HHR’s 2 Year Old Stakes Watch July 20th-21st

2 Year Old Stakes Watch- July 20-21

On Rainbow BridgeLast weekend’s 2 year old stakes watch was a busy one, producing several stand-out winners. At Hollywood, we had She’s a Tiger winning the Landaluce by ¾ of a length over E Equalsmcsquared in 2nd  and 1 ¾ lengths over Pleasant Miss at 3rd. In the Juvenile Championship Stakes, my man Gary Stevens and Alpine Luck held the front-end down for a  ½ a length victory over Ontology and Willie B Awesome. At Colonial, we caught Silvertonguedtommy who edged out My Corinthian by a head with an impressive win in the Chenery. Thank You Marylou pulled off a very nice 3 ¾ length win over La Mejor Fiesta in the Tippett. On Sunday at Hastings, Ole’s Miss bested Architecture in the Boulevard Casino Stakes and Deviance squeeked one out over Three Way Trade in the New Westminster.  At Woodbine, the Shady Well produced 2 impressive runs from the winner, On Rainbow Bridge and 2nd place finisher, Paladin Bay. This weekend we have 5 2 year old stake races to consider. The analysis for Friday’s CTBA Stakes at Del Mar can be found here. We also have the Colin Stakes at Woodbine and the Florida Stallion Dr. Fager Stakes and the Florida Stallion Desert Vixen Stakes at Calder on Saturday. Sunday wraps up this weekend’s 2 year old action at Saratoga with the Sanford Stakes. Let’s get to it!

Colin Stakes at Woodbine

Go GreeleyThe $125,000 Colin Stakes at Woodbine is set for 6 furlongs and is the 3rd race on the card for Saturday. The clear-cut, even money morning line favorite in the Colin is Conquest Two Step who recently won his maiden race at Churchill Downs by 2 lengths.  Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, Conquest Two Step is showing some really sharp works and the potential to win this race. My only concern about this horse is that in the 5 ½ furlong race at Churchill he went into the stretch with a 4 length lead that quickly dwindled to 2 lengths by the finish. This was mostly because he set a blistering early pace that had to have winded him towards the end of the race. I’m afraid that if he runs the same way in the Colin, he’ll get caught in the finish. Ba Ba Brett, who ran 2nd in the Victoria at Woodbine, might be a good value play in the Colin. Plagued with a slow start and a wide trip, Ba Ba Brett lost by 2 ¾ lengths in the Victoria. Should he get a better trip this time out, he could have the energy to run down Conquest Two step and at a steep price. For a first time starter, I like Tropic of Artie. This gelding has some really fine works at Woodbine and will have Luis Contreras on board. I look for Tropic of Artie to at least be in the money. My top pick, however, would have to be Go Greeley. Go Greeley ran 2nd by a nose in the Clarendon to Spin the King. Unlike Conquest Two Step, this 2 year old was gaining ground in the final stretch even though he had a slow start. Go Greeley is fit and ready to run this race and I believe he’ll take it.

Florida Stallion Dr. Fager Stakes at Calder

Calder Race CourseThe $75,000 Florida Stallion Dr. Fager Stakes is a 6 furlong race and is the 6th race on the card for Calder on Saturday. This race is in honor of the legendary Dr. Fager, who held four titles in 1968 for champion handicap horse, champion sprinter, co-champion grass horse and the coveted Horse of the Year.  The 2 to 1 morning line favorite for this race is My Brown Eyed Guy who recently broke maiden at Calder by 1 ¾ lengths over Copa Del Rey. Just like this Saturday’s race, that race was at 6 furlongs, making these two horses the only 2 in this field that have traveled this distance. For that reason, both of these horses will be the ones to beat in the Dr. Fager. Best Plan Yet ran 4th in the Frank Gomez Memorial at Calder and might have the experience needed to win this race, though and could be a contender. He’s sporting several bullet works and looks to be prepped well for this one. My value play in the Dr. Fager is Hearty Congrats.  He ran 4th in his only race and had a horrible go of it, throwing his head and enduring a poor start. Still, out of the 8 horse field he made a valiant run up for fourth picking off 2 horses and gaining 2 ½ lengths in the final stretch. Of all the maiden races, Hearty Congrats ran 4th in a 46k, while the others were lower in class. I think this makes him dangerous and will be over-looked in the Dr. Fager.

