HHR’s 2 Year Old Stakes Watch June 22, 2013

This Weekend’s 2 Year Old Stakes Watch

2 year old stakes watchNow that the Triple Crown season is officially over and this year’s crop of three year olds have failed to provide us with a Triple Crown winner, the hunt for next year’s contenders has begun and several horses will line up this weekend in various 2 year old stakes races to start their journey towards the crown.  This can actually be a very exciting time in thoroughbred racing as we witness 2 year olds stepping into the spotlight and either fail or become true champion horses aimed at that first Saturday in May for 2014. This weekend we’ll take a look at future prospects in 4 2 year old stakes races- the Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes & JJ’s Dream Stakes at Calder, the Debutante Stakes at Churchill and the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine.

JJ’s Dream Stakes

Mike Smith Will Ride Sweetmarys SuccessCalder’s $100,000 JJ’s dream will be the 9th race on the card for Saturday, hosting 2 year old fillies. Set at 5 ½ furlongs, 9 fillies are set to line up for this race. Of the 9, only 2 are still maidens; Follow My Luck and In Luv With Willie.  Out of all of the horses, many will be looking at Scandalous Act to pull this one in and with good reason. This filly broke her maiden in a 39k 4 ½ furlong debut May 18th at Calder. Ridden out and beating the 7 horse field by 6 ½ lengths, Scandalous Act showed a great start for her 2 year old career, beating out Proverbs Thirtyone and Liberty Fuze, 2 of her competitors also entered in the JJ’s Dream. Although I do believe Scandalous Act will fare well in this race, I just can’t overlook Sweetmarys Success. Sweetmarys Success broke her maiden in a 45k race at Churchill Downs where competition seems to be a lot stiffer.  This race was also a 4 ½ furlong race and although she only beat her competitors in that race by 3 lengths, she won that race by sticking to the rail coming out of the 3 slot. In Saturday’s race, she’ll be leaving from the 2 slot, so she’ll already be in a position she is comfortable racing from.  Hall of Fame jockey and recent Belmont winner, Mike Smith, will be aboard and should give Sweetmary’s Success an added advantage.  Throw in a hot bullet :46 and 2 workout at Keeneland, on top of 70 horses and ding, ding, ding, folks… I think we’ll have a winner!

Frank Gomez Memorial

BrothersofthetimeThe $100,000 Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes is the 10th race at Calder and is set to run at 5 ½ furlongs for 2 year olds. Of the 11 horse field, only 2 of the runners have broke maiden! This is one will be a tough one to call since the majority of the field have only been in one race, while the others have never even raced at all. Now this is what I call a bunch of babies running for high stakes, but hey, you got to get started somewhere! Mike Smith is on board again riding Yes I’m Lucky for trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr, giving this horse quite the edge. Yes I’m Lucky won his first and only outing at Monmouth at 4 ½ furlongs. The morning line has him at 10 to 1, so this is definitely a horse to watch for a good payout. I also like Brothersofthetime for this one. He won his first and only race at Calder by a little over 5 lengths. Keep an eye on this one.

Debutante Stakes

FiftyshadesofgoldFor the Debutante we shift gears and head to Churchill Downs. The 7th race on the Churchill card, the $100,000 Debutante Stakes is for 2 year old fillies and will be at 6 furlongs. This field is showing a little more experience than the ones mentioned above. Of the 11 horse field, all of them are coming off of wins from around the country so this race should be a great one to watch! The favorite in this one looks to be Teardrop. Trained by Steven Asmussen, Teardrop will have Rosie Napravnik on board and should be very comfortable with the track since she broke her maiden at Churchill, unlike most of the others. The other Churchill maiden winners in this field are More Than Beauty and Del Mar Holiday. Del Mar Holiday is another Asmussen trained horse, but it looks like Rosie chose Teardrop over this horse. More Than Beauty will be ridden by Calvin Borel and is trained by his brother, Cecil. More Than Beauty looks like a good one to give Teardrop a serious run in this one, having won her maiden race at Churchill by a little over 5 lengths. As for a non-Churchill horse, I like Fiftyshadesofgold. This filly might very well be a force to reckon with! Although she broke maiden at 20k, a lower class than Teardrop and More Than Beauty, she did it by 10 lengths in a 10 horse field!

Victoria Stakes

Bold N' GoldenWe wrap up our 2 year old stakes tour with the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine. This $150,000 2 year old stakes race is set for 5 furlongs and is the 8th race of the day at Woodbine. Another batch of inexperienced horses in this one, only 2 have won their first race, 3 have never run and one ran 3rd in his first and only outing. Oddly enough, the morning line favorite is Conquest Whiplash, who as you might have guessed, has never been in a race. He does have the best trainer/jockey combo with jockey, Eurico Da Silva and trainer Mark Casse and carrying the least amount of weight at 114, but he’s not my pick of the bunch. Personally I am leaning heavily towards Bold ‘n Golden. He has shown an early ability of being able to rally late and win, and I really like this in a two year old. I also think that Irish Media could pull a surprise upset in this one as well. He ran 3rd in his last race, but it was with a stronger class than he is facing today and his bullet work on the 5th was impressive.

So that it’s it for our 2 year old stakes round up for this weekend. There’s a lot of new blood out there and now’s the time to be on the lookout for the next champion! We’ll keep you posted as more 2 year old stakes come into play so check back with us often and feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below!



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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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