Friday, November 16, 2012

Guest Blog: Analyzing the Discovery

by Carly Silver
On November 17, Aqueduct Racetrack welcomes the 68th running of the 1-and-1/8 mile Discovery Handicap (gr. III). Named for the famed handicapper and excellent broodmare sire, the Discovery has been a notch on the belt of such stars as Fappiano, Left Bank, Dynaformer, Kelso, and Forego. This year's contenders, which make up a field of six, might be worthy successors to those whose hoofprints preceded them.

1. Pedigree: Guilt Trip bears a pedigree worth noting - his sire, Pulpit, barely needs an introduction. This top sire son of A.P. Indy has fathered such luminaries as Tapit and Corinthian and traces to a grand female family: Pulpit's fourth dam is a full sister to the great Round Table.

Guilt Trip's dam, Mysterieuse Etoile, has foaled two other winners. The Quiet American mare is out of good English juvenile Rose Indien, dam of U.S. stakes winner Salty Sea and granddam of group II victor Silver Grecian. Under Guilt Trip's third dam, Green Rosy, are Majorien-tied for third-best ranking among European two-year-olds in 1996-and Melbourne Cup winner Americain. Farther back, the family includes grade I-winning filly Tarlow and two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Flat Out.

Connections: With only nine starts so far at the Aqueduct meet, trainer Chad Brown has notched one win and over $80,000 in earnings. In the irons on Guilt Trip is Javier Castellano, who recently took the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. I) on Zagora.

Past performances/works: Though he hasn't run in a stakes race, Guilt Trip has won two of his three starts this year. He breezed a half-mile on the dirt on November 11 in :49 4/5.

2. Adirondack King is bred to run all day. His late sire, 2007 champion older male Lawyer Ron, traces in tale-female to the blue hen Uvira II, dam of the prolific Missy Baba and ancestress of A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, and Havre de Grace. Adirondack King is out of Jostle (by Brocco, a Breeders' Cup Juvenile-winning son of Kris S.), winner of the 2000 grade I CCA Oaks and Alabama Stakes. Jostle's dam, Moon Drone, was by Drone (whose half-sister, Lady Capulet, foaled top sire El Prado) and out of Cute Little Moon, dam of stakes winner Foolin Spruce. This line traces to Double Sun (who was aptly named, being inbred 3x2 to Sun Teddy), ancestress of Santa Anita Handicap winner Ruhlmann.

Connections: Adirondack King boasts the same team that brought about his second-place finish to Stephanoatsee in the Barbaro Stakes-namely, trainer John Servis (of Smarty Jones fame) and jockey Jeremy Rose (best known for his rides aboard Afleet Alex).

Past performances/works: Adirondack King hasn't won this year, but finished a close second to Stephanoatsee last time out in the Barbaro, beating My Adonis in the process. He most recently breezed five furlongs in 1:02 and change.

3. Stephanoatsee ups the pedigree quotient of this year's Discovery Handicap. By A.P. Indy, he is out of 2011 Broodmare of the Year Oatsee, dam of Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford, grade I victress Lady Joanne, and graded stakes winners Baghdaria and Afleeting Lady. By Unbridled, Oatsee is from With Every Wish, whose maternal relatives include millionaires A.P. Jet and Tappiano; she descends from Mixed Marriage, dam of Atan (sire of Sharpen Up) and granddam of excellent sires Gone West and Known Fact.

Connections: Rider Junior Alvarado has taken a shining to New York racing, most recently winning the Empire Classic. He's also ahead of the likes of Edgar Prado in the current Aqueduct jockey standings. Stephanoatsee's trainer H. Graham Motion is perhaps best known for his work with Animal Kingdom.

Past performances/works: After finishing fourth after a bad trip in the grade II Pennsylvania Derby in September, Stephanoatsee triumphed in the Barbaro in October. He breezed four furlongs in 1:01 2/5 on November 10.