Florida Stallion Desert Vixen Stakes at Calder

The 8th race on the card at Calder Saturday is the $75,000 Florida Stallion Desert Vixen Stakes. Two year old fillies will travel 6 furlongs in the Desert Vixen. As the 2nd place finisher in the J J’s Dream at Calder, In Luv With Willie should go off as the favorite. Sweetmarys Success bested In Luv With Willie in the J J’s Dream by 1 ½ lengths, but what impressed me the most about this filly is the 4 ½ length gain she ate up in the final stretch to come up for second. This little girl is a beast! Check out that replay below-

Pedro Monterrey JrNow I’m certainly not one to tout the favorite, but I must say that after a run like that I’m in love with In Luv With Willie! With Pedro Monterrey Jr. back on board, this filly is definitely the one to beat. But, since I feel obligated to find you some value plays, let’s see what we can come up with. In Luv With Willie’s stable mate, Scandalous Act was also in the J J’s dream but finished a disappointing 7th. Although it may seem a little premature for a two year old with only 2 races under her belt, I feel she may have bounced in that race and should come back strong in the Desert Vixen. She won her maiden race by 6 ½ lengths and if she is feeling her oats on Saturday, she could be competition for In Luv With Willie. Sticking with the J J’s Dream theme, I think Proverbs Thirtyone could be a value play here. In that race, Proverbs Thirtyone really didn’t even show up, running dead last in 9th. Prior to that, she was running well and you have to wonder if she didn’t bounce in that race as well. What I like seeing here is that this filly’s connections are changing it up a bit by putting a new jockey on (Jeffrey Sanchez) and putting the blinkers on her for the first time. With a little luck and a prayer, Proverbs Thirtyone could very well be in the money and at a nice price, too.

Sanford Stakes at Saratoga

Debt Ceiling Headed to Sanford StakesAhhhh, the Sanford Stakes… this race always gets me excited! There is a lot of history with this race, so if you missed it, check out guest author Emily White’s The Sanford Stakes and its Notorious Legacy. Emily shares her insight into this legendary event and you don’t want to miss it! The $200,000 Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga runs 6 furlongs and is the 9th race on the card at Saratoga on Sunday, July 21st, 2013. The first horse that many will be looking at, including me, is Debt Ceiling. This John Robb trained horse is phenomenal and has proven it more than any other horse in this field. Winning the Rollicking at Pimlico and the Bashford Manor at Churchill (not to mention his 38k maiden win at Laurel), Debt Ceiling looks like the horse to beat in the Sanford. But they don’t call Saratoga the “House of Upsets” and the “Graveyard of Champions” for nothing, so let’s see who can give this horse a run. Hollywood Talent ran 2nd to Debt Ceiling in the Bashford Manor and many blame that loss on the sloppy track. John Velazquez was on board for that race, but in the Sanford, Joel Rosario will be taking the reigns as Velazquez will be on the only filly in this race, Yes Liz. Rosario was Hollywood Talent’s mount in his maiden win, so I expect a big run out of him. Todd Pletcher has 2 entries with the filly Yes Liz and Starlight Racing’s All in Blue. Both horses will be dangerous in the Sanford. Pletcher always seems to have the best showing at Saratoga, so it’s hard to dismiss any of his entries.  All in Blue won his 70k maiden race at Belmont on Independence Day by 6 ¼ lengths. I look for amazing things out of this horse and Sunday’s Sanford Stakes could very well kick it off. There is a lot of talent in this 7 horse field, so no matter who wins this race- keep an eye on all of them in future outings. Personally, I’ll be adding every horse in this field to my “watch” list- they are all that good.



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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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