HHR’s 2 Year Old Stakes Watch-September 14th

2 Year Old Stakes races 9-14-2013

Miss ScataliciousFor Saturday, September 14th we have 9 2 year old stakes races to handicap. Before we get into that, let’s talk about Friday’s race at Barretts, the Phillip D shepherd. This makes the second race at Barretts that I’ve tried to handicap and I have to say that so far, I can’t pull in a value play. As a matter of fact, if you happen to like even money favorites as your play, Barretts at Fairplex looks like the place to bet. In the Phillip D Shepherd, even money favorite Miss Scatalicious beat out the other even money favorite, Be Proud. Talk about a disappointing race! Since no one ran up to challenge Miss Scatalicious for the lead, she wired it with ease. My value play, Santa Lucia ran just as I expected her to, making a late run and coming in for third, but just couldn’t get there. Well, such is the life of the handicapper. Maybe we can find something better in the 9 we have on tap for Saturday.

Barretts Debutante Stakes

BarrettsFeeling a little nervous about my selections so far at Barretts, I figured I would get this one done first. Maybe… just maybe we can find something other than even money here! The $100,000 Barretts Debutante Stakes is the 10th race on the card for Saturday and will host a field of 10 two year old fillies set to run a distance of 6 ½ furlongs. The 2 to 1 morning line favorite is City by the Bay. In her first effort out, city by the Bay won her maiden race at Santa Rosa in a straight maiden 25k. She won that race by 4 ½ lengths and earned a nice speed figure, but there are several horses here that out-class her and although I think she’ll be the threat here, I also think that she can be beat. To challenge her for that front end lead, I think Side Letter should give her trouble. Side Letter ran a disappointing 7th in the Sorrento Stakes and obviously had some issues, so I won’t count that race against her. She’ll have the blinkers on for this one and should take the lead early. She’s a gate to wire type of horse and should be able to pull that off here. My other value option in this race is Perched. She has yet to break maiden and although she bounced in the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes at Del Mar running 7th, she ran a nice place finish in a straight maiden 75k at Del Mar. She also ran 4th in the Lost in the Fog and the Landaluce Stakes. She should be ready here and I look for a late charge from her.

Small Wonder Stakes

Jonesin for JerryNow we shift gears to Delaware. The $75,000 Small Wonders Stakes is the 2nd race on the card at Delaware Park. This field of 6 two year old fillies are set to run 5 ½ furlongs Saturday. The 9/5 morning line favorite is Hop the Six. Hop the Six ran 5th in the Adirondack at Saratoga, but in the race previous to that one she captured a 3 ½ length victory in the White Clay Creek Stakes at Delaware. She will definitely be the horse to beat here. Jonesin for Jerry could be the threat here at 5/2 on the morning line. Jonesin for Jerry tried her skills at Saratoga in the Schuylerville Stakes running 7th and followed that up with a 5th place finish in the Colleen at Monmouth.  She should be much better suited for this field and should do well here. For value, I like My T Swift. She has performed well at Delaware and should feel right at home in this race. Her works and speed figures say that she should be in the money.

First State Dash at Delaware

Debt CeilingRace 4 on the card at Delaware is the $75,000 First State Dash Stakes hosting a field of 7 two year olds. This race will be 5 ½ furlongs. The 3/5 morning line favorite is Debt Ceiling and with good reason.  After winning his first 3 races including the Rollicking at Pimlico and the Bashford Manor at Churchill, Debt Ceiling hit his first stumbling block in the Sanford at Saratoga. I’m not sure what happened to him in that race, but the Sanford is known for rocking the world of racing legends and although Debt Ceiling is not a racing legend just yet, he certainly has some potential. I won’t hold that race against him, especially with this field and as much as I hate to tout the favorite, I’m going to here. He took his beating at Saratoga and has trained hard ever since, gearing up for this race. His only real competition in the First State Dash is Stormin Wendy, one of the two fillies entered here. Debt Ceiling and Stormin Wendy both share the same trainer in John Robb. She will definitely come running at Debt Ceiling, but in the end I believe she will pull in at 2nd place.

Foolish Pleasure Stakes at Calder

East HallFor the next set of two year old races we head to Calder. The 6th race on the card at Calder is the $100,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes. This field of 8 will travel 1 mile 70yds. The 9/5 morning line favorite is Best Plan Yet. Best Plan Yet ran 2nd in the Florida Stallion Affirmed Stakes at Calder and has yet to win a stakes race despite 2 other efforts in the Dr. Fager and the Frank Gomez Memorial. He has the best speed figure here and will be tough to beat. Looking to challenge him is Brothersofthetime at 3 to 1 on the morning line. Brothersofthetime recently won the Seacliff by a nose at Calder on August 24th. He has some solid works and looks like a true contender for the Foolish Pleasure. For value plays, I have two here for you to consider. The first is East Hall. East Hall just missed the win by a nose in the Seacliff to Brothersofthetime. While Brothersofthetime was losing ground in that race, East Hall was gaining on him and I feel the distance here will suit him well. My other consideration would have to be Copa Del Rey. Although he’s still looking for a maiden win, I feel that he has an opportunity to take the early lead, control the pace and bring this one in.