4. Called to Serve is a graded stakes-placed Afleet Alex gelding out of the Kris S. mare Andover Lady. Joanne Nor, former owner of Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Desert Stormer, bred several generations of this family before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2009. Her homebreds from this clan include multiple grade I winner Behrens, Hard to Copy's half-brother, and Texas Tammy, dam of grade II victor Cowboy Cal. Hot Novel's third dam, Cam Axe, was also the great-granddam of CCA Oaks victress Golden Bri. This female family traces to the great broodmare Etoile Filante, dam of Preakness victor High Quest and full sister to the good sire Chatterton. Etoile Filante's tail-female descendants include Arts and Letters, Grindstone, Pass Catcher, and Silverbulletday.

Connections: Called to Serve's trainer, Nick Canani, ranks low on the Aqueduct standings thus far. Jockey Joel Rosario, though, is on fire at the track, earning over $13 million so far this year.

Past performances/works: Winner of two of eight starts this year, Called to Serve last finished second in October in the Temperence Hill Stakes, which Our Entourage took by a nose. He came in third behind Willy Beamin and Politicallycorrect in the Oklahoma Derby, before which he outran Hansen to finish third in the West Virginia Derby (gr. II). He last breezed five furlongs in 1:02 2/5.

5. Our Entourage can count himself one amongst an illustrious entourage, including Zenyatta and Street Sense, of horses sired by Street Cry-that is, if he continues to prove himself on the track. Beyond his own talent-winning the Dubai World Cup and Stephen Foster Handicap-Street Cry boasts a regal European pedigree. By top stallion Machiavellian out of Irish Oaks winner Helen Street (by Epsom and Irish Derbies winner Troy), he has a full sister, Helsinki, who foaled European champ Shamardal; other close-up relatives include Japanese Derby victor Neo Universe.

Our Entourage isn't just bred for distance on top, however. His dam, grade I turf winner Sand Springs, is by grass influence Dynaformer, and has foaled additional stakes winner Mellon Martini. Her dam, Lovely Martha, is out of the Alleged mare Darling Lady. Darling Lady is from Olmec, by top Australian stallion Pago Pago; Olmec foaled stakes winner Navajo Princess, dam of European champion Dancing Brave and French group I winner Jolypha (in turn dam of grade I victor Redwood).

Connections: Our Entourage is ridden by Aqueduct's leading jockey, Ramon Dominguez. His conditioner, David Jacobson, is also on a roll, taking five out of fourteen starts so far this meet.

Past performances/works: Seventh last time out on the Aqueduct turf, Our Entourage defeated Called to Serve in October. Before that, he took an allowance race at Parx by 5 ½ lengths. He last worked four furlongs on the Aqueduct dirt in :51 1/5.

6. Willy Beamin, carrying the high weight of 121 pounds, took this year's grade I King's Bishop Stakes. Though the King's Bishop was a sprint, this gelding also won the 1 1/8-mile Albany Stakes. His sire, Suave, was a graded stakes-winning A.P. Indy colt out of the grade I-winning mare Urbane. His second dam, Dumfries Pleasure, was sired by Derby and Preakness winner Pleasant Colony and was a half-sister to top European sire Lyphard and Washington, D.C., International winner Nobiliary. This female family also includes grade I winner Flower Alley, sire of Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another.

The dam of Willy Beamin, stakes winner Big Tease, is by Gold Token, a son of Mr. Prospector. Big Tease's dam, Another Rita, is a half-sister to grade III winner Eagle Toast (both are out of Aquarian, by Grey Eagle, a son of Heliopolis). Aquarian's dam, Yvon, was by Succession, a regally bred son of Beau Pere and the blue hen Boudoir II. From there, Willy Beamin's family is a series of fairly undistinguished sires and dams.

Connections: Jockey Wilmer Garcia has won five of thirty-four starts so far this meet, while trainer Dick Dutrow-a perennially leader atop the rankings-has taken five of fifteen starts.

Past performances/works: Second last time out in the Oklahoma Derby, Willy Beamin is the lone grade I winner in the field. He won the Albany Stakes over the Discovery distance of 1 1/8 miles this year. He last went five furlongs in 1:04:32 on November 3.

My pick: With the incomparable Ramon Dominguez up, Our Entourage is ready to take on Willy Beamin in the Discovery. He's got four pounds on the likely favorite, is bred for distance, and won at one and one-eighth miles recently.

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