HHR’s 2 Year Old Stakes Watch- November 16th

2 Year Old Stakes for 11-16-2013

Shared BeliefThis Saturday, November 16th, 2013, we have 5 two year old stakes on tap. 2 are at Laurel with the Smart Halo and James Lewis Stakes. 2 more are at Calder with the Cut the Charm and Excellent Luck Handicaps and Hollywood will host the Sharp Cat Stakes. Before we dive into those races, let’s recap last week’s Hollywood Prevue at Hollywood Park. Shared Belief stole the show with a 7 ¾ length, hand ride win over Kobe’s Back, who ran a disappointing 2nd. I was really upset with Papa Turf in this one. He set the early pace up until the ½ but then faded just as fast and found himself next to last and 14 ¼ lengths out of it by the finish. I look for him to do much better in his next outing and have added him to my watch list. Now let’s look at Saturday’s races.

Excellent Luck Stakes at Calder

TapitThe $50,000 Excellent Luck Stakes at Calder Race Course is the 7th race on the card Saturday and will feature a field of 7 two year olds racing 5 ½ furlongs. The 7/5 morning line favorite is Elusive Blueboy. Elusive Blueboy ran 2nd in his last outing, but the speed figure he earned there puts him well above the rest of this field. He will definitely be the one to beat. For value, I like Arangol at 8 to 1 on the ML. Should one or more of these other horses contest Elusive Blueboy for the early lead, Arangol’s late running style will suit him well here. For a longshot, I’m willing to give first time starter, Tapicero, the nod in this one. He has some solid works under his belt and as a son of Tapit, he should give us quite the show in her first time out.

Cut the Charm at Calder

Calder Race CourseFollowing the Excellent Luck Stakes at Calder is the $50,000 Cut the Charm Stakes in race 8. A field of 12 two year old fillies will travel 5 ½ furlongs in this one. The 3 to 1 morning line favorite is Bluesville. Bluesville has one of the best speed ratings in this field, but I believe she is the false favorite here. A more likely candidate and my choice for value in this race is Joann’s Wildcat at 8 to 1 on the ML. She is capable of the speed needed to run down this field and I believe she will on Saturday. Her works are in line and she should be ready for this race. I have backed Proverbs Thirtyone in the past for a longshot play, so I am hesitant to do it again here since she has been a disappointment in her last 3 races. But she is dipping down to a field more suitable for her and the speed ratings for most of these fillies are quite low, so she may up and run a good race here.

Sharp Cat Stakes at Hollywood

Hollywood ParkThe $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes at Hollywood Park is the 3rd race of the day on Saturday and will feature a field of 6 two year old fillies set to run 1 1/16 mile. Georgia could be the favorite in this one with the highest speed figure. Georgia is coming out of a 4 length victory in a straight maiden 48k at Santa Anita and should be the one to beat. Be Proud could give her some trouble, although Be Proud’s speed figures are lower. She will definitely contest her for the early lead which could cause problems for both fillies. For value, I like the set-up for Pleasant Miss. She’s earned a lot of stakes experience and should be able to stalk the pace in this field.

Smart Halo at Laurel

Who's In Town & Designer Legs (Orange & Blue Silks)The $100,000 Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park is the 6th race on the card Saturday and will showcase a field of 7 two year old fillies set to go 6 furlongs. The 6/5 morning line favorite is Co Cola. Co Cola won her career opener in a straight maiden 70k at Belmont by 4 ½ lengths and looks ready for this one. At 9/5 on the ML is Who’s in Town who originally won the Grade 2 Adirondack, but was placed 4th through a disqualification. She ran a disappointing 4th in the follow-up race in the Grade 1 Alcibiad at Keeneland, but looks ready for this race. For value, I believe that Bacopa Breeze has a legitimate shot here at 8 to 1 on the morning line. She won her last race by 8 ½ lengths and her works indicate that she will do well in this crowd.

James Lewis at Laurel

Debt CeilingThe $100,000 James Lewis III Stakes is the 8th race on the card at Laurel and will host a field of 12 two year olds traveling 6 furlongs. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Corfu who recently ran 2nd in the Grade 2 Belmont Futurity. Corfu was also the winner of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special back in August. There will be a ton of front-end speed in this one including Aaron’s Orient, Pure Sensation and Debt Ceiling to name a few. If this turns into a real speed burner and one of the front-runners pulls off a narrow victory, I’m rooting for Debt Ceiling at 5 to 1 on the morning line. For a longshot, I like Barracuda Wayne at 30 to 1. He won the Strike Your Colors at Delaware back in July and I believe he will put on a good show here. He may not win it all, but I believe he should get in the money. Good luck everybody!




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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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