW Tiago (Pleasant Tap) was let go at odds of 20-1 for a barn that hits with only 11% of its firsters.

In no hurry to exit stall eight once they sprung the latch, the bay quickly trailed the salty field of eight through fractions of :22.02 and :44.92, finding herself an insurmountable 16 lengths off the mark while saving ground at the second call. With rider Garrett Gomez remaining cool despite losing contact with the field, Stanwyck came alive when guided off the fence on the turn for home, and turned in an impressive stretch rally down the center of the course to easily collect runner-up honors, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of the third-place finisher. Stanwyck was 4 3/4 lengths adrift the aforementioned rocketship from the Bob Baffert barn.

The final time for 6 1/2 furlongs over the Cushion Track was 1:16.77. Stanwyck, trained by John Shirreffs, earned a respectable 73 Beyer.

GULFPORT (c, 2, Unbridled’s Song--Dream Supreme {MGISW, $1,007,680}, by Seeking The Gold), a half-brother to GI Hopeful S. hero Majestic Warrior (A.P. Indy), also flashed some ability while placing second in his Churchill Downs debut for trainer Dale Romans June 29 (TDN Video).

Not much of a secret at 8-5, the $775,000 FTSAUG yearling chased the early leaders along the inside from fourth through an opening quarter in :22.64. With Kent Desormeaux aboard, Gulfport showed some courage splitting horses in the stretch, but couldn’t keep the momentum going while racing on the inside of fellow firster Maybe So (More Than Ready) in the late stages, and came up 1 1/2 lengths short. The final time for 4 1/2 furlongs over the “fast” going was a sharp :51.63. Gulfport earned an 83 Beyer.

Gulfport, a gray son of the very talented GI Test S. and GI Ballerina H. heroine Dream Supreme, is owned in partnership by Mike Rutherford, Michael Lauffer and breeder Kinsman Stable.

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