HHR’s 2 Year Old Stakes Watch- September 7th

2 Year Old Stakes for September 7th

TamarandoThis Saturday, September 7th, 2013, we have 6 two year old stakes races to handicap. Before we get into that, let me recap what happened in the 2 two year old stakes races on the closing day at Del Mar. In the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf Stakes, Diamond Bachelor won wire-to-wire by 2 ½ lengths over Ontology. The real shocker was in the Del Mar Futurity later that day. Late running Tamarando made his charge from stretch to finish, holding off Dance With Fate by ½ a length for the victory. Tamarando paid $17.80 for the win and $7.60 for the place. Of the 6 two year old stakes races we have on tap for Saturday, 2 are at Louisiana Downs, 2 are at Arlington and 2 are at Churchill. At Louisiana Downs on Super Derby day we have the Happy Ticket Stakes and the Sunday Silence Stakes. At Arlington we’ll be covering the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity and the Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes. Finally at Churchill we have the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes and the Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes. Time to get crack-a-lackin!

Sunday Silence Stakes

Got ShadesRace 5 on the card at Louisiana Downs Saturday is the $100,000 Sunday Silence stakes named after the winner of the ’89 Super Derby and all around “super” horse, Sunday Silence. A field of 7 two year olds will travel 1 mile on the turf in this race. The 9/5 morning line favorite is Got Shades. This 2 year old recently broke maiden in the Sunny’s  Halo at Louisiana Downs on August 3rd by 3 ¾ lengths over the turf. That race was a 7 ½ furlong event, so getting the mile here should be no problem for this colt. He’s showing some strong workouts and has a great jockey/trainer combo in jockey, Roman Chapa and trainer, Danny Pish. Looking to give Got Shades a challenge is the second morning line favorite, Mighty Brown, at 5/2. This son of Big Brown has yet to break maiden, but has put up some strong efforts at Arlington Park and Indiana Downs with 2 places and one show. Like Got Shades, Mighty Brown likes to come from way off of the pace and make a late run. My value play here will be Smilin Phil. Smilin Phil recently broke maiden at Evangeline Downs, winning that race by 4 ½ lengths. Phil may be a bit of a stretch for my pick in this race, but he is the only front-end speed here. I believe that if he gets out on the lead alone, as he should, he’ll run away smilin’.

Happy Ticket Stakes

Redgrass Cat Edges Out Thegirlinthatsong in Donnie Wilhite MemorialThe $100,000 Happy Ticket Stakes is the 8th race on the card at Louisiana Downs for Super Derby Day where a field of 11 two year old fillies will duke it out 1 mile over the turf. The morning line favorite at 7/2 is Redgrass Cat. I liked this filly in the Donnie Wilhite Memorial and she proved me right by making a late run and winning by a neck over another contender in this race, Thegirlinthatsong. I look for big efforts from both Redgrass Cat and Thegirlinthatsong here. Another contender here is Bern Legacy. She won her career opener at Ellis Park, coming off of the pace and winning by a neck in a 5 ½ fulong race over the turf. With Robby Albarado in the irons, this little filly should make a big run Saturday. But for my value play, I’m sticking with Elusive Cowgirl. She was one of my value plays for the Catcharisingstar Stakes at Calder on August 24th, but ran a disappointing 5th. I’m giving her another shot here for many reasons, but mostly because she has ran consistent speed figures in her last 2 races and she has shown she can handle the turf at those speeds.

Arlington-Washington Futurity

Arlington ParkWe shift now to Race 7 on the card at Arlington Park for the Grade 3 $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity. This field of 8 two year olds will travel 1 mile for this event. The morning line favorite at 3 to 1 is High Roll. This 2 year old gelding is fresh from his August 3rd career opener at Arlington where he won by 3 ¾ lengths. High Roll looks good for this race, but I have my reservations. I believe that Whyruawesome is better suited for this field and should be a strong consideration. He recently won his career start at Arlington on August 16th, coming from the back of the pack and lugging in a ½ length victory at 7 furlongs. His time was good and he has Diego Sanchez back in the irons for this race. There is a lot of front end speed in this race, but if front end speed happens to prevail here, I like Lotsa Mischief for my longshot play. Lotsa Mischief broke his maiden in his second start at Prairie Meadows by 9 lengths and earned the top speed rating in this field. Mighty Brown would have been my choice here for a value play, but his connections have opted to run at Louisiana Downs instead. That being said, my value play will have to go to Captain’s Affair.  He has run decently in Ireland and will have Mike Smith in the irons for this race.