Brave Raj Stakes at Calder

Flat Out CharmingThe $85,000 Brave Raj Stakes is the 7th race on the card for Calder Saturday and features a field of 9 two year old fillies set to trek 1 mile 70 yards. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Light Bringer who recently ran second in the Lindsay Frolic Stakes at Calder, missing victory by a nose. Her works are solid and she’s got a nice jockey/trainer combo in jockey, Jeffrey Sanchez and trainer, William White. I wouldn’t consider her the strong favorite her, though as many of the fillies in this field look as if they could run just as well. Many will look to Flat Out Charming to give her the biggest challenge at morning line 4 to 1. Flat Out Charming won the Lindsay Frolic gaining ground down the stretch and picking off 3 horses in the process. I look for Flat Out Charming to be the crowd favorite here, but I could be wrong. I think the early leader in this race will be Look of a Star, but I am not convinced that she can keep that early lead at this distance. My value/longshot in this race is Cambiata. I look for this filly to stalk the pace and make a late surge at the wire. At 10 to 1 on the ML, I believe she will be overlooked and pay well.

Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes

Kentucky DownsSwitching over to Kentucky Downs for the next set of races, the 5th race on the card is the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes. This field of 9 two year old fillies will travel 7 furlongs on the turf. The 3 to 1 morning line favorite is Lien On Kitten. This daughter of Kitten’s Joy recently broke maiden at Arlington Park in a straight maiden 38k by 2 ¾ lengths. I believe a lot of hope is being placed on her pedigree, though and the true favorite her should be J J Julep. This filly truly loves the turf having broken maiden over the turf at Ellis Park and winning by 6 ¼ lengths. She has the speed figures to get this race won and will have Rosie Napravnik in the irons as an added advantage. The problem of course is that she will have to put up a good fight to get the front-end lead over some of the fillies entered here and I feel that a speed duel will cause all involved to fall short. My value play here is going to have to be La Mejor Fiesta. She ran 2nd in the Tippett at Colonial and loves to make that late run for the wire. In this case, it should work in her advantage. She’s also been training for this race since the Tippett and her works are sharp. Should front-end speed prevail here, my longshot choice is Beccawhit at 20 to 1 on the morning line. She recently discovered how much she likes to be on the lead at Ellis and I feel she will be there again on Saturday.

Kentucky Downs Juvenile Stakes

Boji MoonFollowing that race is the $150,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Stakes hosting a field of 8 two year olds traveling 7 furlongs over the turf. The 2 to 1 morning line favorite is Here’s Johnny. Here’s Johnny won his maiden race at Churchill Downs in a straight maiden 45k by 2 ½ lengths over the turf. He followed that race up with a trip to France and a 4th place finish in the Prix de la Vallee d’Auge. Say that 3 times real fast, lol. That race was on August 3rd and although it’s been over a month, I wonder if this young colt is ready for this race. 5/2 on the morning line is Boji Moon who honestly looks much the best in this race, hands down. His two wins at Prairie Meadows boasted speed figures that tower over the rest of this field, including his 12 length win in the Iowa Cradle Stakes. Again, I’m not one to tout the favorite, but Boji Moon just looks too good here. Should front-end speed not hold up in this race, my longshot choice is Sweet Daddy at 8 to 1. Coming from way back in his debut, Sweet Daddy won a straight maiden 38k at Indiana Downs and I look for him to at least be in the money here.

Natalma Stakes at Woodbine

Skylander GirlFor our last set of races we head to Woodbine and start with the 7th race on the card, the Grade 2 $200,000 Natalma Stakes. The Natalma will showcase a field of 10 fillies to go 1 mile on the turf. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Ready to Act. Ready to Act won her debut in a straight maiden 80k at Saratoga in a 5 ½ furlong race over the turf by ½ a length. The problem I have with this filly is that she is in a field full of stalking and come-from-behind horses which means front end speed could very well determine the outcome of this race. Her main competitor on the morning line is Spring Likeacobra at 3 to 1 on the ML. Again, my issue with her is her late running style. I keep touting this filly, which I am sure you may get tired of especially after her last outing, but I believe my value play here is Skylander Girl. I’m not sure what happened to her in the Muskoka, but I love the idea to test her on the turf. She has a nice turf work on September 6th that makes me feel even better about it and the fact that she loves the lead makes her a good play here at really nice odds.

Summer Stakes at Woodbine

Asserting Bear Edges Out Tropic of ArtieFinally, the last race for our two year old stakes watch is the Grade 2 $200,000 Summer Stakes. Race 9 on the card at Woodbine for Saturday, the Summer Stakes will host a field of 10 two year olds going 1 mile over the turf. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Asserting Bear. Asserting Bear won his second outing at Woodbine in a straight maiden 67k where he won by a head in a 7 furlong race over the turf. Looking to give him a challenge is Tropic of Artie who is 3 to 1 on the ML. Tropic of Artie has some stakes experience under his belt as well as some turf experience, even though he has yet to break maiden. Asserting Bear beat him by a head in their last race, but I don’t believe either of these two year olds are the clear favorites here. For the sake of his speed figure, I believe that Matador deserves a look. He ran 4th in the Vandal and I’m curious to see how this son of Malibu Moon handles the turf. For my longshot play I’m looking at 20 to 1 Spanish Flower. He also has an excellent speed rating and could pay huge if he gets lose out on the lead. He will definitely get a touch of the “just-in-case” money in my wagering on Saturday!






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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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