HHR’s 2 Year Old Stakes Watch- October 26th

Saturday’s 2 Year Old Stakes

Bern IdentityWe have another great weekend of racing ahead of us, folks, and in this edition of HHR’s 2 Year Old Stakes Watch we will be covering 4 races for Saturday, October 26th. We start of on the low-end with the $30,000 Norman Hall Stakes at Suffolk, pick up the $100,000 Pike Place Dancer Stakes at Golden Gate Fields and the $150,000 Fanfreluche Stakes at Woodbine and wrap things up with the $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs. The Jean Lafitte Stakes is a major prep race for 2 year olds shooting for the Grade 3 $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot which is also one of the 2014 Kentucky Derby Points Races. Last year, the Delta Downs Jackpot saw 3 of its contestants go on to the 2013 Kentucky Derby including Delta Downs Jackpot winner Goldencents, 3rd place Mylute and 6th place, Itsmyluckyday. MyluteThe Jean Lafitte saw Bern Identity win it last year. We haven’t seen much out of him since his 5th place finish in the Holy Bull. But the 2nd place finisher in the Jean Lafitte last year, Mylute went on to show us some impressive efforts including a 2nd place finish in the Louisiana Derby, a 5th place finish in the Kentucky Derby and a 3rd place finish in the Preakness. This race should highlight some strong, up-and-coming-talent if last year was any indication. Let’s get started!

Norman Hall Stakes at Suffolk

Suffolk DownsThe $30,000 Norman Hall Stakes is the 7th race on the card at Suffolk Downs on Saturday and will host a field of 10 Massachusetts Bred two year olds set to travel 6 furlongs. The morning line favorite is Pete at 2 to 1. No one in this field has broken maiden yet including 3 first-time starters, but Pete has the best effort on paper, running 2nd in his last outing. Second on the ML is Simply Mas at 3 to 1. Simply Mas ran 3rd in his only outing, but his speed figure from that race is comparable to Pete’s. This race will be up in the air as to who will win it, because there are really no truly impressive horses here. To go against the top 2 choices, I’m looking at Joanie’s Gem.  This 2 year old gelding ran 5th in his career debut, but I look to see a much better performances from him on Saturday. For a longshot, I like Goodbyeguinnessbok. He ran 6th in his career debut and was no threat, but I will forgive him for that. His connections are expecting a much better effort here and I would not be surprised to see it.

Pike Place Dancer at Golden Gate

Golden Gate FieldsThe $100,000 Pike Place Dancer is the 4th race on Saturday’s card at Golden Gate Fields and will feature 7 two year old fillies set to go 1 mile on the turf. The 9/5 morning line favorite is Miss Machiavelli. Miss Machiavelli ran 5th in her last race in the Surfer Girl at Santa Anita, but won the race prior at Del Mar by a head. She is picking up Dennis Carr in the irons for this race and looks fit for this one. Her strongest contender in this one looks to be Pleasant Miss. Pleasant Miss ran 6th in the Surfer Girl, but is no stranger to stakes races having run 3rd in the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes at Del Mar, 3rd in the Landaluce at Hollywood and 2nd in the Cinderella at Hollywood. This filly is overdue her win and looks ready to do so here. For a possible value play in this race, I like Time and Tides. Time and Tides won her one and only race at Golden Gate in a straight maiden 27k by 2 ¼ lengths. She has a great jockey/trainer combo with Russell Baze and William Morey and her works look solid. I expect a big run from this filly here.

Fanfreluche Stakes at Woodbine

Regal ConquerorThe $150,000 Fanfreluche Stakes is Race 6 on the card at Woodbine and will showcase a field of 8 two year old fillies going 6 furlongs. The even money favorite on the morning line is Regal Conqueror. Regal Conqueror is undefeated in two starts, her last outing being a win in the Victorian Queen Stakes at Woodbine by 2 ½ lengths. She has the top speed figure in this field and will be the one to beat. She is a front-runner, though and there are a few entries that might fight her on the early lead. The one who stands out and has the closest speed rating is my value play, Russian Jewel. I believe this young filly will ease up to a close second behind Regal Conqueror on the lead and kick it in at the finish to beat her. My other value play here who might give her a run for it is Skylander Girl. Skylander Girl has let me down in her last two races running 5th in the Natalma and 6th in the Muskoka, but I still believe she has more talent to show us than those races have shown. She could very well challenge Regal Conqueror and upset this field. I believe her morning line odds of 9/2 will fade fast with public opinion based on her last 2 races and provide for a nice payday, should she get there.

Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs

Burning WarriorThe $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs will be the 9th race on the card. We have a field of 10 two year olds with one also-eligible set to battle it out over 1 mile. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Guns Loaded. Guns Loaded ran 5th in the Del Mar Futurity and 3rd in the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar and looks to redeem himself in Louisiana. His works look good and he could be a real threat here. For value, I like Southern Blessing. Southern Blessing ran 2nd in the Sanford at Saratoga, but followed that up with a bounce in the Hopeful, running last. Regardless, I think he looks good for this race. He has some solid works and should be ready for this race and this company. He’ll also be wearing the blinkers and should come out blazing. For a longshot, I like Burning Warrior. Undefeated in 2 starts, Burning Warrior has the best speed figure in this field. He recently won the Louisiana Cup Juvenile at Louisiana Downs by 4 lengths cruising and I think he will give us quite the show come Saturday. Good luck everyone and check back with us Sunday for more 2 year old action!




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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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