Arlington-Washington Lassie

ArlingtonRace 9 on the card at Arlington will be the $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie, showcasing a field of 11 two year old fillies that will trek 1 mile. The 3 to 1 morning line favorite is Maria Maria. In her 3rd start, this daughter of Curlin broke maiden by 3 ½ lengths in a straight maiden 38k at Arlington on July 19th.  She has a great jockey/trainer combo with jockey, Francisco Torres and trainer, James DiVito and should prove tough to beat in this race. Next in the morning line odds is a trio at 6 to 1 odds. My favorite of that bunch is Tamazula. Tamazula has the top speed figure in this field winning her second start at Arlington by 3 ½ lengths. She has a nice jockey/trainer combo in Kent Desormeaux and Armando De la cerda. If Desormeaux can get her to stalk the pace, she has an excellent shot at running away with this one.  For my value play, I believe that Sweetsoutherndame has the perfect opportunity to take this one in. In her last outing, she ran 2nd in the Ontario Debutante behind Skylander Girl. Sporting some good works and stakes experience on her side, Sweetsoutherndame should make a huge run here.

Pocahontas Stakes

Elena StrikesFor our last 2 races, we move to Churchill Downs. The $150,000 Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes is race 6 on the card for 2 year old fillies going 1 1/16 mile. In this field of 8, Milam is the 3 to 1 morning line favorite. Earning her maiden win in a career opener at Ellis Park, Milam won by 3 ¾ lengths. Her works look good and there is no reason this filly shouldn’t fare well here. At 7/2 on the morning line is Stonetastic who might very well run away with this one! She won her career opener at Monmouth in a 5 ½ furlong race by 12 lengths in hand with the guidance of jockey, Joe Bravo. Distance shouldn’t be an issue here and if she can shake of early rivals for the front end lead, she may never look back! Elena Strikes is another contender here. She ran a close 3rd in the Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga and has the experience to do some real damage in the Pocahontas. For a value play, I like Rosalind. She doesn’t have the speed figures to match with Milam or Stonetastic, but as a filly who can close from way back, I really like her chances here. Her workouts are strong and she has a good combo in Victor Lebron and Kenneth McPeek. For a longshot, I like Steven Asmussen trained Nevada Deputy. She ran a close third in the Donnie Wilhite at Louisiana Downs and although she is in with a much tougher field, she closes well and should hit the board in my opinion.

Iroquois Stakes

Rise UpFinally we have the Grade 3 $150,000 Iroquois Stakes which kicks off the 2014 Kentucky Derby prep season as the first prep race that offers points to the top 4 finishers. Although we are well away from that first Saturday in May 2014, it’s exciting to think that next year’s Derby winner might get their first step to destiny in this race! This field of 12 will travel 1 1/16 mile. The 5/2 morning line favorite is Ride On Curlin. Trained by William Gowan and ridden by Calvin Borel, this son of Curlin is going to be one tough colt to beat. He ran 2nd in his first outing at Churchill, but followed that up with an impressive romp at Ellis where he won by 7 ¾ lengths. His works indicate he is ready for this race and his speed figure towers over the rest of this field. He should have no problem getting the distance and I look for him to be the horse to beat. I believe that Rise Up will give him some competition, though.  Rise Up was ridden out in the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes and won by 4 ¾ lengths under Rosie Napravnik’s guidance. Rise Up should put up a tough fight here and is my choice for value in the Iroquois. For my longshot play, I like Honorable Judge. In his career debut at Parx, Honorable Judge ruled over the 9 horse field by 6 ¾ lengths with speed to spare. I believe that we will see something special out of this 2 year old in this race, so watch for him to make a charge.

That’s it for September 7th, but be sure and check back with us on the 8th for more 2 year old stakes 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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